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Just saw the film, what a let down.
I was with the film in the beginning.
There were some unoriginal characters, the war crazed veterans and the experience guy who is replaced with the young idealistic fresh new recruit, a pretty common tactic used to give the audience a window into the situation and make something so foreign to the average Joe relatable, the rest of the crew was equally derivative, the "token" ethnic guy, the crazy out of control cruel guy who ultimately has your back, the scarred and hardened leader who still maintains a kernel of humanity that he hides from his subordinates etc.
But I was with it. The tanks looked great, the tracer fire, while reminding me of some 70's Star Wars gunfire, was great, I enjoyed how the story progressed with the girl and the action scenes, everything was not particularly unique but really well told.
Then the finale hit. An insurmountable number of enemies descends on the good guys, who choose to fight in a crippled state for some idealistic reasons rather than simply walk away and live to fight another day. I was immediately put in the mind of the movie "300", but I'm sure there are almost countless instances of this ridiculous story premise.
When earlier we had seen action in the film, it was tense and realistic. Ambushing enemies hitting tanks in their convey with anti tank weaponry and burning soldiers pouring out of the hatches, dead. Even in relatively equal numbers and strengths, except for the tank with the main characters, pretty much everyone was dying as freely on the allies side as on the Germans, to the point where only the main characters were left.
It ruined the entire film for me. We saw that there were no guns facing to the sides of the tank, the guns mounted in the front having a 90 degree range of motion, but the Germans just run back and forth in front of the tanks machine guns being slaughtered for minutes on end.
They took the time to hide grenades (or land mines?) in anticipation of the enemy force coming, but left a significant portion of their ammo outside the tank? We literally see Germans running side on to the tank, with a clear shot at Brad Pitt's character, when the tank has absolutely NO way of firing upon them at that angle, but the Germans just run past (where to? Nobody knows).
They FINALLY, after hundreds of their force have been shredded by the immobilised tank housing 5 soldiers, pull out some anti tank weaponry, rocket launchers, and fire it from the tanks unprotected flanks meters away, and yet two of the three rockets STILL SOMEHOW MISS. I don't even understand how its possible to hit an immobilised vehicle the size of a small house from a few meters away.
I wish I could go back and tell myself to stop watching the movie before that fight started, I would consider it a very strong movie and likely one of the best things I'll watch for the year. Instead I am left with a sour taste in my mouth, as a film I was thoroughly enjoying shot itself in the foot.
A romantic journey into a Celtic past
Something about Celtic landscapes and music resonates in me, I'm not sure if its because I'm vaguely a descendant, but to this day the soundtrack to Braveheart sends shivers down my spine.
This is essentially the story of a post WW2 nurse who somehow gets sent back approximately 200 years to the tumultuous violent Scottish past.
The pilot shows a great deal of promise, the casting is great, score and cinematography all superb.
Unfortunately for me all of the promise came in the last 20 minutes of the episode, for the first 40 or so ponderous minutes we see nothing but back story, her time in the war, her somewhat fragile bond with her husband and their "honeymoon" to Scotland. Some of this information is pertinent, and certainly some introduction into the character's life BEFORE being thrown back in time is necessary to really grasp how unsettling and inexplicable what she sees is, but unfortunately 40 minutes was just too long.
After that somewhat arduous 40 minutes, when the protagonist Claire does wind up in the middle of the Plaid wearing sword brandishing Scottish highlands, the episode was phenomenal. We are introduced to the villain, we meet the rather dashing love interest, and we get a glimpse into the interesting topic of being someone with contemporary knowledge (primarily in her case of medicine, as a nurse) in a Feudal time, and we finally get some Bagpipes.
Even with the pilot's time allocation not being to my personal tastes, I'm very excited about this show. I think now they have fully introduced the back story future episodes will have more freedom to focus on the heart of this time travel tale. I have a feeling along side Vikings this will be one of the best period shows of the decade.
The Divide (2014)
Very exciting new show.
The Divide premiered with a 2 hour episode, the totality of what I have seen at the time of writing this review.
At first glance it appeared to be the story of a legal battle between a zealous prosecutor and an initiative trying to establish death row inmates' innocence.
I was perfectly okay with that being the scope and focus of the story, but by the end of the 2 episode pilot it was clear the show was looking at a much broader view of the Judicial system and corruption.
This leads to the introduction of a multitude of complex characters who each have mysterious motivations and goals, and also the establishment of several plot lines for future episodes. Some are acknowledged by the characters themselves, while at least one was only vaguely insinuated.
I was highly entertained by the pilot, and the excellent way the story matured and evolved to be a different and more far reaching than I had ever anticipated sold me on this being one of the best new shows of 2014. Highly recommended to anyone who enjoys political or criminal themes in their television.
A strong pilot and a promising show.
Extant is an exciting well made new show which touches on multiple common science fiction themes weaved into some of the more mundane problems in life.
Only the pilot was available at the time I wrote this, but already there is a strong sense of where the show is headed thanks to the quick introduction of the story elements.
There is a mysterious occurrence told through flashbacks that happened when Halle Berry's character was on a routine space mission she has since returned from, and a spin on the classic Science Fiction debate of Artificial Intelligence, in this case directly impacting Berry's character's immediate family.
The budget felt like it was generous, the actors scripts and effects were all more than adequate to be believable, and they told just enough of the story to whet your appetite and have you postulating wildly.
I would strongly recommend this show to anyone who likes science fiction. If you aren't married to the genre its still well worth seeing, but the pilot's pacing was the measured introspective pace of much science fiction (the movie Moon is a prime example, although this is faster) and while I don't think it will be a problem for the majority of the audience, if you're on the fence and don't think you can handle a slowly unfolding mystery this might not be for you. I personally loved it.
The Leftovers (2014)
Not a great pilot.
My hopes were set high for this when I saw it was on the HBO network. Sadly this is one of the few "misses" I've had from them. Only the pilot was available at the time of writing this.
The premise of the show is how people experience loss. There was some enigmatic disappearance of a large portion of the world population and the show picks up 3 years down the track, documenting the lives of a few of the affected. The focus will be on the trauma these individuals experience as they struggle with both the loss and the senselessness of it all.
Religion is a prevalent theme, many people turning to various religions to help understand why or how it might have happened.
Its a story that will unfold slowly. You wont be given many, if any answers quickly.
From a technical side it was up to par, the acting was fine, the editing and cinematography were all decent, but there was no sense of being gripped from the pilot. I think given a few more episodes it will ripen to a more interesting story, certainly the elements are there, and given a little tweaking it could be a really enjoyable introspective show. However based off the pilot alone I cant really recommend watching it, at over 71 minutes it was tedious.
Blown away by the first episode.
Forewarning only the pilot has been seen so far, but based on that I was thoroughly impressed.
Tyrant is the story of the second son of a powerful middle eastern tyrant who has escaped the corruption and despair of his native land and spent two decades Americanising himself and building an unassuming life with his wife and two kids. Reluctantly he is brought back to his country of birth for the wedding of his nephew.
Its not immediately a genre I would find myself drawn to, but I was enthralled. Barry (the second son) Is a wounded character, wary of his father and everything he represents, and they depict him brilliantly. His interactions with his brother and father are complex and deep.
The setting for the show is very beautiful, right in the opening portion of the episode you get a great sequence of shots where the American family is being driven in a cavalcade to the palace, and you can really see the juxtaposition of the opulence of their cars, the palace with its gardens and forest, with the impoverished masses being kept at bay so the streets are clear for the motorcade.
Watching both Barry's reaction to this contrasting culture and his American families reaction is very interesting and adds a different element to the story. His wife's "Dr. Phil" moments trying to get him to open up about the atrocities he witnessed when Barry (and the audience) know she could never really understand, his sons oblivious superficiality and obnoxious self absorption help make the story relatable to me coming from a western culture, and also highlight how ignorant they (and we) are.
I've only seen the pilot, as mentioned above, but I loved this first glimpse of a, for me, unique new story. I cant wait to see how it unfolds, and I recommend the first episode highly.
tentatively promising pilot.
Dominion seems to be the successor to the 2010 film "Legion".
For those that don't remember it the plot is as follows, God abandons the Angels and they decide its mankind's fault, and thus the apocalypse is born. One angel alone amongst his brethren sides with humanity, and comes to a remote diner to protect one expecting mother whose child is prophesized to be mankind's only hope of survival.
Dominion is set a significant while after the invasion, where by all accounts the demonic (angelic) invasion wiped out all but a few walled off highly defensible cities holding the last of human kind (the one we see bares a strong resemblance to Fallout's New Vegas), and then became somewhat dormant.
The show has believable sets and effects, some interesting stylistic choices on armor and swords and city architecture. The plot isn't incredibly unique, but its not derivative enough that you will know the seasons plot after one episode. Although you likely will guess whats happening throughout the episode 30 seconds before it does happen, nothing is all that surprising.
Decent fight scenes, acting that's up to par, multiple sources of adversity from the Angelic threat to your own people, with one particularly self deluded villain that you will instantly not like. They highlight some social issues like caste systems and economic disparities, which might become important to the story later down the road.
Everything about the pilot is promising, if you're into fantasy entertainment this probably will excite you. Word of caution, only the pilot is released, and its from the Syfy network which doesn't bring its A game often (ever?). The only recently decent show from Syfy was Helix, which started out equally powerfully with no overt mistakes and a promising premise, but the more episodes of it you saw the more obvious it was that the possibilities you imagined in response to all the mysteries the show introduced were vastly superior to the illogical garbled mess the story turned into by the end of the season. I enjoyed the pilot, but if you're short on time wait for a while to see if the show maintains its quality.
Faking It (2014)
It was violently not for me.
I'm not sure why i watched it, i guess i thought i was giving new things a chance?
It ticks a fair amount of the boxes in my 'things i hate about television' area.
Its highly derivative, from the "now the uncool people are actually the cool people and none of classically cool people can grasp why" routine, which is a prevalent theme in the 2012 movie 21 jump street, to the characters which are all extremely exaggerated and defined by one loud attribute: The 'gay' guy is gay, the cute boy is a cute boy, the 'mean girls' stepsister is a 'mean girl'. They are all one-dimensional plot devices intended to push the story and humour along inorganically.
I honestly didn't get passed the house party 10 minutes in, maybe they drove home some deep introspective parable at the end that would validate watching people condense and simplify the complexities of teenage life into caricatures we've seen from a hundred different and less tedious sources before, but i couldn't get there. The plot is probably the most obvious of any show i've seen this year, no one notices us, they then think we're cool because of a lie, lets continue the lie and maintain our status even though its clear at some point in the future we will be ousted as frauds and face some form of backlash.
They are vanilla girls that are apparently unpopular despite being attractive and healthy with decent aesthetics, in the most welcome and inviting environment you can imagine, and they go to school with several thousand hipsters that manage to have a hierarchy of popularity based on not caring about your popularity, homogenising their clicks by being "alternative" together.
Let me just say, i'm not the target audience, i shouldn't have watched this show its not meant for me and i'm sure its actually pretty interesting if you're into teen highschool television, or feel like popularity is an important social factor in your lives. I'd rather squeeze lemons into a pool filled with broken glass and do a 'bomb' dive into it from a 10 meter springboard than watch this ever again, but it might be someone else's cup of tea.
seductive and disgusting, and i can't wait to see more.
When you get any show with supernatural overtones you generally get a bunch of girly romance twilight / vampire diaries-esque bullshit, a rather heavy tax you have to pay in order to get to the actual story.
This starts out fairly slow, and very cliché. Perfectly normal people being oppressed by the zealously religious authority, needlessly tortured for silly ideals. Then we skip forward 7 years and the story develops a new angle.
I didn't have to sit through any overtly poor acting, the storyline is very dark and adult which is an extremely refreshing change from the usual CW light and fluffy nonsense, and the effects in the woods were pretty believable.
There's a love story, an unrequited love story in fact but its interesting, even IF the leads get together romantically which you have to assume is somewhat inevitable, there's also the feeling that the 2 lovebirds will each captain, or champion if you will, the respective sides of good / evil. I even thought that had some room for exploration, the main witch isn't outright "evil" in a black and white sense, but at the same time she's torturing and corrupting people, literally devouring souls.
The only negative thing i could say that i picked up on, was that one of the effects at least of the devils / witches / occult was quite disappointing. Its brief, but the reflection when the beautiful and enjoyably naked primary witch blows out her candle after succouring her familiar on her thigh teat. It was almost identical to pretty standard effects that have been used in B grade horror films for years, Roald Dahl's "the witches" comes to mind, but its probably been used almost identically in a hundred films.
All in all really promising, strong pilot. The production values, costumes and effects were all good and the story had a refreshing take on what is often an unoriginal genre. This is only the first episode but i'm actually quite excited for a slightly more adult, supernatural tale with more robust, complex subject matter. There were no huge errors that took me out of the story which led to it looking and feeling authentic. The witches themselves were both seductive and disgusting, and i can't wait to see more.
True Detective (2014)
Another masterfully made HBO classic
This is a show which almost bathes in success before it's begun. With it's cast and their pedigree of work i cant see many people interested in this type of television not seeing it.
Regardless the pilot grips you with non-linear suspense driven story telling. Vaguely some kind of serial killer murders young women in a ritualistic manner and our 2 protagonists catch the case. What follows is a tantalising taste of what I'm sure will become one of the most well wrought shows of the year, as is the norm for HBO. Teased with mystery and the promise of a story worth hearing being told in a superb manner, Its hard not to fully recommend every mature adult checking this show out.
The only demographic that wont be thoroughly satisfied with this work are people looking for lighter "easy watching" style programs. This isn't an episodic cop show, True Detective is dark and unapologetically twisted.
a tentatively decent pilot.
So the pilot for this show is fairly strong. Its a very generic werewolf themed program that features all the cliché's we've come to expect, I still enjoyed it but it's highly derivative. Ultimately there wasn't enough meat in this proverbial entree to really make any concrete deductions from, we will have to continue watching and hope.
The female lead hates that she is a werewolf and seeks to delude herself into thinking she is human. This is a theme common amongst not only werewolf shows but also vampire genre shows, such as Dracula or the Vampire Diaries. She has a partner whom shes in a long term committed relationship with and feels guilty about not telling the truth to, again highly derivative. There is a mysterious force moving against her "pack". It appears to be vaguely antiestablishmentarian.
As with basically every supernatural show starting out they use the well established (or cliché) method of being deliberately vague. In this case the protagonist is running from her "pack" or family, it is suggested, primarily because of the action of one bearded individual, but we aren't really given a glimpse at why (although one feels it likely to be an abusive romantic relationship). The villains or "others" are upset with the main characters for a completely unknown reason. As with seemingly every supernatural show out in contemporary television it features a list of aesthetically pleasing men and women, the idea being I'm sure that if their writers or actors are substandard then they have the fallback draw of being attractive enough for the less discerning audience members.
Despite the lack of originality, as a supernatural / fantasy enthusiast i will undoubtedly watch more episodes, with the goal of proving it as either worthwhile or too flawed to be viewed further. If like me you latch onto any remotely promising story involving supernatural elements you should (and probably would have regardless of my advise) check it out, as of yet there isn't any glaring problem with the show. If you are a discerning or picky viewer with finite viewing time i would suggest sticking to television programs proved to contain high quality content, and let this one prove its worth before giving it the gift of investing your time.
Don Jon (2013)
Don Jon is a romantic comedy and as such there are a few things you more or less have to take with a grain of salt. At least to some degree it will be generic and formulaic.
In this case Don is a stereotypical alpha male, whose interests are going to the gym, his car, church and picking up girls for one night stands. And of course porn. He decides one night stands aren't equaling his porn induced fantasies and decides to get into a relationship with a girl. Instantly he becomes the polar opposite of who he was, he goes to romantic movies he hates because she likes them, he doesn't push her to have sex, goes back to school because she likes it etc. That all happens in the intro to the movie so ill leave the almost spoilers there.
Essentially he has one classic unhealthy lifestyle, trades it for what he thinks hes supposed to look for, but its disingenuous and just as unhealthy.
There's a significant amount of religious context, at first it makes sense because the character has never questioned his lifestyle. But as he metamorphosis's from alpha male jerk to sensitive boyfriend and then his ultimate personification, he starts to question the things in his life. He almost half questions his belief in Christianity, but doesn't really follow through. Maybe they ran out of time. Anyway as with all romantic comedies he eventually sees the error of his ways and finds happiness.
This film does 2 things differently. One it focuses on Pornography, which i like because its a huge part of adult life which often studios are too timid to want to tackle, and the other is it added in a sort of middle man between unhealthy lifestyle and healthy resolution. Im not entirely sure the added state of unhealthiness was necessary but who am i to judge. On the pornography note i was fairly happy throughout the majority of the film, even though factors in his personal life seek to annihilate his practice of watching pornography at various times he defends it as natural and a part of pretty much every adult males life, all of which are true. Then he goes and, as we more or less always knew he would, ditches watching it altogether which kind of sends the message that it was abhorrent. In that sense the film took a man abusing something in an unhealthy way and basically made it taboo, which is equally fallacious.
Not sure how the average viewer would watch this. The majority of romantic comedy watchers are likely to be women who might not like the frank portrayal of human sexuality and the contemporary reliance on porn for basically all men, but on the other hand i'm not too certain many men will appreciate the formulaic and ultimately obvious ending.
I will say on a positive note, it was extremely satisfying seeing Gordon-Levitt acting macho, protruding his chest constantly and flexing his arms superfluously. He reminded me, i'm sure intentionally, a great deal of Jersey Shores Mike "the situation".
Once Upon a Time (2011)
So as of writing this the show is 3 seasons 10 episodes in. and its some of the worst writing I've ever seen.
Early on in the show we find out that Emma Snow, one of if not THE main character has the ability to tell whenever someones lying. I wont spoil the specifics but a few episodes later, and up until the current episode she literally never uses that ability again. Its the most blatantly discarded plot devise I've seen in years.
The acting in general, but especially amongst the younger actors, is wooden and unconvincing. However thats a sliver of a shadow in comparison to the inconsistencies and laziness the script exhibits.
The show features subplots of the fairy-tale land that was before a curse took everyone's memory and dumped them in a discreet part of America. These subplots are seldom anything more than blatant filler content, as we know how the story more or less ends (with the curse and Storybrook) but they usually have the decency to use the time to flesh out the backstory of characters. It's normally fairly inane, one character threatens another, but we know they end up alive and safe in the present day so the emotional pulls are almost nonexistent. But occasionally (as with todays episodes, s3 e10) its purely a retelling of a classic fable or myth.
In this case one character (trying not to spoil, even though the show is garbage) heard rumours years ago about a mythical creature that can defeat her enemy. The creature disables a person and the effect can only be reversed if the creature dies. The creature then casts its spell on the loved one of the character whose idea this was, and through a hasty butchering of the classic legend she turns the creatures power on itself, NOT killing but disabling the creature. The spell on her loved one is then broken, the creature is no longer useful for the intended purpose of defeating her enemy, and the lovers walk away. The entire subplot had no purpose. It was relevant in absolutely no way other than to butcher a classic Greek myth and soak up time, and it also destroyed the consistency it established only minutes ago, when we were lead to believe that the creature was immortal in every possible way, and its spell could only be reversed upon its death. It doesn't die, but its spell is lifted anyway, with never a mention of the failure to live in the universe the story created.
I consider this show probably the weakest of the supernatural shows currently airing, and that's saying something. Its filled with black and white morality, based upon watered down children's stories not the vivid originals, it throws together all kinds of completely unrelated, sometimes incongruous legends and stories in the most banal uninspired way that on an intellectual level its offensive. It's the type of show where the protagonists are perpetually in life threatening situations but "through the power of love" or "belief" or some other romanticised nonsense its inevitable they will prevail. Every season sees at least 5 or 6 main characters in certain fatal peril, but nevertheless no one dies and everyone gets forgiven.
Its so bad its almost good. But its not.
Witches of East End (2013)
I now understand what "hallmark" shows are, unfortunately.
I rated this at a 5 out of 10, and i do so because i am a 25 year old male and clearly not the target audience of this show.
I'd never really watched a "Hallmark" show before, i'd heard people reference shows on the channel and drawn connotations but after seeing 3 episodes of this show i can thoroughly say i now understand.
Its a fairly mediocre plot, nothing abnormal or unusual just a generic supernatural theme that has a handful of relatable (im guessing?)women that fit various archetypes. One struggles with feeling attraction for another man while being engaged to someone, another struggles with being a mother and balancing that around her various issues (in this case magical).
Nothing here that you have to see. This isn't Breaking Wands, no one outside of people who want a female angled mediocre show that loves supernatural themes should watch this.
The 5 rating was out of fairness to the target audience, if this show has literally everything you want in a show as a woman (or man possibly) that wants a guilty pleasure show then it MIGHT be around a 5/10. For everyone else this is a waste of time and energy, you should sharpen pencils for an hour or something instead.
The Tomorrow People (2013)
i rate this slightly above a "trapped in the closet" out of 10.
Waited a few episodes (currently 7 in) before i gave my opinion of the show. Can now safely point out enough problems with the show to know beyond doubt that the show is happy being at best mediocre and successful amongst a less discerning younger crowd than anyone looking for a show that actually depicted a truthful telling of a world in which people had supernatural abilities.
First of all i instantly had a huge problem with one of the core concepts of the world they created. Apparently these people all had random genetic mutations to turn into the same form of post-human species, and this mutation means that they have telepathy, telekinesis, teleportation and potentially more T related mental powers. They also mutated to have DNA markers that forbid them from killing anyone.
In the show there are said post humans on both the "good" and "bad" side of the fence as it is introduced to us. However neither can kill each other, they all use tranq guns and are at a constant disadvantage because they cant actually finish off any of the government agents they fight, simply run and hide. In the first episode one of the T people even grabs the bad guys gun but he cant pull the trigger even to save his life. However in the seventh episode a T person knocks out a character and puts him face down in a stream of water which would have killed him had saviors not appeared at a later date.
How then does this "cannot kill" gene work? Its not based on intent to kill, the Drowner hopes very much that he winds up dead, and then deliberately puts him in a situation that he almost certainly will die. Another breakout T person pushes someone off a roof and again he is only saved by the arrival of a teleporting friend at the last minute, and whilst he wasn't deliberately seeking to murder anyone again we see the potential murder of someone by a T person.
Why not just get a gun, put it to someones head then imagine its a windex bottle and close your eyes as you pull the trigger. The DNA will never know and you can stop running. This plot device is horrendous, makes absolutely no sense to anyone with half a brain and they constantly ruin its continuity, it alone makes the show ridiculous to the point of being trash.
Then there's the protagonist, an untrained teenage boy with no combat experience goes to work for the government agency killing or forcefully drugging and removing the powers of his species. Sees multiple of them be killed or tortured at the hands of this organisation and still isn't sold on them being that bad. This character would fence sit in nazi controlled Germany in 1943. Anyway while hes "finding himself" and endangering the lives of a bunch of people he then walks into a ruthless government organisation killing people like himself and makes some half arsed lie about why he didn't do as he was ordered or why people report seeing other T people helping him, and then the government organisation's head threatens to kill him if he even smells anything fishy but then walks off and lets him keep working against the organisation.
Then finally because having inept scripts and ridiculous plot devices that allow a 16 year old (whose actually 25) to somehow fool a murdering government agency while still attending school and not forgetting to spend time with his family and friends ISN'T quite enough to make teenagers want to watch this with their minds switched off, there's a love triangle, betrayal of friends to be with their girlfriends and best friends that you mindread love you because it wasn't obvious by them spending every waking second around you.
If you came here looking for a show with the honesty and integrity of say breaking bad or the newsroom but focused on supernatural powers and evolution of the human race, you wont get passed the first 10 minutes or so. If you want another show to watch that has "dreamy actors" and don't care that its insulting your intelligence in order to make you feel less lonely and loved, then you'll probably find this review not helpful and watch the hell out of it.
Almost Human (2013)
A decent science fiction cop show.
Almost Human's pilot (all that has aired at the date of me writing this review) depicts a veteran cop in a futuristic setting struggling with an apparent rise in crime and violence.
The show comes out with strong acting, a solid enough plot and even some messages about class structure. However the show isn't flawless.
The protagonist is paired with one of the last remaining (decommissioned 4 years ago) synthetics that was designed to be as human and embody as much emotion as possible, characteristics which the characters allude to being their downfall as the entire series of synthetics goes crazy. Yet inexplicably (likely explained later) one survives and despite the models being at one time commonplace amongst the police force, this one (named Dorian) has unique abilities that seem to far transcend the plethora of models 4 years newer that are commonplace.
All of the side characters are generic caricatures. There is an obvious love interest, an illegal shady Asian doctor, a nerdy scientist that interacts better with computers than humans and a bitter rival cop that appears long enough to make generic bully remarks to the protagonist and declare "he wont last" before going quietly into the night. Lastly the plethora of newer generation synthetics are practically robots, im not sure why this show distinguishes them several times from standard robots, they have no emotion are purely logical, follow protocols and rules to the letter and are made entirely from fiberglass and metals. Robots.
The show also could have spent a little more money on sets and CG work. The only things that set this world apart from present day are a few LED lights that seemed to be completely superfluous and the occasional brief CG of a sky with a nondescript flying vehicle passing over it for a split second. Apparently 30 odd years in the future cars look identical to today's models but have strange hubcaps and make vaguely futuristic noises.
That said the show was enjoyable and set a pace that showed great promise for future plot development. Largely shows like this fall into ignominious defeat or rise to glory on their ability to produce cohesive story arcs that don't involve episodic drivel. I desperately hope this show can continue delivering plot advancements, no one needs ncis 2040.
RED 2 (2013)
made for octogenarians ?
Red 2 is very similar to the original. You get a handful of mature actors, put them in generic spy-type situations where they inexplicably excel despite the handicap of arthritis and pepper any situation you can with seemingly meaningless relationship advice.
The "greatest assassin in the world" is using a 6000 rpm minigun from across the street and somehow not killing the protagonist and his comical relief sidekick, and mid scene they have what passes for snappy repartee.
Moses (main character) taking on 15 armed highly trained killers for a 2 minute stretch? you can basically guarantee that hes getting relationship advice from his single friends, which is definitely necessary despite the love of his life seemingly having no problem (in fact outright enjoying) constantly being in near death situations because of his spy lifestyle.
The advise itself irked me. The character is clearly the epitome of a "good guy", cares protects and respects his partner but is nonetheless told ridiculous things like "sometimes you just have to dive off the cliff". The character is too one dimensional to have any need for help: he is unfazed by his girlfriend kissing several strange men, he only wants to protect her from situations she is clearly unqualified to handle. The only way Moses is ever portrayed as imperfect as a partner is when he tries to talk her out of going untrained and inexperienced into gun battles with world renowned assassins and government hit men. And yet on this flimsy basis constant lines are thrown in by people who are clearly somewhat deranged sociopaths who try to "save" his seemingly impervious relationship.
The movie isn't too torturous, there's just enough time in between the eye rolling and completely inorganic shoe-horned love advice and geriatric banter that you never quite turn it off. Thus for 99% of the film i gritted my teeth when they tried to widen their audience base by force feeding me tips on how to save the world and my love life at the same time, but the finale of the film broke me.
Spoiler: Moses walks onto a plane with a mystical super-bomb that he cant defuse, the bad guy has a machine pistol to his girlfriends head, and tells Moses to take the bomb and his girlfriend and get off the plane, blowing themselves, their friends and the majority of London up with them. Moses does as instructed, the "gang" expects death and then as the plane with the bad guy flies off into the sunset it blows up: the final "twist" if i can be so brazen as to label it such is that somehow despite being meters away from the super genius bad guy the entire time he was on the plane and there being no conceivable way short of 'magic' that he could remove the bomb from the bomb case (where it would presumably have been fastened in anyway) to stash it in the compartment the aforementioned genius is staring at, he does.
As a love story it failed dismally, as a spy story / action movie it was abysmal. As an uplifting film for mature aged viewers disgruntled with their sedentary monotonous lifestyle i cant comment, as i am the wrong demographic.
A little too much twilight.
This movie isn't offensively bad. The world it depicts is fairly interesting with hints at a rich tapestry of supernatural creatures lying at the edges of the plot.
Sadly it yearns so badly to capture the enormous market of twilight it sabotages itself at every turn. The young girl with bold eyebrows who is for various reasons intensely desired by just about everyone in the film does very little in terms of justifying her high valuation. She is stalked by two males who fight for her affection (i do really like Sheehan from his work on misfits) do so in a twilight-esque fashion that feels shoehorned in.
This feeling comes from the outset by everyone around the young girl pointing out the best friend has intense desires for her, for which she is oblivious even though he appears to be her only friend, and later by effeminate boy who saves her life. These two characters literally walk in on each other "making a move" multiple times.
The end result of the movie is you feel like you watched a pilot for an even cheaper The Vampire Diaries in which any real story line is stymied by a desire to have as much teen angst love triangle as possible with the handful of characters that they have cast in the movie, turning 2 hours of screen time into a rushed and thin storyline.
If you go to a supernatural movie like this wanting rich story telling of a supernatural awakening you will be disappointed, if you want action packed scenes of an ancient order fighting off evil monsters you will be disappointed. If you want crumbs of the above littered with adolescent flirting and can overlook some weak acting and plot then this is the movie for you!
I personally feel the 1 girl 2 moron supernatural scene has had its day, can we move back to epic fantasy sagas like lord of the rings yet? please...
The Blacklist (2013)
glad to see spader back
Read the synopsis of this show and saw James Spader was starring and had to check it out.
Plot centers around a criminal mastermind that has eluded authorities for years, but whom in the opening scenes inexplicably gives himself over to FBI custody. What unfolds is a tale where no one is who they seem to be and the audience is never truly sure where anyone's loyalties truly lie.
Obviously we are only one episode deep (as of writing this) but the show looks like it has a good shot at taking off as a smart roller coaster of intrigue and character development.
The negatives were few, apart from the female lead the other fbi agents seemed very generic, stiff and set in their ways and fairly ineffective at dealing with what is portrayed as a vastly superior criminal underworld.
fans of spader such as myself will doubtless watch this regardless of reviews or ratings, but if you enjoy shows in the vein of thomas crown affair or catch me if you can, you will likely enjoy this kind of show.
This Is the End (2013)
Didn't hit the mark
Gave "This Is the End" a 5/10 because while its not an affront, it didn't achieve anything. The plot is some watered down interpretation of the Christian religion's judgement day and i don't remember laughing uproariously (or otherwise) once.
The best thing it had going for it, in my humble opinion, was the art- style of the cg. Other than that it was your classic comedy that supplants an interesting plot and acting with cameos from more than enough celebrities to take up an hour of the screen time just with their irrelevant appearance.
The actors all portray themselves in the film and feign some small modicum of self realisation, without actually saying anything about the culture surrounding actors that needed to be said or hasn't been highlighted before. Not a bad film if you want to kill some time, but i cant conscionably rate it higher or it would brush shoulders with films that tried to do more than churn profits, made all the more heinous because materialism is one of the issues the characters "learn" about during their redemptive journey.
Do No Harm (2013)
its like they knew all along they would be cancelled and thus didn't care.
"do no harm" is a show about a successful, brilliant neurosurgeon that battles a strange medical mystery in which he shares half his life with a sociopath alter ego. The show begins after a 5 year stint where Jason has been keeping the "beast within" at bay using a drug, which he has now has developed an immunity to the drug. Thus begins a downward spiral in which an angry sociopath alter ego tries to destroy your carefully constructed world.
The show began with some strong merits, dialogue and acting are all up to par and the polarity between the altruistic doctor do-good and his "gives no shits" alter is stark.
However this show has the unfortunate tendency to use story devices that make you want to take blunt objects to the cranium of its writers. Without spoiling anything specifically, there is a plethora of moments wherein jason "the good guy" is seconds away from overcoming his nemesis and writing his life and the many wrongs his alter, ian price, has committed.
And maybe 6 or 7 times throughout the 13 miserable episodes the way his carefully laid plans are foiled? He specifically tells someone that under no circumstances are they to do whatever it is, call him or tell someone else whatever it might be, tells them in the most firm and assertive and passionate way it is possible to communicate with another human being, and even though they solemnly promise they will not do whatever it is, and with no knowledge of his jason / ian schedule (he flips from one to the other every 12 hours at 8:25) they choose the precise moment he becomes evil murderous ian to pop by and say "hey guess what you're planning to do to yourself and i know i promised i wouldn't say anything but if i didn't randomly break my word the story would end".
They don't even betray him knowing what they are doing, which would at least make their decisions meaningful, they just happen to, despite being begged not to, call up and ruin jason's plan.
There's a woman who the evil ian hurts in a visceral way, almost destroying her life / ending her life. Jason then saves her, then ian finds out and hurts her again. This predates the 5 years of drugged sleep to stop him coming out. After he does resurface he stalks the woman forcing a confrontation. But when push comes to shove despite all the terrible things she knows about one man and all the goodness she has witnessed and knows to be prevalent in the others' life, she chooses the evil personification and once again ruins the plans of the good one.
I strongly suggest not watching this, the show was cancelled on the second aired episode, and although the network may not have known it at the time i for one am glad people were instead watching the lesser evils of americas got talent and dance moms.
Orange Is the New Black (2013)
Heard about "Orange is the new black" on another site, and when i IMDb'd it i was hopeful to watch a prison show from the creator of Weeds. Given that Weeds was, at least in the beginning, so successful at portraying the lead female in a situation where the line between right and wrong began to blur and eventually evaporate entirely, i thought a prison setting would allow Kohan to explore new themes with her unique humour and wit.
Unfortunately what I got was a serious about a naive girl who is sent to minimum security prison and has to deal with high school -esque hazing and popularity contests. There isn't a single hardened criminal that we meet in this institution, instead as we are shown through a series of tangential flashbacks, almost without exception every other inmate is a sweet caring human being that through some misstep or miscalculation has ended up serving time in an oligarchic slightly tyrannical resort.
I was left with a sense that the prison setting was somewhat irrelevant.. a similar woman could be having an almost identical crisis of self in a suburban neighborhood. Im not sure if the series is true to minimum security female penitentiaries, but all i could think when the protagonist cried about her current predicament which she almost invariably brought upon herself was -"while shes crying about some fantasy of a life there's a guy in a male prison dealing with constant physical and sexual abuse, and all shes dealing with is the other girls not liking her and a fairly atypical long distance relationship trying to survive her mistakes".
Not a bad show, i feel it would resonate better with the female audience members or someone that didn't have preconceived notions about how bad prison really is. I rated it at a 6 but it is a well made show and for the aforementioned viewer/s might be worthy of more distinction.
Teen Wolf (2011)
not great not bad
Teen wolf is exactly what you would expect out of a teen angled show about werewolves on the MTV channel. a blend of the supernatural with the teen life. If you are watching purely out of a love for the lore and myth of the supernatural you will be moderately disappointed, as the show goes out of its way to throw its teen roots in your face.
Its still watchable, even enjoyable, but you will definitely feel the disconnect between the life or death situations "the gang" deals with and how the writers attempt to co-mingle said scenarios with teen issues like acceptance, popularity and detention.
If the idea of being in life or death combat with a killer werewolf only to wind up in detention with said combatant is going to bother you don't watch.
However if you enjoy teen related television or are able to erase short portions of your memory you might enjoy the slightly above average storytelling and effects. Definitely a show for a younger audience.
Another science fiction disappointment.
First off if you enjoy science fiction and cannot find enough of it to satiate your hunger, then you will probably watch it and think its overall fairly good.
However as others have posted the show contains a plethora of flaws which should really have been rectified by now.
As with terra nova and falling skies and a number of other attempts, this show makes the egregious error of trying to tell an intricate story involving adult themes whilst maintaining the broadest possible audience base. Whilst a show should by all means try to be successful, shows such as terra nova and Defiance wallow in mediocrity because they constantly strive to stay PG friendly. Numerous child or adolescent characters and the angst ridden drama that should be saved for a show like degrassi are interposed within situations which could literally mean the end of civilisation or some other extreme. Completely destroying any immersion of the story you might have had.
For me the tapestry of lore the story is spun from is generic and lacking, there are a number of alien races yet apparently only the white dudes are of any real importance, the rest serving as minor impotent comedy relief (there's even some kind of chewbacca facsimile?) the special effects are extremely mediocre, possibly good by scyfy standards but again thats saying little. the dialogue is vapid and lacking, there's basically no action whatsoever.
I've only watched the first few episodes but if there hasn't been highly similar shows produced with the same plot, possibly without the unnecessary science fiction backdrop, i would be extremely surprised. Its like the modern warfare / fifa parallel of a television show, where the producers change little to nothing and strive not to be masters of a story telling craft but pay for their car lease.
Shows like The Walking Dead, Game of Thrones, Newsroom, Boardwalk Empire and Breaking Bad (to name but a few) are so fantastic is because they promise us a story in the adult world, and deliver it. If there are children present they are forced to face all the harshness of reality, rather than some vapid caricature that will make the audiences children happy.