American Hustle Review/MAJOR SPOILERS

MAJOR SPOILERS FOLLOW…

Man I was so hyped for this movie.  So hyped, I had been talking about it for weeks, and how it would be the movie of the year, and now I’ve seen it.  Perfect cast, damn good music, interesting plot, and made by the people who made “Silver Linings Playbook”!  Surely this couldn’t disappoint, and I’m sure for most people it didn’t, but for me personally the movie didn’t even come close to living up to my larger than life expectations. 

Part of that I’m sure is my fault because I had hyped it up so much, but a lot of that was the movies fault too.  It just wasn’t that good, the story was long drawn out and quite frankly not that interesting, there was no real suspense, no real shock, and it wasn’t even funny!  I kept trying to figure out what kind of movie this was, and by the end of it I still don’t know.  There were a few laughs, the cast and the soundtrack was absolutely brilliant, but the movie just didn’t really seem to have much of a purpose.  I wanted to love this movie so much, I really did, but I can’t.  This movie had so much potential but it just didn’t utilize it.  The story while interesting in theory grows old really quickly, it wasn’t really funny aside from a few scenes(which can mostly be credited to the dynamic between Louis C.K. and Bradley Cooper, and Jennifer Lawrence who just owns her scenes), and it wasn’t really a thriller or a period piece either. 

The acting is absolutely amazing though.  The cast was absolutely brilliant.  In particular Jennifer Lawrence, Louis C.K., Bradley Cooper, and even Jeremy Renner really stood out here.  Jeremy Renner’s performance came as a real surprise to me, being that in the few things I’ve seen him in I haven’t really been a fan.  Here though, he absolutely kills it.  He really makes you feel for the character.  Jennifer Lawrence did a great job here, I also enjoyed Elizabeth Rohm(Kate Lockley from “Angel” and was also the D.A. on “Law and Order”) in the little bits of the film she’s in.  The Louis C.K. and Bradley Cooper dynamic was one of the strongest of the film. 

Christian Bale also undergoes a great transformation in the film, and is almost unrecognizable as the lead.  However I just didn’t like he or Amy Adam’s characters as much as I like them as actors.  Throughout the film, I feel like we’re supposed to empathize with them, but I just couldn’t.  The narration also grows old real fast. 

Overall, the move was just okay.  It’s not one I’d ever care to watch again unlike “Silver Linings Playbook”, it wasn’t terrible, but it surely wasn’t great.  Again it’s just my opinion, I’m aware a lot of people would probably disagree.  However in the end this movie just not that great.

Grade:  C 75%

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American Horror Story Coven: The Good, The Bad, and the Wicked

MAJOR SPOILERS FOLLOW

“American Horror Story: Coven” while incredibly entertaining, has gone from sharply written jaw dropping fun to mostly just jaw dropping twists.  It’s still the show I look forward to most each week, just because of the fantastic cast and crazy fun, but the show’s writing has definitely taken a toll these last few weeks.  So what have I loved about this season and what have I hated?  Read further!

The Good

  1. Emma Roberts as Madison Montgomery

It shouldn’t come as a surprise(bitch!) that Emma Roberts performance as Madison Montgomery has been the breakout performance of the season.  From her first scene in episode one, I was hooked to her character.  Watching her intently to see what crazy stunt or bitchy quip she’d come up with next.  Emma Roberts has been able to convey a wide range of emotions, and clearly gives it her all in each every scene she performs in, and it shows.  I can only hope that Emma Roberts is back for Season Four. 

   2.  The Cast in General

There really isn’t weak link in the cast.  I’ve heard a lot of people complain about Gabourey Sidibe’s work on the show, but I personally have loved her work.  Taissa Farmiga transitions great from wallflower witch to badass.  Frances Conroy, Jessica Lange, Kathy Bates, and Angela Basset’s names alone should explain their work.  Lily Rabe’s perfect as the sweet swamp witch Misty, and her southern accent sounds as if it was natural.  As uninteresting as the Kyle storyline has been, Evan Peters has absolutely killed it as Kyle.  Seriously, the emotion he’s able to portray is superb.  Jamie Brewer also does some great work here, and I particularly enjoyed her translating Spalding, one of the best scenes of the season. 

The supporting cast is just as great.  Alexandra Breckenridge popping up in two episodes was great, and I need her back next year.  Hank’s actor has done some excellent work as well, but I got to wonder given the similarities between him and Dylan McDermott, do you think he was cast because Dylan was busy with Hostages?  Regardless he’s been great. 

           3. Directorial Risks

The directors have taken a lot of risks with the visuals of the series.  The shots and effects have been great. 

         4.  Entertaining

Despite some of the weaker aspects the show still manages to entertain me each and every week. 

       THE BAD

   -1. To Much in To Little Time It seems as if with each new episode there’s a new storyline being introduced, and if the show wasn’t a 13 episode mini-series that’d be great, but here we are Episode Nine of Thirteen, and there are still so many storylines that haven’t been resolved. What happened to the Axeman? Is that storyline going to resolve itself, or will the character just be forgotten? With just four episodes left, I don’t see them being able to wrap it all up in a satisfying way.
-2. Family Next Door Luke and his mother, who’s played by Patti LaPone, have been two of the most aggravating aspects of the season. They just aren’t interesting! I also don’t get why they even brought the mother back, outside of her being played by Patti LaPone.
-3. Should’ve Been Extended Into Two Seasons I know the whole point of the series is it’s anthology style, and each story is a new one, but this particular one should have been stretched out into two seasons. The characters and storylines are too big to just be rushed in one season of thirteen episodes. By “Murder House” episode nine you could already feel that the story was winding down, this show it seems like we have another dozen or so episodes left.
-4. To Much Humor, Not Enough Story While I’ve absolutely loved the humor this season, I feel like they’re kind of overdoing it a bit. The story seems to be coming second to the witty one liners. There needs to be a balance there between story and humor, and there isn’t.
Overall
The season while entertaining has definitely been lacking. The cast, the ideas, and the humor is spot on. Even the ideas are in the right place, but when it comes down to the execution of the stories it’s been really off. Hopefully these final episodes are able to steer the series in the right direction, and hopefully next season is a bit more focused.

Homeland “The Star” Review/MAJOR SPOILERS

MAJOR SPOILERS FOLLOW…

It was always about him.

After a season filled with disappoint, Homeland turns it around with an episode I’ll remember for a while to come.  “The Star” is a game changing but completely necessary swan song to Nicholas Brody.  The episode regains the shows suspenseful feel which it’s been missing for some time now, it does the unthinkable but the 100% necessary thing and kills of the lead character. 

The episode is filled with powerful and emotional scenes, but the one that stands out in particular isn’t even between Carrie and Brody.  The scene where a desperate Carrie pleads with Javadi to free Brody, was heartbreaking and superbly written.  The dialogue and acting in the scene is top notch, and I honestly almost cried.  I really need to rewatch the episode to get the whole speech written down, but the scene was just excellent. 

The scenes with Brody and Carrie within the safe house were also great.  The scene itself pointed out exactly why Brody needed to die.  Brody’s family would never be able to trust him, nor the public,  and Brody wouldn’t even be able to show his face in public.  The Brody and Carrie romance has been doomed from the beginning, but the Langly bombing was the real end of it.  So if Brody survived this season what would be the point?  The story needed to end, and oh did it. 

Brody’s death was incredibly tragic, even though he was a terrorist.  The scene where Brody is raised up by the crane and Carrie climbs the fence and screams his name, oh god the feels.  Even up to that point I was unsure if the writers would truly kill off the lead, but they did.  They did it, and they weren’t going to apologize for it, or leave it to the viewers interpretation.  Nicholas Brody is dead, but he died with dignity and even some redemption. 

Another aspect I liked was that they didn’t exactly blame Saul for everything, and paint him as the villain as they had all season.  Saul left an impact on the CIA, and there was no Carrie telling Saul off or any of that bullshit.  Saul tried his best to save Brody, but in the end he couldn’t, and even if he did what would have happened next.  I don’t know if Saul will be a regular next year, but I liked that in the end they let him go without having anyone tell him how wrong he’s been. 

The epilogue sets up a lot for Season Four of the series.  Peter Quinn best be a regular next season, that guy is a straight up bamf.  I’m intrigued by the whole Istanbul storyline they seem to be setting up.  I don’t know how I feel about the baby, usually when babies introduced into the show it’s mostly as plot device and they’re pretty much ignored till the plot demands it.  So I’m kind of hoping the baby stays with her sister and dad, and pops up from time to time.  Let’s hope this one doesn’t have the same taste in men as her sister, and well yeah her mother too. 

Overall, this was an excellent episode.  Exciting from beginning to end, I can only hope the Fourth Season is more like this episode rather than the rest of Season Three.
One final thing of importance is the final titular scene. Carrie feeling that Brody sure earned his star, goes to the wall and draws on for it. It was beautiful, it really was. Excellent scene.

OVERALL:  A+ 100%  Not perfect but damn close enough that I felt “hell let’s just give it a hundred and call it a day”.

 

Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Review/MAJOR SPOILERS

MAJOR SPOILERS…

Gunn, god damn it!  I was so pumped for J. August Richards return this week, and it didn’t disappoint till you know, he gets blown up at the end of it.  This was seriously like the best episode they’ve had all season and you want to know why?  Charles motherf*cking Gunn returned, and was straight up badass.  It’s not just that though, the whole entire episode had a feel reminiscent of “Angel”, the sets, the humor, and well J. August Richards.

J. August Richards’ return doesn’t disappoint, except for the fact that he may have died at the end.  The interaction between him and the rest of the cast was great, and damn couldn’t he be the shows macho man instead Special Agent Cardboard.. err I mean Ward.  Not that I really have a problem with the actor playing Ward, but the character’s as interesting as drying paint and dying grass. 

Now outside of Mike/Gunn, most of the characters shine here(except for CardWard, and May, the boring badasses with no personalities).  I don’t get all the hate for Sky, I like that she adds a more human side to the show, and thanks for someone finally pointing out that this whole “telepath’s don’t exist” bullshit is well bullshit.  I’ve been enjoying Fitz and Simmons since “Fzzt”, and nothings really changed there.  Gemma’s crush on Gunn(Mike, but really he’s Gunn) was great.  Isn’t Gemma just perfect?  If this weeks episode showed anything it’s that, if the show had focuses on Gunn, Fitz, Simmons, and you know what judge me all you want but Skye, it’d be much better. 

One issue I’ve had with the show, surprisingly, is Coulson.  He just kind of comes off as douche all the time.  I get he’s our tie-in to the movies, but he just seems so different and less fun on this show.  The prison breakout scene was pretty cool, and the villains seem interesting enough.  The only thing about the cliffhanger that really excited me was that we’ll find out what Tahiti is, and I was quite pissed about Gunn’s death(BRING HIM BACK!).

Overall, very fun episode.  This show should be retooled as “Agents of Gunn”, and focus on him, Fitz, Simmons, and Skye.  The best way to view this show is by forgetting it’s a COMIC SHOW, once you do that you can enjoy it a bit more. 

 GRADE:  B 86% 

NOTES FOR IMPROVEMENT: 

Good work here, but you could use a bit more Gunn, and Gemma.  Also Fitz. 

Arrow “The Scientist” Review/MAJOR SPOILERS

MAJOR SPOILERS…

Arrow’s sure been a lot of fun this season.  Last season was quite frankly pretty awful save for a few episodes, but as of so far there have really only been two episodes I haven’t enjoyed that much(one of them wasn’t even that bad).  This week’s episode gives us a lot of big changes going forward, Shado is dead(I really liked her and the actress), Slade is alive and Brother Blood is working for him, the Flash is born, and just a lot of in general fun scenes. 

One of the nice things about this episode was the brief return of Tommy Merlyn, Colin Donnel and Thea’s actress in terms of main cast carried the first season for me, and I was quite sad when they killed him off.  Even if it was just for that brief moment, Tommy’s return was excellently done and felt well deserved.  I feel like that return felt very natural, and almost inevitable seeing as how Tommy’s legacy has been a huge arc this season(reminds me a bit of Doakes’s appearance in the Season Seven Finale of Dexter).  Hopefully we get some more Tommy, or at the very least Colin gets some more regular television work.

Another highlight was Manu Bennet.  Is he one badass mofo or what?  I mean he ripped a guy’s heart out of his chest?  I’m excited to see Deathstroke step up as this season’s big bad, but good god was his present day appearance the most ridiculous thing ever or what?  I mean were the white highlights really necessary, also that eye-patch looked pretty fake.  Anyways though, Manu Bennet=badass. 

Barry Allen’s been cool enough these last two episodes, and the cliffhanger has me really pumped for the Flash series next year(we have to wait till fall of 2014 to get see what happens next, why!!!!!!!?).  I like Felicity, but I feel like the character has been a bit of a week spot this season.  I REALLY REALLY don’t want Olicity to be a thing, like please no, never.  Farricity is slightly better, but I don’t know her romances just don’t interest me much.  I still really like the actress but I don’t know. 

Did you miss Laurel last week?  No, well she’s back and does pretty much nothing.  It sucks Laurel is pretty much the opposite of Batman, because I really loved Katie Cassidy in Supernatural, and the character would be ten times better and believable if she brought that fierce sexiness she brought to Ruby to Laurel.  Also if they gave the character better writing that might help too.

Thea, Roy, and Sin are proving to be a nice little junior group of Super Friends.  Cyrus “Grundy” Gold is a pretty badass foe, and I hope he shows up from time to time just to knock Arrow around a bit(showing him robbing a bank or something, don’t devote a whole episode to it).  Brother Blood seems a bit weak in this episode, probably because it’s revealed he’s basically Slade’s pawn.  Another thing that pisses me off is that cop guy, Quentin is like the only competent cop you have and you get all annoyed because he’s bringing you information. 

Overall, this was a really great episode lots of fun. 

OVERALL:  A- 90%

 

 

Homeland SPOILERS: Morena Baccarin and Morgan Saylor No Longer Regulars, The Internet Sighs in Relief, and Chris Brody Takes the Spotlight in Season 4.

 

SPOILERS…

Morena Baccarin(Mrs. Brody) and Morgan Saylor(who plays fan favorite character Dana Brody) have been downed to potential guest-recurring for the Fourth Season.  Does this maybe spoil Brody’s finale fate?  Both were pretty talented, especially Morena, but I can’t say I’m particularly sad to see either character go(Specially Dana).  Morena’s exit likely has to do with her pregnancy as well, and maybe the writers realized fans weren’t so keen on Dana’s love stories. 

In other news the writers have revealed one Brody will be taking center stage in the fourth season.  “The thing [the critics] haven’t really thought about when it comes to Chris, is that this is a show filled with espionage.  Which raises the question, what is Chris doing when absolutely no one is giving a shit about his character?  It’s a question we’ll answer in the fourth season.” says EP Howard Gordon, who previously worked on 24.  LOL, just kidding, no ones started caring about Chris, but seriously no more Dana love storylines guys!  However with that comes the sadness that is no more Jess:(, and I did like Dana’s scenes with Brody but really no other ones.  So merry Christmas/Kwanza/Hanukkah guys, from Homeland to you no more Leos or Finns! 

The Mindy Project “Christmas Party Sex Trap” Review/MAJOR SPOILERS

MAJOR SPOILERS FOLLOW…

This is without a doubt my favorite show, it never fails to make me smile, or surprise me with lovely little pop-culture references.  The Mindy Project winter finale/Christmas episode delivers on all levels, and solidifies itself as the best episode all season(series?).  I mean if you aren’t watching Mindy Project already(WHY, WHY, WHY?!?!?), watch this episode and if you don’t like it, you must have a severe hatred of fun. 

The episode focuses on the titular plan that Mindy embarks on to get with Cliff(which treats the audience to a hilariously amazing performance of “Santa Baby” by Mindy herself).  The episode also begins to set up a possible love triangle with Mindy, Cliff, and Danny.  Now while I’ve kind of opposed the whole Danny/Mindy thing, this episode actually kind of got me excited about the possibility of it.  Danny’s Christmas gift to Mindy was spectacular,  I was totally rooting for her to kiss him after he did that awesome dance for her. 

The episode’s side story focuses on Peter and Jeremy, and it’s entertaining enough though it doesn’t really live up to the Mindy storyline. I absolutely loved the scene where the guy from above get’s mad at his girlfriend for singing “Santa Baby”, and says “As a feminist quite frankly I’m offended”. The show’s cast is all really well shown hear, and this show without a doubt has one of the best ensemble casts on television.
Overall, PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE, watch this show. It’s amazing and it’s not doing too good in ratings right now. So please watch MINDY PROJECT!!!!!!!!!
OVERALL: A+ 96%