I was a big enough fan of writer/director Mike Mills‘ 2011 film Beginners to include it on my best of the year list. In his first film since Beginners, Mills reuses themes of nostalgia and the awkwardness of life along with some of the same structure (including inter-cut stills and narration to frame a time and place), but although 20th Century Women features a strong cast it lacks the intimacy and magic of his previous movie.
An assassination attempt on Director Mace (Jason O’Mara) leads to the Director, Coulson (Clark Gregg), and Mack (Henry Simmons) being cut-off by the rest of the team and hunted by former Hydra agents. The return of (a well-funded but even less impressive version of) Hydra feels like a bit of a step back for the show. However, the episodes does include one important twist which will shake up the S.H.I.E.L.D. hierarchy and return Coulson to his rightful spot in calling the shots. As for Mace, even if his abilities were cooked-up in a lab, the man knows how to frame and sell a story. It doesn’t look like the public face of S.H.I.E.L.D. is going anywhere anytime soon.
Although I’ve kept up with Buffy the Vampire Slayer in comics I can’t say the same for its spin-off (which probably has something to do with most of its best characters getting killed off). Picking up an Angel comic for the first time in a couple of years I was met by a pleasant surprise. My favorite Angel/Buffy supporting character is back. Okay, you’ve got my attention.
After Lucifer (Tom Ellis) and Detective Decker‘s (Lauren German) first attempt to share a moment is interrupted by one of the Devil’s fuckbuddies, a stewardess (Jennifer Cheon) who later turns up dead, Chloe begins to quickly reconsider falling for Lucifer. When not one but two murders turn out to be both former lovers, and leads to the discovery of Lucifer’s extremely stalkerish #1 fan (Diana Bang), things get even icy between the pair which culminates in a police interrogation of all of Lucifer’s recent affairs. The show brilliantly turns the scene from he litany of lovely ladies praising Lucifer’s skill in the sack (as Lucifer proudly prances about) to cutting out his legs from underneath him when admitting their was no emotional connection at all.
The series’ opening arc “Dark Trinity” comes to a close as Red Hood and Artemis work together to stop Black Mask and break his control over Bizarro. This new Rebirth version of Jason Todd continues to walk the edge of the anti-hero line without falling any further. By the end of the issue, even Batman is impressed with what he accomplished (even if it does take a major Bat-villain off the board for the foreseeable future). Jason keeps his work to the Dark Knight, although he has to rely on the questionable logic of Batman Begins to do so where choosing inaction apparently isn’t a choice.
Relying a common comic book device, Jessica Jones #4 offers a twist to Jessica Jones‘ downward spiral (and explains why the circumstances which caused it haven’t been discussed until now). It seems that Jessica didn’t actually have some kind of breakdown, freak-out, or blow-up. Instead she’s spent the past few months undercover for Carol Danvers in hopes of uncovering a secret network of people who hate super-heroes to an extreme degree.