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|7 reviews in total|
A hallucination within a dream of an imaginary psychic. A random collection of amorphous conceptualizations barely perceivable by the sentient yet yearning to be understood by the unknowable. Cognitively impenetrable at best, utterly nonsensical at worst. A chaotic metaphor for the novel cliché that is the fundamental paradox of existence. I highly recommend.
The dreadfully entertaining story of the fate of Violet and Klaus Baudelaire after suffering the tragic loss of their parents and home to a mysterious fire. The riveting repartee (salted with subtle ironies, peppered with alliteration, and seasoned with astute observations) felicitous music score, and brilliant scenery is outdone only by the carefully crafted storytelling and performances that really cook! Patrick Warburton, as Lemony Snicket, is dolefully monotonic yet drearily expressive. Neil Patrick Harris, as Count Olaf, gives a talented portrayal of a talentless actor of dubious motivation. Malina Weissman and Louis Hynes, as Violet and Klaus, deserve honorable mention. All in all, a thoroughly well done show. However, if you are chagrined by dire circumstances, dismayed by unfair situations, or saddened by unhappy endings, perhaps you should take to heart Lemony Snicket's introductory caveat. Caveat means warning.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Quentin Tarantino's 8th film, The Hateful Eight, is an expose on hatred, in its various guises, cleverly crafted in the form of a cinematic allegory. Why we hate, both individually and collectively, is rendered on the big screen for our consideration. For the sake of brevity, I'll explain by assigning each of the film's protagonists to one of the infamous Seven Deadly Sins, with one notable exception, to follow. My justifications should be sufficiently simple enough to warrant no further discussion. Our first protagonist, The Hangman, brilliantly portrayed by Kurt Russell, represents Greed. We are soon introduced to Wrath, personified in brutal detail by Samuel L. Jackson, as The Bounty Hunter. Pride, The Sheriff is well represented by Walton Goggins. Sloth, The Confederate, played by Bruce Dern, is perhaps the easiest deadly sin to recognize. We also have Envy; The Little Man (Tim Roth), Gluttony; The Cowpuncher (Michael Madsen), and lastly, Lust; The Mexican (Demian Bichir). But wait a minute, one might say, what about the eighth protagonist, The Prisoner (Jennifer Jason Leigh)? The Prisoner represents how we allow ourselves to become prisoner to our own fears and prejudices, leading us down the path towards hatred. There are also supporting characters, which could be said to represent the collateral damage the practice of hating surely incurs. The Hateful Eight is not for everyone, but it is a must see for Quentin Tarantino fans. It is aptly cast and the performances are very solid. The Cinematography is breathtaking, and the soundtrack is epic. Perhaps most importantly, it doesn't take itself too seriously; those who do not enjoy this movie surely will.
In X-Men: Days of Future Past, Director Bryan Singer presents to the
cinematic world not just another superhero movie, but a tour de force
of a movie going experience. He achieves this by integrating
exceptional storytelling and in-depth character development with the
perfect balance of faithfulness to both the franchise and comic book.
It is realized through world class support from the entire cast and
crew. Notable performances are given by Patrick Stewart, Ian McKellen,
James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender and Jennifer Lawrence. As a newcomer
to the franchise, Peter Dinklage as Dr. Boliver Trask does a great job
giving fans a villain they will have no choice but to love hating.
Special mention goes out to Hugh Jackman. In Days of Future Past he
truly delivers the essence of Wolverine, portraying with equal aplomb
his every flaw and strength.
If you are unfamiliar with the franchise, an afternoon spent viewing X-Men (2000), X2 (2003) and X-Men: First Class (2011) just prior to attending a show should serve to enhance your enjoyment of the movie; hands down the best of them all. If you are even a casual fan you will not be disappointed. I will leave it to the die-hards and the curmudgeons to quibble over flaws; yes, of course there are some (though not many, to be sure). Days of Future Past is a must see. It will remain a timeless classic not only in the genre of superhero movies, but of film as a whole.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Andy Whitfield will always be missed. His courage remains an
inspiration to those fortunate enough to have known him as well as
those of us who admired him from afar. He has far too many additional
attributes to list here.
WARNING: The following review contains details constituting a SPOILER. If you choose to read further please keep this in mind.
The opening scene of Episode One "Fugitivus" of Spartacus: Vengeance is disorienting. One does not immediately recognize familiar faces and there is no context other than knowledge garnished from Season One, Spartacus: Blood and Sand. This does not lessen the satisfaction given by watching a few gladiators violently defeat many opponents. Overkill is defined. Spartacus invites Glabor to Capua through a not-so-instant message.
It is disheartening to learn of our beloved characters moving from slave hood to sewer dwellers, but the promise of a better future is a given. The goals of Crixus and Spartucus, reuniting with Naevia and revenge on Glabor are at odds. Glabor is given no choice but to respond to the aforementioned message. Learning from his past mistake, he no longer allows Ilithyia to wander far from his sight. The former House of Batiatus becomes their new residence. Ilithyia reacts quite appropriately upon discovering Lucretia yet lives. We are given a new character to hate in Seppius. Apart from a raid upon a bisexual, sadomasochistic orgy and the resultant blood bath, the sexual aspect was somewhat milder than Season One.
The best scene, hands down, is when Oenomaus is set upon by would-be bounty hunters. Their demise at his hands was fated to be so. Everyone should look forward to his role becoming larger. First, at his advice, soon echoed by Crixus then Mira, Spartacus is asked to be cautious in his quest for vengeance. It is only with the death of Varro's widow, Aurelia, he is swayed. The rest of the season is set up at this point. The band of gladiators will move south from Capua, freeing slaves and recruiting additional gladiators in their journey. There is sure to be bloodshed.
Manu Benntt is excellent as Crixus and Peter Mensah equally compelling as Oenomaus. Lucy Lawless is flawless. Stephen S. DeKnight's writing is no less than amazing. Many more kudos could be given. The heart of Spartacus remains beating in Liam McIntyre.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
The concept is easy enough; a made for television spin-off prequel to a
popular series with a cult following, on a dirt cheap, shoestring
budget. Who said executing a concept is easy? The humor exhibited in
Burn Notice: The Rise of Sam Axe spans the gauntlet from down-right
imbecilic to border-line sophisticated.
At the very beginning we see foreshadowing, in the form of his seemingly obsessive compulsive attention to the precision of his belt buckle's orientation, soon contrasted by a scene making one have no choice but to smell the possibility of the video game rights being sold to the makers of "Donkey Kong". Sam Axe, brilliantly portrayed by the affable Bruce Campbell, of "The Adventures of Briscoe County Jr." fame, is a living, breathing, oxymoron sans the "oxy", capable of leaving his calling card at the scene of the alleged crime while simultaneously reminding us how the likes of James Bond, Jason Bourne, and Jack Bauer often take themselves too seriously (perhaps those guys should be connoisseurs of Scotch, like Sam). I can't vouch for the authenticity of his uniform, or verify whether or not naval personnel are required to salute indoors, but I enjoy a good laugh when I see one.
The cameo with Michael Weston (played by Jeffrey Donovan) is priceless. Jerry Seinfeld was not a better mentor to George Costanza, nor was Bud Abbott to Lou Costello. Accordingly, the tone of the movie is much more comedic than that of its progenitor. Fans of "Burn Notice" will especially appreciate the term of endearment Sam uses when referring to an un-named ex girlfriend of Michael's. The interplay of the source of the soundtrack with specific situations is reminiscent of a Mel Brook's movie.
On the more sophisticated end of the comedy spectrum are the way subtitles don't always correspond to the spoken words, whether or not subtitles were even necessary in a given scene, and how Sam clumsily, yet fluently, spoke Spanish so inconsistently. I am reminded of numerous scenes in Quentin Tarantino's "Inglorious Basterds". Two examples are how Sam says "flaming sword" instead of "burning sword" for his interpretation of "ardiente espada", and when the subtitles display "thank you" when he says "gracious bandidos".
Sam Axe should also receive the "Second Best Use of a Chainsaw in an Under-funded Film" Award. The name of the first best user of a chainsaw in one of those situations escapes me, making me feel like a tree. Chainsaws don't help trees, people help trees. To cap it all off, the song played at the end is about Snow White, in celebration of a Cinderella victory. Nice.
By Jupiter's rooster! I'd be willing to wager coin that many a skeptic became a believer upon viewing the premier of "Spartacus: Gods of the Arena". From the opening moment to the final credits I could not gaze in another direction. The brilliant writing combined with outstanding performances and great visuals come together to produce what will no doubt become legend. The depiction of a world with honor among slaves and dishonor among their masters is masterful. The portrayal of a world which doesn't require the web or mass media for it's inhabitants to be exposed to every depravity and brutality known to humanity is enthralling. A better adrenaline rush could only be found by those living in such a world. A must see for connoisseurs of sex and violence. Mere mortals could do worse than vowing patronage to "Spartacus: Gods of the Arena". Never was a more visceral experience produced by a succession of images on an HD screen combined with surround sound!