Category Archives: Drama

Legend of the Seeker

Lately I’ve been yearning for some good sword and sorcery fantasy kind of stuff. Plenty of books out there, but for whatever reason I’ve been having a hard time finding films or shows to watch, especially ones I haven’t seen already.

I remember seeing ads for Legend of the Seeker and dismissed it. Well, just ignored it because I don’t watch to many shows as they air anymore due to lack of time. Netflix has it and it was suggested somewhere. I’m on winter break so I have time to sit down and give it a shot.

The show is interesting. It’s based off of a series of books by Terry Goodkind and apparently he approves and had involvement with the shows production. That doesn’t mean much to me because I’ve never read anything by him. Anyways, as much as this is a fantasy show, it’s differentish. It’s not LOTRD fantasy, it’s more there are some people with magic and some weird creatures, but mostly just peasants or people fighting with swords. We of course see a lot of magic and weird stuff because we’re following a special group he gets involved with that sort of thing. It’s sort of simple. The stories are very much good vs. evil and it’s pretty clear which is which.

The story though. It takes place in a land ruled by a dude named Darken Rahl who I’m not sure how to describe. He’s the villain and rules pretty much everything and is a prick. Nothing new. There is a prophecy out there however about a Seeker (not the Quidditch kind) who will defeat Darken Rahl. The first two episodes basically give you all of this background information and set everything up. We find the Seeker and his little band of friends form and set off to kill the evil tyrant Darken Rahl. Season two finds us doing the same kind of thing except they’re fighting the Keeper. Again things are set up pretty much in the first episode or two of that season as well.

The show has its own environment with names for different things and people. They all get explained. Some are good, other’s bad. There are some kick-ass ladies known as Mord-Sith that bug me because I’m a huge Star Wars nerd and I only think of Mr. Lucas’s Sith every time and I question how similar they are.

Initially I was displeased with the show. After finishing both seasons, I still sort of am. I got past the exposition heavy first two episodes. They really are tough to get through because of that. What bugs me is that I still haven’t decided what the intention of the show was. It seems quite campy at times, mainly season one. Yet, it’s not nearly enough for me to believe that it was intentional. The humor isn’t that good and part way through season two it kind of dies all together. I just haven’t grasped how seriously the show was taking itself. If it was Terry Pratchett I would’ve bought into it a bit more.

The romance was another issue. Richard and Kahlen’s romance plot made me want to rip my hair out. It was excessive and worse yet it wasn’t new. They never had it evolved. They just kept remarking on how hard it was and everyone and them taunt them about doing it anyways. I’m also kind of disturbed that women apparently are getting pregnant from having intercourse once. Not sure what message that’s supposed to be about. Even once Cara get’s some romance thrown out her, it’s half assed. No one cares. Even Zed is kinda ignored. It just wasn’t needed for me to have these crappy romance plots that were very static and never toyed with.

I also was sort of upset with the character actions and development or lack there of. I honestly don’t feel like any of them have change too much by the end. They even kinda remark on this in the show. At a point it just becomes way to predictable as to who is going to do or say what. Even some of the plots started to get rehashed a bit much. I mean there’s this large overarching story as to what they are supposed to be setting out to do, yet most of the show has nothing to do with that problem. It’s all of the little random side quests. I mean if the end of the world is at stake you don’t fart around.

I don’t know. There’s a lot of little things that bugged the hell out of me and were wholly unrealistic in the context of the show. I feel like the books are probably pretty good, but they ended up with some shitty filler stuff to fill a tv show. Yet I kept watching. I was oddly hooked on it, despite how frustrated I got. Season two was just miserable really. I kept watching that to find out the ending. In reality I could’ve just skipped to the last two episodes. They put in these “lessons” for the characters, but they never show up again or utilize them.

The action sequences bugged the hell out of me as well. At first they were cool and sort of remained that way, but in the end there was way too much use of slow motion and pausing in the fight scenes. That and it soon dawned on me that the showed basically the same shots of every character fighting. And Kahnlen’s confession shit was annoying to see. I understood how it worked after they showed it the first time. I don’t need to see in slow motion and close-up the eyes changing and shit. It was a waste of time.

It sort of satisfied my desire for the genre, but not enough. The show was decent, especially since I’ve seen some really shitty fantasy stuff out there. Still, season two isn’t really worth it. It’s just a cluster-fuck to me, but if you start it you may get hooked enough to want to find out how it ends, which I must admit was lame. The season finale made me wonder whether they knew if the show would continue or not, because the ending is rushed and kinda anticlimactic to me.

So, check it out if you’re looking for some sword and sorcery, fantasy kinda stuff. It’s decent enough and you’ll either turn it off relatively soon or keep watching and either enjoy it or wonder why you kept watching it like I did.

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Love Actually

So this is a bit of a long post.

I actually enjoy rom-coms. I know I’m forbidden to say that as a man, but I’ve seen a fair number of them. There are those that are crap and those that I genuinely like. Some are just ok. I’m not being dragged to watch all of these movies either. And the excuse that they’re all generic is kinda bull. All genres are “generic.” Kinda why they’re a genre. That’s not the point though. That’s a whole separate post I may get into some day.

So Love Actually, is a Richard Curtis film. The man behind works like Four Weddings and a Funeral, Notting Hill, Bridget Jones’s Diary and of course the amazing Blackadder. I like all of those (I feel like Blackadder shouldn’t be included though. Too different). They’re rom-coms and they’re good. To me at least. Love Actually is amazingly enough, another one. The title gives it away, and in a sense kind of gives away the whole film.

I both like and dislike Love Actually. It’s complicated. The original cut (one of them at least) was over three hours. The runtime now, is 135 minutes. That’s still a long movie, especially for the genre. Love Actually is one of those movies that involves separate story-lines that all interconnect in the end, though you can see the connections easily enough as the film progresses. The character connections are really anything to worry over. My experience with these kind of films is that they never seem to be that good. To me they always come across as to overly complex for what they are and Love Actually is no exception. It’s long and has a number of pretty complex stories that don’t fully work because they’ve been cut down to fit in the film. They’d work better as a miniseries TV movie where we could see the full stories.

Beyond that though, the movie has another fault with me. It’s kind of… schmaltzy? Some of it just seems horribly gushy to me and cliché. I know that’s excepted from some films in the genre, but it still seems a bit excessive at times. That and I guess I’m expecting more from Curtis. Still, the romance part of the movie still works. That and it is supposed to be somewhat fairy-taleish. Rowan Atkinson’s character was initially/still is supposed to be an angel, but it kinda got cut from explanation.

The comedy aspect is what does it for me. It’s why I enjoy rom-coms because they can amazingly enough be good comedies. That’s where this movie shines because despite how unfunny it can be (moments where it isn’t supposed to be anyways) the movie has some great comedic moments. At least I thought so. It’s not like it’s going to be on anyone’s top comedy lists, but it’s still really good there.

The cast is another one of of those aspects that helps make the film work. Ensemble casts generally seem to be less than what you want, but the ones that work are usually really good. So let’s start with Bill Nighy. He’s a great actor. Love him. Does a great job here. Wish he had more screen time. Shit, they could make a whole movie for his character, which I guess they could do for most of the characters really.

Colin Firth has his own little storyline as well. It’s not really that brilliant. It’s Colin Firth playing the kind of role he’s known for and he does a good job at it. In this case he’s kind of exaggerating it even more.

Liam Neeson and Thomas Brodie-Sangster play stepfather and son. Both are really good. I actually want to go back and see how many scenes have Neeson standing at full height and not bent over. The kid is little to begin with and of course Neeson is huge, so it’s entertaining to watch that interaction just because of that. I also loved how blunt there part was. It was a very open relationship that I’m sure plenty of people would disapprove of (at least in the US), which is kind of bull. Kind of wish some of their deleted scenes stayed in.

Emma Thompson and Alan Rickman play husband and wife. Thompson is great. She actually probably appears the most in the film since she seems to be the one most of the characters all know. Rickman unfortunately get’s les screen time, which is a shame. He’s a great comedic actor. Has the timing down wonderfully. He needs more of those roles. There’s also a deleted scene with Thompson and her son (who never appears really) about writing a school essay about their christmas wish. His is to see everyone’s farts, which would be great. This also leads to cutting out the headmistress’ little story, which was good as well. Anyways, both do a good job, though I feel like their story get’s cut up a bit. Both of their characters have more scenes to work with other characters than their own marriage troubles. Maybe not. Kind of feels like it though.

Now is as good as any to mention Rowan Atkinson I guess. He is supposed to be an angel, though lacking the wings and whatnot. One of the deleted scenes with Emma Thompson and her children actually alludes to this even. The whole thing of his holiness was cut out because it complicated things to much. That makes sense. The movies already to complicated. Still, Atkinson still appears and the best one is with Rickman in a shopping center. It’s a great scene to begin with, but if you go and watch the movie, knowing he’s supposed to be an angel, his appearances make more sense.

Martin Freeman has a nice little bit. Plays a stand in doing nude sex scenes. Nice little bits.

Kris Marshall has a couple of nice lines as well and I do like the portrayal of Wisconsin.

Laura Linney has a bit part. I didn’t care for it, mostly because it felt so stripped down.

Keira Knightly and Chiwetel Ejiofor are newlyweds. We get to see their wedding. Andrew Lincoln (Walking Dead) is Ejiofor’s best friend. I think they probably have the least funny story. I really can’t think of much with their plot that was funny. Probably the one I liked least.

And finally (I think) is Hugh Grant and Martine McCutcheon. Grant is Grant. He does his normal thing. He also has a number of great lines in addition to his nice little dance (which was to short) and his speech about the “special relationship” between Britain and the US.

I’m tired and need to stop. Basically the movie has plenty of problems, mostly because it tries to accomplish way to much. Still, it has some great bits. It’s a good comedy at least.

Heathers

My advisor told me to watch this at my last meeting, so I did. It’s nice being able to watch movie as research for senior thesis.

Heathers was an interesting movie. On one hand the movie is like a lot of 80s teen comedies. It’s all about the various clicks in high school manly the popular vs unpopular students. Nothing new on that set up. The movie twists that view quite a bit. The students and parents are very much exaggerations of what they are making fun of, but they still manage to keep some realism there. The other twist is that the movie is incredibly dark. The movie is sort of about teen suicide, but more so it’s about acting on those little dark impulses everybody has, but doesn’t want to admit to. I love this idea. I actually wrote a short story about it, though I got odd looks. It’s like admitting to talking to yourself. It’s not something you openly discuss or admit to. Back to the movie though, it looks at those little urges people have when you “wish was dead” or you have the urge to hit someone or act out if they’re frustrating to you, but of course (usually) you don’t act on those impulses.

Anyways, the movie is a dark comedy. I love dark comedies usually. This one, I was not so fond of. It was funny in places, but most of that wasn’t really dark humor. Again, maybe I’m just missing things, but it wasn’t much of a comedy to me. That and it seemed to run a little long by the end. Especially the boiler room stuff.

Christian Slater did a good job. I tend to like him and he pulled his role of well as the creepy guy that you still sort of like. Winona Ryder did a fine job as well.

Regardless of how much you laugh during the movie, it is still a good movie, more so because of the content the film explores. I wouldn’t advise watching this if you wanted to just relax and have some laughs. For me it wasn’t that funny of movie. It was more of a drama with some humor in it. Worth checking out, but really only if your a fan of darker themed movies.

Fever Pitch (1997)

I’ve never read Fever Pitch. I’ve read some of Nicholas Hornby’s other works and enjoyed them. I’ve also enjoyed the film adaptations to varying degrees. This Fever Pitch is the original film version. It was remade in 2005 with Jimmy Fallon and uses Baseball (Red Sox) over football (Arsenal). I saw the 2005 version before ever seeing this.

So if you’ve seen the remake, you have a pretty good grasp on the basic outline of the film. Colin Firth comes from a broken home. His dad attempts to connect to his son and for whatever reason while attending an Arsenal match (his first) he falls in love with the game and team. Throughout the film we see flashbacks of Firth’s character growing up and proving his dedication to the team. Firth is an English teachers, as is Ruth Gemmell, though her character is new to the school. Firth is very laid back and is the “cool” teacher, while Gemmell is a bit more uptight, organized. Naturally they clash, although early on a comment is made about the two of them hooking up because of that. The rest is pretty strait forward, though there are plenty of detail differences between this and the remake.

I don’t remember the remake to really compare to this film so I wont even bother. I did like how they handled Firth’s character. He’s very aloof at first and they do a great job of making him out to be a bit of an ass early on. As the movie progresses, it’s kind of surprising that he grows on you. They also did a great job of portraying how much of a man-child he is and I think the flashbacks sort of help with that. The portrayal of how important that team (or any team) is to the fans is handled really well.

Colin Firth is pretty good. I don’t think it’s as good as some of his other work, but it’s pretty easy to see how he’s already getting typed cast in certain roles this early on. Ruth Gemmell did a really good job as well. I thought she was fantastic. And I love Mark Strong. I don’t think I’ve seen him do a crap job (other than maybe Sunshine, but that was a role). He’s basically playing Firth’s buddy and does a good job at it. Kind of weird seeing him in that capacity, but he’s fine.

Fever Pitch isn’t exactly redefining the rom-com, although I’m also sort of hesitant to call it a rom-com. It has a bit more depth to the characters development and there seems to be a more realistic view of life’s problems. I can also see where people uninterested in football (soccer) would be less than thrilled, although I think the movie does a good job at getting you invested in the sport, sort of like how the remake got a lot of people to pay attention to the Red Sox. It’s also a British film with some references to things some folks might not understand if you aren’t familiar with that culture. I’m a bad judge at this though since I’m a slight anglophile.

Still, it’s a good movie. I wouldn’t necessarily pop it in if I wanted to watch a light, fluffy, rom-com, since I still have a hard time as seeing it as one of those movies. Still, it’s a good movie to watch at some point and I can’t imagine that people would hate this if they liked the remake or if they like rom-com’s or similar such films. I mean Colin Firth’s in it so that’s always another reason to check it out.

The Muppets

Well I’m fresh out of viewing The Muppets so this is going to be a glowing review. I haven’t had to much time to try and say anything negative, though I don’t think I need to.

The Muppets is about how the Muppets have been forgotten. That over the years their popularity has decreased and that times have changed. That we wouldn’t appreciate them now even if they did put on a performance.

The movie is a love song to the Muppets. There’s a lot of blowing smoke up their own buts it you want to twist things to a negative view. The fact is that the Muppets were a huge phenomenon and while younger generations may not be familiar with them, there are still young people and older audiences that love them.

In a way the new movie is similar to the orignal Muppet Movie, but not really. Out of all of the films, that’s the best comparison. In fact they reference the orignal film frequently to compare themselves to it. The orignal movie was sort of about the Muppets meting for the first time and the new movie is the Muppets meeting each other for the first time in years. It really is a sequel of sorts to the orignal film.

The original Muppet Movie however was very much a road movie and was very lighthearted. This film is actually quite different when you look at it. There’s a lot more exploration of the characters, or at least some of the main ones. The movie explores their dynamic and to an extent looks at why the Muppets were so great. There are a number of moments that are just horribly unfunny, because they’re sad. They are very good emotionally charged scenes.

The music of course was really good. They don’t hold up to the orignal songs, but I think that has more to do with time. “Life is a Happy Song” is actually really good and catchy. I think the movie needs more than one viewing for them to become as memorable as some of the older ones, but they are still pretty solid. Actually Chris Cooper does a pretty good rap at one point. The only two full old songs to make appearances are the Muppet Show theme and of course Rainbow Connection. There are some references and extracted lyrics from older songs, but they aren’t performed.  There’s also a great cover of Nirvana.

The Muppets were all great. You have different puppeteers now that some of the originals have died or moved on, but honestly I thought they did a great job. The only issue I had was with the guy who does Staldorf’s (I think) voice. The voices for that duo were very iconic for me and the new voice just doesn’t match the original. As far as the new Muppet Walter goes, I thought he was ok. Nothing spectacular, but good for the movie. He actually isn’t really the main character. He’s more of a catalyst to get the movie going, which was nice.

Jason Segel, who incidentally is the reason this movie exists, did a good job as Walter’s brother. Amy Adams was really good as well. For the roles they were cast in they were pretty damned good. As was Rashida Jones as the TV exec. OF course the movie has to have a human villain which is where Chris Cooper comes in and he was great. Again he does a neat little rap at one point. Really the human cast was great.

The cameos. The Muppets are famous for their cameos. I’m almost disappointed in the cameos in this movie, but maybe that has something to do with my fondness for the cameos in the other films. At this point these may be spoilers for you. I’m going to list some of the cameos, mainly the ones I enjoyed, so you’ve been warned. Alan Arkin, Jack Black, Bill Cobbs, Zach Galifianakis, Donald Glover, Whoopi Goldberg, Selena Gomez, Neil Patrick Harris, John Krasinski, Jim Parsons, Rico Rodriguez, Mickey RooneySarah Silverman, Ken Jeong, Kristen Schaal, and Emily Blunt. There are more, but those are the ones that I remember and stood out to me.

My biggest disappointment was the lack of Steve Martin. For some reason I just thought he’d make an appearance. He’s worked with the Muppets a number of times and I always loved his appearances. They did at least reference him a number of times by name or via a picture of him. I’m also glad that they paid tribute to Jim Henson frequently. His name is branded various places as is his picture. It was nice that they did that.

The Muppets is different. The tone has changed. Yes the movie is wacky, but they scaled it down in my opinion. Again it’s a love song to the Muppets. The scenario in the film is a plea for the Muppets to reunite and get attention again and really that’s what the movie itself is. It’s about putting the Muppets together again and trying to get an audience and hopefully inspire certain folks at Disney to make another Muppet and I can only dream of them doing the Muppet Show again.

It doesn’t top the Muppet Movie, but it’s damned close. Having not seen the other Muppet films recently I’d have to say this one has a good chance at being number two to the original film. And yes it has some flaws, but I’m willing to forgive them because it’s the Muppets. After all this time they made a movie and it was worth that wait. I can only hope that people will actually go see this, especially if you loved the Muppets growing up.

Ironclad

Ironclad takes place during the end of King John’s reign somewhere around the Baron Wars. The movie makes a big deal about Magna Carta, Templars, and the siege are Rochester. The movie takes more than a few liberties with history I believe.

Still, it’s not supposed to be a historical documentary so who really cares that they fudged details. They got the large scale picture right. Sort of. As far as the film is concerned  King John is forced to sign Magna Carta. Some time later he’s pissed off and invites some Danish mercenaries over to help him retake his land and kill all of the Baron’s. Some Baron’s and hired mercenaries disagree,  as does a Templar for other reasons. To stop John’s advancement they decide they have to hold Rochester since that is apparently the key to him controlling southern England. That’s the movie. Most of it is is them holed up in that tiny place. I feel like only half an hour was used to set up everything till they got there.

The movie isn’t the most violent out there. There are far worse, but there still is a fair share of blood and hacking of limbs. Actually, there are other things that disturbed me more such as punishing someone by cutting out their tongue and chopping off hands and feet. There’s also a bit towards the end where a bunch of pigs are burned alive, for a reason. Those were probably worse than the general fight scenes and that was more of a mental thing.

The action is handled pretty well. The fight scenes are pretty good for the type of film it is. I still have a hard time believing anyone can run around with a broadsword that is nearly as tall as them and use it with one hand. Still as good as the action is it really isn’t that much and it isn’t new. I tend to enjoy these kind of films and to be honest it was all something I’d seen before and I feel like the film makers were very aware of that.

The pacing didn’t help either. They get to Rochester early on and you have no change of scenery really for the rest of the movie and there isn’t much action. I think they show two or three assaults and that’s it.  A lot of the movie focuses on the characters and I guess they tried to develop them, but I didn’t really see that.

The cast was good, or at least as good as they were allowed to be. James Purefoy isn’t exactly riveting and Derek Jacobi is horribly under used. That man has amazing talent that is just wasted here (though he is still great). Brian Cox is like he is in most movies and does a good job, though again not used enough. Jason Flemyng and Mackenzie Crook are also nice, but their characters are basically just there to hack and slash. Flemyng gets a bit more attention. Kate Mara is good, but I felt like she didn’t really fit in, though that was more of a character thing. Tiberius is played by Vladimir Kulich and I kept hoping he’d get a nice speech somewhere. For basically just standing around, he caught my attention. Paul Giamatti of course plays King John. He does a really good job as far as I’m concerned. It was hard to take him seriously a few times simply because it was him, particularly during one of his infamous angry speeches. It just seemed very reminiscent of the ones he’s done before and it kind of ruined the moment. He did a hell of a job though and I’m glad the accent was just ignored.

I still really liked the movie, but there are defiantly better versions of the same thing. The director needed to either choose between making it an action, hack and slash movie or a drama, because in my mind he failed to balance the two, which I think was the intention.

Limitless

If only I could somehow organize everything in my head and focus. In a sense that’s what Limitless starts out as. A struggling writer ends up taking a pill that gives him a burst of nonstop adrenaline in addition to organizing whats in his head and allowing him to learn faster. Essentially his brain becomes a supped up computer.

Limitless is riddled with plot holes. I don’t know how you could expect it not to be. The film is outrageous and that’s kind of a good thing. It isn’t supposed to be realistic. You know the first clue to that? They don’t ever attempt to explain the drug. The movie takes a nifty idea and just tries to have some fun with it. I liked that. Still, there are some holes that are frustrating and the movie isn’t quite even. The tone tends to fluctuate and at times the story was a bit wandering. The ending was really good. It’s actually a bit of twist maybe. On one hand I expected it. It made sense, but in the back of my mind I kept going, nope won’t end that way. The movie is about drugs really, so the studio wouldn’t let it go that way. I’m kind of glad they did.

The visuals were pretty damned good though. I really liked the cinematography here and the style worked. The music was also great as well. It did a great job of matching up with the film. That and the Black Keys “Howlin’ For You” was a great choice, but I love that song anyways.

The acting was ok. There weren’t any glaring performances that blew. Bradley Cooper is hard to take seriously at first. I mean the half-assed attempt to make him look like a bum didn’t really work. I did however, like the effect they used on his eyes. The man has some lovely blue eyes to begin with, but when he’s drugged they make a point of highlighting that. Not sure if contact were used at some point, but I sort of noticed the effect. Anyways, he kind of falters in some of the more dramatic moments, but overall he did a pretty good job. Robert DeNiro was DeNiro. I don’t know how much he was really even acting, but he was still great despite the small screen time. He still kicked Cooper’s ass.

Not an amazing movie, but it had enough working for it to keep it a fun, fast, visually striking flick that keeps your attention for most of the movie. Usually if they start loosing you, they ratchet things up real quick to bring you back in.

Justified (Season 1 & 2)

I believe I heard about Justified from listening to Doug Benson’s, Doug Loves Movies podcast. I vaguely remember him saying he thought it was a great show. That or some other podcast, but I’m pretty sure it was his. Anyways, the mention of the show being good and Timothy Olyphant was enough to spark my interest.

The show Justified is currently on FX (season three will air in the spring I guess). The show essentially revolves around Deputy Marshall Raylan Givens (Timothy Olyphant) who works in Kentucky and was born and raised in Harlan County. Raylan is trigger happy, which is what a lot of the show is ultimately about in a way.

I love the show –  all two seasons. I actually was going to post a topic about season one, but I was already halfway through season two. I just got hooked. That and season two features more tie-ins, but that’s something for later.

So season one is and isn’t great. Overall it was amazing. At times I was sort of upset that most episodes stood alone. They didn’t run together, but were basically solving a “case” or issue per episode and usually didn’t relate. That changed by the end of the season, but initially it was disappointing a bit just because it felt like they wanted to have a continuous flow, but were held back by the possibility of not being renewed or something. Minor issue.

Season two was great. They improved some things from season one and you could tell they were more comfortable by that time. The show seemed to take on a larger scope to me. That and a lot of season two is basically all one big story. Actually I don’t there was an episode that wasn’t connected to the main story, which makes it hard to not keep watching.

The writing on the show is pretty good. The stories are interesting, but they aren’t really cop/detective/CSI story lines which is refreshing. the dialogue is pretty good to. It’s partly what makes the show funny, which it surprisingly is. It doesn’t stand out, but really there’s a lot of humor in the show. The characters are probably the best aspect of the show. There are a wide variety of characters that are reoccurring, even minor ones. That for one is nice to see. It also helps that they’ve bothered to detail these characters. Even the henchmen have names and identities that make you remember them. Raylan and Boyd (Walton Goggins) are the best characters to watch. They’re paired with each other from the beginning and that keeps cropping up throughout the two seasons. They do a good job developing the pair, especially Boyd. The only character and subsequent story that doesn’t work for me is the one with Raylon’s wife, Winona. It just doesn’t really mesh with the rest of the show and get’s way to much time in season 2.

The cast is really good. Timothy Olyphant is great, though I guess a lot of people don’t like him, which I could sort of see. Personally I think he’s great to begin with, but I think he fits this role really well. I really liked him in The Crazies as the Sheriff there and I unfortunately have yet to see Deadwood, but he seems to do these roles very well. Walton Goggins is better though. Boyd is an interesting character, but Goggins really brings him to life. I’ll refrain from elaborating, but the “speeches” he frequently gives (depending on where you are at) are amazing. They actually reminded me of Michael Parks in Red State at one point. M.C. Gainey is pretty kick-ass in season one as well. Jere Burns is amazing as well. I recently saw him in Breaking Bad and he still bugs me. He’s one of those guys you recognize, but can’t place (at least I couldn’t). I go on IMDB to find out about him and I can’t quite figure out where I saw him first since he’s been in so many things. Great actor.

Season two though is were the casting really hit me, particularly with the casting of the Bennett family. I think everyone of them was great. Margo Martindale as Mags is amazing. Totally worth the Emmy nod (as were Goggins and Olyphant – none won). Jeremy Davies was great as Dickie. Actually he’s one I wish had more screen time.

There are so many people I’m failing to mention cast wise, but I can’t mention them all. That would be a couple of posts on it’s own, because everyone is really fucking good in this show.

One of the things I liked is how dual season one and two are. Season one focuses on a sort of patriarchal family set up with the Crowder’s and in some instances Raylan’s issues with his father. Season two shifts two a matriarchal family head with Mag Bennett and actually Aunt Helen becomes more important as does Winona. One of those little things that fascinated me, that may or may not be intentional. I do love the matriarchal family though. Animal Kingdom is a great film with a matriarchal head of a criminal family and season two of Justified reminded me of that.

The music is really good in the show, but I already enjoy bluegrass and blues. The shows opening is actually great. The footage at least is really cool. The them would be great if it cut out the rap. The rap just doesn’t fit for starters and it isn’t that good, though the lyrics are fitting.

Anyways, I could go on and one, but I already have a lengthy enough post. Basically start watching Justified because it is worth it. Thanksgiving is coming up so everyone on a break should sit and watch this. It’s only two seasons to watch the whole thing so it’s not a lot. I did it in a  week and I still have classes.

 

Just watch the first episode and see if you can resist.

Archangel

I think Daniel Craig is a pretty good actor, but part of me still holds a grudge for him being cast as Bond. He just didn’t fit the bill, though he does a great job at the new version of Bond that they’ve created. When Craig was first cast as Bond one of my cousins hopped on the bandwagon and praised him. I sat and watched part of Archangel with him while my family was visiting, but not much. Now it’s been a few years and I’ve finally gotten around to checking the TV movie/mini-series out because Craig is in it.

Archangel takes place in Russia and deals with the clash of old and new Russia or the lack thereof. There’s a secret dealing with Stalin and Craig’s character being a Professor with a ton of knowledge on Stalin obviously wants to find this supposed diary and of course shenanigans ensue. Sort of.

Sounds something like dan Brown book right? You’re not far off. It’s based off of a novel by Richard Harris who writes mostly historical fiction novels similar to this. I never read Archangel, but I have read a few of his others and the books are really good. From what I recall they had a bit more action and suspense in them than this TV mini-series. Dan Brown’s books also have a lot more action in them, though neither are really action movies/books.

Daniel Craig was good and I suppose the rest of the cast wasn’t to bad, though nothing to call home about. I suppose I can see the argument that Craig hardly looks like a professor.

The series itself didn’t amaze me. The first episode wasn’t to bad. It showed some promised and seemed well produced. After that though, things just went down hill. There just wasn’t enough oomph or pizzaz, whatever your favorite word is.

The Next Three Days

I never know what to make of thrillers. There are plenty of good ones and they set the bar high. Unfortunately there are plenty of thrillers that get churned out that just don’t work. It’s a hard story to tell and I think audiences are very critical of these movies. Heck, I’m pretty sure people criticize the great ones. I’ve always been a fan of them though, which makes it even more frustrating when trying to decide whether I want to watch a new one or not. Advertising isn’t always great.

I initially was torn about The Next Three Days. It looked like it might be pretty good, but the premise was just insane. A guys wife (Crowe and Banks) get’s sentenced to prison for supposedly killing someone. Determined that she’s innocent, Crowe ultimately starts planning how to break her out of prison. Seems a bit farfetched and really it is. I hate to sound like a broken record, but no movie is perfect and I actually think thrillers tend to be one of the most flawed movies. The amount of twists and turns that we require of these films makes them more prone to be screwed up and The Next Three Days is no exception.

Apart from the premise being absurd (to me at least), my big problem was with the lack of character development. We focus so much on Russell Crowe trying to plan this break out that we only get a certain kind of development from him. The character does develop, but for me I didn’t know who he was to begin with. I never felt like there was enough backstory provided for him or Elizabeth Bank’s character for that matter for me to really know what to make of them. John (Crowe) was presented as an intelligent guy because he was figuring all of this nifty stuff out. I just felt like a it more backstory to who they were would’ve helped. It’s hard to agree with the character’s motives to begin with, but it could be done. Unfortunately we don’t really know the characters well enough. Of course there are a number of other things nit pick about, but that didn’t bug me so much.

The acting was really good though, which is helped make up for the plot issues. Russell Crowe turns out a solid performance as does Elizabeth Banks and the rest of the cast. The acting was actually pretty damned good. I’m not a fan of Crowe in general though. I tend to like his movies, he tends to pick really good ones. I’m just not a fan of him though and I’ve never been able to place why exactly.

One of the other faults of the film though is the timing. Things are paced a bit awkwardly and some of the scenes seem thrown in simply so that they can be used for later purposes. The whole thing with Olivia Wilde for example. The ending was great though. Again criticize them plot holes and how unrealistic it is all you want, the pacing was pretty damned good and I though they kept the suspense going pretty well. By the very end things died down. They dragged it out a bit to long, but still the ending overall made up for the rest of the movie being on the slower side.

It’s far from crap and I enjoyed it. It’s nowhere near great, but it’s better than most thriller or mystery styled movies that get churned out.

 

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