Photo: IMDB

Red Sparrow: A Spy Thriller, Without The Thrills

The film, Red Sparrow, capitalizes on America’s renewed Russo-phobia. Central to the film is the fact that many in the west believe we won the Cold War, while many in Russia believe the Cold War never ended. While I agree with the sentiment completely, I do feel that the film simplifies decades of U.S. -Russian international relations into terms which can easily be digested by those who pre-November 2016, could scarcely find Russia on the map. While simplified it is does introduce to the masses three monumental facts of national security: (1) there are more Russian spies in the United States now than during the height of the Cold War, (2) Russian intelligence collection programs are built around long-term goals, and (3) the Cold War never ended, despite the fact that too many westerns believe it did.



Fifty Shades Freed – Top 5 Fake Spoilers

No other film series has so successfully adapted pulp erotica into gold-plated pornography and come next February it’ll be time for another installment. To tide you over until the actual movie comes out, check out these fake spoilers.

5 - This is what happens when you hire a Dexter writer to punch up the script.
#5 – This is what happens when you hire a Dexter writer to punch up the script.

4 - Anastasia and Christian are happy they eventually decided to have a traditional wedding ceremony.
#4 – Anastasia and Christian are happy they decided to have a traditional wedding ceremony.



Victoria & Abdul – Top 5 Fake Spoilers

20 years after Mrs. Brown, Dame Judi’s back in Victorian era wardrobe as… Queen Victoria. Audiences have been positively clamoring for Judi to reprise her role as the 19th century’s most famous baby factory so fair warning: FAKE SPOILERS BELOW!

5 - You've heard of actors sleepwalking through a part? Well, watch Judi Dench sleepsit through this one!
5 – You’ve heard of actors sleepwalking through a part? Well, watch Judi Dench sleep-sit through this one!

4 - Ms. Dench forgot to get the okay from the Weinstein Brothers before making a period piece about a British monarch so they sent a dead fish to the set.
4 – Ms. Dench forgot to get the okay from the Weinstein Brothers before making another period piece about a British monarch so they sent a dead fish to the set.

3 - Hungry for action? Just wait for the scene of butlers and maids practicing their bowing to an empty chair!
3 – Worried that a historical drama won’t have enough suspense? Just wait for the scene where the help practices bowing to an empty chair!



Logan’s Travels with Charley (and Wolver-tween): Yes, No, Maybe

(Spoilers? Just some mild ones, bub.)

Yes, it’s good to see Wolverine in action again. Pairing him with a mini-me (or mini-him… er, actually a female mini-him) smelled like a big fat gimmick upon first glance (or whiff) but Wolver-tween is interesting, entertaining… and jarring. Seeing her decapitate an enemy was oddly refreshing. Why?


Meeting the Doctors

Doctor Who fans are getting ready to meet the latest incarnation of the ancient alien who travels through all of space and time in a blue box that’s bigger on the inside.

A clever plot device has helped keep the BBC series on the air for so many years. Whenever the Doctor dies, he regenerates into a new body and picks up life right where he left off—with some new personality quirks and different taste in clothing, but his core characteristics and memory remain more or less intact.

That’s certainly one way to keep things fresh.

Unlike James Bond, Doctor Who has a valid in-story reason for why 11 (and now 12) different actors have taken on the title role over the past 50 years.

Peter Capaldi will star in his first full episode Aug. 23, and Whovians will get to meet the Doctor all over again. A season premiere is that much more exciting when it basically doubles as a series premiere of sorts, too.

So, let’s take a quick look back in time at the introductions of the previous three “modern” Doctors (since the series returned to television in 2005).

Christopher Eccleston

9Christopher Eccleston took over the role in the 2005 pilot “Rose.” So yes, he didn’t just take over the role—he resurrected it for a whole new generation. If he had flopped, Entertainment Weekly would have had significantly fewer Doctor Who articles over the past several years.

Just a little bit of pressure then.

“Rose” had a lot to do, and thankfully, it didn’t try to do everything. No talk of far-flung concepts like Time Lords or regenerations (though Eccleston’s Doctor takes a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it glance in a mirror to check out what his face looks like these days). This is a straightforward adventure told from the point of view of a normal 19-year-old Earth girl, Rose (Billie Piper). Through her, we gradually learn about this strange man and become intrigued by him.

It’s not perfect. The episode is rather cheesy in places. (How does Rose not notice her boyfriend isn’t quite himself?) But it’s fun and establishes Eccleston’s Doctor as a man you’d want protecting the world.

Christopher Tennant
David Tennant

10 – Fans had grown accustomed to traveling with Christopher Eccelston for one whole season…and then he became David Tennant.

Longtime Who fans were used to their hero regenerating ever since the original Doctor, William Hartnell, morphed into Patrick Troughton into the 1960s. But the newcomers still needed someone to convince them that the Doctor was worth following no matter who was playing the role.

Tennant’s first full episode was “The Christmas Invasion” at the end of 2005. This new Who universe was already established, as was his companion Rose and her supporting cast. It just had to establish Tennant’s Doctor.

So, naturally, he spends much of the episode in a regeneration-induced coma, not fully emerging until the grand finale.

And it’s brilliant. We watch Rose wrestle with the idea of her dear friend suddenly becoming a new person, mirroring the concerns some viewers may have had. We’re left in suspense as mankind struggles to deal with a visit from not-so-benevolent aliens while the Doctor sleeps. When he finally does make his big entrance, it’s well worth the wait, and we’re assured that, yes, this is the Doctor, even though it’s not exactly the same Doctor.

Matt Smith
Matt Smith

11 – Tennant wound up being such a beloved Doctor that whoever came next would need to prove himself very quickly. And Matt Smith does just that in “The Eleventh Hour” in 2011.

This episode is basically a re-pilot. Not only do we have a new Doctor, but we have a new companion (Amy Pond, played by Karen Gillan), and a new showrunner (Steven Moffat, taking over for Russell T Davies).

A fast-paced adventure builds up to this moment, in which the new Doctor talks down an alien invader while figuring out his wardrobe.


His monologue and the flashing images show us that there’s continuity between what’s gone on before and where we’re going from here. We even get quick glimpses of the previous 10 Doctors in rapid succession, until Smith’s Doctor steps through, appearing in his soon-to-be-trademarked outfit for the first time, all while composer Murray Gold’s new “The Doctor is about to do something awesome” score plays.

And we’re sold. Matt Smith is the Doctor.

At least, he was until last Christmas.

Modern Who is three-for-three when it comes to successful introductions of new Doctors. Hopefully, Capaldi’s premiere will continue the trend.