Archive | May, 2015

Game of Thrones “Hardhome” Review (5×08)

31 May


“I’m not going to stop the wheel. I’m going to break the wheel.”

History is essential in the Game of Thrones world. It’s a world in which your lineage determines your standing, in which people are bound by the wheel of history at every turn. Although many have tried, breaking the wheel is an extremely difficult task to accomplish because you’re essentially fighting against powerful forces, forces that have congregated over the years to be what they are now. As we move into the final two episodes of season five (and beyond), the clash between past and future is moving to the forefront.

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Orphan Black “Community of Dreadful Fear and Hate” Review (3×07)

31 May


“If your house gets too crowded, do you tell your family they need to find a different place to live?”

While it certainly is one of the more on-the-nose moments of the entire series, Alison’s trustee election speech still is an encapsulation of the major theme governing this show: family. We’ve seen families torn apart recently, but what Orphan Black keeps coming back around to are the indelible bonds these people share. No matter what difficulties may befall these characters, what remains at the end of it all is the concept of family.

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Louie “The Road: Part 2” Review (5×08)

29 May


“It’s comedy. It’s fun.”

“The Road: Part 2” is centered around several contrasting character interactions, each one highlighting a different aspect of Louie’s personality and of others’ perceptions of that personality. The first one involves Louie dressing up as a general and subsequently dancing up a storm, and it’s a prime example of his ability to interact with others, of his willingness to be open to new experiences. The women do nothing less than fawn over him, and he certainly comes away from it feeling happy about what he just did.

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Ex Machina Review

26 May


Ex Machina is a beautifully crafted film, one that is neither too convoluted for its own good nor too straightforward for its complex, interwoven ideas. It immerses you in a world of visual and thematic contrasts, never letting go as it takes you from automatic to deliberate, from night to day, from machine parts to consciousness, from lush green forests to clinical, windowless rooms. It’s a well drawn, tension building masterpiece that combines wit, intelligence, and great performances as it delves into a plethora of fascinating topics.

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Community “Wedding Videography” Review (6×12)

26 May


This is a bizarre episode that I wasn’t expecting to work as well as it did. There are several swing-and-a-miss moments throughout, but overall, it’s able to end up as a consistently funny half hour with some solid character moments. It’s a more intimate look at the group than we’ve had in recent memory, highlighting not only the endearing, entertaining side of these individuals, but also the darker side that can come out. As fun as they are to watch, Jeff, Britta, Annie, and the rest all have flaws, and some of those flaws can be attributed to the idea of the group itself.

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Penny Dreadful “Evil Spirits in Heavenly Places” Review (2×04)

25 May


Penny Dreadful can shine just based on the strength of its acting alone. Pair any two characters together, and you’ll likely witness some incredibly compelling television, regardless of what the two are talking about. This is absolutely key in a series like this one: its horror elements are unable to truly shine through if the characters are not interesting to watch, and the themes of the show don’t hit as effectively if we don’t feel attachments to the people involved.

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Orphan Black “Certain Agony of the Battlefield” Review (3×06)

23 May


“We do terrible things for the people we love. Stop asking ‘why?’, and start asking ‘who?'”

“Certain Agony of the Battlefield” is exactly the kind of episode this season needs. It’s a thrill ride from the first second to the last, an hour brimming with tension and history and energy. It brings many of the show’s plots together, delivers answers to burning questions, and tells a compelling story in and of itself, and it’s easily one of the best episodes this show has produced.

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Louie “The Road: Part 1” Review (5×07)

21 May


The monotony of a Louie trip is summed up by the opening of the episode: him tossing a bunch of clothes into his suitcase and droning “Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday, sweat”. Like he tells his driver–Mike, played wonderfully by Devin Ratray–this trip is pretty much “like going to the toilet, something I have to do”. The season’s not just looking at Louie within the context of his kids or his relationships; rather, it’s also looking at what it means to him to be a comedian, what it really means to “take a trip”.

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Community “Modern Espionage” Review (6×11)

19 May


Community‘s first two paintball episodes were comedy classics, episodes that brought both humor and poignant emotional beats as they paid homage to a considerable number of action movies. They were the show at its best, and although “Modern Espionage” doesn’t quite capture the magic of those two episodes–what can?–it’s still my favorite episode of the new season. It’s an entertaining ride from start to finish, and it still manages to stay fresh and fun.

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Mad Men “Person to Person” Review (7×14)

18 May

Screen shot 2015-05-17 at 11.17.47 PM

“Happiness is just a moment before you need more happiness.”

This specific quote is nowhere to be found in the series finale of Mad Men, but the idea behind it plays out in nearly every scene of the hour. It’s certainly not the best episode this show has produced, but it puts a thematic bow on the series, giving us a snapshot of and hope for these characters’ futures; yes, there will always be something in life that knocks them down and causes intense self-doubt, but what matters at the end of “Person to Person” is the fact that they find happiness in this moment. What matters is that we see just how much life is built on being person to person, on being formed out of the relationships we share with others. Happiness, therefore, is only a person away.

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