“Last Call” – Person of Interest Review (Episode 15, Season 3)

26 02 2014

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Welcome back, POI! The Olympics were great and all, but I was seriously needing my kneecap-shooting fix from TV, and figure skating just wasn’t doing it for me. I think we fans can agree that there have been far too many Person of Interest reruns this year, especially since it should be in full swing. Luckily, the programming lords have smiled down on us again and generously offered us a new number. This time, it’s a 911 operator, which already sounds better than the the generic Ms. Gymnastics-Master-Thief from the last new episode. Unlike “Provenance,” “Last Call” managed to keep my interest thanks to a premise and pacing that made this feel more like a thriller movie than an hour of television. The plot was still somewhat theatrical, but it still seemed more grounded in reality thanks to less glossing over plot holes by the writers. It was suspenseful watching a tech master criminal (let’s call him Evil Finch since we have no name) pulling all the strings to control the operator, and then disappearing into thin air. With all the technological tricks he used, there’s a chance he was never in New York City at all. To be honest I was surprised that they introduced a new recurring villain so soon, unless of course he’s just there to take Root’s old spot (hacker nemesis for Finch).

Apparently Fusco (Kevin Chapman) is getting a new partner, and although they were featured in a sizable side story, I’m still not really sure what I think of him or what kind of character he’ll be. Right now he just seems kind of bland, but hey it’s just his first time! Anyway, Fusco has to have someone to talk to in the station, now that Carter is gone from that setting. Speaking of missing girl power, where has Root (Amy Acker) been these last three episodes? Here’s hoping we’ll see her crazy face next time!

Michael Emerson POI

Points of Interest

1. Nice trap by Finch in the generator room. If it was Shaw, I think she would have dropped the wire in the water anyway.

2. It was weird getting introduced to Fusco’s new partner and not having to worry if he was with HR or not, wasn’t it?

3. How cold do you have to be to strap a time bomb to a kid, and then just walk away like you just preset the oven? Geez. Also, why blow him up? Aren’t there other less expensive ways that don’t depend on a timer?

4. Overall, I was relieved that this episode was up to par, although I am still curious as to what the writers are going to do with the main story arcs.

Final Score:

POI four bear


The Lego Movie Review

14 02 2014
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I just wish they had spelled out the premise a little more.

Full disclosure- years ago I was the biggest Lego maniac around. I built for hours, learning valuable life skills like how to build a space base or a giant robot to storm the gates of the medieval castle. Lego was the junk! So, of course I drove my mature self into that theater, and I watched an animated movie about Lego people. Is it worth your time, or is this a shameless cash-in?

Lego Movie poster

Above: my childhood. (Minus Unikitty, of course.)

This is a shorter review, so here’s a shorter answer: this movie took me by surprise. It’s quirky, funny, and wonderfully random at times, bringing the all-around good feelings that Pixar films used to give. Basically, normal, everyman Emmet (Chris Pratt) is “chosen” by hippie-wizard Vitruvius (Morgan Freeman) to save the Lego universe from the clutches of the evil Lord Business (Will Ferrell). Wyldstyle (Elizabeth Banks) and her boyfriend Batman (Will Arnett ) also help Emmet realize his role as the MasterBuilder. But first they have to escape the ever-looming henchman Bad Cop (Liam Neeson) and his army of robots. Typical Shakespearean drama, am I right? By the way, Shakespeare also makes an appearance with Lincoln, because of course he does.

Bad Cop and Lord Business. Subtle.

Bad Cop and Lord Business. (Subtle naming going on here .)

Obviously, The Lego Movie never takes itself seriously, yet still manages to stay on target and somehow pull the emotional strings towards the end. The animation is half of the charm. They filled the movie with tons of slick action sequences, yet the style is intentionally meant to resemble all those stop-motion Lego videos on Youtube. The humor ranges from clever to goofy and usually hits the mark, coming from the same directors who worked on Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs  and (surprisingly) 21 Jump Street. All the actors seem to be having a blast, most notably Liam Neeson and Will Ferrell, who milk their villainous dialogue for all it’s worth. Alison Brie as Unikitty also had some laugh-out-loud psychotic moments. And, let’s just say Will Arnett as Jerk Batman is awesome.

All in all, this movie knows what it is and sticks with it. The screenwriters nailed what draws so many kids to Lego- imagination. Throw in a little nostalgia, a little emotion, and endless gags, and the end result is a movie that will entertain more than just kids.

“Provenance” Person of Interest Review (Episode 14, Season 3)

5 02 2014

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If Reese is Person of Interest‘s  Batman, than we just met Catwoman. The show returns to the number-of-the-week formula with “Provenance,’ with this POI being China’s version of the master burglar- all the way down to the flashy back flips and tight black clothing. She seems to have a thing for art pieces that have deep historical and cultural significance, but as it turns out, she and her daughter are actually the ones under threat. This leads to a heist-style episode reminiscent of the Ocean’s movies- except with the POI crew teamed up with Catwoman. So, this was obviously a slam-dunk  episode with that setup, right? (Sighs) No.

As with any television show, there are numerous directors and writers working on different episodes out of necessity. Usually this isn’t an issue (especially with this show), but then there are the days that it stands out like a sore thumb. I wanted to like this episode, but gosh some parts were so sloppily written. It’s like the writer just couldn’t be bothered to go more in-depth. Why were there random poles on the ceiling in the super-secure room that appeared to serve no physical purpose other than an easy entrance for, I don’t know, an ex-gymnast? (the show writer just winks). Once she got into the cage, how did she get out in mere seconds, while holding a giant Bible? It must have been awesome, but too bad they couldn’t show how. But, my main beef came when Reese shows up on the other side of the world easily rescuing Catwoman’s daughter from her handlers. If it was that easy, why the heck could they not have just done that at the beginning, and saved a ton of time and effort?

I don’t think these basic points are nit-picking. Normally this is an intelligent show with sharp writing, so parts like these are pretty hard to swallow. Has the fantastic last 5 episodes spoiled me? Maybe, but of course they all can’t be like the “Endgame” trilogy of episodes or even the great two-parter with Samaritan. Usually these procedural episodes are fun to watch, but I was hoping for a little more effort, especially since they haven’t been airing new ones lately (no new episode next week either).

POI Shaw

Sarah Shahi “updating her arsenal”

Points of Interest:

1. All critiques aside, there were still a lot of humorous moment that I enjoyed, mainly with Shaw (see above) or Fusco and his descent into heist jobs.

2. This was the second episode in a row to have a break from Root’s side plot. Anyone wondering what that crazy gal’s up to?

3. Will Catwoman become a recurring character like Leon ( Ken Leung )from Season 2? I guess we’ll see.

4. It’s safe to say that even a weaker Person of Interest episode is still better than most of those other shows out there (no bias here!)

5. It’s good to have Jim Caviezel back on the team, isn’t it? Also, very nice gesture towards Carter at the end. We miss you, Taraji!

Final Score:

POI two half bear