Review: Netflix’s 13 Reasons Why

13 Reasons WhyIt’s fairly early in the year, but I think I’ve already found a show that will end up making my top shows when December comes. 13 Reasons Why is a Netflix original show created by Brian Yorkey and starring Katherine Langford and Dylan Minnette, and it’s a doozy that’s definitely not for everyone. There is a controversy around this show that I will discuss after my general evaluation in an afterword, but I really don’t want that to get in the way of the merits of the show itself. This is the story about teen suicide and bullying. It’s the story of a high school girl who, through a number of circumstances, decides to commit suicide. The twist to this comes when it’s revealed that she has recorded tapes naming twelve people responsible for her decision and sends them around through a mutual friend to these people, forcing them to hear her story. Continue reading

Review: Iron Fist, Season 1

Marvel's Iron Fist

Iron Fist, the final Defenders-related show before the big team-up event in Marvel’s Netflix universe, has arrived. I’ve loved most things about the Marvel Netflix universe since its premiere with Daredevil, but they can’t all be winners. I was excited to crack open Iron Fist with a buddy of mine, but it falls short of the bar set by previous Marvel Netflix shows and even further still below the bar for a cohesive show in general. I’m not sure what went wrong, but Iron Fist is a failure of writing, acting, special effects and, probably the worst offense for a martial arts hero, choreography. I just don’t know how they made such a huge mistake here. Continue reading

Top TV Shows of 2016: Jeremiah’s Picks

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I’ve spouted off about my favorite movies of 2016, but I also watch a lot of TV, streaming and otherwise. And I’d love to throw my endorsements out for those shows as well. Hopefully, this means my favorites of 2016 get the attention they deserve. Again, I’ll make a point that I haven’t seen all the hype shows of 2016, Westworld and Atlanta being two that spring to mind as I write this list, but these picks were awesome this year and worthy of your attention. Continue reading

Top Movies of 2016: Jeremiah’s Picks

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Hello and welcome to Jeremiah Trotter’s top 10 movies of 2016. Now, let’s be clear: these are the top 10 movies that I enjoyed the most from 2016… that I saw. So, of course you will have different opinions and different ideas of what is “the best” of 2016, but maybe you discover something on this list that you’d like to check out. And I’m definitely not opposed to debating the merits of individual films. Anyway, let me know how you feel in the comments if you get the urge. Continue reading

Review: Captain America: Civil War (2016)

Civil War 3I’m a huge super-hero fan and one of my first introductions into actually reading comics was the Civil War event. The political stand-off and the idea that heroes could disagree and fight against each other in such a grand way, disagreeing over basic beliefs, was enticing to me. So, of course, I’m excited to see them try something similar in the MCU. Though, there is no way they can replicate the true scale of the crossover; I think that Captain America: Civil War has touched on something remarkable in the interaction of its heroes that makes this movie shine, even if the source material’s depth was hard to live up to.

The action in this movie was visceral and intense. The film allowed the heroes to use their powers and abilities to the fullest. Even from the start, we saw some awesome combo attacks and a wide range of new abilities and intense action scenes that are absolutely the best in the genre so far, and as the film progressed it only got better. In terms of action, if you were upset by the slow pace and low choreography of some other superhero films, this is definitely not an area where Civil War will disappoint. Continue reading

Review: House of Cards, Seasons 1-2

hocThis is a big show. I’ve heard about it from many sources before I started, and I must admit that the hype did not prepare me in the slightest. I believe this is one of the most amazing political shows since The West Wing, though I wouldn’t say it shares the tone or optimism of Aaron Sorkin’s classic. Quite the contrary, this is a bleak look at American politics that takes your idea of what politics and personal morality is an twists it into a system where only perception matters. However, no matter how absurd the plots and politics get I can’t deny the genuine portrayal of corruption in both what a character could be and what a person could be made to be comfortable with. This is a show which allows you the chance to truly relate with devils, and I can’t praise the acting and the writers enough. Continue reading

Review: Supergirl, Season 1

SupergirlAs a fan of all things superhero, it’s no surprise I picked up Supergirl when it came time for her TV debut. The show has some things going for it. It’s cute and the characters are enjoyable, but it isn’t thick on deeper content and struggles on a more meaningful level. I think the show takes its family friendly vibe a bit too seriously and could stand to pull a few of the cliched flowers out of its climactic dialogue.

When I started this show, I immediately fell in love with Kara. She does cute and awkward as good as the best of them and I immediately related to her want to be something more than her adorable but mild-mannered life. But that is the only character I can say I have real feelings for, all the character work done in Supergirl gives you real attachment to the characters. Even though there are many cliche’s interwoven into the dialogue, I find myself smiling through the cringe even in these moments and really rooting for a top quality cast. Continue reading

Review: Daredevil, Season 2

Daredevil Season 2This one didn’t quite make it there. I’ve seen only good reviews coming off this product, but, even when they do look at some negatives, I just don’t know if people know what makes a superhero story great anymore. Now I don’t want you to get the wrong idea: this season had some great moments. However, it suffers from following two disjointed plotlines and fails to deliver some of the integral parts of a good hero story, namely, a compelling villain.

This season focuses on two major plotlines, as we already knew from the previews. The Punisher headlines the first story with his bloody rampage across the gangs of New York, and Electra is the star of the second major plot of the season involving the overly-menacing and unnecessarily faceless organization, The Hand. For the first five episodes or so, the Punisher has his day in the spotlight, and I believe this to be the definitive live-action version of the character. I loved his visceral fighting style, and his relationship with Daredevil as it conflicts especially with the Catholic backing of Daredevil’s convictions was especially interesting. They manage to make a three-dimensional and likeable character out of John Bernthal while at the same time demonizing the gruesome murder that he leaves in his wake. This balance made it so that I didn’t want this conflict in the show to end. Sadly that wasn’t the case. Continue reading

Review: 10 Cloverfield Lane (2016)

10 cloverfield laneI loved Cloverfield. As an avid monster movie fan and gamer—I liken the feel of Cloverfield to a mix of Call of Duty and Resident Evil—this is not the type of sequel I anticipated. When the marketing for 10 Cloverfield Lane came out, I was baffled that what looked like a psychological thriller bore the Cloverfield title and was the supposed next entry in a giant alien monster movie franchise. All these things left my expectations low but hopeful.

The beginning starts cautiously, establishing the mood with a strong and foreboding score at the forefront. You are given details and character hints without any dialogue. Then, once you’ve been established in the world and you settle in for what you expect to be a slow build to the first tension of a slow psychological thriller, everything explodes on screen in full audio and visual. I think this opening epitomizes the shock that I felt throughout the entire film. This movie is an odd but pleasant surprise throughout, and definitely nothing I was expecting.

The thing that stands out first is the score and the sound mixing. The mechanical noise of the door opening and shutting, the clatter of objects, the jostling of a car shaking and rolling; all the sound in the film feels like it’s turned up to 11 and it presents a visceral world that keeps you braced for something terrible yet to come. At some points I thought the sound and the score might’ve tried a little too hard to push the drama of a scene, but they played a big part in shaping it as well. Ultimately, as the film rises to its peaks the sound really stands out in delivering the drama of each scene. Continue reading