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Breaking Bad (2008)
The Greatest Show I Have Ever Seen...Well!
These past 2-3 years I have taught myself to appreciate story telling a lot more. This was the result of me coming to realization that TV and cinema are more than just mindless mediums of fun. NO. They are much more than this. Its whole a new world with other worlds branching off each other. When comparing movies and TV i have noticed something. TV have a undeniable advantage over films. TV shows can be a slow burn developing the characters and plot with slow yet engaging pacing. Of course the characters and the plot themselves have to have sense of freshness and creativity about them or the show will not achieve a high level of story telling. Shows like "The Walking Dead", "The Newsroom", "Game of Thrones" and "The Wire" do this very well which is due to impeccable writing. All these shows are great in their own right, but one show I feel has risen above the rest, taken up the crown if you will as perhaps the most impressive and engaging show to ever the bless the television screen. This is of course Vince Gilligan's crime drama "Breaking Bad"
"Breaking Bad" involves a incredibly over qualified chemistry teacher and car wash register Walter White who only makes around 40,000 dollars to his name every year. This is a problem you see as he has a wife with baby on the way and a teenage son with cerebral palsy. To make things worse our smoke free protagonist has been diagnosed with a serious form of lung cancer (i forgot what stage). He is now in a spot of bother but who would come along and pop and idea in his head. Hank Shrader his brother in law who also happens to be DEA agent who makes a meth bust which comes to the attention of Mr White. He knows within himself that he can cook nearly perfect meth and with the right distribution he can provide for his family after he eventually buys it due to his cancer. At this point Walt finally strikes a bit of luck as he comes in contact with an old student of his Jesse Pinkman who happens to be a meth cook and dealer. With some liberating words Walt persuades Jesse to partner up with him to cook and deal meth. This is pretty much the synopsis of the first half of the first episode. After this is the slow burn that is this masterful story.
The first thing that must be noted of this show is the writers ability to link plot points with other plot points to progress the overarching story. Characters and circumstances collide as we watch Walt descend into what his is in "Felina"(Oh yeah Walt is known as Heisenberg in the meth world).Every character is constructed beautifully with Walt, Jesse, Saul, Skyler, Jr, Hank, Marie Jesse, Mike and the menacing Gus. I shall not go further as i don't want to reveal anything too important. The story is also complimented with masterful directing and cinematography with one of the directors being Rian Johnson the directed of the superb "Looper". POV shots FTW!!!!
The plot, writing and directing have ticked a box but all of it would have been in vain if it wasn't for some of the best acting I have seen in any form of entertainment. Bryan Cranston has deserved all the Emmys that he has won with his flawless job as Walter White who makes his transformation believable and unbelievable at the same time. Jesse Pinkman was my favorite character in the show due to Aaron Paul's emotionally gripping performance. This guy has some serious range. The supporting actors where all phenomenal with a couple of stand outs being Gincarlo Esposito as Gus and Dean Norris as the lovable loaf Hank. I could go on for pages about the acting praising Gunn, Mitte, Odenkirk, Banks, Brandt, and Plemons.
I have attempted to describe with justification how good this show is. It is masterfully paced and never bored me. the writing is flawless and acting was also flawless which it definitely needed to be for this kind of content. I will never forget this show and it will have to be trumped by a show forged by the gods to over throne it as the greatest piece of story telling ever put to the television screen.
If you liked this then you might also like-
"The Wire"- Fantastic writing and shows point of view of the gangsters, similar to "Breaking Bad"
"The Sopranos"- anti hero factor
"Walking Dead"- Characterization factor
"Sherlock"- Just because its amazing and everyone should watch it
Dark Shadows (2012)
Missing a bit of the Shadow
Johnny Depp and Tim Burton over the years have obviously stamped their mark pretty deep in the world of Hollywood. They have developed titles such as Edward Scissor Hands, Sweeney Todd, Alice in Wonderland and Charlie and the Chocolate Facotry. All of these films impressed me and I thought i would expect nothing less from the 2012 film Dark Shadows.
Firstly, this movie did have its highs and i immensely enjoyed them like its impressive cast. But this movie also had its lows which unfortunately overshadowed the highs (no pun intended). The plot lacked detail and everything seemed to be happening very quickly. It involves a centuries old vampire being set free from his coffin like prison. After this he decides to continue his legacy and help his present descendants prosper in their fishing business. This plot is certainly different and could have been a real success. The characters in this film, mainly the family are developed effectively but no character wowed me. Even though Johhny Depp did deliver his usual brilliance their was a lack of reaction with other character to build interesting relationships.
Their was the same dark and slightly wondrous feel to the movie which is no doubt created by the hand of Tim Burton even that couldn't patch the hole in plot development. The ending was somewhat boring and again had no wow factor unlike the epic conclusion in Alice in Wodnerland. It is also a comedy and their is parts where i chuckled a little but the balance that Burton provides between horror and comedy was tipped here with no sense of direction.
All in all this movie disappointed me. I was expecting a dark and comedic joy ride with a fantastic climax. But because the movie lacked this i give it a unsatisfying 6/10.
The Book of Eli (2010)
A wanderer known as Eli travels west across a vast post apocalyptic America carrying a book that is said to hold the hope for all mankind. He travels alone witnessing the harshness the Grey land has to offer, resisting it's horrid flesh eating bandits and power hungry warlords. Guided by god, he contains a holy presence protecting him.
When i saw the trailer of this movie a few months before its release, I though B-rater nothing much accept for the fact that it had the brilliance of Denzel Washington and Gary Oldman. I saw it as a small follower to Mad Max, Legion and The Road trying to contest with these cult classics and small wonders, but as I flicked through the fox movie channels The Book of Eli caught my eye.
I went into this movie feeling optimistic having the potential for a marvelous plot and some disturbing yet brilliant scenes. So i sat down with my orange juice and watched the movie and may i say my resistance to go to bed before the movie definitely payed off. The first thing that slapped me in the face with this movie was the setting and mood, obviously being set in a apocalyptic wasteland the mood was certainly cold and mysterious creating a increasing curiosity of what is going to be on the road next.
The character in this movie really magnified the feeling of hopelessness in the wasteland all disease infested and desperate. But the character Eli played by Denzel Washington was a symbol of hope carrying the ultimate book of hope and ripping through bad guys with his sweet blade. This leads me to the amazingly simple action sequences. The first action I saw with Eli created a trance as I Became unable to turn my eyes away from the T.V.. His ease in slicing and dicing his enemies makes for a fantastic ride throughout the whole film.
This surely a very brutal movie seeing people been randomly shot in the head and occasional horrid deaths for the evil bandits. But its brutality is powered by the always brilliant Gary Oldman as the evil tyrant warlord. Oldman's character is after the book for his own power hungry needs and will go to any lengths to acquire it. Acting in this movie is sound as Mila Kunis plays the new sidekick of Eli feeding her own to the movie. But the stand out was Denzel bringing the cool and calm character that is Eli to life.
The plot is wonderfully simple with a kind of road trip feel to it. The main flaw this movie has is the resolution. It lacks a climatic finish but of course I shall not reveal it. All in all it is brutally fantastic movie with excellent acting and great application of setting to the mood. This is why i give it a 8.4 out of 10.
The Dark Knight (2008)
Brilliant Film- Understatement
The dark knight was the second of the modern batman movie franchise. After the slight disappointment of Batman Begins i was not expecting anything special. Maybe a few sweet action scenes that would dazzle but nothing really spectacular. But promise raised as i read the preview revealing the surprising casting of Heath Ledger as The Joker.
With that being the only thing looking forward to seeing in this movie i ventured onwards and watched the film. From start to finish this movie was absolutely brilliant, flawless in every way. Plot was brilliant unfolding mystery, action and even romance. Every good movie has to have a bit of romance. Action sequences were spectacular not drawing over the top and the characters were by far the best part of the film. Batman himself played by an impressive Cristain Bale and ONe of my old favorites Gary Oldman and his role as Detective Gordon.
But my expectation on Heath were not in vein. Stealing the show with one of the greatest pieces of acting i have seen since Jack Nicolson in "The Shining" as the Joker. It is an extremely dark character, much darker than again Jack Nicolson's Joker in "Batman". The Joker in this movie however portrayed his insanity through dark humor killing and causing anarchy through the streets of Gotham. Heath Ledger fitted everything that needed to be fitted right down to the little knots on his cheap purple suit. But of course whats the Joker without a few laughs on the way occasionally giving us chuckles with his cruel sense of humor.He deservedly won Best Actor and it is a damn shame to such talent go to waste.
The Dark Knight is undoubtedly the best movie i have seen in my short 15 years on this earth captivating me in its non stop action and wondrous characters. Its gonna be hard to beat... I give it a 20 out of 10
A Great Adventure for the Whole Family
Sometimes by brothers insistence surprises me and Rango was one of these cases. It was a late afternoon and my brother had rented Rango which i was already familiar with because of its star studded cast and impressive review. So after much argument over the television i gave in to watch this movie.
I was truly hoping to be impressed and my wish was to be fulfilled in the first half an hour into the movie. Rango is about a Travelling Pet Lizard who is separated from his owners to be stranded in the middle of the Mojave Desert. He then after certain circumstances ends up in a small old western styled town called Dirt. He soon discovers that this rough and rugged town is in a major Water crisis. The problem seems simple until Rango becomes sheriff of the town through his overwhelming acting abilities, immersing himself into the mystery and adventure of the crisis making new friends along the way.
This movies plot is wonderfully simple creating a comfort for the viewer. The humor contained in the movie is extremely well timed and adds the perfection towards the strange and wonderful character developed through out the film. Setting and visuals are beautiful and voice casting was flawless. Johnny Depp as Rango is up to his usual Brilliance accompanied by actors and actresses such as Bill Nighy and Isla fisher.
The reason why i loved this movie was because it surprised me and its non stop action an the occasional laughs making it perfect for all ages. I give this movie 8 out of 10