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Archive for May, 2013|Monthly archive page

Get These Men Some Lights!

In Uncategorized on May 30, 2013 at 8:13 pm

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This past week, I had the privilege of seeing “Star Trek Into Darkness” and I was quite impressed with what J.J. Abrams did once again. I have been following this movie since I found out that Cumberbatch was going to be playing the villain and boy did he bring it. I mean really bring it. Like snapping necks and breaking legs bring it. BUT, I digress.

“Star Trek Into Darkness” is J.J. Abrams second installment of the Star Trek series. Chris Pine returns as James Tiberius Kirk with Zachary Quinto as Spock as well. Zoe Saldana as Uhura, SImon Pegg as Scotty, Karl Urban as Bones, Anton Yelchin as Chekov, and John Cho as Sulu all return to their respective roles as well. Simon Pegg is brilliant in this movie. He is the perfect Scotty, and I only know Scotty from all the skits that people have done based off of him, BUT, despite that, i still think he is quite good. This installment finds the crew observing and reporting and sometimes interfering with alien life, going against Star Fleet protocol, but all appears well within the crew. However, this blissful period ends when Kirk’s command is taken from him and Cumberbatch blows up a Star Fleet facility. Determine to bring the criminal to justice, Kirk sets out to find and kill/capture John Harrison, Cumberbatch.

Let me begin by saying, Cumberbatch and Quinto completely and utterly stole this show. Pine did not/could not/ would not be able to perform as well as these two. Cumberbatch was ruthless and singular in his goals. Quinto was just as singular and ruthless when he needed to be. Excellent acting in both respects and I swear on all that is holy that Cumberbatch better become a villain. A Bond villain would be preferable.

The script was also well written within this film. The conversations between Scotty and Kirk were great as were the conversations between Kirk and Spock. I thoroughly enjoyed their dialogue. It was witty, truthful, and often very powerful. It appeared that they truly cared for one another and they would go to the ends of the earth for one another. 

I also thought the story and action were interlaced quite well. There were slow parts but they served a purpose. Their was action but it illustrated a point. Things weren’t blown up for frivolous reasons, rather they showed something. 

 

So all in all, I really liked this movie. It was a separate story unto itself thus allowing it to stand alone as it’s own movie, which I think it could do quite well. J.J. Abrams knows his script, his characters, and his story. He doesn’t abuse fans and tread all over their beliefs, but rather he offers his own ideas while respecting the fan’s. Great movie. Check it out!

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Our Parents Are the Best of Friends!

In Uncategorized on May 29, 2013 at 4:10 pm

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I am not one for romantic comedies, but the other night I decided to allow my significant other to make the choice in movies. I liked the look of this film, mainly the cast, but wasn’t the biggest fan of the title. I also saw the trailer when it came out a few months ago and wasn’t impressed. Boy, was I wrong.

“Friends with Kids” is a film directed by Jennifer Westfeldt, who also stars in it alongside Adam Scott, and it tells the story of Jason Fryman, Scott, and Julier Keller, Westfeldt, who decide to have a kid. They reach this decision by seeing the abysmal marriages of their friends Leslie, Maya Rudolph, and Alex, Chris O’Dowd, and their other friends Missy, Kristen Wiig, and Ben, Jon Hamm. Jason and Julie decide to forgo the marriage route and just have sex with one another and raise a baby. They believe that marriages destroy friendships and marriages themselves. So they decide, why not just be friends and raise a kid together. Set in a modern day New York City, “Friends with Kids” tells the story of relationships and love found and love lost.

This movie was unexpectedly fantastic and I blame the title of the movie, the trailer, and the poster for making it appear as a silly rom-com, because it isn’t. It doesn’t feature a glowing all star cast full of beautiful people doing beautiful things, rather these are normal people struggling in their marriages. Yes, Jon Hamm and Megan Fox are in it, but Megan Fox is barely given any screen time and Jon Hamm is not an attractive individual. This film was also shot in a much darker lighting, showcasing specific aspects of the characters that are rarely seen in a romantic comedy. 

I have to say, that my favorite part of this film, was Adam Scott. He was incredible. He appeared to be emulating his character from “Parks and Rec” but he really gave this character depth. He didn’t have all of the answers, he didn’t know why he did things and when he made a choice he couldn’t explain it completely. I mean no one really can. People just do things sometimes. His body language, the silences he had, and the little tid-bits he added to conversations, were all spot on, allowing his character to appear real. 

My second favorite part about this film was the script. It was incredibly well-written in which the pauses and the lapsing of conversation said so damn much. It just sounded like real conversation happening between real people. It sounds easy to do, but it really isn’t. Imagine creating a real conversation on paper. It is incredibly hard but when done right, makes the movie fantastic. 

I also like the editing and the shots that were chosen for this film. Westfeldt gave the viewers glimpses of her characters throughout the film and these glimpses said a lot. A shot of a couple reading the newspaper eating briefcase, another shot of a character looking longingly at a family, and another shot of an individual looking at a Christmas card. All of these conveyed so much and yet were shown for such a little amount of time. It was just fantastic.

I also thought Jennifer Westfeldt did really well. She didn’t soak up the screen time, thus allowing for Scott to really thrive, but she appeared to have a good grasp on her character. I am not the biggest fan of directors starring in their own films so i typically judge them much more harshly then others, but I thought she held her own. She gave her character depth and meaning without sucking it away from other people. Her lines were delivered extremely well and she was just genuinely fantastic.

So check this movie out. It is not a rom-com but rather something more, something better, and with a lot more meaning behind it. 

I Would Totally Adopt These Guys!

In Plays/Broadway Shows on May 23, 2013 at 10:56 am

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I had the pleasure of seeing “Orphans” on Broadway this past weekend and absolutely loved it. I knew that the play would be leaving Broadway soon, so I had to see it and I did not regret it.

“Orphans” is a play written by Lyle Kessler and directed by Daniel Sullivan, starring Ben Foster as Treat, Tom Sturridge as his younger brother Philip and Alec Baldwin as Harold. Set in Northern Philadelphia, “Orphans” shows the viewer a glimpse of these three individuals at point in their life when they may need each other the most. Treat is excessively aggressive but has utilized his skills to feed his younger brother who can hardly take care of himself let alone get a job. Treat stumbles upon Harold at a bar and decides to kidnap him, especially after opening Harold’s briefcase and finding it loaded with stocks and bonds. After sleeping his drunk off, Harold comes to and subsequently releases himself from the bonds that Treat has tied him in, befriends Philip, and offers Treat a job. Harold sees himself as a father figure to these two individuals, promising them money, women, and security. Harold also sees a bit of himself in these two, as he is an orphan as well. “Orphans” will bring you to tears, split your sides, and make you really appreciate Alec Baldwin, Ben Foster and Tom Sturridge.

Who, by the way, totally steals the show. Sturridge’s character resembles Arnie, Leonardo DiCaprio, from “What’s Eating Gilbert Grape”. Philip made the audience laugh while also offering his view on the situation. His desire to know exactly where he is, appears childish, at first, but once it is revealed becomes quite tragic. He is an orphan whose only family is his aggressive temperamental older brother who vacillates from hugging him to hitting him. Philip strives to have some control in his world and Harold offers this.

Ben Foster was also quite good. Her appeared to be channeling his character from “Alpha Dog” who was just a crazy neo Nazi, but I could see that all over his character. An individual I went with, did not feel entirely convinced with his character and felt that he was either trying too hard or not hard enough. I felt that his character may have come across as unusual and difficult because his character was difficult. I believe that Foster had a good grasp on Treat, but that Treat himself was a difficult character. He wanted to be strong without acknowledging that he needed guidance, however, guidance was exactly what he needed. He was angry, happy, drunk, sad, and disappointed. His moods were difficult to predict and all over the place.

Baldwin, I would say, didn’t shine within this play. He was good, but he wasn’t great. This may have been due to amount of stage time he had and the fact that a lot of his dialogue didn’t project. But his character was unusual. He wasn’t difficult to predict, like Treat, he was just weird. I apologize if I cannot describe his performance well, but it left me wanting. I wanted more from him. He was funny he was enlightening, but I felt like this was not his A-game.

So if you could see this play, I would recommend that you do. If it is revived, you should definitely check it out.

I’ll Cop to That

In Uncategorized on May 14, 2013 at 10:03 pm

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The other day I was perusing Netflix, interested in watching anything really. I came upon this shower “Copper” and remembered seeing ads all over New York City about it and I knew, just from those ads, I would love this show.

“Copper” is a period detective story that was created by Tom Fantan and Will Rokos. This show follows the life of Detective Kevin Corcoran, Tom Weston-Jones, an Irish New York City detective who returned from the Civil War to find his wife missing and his daughter dead. Original? Not so much, but I don’t hate this show for it. The audience is introduced to Kevin and his two amigos Detective Francis Maguire, Kevin Ryan, and Detective Andew O’Brian, Dylan Taylor, as they delve into the underworld of 1800s New York City and try to solve crimes using wit, humor, guns, and fists. When the going gets tough and Corcoran finds that he cannot figure how a crime has been committed he enlists the help of Matthew Freeman, Ato Essandoh, a free African American who has studied the doctoral arts while in France. Corcoran also relies on the support of his Eva Heissen, Franka Potente, a hooker with a heart of gold. 

This cast includes a lot of characters from all over the socioeconomic field, allowing the audience to glimpse this time period from very different perspectives. We get to see the hooker’s take on the hanging of an African American while also witnessing Corcoran’s insistence on finding out who-dun-it.

I just finished the third episode of this show tonight and I am hooked. My fellow viewer compared this show to “Hell on Wheels” and I could see the similarities but I felt that this show suprecedes that one. For example, this show is a BBC production allowing the viewer to witness more gore, violence, and often nudity. It also doesn’t have that strange filter that “hell on Wheels” has, thus allowing me to watch it without rubbing my eyes. Finally, this show has some characters that I already really enjoy and I think will keep me watching.

I like Tom Weston-Jones, I think he plays Corcoran quite well portraying his lust for a women one minute and his indifference to violence the next minute, quite superbly. I also like his story, although it may appear cliche and unoriginal, I won’t to know who killed his daughter. I want him to find some peace and i want to know why he is so driven.

I also like the eccentricity of Robert Morehouse, Kyle Schmid. I think the best characters are often the ones that appear most unhinged and I think Schmid plays this character quite well. He has that sly grin that almost makes him appear as if he is drunk, when in fact, he might not be. Rather, he might just be scheming and I do enjoy a scheming character.

I like Essandoh’s character as well, however, I think it was a bit much to give him the last name, Freeman. Yes, we get it, he is free. I want some back story as to how him and Corcoran met and I want to witness an instance when his work his finally recognized.

The biggest item that this show has going for it, is the fact that the protragonist isn’t trying to change the system. Cocoran doesn’t believe in a world without police corruption, he understands it’s part of the job and works within these confines. The me-against-the-world theme, can often be very well portrayed but it also can be quite unrealistic. Yes, Corcoran will approve of changes within the police department that make it more legitimate and less illegal but he isn’t going to be the one leading it. 

So watch “Copper”. The first season is on Netflix and so far I enjoy it quite a lot. 

Maybe, Just Maybe, I will visit Hemlock Grove

In Uncategorized on May 9, 2013 at 10:22 am

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Last night I finished “Hemlock Grove” the Netflix original series created by Eli Roth based on the book written by Brian McGreevy. The show depicts a town in which a series of grisly murders makes everyone a suspect and everyone suspicious. The lead suspect in all of this is Peter Rumanecek, played by Landon Liboroin, who moved to Hemlock Grove shortly before the murders began and due to the rumors spread by Christine Wendall, Freya Tingley, that he is a werewolf, he becomes suspect number one. Despite this, heir to the Godrey estate and pale bad boy, Roman, played by Bill Skarsgard, decides to befriend Peter because he really just wants to. His mother, Oliva, played by Famke Jansenn, doesn’t want him to because well hanging out with the lower class is just so beneath them. Peter’s mom, Lynda, played fantastically well by Lili Taylor, reflects this thinking while believing that the Rumanceks are the ones in the right. Roman’s cousin, Letha, played by Penelope Mitchell, also becomes involved in this controversy while Roman’s sister, Shelley, played by Nicole Bovin, also feels an attraction to Peter, due to the fact that he doesn’t see her as a freak but a person. Phew, did I cover it all? Probably not because there is a lot going on in this show.

When i first began this show, I was determined to get through it despite the terrible lines and the poor acting and I have to say, it was worth it. I felt like I became more engaged within the show due to the fact that there were very few slip ups and the continuity made sense. A friend of mine compared this show to “Lost” and I completely agree with that comparison. Not everything is explained in “Lost” and some episodes and characters were just plain awful, but despite that I still enjoyed “Lost” I just had to get through it. The same rings true for this show. Watch it until the end. It has a pretty sweet finale and leaves a lot open to speculation, which I like. I think some people would not enjoy the show specifically for that reason, that not everything is answered. But before I ask and possibly answer my own questions, I have to recommend that you watch this show all the way through. there is supposed to be another season on Netflix and I honestly cannot wait for it.

Now onto my spoiler ridden questions/speculations!

I don’t think Letha is dead. I think she was reborn in the square that we glimpsed at the end. I think that was her. She was such a good character and to kill her off so shockingly just seemed too unreal. I just don’t believe it, so I think she is part of the project that doctor Pryce is working on.

Why was Pryce so upset at the end? I honestly didn’t think he felt that way about Letha and I don’t know why he smashed the table, any speculation as to why this happened?

I liked Roman finally manning up. I also liked the twist that in order to become a vampire, he had to kill himself. See Olivia die was totally worth watching that whole series. 

Do you think Shelly is still alive or do you think she is an angel, as per Roman’s beliefs? I think she is alive and well and will return for season 2. She was one of the best characters on the show and if they do not have her come back they will be really missing out.

What’s with the tail? What do you think that signified?

How about that twist? I never suspected Christina whatsoever. I did not like Peter’s half hearted attempt at fighting her, not sure why he just didn’t kill her before she changed. but whatever, she’s dead that’s all that matters.

Finally, I want to end this review with stating how much I loved Lynda’s speech to Peter at the end. That right there was the clincher for me in deciding who had the best performance in the show. She absolutely did. Whoever wrote her lines, awesome job. Seriously, I want to memorize that speech and say it to anyone that is experiencing a loss because it is just so damn good. 

Tony Stark in BACK!

In Movies on May 4, 2013 at 5:02 pm

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I had the opportunity of seeing Iron Man 3 this past Thursday night and felt a little deflated after the film.

“Iron Man 3” , directed by Shane Black, stars Robert Downey Jr as Tony Stark and reveals a distraught Tony after the Avengers. He appears to be trying to come to terms with what happened in New York City and trying to maintain some control over his life and protect the ones he loves like his girlfriend Pepper Potts, played by Gwyneth Paltrow, and his recently fired body-guard Happy Hogan, played by Jon Favreau. While trying to maintain some semblance of control over his life, Happy becomes involved in an incident that the Mandarin, a terrorist played by Ben Kinglsey,  claims responsibility for. Given the ego of Tony Stark, he will not let Happy’s injuries occur in vain, and begins investigating with the help of James Rhodes, played by Don Cheadle, who the Mandarin is and where he can find him.

This movie was meh. I say that because given the overseas release numbers, I was expecting a phenomenal movie. It was funny. I will give Black the credit for that one. I felt like he allowed RDJ to ad lib a lot of his script because some of it was so hilarious and genuinely funny. My laughs definitely were not forced. I thought the presentation of PTSD in Stark was great because it showed that even heroes experience trauma. But I felt like there wasn’t enough follow through with this. Black didn’t flush this out enough and I felt like he should have either delved into this aspect more or left it out completely.

I liked Paltrow and Cheadle in this movie, however I felt that they could have been given more screen time. I understand that this is a movie focusing on Iron Man, however, I felt that if Cheadle and Paltrow had been given more screen time and their stories developed a bit more, the movie would only have benefitted from it

The problems I had with this movie, I can’t describe in full detail without spoiling it. Suffice it to say, Black takes a lot of liberties with the Iron Man storyline and changes a lot of things. He left some things out, manipulated some other things, and where he could have done more, he did not. I was fairly disappointed with this film but if you love RDJ as Iron Man, you won’t be disappointed. If you love the Iron Man comic books, you probably will be.

Now onto the more detailed review *Spoilers Ahead*

So one thing that I noticed a day after thinking about this movie was it was never revealed as to what the soldier had been given  before exploding. It seemed like those items in the briefcase were linked to the explosion but it appeared later that these explosions were just accidental and were caused by individuals who couldn’t “regulate” themselves. What was in the briefcase?

I did not like the twist only for the fact that there wasn’t another twist as well. What I would have preferred is that after credits, the audience would have seen the Mandarin in jail and glimpse an evil more sinister side of him. Like he was really running the show all along. I don’t know if that would have played out, but I would have preferred it to Guy Pearce crying, “I’m the Mandarin” and then dying. It reminded me of Venom’s death in Spiderman 3. I saw Venom as Spiderman’s nemesis and when he was killed, I felt like I was robbed of something. When the twist was revealed in this film, I felt the same way.

I also did not like Tony Stark removing his center pierce. I did not like that at all because it felt like he was Iron man no more, as if he was retiring. Even when Batman retired in The Dark Knight Rises, there was a glimpse as to who his protegé would be.

I also thought blowing up every single suit after just revealing all of them was a waste. It just seemed not well conceived, like, here are ll these great suits, look at what they can do, and now they are all exploding simultaneously. That bothered me a lot.

So, yes, the problems I have with this film are really nit picky and I will own up to that. I may be a bit too hard on this film because it was so built up but I guess there’s not a lot I can do about that, other then acknowleding it.