Archive | December, 2015

My Top 15 Television Episodes of 2015

29 Dec


Honorable Mentions: The Knick’s “This Is All We Are”, Rick and Morty’s “Total Rickall” (I felt terrible leaving this off), Better Call Saul’s “Five-O”, Parenthood’s “May God Bless and Keep You Always”, Louie’s “Untitled”, Master of None’s “Mornings”, Togetherness’s “Kick the Can”, Marvel’s Jessica Jones’s “AKA WWJD?”, WHAS: First Day of Camp’s “Activities”, Sense8’s “What Is Human?”, Daredevil’s “Nelson v. Murdock”, Veep’s “Election Night”, Orphan Black’s “Certain Agony of the Battlefield”, Parks and Recreation’s “Leslie and Ron”, Shameless’s “Crazy Love”, Mr. Robot’s “eps1.7_wh1ter0se.m4v”, Bloodline’s “Part 11”, Review’s “Happiness/Pillow Fight/Imaginary Friend”, Penny Dreadful’s “Nightcomers”, UKS’s “Kimmy’s In a Love Triangle”, Please Like Me’s “Pancakes With Faces”, Transparent’s “Man On the Land”

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The Hateful Eight Review

25 Dec


The Hateful Eight is excessive in every way imaginable. Its roadshow runtime is a whopping 187 minutes. The characters talk for an eternity. Blood spurts in every which way. Certain scenes feel like they exist just to exist, circling around and around without building up the tension as well as they would with a better editor. And yet, from under those problems emerges a wildly entertaining movie, a Western mashed up with a whodunit mashed up with a horror film that is ultimately also 100% Tarantino. Simply put, I had a blast.

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The Revenant Review

23 Dec


The pure craft of this film is undeniable. I want to print and frame every single shot, apologize to Roger Deakins for probably missing out on that Oscar again, and spend the rest of my days marveling at the breathtaking beauty of Emmanuel Lubezki’s work. The two sequences that open the movie–the Arikara attack and the bear attack–are astonishing in both their brutality and in the skill that obviously went into them. After that, the film doesn’t reach those types of highs again, but the opening still sets the stage for two and a half hours of intensity, suffering, and violence.

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My Top 15 Television Performances of 2015

21 Dec


Note: As always, I limit myself to one performance per show, plus shoutouts for other cast members. Even with this limitation, you can see that I cheated a bit with the top three on the list (if you watched those shows, I’m sure you understand). In the end, this top 15 is most likely a top 30 because we are blessed with so much good acting these days. The fact that Tatiana Maslany is in “honorable mentions” should tell you all you need to know.

Haven’t Seen Yet: Jane the Virgin, The Flash, Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, Empire, American Crime, Fresh Off the Boat, Catastrophe, Casual, Getting On, Looking, Halt and Catch Fire, Wolf Hall, Agent Carter

Honorable Mentions: Tatiana Maslany (Orphan Black), Ellie Kemper/Titus Burgess (Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt), Eva Green (Penny Dreadful), Jeffrey Tambor (Transparent), Julia Louis-Dreyfus (Veep), Amy Poehler (Parks and Recreation), Will Forte (The Last Man On Earth), Colin Farrell (True Detective), Andre Braugher (Brooklyn Nine-Nine), Tiffany Doggett (Orange Is the New Black), Cameron Monaghan (Shameless), Aziz Ansari (Master of None), Louis CK (Louie), Nathan Fielder (Nathan For You), Clive Owen (The Knick), Maura Tierney (The Affair), Julianna Margulies (The Good Wife), Tony Hale (Veep), Wet Hot American Summer: First Day of Camp cast, Wagner Moura (Narcos), Justin Roiland (Rick and Morty), Will Arnett/Olivia Wilde (Bojack Horseman)

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Star Wars: The Force Awakens Review

20 Dec


It’s difficult not to get chills when “A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away” appears and John Williams’s iconic theme kicks in. It’s difficult not to get nostalgic when characters like Han Solo and Chewbacca return to kick some ass, when Stormtroopers and the Millenium Falcon and lightsabers show up on screen again. Unlike the situation back in 1977, it’s nothing that we haven’t seen before, but it still finds a way to hit all the right notes as it integrates the new with the old. Star Wars is back, and although it’s full of problems, it’s also full of pleasures.

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Saturday Night Live “Tina Fey & Amy Poehler”/ “Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band” Live Blog and Review (41×09)

19 Dec

I’m back! This will most likely be the only SNL I live blog this year, but seeing as I finally have time to do one, I might as well.

GOP DEBATE COLD OPEN: This is a solid political cold open, most notably because it allows everyone to pull out their GOP candidate impressions and have fun with it. Pharoah’s Carson impression is awesome–those sleep glasses are great–and the interplay between Bush and Trump here is very enjoyable. GRADE: B+

MONOLOGUE: It’s Tina Fey and Amy Poehler, so is it possible to have a bad monologue? Probably not, although this one is meh by their standards. Still, these two just have the best chemistry ever, and although I normally don’t enjoy monologue songs, the two singing it make it better. GRADE: B-

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The Big Short Review

14 Dec


The Big Short is an angry movie, one that directs its rage at the system as it attempts to both educate and entertain you. It’s a very different approach to the topic than the ones taken by films like Margin Call or this year’s 99 Homes, but it’s without a doubt a very interesting one. McKay and cinematographer Barry Ackroyd bring an extremely frenetic style to the film, moving the camera in every direction possible so as to emphasize that Ackroyd learned a thing or two from his work on Paul Greengrass movies. The movie also has a very distinct style, utilizing real-life images and celebrity cameos and fourth wall-breaking techniques in order to keep the jargon manageable for the majority of viewers.

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Anomalisa Review

8 Dec


The Fregoli delusion is the belief that everyone else is the same person, just in disguise or in a state of constant appearance shifting. This delusion befalls the main character of Anomalisa: Michael Stone, a customer service author on a business trip who happens to be staying at (surprise!) Hotel Fregoli. At said hotel, everyone from the bellhop to the couple arguing in the hallway sounds suspiciously like Tom Noonan, and the voices combine to create an environment inundated with the dull sounds of customer service. Each face is clearly split into two by a line across the middle, furthering the idea that they’re all wearing masks of some sort.

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The Leftovers “I Live Here Now” Review (2×10)

6 Dec


“I don’t understand what’s happening.”

What a finish to an absolutely incredible season of television. This is a finale that could’ve easily been overstuffed, that could’ve easily collapsed under the weight of the myriad storylines and questions circulating in the show. Yet, it finds a wonderful balance between providing some form of closure plot-wise and delivering the full emotional power behind its characters. It’s just brilliant all around, and it cements this show as one of the best on television (if not THE best).

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