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Posts Tagged ‘Drama’

Ray Is The Man!

In Television on July 5, 2013 at 12:19 pm

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“Ray Donovan”  tells the story of well, Ray Donovan, a Hollywood fixer, reminiscent of Michael Clayton, played by George Clooney, in “Michael Clayton”. Live Schreiber stars as the go-to man in Hollywood who will help those who are in a tight fix, especially if those individuals are involved within the seedy underbelly. As the show begins, we see that Ray’s  life is anything but perfect. His wife, Abby, played by Paula Malcomson, doesn’t like the neighborhood that her family is living in, his brother Terry, played by Eddie Marsan, is a boxer suffering from Parkinson’s Disease, his other brother Bunchy, played by Dash Mihok, is struggling with his molestation from a  priest as a child and his father, Mickey, played by Jon Voight, just got out of jail and is determined to be a part of Ray’s life. To make matters worse, a client who Ray is paid to watch is being stalked and Ray just has to intervene only come to find out that he has protected this girl in the past and she really wants to experience Ray sexually. Ashley Ruckers, played by Ambyr Childers comes off as a sex addict who just really wants Ray.

Phew, that’s enough about the plot, let’s get to the show.  The first episode was a bit clunky with a few scenes that didn’t need to be included and a few scenes that could have been flushed out more. I would have liked more of Ray’s company flushed out. There was a scene at a funeral in which another individual approached Ray telling him that Ray did not need public scrutiny. This is known of course, but I felt like I didn’t know who that was. That being said, I do like watching shows in which all the dots aren’t connected, however, I would like a wee bit of assistance. But other than that, I rather enjoyed it.

I liked the idea of Boston transplants to Hollywood, where we will get to see a little dose of Boston pressure on Hollywood types; I mean who doesn’t love seeing an actor who believes he is “the man” get bludgeoned in the face with a bat. I also enjoyed the presence of a back story. I’m interested to see what happened between Ray and his father, which, hopefully, is not resolved in the next few episodes.

I would like Schreiber flushed out more. Some of the best scenes in “Breaking Bad” occur when we see Heisenberg and Walt combine and confront one another in Bryan Cranston’s face. I want to see this. I want to see a calm Ray Donovan crack and just rage. I want to see a Dexter-like freakout when his back is up against the wall.

All in all, I enjoyed this show. I hope my requests are granted and that there is plenty of more violence within this show. 

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VIKINGS RULE! AND NOT THE MINNESOTA ONES!

In Television on March 7, 2013 at 10:28 pm

I just finished the first episode of the new hit series, yes I will dub it a hit series, “Vikings” and by the raven of Odin, I was surprised by how good this show appears to be. First off, “Vikings” is being shown on the History Channel and being produced by MGM, unexpected? Totally! “Vikings” was created by Michael Hirst and stars Travis Fimmel, as Ragnar Lothbrok, what a name, also his imdb picture is a ridiculous juxtaposition to his character, as he decides to travel to the west, enlisting the help of Floki, played by Gustaf Skarsgard, to the world Vikings have not explored yet. Leaving his lusty sword wielding wife Lagertha, played by Kathryn Winnick, to travel abroad with his handsy brother Rollo played by Clive Standen. The ruler of Ragnar’s clan, seriously naming my kid Ragnar,  Earl Haraldson, played by Gabriel Bryne, is not too happy about this decision and sees Ragnar’s choice as a rebellion of sorts. 

That was the first episode in a nutshell and let me tell you, it was an extremely well written and well acted. Travis Fimmel, who is someone I haven never heard of until now, plays his character Ragnar as if he himself were planning on raiding America with a long boat and a sword. He just appears to be completely within his character and it shows in his mannerisms as well as the way in which he speaks.

Props to Kathryn Winnick who won me over in an episode of “House” in which she plays a rape victim and still continues to win me over in this show. She portrayed this strong Viking woman showing modern day females that chicks don’t need to be frail to be sexy, cough cough “Twilight” they can be strong and fight for themselves. This character will allow the audience to see that although men were strong withing Viking society, they aren’t always needed. 

The chemistry that is shown between Lagertha, what an awful name, and Ragnar was palpable, to such an extent that they appeared to be having conversations without even talking. If you have watched the first episode you will know what I am talking about.

Gabriel Byrne, who played Keaton in “The Usual Suspects” and Tom Reagan in “Miller’s Crossing” does an excellent job playing the power hungry leader. I liked the way he looked, acted, and sounded. He shows the effect his power has had upon him both good and bad, and the audience even gets a glimpse at some back story which I am very interested in learning about. 

Gustaf Skarsgard looks like a nut job and behaves like one too and deserves to be mentioned because of that. I’m pumped to see his character develop because he has that sort of unhinged but awesome feel about him, like Rorschach. 

Also, give it up to The History Channel for creating something that should belong on HBO or Showtime. Seriously, where did this come from? I guess Pawn Stars and Storage Wars can only get so many viewers. Notice I didn’t put those shows in quotes, I did that because I hate those shows and I hate The History Channel for showing them. But if they keep this up, depicting history in a narrative fictional manner, I will be all over that channel. And I mean, what’s wrong with that? If they keep this techniques up they could cover so many awesome time periods and attract one hell of an audience. Also, kudos to you for subtitling and then switching to English. I would have enjoyed subtitles throughout, but I understand why ya did it.

So watch this show. It’s unexpected because it’s The History Channel and it rocks because well it’s Vikings and they are awesome. It’s also gory and appears to have one hell of a story to drive it. 

Ewan and Naomi Do The Impossible!!!

In Movies on January 23, 2013 at 6:47 pm

“The Impossible”, directed by Juan Antonio Bayona,  depicts the story of Maria, played by Naomi Watts, and Henry Bennett, played by Ewan McGregor, who take their three boys Lucas, Tom Holland, Thomas, Samuel Joslin, and Simon, Oaklee Pendergrast, to Thailand to spend Christmas. The family arrives ready to spend some time swimming in the beautiful ocean and relaxing by the pool. Dealing with mundane problems such as job security and sleeping trouble, the Bennetts are caught completely off guard by a tsunami that wreaks havoc upon South East Asia. Oh, did I forget to mention that this was based upon a true story revolving around a family who experienced the 2004 tsunami that devastated Thailand and many other countries? Oh, I didn’t? Well, this story is about one family and their struggle to survive an event that nearly destroyed them mentally and physically. Somewhat graphic and very poignant, “The Impossible” shows how strong Mother Nature is, how humans come together in a time of crisis, and how relationships shape the choices we make everyday.

This movie was excellent. First and foremost, the sets themselves were astounding, Ewan  and Naomi were actually shot in surging water. There were moments when some objects were computer generated, as well as some scenes, but these characters, for the most part, were actually swimming in the water trying to find one another.  Because of Hollywood’s proclivity to computer generate just about everything, I found that the director’s choice of shooting these scenes in actual water amazing. It was something that I immediately noticed, thus, allowing me to never forget this film.

Naomi Watts was exceptional in this film. That is not to say that I believe she deserved the win over Jessica Chastain, because I do not believe that she was better but she was excellent. She appeared to be really struggling with what was occurring around her and displayed this for the audience quite well. For all I know she may have actually been struggling because, apparently  she had to perform her water scenes for 5 weeks.

Tom Holland was extraordinary in this film, completely coming out of left field, this actor captivated me and appeared to be no novice. He knew how his character would react to that situation and became completely immersed in that role. Tom Holland displays his emotions so well and so vividly that it is very tough not to react to them.

The story in it of itself is also worth noting because it is one of hope. I thought to myself, after seeing this movie, that I wanted to move as far in land as possible. But I figured that anything could strike us at any moment, be it a hurricane, a tsunami, or a tornado. Given the quality of tech that we have available at our disposal, it is safe to presume that we will have some form of warning if some event like this were coming, but that doesn’t mean we would not be affected by it. This movie inspires hope in humanity, showing that when the chips are down we come together. We struggle to survive because if there is nothing else for us to do, then we must at least do that. This story showed the destruction of the tsunami and the hope that rose in the aftermath.

“The Impossible” was an extremely beautiful story, depicting how the love for one’s family and for humanity, have an effect on our decisions, especially following a catastrophe. Check this movie out. It is totally worth it.

 

Lincoln Lives!

In Movies on November 26, 2012 at 12:16 pm

Sadly, he doesn’t survive in “Lincoln” but sweet Jesus does Daniel Day-Lewis do a good job bringing this historical figure to life. My God, this actor is amazing and I quote and agree with Stephen Colbert when he said, “Shouldn’t they just be making Oscars in the shape of Daniel Day-Lewis’s face?”. I haven’t heard Lincoln speak, but now I simply imagine Day-Lewis’s softly spoken Illinois accent as Lincoln. Needless to say I loved this movie, but note this, this movie is not for everyone. It is a legislative passing dialogue driven drama, thus making it powerful but very slow-moving so if you are not interested in this aspect of Lincoln, then go watch him as a vampire hunter.

Stephen Spielberg directs this film starring Sally Field as Mary Todd Lincoln, David Straithairn as William Seward, Joseph Gorden-Levitt as Robert Lincoln, James Spader as W.N. Bilbo, Hal Holbrook as Preston Blair, Tommy Lee Jones as Thaddeus Stevens, John Hawkes as Robert Latham, Jackie Earle Haley as Alexander Stephens, Time Blake Nelson as Richard Schell, Jared Harris as Ulysses S. Grant, and so many other actors. I cannot stress that enough, this film is filled with familiar faces who all come together to make this wonderful film. “Lincoln” tells the story of Lincoln who is trying to pass the 13th amendment, which outlaws slavery, while simultaneously ending the Civil War. Not such an easy task, the effects of which Day-Lewis shows quite well. Lincoln enlists the help of Seward to effectively buy the vote by promising individuals within the House of Representatives who vote for this amendment a government job that they wish. Lincoln also works with Preston Blair to begin peace negotiations with the South while keeping the Southern representatives at bay because he knows that they will oppose the amendment, thus effectively destroying the amendment. Lincoln juggles and confronts all of these opposing voices within his cabinet and within various meetings he holds, determined to end the Civil War and pass the 13th amendment, two tasks that Seward believes cannot be completed together. Oscar worthy, this film is. Best Screenplay for sure and Best Supporting for David Straithairn and Tommy Lee Jones. The conversations that occur between all of these characters are realistic, especially the candor established between Sally Field and Day-Lewis. Their scenes were especially powerful. If you like Daniel Day-Lewis or any of the other actors mentioned, then take a look at this film. If you wish to see Lincoln in the flesh, then see this movie, because sweet Jesus, he is alive and well and on the big screen.

Onto the nitty-gritty spoiler filled review!

So one of the problems that my girlfriend had with this film, was the continuation of the film following the passing of the amendment, depicting Lincoln’s death without actually showing it. This is an interesting choice because it would make sense to show the death of Lincoln and continue the film, but Spielberg didn’t do that. Rather, he showed Lincoln’s youngest reacting to the news. I believe that Spielberg took the high road in this aspect, he wanted to show the movie up until Lincoln died, but didn’t want to show Lincoln getting shot. I think this may be because he didn’t want Lincoln to be remembered as the President that got assassinated, rather, as the President that outlawed slavery. That was the whole purpose of the film, but the ending is worth noting because it is unique. Showing his death without really showing his death.

I thought Sally Field and Tommy Lee Jones were both amazing in this film. Sally Field depicting a distraught woman coming to terms with the death of her son, trying to support her husband and her family without allowing herself to feel any form of happiness. She was incredible in this film, giving the audience a different view of Mary Todd Lincoln, and even commenting on the view that many viewers hold of her. I thought she portrayed this strained depressed woman, extremely well. Tommy Lee Jones, gah! His script alone was phenomenal in this film and his struggle with his beliefs regarding slavery and the passage of the amendment were beautifully portrayed. He had to stifle his own beliefs in order to ensure the passage of the bill and the difficulty that he felt doing this was shown quite well.

Seeing Lincoln as a father was another great aspect about this film. Not only was he juggling the Civil War and the 13th amendment, but Robert wanted to fight in the war and his youngest didn’t have his mother to look after him. Fatherly Lincoln was a side I have never seen, nor heard of, and I loved it. He wanted to protect his son from the atrocities of war while also allowing him to be a man. It was great to see this side of him.

Another aspect I liked about this film, was the fact that they didn’t gloss over the illegalities of what Lincoln was doing, because what he was doing was illegal. He was using his executive powers to influence the legislative branch, which is sooo not something you’re supposed to do.  But Spielberg didn’t gloss over this, it is made very clear to the viewer that this is not something that the President should be doing. But the question is, does the end justify the means? He was doing this to ensure the end of slavery and hindsight, being awesome, the viewer knows that this was the right thing to do, but at that point, Lincoln and his staff didn’t. This uncomfortable-ness was displayed and voiced by Seward and other members of his staff and the movie benefited from this.

The one aspect of this film that I had a problem with, was Lincoln’s reason for supporting the 13th amendment. This was discussed only vaguely. I know that slavery is morally wrong but to think like that in that day and age was unique and sometimes dangerous. Thaddeus believed it was wrong because it was wrong AND because he was in love with his house keeper. The reason for Lincoln’s support of the amendment isn’t discussed in detail and I wish it was.

All in all, great movie. Slow but powerful and extremely well written. Watch it and let me know what you think

Christian Bale Should Have Bailed on This Film!

In Movies on November 7, 2012 at 10:37 pm

I had the displeasure of watching “Equilibrium” tonight, thinking that a nice action, suspense film would be a nice way to end the night. Boy was I wrong.

“Equilibrium” is directed by Kurt Wimmer stars Christian Bale as John Preston who is a Cleric and protects individuals from themselves. See, in the 21st century, people are taking a drug, called Prozium, to stop them from feeling. The rationale was this, the third world war happened as a result of anger and greed etc, so in order to stop a fourth world war, we should stop feeling. Things go awry when John Preston finds out that his partner Partridge. played by Sean Bean, is no longer taking his dosage to which John Preston follows suit. Brandt, played by Tay Diggs, appears on the scene as a replacement to Partridge who believes that he will be the best Cleric there is, better than Preston because he is truly the best. Also, for some reason these Clerics can move super fast and they can do amazing karate with pistols. Preston struggles with his feelings and his role within the government; trying to rationalize what it is they do and if it is right. Preston’s world is literally rocked when a puppy licks his face.

Okay, so that about does it for the summary, there isn’t much else you need to know. Before I get into the nitty-gritty, let me just say that this movie was not worth it. It was the first movie I have ever rated on Netflix and I gave it 1 star. I would have gone lower if it allowed me to. Okay, here it goes.

SPOILER ALERT!

 

So one huge gaping flaw in the entirety of this film was how stupid Preston was behaving. Suddenly he began to feel and instead of working hard to ensure that he did not get caught, and sentenced to summary destruction, he tries to individuate himself from the rest of society. He begins to run everywhere, he openly cries, and he rearranges his desk. He himself should have known that there are eyes everywhere and to engage in such behavior was extremely dangerous.

The karate gun fight scenes in this film were ill-conceived. The final battle appeared to consist of two men constantly blocking each other’s shot from one another and firing off rounds randomly at the wall. The final battle scene was also awful, he cut off Tay Diggs face! In about two strokes! It was awful and very cheesy.

Another aspect of this film that was absolutely ludicrous, was the fact that the underground society, was actually underground. Like they were literally living a few feet under millions of senseless people. And yet, this underground was tricky and could never be caught. However, if someone simply looked through a grate they would see that there was an entire society living right below their feet. Seriously?!

All in all, this movie was terrible and a complete waste of time. Don’t even bother.

So a man walks into the Alaskan Wilderness…

In Movies on August 1, 2012 at 9:34 pm

Okay, so that’s a pretty bad joke, because well there is no punchline and it just isn’t plain funny. Much like this poor joke, Into The Wild, is anything but funny. It is a very serious well written story about Chris McCandless who decides to abscond to the Alaskan wilderness because, well he is just plain sick of society. After taking many trips across the country and seeing what this great ol’ America has to offer, McCandless decides that he wants to do something other than what has been destined for him, by his parents.  This not only pushes him over the edge, but his personality, a truth left unsaid by his parents, and his course load at Emerson all work together to influence the decision that Chris made. It is a story of trial by fire, how the relationships we make influence us, and just how far we will go to get what it is we want.

This book was fascinating, thrilling, and held my interest. From the author’s note by Jon Krakaeur  to the epilogue in the end, this book caught me. I felt for Ron Franz and Chris’s parents. I too wanted Chris to stay put, to stay in society. Krakaeur not only researched this book extensively, but he also never offered a biased opinion. He would state ways in which Chris made a stupid novice mistake but point out ways that he was intelligent and resourceful. To say the Krakaeur was completely ambivalent towards McCandless does not do this author justice. Krakaeur weaves stories of other individuals who absconded and tells a frightening story about his adventure climbing Devils Thumb in Alaska. He told this story because he related to McCandless and wanted to shed some insight into why an individual would place themselves in such a precarious situation. It was a brilliantly written book by an author who covered all of his bases and let the reader decide just who was Chris McCandless. If you haven’t read the book, read it. If you’ve seen the movie, but haven’t read the book, read it. The book offers more insight into Chris’s reasons and the other cases of abandonment that the author offers are enlightening and give the reader a glimpse at the human soul.

Now to the nitty-gritty: Spoiler Alert! If you haven’t read this book, or watched this movie, then read no further. I offer my thoughts on this book regarding the end of it and I do not want to let others know what occurs.

Throughout this book, Chris travels the country and meets several individuals who he had a profound effect upon. These people were touched by Chris, one person went so far as to change his way of life because Chris suggested it. I say these things because, at first, I believe that Chris hated people. He felt wounded by his parents, he went against the advice of many people, and proceeded up to the Alaskan wild and died because of this. However, Krakaeur shows the reader time and time again that McCandless loved some people, like his sister and Franz. He also loved talked to people and people were often enraptured by his stories. So he didn’t leave society because he hated people.

Maybe he left society because he no longer felt like he should belong to it. That’s not to say that he was worthless, maybe he left because he did not like what society held. I like this interpretation and it was one I reached after reading the book. At that point in time McCandless did not like what he saw. His all mighty father cheated on his mother and his Emerson classes showed the darker side of human nature. He left society because he was sick of it; it pained him. I think this was the case, but alas McCandless was too strong-headed and too much of a dreamer to return to society.

Krakaeur discusses McCandless’s infatuation with Jack London’s work and the picturesque Alaskan wilderness that London created. Krakaeur, like myself, believed that this longing for this particular wilderness drove McCandless to it and ultimately resulted in his death. Although London’s work was a work of fiction, McCandless believed that it was real and acted in such a manner. When confronted with the reality of Alaska by other natives he simply brushed off what they said, determined to find his Alaska. As a result of this, he was unprepared and died.

I do not think he was stupid, I think McCandless was unprepared. I wish there was another universe where McCandless returned ready to see those individuals who he had met along his journey. I wish he wrote a book detailing all of his adventures. I wish he came back and created ways to help society and not simply leave it. Alas, this did not happen. Moral of the story, if you leave, leave prepared. You may have adventures that many will want you to share.