The Hobbit: Second Verse, Better Than the First

Review of The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, Directed by Peter JacksonYes, the new Hobbit movie is better than the last one. No, it doesn’t compare to Return of the King. But that’s an unfair comparison: few movies in the history of cinema approach the heights of Peter Jackson’s 2003 masterpiece. The Hobbit is a lesser tale; the movies lighter fare. They were always going to suffer by comparison. Jackson was right to try to avoid directorial duties for this trilogy. Alas for the del Toro ve … [Read more...]

This Week on Sleepy Hollow: Family Matters

Review of Sleepy Hollow, Episode 10Did Ichabod Crane have a son? If so, why did his wife Katrina keep it secret? Can Denethor help him answer these questions? Will Ichabod survive the trip to Purgatory (or Limbo, I forget which) to confront his wife and ask for answers? And that's just the first five minutes of the episode!This week's 'Christmas' episode was, appropriately enough, all about families. Ichabod's family, Orlando Jones's family, Abbie Mills's family, and even the Sin Eater's … [Read more...]

Sacred and Profane Places in Sleepy Hollow

Review of Sleepy Hollow Episode 9So far, it would be easier to list the things we haven't seen in Sleepy Hollow than the things we have. What more could they possibly add to the 9th episode of this crazy show? A lot, it turns out. This week we see Ichabod wearing his cranky pants because he can't spend time with his wife (what with her being caught in Purgatory and all) while everyone else enjoys the holidays. Fortunately, we all get treated to a trip down memory lane as Ichabod and Abbie … [Read more...]

Doctor Who: My Best Friend is a Pagan God

Review of Doctor Who (Series)There used to be limits to my nerdiness.  Of course I liked Star Wars (who doesn’t?).  I fessed up to liking Star Trek--but only Next Generation, not those other weird spinoff series.  Then Netflix came and I binged on Deep Space Nine and discovered it was the best Trek of them all.  I watched the rebooted Battlestar Galactica, because it was cool, but not the ‘70s original, because it was corny.There was one line I wouldn’t cross.  I was dimly aware of some u … [Read more...]

Catching Fire, or, Why We Fight

Review of The Hunger Games: Catching Fire, Directed by Francis LawrenceIt is distantly possible that you don’t know what The Hunger Games is. If, for example, you a) live in a cave, b) are not a teenage girl, c) think young adult fantasy fiction is not suitable mainstream entertainment or, d) all of the above. Barring that improbable combination, you’re probably familiar with Katniss Everdeen and her battle for survival in the annual Hunger Games held by the tyrannical Capitol to keep the res … [Read more...]

Truth and History in Sleepy Hollow—Who needs it?

Review of Sleepy Hollow Episode 8This week on Sleepy Hollow: Can Ichabod Crane get the Headless Horseman to spill all the important Apocalyptic beans? ("I don't think he's gonna talk"—Orlando Jones.) Will Harold be any help in the process? Will Ichabod's past romantic rivalry with "Abraham" over Katrina have future consequences? Can Orlando Jones and Abbie's sister keep from killing each other? Will the stolen 16th century Druidic artifact from Thrace be able to help the Hessians free the H … [Read more...]

This Week on Sleepy Hollow: Loneliness, the Local Church, & Beheadings Galore

Review of Sleepy Hollow, Episode 7 In case you were wondering, being a Mason won't protect you through the Apocalypse. You'll get your head chopped off just like the next person. And so will everyone else who stands between the Headless Horseman and his skull, which he needs for some reason in order to bring the other three horsemen and begin the end of the world. Will Abbie and Ichabod be able to stop the Horseman on his decapitory ride through town? Will they come up with a plan to keep … [Read more...]

Thor’s World is Becoming Cliche

Review of Thor: The Dark World, Directed by Alan TaylorAs the Avengers films become more intertwined with one another, they are becoming both more self-referential and more confident in the type of action drama they are trying to cultivate. At the same time, these films are increasingly mainstream with very few surprises.The first question about most sequels is: how does it compare to the first? Thor: The Dark World is decisively better. The action sequences, the graphic effects, and the … [Read more...]

This Week on Sleepy Hollow: Forgiveness, Freemasons, and Quaker Witches

Review of Sleepy Hollow, Episode 6[Spoiler alerts.] After a break for some reason or other (the Superbowl I think?), Sleepy Hollow is back and just as ridiculous as ever. This week, Ichabod Crane learns about baseball and our inherent right to shout at the ump ("I thought only horses slept standing up!?!"), and then gets kidnapped by Freemasons. In order to find him, Abbie has to work with her crazy sister to find the "sin eater", the one person who can use supernatural means to reveal … [Read more...]

Confession is Good for the Soul

Review of Fox's Sleepy Hollow, Episode 3, "For the Triumph of Evil"Week three of Sleepy Hollow, and the apocalypse is still upon us. Maybe we can blame the government shutdown for how long it's taking to stop the end of the world? This week, a demon known as "Rokaronti" (also known in better fiction as the "Sandman") has been loosed on Sleepy Hollow and is systematically eliminating those who had a hand in covering up the dark secrets of the past. This particular villain strikes while the … [Read more...]