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The Killing: The Road to Hamelin (2013)
Oh, my god, this episode
Okay, I will keep this brief and free of spoilers, but this episode of "The Killing" is not only the most powerful episode in the show - it's one of the best episodes of any television show I've ever seen.
"The Killing" has always been a dark, atmospheric show, but this episode takes things to an entirely new level. The tension and suspense build from the beginning until reaching a boiling point, then flat-out exploding in one of the most emotionally intense and climactic cliffhangers in television history.
Unsettling, character-driven, scary, disturbing, devastating - these all seem like understatements. Watch it for yourself and be prepared to be blown away - and to lose some sleep afterward, because this one will stay with you long after the closing credits.
A solid 10 out of 10... And then some.
I picked this up for $5 at Wal-mart, expecting another fun full-length Scooby feature in the vein of "Camp Scare" or "Witch's Ghost." Wrong.
There are so many things that make this film painful to watch. First of all, it doesn't even make sense. Scooby, Shaggy and Scrappy are headed to teach P.E. (huh?) to an all-girls school (huh?) where the students are also the daughters of the world's scariest monsters (huh?) who are REAL monsters, not men in masks (huh?) as they're gearing up for a volleyball tournament with boys from a local military school (huh?) outside their creepy mansion.
Secondly...there's no Mystery, Inc., no Mystery van and...NO MYSTERY. Shaggy and Scooby are great characters, but the movie feels empty and foreign without the rest of the gang.
Thirdly...THE CHARACTERS!! Okay some people think Scrappy is bad, but he's actually a likable character compared to the rest. Revolta is simply fugly, and a weak villain at that. The monsters are ridiculous. And the girls...they might just be the most annoying cartoon characters I've seen in a long time. The phantom daughter is screechy and squealy, the werewolf's daughter sounds constipated and howls constantly, Frankenstein's daughter sounds like they were trying to make fun of mentally handicapped people and walks around calling her dad "dada" even though she looks at least a teenager. The only one that was semi-cute was the mummy's daughter, but her voice was still a bit irritating. Miss Grimwood was the only one with a pleasant voice, and I thought the little dragon/dog was pretty cute.
Possibly the WORST thing about this movie was the dialogue. There's literally a really REALLY bad pun every 30 seconds. They start out as a bit eye-rolling, but it gets cringe-worthy and, about 30 minutes into it, downright torturous. There's one in about every other line, and some of them are recycled multiple times throughout the film. (Just count how many times Dracula's daughter says "Fang-tastic" for starters) Finally...there's no real plot. It's incredibly boring and at 1 hr. 33 minutes it lasts longer than some non-children's movies, which makes it even more drawn out and lame.
Seriously, avoid this at all costs. It doesn't feel like a Scooby Doo movie...at best, it feels like a really bad spin off. Like if Luna and Neville from Harry Potter moved to America and started bakery in New York City. That's about how this film fits in with traditional Scooby repertoire. Don't waste your time and, especially, your money!!
Unrealistic, boring perspective on teenage sex lives with god-awful dialogue & stereotypes galore
This show had potential. And to be honest, the first season was halfway decent. When it began, I expected an honest, realistic look at teen pregnancy and its effects. As the show developed, I began to expect an honest look at all the perspective on teen sex and/or abstinence. What I ended up getting was a soup of absurdity (no clichés here, as the show is far to unrealistic even to be clichéd), painfully obvious agendas on social issues, hypocritical and unlikeable characters and horrendous dialogue.
Let's start with the absurdity: -The high school engagements and marriages. So unrealistic. Girl gets knocked up after a one-night revenge stand, and she and the boy suddenly fall in love, the baby is stillborn and suddenly they don't love each other anymore? So they're married and divorced before they graduate high school. Yep...that's sure happening to teens today (insert sarcasm). -All the characters just happen to shop at the same butcher shop, eat at the same restaurant, all the adults know each other and most of them have at least dated each other. -Another engagement in high school, and parents okay with their unmarried 11th-grader living with her boyfriend and their "surprise" one-night-stand baby. -The mom of two teenage girls getting pregnant with her ex-husband, whom she doesn't like, after a one-night fling. -An ex-drug addict lesbian mother reuniting with her son, sitting around the table having tea with his adoptive parents and talking like bff's. -The same woman living with the father of her son's baby mama. -I could go on and on...
Painfully obvious social agenda: (Okay, before I start on this, please note that I'm not taking sides. Some of the issues it addresses are good issues. But Hollywood - and particularly ABC - has a reputation for being vocally liberal, and this show is no exception.) -Running comprehensive sex-ed into the ground. -Focusing extensively on literally every type of social diversity known to man: gay characters, lesbian characters, interracial relationships, intercultural relationships, a reformed prostitute, a reformed drug addict, a Down Syndrome boy having a relationship with a single mother with no mental disabilities, bicuriosity after years of heterosexual marriage, liberal Christianity (including a pastor that actually comes out and says "Some of my colleagues might disagree, but I don't think sex before marriage is a sin," religious differences, divorced couples, remarried couples, inter-religious relationships, and I could go on. -A character literally says: "I'm a Republican. But I voted for Obama." Now, come on ABC, have a little more dignity than to come out and say something so ridiculously obvious.
Hypocritical, Unlikeable characters: -A Christian girl plans to wait until marriage, prays to God, he says it's okay to have sex, her dad dies the next day, she thinks God's punishing her, then she gets over it and continues to have holy sex with different guys. Okay, I'm not saying you should or shouldn't pray to God about whether or not to have sex, or that it's right or wrong to do it before marriage, but the show should at least represent one character who is steadfast in such a belief. I think it's disrespectful when shows portray such characters as either wishy-washy hypocrites or total nutbags. Create a solid, strong, normal character to represent this side on the issue. -A father and son suddenly fall out of love with their wives and decide to get divorced, at the same time. Especially when one has a stillborn baby, and all of a sudden he doesn't love his wife anymore? Way to support her through an awful situation! -A girl vows to never have sex after getting knocked up in high school, then decides to do it again and has a pregnancy scare. -Friends screwing each others' significant others to seek revenge. -No consistency with characters who want to have sex but also use birth control/protection. -Down Syndrome boy decides he doesn't want children and to break off relationship with single mother -I could go on and on about this, too...
God-awful dialogue: -Well, for starters, just count how many times the word "sex" is used during a single episode. -Also count how many times characters repeat sentences. -Unrealistic characters creates more poor dialogue. -For more examples, simply watch five minutes of the show.
Oh, and since I didn't mention it, the acting is terrible (except for a few ... mainly the girl who plays Adrian, and Molly Ringwald isn't bad either). Like I said, the show had potential, but these major blunders led it down the wrong path.
And if your still not convinced, Brenda Hampton herself said she doesn't care about the reviews...she just wants good ratings. Will the show continue for at least one or two more seasons? Probably. All the teenage girls addicted to it feel like they have to continue watching it, even though I've heard many say they're getting bored with it. Hopefully the ratings will drop and the show will get the axe. But until then, it's the sad proof that our society endorses unintelligence among our youth.
'Breach' excels in every way
'Breach' is one of those rare movies that just gets better and better the more you watch it. Based on the true story of the worst security breach in U.S. history, it is a captivating, enthralling tale that proves that truth truly is stranger than fiction.
First off, the movie succeeds at keeping us guessing and wondering, even though we already know how the story ends. Not an easy feat. Secondly, the film is a unique blend of a spy thriller and a character drama. While it is a movie about a spy, it's not a "spy movie" by standard stereotype. There are no car chases or shootout scenes. Instead, the film uses a more low-key type of suspense, which engrosses viewers through its realism--and possibly creates an even greater tension that way.
The third element of the film is the casting/acting. All the actors fit their roles perfectly. Chris Cooper embodies Robert Hanssen, portraying a very complex villain objectively and with sensitivity. His performance was seriously overlooked by the Academy. If he can win for "Adaptation" (which was a great performance but, in my opinion, inferior to this one), he should have at least received a nomination for this one. Ryan Phillippe does a fine job as the film's protagonist, portraying the rookie pulled in all directions, struggling with life, trust, marriage, and wondering what his next move should be. Laura Linney is superb, as always, giving a tough performance as the agent in charge. She does have a few lines with a sort of dry sense of humor, which adds a bit of a light touch to an otherwise deep and serious film. The rest of the supporting cast is excellent as well and fit their roles perfectly.
The fourth (and possibly strongest) aspect that makes 'Breach' succeed so highly is its portrayal of Robert Hanssen. A great deal of that is owed to Cooper, but the filmmakers also had a hand in it. Hanssen is not demonized. Although his actions are grave and at times repulsive, we are shown a tender, family-oriented side of him. He is also seen as a faithful church-goer who probably does believe his religion, but his actions and choices make him very complicated to understand. In the end, we feel everything from disappointment to repulsiveness to confusion to fascination and, yes, even pity toward his character. Maybe not pity for him, per se, but pity for the fact that his actions had such dire consequences on so many people.
All-in-all, a well-rounded film that is sure to stick with you long after the end credits roll. To those who feel that this film was slow or boring, you obviously were expecting something else or either can't handle a more realistic spy movie. Sure, high-octane spy films are great, but it's the mesmerizing true stories that truly shine.