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Archive for October, 2012|Monthly archive page

Michael Fassbender Should be (A)Shame(d)

In Movies on October 30, 2012 at 9:37 pm

Alright, he shouldn’t be ashamed! This movie was excellent, a little slow-paced at times, it’s an indie film what do you expect, but the shots are incredible. This movie was directed by Steve McQueen and  stars Michael Fassbender, as Brandon, who is a sex addict. Now let me just say, this isn’t Charlie Sheen, Tiger Woods, “I am acknowledging my problem now because I want attention or I got caught” sex addiction. This is a need for stimulation nearly constantly. At work, home, out at a club. Brandon is doing moderately well managing his addiction when his sister, Sissy, played by Carey Mulligan arrives to crash at Brandon’s place for a few days to stir up drama that it appears Brandon has been keeping at bay. Sissy’s presence especially effects Brandon when she sleeps with his boss, David, played by James Badge Dale, and does it in Brandon’s bed. YUCK. The film shows some unusual and uncomfortable scenes between Brandon and Sissy appearing to hint at the cause of his problems perhaps while also showing the profound effects the Brandon’s addiction has upon him.

Now, before I get to the nitty-gritty, I truly believe that people can have a sexual and I have done my research on this problem for a term paper for my senior psychology class at Ithaca College. The problem is, sexual addiction does not have an extremely valid definition. While doing research, I created a diagnostical definition of sexual addiction defining it as when the sexual need arises it has a profound affect on other aspects of an individual’s life. For example, if an individual is very wealthy and simply has a lot of sex with a lot of different people. cough cough Charlie Sheen, that does not make them a sex addict. It means they have the time and the money to have a lot of sex. If however, that same individual could no longer afford to have as much sex as they have been having and this is suddenly taken away from them, and the need to have sex is overwhelming, then yes they may have an addiction. In “Shame” Brandon truly is an addict. It affects his personal life, his ability to make relationships with other people, and his work life.

Alright before I get into the nitty-gritty here, I truly liked this movie. It was well acted, authentic, and had some great shots. I think you should take a look if you got the time and are interested in seeing Matthew Fassbender in a very unusual role.

Okay, SPOILER ALERTS!

I loved witnessing the profound effects that his sexual addiction had on him and I thought it was realistic. The threesome, the gay bar, the consumption of porn at work and at home. I just thought it was incredible.

I also liked the facial expressions that he made while participating in the threesome. That may sound unusual, but once you see this movie and see his tragic expressions during sex, it appeared as though only him and the viewer were able to view his face, then you will know how much his addiction effected him and how great of an actor Fassbender is.

I also like the date between Marianne,  played by Nicole Beharie, and Brandon. It seemed real, the lines, the flow, the body language. It seemed truly like an awkward first date. Hats off to both Fassbender and Beharie for making it seem like that camera wasn’t even there.

Was there anything I didn’t like about this movie? Some of the shots were a bit long but not abnormally long. It was a bit slow-paced at times, but every bit of this movie held meaning. I loved it. And you should watch it.

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Where did Argo? Ar went to Iran to Rescue Six Americans During the Iranian Hostage Crisis

In Movies on October 22, 2012 at 10:39 am

Argo tells the untold story of Tony Mendez, played by Ben Affleck who also directed this picture, who went into Iran during a period of time when Americans were sought out and hang and rescued Bob Anders, played by Tate Donovan, Cora Lijek, played by Clea DuVall, Joe Stafford, played by Scoot McNairy, Lee Schatz, played by Rory Cochrane, Mark Lijek, played by Christopher Denham, and Kathy Stafford, played by Kerry Bishe. These six individuals were working in the American embassy in Iran when the embassy was overrun and many of the individuals that remained were taken hostage. These six individuals needed to be rescued because they were no longer safe staying at the Canadian ambassador’s, Ken Taylor played by Victor Garber, due to the increased security in Iran and the Iranians had intelligence that told them that six individuals were missing from the embassy. In order to get these
“House guests” out, the State department had decided that they were either going to give them bicycles and have them ride from Tehran to Turkey or give them covers as Canadian teachers, or Canadian farmers who were looking to better Iran. These three options all had major holes; it was 300 miles to the Turkey, all the Canadian teachers had already left, and it was snowing in Iran so no farmers would be investigating growing options within Iran. Tony Mendez had another option and enlisted the help of Jack O’Donnell, his boss, played by Bryan Cranston who does so well within whatever role he is given, John Chambers, a Hollywood make-up artist, played by John Goodman, and Lester Siegel a big shot Hollywood director, played so damn well by Alan Arkin. Menedez’s idea is to create a fake production and give the six individuals covers as a  Canadian move crew who is looking for locations to film the science fiction action flick “Argo”. Their ideal location is the Middle East where there is plenty of exotic individuals and desert, or in other words Iran.

Phew, that was one hell of a plot summary. First off, this movie was great. It was suspenseful and included some phenomenal performances. Alan Arkin as Lester Siegel, unforgettable. All of his lines appeared to be authentic as if he truly was the character. He just became the crotchety old-time director who was going to get things done and lie if he had to. Heck, its Hollywood, everyone lies. Bryan Cranston also did a great job in this movie and I could see him channeling some of his inner Walter White during certain interactions he had when time was of the essence. Another individual who was worth mentioning was Scoot McNairy. He was one of the individuals who did not trust Mendez but in the end came to respect Mendez and even take certain actions that helped ensure the safety of the entire group.

This movie was fast paced and dramatic without being too much of either. There was no bullets flying or any love interest between Mendez and one of the six. It was true to form and very well done. Several people, including my girlfriend, were nail-biting and on the edge of their seat for the last half an hour of the film. But like I said before, it wasn’t like these individuals were being held above a pit of lava or firing off rounds as they ran across the runway, it was realistically suspenseful.

The only problem that I had with this movie, was that Ben Affleck was playing a Latino character whose picture you can see here. The casting for this movie was incredible and before credits roll you see the actual photos of the six individuals who were rescued as well as John Chambers and a few other higher-ups within the intelligence sector. Casting did an amazing job within this film to find actors who fit the bill and I wish Affleck took a step back and allowed casting to find that best actor to play Mendez. That’s not to say Affleck wasn’t good. He was, he played the brooding intelligent Mendez quite well but when a picture was shown of Mendez at the end of the film, it was shown so quickly that it appeared as though Affleck realized his mistake in allowing himself to play Mendez and not a Latino individual.

All in all, this movie was great and I think a contender for Best Cinematography and Best Adapted Screenplay. So go ahead and see it. You’ll love it.

Dune was DOOMED!

In Books on October 17, 2012 at 11:13 am

After burning through books like it was my job! I turned to Dune because it was deemed a science fiction classic and won the first Nebula award which is only given to the best science fiction books of that year, so one would think that it was a great book. Sidenote, after googling Nebula Award, I found a picture of the actual award and it looks awful. It looks like a dead eyeless octopus. But I digress! Dune was indeed a great book! I was hooked from the get go and felt that it was a science fiction version of Game of Thrones which I would classify as more fantasy then science fiction. It had the political intrigue, the fight scenes, and the awesome landscape. The problem that I had with Dune is that the author, Frank Herbert, kept on writing them. But before I get into that, let me offer a brief synopsis.

Dune takes place in the future on planet Arrakis which is nearly completely sand and has huge worms that eat people and produces this spice known as melange which allows people to see the future and extend their life. The reader comes into this world when there is a form of upheaval and House Atreides is being moved from Caladan to Arrakis. Duke Leto Attreides is unhappy about this move and suspects a plot to destroy him and his family which includes his wife Jessica, who is from the school of Bene Gesserit which teaches individuals how to think logically and conceal their reactions and their son Paul Atreides who is the protagonist and hero of this story. He has been trained as a Mentat, which is a male version of the Bene Gesserit, and learns the ways of Dune which involve wearing a still-suit, because moisture is so valuable that even your sweat is reused and how the dead’s water is sucked right from them.

Sounds pretty sweet right? Given that this novel was published in the 60s it makes it even more awesome because Herbert truly created this fantastical world when people did not have the knowledge that we have today regarding space and such. Like I said, I loved the first book but the book is one in a series of 6 and I read the second book, Dune Messiah, and I got about 30 pages into the third book before stopping. Now I don’t usually stop reading books unless they are awful and this book series was disappointing. It was like Game of Thrones if Game of Thrones utilized the same storyline with different characters.

I’ll delve into the book a wee bit more for a more informational review, so I warn you, SPOILERS!

So, in the first book, the reader sees Paul as the protagonist and hero. Similiar to Luke Skywalker we see and individual who rises up and begins to understand the power that they hold within the universe. Awesome, I love it! The second book, all of a sudden this person is bad and hated within the universe. Wait a second Herbert, no one hates Skywalker, why after showing the reading how awesome this person is you make us hate him now. Okay, so then he kills that character off, BOO, and then in the third book the reader follows the Paul’s twins who believe that their aunt, Paul’s sister Alia, is evil. Wait a second, where is all this flip flopping coming from. Alia was awesome in the first book and now she’s evil and possessed. I know people can change but sweet Jesus don’t make us love one character and hate them a book later.

Also the first book was intriguing and included some great fight scenes the second and third book, in the beginning and least, were slow and focused on the prescient ability that some people have when they use the melange. It was confusing to read about and extremely boring. I love political intrigue but not 200 pages of backdoor dealings and double crossing. I like some action intermixed with that and the first Dune book lead me to believe that this series would include some action along with trickery, but alas it did not.

So, in conclusion, read the first Dune book but for your own sake stop after the first one. The others just involve the same plot with different characters.

See “For Pete’s Sake” for Pete’s sake!

In Plays/Broadway Shows on October 15, 2012 at 9:50 am

A few nights ago my friend and I ventured down to check out an Off-Off Broadway show. What the heck are those you might ask? Well they are like Broadway shows except they are hella cheaper and a lot more intimate.  So we went to go see “For Pete’s Sake” which is about, stars, and is written by Joe Capozzi who comes to terms with the abuse he felt at the hands of Father Pete. In the play the audience views the inner turmoil of Joe as he confronts the “good” voice played by David G. Beck, who tries to help sooth Joe, and the “bad” voice played by Alfredo Diaz, who is very dominating and encourages Joe to drink and understand what had happened to him. Jorge Humberto Hoyos, who will forever be associated with this creepy character, plays Father Pete who takes a liking to Joe, and eventually his nephews, and encourages Joe to watch pornography and talk about his sex life. “For Pete’s Sake” also stars Tom Pilutik who plays multiple character’s from Joe’s father to his brother, and does it quite well, and Bilgin Turker who also plays many different characters ranging from Joe’s mother to his ex-wife, very Oedipal if you ask me. This 6 person crew did an amazing job showing the struggles that Joe went through and the awful moments he experienced with Father Pete. Now enough about the show, onto the review!

I thought Joe did an amazing job and many of you might wonder why. I mean he was playing himself, right? But it was more than that, he showed his struggle and inner turmoil so well. It was so intimate and at times too intimate for me, but I still enjoyed it and I thought the lines were clean and well delivered. When he said things like, “I don’t know” you didn’t feel like they were fillers, rather he still to this day didn’t understand why he acted the way he did.

I also enjoyed the presence of Father Pete who never left the stage but sat in the background the entire time only to rise when he had to interact with Joe or his parents. This was very symbolic because it showed, by literally showing it, that Joe’s abuser was always present within his head.

Alfredo Diaz deserves mentioning in this because he was great. Constantly telling Joe what he was going to do or not do next and it appeared as though he was cause of all the mental anguish Joe was feeling over the event. He just played it so profoundly, telling the other voice to eff off and telling Joe exactly what he was going to do.

This play also appeared to be another way for Joe to come to terms with his abuse, allowing him to actually talk to the abuser and say things he was never able to say. It was extremely powerful and emotional to watch but it was totally worth it.

All in all, this play was excellent and I hope it returns for another round. The ending was superb and tear jerking. I was on the fence about this play because I have a very difficult time when it comes to child abuse but, despite this, I really enjoyed this play. I suggest that if this play is revived, you should see it. You won’t regret it.

Loop de-loop-delicious!

In Movies on October 8, 2012 at 12:36 am

Alright so that title was a bit of as stretch but that was the best I could do with the “Looper” which I had the pleasure of seeing a few nights ago in a freezing theater.

“Looper” stars Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Bruce Willis playing the younger and older version of Joe, respectively, and they are Loopers. Loopers are individuals who kill other individuals who are sent back in time from the future to be killed so their body will never be found in the future. The trick to Loopers are that eventually they will have to “close the loop” meaning kill their future selves at some point. And here comes the drama! Problems ensue when Joseph Gordo has to kill the older version of himself. Paul Dano is also in this film as Joe’s friend Seth who appears trigger happy and unstable. Emily Blunt becomes the love interest for Joe playing Sara who has a dark past of her own that the viewer doesn’t completely understand until the very end. “Looper” was directed by Rian Johnson who also directed one of my favorite movies “Brick” also starring Joseph Gordo, someone’s got a man-crush!, and is a slick noir film revoling around high schoolers who talk like 50s gangsters. I liked Looper and I loved the make up done for Joseph Gordo, he had the Bruce Willi mannerisms down pact! Oh, I almost forgot to mention that Jeff Daniels is in this as well and plays Abe who controls the Loopers and is from the future. He is pretty good in this movie, although I would have appreciated a bit more screen time for this character.

So if you like time traveling and Joseph Gordon-Levitt being a badass then you should see this movie because he is pretty BA and I think this role showed a different side to JGL then the audience has seen before.  Now onto my thoughts and I warn you, SPOILER ALERT

So, let me first start off by saying that I loved Pierce Gagnon as the crazy TK kid. He was excellent and just played that role so creepily well. Rolling between psychopath and misunderstood kid, I just loved it. I thought he was one of the best parts of this film. He was a phenomenal actor and I hope he continues wow Hollywood.

Another aspect of this movie that I enjoyed, and I am just picking up on now, is that none of the characters had a last name. They were all introduced to the audience on a first name basis. I like when movies do little things like that, it just intrigues me because I don’t know if it detracts or adds to the story at all. It is just very interesting.

I also liked the apocalyptic future. I liked the large guns, the ability to just kill anyone, and how some bikes could hover while trucks and cars were still being used. It showed, I think, a semi-realistic look at the future. Not everything is going to be sleek and clean, some things will still be dirty and inefficient.

The one thing I didn’t enjoy about this movie, was Joe’s suicide. I talked this over with my girlfriend and came to believe that I liked Joe too much to want him to die for the greater cause. She saw his death as him sacrificing himself for the greater cause, I just wish, wish that instead of shooting himself, he just blew off his hand or his trigger finger. I liked the change we witnessed and I would have loved to see him change and shape the Rainmaker ensuring that he never became as evil as Seth’s future self predicted him to be.

One more thing, loved the mutilation of the present body to mess with the future body. Very clever and disgusting but nonetheless original. Good work Rian!

Sherley You Have Seen Sherlock on BBC?

In Television on October 4, 2012 at 2:03 pm

Given the amazing response from the “Sherlock Holmes” movies, two shows, that I know of, have been created to attract some of these viewers. These two shows are “Sherlock” starring Martin Freeman, who will be a young Bilbo in the new Hobbit movies, as Watson and Benedict Cumberbatch, who was in Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy, which is a movie I just loved, and plays Sherlock Holmes. The other one is “Elementary” on CBS starring Lucy Liu, as Watson, and Johnny Lee Miller as Sherlock.  I have not had the chance to watch Elementary nor do I feel the need to because I am completely and utterly satiated after finishing the third season of “Sherlock”. Maybe if it receives some positive reviews from some critics, I’ll venture a glance at “Elementary” but for the most part, I will not be watching it.

“Sherlock” should be watched for several reasons. It is set in present day, to watch Sherlock’s use of technology is just amazing, it is visually provoking, the camera angles and the filters are just used so originally, and it is grabbing. What I mean by this, is that I am glad that I have Netflix which allows me to watch episode after episode after episode, mind you these episodes are an hour and a half long, but still having them on Netflix allows me to pause them if I don’t have the full how and a half to watch them.

Some shows might suffer from this length, but much like “Luther” this show does no such thing. You are entertained from start to finish. Every show begins within a different format and every show covers some of Sherlock’s famous cases but obviously with a modern twist which makes it intriguining and just plain entertaining.

The show also benefits from Freeman and Cumberbatch as well who portray their relationship, which is often deemed homosexual, so well, with funny and intimate moments. I especially Like Cumberbatch. He comes across as such a tool sometimes, which I think Sherlock would be like if he felt that he were the smartest man on earth, but he also has these moments where he realizes his own flaws within his rational thinking. He can’t account for emotions and irrationality but he still has these moments and when they occur, he becomes especially human. Cumberbatch  also shows the intense and often aggressive side of Holmes quite well, showing Holmes flying into rages over his lack of cigarettes and his inability to understand. Cumberbatch has quite a future ahead of him after this movie and already is a rising British star.

Freeman, oh Freeman. You sir are good. Freeman portrays Watson with more intelligence and less bumbling then I gathered from the books, which I like. I feel that he needs to be somewhat intelligent in order for Holmes to allow him to stick around as long as he did but also have one hell of a tough skin. Freeman also shows the emotional moments that Watson has with Holmes, so damn well! The precipice being the finale to season 3. SWEET JESUS, was somebody cutting onions while I was watching that episode because it sure felt like it.

Another actor worth mentioning is Andrew Scott, who portrays Moriarty, and does it with a Joker-esque chaotic style. Moriarty, for those of you who don’t know, is Sherlock’s nemesis and in the finale of season 3 their relationship reminded me so much of Batman and Joker. I never read any stories with Moriarty in them but I like this Moriarty a lot. Because Holmes and him are both extremely intelligent but Moriarty is unpredictable and has no rules, which makes him especially interesting and dangerous.

In conclusion, if you have Netflix, watch “Sherlock”. If you like detective dramas, you will love this show. It is captivating and visually stunning.

Seriously Awesome Serial Killer!

In Television on October 1, 2012 at 4:01 pm

Last night” Dexter” premiered for a seventh season, beating out “The Wire’s” five season run and still running strong! And let me tell you, I was very impressed last night with the episode.  It is going to be one hell of a season and the end of the episode said exactly that!

“Dexter” tells the story of serial killer by night blood analyst by night Dexter Morgan, Michael C. Hall, who is seen as one of those good serial killers, who kills only the bad people. Robin Hood steals from the rich and gives to the poor while Dexter Morgan kills those individuals who are truly guilty but due to some malfunction within the legal system are never put into jail. His sister, Deborah, played by Jennifer Carpenter is a foul-mouthed police lieutenant who was placed in her position due to a power dispute between her superior Tom Matthews, played by Geoff Pierson, and Maria LaGuerta, played by Lauren Velez. Deborah is the ying to Dexter’s yang, where she believes in the sanctity of the legal system, Dexter believes in the sanctity of his own rules, Harry’s rules. Dexter’s foster-father, Harry Morgan, played by James Remar, saw the evil within Dexter and decided to direct his anger and Dark Passenger towards something constructive, like killing murderers who never get caught or imprisoned.

This premiere picks up right where the finale left off and continues to spiral downwards. Now, if you haven’t seen the episode, do not read any further.

While watching this episode, I made a comment to my significant other, that I liked the realistic aspects of “Dexter”. His bodies were found, so he decided to dump them in a deeper location, he uses locations that he has already staked out to determine whether or not he will get caught, and he also uses various methods to obtain his tranquilizer that he is so famous for using without his identity being known to the seller. I like “Dexter” because it’s dark, dramatic, and I do not have to suspend my disbelief, however lasts night’s episode my disbelief was not easily suspended.

After being caught by his sister, the smart thing for Dexter to do would be to lay low for a bit and not kill anyone, and yet, that’s the exact opposite of what he does. He finds an individual responsible for murder, injects him, and then cuts him up in a warehouse within the Miami airport. RECORD SCRATCH! How is that room safe? How does he know for sure that no one will come in and interrupt him? He doesn’t! It’s the Miami airport.

Secondly, LaGuerta, the one detective who believed that Dokes wasn’t the Bay Harbor Butcher, just so happens to find the blood slide at the scene? How did that not melt? I thought that was pushing it.

I did very much like the ending of the episode, because it made sense. I often wondered, and even commented on the fact, that Dexter is given a long leash when it comes to his job. He will often tell his babysitter one thing while telling Deb and others another, without them ever putting the two pieces together. All it took was Deb to place one phone call, I’m honestly surprised it didn’t happen sooner, for her to figure out that Dexter was up to something. Also, don’t ever hide something precious like a series of blood samples from the murders you committed in your air conditioning unit. Buy a safe man!

Also, super excited for the Dexter v. Louis Greene, played by Josh Cooke! I don’t know what this guy’s endgame is, but he definitely does not want to mess with Dexter. He took out Dokes for Christ’s sake!

Despite the problems that this episode had, I think it was a great premier and makes me wonder if Deborah will make it through this season. I had no idea that she would find out this season and props to Showtime for not ruining that with the trailer.

Watch the series premier and let me know what you liked or disliked about it!