Television

Reviews and Recaps!

Game of Thrones

Listen to Germar and often Jessica cover GoT better than anyone on the net.

Big Movies

Reviewed

Friday, February 17, 2017

LeJames Bron and Other Whiny Men

Luis Sinco / Los Angeles Times
Episode 312 is another best. podcast. ever. Germar revisits recent topics including Vin Diesel and smart people (and Bill Maher's take). Germar's black. Do black people like this podcast?  Alternative privileges--athletic and familial. And also Kevin Durant, Jason Whitlock, Donald Trump, Tom Brady, Bill Simmons, and Charles Barkley.

Thursday, February 16, 2017

xXx

In Episode 311, Germar covers the entire "xXx" series. Did XXX mean something different in 2002, because these Google searches have not been closely tied to Vin Diesel, Ice Cube, Sam Jackson, or awful action movies? No spoilers here for the current iteration. You should listen to this to hear Germar's awesome accents, impressions, and theories.

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

I Found Jesus on Tinder and Other Dating Stories

From Chewing Gum on Netflix
In Episode 310, Germar welcomes Lawanda ThePoet to the podcast. They discuss Tinder, dating, and how Germar is an awful person apparently. Also, they met ON Tinder. It's definitely a D.S.E. And the opening song is definitely NSFW.


Monday, February 13, 2017

Indie Music: Camille Peruto "From the Sea to the Sky"


by Germar Derron

She's versatile. "Versatility" always cuts both ways as a critique of any art form. In music, musicians, and lay listening aficionados, admire the skill. Record label execs sometimes appreciate the "there's a little something for everyone" factor. But Mr. Joe Schmo Don't Know might think that the album is unfocused or arbitrary. Fortunately, I'm a musician.

First, I listened to the single "Crooked Roads." Pop. Immediately, I thought of a comparable artist--a young Kelly Clarkson (even before I knew of Peruto's American Idol ties). I understand why this track is a single; it's timeless and ubiquitous. No one should dislike this song. From the Sea to the Sky works as well today as it would have ten years ago, and as well as it will ten years from now. It's seriously safe. But the vocals begged for more. That voice is dying for edge--harshness, distorted guitars . . . rock. I wanted to attack those vocals with an exaggerated EQ, distortion, compression, and delay. If she is a "Kelly Clarkson," she's not the sweet "A Moment Like This" product. She's the "'Breakaway' and beyond" version. She's "Since U Been Gone" and "Walk Away." And I judged the project prematurely. 

Camille Peruto demonstrates that edge I craved on almost every other song on the album. It sounds like an ode to all of the top (pop) female vocalists of the past fifteen years, and in the best way. I hear bits of Hayley Williams, P!nk, Amy Lee, and of course Clarkson. She's exactly the artist I hoped she'd be, just not on "Crooked Roads."

I can't criticize the project  much, but to say it's a solid and safe seven. At the live shows--and the next time in the studio--the engineers, producers, and Peruto should take more chances and push to eleven.

Underworld: Blood Wars

Episode 309 is a lot better than Episode 308. Yes, Germar ruins the names of your favorite actors and films. Notwithstanding that, it's a great introduction to the "Underworld" series, and spoiler-free review of the latest entry.

Friday, February 10, 2017

Legion and JL Dark and Stuff

In Episode 308, Germar covers awesome brand new additions to the nerd guide for staying single, awkward, and entertained Legion and Justice League Dark (24:00). But first, it's personal and he: 1) talks about why he HATES talking on the phone; 2) asks why conservatives hate actual justice; and 3) complains about things, because that's what he does.

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Super Bowl Politics

male model slash caveman
In Episode 307, Germar covers the most divisive Super Bowl of all time (14:40). Why did we care so much . . . or so very differently about this one? Why do so many people hate Tom Brady and the Patriots*? How did the Falcons lose? Plus, overtime SUCKS. But first, he revisits the last podcast and talks about looking for love in Facebook groups.

Indie Music: Natalise & the Sunset Run "The Lucky Ones"


by Germar Derron

I watched the music video for "The Lucky Ones." No, I studied it. Well, it started as a casual listen for this review, but something pulled me in. Quite organically, I drifted from a casual first time listener to a serious student of whatever this sound was. Instantly, I felt weep-ish. I didn't cry, but I could have. Simultaneously, I felt intense joy and sadness, better described as warmth. All of that is "The Lucky Ones."

"The Lucky Ones" could be described as traditional pop, and that description would be accurate. Natalise's pristine vocal is reminiscent of many top pop female vocalists of the past 15 years. The vocal cadence is doubled and harmonized perfectly. That too is standard for certain modern versions of the pop genre. The strings, acoustic guitar, and piano push this into a more spiritual space. That space could be a place of worship or a state of mind. But the track strays from anything typical by somehow being something more.



The instrumental arrangement doesn't overpower the vocals. Often, on similar alt-pop type tracks, I can feel the band members trying to shine. Here, I don't notice them. I don't "hear" them; I feel them. They compliment the lyrical component well. It's restrained. Usually, that instrumental restraint leads to a disconnected track, like when that church soloist sings over a CD track karaoke style. But that's not the case here.

Earlier, I mentioned a warm feeling. That feeling emanates from a warm sound and warm message. Even with the innate sadness of the song, while listening, I feel like a "lucky one." Not sure I've ever written "feel*" so much in any piece.  Four out of five stars.

Sunday, February 5, 2017

You're Not That Smart (and that's okay)

In Episode 306, Germar tries to rid himself of his last few remaining friends. Why do you all keep talking about how smart you are? Who convinced you that being smart was so important? You're not that smart, but you're really good with a hammer and nails, and that's pretty darn neat.


Thursday, February 2, 2017

The Top 32 Marvel Comics Movies [UPDATED 2/2/17]

You love lists and Look to the Cookie doesn't do enough of them. So here are the rankings and reasons for the 32 released Marvel Comics based movies that Germar felt like commenting on.

32. Fantastic Four (2015)  4/10 Fantastic Four is one of the worst films ever made. I tweeted. I yelled. I cursed . . . a lot. I don't understand how adults, . . . educated men and women . . . with large bank accounts, sat down, watched this awful mess and thought "mission accomplished." It's a year later and I still hope to run into this entire team in a dark alley. On the plus side, it led to my most raw and hilarious podcast ever.

31. The Amazing Spider Man 2 4.5/10 I had high hopes. I was wrong. I've never felt so little for characters, superheroes, villains. The weird Russian? robot rhinoceros was weird. The crowds watching bullets fly from the sideline was dumb. And Jamie Foxx made one of Marvel's most powerful B-list super-villains into a powerful punchline. Awful.

30. Thor  5/10 Thor is the only MCU film that is absolutely awful (so far). Whenever I hear someone say they liked Thor, I want to punch them in the face very hard. I watched this awful film twice because my ex's sister-in-law convinced the family that it was good. They all hated it. I feel like Thor is the most cartoon-y or comic-y of the MCU. If you liked this movie, you're probably a Thor fan, or hardcore comic fan, or you have absolutely terrible taste or you want to feel my fist.

29. Daredevil 5/10 I re-watched and reviewed this film just 18 months ago. I thought it was okay back in 2003; I was wrong. I still love Colin Farrell's Bullseye. The black Kingpin was the best Kingpin--pre-Vincent D'Onofrio, post Spider-man The Animated Series. Overall, this film is uninteresting, unimportant, underwhelming, and unfortunately underwater. Why didn't he drown or freeze?  Never mind.

28. Fantastic Four 6/10 Who'd imagine that the first awful Fox Fantastic Four movie wouldn't be the worst Fox Fantastic Four movie. This is not a good film, but it has some good moments and some good performances. How'd they ruin this film? Casting. Story. Direction. And this was post-X-men. How do you do this after that

27. The Wolverine 6/10 Is this the same Wolverine from Origins or DOFP or any other X-men film? Yes! But no, not really. Of course, this film completely falls apart in the end. And Wolvie is played. He's dominated superhero cinema since 2000. His story, no matter how we twist it, is always the same: 1) he doesn't remember stuff; 2) he heals; and 3) adamantium. And this wasn't really a film that belongs in this genre, or in that universe, and totally made the Wolverine trilogy not a trilogy at all. It's a mediocre martial arts flick masquerading poorly as an X-film and I wasn't very impressed. 

26. Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer 6.4/10 I met Doug Jones. He's super nice, and the best thing about this movie. Everything about the Surfer was super nice. The story was decent too. But this version of the Fantastic Four, like all film versions of F4 stinks. I like Jessica Alba as a person (I think, never met), but she was horribly miscast. Too many words in this piece are devoted to the Fantastic Four.

25. The Amazing Spider-man 6.4/10 The film never quite got over the tall hurdle set up by Sam Raimi and Tobey Maguire. It wasn't bad. It was just more of the same. Tobey, Franco, et al were still fresh. The origin story and villain arc in Amazing matched the story and arc from the 00s version. The movie didn't deliver on what the trailers promised (deep story about the spy parents). Garfield may be a better Spider-man, but he doesn't work at all as Peter.

24. X-Men 6.5/10 Mad props for being the movie that made this list possible. More props for bringing back Toad and making him kinda awesome. Even then, this film felt smaller than my X-men. Smaller core team, smaller stakes, smaller. It's the first one and it's the firstiest movie of any trilogy ever.

23. X-Men Origins: Wolverine 6.5/10 Yes, you hate this movie. You're wrong. Ask Jon Schnepp about it. The beginning of this movie is about as good as these movies get. Young Wolverine. Logan and Creed dominating every war. And even the comme ci, comme ca assault on that compound. Gambit's appearance is one of the best things about the X-men films. And Taylor Kitsch is a better Gambit--with more Magic, better abs and glutes--than Channing Tatum. You hate this movie because of what they did to Deadpool. That sucked. But this wasn't a Deadpool film. The ending may be the worst in comic book movie history, but the first two acts are mostly solid. 

22. The Incredible Hulk 6.5/10 This film works on just about every level. It ranked poorly solely because the field is stacked. Bringing in the Abomination for a showstopping city-smashing finale was genius. Seeing hints of the Leader was cool. Edward Norton did what he does; he killed it. Some parts drag, but it's about as good as a live-action Hulk film could be outside of The Avengers.

21. X-Men: Apocalypse 6.5/10 The most disappointing X-men film ever. Yes, in part because expectations were high . . . initially. But Bryan Singer made a mediocre film--the fourth big franchise superhero film of 2016--and he can't stop patting himself on the back. The third one IS always the worst one. And for me, this is the worstiest of them all to date.

20. Doctor Strange 6.5/10 Ok, MCU fans stahp it. Every next film cannot  be their best film. This was good film, but mediocre in this collection. They've perfected the genre, and now they can crank them out in perpetuity. But Doctor Strange lacked the team dynamic and history that recent entries contain. And while the movie remained active, it wasn't the action of "Winter Soldier," "Ultron," or "Civil War." Yes, magic, but still. Dormammu ending perfect.


19. Captain America: The Winter Soldier   6.5/10 Somehow this average flick fooled the world. It wasn't nearly as clever as you think. It did however make Agents of SHIELD a much better series. The action, especially between Cap and Bucky dwarfs the other non-ensemble films. This rendition of Falcon fits nicely. The Winter Soldier appeared as he might in my dreams and nightmares. Oddly, I enjoyed it more the second time.  Expectations? Hype?

18. Ant-Man  6.5/10 I found this film to be the least "Marvel-y," which is fine. Because it wasn't a typical Marvel film, it was American film-making 101 and quite predictable. If you like mediocre movies, you will LOVE this. That said, they did pull this off well.

17. Spider-man 3 6.7/10 See X-men: First Class. I know why no one liked it . . . because people are wrong about things. Superhero movies are very formulaic. Spider-mans 1, 2, and Amazing are essentially the same film. Raimi and the cast couldn't make the same film for a third time. They colored a little outside of the lines and you all went bat-sh!7. No, I don't know why Peter went emo or learned to play jazz piano or dance poorly - awkwardly. But otherwise this has some amazing moments, and is far superior to the Amazing series, while remaining true to the worlds setup in one and two. 

16. Deadpool 6.9/10 Initially, I hated this film. I hated it because all of the best bits are in the trailer. Why??? And why did everyone still love it so? I get it; I got it. But it's the movie they promised and SHOWED in the trailers. I just wasn't surprised. People made comments like "he broke the fourth wall!?!?!?" NO F#$^* SH!^ OF COURSE HE DID! IT'S DEADPOOL!!! On my second viewing, I appreciated everything a bit more. The ending was better than I realized. All of the characters were amazing. The weakest piece of this film for me was Ryan Reynolds as Deadpool (in costume, high goofy voice). I'd rather see a film of Reynolds as Deadpool the mercenary that gets paid to beat up girls' bfs. Basically, I felt like this:   

15. X2: X-Men United 7/10 Here's where I do that thing that you cannot. I don't like this movie. I rank it higher than I feel because it's not a bad movie, it's just not a movie for me. It started with the strongest sequence in the entire history of comic book movies, but then rolled downhill for two hours straight. I'm beyond tired of Wolverine and Weapon-X. And I'm REALLY not a fan of the Phoenix and we end with the big tease. It's a good film. I own it. I've seen it many many times. But could someone tell Fox that X-Men is more than Wolverine running around a facility shirtless? K-thx.

14. Iron Man 3  7/10 Ughhhhh. I loved the Mandarin thing, but was this really an Iron Man movie? I appreciated the Mandarin ruse because we weren't ready for the actual Mandarin yet. I understood the stuff with the kid, but really? There were two iron men that rarely got to suit-up. Annnd the weird fire volcano people . . . . Annnnd Pepper became Iron Man and Fire Lady . . . .  Annnnnnd how did this get ranked so highly? Oh, there were lots of suits fighting at the end--that was cool. Although it was wise of the writers, I never bought RDJ's portrayal of PTSD

13. X-Men: The Last Stand 7/10 I stand alone. This film is more like the X-Men of the 90s cartoon and 80s and 90s stories than any other. It's the only one where they really feel like a team (until DOFP future). It's the X-Men's MCU-Avengers' film years before there was an MCU or Avengers' film. Six mutants that feel like members of my family stand against an army of super-powered beings to protect one life--choice, and a group of people that want them dead--because it's the right thing to do. They may die, and they know it. I used to choke up.


12. Iron Man 2  7/10 No one liked this film but me; I understand that. But hey, I have a sense of humor. Drunken Iron Man dancing and fighting, stolen suits, HAMMER and weapon malfunctions, the bird, the Widow . . . c'mon!!! 

 
11. Avengers: Age Of Ultron   7/10 Not a good film, but a HUGE film. They attempted to pack too much into one film. Ultron and Spader dominated. Why do Ultron, and later the Vision, exist and how? . . . not that important really. They attempted an attempt at explanations all over this thing. Nothing made sense, but it was a wild and fun ride.

 10. Spider-man 7.5/10 It no longer holds up. But this movie, more so than X-men or Blade (Superman or Batman), put superheroes on the movie map. The mask was dumb, but ultimately inconsequential. This was the first time anyone accurately depicted the struggle, sacrifice, and constant danger of life as Peter Parker and Spider-man--outside of a printed page.

9. Thor: The Dark World   7.5/10  Yes, I appreciate this film more than most of you, but that's because I get things and stuff. Yes, the bad guy was weak, unimportant, and not memorable, but so what. They took a big cue from The Avengers, and made a film that was fun, funny, action packed, and included a beginning, middle, and end. I only hated that it was so short.

8. X-Men: Days of Future Past 7.7/10 Solid. It's the best bits of the recent trilogy. It's the best Magneto. It's the best McAvoy. Quicksilver. Dinklage. And the action presented in the future scenes perfectly portrays the X-Men we imagine in a post-apocalyptic world. 

7. Iron Man   8/10  I never understood why you feel so strongly and positively about this film. I re-watched it. It's solid, and really solidly establishes the entire universe. I had far more fun with 2 and maybe even 3, but this is a far superior film.

6. Captain America: The First Avenger   8/10  Surprise motherf*cker! (that's a Dexter reference) Honestly, I can't even get through this now, but I remember what it meant then. I'm not a Captain America fan. This film made me care about him. They poked fun at him. He was a guy and not an Uncle Sam poster (except for when he clearly was, but that wasn't by choice). Most importantly, my female non-nerd friends thought this film was dope and not just because the Human Torch starred in it.

5. Spider-man 2 8/10 At the time, critics called it the best superhero film of all time. I didn't get it. On repeated viewings, I did. They did all the things, and with all the best performances. The train scene, support from civilians, the Christ-like sacrifice and posing--it's everything a superhero film should be. "He's just a kid."



4. X-Men: First Class 8.5/10 Comic book movies are often good . . . for comic book movies. But they should be more than that. Comic book fans deserve to see their stories win Oscars and receive praise from the most square critics. Other than the "new mutants'" mistake, this is that X-film. This is an actual effing movie--not just another superhero button masher. There are serious levels of character, story, and performance. Bryan Singer is not the God of X-Men movies; Fox should take a page from the MCU and diversify.

3. Captain America: Civil War 8.5/10 #TeamIronMan all day! This IS actually "Avengers 3: Civil War," but it doesn't lose points for that. Marvel Studios does an unbelievable job of adding characters, combining worlds, and progressing their universe. It's very well balanced. It loses points (and me) in some of the more verbose scenes. The dialogue wasn't too complex, just too much. The conflict was simple and obvious--show us more of that. Spider-man was flawless. Black Panther was more flawless. 

2.  Guardians of the Galaxy  9/10  People that don't include this in their top two also get punched in the face.  80s references "never go over my head" because "there ain't no thing like me but me" whore. The flick's fairly flawless. 

 
1.  The Avengers   10/10  Nailed it. THIS is what I want to feel every time I pay $50 for popcorn, soda, and Raisinets. What can I say that hasn't been said before? The most balanced movie I've ever seen, if you forget that Hawkeye is also sort of an Avenger. 

 
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