How to Build a Better Boy (2014)

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Disney seems to be having a good time mining the eighties lately with their original movies. First we had “Zapped!” which took the title from the raunchy eighties comedy along with a variation of the plot from “Love Potion No. 9,” while “How to…” is really just “Weird Science 3.0.” Except this time its PG rated, and much more based around feminism than misogyny. And rather than building on the entire “Frankenstein” idea, the writers set their sights on the US government surveillance and their plans to build a top secret robot that can infiltrate any setting.

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Away (2014)

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Director Damien Colboc’s short animated film is a bittersweet tale of how far we’re willing to go for our loved ones. Though there’s no dialogue and not a lot of set up, “Away” pretty much sets up the exposition through actions and sights. There’s also a lot of ambiguity that the viewer is capable of putting together by the time the film comes to a sad close.

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Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: “The Invasion” Episode Review

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Truth be told, I’m kind of glad that Michael Bay’s horrific TMNT movie did so well, because that means Nickelodeon will continue their superior animated series. And thank goodness for that because the show hasn’t been this great since it began. And “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles” is usually an excellent show. But their season two finale was top notch. It was exciting, emotional, and absolutely surprising. If you’re still wounded by Michael Bay’s god awful treatment of this property, then go check out the Nickelodeon revival from the beginning. This is the show fans deserve. In either case, “The Invasion” is where it all comes full circle. Lives are put on the line and there’s a very excellent series of nods to the original film.

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Envoy (2014)

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For now, David Weinstein’s “Envoy” is really just “Iron Giant” meets “Predator,” but I think with a wider scope and feature length, “Envoy” could be so much more. The short film from director Weinstein acts simultaneously as a spec film for a more fully realized follow-up and I’m anxious to see where he takes this premise. “Envoy” feels like Weinstein took Spielberg, “Iron Giant,” and The Zeta Project for one really good, but menacing science fiction adventure.

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Monday Movie Pause: It’s better to be a loser than a spectator.

We’ve been watching “Garfunkel and Oates” on the IFC Channel since it began, and it’s become a new favorite. It’s a funny, light hearted, and catchy series about the comedy musical duo of Riki Lindhome and Kate Micucci, as they try to win the day with positivity and turning to one another for help. It’s a lot funnier and raunchy than we’re making it sound, trust me.

In either case, here’s the great song that closed out season one of “Garfunkel and Oates.” It has a fine message about the merits of being a loser. Here’s hoping “Garfunkel and Oates” gets renewed. There’s nothing wrong with more Kate Micucci.

The Slave (1969) (Blu-ray/DVD)

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It’s really tough to approach “The Slave” (also known as “Check To The Queen”) on a level where you would an average film. By all respects, Pasquale Festa Campanile’s drama is a unique and surreal drama based around a sadist-masochist relationship. For a long time I’d all but been convinced that “Secretary” was as good as film of this ilk got, but “The Slave” comes close to conquering this small sub-genre well. Pasquale Festa Campanile’s film is solely based around a young girl whose own lust for pain and humiliation is rivaled by her unusual obsession with her vanity.

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Any Given Sunday (1999) 15th Anniversary Director’s Cut [Blu-ray]

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Oliver Stone’s “Any Given Sunday” is a film that literally anyone can watch. Because while it’s certainly a sport films centered on the industry of football, its central themes are relatable to anyone. While on the surface it’s about business and athletes, and competing, mainly “Any Given Sunday” is about a group of people trying desperately to out run the clock of time, and gain some sense of security for their future before father time catches up on them. When we meet these people in the narrative, many of them are at the beginning of their short careers trying to build a future, while others find their windows of opportunity closing and desperately cling to any chance to secure their future for themselves and their family. Stone composes a very richly defined ensemble drama about the football industry and how demanding it is both as an arena for skilled athletes, and athletes anxiously trying to bank on the momentum of their popularity, as fleeting it may be.

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Similo (2014)

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In a dying world how far would you go to keep the environment you loved? And more importantly, in a world where you’ve lost the only person you’ve loved, can you ever really get them back? Is it worth trying to pretend you’re still where you were decades ago, or isn’t it just easier to let go and accept your fate? “Similo” is a brilliant and beautifully directed science fiction short that uses the world our character Heve lives in as an allegory for the relationship she lost a long time ago.

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“The Flash” Season One, Episode One: City of Heroes Review

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It’s great to see DC and Warner bros. finally giving The Flash his due after so many years in limbo. “The Flash” has always been a wonderful character from the DC universe that was way too science fiction based to ever become a respectable series or movie, so for years fans had nothing. Surely John Wesley Shippe’s “The Flash” was a solid adaptation, but beyond that, it was merely table scraps. “The Flash” fully realizes what an amazing character the titular speedster is and completely sets up nothing but storylines and sub-plots in the pilot, while also telling a great origin tale of how a scientist became the fastest man alive.

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Our Top Five “Spaced” Episodes

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If you haven’t seen “Spaced,” the odds are you’re missing out on the final puzzle that will cement you as a fan of Simon Pegg, Nick Frost, or Edgar Wright. The UK series was a massive hit for two seasons, and fifteen years later it still has a major following today. Many of the series’ stars went on to huge things in America and their home countries, including Simon Pegg, series director Edgar Wright, Nick Frost, and Jessica Hynes.

Fifteen years later, the show is still fresh, hilarious, and worth the hooplah it garnered when it finally arrived to the US a few years ago. It’s never too late to explore “Spaced,” so here are five essential episodes you should look out for while coasting through its fourteen episode run.

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