Archive | July, 2015

Strike Back: Legacy Episode 1 Review

31 Jul


“Violence is not the answer. Violence can never solve the differences we have.”

It’s telling that this statement by Ambassador Robin Foster is intercut with a violent shootout, with people dying all around as he delivers a bomb-filled package to the North Koreans. It’s part of a sequence that’s frustratingly devoid of logic–he’s really just walking through the embassy with a package that nobody bothers to check, and Locke doesn’t mention that there’s a bomb?–but it also strikes at the main theme of the episode: the inevitable intersection between family and work.

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Rectify “Girl Jesus” Review (3×04)

30 Jul

“You have to bend to this life, Daniel. It does not bend to you.”

Rectify has been using the “fix the kitchen” metaphor to reflect the lives of its characters, to highlight just how broken and in need of repair many of these relationships are (also, Humpty Dumpty metaphors). Ted’s kitchen-fixing journey seems to be a never-ending project, one that lingers at the back of his mind at every second, and there’s no question that the tension has been mounting between him and Janet over it. What makes this show so layered and nuanced, however, is the fact that it delves deeply into both the “broken” and “in need of repair” parts. Yes, these characters have experienced disappointment and pain and neglect, but little by little, they might just be able to make something out of the kitchen. Progress may be slow-moving, but that’s just how life can be sometimes. It’s more of a “crooked path” than a “straight line”, as Amantha and Jon discuss during their scene together.

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Mr. Robot “eps1.5_br4ve-trave1er.asf” Review (1×06)

29 Jul

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“This is a zero sum game.”

At this point in the story, many characters feel like they have to make a decision, like they have to change something and move forward; yet, they’re still caught in a middle ground of sorts, in a state of indecision as they face their challenges head on. Angela, for example, is all about her plan to “change the world”, but she doesn’t really do much when she heads over to Terry Colby’s house. Tyrell’s been making moves to become CTO, but after he’s ripped apart by Scott Knowles, he ends up throwing a hissy fit in his kitchen and worries about “overstepping” (his wife states that he’s “spinning out of control”). Elliot grapples with his “flight or fight” response throughout the episode, and he mentions early on that he really should get on picking one of them. The problem, of course, is that it’s just not that easy to ‘pick one’, and that’s a prevalent idea across the show as a whole. Is life really “better when [we’re] numb?” Do we choose to be numb?

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Me and Earl and the Dying Girl Review

27 Jul

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Me and Earl is fun and charming, but it also has the ability to pack an emotional wallop. It’s a story filled with digressions, striking production choices, and hilarious movie parodies, and it takes you through the confusing times of adolescence as its characters come face to face with loss. For the most part, it’s funny and moving without feeling exploitative, and it’s a thoroughly enjoyable film that finds a nice balance between the comedic and dramatic.

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True Detective “Church in Ruins” Review (2×06)

26 Jul


“That’s what pain does. It shows you what was on the inside. And inside of you is pure gold.”

The world of True Detective season two is a bleak one, to say the least. It’s dark and corrupt and suffocating, and it grabs ahold of you from the beginning, never letting go as you attempt to move toward a brighter future. There are glimmers of hope and optimism here and there, but those are just rest stops along the way as you get caught in the same cycles over and over again. “I would’ve been different,” Ray tells Frank in a scene reminiscent of those earlier bar conversations. He is, of course, talking about the fact that he killed the wrong guy all those years ago, and we can see the pent-up frustration about to blow here. But as he points a gun at Frank from under the table, the response he gets is about the “lies people tell themselves”, about “excuses”. He hates the fact that he got screwed over by Frank, but he just continues the cycle by making another deal. It’s easy to say what would’ve been, but this season has been intent on highlighting the idea that expectations don’t mesh with reality.

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Hannibal “The Great Red Dragon” Review (3×08)

25 Jul


Note: Because I won’t be at home to post this later tonight, the review is being published early. Full spoilers follow.

“Dear Will: We have all found a new life, but our old ones hover in the shadows.”

Will Graham has a wife, a kid, and a bunch of lovable dogs now in his new life. He’s been living cannibal-free for three years, and we see him doing pretty well as the beautiful barks of those dogs pierce the chilly air. And yet, even as those furry creatures prance around in the gorgeous snow, there’s no doubt that the influence of Hannibal Lecter–that the influence of his old life–still lingers over him. He knows what’s going on with the recent murders, and it’s actually Hannibal’s warning to him that primarily motivates him to return to the Jack Crawford Party. Yes, Jack and Molly are there to urge him to help out, but in the end, Will burning the letter–which warns him about the madness awaiting behind Jack’s open door–is essentially a statement from him to his ex-boyfriend.

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Rectify “Sown with Salt” Review (3×03)

24 Jul


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“You can go anywhere.”

This is what Jon tells Daniel during a flashback scene midway through “Sown with Salt”. It’s a gorgeous scene all around, but it’s also one that offers up hope for a future that ultimately never comes, one that both emphasizes the show’s fascination with the world’s opportunities and underscores the static nature of life in Paulie. I’ve always maintained that this show is much more optimistic than it might seem at first, but there’s no doubt that it also gives us both sides of the coin, mixing them together into a wonderful exploration of all facets of life.

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Mr. Robot “eps1.4_3xpl0its.wmv” Review (1×05)

23 Jul


“People always make the best exploits.”

Even though hacking–and technology in general–oftentimes comes with a depersonalizing element, Mr. Robot is still fundamentally about what it means to be a human in modern society. To be a human is to have deep fears and vulnerabilities, to care about others, to be someone easily exploited by the harsh outside world. As Mobley so aptly puts it: “People are all just people, right? When it gets down to it, everyone is the same. They love something. They want something. They fear something. The specifics help us, but the specifics don’t change how everyone is vulnerable. It just changes the way that we access those vulnerabilities.”

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True Detective “Other Lives” Review (2×05)

20 Jul


“It’s never too late to start all over again.”

It’s been 66 days since the shootout at the end of episode four, and we’re now at a point in the story where we’re seeing both the ways these characters have changed and have stayed the same. We’re also at a point where they just want everything out in the open, things laid bare and cases solved even if “nobody [else] fucking cares”. Things have been dragged on for far too long, and many of them simply want it to all end. Interestingly enough, though, they have to dive back into past waters in order to attempt to put an end to things, and that raises the question of whether or not they can ever truly find peace. In a city filled to the brim with corruption, will they ever get exactly what they want? Or, is it just all a fantasy?

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Hannibal “Digestivo” Review (3×07)

18 Jul

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“Some beasts shouldn’t be caged.”

What an episode. This is the culmination of several seasons’ worth of pain and heartbreak and betrayal and love, an hour that both closes off the season’s experimental first half and sets up what very well could be the show’s final stretch. It’s an hour filled to the brim with dark humor and truly disturbing imagery, and it does well by all the characters involved, delving deep into their relationships and pasts as they all come together at Muskrat Farm. This is simply the series–and television–at its best, and it’s one more example of why it’s a shame that the show is going off the air soon.

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