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The Leftovers “Certified” Review (3×06)

21 May

“I want fucking closure.”

At the beginning of “Certified”, Laurie sits in her office talking to a woman who lost her child during The Departure. In fact, this is the same woman we saw in the very first scene of the series, and seeing her again here transports us back to the good ‘ol days of season one. We’re transported back for a very good reason, though: witnessing Laurie’s story come full circle. She hasn’t simply done a 360; she’s grown and changed and regressed and struggled, a process very true to life (and especially true to life under these extraordinary conditions). However, she is at the point of suicide once again.

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Baywatch Review

19 May

The opening scene of this movie is one of the best of the year. It follows The Rock in all his suave, muscular glory as he jumps into the water to save a drowning beachgoer. It features a glorious overuse of slow motion, random unnecessary closeups, and a huge title card rising out of the water as he carries a limp body to safety. It’s beautiful in a way that inspires confidence in the rest of the movie, namely confidence in its clear understanding of the outlandish nature of the story. Unfortunately, this incredibly refreshing opening is squandered immediately, and the rest of the two hour runtime only contains flashes of that bold “who gives a shit” attitude.

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The Leftovers “It’s a Matt, Matt, Matt, Matt World” Review (3×05)

14 May

“Ta da. You’re saved.”

The Matt-centric episodes have been some of the best hours this series has produced thus far, and though I’m probably in the minority when I say that this one doesn’t resonate quite as much with me, it still features some top-notch scenes throughout. It’s a fascinating setup: Laurie and Matt going at it, two ways of thinking clashing amidst the strangeness of a lion orgy on a ferry from Tasmania to Melbourne. The episode mines a fair bit of humor from the scenario, and the show once again strikes a nice balance between sheer absurdity and profound character drama.

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The Leftovers “G’Day Melbourne” Review (3×04)

7 May

“Then you should go be with them.”

I feel like I say this every week, but what a gut punch of an episode. This show is simply operating on another level than the rest of television at the moment, and it’s truly a marvel to watch as we approach the end. “G’Day Melbourne” in particular is a masterclass in writing: it’s a brilliantly structured slow collapse, i.e. we see the end coming from a mile away, but there’s absolutely nothing we can do about it. Obviously, there was a reason Nora and Kevin were in love in the first place, but we see that their mindsets are taking them in separate directions. We see it during the sex scene in the airport bathroom, during their actions alone, and even during their more light-hearted interactions. Nora referring to their relationship as a “toxic, co-dependent” one is extremely accurate, even if she says it in a joking manner.

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The Leftovers “Crazy Whitefella Thinking” Review (3×03)

30 Apr

“It’s all just a story I told myself. I’ve got to be crazy, haven’t I?”

This week’s episode takes us through several intertwined storylines that are heartbreaking and frustrating in equal measure. I don’t mean frustrating in the sense of weak writing; rather, they’re frustrating as collections of choices and occurrences, frustrating because their subjects make decisions that seemingly get themselves–and others–in more and more trouble. Primarily, we have Kevin Garvey Sr. stumbling his way through Australia, trying to follow what he deems to be signs. Maybe they are, maybe they aren’t. However, the sheer fact that Garvey Sr. is so hellbent on believing places his storyline smack dab in the middle of the series’s themes.

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Free Fire Review

25 Apr

One of the more disappointing efforts of the year thus far, and not because I had any delusions about this being a masterpiece. Rather, this is disappointing because Ben Wheatley understands exactly what this film is and what he needs to do, yet still doesn’t do it very well. It’s oftentimes bad chaotic when it should be good chaotic, dull when it should be fast-paced, and cringeworthy when it should be cool. I don’t quite understand the praise for the script because some of these lines sound like they’re coming from the mouth of a wannabe filmmaker who once saw a Tarantino highlight reel on Youtube. The setup before the firefight is the most egregious example of this–awkward and unfunny and an awful attempt at building tension–and it’s not till everyone starts getting shot that the actors begin to shine.

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The Leftovers “Don’t Be Ridiculous” Review (3×02)

23 Apr

“I just want to take some fucking control.”

In my opinion, Nora Durst is the most fascinating character on television right now. A lot of that is due to Carrie Coon’s performance–she is incredible, and I could praise her to no end–but a lot of that is also due to the writing for her character. She’s held up as a contrast of sorts to people like the faith driven Matt, her determination palpable when it comes to disproving Departure related incidents. Actions like printing out a picture of Pillar Man’s corpse don’t exactly speak kindly to her as a compassionate human being, but if you look at her actions in the context of her past, you see that this all develops out of a deep reservoir of pain.

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