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4 articles


"Gem Glow" Is Only So Bright

28 March 2015 11:06 AM, PDT

Cartoon Network's Adult Swim has come to define its programming so much that it's hard to know where something like Steven Universe fits in. Though clearly meant for a different age group, it's still consistent with the channel's well-defined ironic nostalgia for the 1980s and affinity for Japanese animation, if not its anarchic spirit. The fact that its meant for children, however, puts Universe in kind of an odd position, forcing its characters into plotlines that cry out for some kind of subversion, without ever being able to deliver.

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- Anders Nelson

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Take A Swing At The "Mystery Pinata"

24 March 2015 6:47 PM, PDT

Clarence sure is a positive guy. The titular star of Clarence: Mystery Pinata, a new DVD set including 12-episodes of said show’s first season from Cartoon Network in addition to the short that launched the series, the plump little cartoon boy is a happy, friendly fellow looking to make friends and live in a world where everyone likes each other. There are no action explosions or fist-fights. Superman and the Justice League don’t make an appearance; it’s just innocent, albeit occasionally infantile, silly fun. Call it a throwback to a better time when kids thought “streaming” meant going to the creek out back.

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- Kyle North

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"Summer Of Blood" Has Some Bite

24 March 2015 6:20 PM, PDT

Let’s be forthright, here: Onur Tukel does not look like your typical Hollywood leading man. No wonder, then, that Summer of Blood is not your typical Hollywood vampire movie (though, now that vampires are sparkly and drive Volvos, who knows what is typical anymore). The fortysomething, pudgy, graying Turkish-American is repeatedly compared to Jerry Garcia throughout this indie horror-comedy, which he wrote, directed and stars in as hapless slacker Erik Sparrow.

Sparrow is, to put it mildly, not a winner. He spends most of his dead-end sales job hitting on his coworker Penelope (Dakota Goldhor) and masturbating in the bathroom, and he turns down a marriage proposal from his beautiful, ambitious girlfriend Jody (Anna Margaret Hollyman) because he is a commitmentphobe. When Jody gets fed up and finally leaves him, it looks like Erik’s lazy, lackluster life has finally dwindled to a standstill. That is, until he becomes a vampire. »

- Lee Jutton

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"Heartbreak Hotel" Neither Rocks Nor Rolls

24 March 2015 3:11 PM, PDT

Heartbreak Hotel advertises itself as a “rock and roll fantasy”; had it truly been that, it might have been something special. Most everything that happens in Hotel defies belief to some degree, but little of it truly feels fantastic. One can hardly blame Chris Columbus (in only his second film as director) for becoming enamored by the mythos of Elvis Presley, but his approach to king of rock and roll, like so many of them, feels minor compared to the man himself, and his legacy reduced to little more than a drawl and some cheesy catchphrases.

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- Anders Nelson

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