Archive | February, 2016

Thoughts on the 88th Annual Academy Awards

29 Feb


Not going to/qualified to comment on every category, but here are some thoughts:


Best Picture: I am extremely happy about Spotlight taking home the crown. It was the frontrunner at first, but a PGA win for The Big Short and DGA/BAFTA winners for The Revenant knocked it down a notch. I predicted The Revenant, but it was a pleasant surprise to hear Spotlight announced. It’s the perfect example of a film that takes a potentially Oscar-bait topic and turns it into something else (i.e. a damn compelling and well made film).

Best Actor/Actress: There were other people I wished were nominated in these categories, but I’m happy with the winners. Leo finally got his first Oscar! I think his Wolf of Wall Street role fit him perfectly and should’ve snagged him the award, but this will do. As for Brie, I’m so, so happy for her. A year ago, no one knew who she was–please watch Short Term 12, everyone–and now, she’s a winner. I love that she, Walton Goggins, and Oscar Isaac are all getting the attention they deserve this year.

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The X-Files “My Struggle II” Review (10×06)

22 Feb


The problem with the revival series is that it takes what would normally be covered over ~22 episodes and attempts to condense it to 6. There’s just no way six episodes of television can deliver some solid monsters of the week, tackle a huge new conspiracy, delve into character drama, and introduce new characters for a possible season 11. Chris Carter certainly tried, but he’s failed in many aspects. Here’s what I would’ve preferred: six episodes devoted to the mythology, or six monster-of-the-week episodes showcasing different genres and styles.

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The X-Files “Babylon” Review (10×05)

15 Feb

THE X-FILES: L-R: David Duchovny and Gillian Anderson in the "Babylon" episode of THE X-FILES airing Monday, Feb. 15 (8:00-9:00 PM ET/PT) on FOX. ©2016 Fox Broadcasting Co. Cr: Ed Araquel/FOX

This will be short, as I don’t really have much to say about this episode and/or why it exists. Penned by Chris Carter, “Babylon” is as tonally scattered as any episode of television can be, and it proves that Carter has no business attempting to tackle concepts as complicated as terrorism or religion (Islam in particular). The opening sequence is well done, tense, and chilling, but every single scene that follows can be summed up with the image of a guy jokingly smashing cymbals as somber music plays in the background. It’s all over the place.

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Vinyl “Pilot” Review (1×01)

14 Feb


“You can’t always get what you want.”

Richie Finestra’s story is one we’ve seen before. In this age of antiheroes, the stories about people like Don Draper and Tony Soprano–and their worlds–have already hit many of the beats Vinyl does: the conflict between personal and professional, the intersection between class, race, and sex, the malaise that arises over time, et cetera. However, the pilot still manages to feel fresh and intriguing, utilizing Scorsese’s kinetic filmmaking to deliver a mini-movie in and of itself. Like the scenes the show depicts, the episode pulsates with energy throughout, musical interludes seemingly dropping every few minutes as music and television are fused.

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Deadpool Review

13 Feb

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I’m positive I laughed at something in this movie, but I can’t quite place it because it’s buried under a pile of juvenile, unbearable crap that attempts to skate by on faux cleverness. No, Deadpool, pointing out that Morena Baccarin’s character is a “hot girl” does not mean that your treatment of her as a generic love interest is good in any way. No, Deadpool, pointing out that your villain is a typical “British villain” does not make him anything more than a one-dimensional and forgettable British villain. It’s like the filmmakers thought that their work was done after coming up with the opening credits, that they would then be excused for all the problems that followed. From then on, it was probably a race to see who could come up with the most obnoxious line or scene in the movie.

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My Top 20 Films of 2015

9 Feb

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Haven’t Seen: The Lobster, Knight of Cups, Legend, Crimson Peak, Grandma, I’ll See You In My Dreams, Trumbo, Heaven Knows What, James White, Taxi, Arabian Nights, Spy, Breathe, Experimenter, The Forbidden Room, Heart of a Dog, Mustang, The Walk, The Assassin, Chi-raq, Victoria, Li’l Quinquin, Blackhat, Hard to Be a God, Magic Mike XXL, Mr. Holmes, Amy, Bone Tomahawk, Dope, Girlhood, Shaun the Sheep Movie, Youth

HONORABLE MENTIONS: What We Do In the Shadows (this would likely be #21), 45 Years, Creed, Son of Saul, Brooklyn, Bridge of Spies, Beasts of No Nation, The Look of Silence, Diary of a Teenage Girl, Star Wars: The Force Awakens, Timbuktu, Queen of Earth, While We’re Young, Clouds of Sils Maria, Suffragette, Furious 7, Trainwreck, Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation, Black Mass, 99 Homes, Spectre, The Good Dinosaur, Straight Outta Compton, Kingsman: The Secret Service, Truth, Macbeth, The Martian, Love and Mercy, Joy, Mistress America, The Duke of Burgundy, Slow West

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The X-Files “Home Again” Review (10×04)

8 Feb


“I don’t care about the big questions anymore, Mulder.”

I’m of two minds about this episode: I feel like each storyline is compelling on its own, but there are some clear problems that arise when they occupy the same hour. I understand the time constraints with a 6-episode miniseries, but fully committing to the emotional William story or to the monster of the week would serve “Home Again” well. “Founder’s Mutation” pulled off a dual role nicely, but this week’s episode is clunky at times.

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Hail, Caesar! Review

3 Feb


A big focus of a Hail, Caesar! synopsis might be the kidnapping of George Clooney’s Baird Whitlock, a movie star taken and held for ransom by a group known as The Future. However, as much as that might seem like a central storyline, it’s really just a jumping off point for the Coens. It’s important, but a typical kidnapping plot is not what they’re going for here. Primarily, they’re exploring the intersections between faith, ideology, politics, and the movie industry as they dive into the old, studio-driven days of Hollywood, and they convey these ideas through scenes of films being filmed in this very film. From a hilarious interaction between Ralph Fiennes’s Laurence Laurentz and Alden Ehrenreich’s Hobie Doyle to a wildly entertaining Channing Tatum the Tap Dancer musical sequence, Hail, Caesar! spends quite a bit of time jumping from movie set to movie set. Roger Deakins does a great job with the artificial nature of it all, the scenes on the sets coming out crisp and vivid and the wide shots outdoors establishing Hollywood as a larger-than-life world.

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The X-Files “Mulder and Scully Meet the Were-Monster” Review (10×03)

2 Feb


“If there’s nothing more to life than what we already know, there’s nothing but worries, self doubt, regret, loneliness.”

“Mulder and Scully Meet the Were-Monster” takes the paranormal and turns its lens back on us, back on the “monsters within us” as it explores what it really means to live life. It deals in the idea of absurdity, and Darin Morgan uses his setup to deftly comment on both the characters in the series and the series as a whole. Over a decade after the series finale, how do we make sense of this revival? How do we make sense of the ludicrous happenings in the world? How do we make sense of this X-Files universe?

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