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  1. shrewd.buddha

    S05.E02: Smithereens

    It was a good episode, tho it did feel stretched out longer than it needed to be. This could have worked just as well in 30 minutes. What helped -slightly - was that the material used to stretch it out was well acted and directed: the kidnapping misadventures, the police bureaucracy, the tech company's bureaucracy, etc. But I feel the idea of addictive technology was undercut because the main character seemed to really be dealing with his own secret guilt of being responsible for his fiance's death. The only person he ever told the full story to was the tech company founder. It came off as him trying to shift some of his blame onto someone else. And where does the real blame belong?: The social media apps or the mobile phone industry? Would everyone be indoor media consuming zombies if mobile devices were not available? He could have blamed the sugar industry if he had been obese or the tobacco industry if he had been diagnosed with lung cancer. In the end, it seems as if all corporate industries, technology included, would like their consumers to be addicted to their products.
  2. shrewd.buddha

    S05.E01: Striking Vipers

    Yes, the concept of total physical sensation being transmitted thru a tiny dot placed on your temple was a huge sci-fi leap of logic. Did Karl and Danny have to 'clean up' afterwards? As others have pointed out: why would the game programmers create sexual options in the game? And once the sexual aspect became known, why not have a cyber sex hook-up alternative without the pretense of a game (that they did not bother to play any more)? The ending was somewhat happier than many of Black Mirror episodes ... but the option taken by the wife, Theo, seemed a bit sadder and not as hygienically safe, quick and convenient as the cyber option for Danny. I did take issue with Karl pushing Danny with the argument of "the best sex of your life." Yeah, so? Danny appeared to be experienced enough to know that intense sex is the icing on the cake of a relationship. You cannot make a meal of it. And sex between the same two people, or avatars, would not realistically continue to be new and mind-blowing forever. Karl and Danny were still in their honeymoon/infatuation stage. If their hookups were really just for sex, at some point one of them would eventually chase after bigger highs.
  3. shrewd.buddha

    Godzilla: King of the Monsters (2019)

    It wasn't exactly bad .. but it was't great, either. It was a bit too much of everything - like a literal assault on your senses. It was as if you said you liked ice cream and at first you get ice cream, then even more ice cream - and then they just start throwing ice cream at you like snowballs. Here are some takeaways: I'm tired of the trope of estranged family members who have to deal with their drama in the middle of a crisis. Constant bad weather (rain, snow, etc) ... maybe to make it easier to hide the CGI? Godzilla is dead? Oh, no!! Please come back, Godzilla! Does Godzilla take a 'death' time-out in every movie? Lots and lots (and lots) of people die during the massive destruction(s) ... supposedly. The filmmakers keep all the bodies and unpleasantness discretely under the rubble. This is another one of those movies that takes place during 'the longest day ever': the action starts after a seemingly normal breakfast scene - and after that, there is not a coffee break or bathroom break or change of clothes until the end. And during that time we, and Godzilla, go from China to Antarctica to undersea trenches and to Boston without stopping.
  4. shrewd.buddha

    S08.E06: The Iron Throne

    There is no way GrayWorm would have let Jon and Tyrion live long enough for a trial. (Even with the jet packs that Sansa and Bran seem to have used to get to King's Landing.) I was not particularly moved by Tryrion finding the bodies of Jamie and Cersei. And I was not moved by Brienne's attempt to rectcon Jamie's history in the big book of historical assholes. So, Bran bears no responsibility for setting the whole tragic chain of events in motion? And never sharing any of his omniscient information in an attempt to save innocent people? He served up Jon Snow as the fall guy - the supposed rightful heir - and Jon gets shipped off to the north to never marry or have children. Bran and Sam ended up doing pretty well for themselves after just a few weeks of getting the Rightful King rumor mill started. And lastly, Tyrion pushing Bran as leader because, instead of gold or weapons, stories and storytellers are the most reliable, enduring means of binding people together? ...what a BS way to try to suck your own dicks, D&D...
  5. shrewd.buddha

    S06.E02: Window of Opportunity

    I also wondered why no one suggested checking to see that Coulson's presumably dead body was wherever May left it. The avoidance of mentioning what happened in the past few months feels forced and unnatural. I don't know ... I gave this episode a shot but I may not be on board for yet another season of "WtF is happening ?" - - and waiting for TPTB to piece things together over six or more episodes. Maybe I'm not one of those people who think not knowing what's happening is half the fun. While I do sympathize with AoS not getting to sit at the big kids table of the MCU, I still think there could be much better storytelling than this. Even if they cannot afford to have SkyeDaisy use her abilities, they could at least make some effort at some sci-fi tech-y gadgets for the SHIELD agents. ...And perhaps an occasional win instead of an entire season arc of losses and near-misses that culminates in a barely survived finale that requires a major sacrifice. Let AoS be the smart ones sometimes.
  6. shrewd.buddha

    S08.E05: The Bells

    Game Of Thrones: George R.R. Martin Has Finished The Last Two Books, According To Actor
  7. shrewd.buddha

    S08.E05: The Bells

    There are news stories floating around today that say GRRM has finished the books. I believe a release date has been announced for the sixth. Who knows for sure, tho. I have suspected that GRRM might not have been very motivated to finish the books -- providing D&D with more source material to hack into pop culture pieces and take credit for. Left to their own devices D&D have demonstrated their lack of storytelling skills ... unless subverting expectations and shock-for-the-sake-of-shock are considered to be the current standard of quality. Maybe GRRM is as crafty as some of his characters (as they were once upon a time). It seems somewhat obvious that D&D are writing to best serve the actors, not the characters they are portraying - and they have been very much swayed by what they think the audience wants.
  8. shrewd.buddha

    S08.E05: The Bells

    The saddest death, to me, is probably watching the show itself wither away in a tangle of tropes and cliches. I did not enjoy how, in just a short period, Daenarys becomes the villain and Cercei gets a comforting exit that almost casts her as a victim of a crazed killer. Urine (Euron) miraculously washes up on the very shore where Jamie has managed to run to in record time. But of course he is the only sailor to make it there. Sure. Jon Snow - as portrayed here - is a horrible leader. His bumbling non-reactions, not speaking up, not taking decisive action at key moments. He could have had the opposing soldiers remove their armor and march out of the city as soon as they surrendered. He could have attempted to put himself between Daenarys and Cercei's tower. Perhaps Jon is supposed to be the epitome of how bad things happen when good men do nothing. I can get behind the idea of burning King's Landing to the ground and destroying the Iron Throne. Daenarys' advisers, instead of plotting behind her back and isolating her, could have anticipated that and worked towards making sure the city could be evacuated (as much as possible).
  9. shrewd.buddha

    S08.E04: The Last of the Starks

    I feel certain that Sansa being petty and ungrateful is a misdirection as it was when Littlefinger was set up. But the attitude being forced upon her character is annoying. How is it that Bran isn't helping with war strategy? The Three-Eyed-Raven can see everything - - except when the plot ignores his ability. He should be able to know everything that Cersi and the Pirate Asshole have planned. The vast funeral pyre scene was impressive - - but how long would that have taken to construct and who would have done it? Soldiers? It seems as if the only reason Sam showed up in Winterfell was to confirm Bran's vision about Jon parentage, hug Jon, have conflict with Dany and be useless in battle. Did any of his stolen books get put to any use? And now, other characters like him are trudging back to King's Landing to fulfill they plot requirements (Jamie, Arya, the Hound) I did feel badly for Dany, sitting alone and sober at the table while everyone was patting Jon on the back for riding a dragon and being one of the boys. She does not fit in - but Jon, forced by plot, isn't helping the situation. Maybe if Dany had decided to let Winterfell fend for itself against the White Walkers and picked another position to make a stand... But really, I have more sympathy for the Dragons and Direwolves than any of the power-hungry schemers.
  10. shrewd.buddha

    S08.E03: The Long Night

    The characters seem to have developed much stronger plot armor ever since they ran out of the source material books. Now the writers appear to be factoring in fan appeal when deciding who dies - - in terms of how, when and with what degree of reverence. The Night King finally got beyond the Wall ... but was defeated at the first stop?!? After eight years of "Winter Is Coming" hype, I will be disappointed if the story goes back to the petty power struggles to decide who will sit on the Iron Throne.
  11. shrewd.buddha

    Avengers: Endgame (2019)

    It was impressive, nostalgic and bittersweet. Just juggling that amount of actors was an incredible feat. I am glad to have been able to see it before the spoilers become inevitable. It was very good .. but I think it could have been great if the Russo's had not been determined to have their cake and eat it, too. If Tony had been forced to choose between bringing back the 'snapped' or the existence of his daughter: that would have been Shakespearean level drama. It looks as if they decided to go for total wish fulfillment. As others have mentioned, there would be massive issues with 3 billion people suddenly reappearing in a world that had been recovering for 5 years: broken relationships, abandoned businesses, re-sold houses, etc. I guess people who died in plane crashes and other disasters during the first 'snap' don't get a re-do. Steve Roger's re-do also has way too many glossed-over ramifications: Did he just let Hydra happen? Did he just let Bucky spend years as a prisoner? It is difficult to believe Steve's inherent 'goodness' would allow him to just sit by during all those years. Captain Marvel's involvement was handled well - but they still do not seem to have a very good handle on the character. She never seems to acknowledge that she is a human. from Earth. Going forward, it will be interesting to see how Marvel Studios will use the character.
  12. shrewd.buddha

    Captain Marvel (2019)

    We saw it - and liked it ... but I cannot say that it left a lasting impression or had a significant 'wow' factor. (That could just be Marvel super hero overload.) The biggest 'wow' seemed to be Fury and Coulson's 20 years younger look. Is that where all the SFX money went? Because Guardians of the Galaxy was on TV last night and the amount of FX eye candy in that made Captain Marvel look as it it was actually filmed during the 90's. The lighting, set design and staging in this movie seemed very bare bones. It was not clear, to me, as to whether Carol Danvers ever got her memories back. We saw the young girl showing Carol pictures of her life and then a reenactment of the jet crash - but there did not seem to be a moment where Danvers appeared to wake up out of her personality fog. I wondered why she did not seem fascinated with Earth and why things did not seem weirdly familiar to her. Almost all comic book characters have a supporting cast of family, friends and loved ones, but Carol seemed to have only two. No one seemed especially sad when she left at the end (with people she had just met) and there was no talk of her returning - even tho the majority of her life had been on Earth. The stuff at the end felt more like Dragon Ball Z or a Pokemon anime movie. Captain Marvel (not sure how that would be something people would call her) is so powerful it is hard to imagine her having a challenge or struggle that did not involve reducing her power. It is same issue with trying to make Superman relatable and interesting as a character.
  13. shrewd.buddha


    There is a new trope in town: Without notification, a smug jerk shows up in the middle of a case and announces that they have been sent from "headquarters" to quarterback the team. A leadership pissing contest ensues, causing both parties to look petty and childish - because the days of professional decorum are over. This episode was difficult to watch with all the anvils falling and being repeatedly bludgeoned with ham-fisted current issues. If there were a bot that could consume trending topics with the accompanying cliches and sound bites - amplify them while also dumbing them down - and then crap out a script - this episode would be the result. And it would be written in ALL CAPS. You know toxic masculinity guy would have lawyer'd up in a second - but the show needed him to spout as much OMG, sexist rhetoric as possible. During the interrogations, the sneering smiles of moral superiority from Maggie and OA was not a good look for them. Almost every scene in this episode was over-the-top-and wannbe triggering. Dana doing an armchair profiling session while Maggie described the apartment was cringe inducing. Both FBI lead lady and smug jerk from headquarters got a few punches in with correct predictions, but it was obvious who was going to win overall. In the end there were two potential bomb targets but *only* Maggie and OA are available to be sent to one in time. Seriously? The FBI would let a bomb go off before even considering contacting the local police department?
  14. shrewd.buddha

    The Umbrella Academy

    Episode 10: The team's plan to just jump at Vanya from different directions seemed ... dumb. So, Apocalypse #2 was different than the first: Number 5 was present, the siblings did not die at the school. Not sure if the moon destruction was different, but those waves of fireballs would not have left behind any nicely posed corpses like Apocalypse # 1. I guess it is easier to accept that a chunk of the moon would fall directly down like an apple from a tree than get bothered with things like astronomy and physics. Will the series always be centered around stopping the apocalypse? I would like to have some sympathy for Vanya, but when she killed Leonard and Pogo, it was pretty deliberate and gruesome - and she had those murderous, dead-inside eyes of a psycho killer. (Leonard/Harold had a crappy childhood, too. Just saying..) Overall, the entire premise of Umbrella Academy felt small. It seemed as if the characters' lives - and the apocalypse - were limited to one city. And the cause of the world-wide apocalypse was just a member of the family. If Number 5 had bothered to compare notes with Pogo the chimp and robo-Mom, they could have saved a lot of time.
  15. shrewd.buddha

    The Umbrella Academy

    Episode 9: Where we learn that Reginald Hargreeves actually caused the apocalypse by trying to prevent the apocalypse: Step 1: Hargreeves commits suicide to bring his children together, hopefully to work together again. Step 2: While back home, Klaus takes the opportunity to steal valuables and discards R. Hargreeves secret journal. Step 3: Leonard/Harold, who has been stalking, dumpster dives to find the journal and learns about Vanya's powers. Step 4: While grooming Vanya to destroy the Umbrella Academy, Vanya is triggered into becoming a murderous world-killer. It is a bit of stretch that all the Harold and Vanya interaction happened in a week's time: The violin lesson, hooking up, falling in love, First Chair Violinist goes missing, Vanya auditions for the position, gets it, a trip to the country cabin, posters and newspaper ads are created with Vanya's picture for a concert that is happening in one or two days. This is not the type of show that rewards paying close attention to details.