Pixar's The Good Dinosaur is an unusually sedate and uninspired entry in the studio's canon. Which is to say that your holiday weekend might be better spent sitting the children down in front of one of their more engaging outings. Upon the release of Pixar's 16th full-length feature, we're counting down its colorful titles, from worst to best.
“Face the Raven” is an episode that will be most remembered for its climax, which brings a tragic end to the adventures of Clara Oswald (Jenna Coleman) with the Doctor (Peter Capaldi). But along the way, new writer Sarah Dollard shows that she's a real find for the series, taking a mundane idea—the fake streets inserted by map makers into their products as copyright traps—and putting a very Doctor Who-ish spin on it, to come up with the idea of a Harry Potter-like secret world in the heart of London which acts as a refuge for a host of different aliens, hiding from the humans all around them. (There is a vague analogy to the current European refugee crisis, but unlike “The Zygon Invasion,” political references are very much in the background here.)
Heads up, indeed. Tonight's episode of The Walking Dead begins with a confirmation of almost everything you likely suspected about Glenn's fate. Hasn't every episode since “Thank You” constituted a form of advanced warning—a wink of sorts that one of the show's most beloved characters had yet to reach his sell-by date? This, at least, explains the anticlimactic tenor of the opening minutes. Yes, it's Nicolas's (Michael Traynor) corpse, after falling atop Glenn (Steven Yeun), from which a group of zombies pulls out a string of entrails. And, yes, it's in the ghoulishly agonizing heat of the moment that he inches backward and beneath the dumpster from which he fell.
No wonder Carrie (Claire Danes) trusts Allison (Miranda Otto). When they first met in Baghdad in 2005, Allison was a loyal servant of the U.S. government. She was jaded, like most Americans mired in the hopeless ideals of Operation Iraqi Freedom, but she was doing her best to cling to the rhetoric of locals like Judge Khalil (Makram J. Khoury), who naïvely insisted that “Success is possible if we don't give up.” But at one point, her aspirations didn't extend far beyond a vacation in St. Lucia, at a bar surrounded by gorgeous” men. No, it wasn't until she fell into a honeypot scheme involving her asset, Ahmed Nazari (Darwin Shaw), and his millions of embezzled dollars, that she became desperate enough to ally with the ambitious SVR Ivan (Mark Ivanir), who seemed to understand her deeper ambitions, and knew how to temper them with equal parts fear and opportunity.
Not every strategy game wants to be the next Starcraft or Crusader Kings, but you'd be forgiven for thinking so. In an era where the cooperative action of multiplayer online battle arenas dominates the cold tactics of their stylistic forebears, strategy developers face an onerous fork: to double down on the spheres of interlocking complexity that have come to define the genre, or cast away their hard-won layers of play trying to chase the MOBA dragon by adding mechanics that test a player’s reflexes rather than their tactical acumen. Still, after a few hours with Bit Shifter, a game that tries to wrap the genre's compelling micro-decisions into a lighter, more approachable package, the latter path may be more fraught than once thought.
Even if the at-times unbelievable density of The Knick's second season has felt thus far like no accident, it's a welcome change to see Steven Soderbergh digging his directorial heels deeper into fewer subplots in this week's “There Are Rules.” For the most part, the episode bounces back and forth between two narrative through lines: Dr. John Thackery (Clive Owen) investigating the possible medical benefits of hypnosis, only to become obsessed with a pair of conjoined Belarusian twins (Miranda and Rebecca Gruss), and Dr. Bertie Chickering (Michael Angarano) performing an after-hours, radiotherapy-assisted operation on his dying mother (Linda Emond) at Mount Sinai Hospital.
When writing about the box-office prospects for The Hunger Games: Catching Fire two years ago, I commended the film's producers for shucking a 3D conversion in favor of an exclusive 2D release and staying true to their original intentions by refusing to cash-in on of-the-moment trends. Big questions remain regarding 3D's longevity, but less so for the immediate future. In 2014, 12 of the year's 15 highest domestic grossing film's benefited from a 3D release, with American Sniper, The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1, and 22 Jump Street being the only titles to make the ranks without it. This year has seen similar results.
The intelligence and emotional depth that Richard Thomas brings to his stage performances was evident as early as his breakout role as John-Boy Walton on the long-running CBS drama The Waltons. The Emmy-winning actor has had his fair share of notable television appearances, most recently as FBI supervisor Frank Gaad on The Americans, but over the course of his career, he's also made a name for himself on the stage with a series of challenging roles. Currently he leads a sterling ensemble cast in the Signature Theatre's off-Broadway revival of Incident at Vichy, which Arthur Miller once explained was based on a story that was related to him by a psychoanalyst. In the one-act drama, which premiered 50 years ago on Broadway, nine men and a boy are rounded up in 1942 Vichy, France under suspicious circumstances and left to ponder their ultimate fate. Thomas plays Prince Von Berg, an Austrian aristocrat who's one of the detainees. We sat down with the 64-year-old actor, along with director Michael Wilson, to talk about the current production of this lesser-known work by the great Arthur Miller.
It takes a certain amount of chutzpah for the opening line of a Doctor Who episode to be an emphatic “You must not watch this,” addressed directly to the audience. “Sleep No More” is a very odd and experimental entry written by Mark Gatiss, who last year contributed the light and frothy “Robot of Sherwood,” as great a contrast to this as could be imagined. With a nightmarish threat extrapolated from our mundane, everyday experience (in this case, the “sleep dust” we wipe from our eyes every morning when we wake up), he's aiming here for the sort of effect more associated with the episodes penned by showrunner Steven Moffat. However, as the first truly standalone episode this season, it can't help but feel rather insubstantial after the previous weightier tales, even before a surprise ending reveals the whole thing to be one big shaggy-dog story.
If, by the time you got to the midway point of tonight's episode of The Walking Dead, you came to the realization that, no, oh God, no, we would not, as I speculated last week, get to see what happened to Glenn Rhee, you'd be forgiven for throwing your hands up in the air, even bailing on the series. If you did, then you missed yet another spotty spectacle of narrative table-setting that happened to be capped by a gesture of cold comfort: As Daryl (Norman Reedus), Sasha (Sonequa Martin), and Abraham (Michael Cudlitz) drive back toward Alexandria, Daryl attempts to check in with Rick, with anyone, on his walkie takie, from which a voice weakly echoes out: “Help.”