Tag Archives: Boardwalk Empire

Boardwalk Empire “Cuanto” Review (5×04)

28 Sep

Cuanto

That’s more like it. After three weeks of solid, but not quite great, episodes, Boardwalk delivers a thoroughly entertaining hour of television that makes good use of the indelible history seeping up through every orifice of the show’s relationships. Some things never change, indeed, and even though power shifts and people die, the cycle of the environment will always pull you back in.

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Boardwalk Empire “Golden Days for Boys and Girls” Review (5×01)

7 Sep

Steve-Buscemi-Boardwalk-Empire-Season-5

The season premiere of the final season of Boardwalk Empire is framed by two acts of attempted reinvention, two stories about the same person in two different time periods. We have young Nucky and present-day Nucky, the former getting into the business and the latter attempting to change the business, and through flashbacks, we see just how our main character’s roots developed and why he’s at where he’s at right now.

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Boardwalk Empire “Farewell Daddy Blues” Review (4×12)

25 Nov

Boardwalk-Empire-Farewell-Daddy-BluesBoardwalk Empire is a show about corruption and crime. When corruption and crime are present, there’s only one way out: death. And so it goes for Richard Harrow.

Still, let’s start with Nucky. He’s the kind of guy that will, at one point, manipulate Valentin Narcisse with feigned, over the top racism, identifying and latching onto that weakness and twisting the master manipulator to benefit himself. At another point, he’ll attempt to use that same type of manipulation on his family; the thing is, it won’t work. He keeps insisting that he’s doing the right thing, but for him, like for all businessmen, doing the right thing requires something in exchange. Of course, Eli can see through the bullshit; he knows he’s the one that truly cares about the family, and Nucky’s trying to manipulate that weakness. Nucky’s like the parent that buys his kid a bunch of presents to make up for a bunch of bad decisions and help him feel better about himself. He doesn’t like getting his hands dirty, and, unlike in previous seasons, he isn’t as successful at the end as he wants to be.

In fact, not really anyone ends up better off after this episode, save for maybe Al Capone. Chalky and Narcisse are the two criminal masterminds clashing over a pot of revenge, lust, and anger, and they both wind up worse off; you’d expect one of them to come out on top, but at the end of it all, they’re both beaten into the ground in their respective ways. Narcisse is forced to submit to the “white man”, the epitome of all his hatred and the very weakness Nucky exploited, and Chalky loses his daughter, forcing him to hide out and live his life in constant fear.

It’s not a very happy ending, and it’s made all the worse by Richard Harrow’s death–kudos to Jack Huston for portraying such a brilliant character over the course of the series. He’ll be missed. Harrow’s a guy that came back from the war and had nothing waiting for him; all he had was the skills he learned, and all he wanted was to somehow fit in with and function in society. He was actually able to come to terms with who he was without becoming someone like Nucky, and that just make his death hurt all the more. The worst thing is that he died having accidentally killed an innocent woman; it’s something I’m sure some of these other characters wouldn’t give a second thought to, but for Richard, he has to die with that guilt. On the surface, he may not seem much better than the rest, but he is. The problem is that it doesn’t matter in this world.

Nevertheless, that ending is in line with the themes of the show, and my, what a fantastic ending it is. In a sequence similar to the one in “Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge”, Harrow dreams about the life he never had and the face he never had, but when reality kicks in, we realize he’s now waiting for the waves to roll in.

GRADE: A-

SEASON GRADE: B

OTHER THOUGHTS:

-Kudos to Jeffrey Wright and Michael Kenneth Williams for creating one of the most riveting television dynamics I’ve seen.

-Eli killing Knox is extremely satisfying; in fact, the similar “gun to the head” scenes draw parallels between Knox and Nucky; they’re both seemingly powerful people getting caught in this web of crime, and you realize how little they actually possess.

-Torrio got shot like, 50 times, and still lived.

-I know it wouldn’t really fall in line with his character at that point in his arc, but part of me really wanted to see him going on another shooting rampage…and then Van Alden pulling up in the getaway car with Richard’s family in the back, and then a tearful reunion while Van Alden glowered in the background, and then all of them driving off into the sunset while everyone else cried.

-I’m looking forward to the Van Alden-Eli dynamic, as well as more Margaret-Rothstein.

-Thanks for reading, guys. See you next year for Season 5.

Credit to HBO and Boardwalk Empire for all pictures. I own nothing.

 

Boardwalk Empire “Erlkönig” Review (4×05)

7 Oct

627-2This is going to be very brief, but I wanted to say a few things about this episode.

-Eddie Kessler’s death is one of the most heartbreaking scenes of the year, which is really impressive for a character that has only come into his own in the last few episodes. Just as Nucky has finally started to take notice of him, so do we. It’s understandable, though, why Eddie jumps off that balcony. He’s been shunned his whole life, forgotten, ashamed. He spends his final days in an interrogation room, truly alone, and it’s better for him to end it all. Devastating.

-Van Alden, Al Capone, and Frank Capone is a powerhouse trio that I never would’ve become tired of seeing. However, Frank is gunned down here in a powerful scene; Nelson’s about to try and distance himself from his current puppet-like role, but this happens, causing Al to turn him into an ally in his quest for revenge.

-Nucky essentially interrogates William in an episode in which Eddie is being interrogated. Although I’m not a big fan of William’s storyline, his scene with Nucky is extremely well done. It also shows that he’s a Thompson at heart.

-It’s hard not to feel sorry for Gillian, who’s trapped by her own addiction. Gretchen Mol is fantastic in this role.

-Fantastic camera work by Tim Van Patten. The riot scenes are beautifully filmed.

-Now we’re getting going. The first part of the season was a little slow, but it’s now kicking into high gear.

Credit to HBO and Boardwalk Empire for all pictures. I own nothing.

Boardwalk Empire “New York Sour” Review (4×01)

10 Sep

627

This is always a show that has reveled in its atmosphere. Even in its lower points, the cool, calm ambience is intoxicating, bringing you in deep. It’s a difficult task with such an expansive cast, but Boardwalk usually pulls it off.

Season 4 opens in the aftermath of the bloodbath initiated by the delightfully evil Gyp Rosetti, the major driving force of Season 3. It’ll be interesting to see how the show regroups after losing someone as charismatic and antagonistic as him, and the premiere already shows signs of wheel-spinning. However, it’s a table-setting episode that accomplishes what it sets out do: introduce new characters and move things into place for the rest of the season.

Although Rosetti’s dead, we can already see the effects of the recently ended all-out war. Nucky’s living situation is far from glamorous, and we can see that he’s nowhere near as comfortable as he was earlier. He’s always been a guy that tries to avoid trouble when he can, and his flaw is believing that others will ignore looking into him if he says so. His way of doing business is paying people off, and he tries to grab as much as he can without entering the fray. For example, as Rothstein is leaving the meeting, he remarks that he isn’t sure if Nucky would kill him or not. Nucky seems both shocked at the content of the insinuation, as well as the idea of an insinuation itself. He wants, and believes, everything to be clean and easy, but as we know, being a gangster isn’t all sunshine and flowers.

In other affairs, Gillian’s now trying to take custody back of her son Tommy, while at the same time running a secret prostitution scheme in her house. She’s been going downhill much faster than Nucky has, and a shady Piggly Wiggly businessman can only spell trouble.

The show also checks in with Al Capone, a person that seems to be gaining confidence and poise as the days wear on. He shows restraint in dealing with a boy that spells his name wrong in the paper (the nerve!), and his business seems to be going well.

Finally, another person whose confidence is growing is Chalky White, played by the magnificent Michael Kenneth Williams. The show seems to be delving more into the African American side of the race relations, and it’s a welcome change, if not only to give Williams more screen time. He deals coolly with an especially shocking scene in which Dunn stabs Dickie Pastor, a talent manager that visits the Onyx Club. It comes after Dickie walks in on Dunn and Mrs. Pastor, and the scene eventually descends into dark, visceral madness.

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The premiere generally moves a bit slow, but that’s to be expected after last year. I’m really looking forward to the remaining 11 episodes.

Grade: B

Other thoughts:

-Richard Harrow is back, and he’s killing people! I could probably watch him doing that all day.

-The final scene is great. Harrow’s been a lonely voyager, just trying to get home. However, unlike Nucky, he’s not a stranger in his own home. The scene right before this shows Nucky staring into the distance, not sure what his place in the world is.

-Nucky’s nephew Will is introduced, which provides some interesting familial dynamics for the show to explore.

-New character Warren Knox is extremely intriguing. He seems fine on the outside at first, but he later murders a couple of people and has a drink. He’s like the Todd of Boardwalk Empire, I tell you.

-No van Alden or Margaret yet. I really hope that Shannon is integrated more into the main story this year. He’s a fantastic actor, and I want to see more of him.

Credit to HBO and Boardwalk Empire for all pictures. I own nothing.

Emmys Dream Ballot+Predictions-Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series

8 Sep

Welcome to my coverage of the 2013 Primetime Emmys. As it’s less than a month away, I’ve decided to start a series in which I offer up my dream ballot for each major category. Then, I’ll look at the actual Emmy ballot and offer a “Who should win?” and a “Who Will Win?” for each. I hope you enjoy! Today, we’ll be looking at….

OUTSTANDING SUPPORTING ACTOR IN A DRAMA SERIES

Dream Ballot

Michael-Cudlitz-of-Southland_gallery_primaryMICHAEL CUDLITZ, “Southland”

This is one of the best performances I have ever seen. The underrated TNT show “Southland” contained a slew of Emmy worthy performances, the best of which was Cudlitz’s. He perfectly portrayed the downward spiral of his character, culminating in a shocking and heartbreaking final scene of the series.

breaking-bad-jonathan-banks-community-season-5-professor-amc  JONATHAN BANKS, “Breaking Bad”

Although not as showy a performance as Paul’s or Esposito’s, Banks was brilliant as the cold, yet sympathetic Mike. His performance in “Say My Name” revealed the deeper facets of his character, and it was wonderful and sad to watch unfold.

Jaime_recounts_the_past_s3e5  NIKOLAJ COSTER-WALDAU, “Game of Thrones”

Peter Dinklage gets more recognition, but this season was Coster-Waldau’s. Jaime Lannister started off as a despicable character, but this season, I started feeling sympathetic for him. His relationship with Brienne was perfection.

homeland-saul-plane_FULL  MANDY PATINKIN, “Homeland”

Homeland completely went off the rails at the end of last season, but Patinkin kept his character grounded. Saul’s character became more complex, becoming the emotional center of a show that was doing a disservice to the rest of the characters. We saw deeper into his relationship with Carrie, and the final scene of the finale was beautiful.

Aaron-Paul-of-Breaking-Bad_gallery_primary  AARON PAUL, “Breaking Bad”

Aaron Paul’s been a consistent force in the show, and his work in Season 5 was as brilliant as ever. We started to see the signs of dissent from Walt, and Paul conveyed so much through his body language. His performance in “Buyout” was wonderful and hard to watch all at once.

boyd-crowder_wide-d0fe450ff9dfe9b8b057a3fa8634872ebdfb4e4b-s6-c30  WALTON GOGGINS, “Justified”

Goggins has always been an absolutely essential part of the show, and while he is badass, there are also layers to his character. His war of words with Preacher Billy was an amazing thing to watch, and his relationship with Ava was beautiful.

Who should win?

This is probably the hardest category for me in terms of picking a winner. Just for that last spot, I had to choose between Noah Emmerich, Corey Stoll, Walton Goggins, Peter Dinklage, Charles Dance, and Mads Mikkelsen. They could be the nominations and I’d still be happy.

Others considered: All those mentioned above ^….and Guillermo Diaz, John Slattery, Vincent Kartheiser, Bobby Cannavale, Freddie Highmore, Larry Hagman, Sam Waterston, Jeff Perry, David Morissey, John Noble (how he never has been recognized eludes me), Steve Zahn, Jordan Gavaris, Josh Charles, Ron Perlman, Kim Coates, Michael Shannon, Dean Norris, David Harewood, David Morse, Norman Reedus, Ryan Hurst, Dax Shepard, Michael Kenneth Williams

On to the real nominations…

Jonathan Banks-Breaking Bad

Bobby Cannavale-Boardwalk Empire

Jim Carter-Downton Abbey

Peter Dinklage-Game of Thrones

Aaron Paul-Breaking Bad

Mandy Patinkin-Homeland

Who should win?

Banks

Who will win?

Patinkin

Analysis

Not only is it Banks’s last chance to win, he was absolutely brilliant as Mike. However, even considering Patinkin’s snub last year, I think the voters will give him the nod over Paul. However, I’d put their chances neck and neck, with Banks right behind.

Credit to AMC, Showtime, TNT, HBO, FX, Justified, Homeland, Breaking Bad, Southland, and Game of Thrones for all pictures. I own nothing.

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