‘Just Mercy’ – The Opposite of Poverty

There are moments in the courtroom drama Just Mercy that resonate deeply not for how loud and abrasive they are, but in its quiet depiction of how racism shapes expectation and human behavior. When Johnny D comes upon a fateful police blockade and knows to place open palms on the steering wheel, or when attorney Bryan Stevenson is unlawfully pulled over, the approaching patrolman already brandishing his sidearm. Both Johnny D and Mr. Stevenson are subjected to such treatment for no reason other than they’re Black. They have no choice but to comply; they endure. Continue reading

‘Doom Eternal’ Review: Paradise Found

If there’s one thing I feel more acutely these days, it’s rage. Rage at my current unemployed self— towards crises beyond my control, to a certain person in the White House, to dipshits waiving guns and “liberate” banners in front of barbershops and Baskin Robbins. It’s rage every day, all the time. If Doom 2016 was a replenishing demon-run day at the spa, then Doom Eternal is the ultra-violent purge for our stir-crazy souls at this confusing and downright infuriating moment in time. Continue reading

A Special ‘Parks and Recreation’ Treat (Yo Self)

I was smiling as soon as Leslie Knope’s face lit up my TV screen. Heck, I was smiling as soon as the show’s quirky title sequence livened up my living room – both things I never thought I’d experience again following the end of Parks and Recreation’s original run. The Pawnee Parks Department is back to assuage our stay-at-home blues with a greatest hits run of iconic bits and recurring show motifs— along with some quarantine jabs thrown in for good measure. Sure, the episode lacks the polish of a usual production and is missing the surefire energy of an in-room ensemble, but this Coronavirus relief special is nonetheless a momentous reunion delivered at the right place and right time. Continue reading

‘Extraction’ Review – A Fun and Forgettable Netflix Actioner

At one point in Extraction, Chris Hemsworth presses a dude’s face into an upturned rake. Hemsworth should’ve capitalized on the moment like the most glorious of all character introductions, stating coolly: “Rake. The name’s Tyler… Rake.” Extraction is the kind of B-movie actioner tailor-made for our current stay-at-home viewing impulses, and a particular kind of Marvel-actor brand slowly carving out a genre space in Netflix’s domain. Some of us might crave something with a little more substance, but in the listless routine of our quarantine days, a quick adrenaline fix can go a long way. Continue reading

Can ‘The Outsider’ Stick The Landing?

I have been watching HBO’s The Outsider with cautious optimism. Because while the series is gloriously dark, moody, often chilling, and garnering praise as 2020’s first great TV show, frankly we’ve been here before. Last year’s True Detective Season 3 kicked off 2019 to a similarly strong start before it went out with a solid, if otherwise slow conclusion. The Outsider has nothing to prove as a debut miniseries boasting impressive viewership. But with one episode left in the chamber, can The Outsider succeed where True Detective S3 did not? (Light spoilers below.) Continue reading