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Everything Old is New Again: How Detective Pikachu Draws From The Rich Lore of the Pokémon Universe

By Fionn Keeley

Detective Pikachu (or more properly, Pokémon: Detective Pikachu) is something of a milestone for the Pokémon franchise. It’s the first live-action adaptation to ever hit the big screen, and is almost certainly set to become a jumping-off point for several more such films. Adapting a setting as sprawling as that of Pokémon for live-action cinema is a difficult task, but Detective Pikachu succeeds quite nicely, managing to establish its own world while comfortably dodging the infamous Video Game Movie Curse. Along the way, it manages to fit in a whole bunch of call-backs to iconic – and sometimes not-so-iconic – elements of Pokémon history. How many is “a whole bunch”, you ask? Enough that it’s pretty much impossible to catch ‘em all, so we’re just going to focus on a few of the more plot-relevant ones here.

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Review: Avengers Endgame

By Mark Laherty

This review will contain mild spoilers, especially for the first hour of the film. This is because I can’t talk about a film if I leave out every important part.

Nowadays, most reviews of superhero movies begin with some preamble about the genre’s global domination, Avengers fatigue, and the regrettable state of the American film industry, especially where Disney is involved. All that stuff is true and especially difficult to ignore in this parade of IPs, but let’s be fair and try to think about Endgame in a what-is-this-trying-to-do kind of way.

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Review: Amy Schumer Growing

By Mark Laherty

Schumer’s fourth stand-up special sees her in her usual mode: crass sex jokes. So, while the success of comedy always comes down to the spectator’s personal taste and what kind of a day you just had, it’s especially the case here. If I write that Schumer is funny, there’s the off-chance that some shmuck is going to accuse me of ‘virtue signalling.’ If I write that she isn’t, I could get lumped in with those same shmucks – and who wants that?

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Review: Us (2019)

By Mark Laherty

Holy shit!

A great film mostly sustained by a string of rock-solid action sequences that make up the second act. Comparisons to Get Out are tempting, unfair, but unavoidable. After all, the biggest reason that lots of people are interested in this film is that this is Jordan Peele’s second stint as a director where the first was an excellent satire of racism released, with almost supernaturally good timing, in the interim between election day and Trump’s swearing-in. Get Out heralded the arrival of a new dark age of the West. Everyone wanted to see what Peele did next. So, what did he do next? Is it about race?

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Carmen Sandiego review: Crime School of Thought

By Barry Neenan

And so we close out my (at time of writing) trilogy of reviews of Netflix cartoons starring spirited young women. After finishing She-Ra, I was honestly surprised to find many structural similarities to it in the new Carmen Sandiego reboot. The trailers had already informed me that Carmen had been given a moral makeover, placing her more firmly in the ‘spirited’ camp. But young, too? The Carmen I grew up was definitely an adult. Here, she’s barely out of Crime School.

…Yyyyyeah. Remember how I said your enjoyment of She-Ra would come down to how well you could process the words “queen of the princesses”? The analogue here is undoubtedly “Crime School”. Read more

She-Ra Review: Princess to Impress

By Barry Neenan

Thank god for Netflix. For a while there, I was running dangerously low on animated shows starring spirited young women, but the studios within the Netflix empire have been working tirelessly to ensure I’m never bereft. A few months back we had Hilda, I’m currently watching Carmen Sandiego, and I’ve just now caught up on She-Ra and the Princesses of Power.

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The 12 Angry Martians Who Dumped Me

By Barry Neenan

For all my blustering about pop culture, I’m actually pretty bad at watching movies. Because of my watching habits, I’m not really one to just sit down and watch random-ass films I haven’t already researched. I’m more of a Watch The Same Movie Three Times kind of guy, god help me. So it’s always a welcome change of pace when I get to switch things up – like when I’m trapped on trans-Atlantic flights.

On my recent trip to see my girlfriend, I ended up watching three films. Here are quick thoughts on all three.

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Steven Reviewniverse: ‘Change Your Mind’

By Mark Laherty

In her well-known essay about the alleged genre of hopepunk, Alexandra Rowland compares it to the genre of ‘noblebright,’ which she says is “about goodness and truth and vanquishing evil forever, about a core of goodness in humanity… in noblebright, when we overthrow the dark lord the world is saved and our work is done. Equilibrium and serenity return to the land.” But in the real world, she continues, “There’s no such thing as winning forever. Evil cannot be vanquished, only beaten back for a day or two, and then it trickles back in, like water seeping through the cracks in a dam.”

So. Steven Universe.

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