Archive | September, 2010

Fall TV Premiere Wrap Up (Part I)

28 Sep

There was a time two years ago when I only watched two shows on a regular basis, The Office and Lost. Now, thanks to DVR, DVD, my fiance, my brother, and Netflix here is the list of shows that I watch regularly:

It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, Dexter, Boardwalk Empire, 30 Rock, The Office, Modern Family, Eastbound and Down, Supernatural, Glee, House, Entourage, and Mad Men. I am probably leaving some out and that is not including some of the stuff my fiance watches that I hope will be in exchange for some Maryland Terrapins basketball time this winter.

Here are my thoughts on each of the season premieres that I have seen so far. I will try to keep this brief.  

It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia

Season Premiere Review: ***1/2 out of 4 stars

Chris’ Take: This has been the funniest openings to an It’s Always Sunny since Season 3. Seasons 4 and 5 featured hit or miss episodes, but the first two episodes of this season have been hilarious. The story arc with everyone becoming romantically entwined for the wrong reasons has been engrossing and side splitting. There are now story threads that seem to be working over a couple of episodes rather than disappearing after one episode and it is working for the show. I hope it keeps this up.

The Event

Series Premiere Review: **1/2 out of 4 stars

Chris’ Take: After all the hype, it kind of delivered, but only at the end. After watching one of the most convaluded flashback and present timeline conglomerations ever conceived in one episode, obviously borrowing heavily from Lost, it ended with a mysterious event (Hey! I get it now!) While I don’t care about any of the characters enough yet, I am interested in seeing a couple of them fleshed out, but something tells me that the majority of them will remain two-dimensional, and will only change through unconvincing plot twists. Still, the ending was enough to keep me wanting to see what exactly happened and I finished it OnDemand just in time to realize that I missed the first half of the second episode and didn’t have it on DVR.

Running Wilde

Series Premiere Rating: *1/2 out of 4 stars

Chris’ Take: I was thoroughly excited to know that Will Arnett and Mitchell Hurwitz were collaborating on this show. It promised the return of a GOB character to tv and I thought what could go wrong? What we got was a mess, struggling from the start to force the humor and make changes throughout the episode that didn’t seem to make sense for the characters. While the show garnered a few laughs, it was not enough to satiate my desire for more. I will watch one or two more episodes to see if it was just the pilot setting the stage for something better, but I don’t see it going that way. I am guessing this show will be cancelled rather soon.

30 Rock

Season Premiere Review: ** out of 4 stars

Chris’ Take: This premiere had a lot of potential, coming off the season finale that featured Jack’s marriage, Matt Damon and the departure of Kenneth (about as much of a cliffhanger as this show could have). Matt Damon did return to reprise his role, but it was very unfunny and added almost nothing to the story. All the gags seemed to fall flat, with the exception of Tracy hallucinating about seeing Kenneth and having him throw himself in front of a car to prove he was real. If the rest of the episodes are this stale, I think this show will run its course in the next year or so, but I like Tina Fey and crew, so I hope that is not the case.

The Office

Season Premiere Review: **1/2 out of 4 stars

Chris’ Take: I had a lot of anticipation about this new season, with all the Michael Scott replacement rumors, but obviously that story arc will not happen until later. I was mildly amused most of the time and enjoyed the return of Jim and Pam’s pranks, but it didn’t seem to flow, especially the opening sequence which was zany, but not that funny and had nothing to do with the story and very little to do with the characters themselves. I did like how they didn’t worry about building up the romance between Gabe and Erin because it didn’t really need to be explained, it just was. I still hold out hope that this will be a very interesting season and look forward to the next episode.

Eastbound and Down

Season Premiere Rating: *** out of 4 stars

Chris’ Take: While this wasn’t necessarily Kenny Powers at his funniest, it certainly introduced some hilarious secondary characters, especially his “side kick” who wasn’t his “side kick”, Aaron (Deep Roy).  I liked how Kenny is now transported to a small country and not only has a social barrier, but also a language barrier. This season probably will not be as funny as the last, but it is certainly off to a great start.

I have not watched the House or Modern Family premieres, but when I do, I will write a short excerpt on those as well.  Let me know your thoughts on the new seasons of your favorite shows in the comments!

Take Two: “Dexter” Season 5 Premiere

28 Sep

Chris’ Take: 

*** out of 4 stars 

SEASON 4 SPOILER ALERT SEASON 4 SPOILER ALERT 

There is no way to write this blog without serious spoiler alerts from the Season 4 season finale, which was one of the of the most cliff-hanging, series altering, season finales ever. It was right up there with Jack telling Kate, “We have to go back!!!” at the end of Season 3 of Lost (except this one had incredibly dark implications). 

After Dexter’s wife, Rita, is found dead in the bathtub at the end of Season 4, Season 5 picks up immediately after that with Miami PD and FBI swarming his house while he stands in shock, holding his blood covered child. The show then takes some turns that I did not see coming, with Dexter being the prime suspect for the crime. Not being able to cope with the death of Rita as his life is turned upside down, and the cracks in his psychology and sanity start to show, he runs away leaving Deb and Miami PD to pick up the pieces, but also leaving a massive cloud of doubt surrounding his innocence. I will leave out the ending of the episode for any of those who haven’t seen the episode yet. 

This episode was slow, but necessary. The writers knew that they needed to develop several different aspects of the fallout of Season 4 before picking up the story arc. There is a lot of promise for Season 5 after this episode because it set everything up perfectly. The show didn’t try to clear everything up for Dexter to return to his normal practices and created a lot of tension in almost every aspect of the show. 

Except for this disgusting romance.

 Also, what the heck was up with Quinn losing like 30 pounds almost instantly? I think he has some serious health issues if the producers want us to legitimately believe that this was a couple hours after the Season 4 finale. Astor also aged quite a bit in a couple of hours, but that is kind of hard to stop and isn’t as obvious as Quinn’s new instant weight loss program. 

I lost 30 pounds in 10 minutes!!

 Overall, I thought this was a great set up episode and I love where this show is going. It still is on my list of shows that I can’t get enough of watching. Over to you, Pac. 

Pac’s Take: 

SPOILER ALERTS CONTINUE 

Often times season finales are a lot more memorable than season premieres for a television series and with Dexter this is no exception.  The downside of ending a tv series with such an impactful cliff-hanger like the season 4 finale of Dexter is that it’s very hard for the season premiere of the next season to live up to the expectations many will ultimately make. 

I think season 5 of Dexter has the potential to be the best season of the series yet, even exceeding what was an incredible season 4.  However, if this does end up being the case, this past episode (season premiere) will not be one of the more memorable episodes.  Chris is right though, it was necessary.  Dexter’s reaction to Rita’s murder, his behavior leading to his suspect, Deb having to pick up the pieces of his life, and the cracks starting to show were all strongly developed in this episode and leave a lot of potential for the arcs of the 5th season.  

If the season premiere is an indication of where the season is going, here are some aspects of the show that I’m either looking forward to/or will have to suffer through: 

Dexter’s behavior:  It seems that with Rita’s death Dexter is becoming more human, as he puts it, and will become more in tune with his emotions.  How this affects his precision as a serial killer is yet to be seen; the struggle with the dichotomy of his personality will be the most interesting aspect of season 5.  

Deb’s involvement:  Chris doesn’t like Deb’s character but I see this being an opportunity for Jennifer Carpenter to shine this season.  They devoted a lot of time to her in the premiere and she was not nearly as annoying as she was in season 4.  Season 4 ended with her realizing that Dexter is related to the Ice Truck Killer from Season 1, and with the events surrounding Dexter in this season it would be a disservice to the audience to abandon that now.  How will Deb cope with the suspicions surrounding Dexter (even her own) while supporting him during his grief and suspicion? 

Dexter v. Quinn & the F.B.I.:  I think Dexter is at its best when the titular character is on the run.  I enjoyed season 2 a lot when the police were looking for the Bay Harbor Butcher; I think with Dexter trying to dodge suspicion, deal with his emotions, and the added responsibility of not having Rita there is a lot of potential for strong stories and character development in season 5.  While Chris becomes annoyed with Deb’s character, I become increasingly annoyed with Quinn.  “Doakes 2.0” is not as memorable a character, and the performances by Desmond Harrington are not as strong as others on the show.  Added to that the incredible weight loss that Chris mentioned and now he looks like Christian Bale from The Machinist doing blue steel in Hammer pants. 

Also, neither of them are very good eugoogoolizers.

Aster & Cody:  In Greek mythology there was a serpent of the sea called the Hydra.  The hydra had many heads and if you were to cut off a head of the beast two grew back in its place.  In season 4 Dexter cut off the head of one of its principal supporting characters, Rita.  Rita was my least favorite character on the show, though necessary for Dexter’s development, and I wasn’t too upset to see her go.  However, two even more annoying characters may get more screen time in her place, her kids.  It seems like their sole purpose on the show is to test Dexter’s patience as a father, show how sensible he can be in his disguise as a family man, and wine (mostly the latter).  Not a lot of time was spent on them in the premiere and I hope it remains that way for the rest of the season. 

Seen above: Dexter or Clash of the Titans 2?

I think Dexter is on the downhill toward a series finale, maybe not in this season but I don’t see the show lasting more than 7 seasons (ideally 6).  The stories will be fresh with new arcs this season, but after that it will be hard to not make it too contrived.  Also, the writers seem to be losing a little bit of the reality of the show.  No spoiler here, but Dexter killed a man in the premiere; however, he did it with such disregard for caution that I don’t see how the writers can just ignore that scene from here on out without losing credibility with the audience.  

Overall I think this episode was full of solid performances and great set-up for the season, it just lacked a little of the pop I was looking for after a great season finale.  

*** out of 4 stars.

Opening This Week (Sept 27 – Oct 3)

28 Sep

I am returning from my brief hiatus of a very busy week in the hopes of bringing you several articles today. I hope that I can get them all accomplished in a short period of time. This should be a very interesting week for wide releases, boasting an original screenplay about Facebook (The Social Network) as well as an unoriginal screenplay adaptation of vampire children eating other children and some adults (Let Me In).

Without further ado, here are the wide releases opening this week:

1. The Social Network (Oct 1, 2010) #1 Recommendation for this week

Rating: PG-13

Starring: Jesse Eisenberg, Justin Timberlake, Andrew Garfield, Rashida Jones

Directed by: David Fincher

Synopsis from IMDB: A story about the founders of the social-networking website, Facebook.

Chris’ Take: I was really skeptical about this one a month ago. It looked like a ploy to get people to see a story that most of them knew pretty well from the news. Also, it looked like Jesse Eisenberg was doing his whimpering nerd character again and continuing with his typecast. However, after doing a lot of research and reading a lot of early reviews, it sounds like it is a complex story behind the groundbreaking social networking site and is my recommendation for viewing this weekend. On the other hand, I still have no doubt that in the tradition of other awkward character actors (aka Michael Cera), Eisenberg will not depart too much from his usual style.

2. Let Me In (Oct 1, 2010)

Rating: R

Starring: Chloe Moretz, Kodi Smit-McPhee, Richard Jenkins, Elias Koteas

Directed by: Matt Reeves

Synopsis from IMDB: A bullied young boy befriends a young female vampire who lives in secrecy with her guardian.

Chris’ Take: While I am usually skeptical about remakes of recent movies, in this case the Swedish Let the Right One In (2008), I think this one has some promise. The early reviews have been outstanding and it has two great child actors to shoulder the task. I still have some reservations, but I think this one will be handled with bloody care.

3. Case 39 #1 Movie to Avoid this week

Rating: R

Starring: Renee Zellweger, Bradley Cooper, Ian Mcshane

Directed by: Christian Alvart

Synopsis from IMDB: Case 39 centers on an idealistic social worker who saves an abused 10-year-old girl from her parents only to discover that the girl is not as innocent as she thinks. 

Chris’ Take: This is probably the 39th version of a script with the exact same plot to cross the desk of the producers and they had been so worn down of reading the same crap they finally conceded and did not have enough originality left to change the title. Also, the special effects in the previews  look borrowed from the mid-90’s. It also boasts Renee Zellweger as the leading actress….that alone was enough to scare me, but not in the good way.

That’s all for wide releases this week. If you have access  to a limited release theater in your area try checking out Casino Jack, starring Kevin Spacey as a Washington D.C. lobbyist and his protegé as their schemes to peddle influence and power lead to corruption and murder. Or, if you are into more artistic/foreign films try Leaving (Partir) a French film starring Kristin Scott Thomas as a well-to-do married woman who practices physiotherapy in her backyard and ends up giving up everything for a passionate love affair.

Which do you think will be the best film to come out this weekend?

5 Movies I Had To Watch Twice Before I Liked Them

21 Sep

We have all seen those films where we walked out going, “Wait…what?” or “Man, Pineapple Express should not be seen sober,” but for whatever reason, upon further viewing  they grew to be films that you thoroughly enjoyed and even loved. I have had several of those films, but here are five that stick out the most in my mind.

#5 Rushmore

I think I was too young when I watched this the first time. I watched it as a sophomore in college and wasn’t as attuned to the subtlety in the dialogue and the quiet desperation of Wes Anderson’s characters. Plus, being a poor college student, I watched it on a desktop computer with crappy speakers and a lot of the humor is found the quick and dry wit by Bill Murray and Jason Schwartzman which I couldn’t hear that well. Upon further viewing on a regular tv, after taking a film class and having aged a little bit, I was really drawn into the characters’ world and found myself identifying (even if it was in absurd ways) with them on certain levels. I have probably watched this film about ten times now and never get sick of it. It also is #9 on my list of 20 favorite movies.

#4 Mystery Men

I remember seeing the previews for this in 1999 and the satire didn’t translate through the previews. It looked like Ben Stiller was trying to make a serious superhero movie and I thought, “Who would want to see that?” The box office numbers shared my sentiments as well and I was confused how this movie was getting at least decent reviews (it had 60% on RottenTomatoes). At about 2am after staying up for New Year’s my friends and I put this on in the background on DVD and I remember just thinking it was really dumb and pointless. The next morning one of my buddies started quoting it and we all started laughing and trading lines back and forth. We decided to watch it again that day and I realized that sarcasm does not translate well at 2am either and I was dying laughing at the ridiculousness. While it is not great piece of cinema, it is an entertaining and humorous spoof on the superhero genre and features great performances by Ben Stiller and Greg Kinnear.

#3 Spy Game

I chalk my dislike of this on the first viewing up to misleading previews. From the previews, it looked like an action-packed spy thriller and at this point in his career I wouldn’t have thought Brad Pitt would do a slower film. To my original disappointment a lot of the film was spent within the confines of a conference room watching Robert Redford multi-tasking between trying to keep his skin from falling off his face and talking on a phone (I think he was using the phone to hold his skin on).

Rumor has it that they injected more botox into his face in between takes.

 What I missed while I was distracted by this was the intricate story of mentor and protegé and a complex spy gambit. I watched it again a couple of years later, after finding out what it was actually about, and picked up on a lot more. While this isn’t the fastest paced movie, it will reward viewers who are willing to pay thorough attention to everything that is being said and done by Redford and Pitt.

#2 There Will Be Blood

I blame my original dislike of this film on misinformation and deployment. I was stuck on deployment in the middle of the ocean with little to no internet connectivity, therefore all I could do to find out about new films was to read the synopsis and some reviews. I couldn’t see previews and if I did want to look at reviews I would have had to block out a good chunk of time to download the page. When the film finally arrived to the ship I was excited to see what I thought would be about competing oil companies (which was kind of true, but not really).

There is no competition when I drink your milkshake.

Instead, it was something much more, which I couldn’t really see through the first time because I had to stop the film several times and pick up later due to its length. After the film was over it kind of sank in as a whole, especially when a lot of the time I was staring out a window at the ocean for hours on end, I realized how intriguing Lewis’ character was and went back and watched it again and found it compelling and disturbing with characters and lighting as black as the oil they were digging for.

#1 Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy

Another one of my 20 favorite films that I didn’t like the first time I watched it. This one I don’t think I liked because it was a change from anything I had seen at the time. It seemed like Will Ferrell and Adam McKay, who wrote the idea for this film on a napkin in a restaurant, just kind of thought up the characters, showed up to the set and said, “What kind of shenanigans can we have the news team do today?” Up until this film I hadn’t really seen a comedy like that. I had seen dumb comedies, but not one that didn’t really have a coherent plot. I remember walking out just being confused and mildly amused. Again, this was one that I sat around one day quoting the movie with buddies of mine and the more we quoted the funnier the movie seemed. When I watched it again, my sides hurt and I had a headache from lack of oxygen to the brain. This is one of my favorites, if not my overall favorite comedy, and it is one that I don’t think needs a sequel because you can watch it over and over again and still laugh hysterically.

There are so many more that I could list, but what are some movies that you didn’t enjoy until the second viewing?

TAKE TWO: “THE TOWN”

21 Sep

Chris’ Take:

*** 1/2 out of 4 stars

Ben Affleck‘s sophomore directorial release is just about flawless. While it is not necessarily an original concept, it combines elements of The Departed and Heat in a taut manner while having fully-fleshed out characters that perfectly add to the tension within the story. Who would have thought that the Ben Affleck from Gigli would direct such a thoughtful piece of cinema?  

The Town opens on a bank robbery in Boston, which appears to be conducted by Skeletor clones who are in fact Doug MacRay (Ben Affleck), his best friend Jimmy (Jeremy Renner) and the rest of their heist crew.  Due to a minor setback Jimmy takes the bank manager, Claire (Rebecca Hall), hostage and after they are clear set her free. Claire is immediately questioned by FBI Agent Adam Frawley (Jon Hamm) and Doug follows her to make sure that she does not give anything significant away to the FBI. While he is following her he falls in love, threatening his own and his crew’s safety. While he tries to salvage his love and get out of town he finds that the city has more of a grip on his life than he thought.

Affleck continues his directorial success after Gone Baby Gone and, in my opinion, improves on it. He not only tells a compelling story with  complex characters like he did with Gone, but this time adds exciting action and bank heists, which he also helped script as well. He is able to build tension not only through shootouts and bank heists, but between the characters as well, fully fleshing out almost every key character introduced (minus Jon Hamm who looked uncomfortable in FBI attire).

I'm not moving until I get a suit and tie.

Jeremy Renner has another spectacular performance as the mentally unbalanced and hot-headed Jimmy and Affleck does a decent job in front of the camera as well.

While the action sequences weren’t as intense as Heat they were still palpable and engaging. Especially the final shootout and a car chase scene that seemed dedicated to every soccer mom with road rage. The pacing was spot on, moving seamlessly in between drama fueled discussions, detailed planning, and then heist execution, which kept the audience engaged for the full two hours.

I look forward to more of Affleck’s work as a director since I prefer him behind the camera than in front of it. He seems to have redefined himself successfully, managing to pull himself away from the tabloids and blockbuster films and create a more serious image that deserves recognition for his excellent work.

Pac’s Take:

It will be really hard for me to justify both being disappointed by this movie while also really liking it, but somehow The Town was able to elicit both of those responses from me after viewing it last night.  I think I left the movie let down for two reasons, the first being that I had incredibly high expectations for this film based on marketing, reviews, cast, and how much I really liked Gone Baby Gone.  The second reason I would like to discuss later.

The Town is a well executed heist movie, but nothing that I haven’t seen before.   Of all the reboots and remakes made in Hollywood today, it’s ironic that this movie, based on Prince of Thieves: A Novel by Chuck Hogan, felt more like Heat: Boston.  I can only fault Ben Affleck and Peter Craig but so much for this because, while not very original, The Town kept my attention for the entire run time (123 minutes), captivated me, and left me (almost) entirely satisfied.

What really made this movie stand out as a great film were the performances by Ben Affleck and Jeremy Renner.  The chemistry these two had on screen was outstanding and this, in my opinion, is the best dramatic performance of Ben Affleck’s career. 

Even better than Daredevil?

Meanwhile, Jeremy Renner stole every scene in which he appeared.  His portrayal of Jimmy, adequately described above by Chris, was the highlight of this film and I yearned for more scenes between him and Affleck.  I firmly believe both of these men will be acknowledged by the Academy for their performances in this film, and rightfully so.  Even Blake Lively’s performance was adequate, even though it seemed like a rehash of Amy Ryan’s from Gone Baby Gone.  But if Affleck was DeNiro and Renner was Kilmer, I think John Hamm missed the bar for Pacino.  John Hamm’s performance felt uncomfortable and forced.  I’m not sure if you can attribute this to him or the lack of depth given to the character, but too much of the story focused on FBI S.A. Frawley’s pursuit of Doug MacRay (Affleck) for the execution to fall this short. 

Ben Affleck stepped up his directorial “game” from Gone Baby Gone adding a lot of action to his repertoire; and as good as his acting was in this film, his directing was spot on as well.  The cinematography was great, and I felt like Boston (and Charlestown more specifically) was just as much a character in this film as any person. 

SPOILER ALERT (very minor, but don’t get mad at me for not warning you)

But then there’s the issue of the second reason I left the theater disappointed.  I heard coming into this movie how great the climax was and that it takes place in Fenway Park.  I was expecting this to be awesome, a heist movie building up to its epic climactic scene in Fenway (what’s more Boston than that?)!  Unfortunately the climax was anything but epic.  I was expecting a gunfight on the field, under the lights, in/on the “green monster”, all to the viewing of 37,000 fans.  What I got instead was a finale that could have been located at any parking garage, loading dock, etc. 

This climax truly could have been EPIC in the most literal sense.  Fenway Park is one of the most famous and recognizable stadiums in the country and there was so much potential to make this climax so memorable that it would have been talked about and compared to for generations.  Instead, it was just another heist movie ending, predictable.  Bait, The Fan, and The Last Boy Scout are three examples that The Town should have looked to for inspiration on the climax.  While none of these movies are nearly as good, they all maximized the use of their final setting, something this film did not do.  Don’t get me wrong, I don’t think the movie ended poorly; just don’t tell me you’re going to Fenway and only show me the garage.

Seen Above: The Sistine Chapel

Here are my overall grades for The Town:

Characters: A-
Cinematography: B+
Direction:  A
Performances: A-
Plot: B-
Overall:  A-

TAKE TWO: “BOARDWALK EMPIRE”

20 Sep

Chris’ Take:  

Fall TV season will get into full swing this week, kicking off the majority of season premieres. One of the first and one of my most anticipated was Boardwalk Empire which premiered last night on HBO. It did not disappoint. The show follows Enoch “Nucky” Thompson (Steve Buscemi), city treasurer of Atlantic City, and other crooked politicians at the dawn of the prohibition era, trying to line their pockets with the whiskey-running trade. Backed with two great producers, Martin Scorcese and Mark Wahlberg, Boardwalk Empire has all the makings of another successful HBO show. If the first episode is any indication, the show could very well be racking up some statues come awards season. 

 While I love Steve Buscemi, I was worried coming into the show that he didn’t have the strength to carry a show like this. Fortunately, my worries were put to rest in the first ten minutes as he established a fine balance of crooked politician and a benevolent city leader. Any waiver he might have in future episodes will no doubt be seamless since he is supported by a super cast, especially Michael Pitt as his potential protegé, Jimmy Darmody.   

What did you say about my teeth?

The production quality of the show rivals Mad Men, with superb cinematography and lighting. While there are hints of The Sopranos in the show, the lighting alone lets the audience know that this show will be different from the dark that shrouded its HBO mafia predecessor. The first episode of the series was directed by Scorcese himself and the club scenes were very reminiscent of a lot of his films, especially The Aviator and Gangs of New York  

   

I thoroughly look forward to where this show will go and from the looks of it, this Boardwalk will be a very enjoyable and scenic, albeit bloody, stroll.  

Pac’s Take

 I’m going to try to not be repetitive in my criticisms and commentary so I’ll leave out a summary of the show, Chris covered that nicely.  Unlike Chris however, I didn’t have any doubts that Steve Buscemi would be able to carry a leading role in a show of this nature.  Buscemi held his own in season 5 of The Sopranos and was the main catalyst of that season’s storyline.   Like Chris said however, Buscemi did not disappoint. 

  

I can do it!

My biggest concern prior to viewing the first episode was the supporting cast and how Boardwalk was going to differentiate itself from The Sopranos.  While the prohibition era setting does provide originality in the concept of the story, I still see a lot of parallels to HBOs previous installment.  The gangster with a conscience, the rebellious and ambitious protegé, it’s all been done before; I just hope Boardwalk can do it again with originality and flare.  We’re talking about Martin Scorcese’s show though, so I have little doubt this will be done.  

I think the biggest surprise of the night was the supporting cast.  HBO has a huge track record for success so I was expecting the cast to be strong, but little was mentioned of them prior to the show’s airing so I wasn’t sure what to expect.  Chris already touched on Michael Pitt’s performance (which was great), but the real surprise for me was Stephen Graham‘s portrayal of the infamous Al Capone.  My recollection of Graham is minimal, with performances in Snatch and Gangs of New York , and having to play a larger than life character like Al Capone, who’s also been portrayed by the likes of Robert DeNiro among others is a large order to fill.  Graham excelled in this role; he wasn’t spot on in his accent (at times you could tell Graham came from across the pond), but that’s my only complaint.  I hope they make Capone an integral part of the story, even though Boardwalk takes place in Atlantic City and Capone resided in Chicago.  

I still hate Pikeys

The look of the show was incredible, the cinematography was gorgeous, and you could tell within the first five minutes that Boardwalk Empire was handled with care.  However, the series premiere was directed by Martin Scorcese himself and cost a whopping $18 million dollars to create, so it will be interesting to see if the series can maintain the visual marvel that was the first episode.  

All-in-all I’m really looking forward to watching Boardwalk Empire every Sunday, it’s got all the makings to be the next big thing in HBOs long list of successes.

Opening This Week (20 – 26 September)

20 Sep

The fall movie season continues, but this week doesn’t look as promising as last week for new releases. Here’s what’s coming out this week:

Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps

Rated PG-13

Starring: Michael Douglas, Shia LaBeouf, Frank Langella, Carey Mulligan

Directed by: Oliver Stone

Synopsis from IMDB: As the global economy teeters on the brink of disaster, a young Wall Street trader partners with disgraced former Wall Street corporate raider Gordon Gekko on a two-tiered mission: To alert the financial community to the coming doom, and to find out who was responsible for the death of the young trader’s mentor.

Chris’ Take: Who the heck asked for this sequel anyway? It might be good with Oliver Stone directing, but this seems like another pointless sequel.

You Again

Rated PG

Starring: Kristen Bell, Odette Yustman, Jamie Lee Curtis, Sigourney Weaver, Betty White

Directed by: Andy Fickman

Synopsis from IMDB: When a young woman realizes her brother is about to marry the girl who bullied her in high school, she sets out to expose the fiancée’s true colors.

Chris’ Take:  I’ll be skipping this one. While it has a strong female cast, it looks like it will be an estrogen fueled take on Mr. Woodcock.

Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga’Hoole

Rated PG

Starring: Sam Neill, Geoffrey Rush, Hugo Weaving, David Wenham

Directed by: Zack Snyder

Synopsis from IMDB:  Soren, a young barn owl, is kidnapped by owls of St. Aggie’s, ostensibly an orphanage, where owlets are brainwashed into becoming soldiers. He and his new friends escape to the island of Ga’Hoole, to assist its noble, wise owls who fight the army being created by the wicked rulers of St. Aggie’s. The film is based on the first three books in the series.

Chris’ Take: Um…what? I saw the preview for this in the theater and it pretty much told the whole story in the preview and I was not impressed. Maybe it assumed that everyone has read the book and therefore it doesn’t need to hide anything in the preview. Well,  I still have yet to meet anyone who has a) read the book or b) heard of the book in the first place. Zack Snyder (300, Watchmen) directs so it is sure to be visually stunning. However, if I do watch this I will see what the reviews say and even if they are good, will most likely wait for DVD (and even then it will probably be at the bottom of my Netflix queue for a while).

Buried (Limited Theaters)

Rated R

Starring: Ryan Reynolds

Directed by: Rodrigo Cortes

Synopsis from IMDB: Paul is a U.S. contractor working in Iraq. After an attack by a group of Iraqis he wakes to find he is buried alive inside a coffin. With only a lighter and a cell phone it’s a race against time to escape this claustrophobic death trap.

Chris’ Take: My #1 Recommendation for this Weekend if you can get to a limited theater!!!! This film garnered a lot of buzz at the Toronto International Film Festival and with the interesting and claustrophobic concept it is sure to be one of the most original films of the year.

Waiting for Superman

Rated PG

Documentary

Directed by: Davis Guggenheim

Synopsis from IMDB: Filmmaker Davis Guggenheim reminds us that education “statistics” have names: Anthony, Francisco, Bianca, Daisy, and Emily, whose stories make up the engrossing foundation of WAITING FOR SUPERMAN. As he follows a handful of promising kids through a system that inhibits, rather than encourages, academic growth, Guggenheim undertakes an exhaustive review of public education, surveying “drop-out factories” and “academic sinkholes,” methodically dissecting the system and its seemingly intractable problems.

Chris’ Take: This looks like an artful and tragic look at our country’s education system. I’ll most likely wait for DVD for this one though.

What films are you thinking about seeing this week?