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The Shelf: THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN 2, PARKS & REC, BOARDWALK EMPIRE

With the fall approaching quickly and the return of network television programs as nigh as can be, everybody’s releasing their previous seasons on DVD and Blu-ray so you can catch up before the newness begins. Also out this week, a couple of indie horror flicks, and a big, dumb pile of spandex and webbing. Let’s start with that unpleasantness.

The Amazing Spider-Man 2

What a mess this movie is. Turning in a lot of the dour po-facedness of the first film, The Amazing Spider-Man 2 went with a much more fun and comic-booky tone. So that was a plus. The downside is there was so much crammed in here that they didn’t know what to do with it, from forcing Green Goblin to speeding up the storyline with Gwen Stacy (Emma Stone)  to the point of ludicrousness. I enjoyed watching this movie a whole lot more than the first one, but it didn’t mean it was any good, really. Very dumb. Electro, as many people have said, was pretty much just the Riddler from Batman Forever but with superpowers. And, of course, all this movie really is is a stepping stone to get stuff set up for the expanded cinematic franchise Sony wants in order to make a shit-zillion dollars. TASM2 made money, but not as much as people hoped. Maybe that’ll tell them something.

To read my full review, from back in May when I was less angry, click here.

Parks and Recreation Season 6

I don’t think I’m lying when I say NBC’s Parks and Recreation is my favorite comedy on TV and has been since about Season 3. All of the characters are hilarious and well-drawn, even if they’re a bit pigeon-holed a lot of the time. The sixth season gave each of them time to shine and, with the leaving of Ann (Rashida Jones) and Chris (Rob Lowe), that meant Retta and Jim O’Heir could step up and finally become opening-credits cast members. They’re great. Favorite addition this year has to be Billy Eichner as the always dramatic Craig from the Eagleton parks department. He’s one of the few Eagleton characters who stuck around after the merger and I’m always glad when he comes in and pouts or yells at people. It’s just a delight. If the series had decided to end after this year, it would have been fitting, but it looks like we’re getting one more year. Never bad to have more Ron Swanson in your life.

Boardwalk Empire Season 4

The penultimate season of HBO’s period drama about crime and corruption in Atlantic City during Prohibition. It continues the trials and tribulations of Nucky Thompson (Steve Buscemi) and his dealings with gangsters like Al Capone, Meyer Lansky, and Charlie Luciano. Also in the series again is Richard Harrow (Jack Huston), a terrifying murderer with half a face who wears and even more terrifying half mask. He’s also the best.

The Mindy Project Season 2

I don’t watch this show, but many people I know do and think it’s funny.

Once Upon a Time Season 3

I also don’t watch this show, but many people like it also. Though not for being funny, I guess.

Only Lovers Left Alive

A vampire movie as only Jim Jarmusch could make it, this film features Tom Hiddleston and Tilda Swinton as undead people in a longterm (centuries, actually) relationship, now reflecting on their years while existing in Detroit. John Hurt also stars as an undead Christopher Marlowe, the Elizabethan playwright who is also a vampire now.

Click here to read our full review of Only Lovers Left Alive

The Quiet Ones

An old school, throwback ghost story, fittingly made by the newly revived Hammer Films, the film follows the great Jared Harris as a university professor who attempts to manifest a supernatural occurrence that he believes already exists in the human mind, and is therefore curable. It’s loosely based on the Philip experiment which took place in Toronto in 1972.

To read our full review of The Quiet Ones, click here sooner rather than later.

Leviathan

Hey, so you know the movie Alien? And its sequel Aliens? And John Carpenter’s The Thing? And, you know the ocean? This movie is all of that starring RoboCop and Winston Zeddemore with Marv and Richard Crenna in it also.

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