Wednesday, November 20, 2013

(Rental Review) Much Ado About Nothing (2012)

Do you ever get back together with old friends that you haven't seen in a while? I mean friends that you were once REALLY close with, that you saw every day, and now that you are adults you may see each other once a year (if you are lucky) but as soon as you do you slip back into the friendship like you are in highschool again. You don't skip a beat. There is no rust on it. It's like things never changed? That's what this movie felt like to me. Joss, God bless him, brought together a lot of the actors from his older shows (and some of his newer shows) and graced the world with some of the most fluid character interactions I can remember seeing in a film. It was amazing to watch actors that you have watched on many different shows come together and make a fun movie. 

Storyline: Leonato (Clark Gregg), the governor of Messina, is visited by his friend Don Pedro (Reed Diamond) who is returning from a victorious campaign against his rebellious brother Don John (Sean Maher). Accompanying Don Pedro are two of his officers: Benedick (Alexis Denisof) and Claudio (Fran Kranz). While in Messina, Claudio falls for Leonato's daughter Hero (Jillian Morgese), while Benedick verbally spars with Beatrice (Amy Acker), the governor's niece. The budding love between Claudio and Hero prompts Don Pedro to arrange with Leonato for a marriage. In the days leading up to the ceremony, Don Pedro, with the help of Leonato, Claudio and Hero, attempts to sport with Benedick and Beatrice in an effort to trick the two into falling in love. Meanwhile, the villainous Don John, with the help of his allies Conrade (Riki Lindhome) and Borachio (Spencer Treat Clark), plots against the happy couple, using his own form of trickery to try to destroy the marriage before it begins. A series of comic...Written by

Thoughts? I know that some people will KILL me for saying this, but the dialog is not my favorite this movie. While, of course, the words of Shakespeare are sacred to most and directors wouldn't dare change them. But what drives the dialog in this film is the delivery. Just the way the actors deliver the lines modernize them greatly. Also, actors like Nathan Fillion (playing Dogberry) steal the show by the intense, but brief, comedy that he gets to put on display. It is wonderful to see. 

The actors that deserve the most credit are, obviously, Alexis Denisof and Amy Acker. Their chemistry is undeniable and they truly make this movie what it is. They ooze affection and, in some cases, distain for one another. It is an absolute joy to watch them coupled once again.  Check it out!

(Movie Review) Thor: The Dark World (2013)

Thor: The Dark World hammers the competition in its opening weekend 

I’m a DC comics fan. I have been all my life. So it shames me to admit this but MARVEL really dominates the world of comic based movies. When I say dominates, I liken that comment to Chuck Liddell dominating my grandmother in a fist fight. Sure, DC has had success with Batman and Superman lately, but it has failed to capitalize on the other 99% of its roster. Marvel is so far ahead of the game with their films that it’s not even a fair comparison any longer. Thor: The Dark World was not only an entertaining film, but it set up 2 other future Marvel movies in its end credits alone. I have to give credit where credit is due….even if I don’t like doing it. 

Storyline: A war that raged thousands of years ago pitted the Dark Elves, led by Malekith (Eccleston), against the army of Asgard . The Dark Elves wanted to use and ancient power known as the Aether to send the 9 realms into complete darkness for all of eternity. When Asgard defeated the Dark Elves, with Malekith narrowly escaping, the Asgard king hid the Aether deep underground. In present day, Jane Foster (Portman), after slipping through a “break” between realms, comes into contact with the Aether and in invades her body. Malekith, sensing that this powerful weapon has been unearthed, seeks it out. Thor (Hemsworth) must now protect Jane and Asgard from the onslaught of the Dark Elves. 

Above I gave this movie some much due credit, and I will stand by that, but this movie is not without flaws. First and foremost, they try too hard to load it with “accessible” comedic moments. It strives to be Iron Man without including Tony Stark. I think that considering the dark tone of the film, the comedy was sometimes overused. 

Also, while I love Natalie Portman, the focus of the film should stay with Hemsworth and Hiddleston. They have amazing onscreen chemistry that CRUSHES the forced chemistry between Thor and Jane. I feel like the human side of the story weighed down the Asgard side of the film.

Worth the admission? Of course! Sure, it has some hiccups, but the movie is really entertaining. When you can bring in one of The Avengers (I won’t spoil which one) for a bit part…you know you have a big movie on your hands. Also, in the credits it not only promises Thor 3 but also sets the premise for Guardians of the Galaxy. If anyone watches that scene and doesn’t understand the significance of it, let me know and I will happily give you the rundown of what is going on.  

Marvel also announced a new series with ABC in development as well as 4 Netflix projects that will soon be in development (Daredevil, Luke Cage, Jessica Jones and Iron Fist). Needless to say, the comic book geeks of the world will be entertained for a long time to come. 

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

(TV REVIEW) ALMOST HUMAN - Pilot (11.17.13)

I have been waiting on this show for months now. While the dystopian future concept is nothing new, in this version technology and crime have risen beyond the control of human cops alone and the requirement of a synthetic partners becomes law, the manner in which this show presents it FEELS like it is a new concept. There series starts off with Detective John Kennex (Urban) under heavy fire and trying to save his partner who has been mortally wounded. After an explosion ends the life of his partner and knocks Kennex into a semi -unconscious state a mysterious figure that Kennex can't seem to remember throws a grenade and causes  the loss of Kennex's leg. We then find that this is just Kennex's attempt to remember the past incident and he is currently undergoing a treatment by a "Recollectionist" (Kanagawa) to help him solve the mystery of who the person was that killed his partner and caused the loss of this leg.

Kennex is forced to use a synthetic leg and is finally going back to work on the force. He is reluctant to do so. But under the direction of his boss, Captain Sandra Maldonado (Taylor), he rejoins. Upon arrival he is partnered with an MX Synthetic. Their is a clear disconnect and Kennex shows his distrust for the synthetic by throwing it from his moving car and destroying it.

He is then partnered up with decommissioned model of synthetic called DRN / Dorian (Ealy). Dorian does not follow the orders that most synthetics would. He emotes. He empathizes. He was created to feel human emotions and was made to have the closest replica to a "soul" that a machine could. He gets offended, mad, happy, and has a full range of human emotions that the soulless MX models do not have. Although their partnership starts out rocky they quickly learn to trust and rely on each other. While I won't give away what happens in the pilot, the two become a great team and the series suggests that they will continue to grow to be friends.

Thoughts? So many shows end up disappointing me. Agents of SHIELD is the biggest offender lately. The previews hype them up so much that they can never deliver. I was never worried about that with this series. Not only are the actors fantastic (Karl Urban, Michael Ealy and Lili Taylor are PERFECTION) but the creators are some of my favorite in TV (J.J. Abrams can do no wrong). I think that the most refreshing thing about this series, other than the actors, is that it make "old ground" feel like a new concept. Not only has the "odd couple" thing been done a million times for cop dramas, but the "android partner" thing has been done a good bit too. But somehow, this show feels new and fresh.

In closing, the last thing I will praise with the pilot is just how well shot the thing was. I mean, really. It was movie quality. Obviously FOX and Bad Robot have a lot of faith in this series and it looks like that faith is rightfully placed. The pilot (and 2nd episode) have been well received and I can't wait for more. Do yourself a big favor and check it out.