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The Leftovers “Don’t Be Ridiculous” Review (3×02)

23 Apr

“I just want to take some fucking control.”

In my opinion, Nora Durst is the most fascinating character on television right now. A lot of that is due to Carrie Coon’s performance–she is incredible, and I could praise her to no end–but a lot of that is also due to the writing for her character. She’s held up as a contrast of sorts to people like the faith driven Matt, her determination palpable when it comes to disproving Departure related incidents. Actions like printing out a picture of Pillar Man’s corpse don’t exactly speak kindly to her as a compassionate human being, but if you look at her actions in the context of her past, you see that this all develops out of a deep reservoir of pain.

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The Leftovers “The Book of Kevin” Review (3×01)

16 Apr

“We can’t just be going through all this for nothing, man.”

Most of these characters are probably thinking something along these lines. After all, this series is built upon faith, upon belief, upon the everlasting search for meaning in an increasingly confusing world. This is something that’s been well established over the course of the first two seasons, and it’s out in full force in the season three premiere. This episode wants to throw us back into the show’s world, but it also wants to paint a portrait of what essentially amounts to mass soul searching. We see an entire town that’s surprisingly content with the idea of an impending apocalypse, and we see people reverting to old patterns while other issues bubble to the surface. All of these are in service of something greater–or so they believe–and it’s a universal feeling that the series taps into here.

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13 Reasons Why Review

13 Apr

I can agree with, or at least sympathize with, every single criticism I’ve seen leveled against this series. Is it sometimes unrealistic? Yes. Does it strain to fill all thirteen hours of story? Definitely. Is the writing sometimes weak? Yup. Are there problematic elements of the premise and the way it approaches its serious topics? Of course (what it says about revenge and guilt in particular is something to be discussed). However, it’s compelling–addicting, almost–in a way that few shows manage to replicate. It’s not just teenage angst and plot devices. I finished it in a day and a half, and it impressed me because it got me to care about these characters. It allowed me to understand them on some level. I’m not sure I’ll ever form a solid opinion about the show’s sensitivity, its nuances, and its impact on its viewers, but I do hope it helps more than it hurts.

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Personal Shopper Review

13 Mar

Kristen Stewart’s character has an interesting relationship with the camera in Personal Shopper. She’s at one point subdued, reserved, the camera lingering on the mundanity of her movements and watching as she slides into the shadows while still in plain sight. She’s at one point anxious, terrified to her core, not only because of the supernatural happenings around her but also because of what sees in herself. She’s at one point naked, physically and emotionally, grappling with the past and feeling immense guilt about her future. It’s an excellent performance and a fascinating illustration of grief, and Stewart is thoroughly able to handle everything she is asked to do.

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The Top 15 Television Shows of 2016

28 Dec

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HONORABLE MENTIONS: Search Party, Westworld, Atlanta, You’re the Worst, The Night Of, Narcos, Game of Thrones, Mr. Robot, Stranger Things, Better Call Saul

OTHERS CONSIDERED: Shameless, The Crown, New Girl, Masters of Sex, Transparent, UnREAL, Angie Tribeca, Silicon Valley, Penny Dreadful, OITNB, Orphan Black, Archer, Lady Dynamite, Banshee, The Night Manager, Girls, Childrens Hospital, Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, Togetherness, iZombie, Billions, Hap and Leonard, 11.22.63, Daredevil, IASIP, Love, The X-Files, The Affair, And Then There Were None, The Path, The Last Man on Earth

15. Fleabag – At only six episodes long, season one of this dark comedy still packed a big punch. Phoebe Waller-Bridge was terrific, turning what could’ve been an annoyance (fourth wall breaking) into an asset for the show.

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Fences Review

25 Dec

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The opening sequence of Fences is a propulsive blend of various themes, characters, and exposition. It’s a high-wire act that shifts tones and topics with ease, and it sets up the situation skillfully while Denzel talks as if his mouth just took a shot of adrenaline. It’s energetic and entertaining, and it has you wondering if this energy can sustain itself throughout the entire 138-minute runtime.

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The Top 12 Television Episodes of 2016

22 Dec

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Honorable Mentions (these would round out my top 20 if I made a top 20): “B.A.N.”/”The Club” (Atlanta), “Season Two Episode Seven” (American Crime-specifically that restaurant booth scene…), “Shut Up and Dance”/”San Junipero” (Black Mirror), “Part 20” (Bloodline), “That Text Was Not Meant For Josh!” (Crazy Ex-Girlfriend), “The Beach” (The Night Of)

Others Considered: “One Long Day” (Love), “New York’s Finest” (Daredevil), “Chardee MacDennis 2: Electric Boogaloo” (IASIP), “War” (Hap and Leonard), “A Room of One’s Own” (The Path), “People Persons” (OITNB), “A Blade of Grass” (Penny Dreadful), “Al Fin Cayo” (Narcos), “Episode 4” (Fleabag), “eps2.8_h1dden-pr0cess.axx” (Mr. Robot), “Coats or Keys” (Masters of Sex), “The Well-Tempered Clavier” (Westworld), “The House of Uncanny Truths” (Search Party), “If I Were a Bell” (Transparent), “…Someone Like Me as a Member” (The Good Place), “Requiem” (Banshee), “Hope” (black-ish)

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