‘Til Death-Person of Interest Review (Episode 8)

30 11 2012

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I think a better name for this episode would be “All About Relationships.” Or maybe something a little more catchy. Regardless, “Til Death” focused on not one, not two, but five different romances! What is this, New Year’s Eve? Each relationship is in a different stage, from beginning (Fusco and Carter) to over (Nathan’s)  to trying to literally kill each other, which is what this week’s number pair attempt to do. Somehow, this is spun in a humorous light by the end, because who hasn’t thought about blowing up their mate’s car before?

“Til Death” also featured an excellent series of flashbacks highlighting Finch and Grace’s (Carrie Preston) tragically sweet moments, although I’m not sure Finch will be able to shield Grace from himself forever, not to mention their real-life marriage ensures she’ll be easy to reach for the show (unless they hire hitmen to off each other). All in all, I enjoyed the episode’s blend of humor and action, and even though it was more lighthearted than some episodes, Finch longing for what he lost gave us a somber ending.

 

Grace and Finch

At least Finch scored in real life.

Random thoughts:

1. What? Both single parent detectives find love interests? There goes my theory that Carter and Fusco would fall in love and get married (I joke). But seriously, this treads new territory for both characters, and could also get in the way of their secret jobs.

2. Moment of the night goes to what I call a “Reese Moment.” Reese straight up hooding and throwing the Drakes in the trunk with Fusco looking appalled made my day, not to mention his attempt to hide their presence from his date.

3. This plot strained my suspended belief a little bit at the Drakes’ quick change from killing each other to deciding to have a baby. I mean, that’s pretty drastic.

4. Finch knows what the ladies like. Who would have guessed he was so smooth?

5. New Yorker musician Moby shows up to give a great atmospheric ending song.

 

Conclusion: 8.0/10

BONUS: I’m just going out on a limb here, but what if Nathan later turns out to be alive? That wouldn’t be a first for the show, but what if it turned out he had less than pure motives for creating the machine? Just throwing out theories, but that would be an interesting, memorable twist. Any thoughts?

 





Skyfall 5-Point Review

22 11 2012

1. Skyfall isn’t the year’s best movie, but it hits all the right notes and raises the bar for future Bond installments. It mixes just the right amounts of humor, grittiness, spectacle, and general Bond-ness (locations, villains, women) to serve us an Aston Martin of a film in a market of El Caminos.

 

Daniel Craig Skyfall

Bond is sad the sky is falling.

 

2. Javier Bardem is creepily effective as baddie Silva. Numerous people have gone so far as to liken his performance with Heath Ledger’s absorbed role as the Joker in The Dark Knight.

 

Skyfall Villain Javier Bardem

Well, my Creep-O-Meter just went crazy.

 

3. This was regrettably the incredible Judi Dench‘s last movie as “M,” but she made quite the exit. Her unique relationship with Bond was thankfully given ample screen time, and she unquestionably out-shined the other actresses in the movie (sorry, “Bond girls”). Ben Whishaw also gave a memorable impression as “Q.”

 

 

Ben Whishaw Cillian Murphy

Maybe it’s just me, but I kept seeing Cillian Murphy from Batman.

 

4. My initial issue with the movie was the lack of theme, but then I remembered I was watching a Bond movie. Spy movies by design rarely concern themselves with much symbolism or recurring themes, at least not that I’ve noticed.

 

5. Not having seen all 250 Bond movies, I can’t say this was the “best Bond ever,” but it became my personal favorite. Sometimes surprises are good. And yes, Daniel Craig is awesome too.

 

Sean Connery Awesome

Bond. Original Bond.

 

Bonus: Did anyone else catch a Home Alone vibe during the climax booby-trap sequence? I was waiting for the swinging paint gallons. Also you’d think the head of a spy organization would know to turn off the flashlight at night, unless you want to stand out like a lighthouse.





Critical- Person of Interest Review (Episode 7)

16 11 2012

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This week’s Person of Interest deals with a surgeon’s choice between letting a rich, powerful patient die on the operating table or saving him and losing her lover. Before it’s over, we discover a new big baddie from MI6, catch up with Agent Snow and Kara, and have a reunion with a former POI. Yes, “Critical” is a very busy episode. While this show has juggled plot lines effectively before, I feel like the writers lost focus and missed the emotional potential of the main conflict. Also, I thought Wesley’s plot seemed a little overly complicated; surely he could have thought of a simpler way to steal money. I’m also not sure if I would have let a guy like Leon mess around on the main Finch computer. To be honest, I wouldn’t call this episode a miss, but a lot of little things piled up to make me label this my least favorite episode of the season so far. Of course, that still puts it head and shoulders above most other  shows out there. Random thoughts incoming!

Reese Season 2 Critical

Reese and his ever-present suit meet Wesley.

1. It’s obvious Agent Snow has completely regressed from main antagonist into a puppet, and a miserable one at that. He’s in way over his head, and I’m not sure if this could be his last appearance. Surely Kara heard him trying to spill the beans, and it’s possible he has outlived his usefulness.

2. If Wesley (Julian Sands) is to become a big villain (and they practically said as much at the end), then by my count that’s three recurring antagonists (Kara, Snow, Wesley) in the same episode. As much as I like recurring villains, this is the second new big villain in the last three episodes, and it’s seriously starting to get crowded. Sometimes having a single threat lurking in the shadows is more effective than a whole circus of baddies (for example, Elias last season).

3. Leon’s back! Will he make another appearance in the future, as they seemed to (blatantly) hint? And if so, why? Not to be critical, but I’m not sure what his importance is compared to other former POIs who keep showing up (Zoe Morgan, Elias).

4. Bear is on a special diet.

5. Finch (Michael Emerson) wins the night on best take-down. His “squishy” comment was delivered flawlessly as well. Between these and his moments with Bear, I think Finch easily gave the most comic relief this time.

Conclusion: 7.5/10





Wreck-It-Ralph 5-Point Review

13 11 2012
Wreck-It-Ralph and Friends

Just got a “Monsters, Inc.” vibe.

 

1. “Wreck-It-Ralph” is the Pixar film we’ve all been waiting for, but of course the catch is Pixar had nothing to do with this movie. Disney Animation Studios came up with this gem, and imagine that I just provided you with the studio’s full history and list of works, because I’m too lazy to research it at the moment.

 

Walt Disney Animation Studios logo

This is their logo, anyway. 

2. The point is that Wreck-It-Ralph hits all the notes of originality, sweetness (even outside of “Sugar Rush”) and general quality that usually never strayed outside of Pixar’s turf. That is, before Cars 2 and Brave drunkenly stumbled onto the stage. The worlds inside the arcade machines are also a highlight when shown through the character’s point of view.

3. Yes, it’s very possible to really enjoy the movie even if you’re not a “gamer.” However, there were a ton of wink-winks to the nerdy faithful (myself included). Cameos, settings, and graffiti provided plenty of references, such as the JENKINS or ALL YOUR BASE ARE BELONG TO US scrawled on walls.

All Your Base Are Belong to Us

Aerith Lives. 

4. Still, it’s a good thing I didn’t go see this movie to see Bowser, Bison, and Sonic share screen time (although that helped). Cameos were usually no longer than one (brief) scene with a paltry number of lines (one to two). You wouldn’t know that from the film’s marketing campaign, however.

Wreck-It-Ralph Baddies

Yeah, these guys were definitely in the movie longer than a combined 5 minutes.

5. This isn’t a problem though, because the movie’s core two characters Ralph (John C. Reilly) and  Vanellope (Sarah Silverman) provide more heart and depth than you’d expect. Jane Lynch was also humorous as Sergeant Calhoun (much as I hate to say anything positive about anyone connected to that cesspool of television, Glee). Time to step up your game again, Pixar.

 

Up Down Poster

And don’t make this movie. Make Incredibles 2.

Bonus level point: I also enjoyed the Pixar-ish short before the feature, although I felt kind of weird cheering on a stalker who likes making paper airplanes.





The High Road- Person of Interest Review (Episode 6)

9 11 2012

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This episode, Reese and Zoe face their biggest challenge yet- married suburban life. Person of Interest switches its normal environment in “The High Road” with Reese (Jim Caviezel) and Zoe (Paige Turco) pretending to be a married couple to get to know their POI neighbor and family. I was afraid that this episode’s hook with them trying to be a normal couple would fall flat, but surprisingly their struggle to fit in and figure out what suburbanites do were great moments. Along the way, we get our first (?) appearance of Nathan Ingram (Brett Cullen) this season, as well as Finch’s long-lost love, both in flashbacks. My only complaint? There weren’t really any crazy “Reese Moments” where he pulls out a grenade launcher or smashes everyone’s face in with obscure objects (although I counted at least two kneecap shots). Off to random thoughts:

Person of Interest Season 2

Reese and Zoe take on Suburbia.

1. If the writers aren’t trying to play up Finch’s resemblance to the Verizon “Can you hear me now?” guy, I’d be blown away. His installation worker uniform was almost the exact copy of the Verizon man’s getup. Not to mention his “Can you see me now?” game with  The Machine earlier this season.

2. Speaking of distracting comparisons, how about Roy from The Office not being a jerk? David Denman is actually likable guy when he’s not trying to steal Pam from Jim. I kept waiting for him to mention paper companies.

3. A spot of trivia- Finch’s ex-fiancee in the show (shown in two episodes now) is his real-life wife, so there’s a good chance she’ll make a few more appearances in the future.

4. Fusco’s (Kevin Chapman) story is on hold this week, with the good detective absent the entire episode, leaving us with no development on the HR story arc.

5. I can’t say there were as many standout moments as other episodes, but the the story was interesting, and the flashbacks were a welcome return. Will Finch ever reunite with his crush? And when are we going to find out what happened to Nathan? Darn you, delayed gratification.

Conclusion: 8.0/10





Bury the Lede- Person of Interest Review (Episode 5)

2 11 2012

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“Bury the Lede” was definitely one of those episodes where crap doesn’t quite hit the fan, but you sit there watching it get thrown. Not only does a crooked organization resurface, we also get introduced to a new master (?) villain, AND Fusco (Kevin Chapman) takes a few steps backwards to his shifty roots. And the weird thing is, it was also one of the funniest episodes of this season so far. Most of the hijinks stemmed from this week’s POI, a feisty reporter (Gloria Votsis) who not only is gunning for HR’s head boss but also The Man in the Suit. Along the way, Reese (Jim Caviezel) delivers some zingers, we get a few good Fusco moments, and Bear the Dog continues to grow on Finch (Michael Emerson). By the time the episode winds down, we get a few bad turns and remember that Person of Interest really knows how to mix the light humor and the darker themes. Let’s move to random thoughts!

 

Bury the Lede POI

Reese goes Clark Kent.

 

1. Apparently HR wasn’t really taken care of in season one’s finale after all, and to be honest I have no idea why Simmons didn’t waste Fusco after he saw him working with Reese-not to mention the fact that they were both shooting at Simmons. Special Agent Donnelly (Brennan Brown) also shows up, so it seems like there’s a lot of old adversaries returning.

2. I like how Reese thinks glasses are a perfect disguise (Superman, anyone?), but really, if everyone’s looking for The Man in the Suit, why not change his clothing up a bit, and become, say, The Man in the Overalls? At LEAST wear a different suit.

3. Every part that involved Finch and  Reese’s arsenal were great character moments.

4. Zoe Morgan (Paige Turco) reappears! And from the looks of the preview, we’ll see a bit of her next episode too. I still think she’s like a Catwoman to Reese’s Batman, but I also hope they don’t overuse her. She’s great in small doses.

5. Another super-villain has potentially been introduced; does anyone think they should deal with some of the original ones first (there’s like five of them running around now)? Or maybe the show is going for a true comic book feel, where villains become iconic and stick around in jail or in the shadows until they eventually strike again.

6. All in all, a strong, engaging episode, with my only (small) quibble being too many cans of worms opened up at the same time, with no immediate resolution in sight.

Conclusion: 8.0/10





One Fanboy’s Reaction to Disney’s Star Wars

1 11 2012
NOOOOOO

Short version of this article.

 

Tuesday’s news that Disney now owns Lucasfilm, and thus Star Wars, came charging out of nowhere like a stampeding Bantha. Everything’s up for grabs now, and a new trilogy is in the works. But is this a victory for the light or the dark side?

 

George Lucas and Mickey

Before Tuesday, this would have been a Photoshop.

 

At first, I was all like, “Don’t touch my childhood! What if they ruin the original trilogy and make disappointing movies…oh, wait. Never mind.”  Let’s be serious, what’s the worst that can happen? Star Wars completely sells itself out? Bad dialogue? Jar Jar? C’mon, it’s all been done, and I really don’t see Disney possibly letting down fans any more than George Lucas arguably did. Expectations are incredibly low, especially with Mickey Mouse piloting the Death Star.

Let’s not forget Disney’s idea of a “space epic.”

 

However, I’m not sure anything Disney comes out with could even gain the same  “wow” effect level, even with Star Wars fans. Ignore all other factors besides story- director, actors, cinematography-everything. There’s only so many routes they can take.

Perhaps the most dominant theory is a Return of the Jedi sequel trilogy, (the new movie’s already referred to as “Episode VII”) and this is even hinted at by Mark Hammill. But here’s a problem! Carrie Fisher, Mark Hammill, Harrison Ford, and very much Carrie Fisher are all old. Ford still does movies, and Hammill does Joker voicework, and Fisher is doing… (cricket noises). My point is, it’s been a while, and even though some works go into the years after ROTJ that feature an older Luke, Leia, and Han, I’m not sure that’s what fans want, and less want a movie with digitally-younger actors (hello, Tron!). Not to mention every one of those stories eventually turn into the same plotlines of the original trilogy (sith take over, new killer space weapon, the fall and redemption of Skywalkers), so it’d be a strange case of deja-vu.

The other option would be the (bloated) expanded universe of Star Wars, told through such non-canon media as comics, cartoons, books, video games, and the prequel trilogy (ha!). I admit, there’s vast potential here, but at the end of the day, it’ll be hard to put it on the same level as the two trilogies, which for all their problems tell a single epic dealing with the Skywalkers, and the absence of Vader or Obi-Wan or Luke would be a giant zit on whatever polished story they conceive. That’s at least what it would be to anyone who hasn’t been exposed to anything but the movies.So, at the end of the day, I gotta admit the idea of a new trilogy is exciting, but there’s a lot of gas in this burrito. Unless, of course, they follow my fail-proof idea- make the “new trilogy” a reboot of the three prequels. And Maul lasts all three movies. And kills Jar Jar Binks. Violently.

 

Jar Jar Killed by Darth Maul

Here’s one suggestion.