Archive | December, 2014

The Top 15 Television Performances of 2014

27 Dec


Welcome to the first installment of my 2014 Year End series. Over the next week, you’ll see the following: The Top Television Performances of 2014 (down below), The Top Television Episodes of 2014, and The Top Television Shows of 2014. My year end movie lists will be out in a month or so, as I still have quite a few movies to see. For now, enjoy this list! I only have one performance from each show in the top 15, but I added some shout-outs in certain places.

Honorable mentions: Amy Acker and Sarah Shahi for “Person of Interest”, Manu Bennett for “Arrow”, Julia Louis-Dreyfus for “Veep”, Andre Braugher for “Brooklyn Nine-Nine”, Julianna Margulies for “The Good Wife”, Samira Wiley for “Orange Is the New Black”, Louis CK for “Louie”, Pedro Pascal for “Game of Thrones”, All four “The Affair” folks (for the record, either Maura Tierney or Ruth Wilson would be #16 on this list)

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The Interview Review

25 Dec


This movie is going to be remembered for every reason except it being a good movie. It’s certainly not surprising that North Korea took offense to its release, nor is it surprising that Sony eventually decided to release it, but perhaps the most unsurprising thing about it is the fact that James Franco and Seth Rogen really like rectums. I’m assuming that during one of their coke-fueled bro sessions (I assume they have those in real life), they once again found their sixth-grade humor, thought about their luscious behinds, and decided to make a movie about peeing and pooping in North Korea.

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Two Days, One Night Review

23 Dec


“You have to fight for your job.”

Two Days, One Night (or Deux jours une nuit) tells an elegant, profoundly affecting, and quietly wonderful story about a woman who takes control of her life and influences others in the process. It utilizes a simple narrative–Sandra, who works at a solar panel factory, has to persuade a majority of her 16 coworkers to vote for her keeping her job over them receiving their €1000 bonuses–and it’s better off for it, as this simplicity still allows us to witness a broad spectrum of humanity on display.

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The Affair “10” Review (1×10)

21 Dec

21AFFAIR-tmagArticle“I’m my own person. I make my own decisions. I chose him.”

The concept of choice seems to be a prevalent one as we come to the end of the first season of The Affair. After all, choices made by Noah Solloway and Alison Lockhart at the beginning of the series were exactly what set into motion the downward spiral of events that brought us here. Those choices led to an affair, to disintegration of families, and to attempts to move on to new lives, and the image of Cole pointing a gun at Noah is a culmination of those myriad choices. The show asks us: What is it that causes someone to make a choice like Noah and Alison did? What happens as a result of those choices?

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Homeland “Long Time Coming” Review (4×12)

21 Dec

Screen shot 2014-12-21 at 1.49.31 PM

“Let’s face it: not every choice we make is blessed with moral clarity.”

After three months of wonderful buildup, Homeland closes its season with a meandering finale that focuses on the worst aspect of the show: Carrie’s problems at home. Now, don’t get me wrong; that was fairly well handled early on in the show, but recently, it has become extremely derivative and grating. To close out such an exciting and compelling season like this is disappointing, to say the least.

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Saturday Night Live “Amy Adams/One Direction” Live Blog and Review (4×10)

20 Dec


A VERY SOMBER CHRISTMAS WITH SAM SMITH/DR. EVIL: First of all, Taran Killam’s Sam Smith impression is pitch perfect. Second of all, we get a huge surprise here with Mike Meyers’s Dr. Evil, and although the jabs at North Korea and Sony are pretty generic, it’s enjoyable watching the character yet again. GRADE: B-

MONOLOGUE: Okay, so as some of you may know, I love Amy Adams and will watch her in any movie…yes, even Man of Steel; she and Jessica Chastain are neck and neck for my favorite working actress today, with Marion Cotillard close behind. As for the monologue, she’s perfectly charming and all, but man, we seriously do not need Kristen Wiig back on the show. In addition, musical monologues are rarely good. GRADE: C+

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The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson “Series Finale” Review

20 Dec


“You came to a show that — let’s be honest — was a bit of a fixer-upper and it kind of stayed that way. Maybe ‘art’ is a very grand word. What I was trying to do here is to make something that wasn’t here before.”

Yes, this show is art. I haven’t been watching for very long, but what I’ve seen on TV and online is something special, something entertaining, something incredibly strange yet endearing. For 10 years, Craig Ferguson has been arguably the best late night host on television, and sadly, not many people–including those at his own network–have had the chance to experience the wonder of his intimate studio. He bowed out yesterday with a funny, poignant, and excellent hour of TV, and I’m sad to see him go.

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The Colbert Report “Series Finale” Review

19 Dec


“That was FUN!”

For nine years and 1447 episodes, Stephen Colbert crafted one of the greatest television characters in TV history. However, when he looks at the camera at the end of the series finale and exclaims “That was FUN!”, there is no difference between Colbert the character and Colbert the person; he truly means it, and as an audience, I’m sure we can all agree that that statement is 100% accurate. It has been a blast to watch this extremely brilliant political satirist do his thing four nights a week, and his closing half hour is a bittersweet, beautiful, and simply perfect end to the show.

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Person of Interest “The Cold War” Review (4×10)

17 Dec

Person-of-Interest-Season-4-Episode-10-The-Cold-War-06“Human beings need structure, or they wind up destroying themselves.”

The very first idea explored in this season was the idea of purpose, the idea that in order to survive, humans need to have something to work toward; the show looked at that idea through Team Machine and the disguises its members had to take on, and now, we’re being posed the questions: Does purpose translate to structure? How much structure do we need in our lives? Does free will get sacrificed in the name of security, in the name of control? Similar types of questions are oftentimes tackled in the national security vs. civil liberties debate, and Person of Interest is deftly utilizing the conflict between the Machine and Samaritan to go into depth with these ideas.

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Wild Review

15 Dec


“If your nerve deny you, go above your nerve.”

From first glance, Wild may seem like the kind of movie with a mind-blowing epiphany at the end, the kind of movie about oneness with nature or about a walk through an all-healing wilderness. However, it seems to be more about acceptance than it is about redemption, acceptance of who Cheryl Strayed is, every single ugly aspect–e.g. heroin addiction–included. At one point in the film, she asks: “What if I forgive myself? What if I was sorry?” Then, she goes on: “But if I could go back in time, I wouldn’t do a single thing differently. What if all those things I did were the things that got me here?” Ultimately, the walk is about life in general, about the hardships and the beauty and the ugliness that follow you wherever you go, and it’s about confronting and experiencing the world in its most natural form.

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