Movie review: “Warcraft” (2016)


“Sounds like a trap.”

“It is not.”

“Could be.”

“It is not.”

“Could be.”

“It is not.”

Who knew orcs had such soulful, expressive eyes? That, after a touch over two hours of simultaneously bland but colorful cartoon CGI carnage, was my main takeaway from Warcraft, the would-be flagship of an undeniably ambitious, already likely doomed new Sword & Sorcery franchise that unfortunately comes years, if not decades – which would predate its source material – too late to avoid standing out from today’s blockbuster marketplace in exactly the wrong way. The original Warcraft trilogy, a trailblazing and obscenely popular video game series on whose first volume – Orcs & Humans – this film is ostensibly based, in many ways seems tailor-made for the big screen Continue reading “Movie review: “Warcraft” (2016)”

DVR Hindsight #15 (6/13/16): The Americans – Season Four finale


The Americans – “Persona Non Grata” – Season 4, Ep. 13 (FX) SPOILERS

History must exist, at least on some level, if only to lay bare the shocking inadequacies of textbooks. As a child of the 1980s, when it was still theoretically swirling around me, my conception of the so-called Cold War between global superpowers the United States and the Soviet Union was nevertheless a severely limited one, as a sort of unbearably tense extended cease fire that had drawn on more or less since the end of World War II. The combatants were surely enemies to the core – with fingers on the nuclear trigger and alternately heroic and dictatorial intentions, depending on whose books you were reading – but, aside from high profile incidents like the Cuban Missile Crisis and the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, they were each too wary of the other’s power and resolve to risk provoking any escalation of hostilities. Continue reading “DVR Hindsight #15 (6/13/16): The Americans – Season Four finale”

Pure Mexican Vintage: Francisco Vargas D12 Orlando Salido


Boxing is a sport at perpetual cross-purposes with itself. We, as fans, watch intently, fascinated and occasionally breathless, but also with a palpable, underlying unease. These are impossibly courageous athletes, destroying one another and themselves for our entertainment. We intellectually want the best lives possible for them and their families, now and going forward. We also want war. Intellectually, we can train ourselves to appreciate the all-world tactics and superhuman reflexes of a quick-hitting escape artist like prime Floyd Mayweather, or the thrilling dominance of an overpowering dynamo like prime Manny Pacquiao. Neither man approaches his prime now, of course, and both, by certain accounts, are busy off enjoying their hard-won and well-deserved retirements. Thus scoured of its two biggest names, boxing, as it must, scrambles to manufacture new ones, but also, if it is smart – a fair and open question, if ever one was spoken – works overtime to provide the less starry-eyed among its fan base with the visceral, unadorned combat that is, was, and ever shall be the sport’s lifeblood. Continue reading “Pure Mexican Vintage: Francisco Vargas D12 Orlando Salido”

Concert review: The Dave Matthews Band (rubber match)


Riverbend Music Center, Cincinnati, Ohio – May 20, 2016

Everyone enjoys his or her “down time” differently. Some people only truly come alive as a part of a group. They seek out others by instinct. Some people travel for the sake of it. Others commune with nature. A raging introvert from the womb onward, I’ve never particularly minded my own company. I love concerts, and movies in the theater, alone or not. Failing that, I tend to hunker down in my bomb shelter of a ground floor apartment and cycle through an array of entertainment options (books, games, music, movies) sufficient to make Chris Hardwick blush. Considering the subject matter this site routinely traffics in, tell me you’re surprised. Being outside isn’t exactly my default mode, though it can actually serve to make me much more appreciative of, excited by, and up for a particularly nice day, just not necessarily to see a show. Despite my friends who love them, I generally despise the obscene quantity to quality/expense to return ratio of all those ubiquitous multi-day summer festivals, preferring, as at any other time of year, to make my showgoing bones day-to-day in intimate, compact, dimly-lit clubs. Continue reading “Concert review: The Dave Matthews Band (rubber match)”