Triggerman- Person of Interest Review (Episode 4)

26 10 2012

CBS Person of Interest Banner

 

 

This week Person of Interest returned to its favorite standby, the organized crime world. I have to say, it’s great to be back in the “normal” swing of things, not to say the first two episodes weren’t great, but it didn’t quite feel like the same show. “Triggerman” pretty much describes the plot, although of course we got a couple of unexpected twists before the end. It’s always fun to see Reese (Jim Caviezel) matched up against another experienced fighter, and this hitman also had a bit of heart. One more thing before my random points- Season 1 had multiple story lines that mostly dealt with the characters’ backgrounds, and the writers leaked a little info each episode. This season seems to have replaced back-stories with the movements of recurring characters/villains, such as Kara, Root, Snow, and now Elias. Nothing wrong with character mythology, but it’s a noticeable change.

 

Reese Season 2

Reese and the POI enjoy a bonding moment.

 

1. What the Elias?! I doubt anybody really thought he’d stay out of the spotlight forever, and what better episode for a return than one about the mob? Kinda got an X-Men 2 flashback, with Finch and the chess-playing in prison.

 

2. Also noteworthy was Finch’s (Kevin Chapman) recovery progression- he went out by himself for the first time, and later corrected his “bad code” remark. Who knows how long Root’s influence will be felt, but for now it’s making Finch a very human character.
3. I love how the Geico Man keeps showing up in POI, and I kept waiting for him to make remarks like, “Could switching to Geico have saved this man on life insurance before Reese gunned him down?”

4. The writers continue to use “Bear” effectively without overkilling it. I’m glad that he hasn’t become a running joke (“Oh, Finch, that darn dog drooled all over your chair again! Zing!”), but instead stayed in the shots in a natural way without so much as a reference.

5. We definitely got another classic Fusco moment at the bar (“Merry Christmas!” “God bless ya!”), though I was hoping to see his lucky drinking buddy completely slumped over in a daze at the end.

6. This may show a bias, but I really can’t recall a weak episode of this blasted show. It doesn’t seem to be losing any momentum even in these “standard” episodes.

Conclusion: 8.7/10

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Argo 5-Point Review (Where Was Liam Neeson?)

24 10 2012
Argo Promo Image

Affleck, Destroyer of Worlds, with giant camera.

 

1. Argo is a better Taken movie than Taken 2. Even if you’re up to snuff on your history, it’s still a smart, enjoyable and tense ride. While the pacing may be better than Taken 2, I still argue that if Liam Neeson had been in charge of rescuing the hostages, we’d have a much shorter film with a higher body count.

2. Ben Affleck is in it! And I still called it “smart, enjoyable!” But seriously, Affleck’s character is the anchor of the movie, keeping our attention without falling into overacting.

3. Usually with these “based on a true story” movies I brace myself and unconsciously look for obvious Hollywood changes. This time, however, I was so into the movie I really didn’t care. During the end credits, they even show pics of the real hostages next to their film representatives, and I gotta admit it’s pretty spot on.

4. That is, except Ben Affleck’s character, which is coincidentally the only one they don’t show side-by-side. That’s because his name is Tony Mendez, and he is not a white dude. Look, I know it’s Ben’s movie, but still it’s kind of an odd decision, and I thought it was a fake name for most of the movie because it’s so blatant.

 

The Real Tony Mendez

Pictured: Not Ben Affleck.

 

5. While parts of the movie (mostly the finale) were juiced up a bit for the screen, what we have here is one of the more incredible covert operations of United States history finally being told, and it’s done well. I wasn’t sure if I wanted to join Hollywood or the CIA at the end. Even if Liam Neeson didn’t bulldoze his way through.

 

One more thought- The fake movie “Argo” was completely terrible and the world’s a better place for it not existing (Blue Wookies?! Really?).

 





Taken 2 Five-Point Review

15 10 2012
Taken 2 Poster

Oh, that’s a brilliant plan.

1. Don’t mess with Liam Neeson, I mean, Bryan Mills. This movie could also be called “One More Reason Not to Tick Off Liam Neeson.”

2. Yeah, it’s pretty much Taken’s less original cousin, but it’s still related. If you saw the trailer and actually thought Taken 2 would break new ground, I’m not sure what to tell you. It’s people like you who keep watching Paranormal Activity sequels, isn’t it?

3. One thing the movie lacked was the ambiguity of the original. You never saw the daughter or knew her situation during the whole search, which in my opinion raised the tension. When it keeps flashing back to whoever’s being held captive, it feels like any other movie where the audience is omniscient, instead of discovering clues with Liam Neeson.

4. I was disappointed Neeson’s friends weren’t involved more. That one friend was so legit in the first, I wanted to know what his other friends could do. I was kinda wishing they’d show up halfway through in a flying tank or something.

5. All in all, the movie mostly worked for me. I admit I had the lowest of expectations at this seemingly shameless cash-in sequel. However, there were still enough clever segments (maps with grenades!) and shock value (rooftop jumping, anyone?) parts that I’ll forgive the sloppy climax setup.  Just make sure you’re expecting more of the same.

One more thing: Rumor has it the studios want a Taken 3. Please, no. This cow is officially dry. It was a good cow, but it’s now a tired cow.

Call Me Maybe Taken

Unless it was this plot.





Bad Code- Person of Interest Review (Episode 2)

5 10 2012

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“Bad Code” was definitely an unconventional POI episode. If anyone missed the previous episode, it wouldn’t have been clear that The Machine had actually given a number (Hannah’s); not to mention this was the first episode that was not centered in New York City. Once again, there was not all-knowing Finch  (Michael Emerson) in his nest. Instead, he pretty much stares in disbelief at Root the entire episode, while Reese  (Jim Caviezel) and Carter (Taraji P. Henson) go after a cold case in Texas concerning a missing (presumed dead) girl. Along the way, more light sheds on Root’s background, and finally, we see Finch and Reese reunited. Maybe the return to normalcy next episode will bring back the “classic” Person of Interest feel that this season has been lacking so far. It shouldn’t become predictable, but who hasn’t missed the jabs and banter between Mr. Reese and Finch? Altogether though, this was a great serial episode. Anyway, here’s my random thoughts:

Reese Season Two POI

Always showing off.

1. Bear is back! The potential for humor is even better now that he’s staying in Finch’s nest. I think the dog addition should work well as long as they don’t pull any Lassie moments (What, Bear? Fusco’s stuck in the old well?!).

2.  Amy Acker (I really want to say Amy Hacker) added more to Root’s character this episode, showing Finch the corruption of her own hostage, and proving just how bat-crazy she really is. I would have liked a little more reason why she so easily got away, but it’s clear Reese’s priority was on Finch. Obviously, this isn’t Root’s swan song. Expect to see her later in the season, perhaps offing one-by-one everyone who knew about the machine (three down so far).

4. Dysentery will kill everyone but Root, apparently. Who else loved the Oregon Trail game reference? I seriously want to rewind and see Root’s game, step by step, to see if that was possible.

5. Reese should keep the crossbow.

6. The only thing I got hung out on was how Carter will explain the whole fiasco in Texas to her superiors in NYC, from her fake partner (Reese) to why in the world she was digging up such a cold case. Maybe they went over that, but I completely missed it.

Conclusion: 8.5/10





Why The Office Is Stale

1 10 2012

Watching The Office is like meeting an old friend at some sort of reunion, only except now the friend is 200 pounds heavier, has nervous eye twitches, and insists on being called “Admiral.” In other words, it’s so random and different from its glory days that sometimes it’s almost painful to watch.

 

The Office

The Glory Days

 

And glory days it did have. I remember when the novelty of the show (not counting the British version blah blah blah) and the sheer awkwardness of the characters sent it to the top of everyone’s Thursday night. Fast forward several years, and we’re at the ninth and final season. However, instead of a triumphant send-off, we’ve got at least four main characters who are or will be noticeably absent (Michael, Kelly, Ryan, and Dwight) due to post-Office aspirations. Even if Michael Scott makes a guest appearance for the finale, this is going to be a decidedly inferior way to end one of America’s most popular comedies, though more people feel like The Office lost its charm seasons ago (myself included).

 

The Office cast

What’s missing here? The main character, and any dignity.

 

Why? Several reasons. First off, the original “feel” of the show was impossible to keep. The entire premise is a documentary crew follows the workers of a paper company throughout their office routines, and of course this becomes ridiculous when you consider they’ve been following them for NINE YEARS. Sheesh, it’s a paper company.

But, my point is that originally we started with a office filled with a rather large cast of everyday workers filling in the standard positions of accounting, HR, sales, and management. These were characters that any office worker could identify with or even recognize from their workplace. Jokes centered on workplace meetings, inept management, and the sheer dismal atmosphere these people were trapped in. However, over time, “the cute secretary” became to us “Pam.” We started to call Steve Carell “Michael Scott” instead of “that idiot boss.” “Weird guy who makes us uncomfortable” became “Dwight Schrute.”

 

 

There’s nothing wrong with this shift into specific, iconic characters, but it became less relatable. Still, some of my favorite seasons  (2-4) revolved on shedding light on the lives and personalities of these characters, and they’re great moments.

What went wrong is when they went from “types” to “characters” to “cartoon characters.” The show got flat-out ridiculous, and so did the people. For example Michael Scott seemed to become dumber and more childish each season; actually, pretty much everyone seemed to shed several decade’s worth of IQ points just so the writers could still surprise us. Meanwhile, James Spader’s character never even seemed to have a consistent personality, changing character types in just one season like he suffers from multiple personality disorder. It’s a completely different kind of humor, and random does not automatically mean funny.

Andy the office

Not to mention how Andy morphed into a bad Michael Scott.

 

Finally, the stories of the show switched from their original focus. Instead of Bring Your Daughter to Work Day, we get random episodes that feature Dwight bicycling on a cable several stories above the parking lot. What is this, Looney Tunes? What’s wrong with taking real office quirks and running with it?

Don’t get me wrong, I’ll still probably watch the last season to see how it ends, but unless it sets up a Creed-centered show, I just don’t see the point.

Creed

Maybe focus on his younger days.