Thursday, February 28, 2013

The Following- "The Fall"

This is the episode that transformed this show from dour and sometimes disturbing drama to a ludicrous action packed guilty pleasure. It also happened to be the most entertaining episode since the pilot. Kevin Bacon seems to finally enjoying the outrageous nature of the show and is really starting to flex his acting chops. He spends most of this episode held hostage but is never scared or in any real danger from Paul, Emma, and Jacob. He just straight up punks Paul and Jacob over and over again with pretty hilarious lines.

Agent Parker finally stepped into the spotlight in this episode and we got a full dose of her backstory. I guess you become a specialist focusing on cults from escaping creepy ass cults when you were younger. The scenes of her as a kid were just super creepy and disturbing because he parents were forcing her to have sex with the cult leader. Nothing says "Parent of the Year" like getting mad at your kid for escaping constant sexual assault. She is going to be one interesting character when it comes to her coming into direct conflict with Joe or Roderick.

A couple of my personal theories  about the show came true this week, with the revelation that The Following is a lot bigger than originally stated and that Weston is not a traitor to the FBI. I knew one of the local cops was going to be a follower but I thought it was going to be the guy that got pair with Ryan, not the chick partnered with Weston. It was obvious from the introduction of the character that Parker was once part of a cult and I really did not see Emma leaving Paul and Jacob . This was an episode that got the plot of the show to go forward in a major way. I can't wait to see where we end up by the end of the season.

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Seven Psychopaths

Best movie of 2012, I think so. I really wish that I had taken the time to see this movie when it came out last year, because it was fucking awesome. Having three of my favorite actors in the leading roles of the movie when enough to sell me in the first place, The story is what really put this movie over the top for me. Colin Farrell, Sam Rockwell, and Woody Harrelson absolutely kill it in this movie. Christopher Walken also shows his greatness in this movie and it makes you instantly forget the last 10 years of his career.

This is one of those movies that surprises you on almost every level. I knew that the acting was going to be top notch but I had no idea that the plot was going to be as solid as it was. The dream sequence 3/4 of the way through the movie is what solidified this as the best movie of 2012. The sequence was beautiful and violent, and it summed up the entire movie into one sequence. Each one of the seven psychos has an awesome story behind them and Tom Waits is the stand out of the bunch. He plays a pretty small part in the movie but his story is so creative that it leaves a lasting mark. He is in a way a twisted version of Dexter and even has a female companion that share his passion for killing serial killers.

Colin Farrell again shows that he is an extremely talented actor when in the hands of a talented director. He is paired with Neil McDonagh again and shows that his performance in In Bruges was not a fluke, Farrell is indeed a great actor. He finally gets to use his real accent and plays an alcoholic extremely well. His characters progression is done very naturally and you can see how he is affected by each of the "real life" psychos. Christopher Walken gives the best performance of the movie and it was great to see him not give a goofy, over the top performance for the first time in the last decade. He gives a great layered performance where he shows pure joy, despair, hope, and terror all in the span of the movie. He plays a loving husband, who cannot break out of the "profession" that he has been practicing for most of his life. As the movie goes on you get to see his past and learn why he is the way that he is.

I loved everything about this movie and I found almost no flaws with it. Farrell, Walen, and Rockwell make one hell of a team and they carried the movie on their mighty shoulders. Even Harrelson makes a memorable turn as the emotionally unstable villain of the movie. He has made quite the resurgence over the past few years and it seems like his comeback is here to stay. The well developed back stories for each of the psychos is what made the movie really special to me. Tom Waits and Harry Dean Stanton were the most interesting of the psychos and it would have been awesome to see their roles expanded but they were still great. Rockwell and Farrell are what made the movie for me because they are a great duo and each gives great performances on their own.

Seven Psychopaths is one movie that will be hard to forget. There are memorable characters, solid story, and great performances. Dredd was just a step behind this in the story department but was ahead in the visceral action category. The story is what put Seven Psychopaths over the to in the end. I am surprised that it got no love during award season, Walken should have gotten at least a few Best Supporting Actor noms. Check this out as soon as possible because it it just fucking awesome.

Monday, February 18, 2013

The Following - "The Siege"

The Following is finally coming into its own and this episode did an awesome job of moving everything forward. It was great to see that little Joey has some brains and isn't completely gullible. The amount of moving pieces in this show is getting staggering but not overwhelming. The introduction of Joe's attorney was another wrinkle thrown into the equation because he now has a mouthpiece so he can communicate with his followers through the media. Ryan had a few brain farts this week but what can you expect from a guy that is trying to save the child of the woman that he loves.

This is the first time that I felt like The Followers were playing from behind. They didn't know that the FBI had an idea of where they were and that they were only mere steps behind them. Joey getting free and coming into contact with a secluded couple was also some bad luck for the group. Paul, Emma, and Jacob are all completely psychotic pieces of shit, a fact that seems to be lost on a lot of people. All this time we thought that they all had an idea of exactly what the hell was going on but we come to find out that they are completely in the dark about certain facets of Joe's master plan.

Ryan is again at the forefront of the action in this episode and it seems like he is pushing himself way harder than he should be. Whenever he does anything at is physically taxing the music slows and focuses on his heartbeat. He needs to slow down and start letting the FBI come in and fix the shitty situations that he throws himself into. Weston should be permanently attached to Ryan's hip because he seems to be the only person that can actual protect Ryan from himself.

Addressing the "cliffhanger", we all know that Ryan isn't going to die and if there is a hostage situation the only question is whether or not one of the main "followers" is going to get ganked. I am hoping that we get to see some more followers come to the forefront or even get a hint if there is a mole in the FBI offices. The lawyer cannot be the only one being used as a source of info for Joe. But until we get any new information, we are still in the dark.


-Joey is actually Ryan's kid.
-Agent Parker was once in a cult and broke free.
-There are different cells within Joe's "Following" that each have different endgames.
-Weston despite all of the signs, is not a follower.
-Jacob's first kill will be of a main cast member, my money is on Paul.

Sunday, February 17, 2013

The Man with the Iron Fists

The Man with the Iron Fists is just what Hollywood needed, a fun mindless movie made by an up-and-coming director. RZA, a first time director, showed that he has a ton of talent behind the camera and it looks like he learned a ton from his Hollywood mentors. Being backed by Quentin Tarantino and Eli Roth is a great honor for a first time director and RZA proved that he was up to the challenge by crafting an action packed guilty pleasure. I was surprised by the quality of the cast that he was able to assemble, and was really shocked to see Russell Crowe headlining the movie. More actors need to realize that they can do lighthearted movies sometimes and not always act in soul crushing dramas. 

The action in this movie is in line with the great kung fu movies of the past. Everything is played slightly over the top and it is awesome to see in motion. You have Rick Yune, who is literally wearing a "Suit of Blades", Russell Crowe wielding a Gunblade, and Batista has metal skin. Each weapon is more extravagant than the next and it makes each character feel special and it lends to the epicness of each fight scene. It was just refreshing to see a movie from a genre that has not been heard from in the States in a while. I truly hope that this movie leads to a resurgence of the Kung-Fu genre because Hollywood could do with a dose of pure action movies instead of coming out with generic rom coms and depressing dramas. 

The story itself was nothing really special, but the fact is that not too many people are going to be rushing to see this movie because of the story. The action is the main attraction and the acting was actually better than I thought it was going to be. Russell Crowe looked like he had a blast filming this movie and plays his character perfectly and Rick Yune shows that he really deserves to headline more movies in the future. Most people know Rick as the main villain from the first Fast and the Furious movie, and in this movie he shows that he is a complete badass. The whole movie could have been centered around his quest to avenge his father's death and it would have worked just as well. RZA also did a serviceable job as "The Blacksmith", but he should really consider focusing on honing his talents behind the camera and leave the acting to the actors. 

The Man with the Iron Fists is a fantastic debut by RZA. It does get a little out of hand at points but what can you really expects from a first time director that is also starring in the movie as well. If you are a fan of action movies and kung fu movies in particular then you should go out and see this as soon as possible. 

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Kevin Bacon has a Following?

I think I am ready to say that The Following is the best show currently airing on TV. This is the ballsiest to come along in some time, and has no qualms about extreme violence. Kevin Bacon is showing that he is still capable of carrying a production on his talented back. Most people were ready to write him off as a has been because he is no longer a true marquee talent headlining blockbusters in Hollywood. What he is showing is that he can still act circles around the rest of Hollywood and could still be a headliner.

I almost forgot how incredible an actor James Purefoy was until seeing the pilot episode of this show. He is a major player in the pilot and becomes a supporting character in the subsequent episodes. He crafts Joe Carroll into a captivating character who is pulling the strings of almost every character on the show. There is a "Hannibal Lecter" quality to him that perfectly balances calmness, smarts, and a viciousness that can frighten and entrance people at the same time. He is a force that is dangerous even when in prison and he is a truly great villain, which is very hard to come by on TV these days. Joe's stated long term goal is to create a sequel to his first killing spree, in which Ryan is the hero. I have a feeling that this is not the true goal and there are definitely more twists and turn coming within the next few episodes. 

The followers are shaping up to be the best part of this show, and that was the thing that really surprised me about the show. The three main followers, Paul, Jacob, and Emma are all equally engaging which is going to be great going forward. They seem like the steady core of the "following" and there will be a new follower highlighted each week because there doesn't seem to be a shortage of people willing to kill for Joe and his cause. I can't wait to see their journey play out alongside that of Kevin Bacon's Ryan and his race to catch them before they kill again.

The examination of peoples willingness to follow a cause blindly seems to be coming into play as the season moves along. The followers, while all disturbed in their own ways, choose to blindly follow Joe's plans at every turn without so much as an explanation.  They feel like he is nurturing them and that they can identify with his need to kill. He killed for the "art" of it, while some of the other killers seem to enjoy it. At this point in the season, we have only had a limited exposure to the followers and their individual motives. One is there because he desperately wants to be like Joe and the other people in the group but he has been unable to kill up to this point. Another was so entranced by the teachings of Joe that she now follows him without question, and the other one has unseen motives. I am interested to see what limits they are willing to follow Joe to and what lines they each would not personally cross.

In a season of sub-par new shows, The Following is head over heels better than the competition. Bacon and Purefoy make formidable adversaries and I can't wait to see what Joe has in store for Ryan over the course of the season. The only thing that I am not completely sure of  how this story is going to extend into multiple seasons but other than that, I am pretty psyched to see what happens over the rest of this season.

Monday, February 11, 2013

A Walking Dead Rant

I am a huge fan of The Walking Dead comic series and have been from the very beginning but the television show is starting to taint my love of the series. I have never seen an adaptation go so far out of its way to disrespect its source material. The fact that Shane survives a little longer in the TV series and is given an expanded role was fine with me even though he acted like a little bitch at points. His character was in line with that set up in the comics and his portrayal was consistent throughout the first two seasons. They just took him a little further off the deep end than in the comics and at points his character was better than in the comics. The alterations to characters such as Dale were acceptable because people may not be open to showing him in a relationship with Andrea because of the huge age difference. In the comics their relationship evolved naturally but in the TV series it would have felt pretty forced. These were the acceptable changes to the source material, now onto the blasphemous changes.

When did Andrea become such a fucking dummy? In the comics she is a strong female character that become a leader as the series progresses. But in the TV show she is The Governor's cum dumpster. What the fuck is going on? I want to know at what point the writers of the TV show just said, "fuck it", and decided to go completely against Andrea's awesome progression in the comics and make her a mongoloid in the TV show. The first season she is okay, the second season she starts making a few decisions that defy logic but nothing Earth shattering. Then in the third season, she just starts ignoring things that would make the dumbest of people suspicious. Maybe her banging The Governor will make her seem smarter and more likable, it is sad that this was probably the writers' reasoning for doing what they are doing. I am so happy that they butchered one of my favorite characters of all time and made her a complete dumbass. So pumped.

There is also nothing terrifying about this version of The Governor. In the comics he messes people up and is completely ruthless in his methods. The TV version is one good cry away from actually turning into one giant vagina. Michonne's attack on him in the comics is one of the greatest moments in comic book history because he repeatedly rapes and brutalizes her and her revenge on him is ripping his eye out, cutting one of his arms off, and then slicing his dick off for good measure. All of this is lost in the TV show and in the end Michonne seems like the overly viscous one. Just a huge misstep in a long line of missteps by the Walking Dead staff writers.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Killer Joe

I have taken a couple of week off from posting and I just flat out needed a bit of a break from updating the sites. After seeing Killer Joe I felt compelled to write about it, mostly due to the fact that it was one of the most fucked up movies that I have seen in a while. I know that I reviewed Excision and said that it was one of the most fucked up movies ever, but I kind of knew what I was getting into with that movie. This one not so much. Also, for anyone that thinks that Matthew McConaughey cannot act, just go and watch this movie and you will be proven wrong.

Killer Joe tells the story of a despicable family that hires a hitman, Joe Cooper(McConaughey), to kill one of their family members to collect on a life insurance policy. Things go horribly wrong as usual and the family has to put up their youngest member, Dottie (Juno Temple), as collateral to Joe. from that point on the movie becomes a blur of violence and fried chicken oral sex.

Most of you have never heard of this movie due to the simple fact that it is rated NC-17 and there isn't really a huge market for a movie with that rating in the larger theater chains. It was also forgotten by critics when it came to award season and Matthew McConaughey could make a serious case that he was snubbed for a best actor nomination somewhere. His performance is simply magnetic, he holds your attention for every millisecond that he is on screen and his intensity never lets up at all. I hope he starts leaning more towards these meaty dramatic performance instead of the shitty rom-coms that he has been dedicated to for the last decade.

This is one of those special movies that truly has no hero, it is just a series of people that are worse than the person next to them. Joe is a cop who kills people on the side for extra money, he isn't fighting for a higher cause. The family agrees to kill a member of their family with almost no hesitation because they will be able to put a little coin in their pockets and make their shitty lives slightly less so for a short time. The closest thing to a sympathetic character is Dottie, who is offered to Joe as collateral for his services. But then you think about that fact that she never even hesitated in saying yes to the murder of her mother and it taints your opinion of this "innocent" character. There are no innocents in this movie and that is one of the truly unique things about it, everyone in the movie is despicable. You just have to side with the lesser of the evils in the movie.

I wish I would have seen this movie last year because it easily would have made my top 10 movies of 2012. McConaughey proved that he is a force to be reckoned with in Hollywood for a long time and brought William Friedkin back to the forefront of the conversation of best directors in Hollywood. Check this movie out as soon as possible because it will definitely leave a lasting impression on you. You will also never look at Kentucky Fried Chicken the same way ever again.