A guest post.
American sweetheart Tom Hanks and newcomer Barkhad Abdi give full-bodied, captivating performances in Paul Greengrass's latest suspense drama. Captain Phillips will leave you disturbed and anxious, but in a necessary way.
I review Nicole Holofcenter's latest feature Enough Said, which stars Julia Louis-Dreyfus and the late James Gandolfini. It is a wonderful exhibition of these actors' talents and a fine time at the movies. While not highly recommended, it will work to satisfy many tastes.
Make that 30 days 0 days, as a supplies run sets the scene for a wonderfully gross encounter with a slew of walkers. The season four premiere of The Walking Dead reminded me of what the show does best - and also what it ought to leave to better shows like the dearly departed Breaking Bad. Here are some brief reactions.
Here are some of the films to watch this weekend at the New York Film Festival. It is also a reminder of the festival's Jean-Luc Godard retrospective, which will continue through the end of the month.
Paul Schrader's new film, The Canyons, smartly casts Lindsay Lohan and James Deen as its central trashy rich couple suffocating in a posh, Hollywood setting. It is a bad movie with a few redeeming qualities that might be worth a viewing for some though highly skippable for most.
There is so much to be said of Breaking Bad, the great drama that was brought to a close Sunday night. For now, I have these words to say about the finale, but I expect to be writing much, much more. I cannot let the best show on TV go that easily.
Granite State inches us closer to the impending showdown that will conclude the most beloved drama series since The Sopranos. Creator Vince Gilligan has said that next week's Breaking Bad finale will not leave any pieces dangling, adequately wrapping up five seasons of violence, deceit, menace, and gut-wrenching tension. I take a look at the ebbs and flows of this episode and what looks to be a conclusive, redeeming, but characteristically conflictive ending.
Here is my preview for the 51st New York Film Festival, to take place at the Walter Reade theater from September 27-October 13. If you live in New York and love movies, this is the place to be. The festival will be showing the newest films from the outstanding directors Steve McQueen, Coen brothers, Claire Denis, and Hayao Miyazaki, among many others.
Breaking Bad's latest episode is entitled "Ozymandias," after a Shelley poem about a man recalling his fallen empire. Here we see Walt lose all of what he has built: family, 80 million, a home, a drug business of the purest blue meth. The most devastating episode to date, this one had me shaken. I still managed to here write a few of my most immediate thoughts.
It looks like this is going to be a perfect eight-episode run of Breaking Bad. The narrative precision of "To'hajiilee" was astounding, as all the pieces simultaneously came together and fell apart. Handcuffs and Miranda rights don't amount to much when the Aryan brotherhood shows up to put things in perspective. Jesse and Walt finally part ways in the first place that had truly cemented their partnership. And more....
"Rabid Dog" is another great installment in the second half of Breaking Bad's conclusive fifth season. Thrilling, inventively shot, wonderfully narrated, it heightened the tension between its characters while putting to rest old hopes for peace. The end is nigh, and it won't come silently.
There were many confessions to be found in last night's brilliant Breaking Bad episode. Starting with Todd and ending with Saul, Breaking Bad's past came back to haunt the characters and send events spiraling. Here is my review of what happened in the most meta episode of the series.
Breaking Bad returned this past Sunday with its first of eight final episodes. "Blood Money" was a perfect installment in every single way. The best show on television is back, and I couldn't be happier. Here is my recap.
The sixth season of the acclaimed drama Mad Men just premiered, and I here reflect on how it shed light on Don's relationship to his job as an ad writer and his relationship to his daughter. I focus on Don, Sally, and all the products that have stood in for the real relationships he missed.
Is Bob Benson’s big secret that he’s gay? I hope not. Here I offer some thoughts on the highly cryptic Mad Men character and the role he might have yet to play in season six.
My review of The Kings of Summer, a sweet coming-of-age story set in the suburban woods. The highlight is Nick Offerman as a sarcastic and bitter - but well-meaning - father to the sensitive but charming young protagonist.
Last week, I attended the annual Columbia University Film Festival where Masters students showcase their work. With an audience of mostly friends, family and teachers, I felt a bit left out, which would have been okay if I also didn't at times feel left out of the film's subject matter, as well. There was, however, some promising work to be found.
I share some of my reactions to the two-hour premiere of Mad Men's sixth season. In a script by Matthew Weiner, "The Doorway" gave us Don on vacation, Don back to real life, Betty and the Francis household, Peggy being stern but successful at her new job, and Roger facing his mother's death.
The influential and prolific film critic Roger Ebert has passed away. I here say a few words on what he meant to me, not so much as a critic but as a great admirer and lover of films.
I give my brief takes on all nine films nominated for the 2013 Best Film Oscar. I also order them, with a few ties. Feel free to add your opinions on Amour, Beasts of a Southern Wild, Zero Dark Thirty, Django Unchained, Silver Linings Playbook, Argo, Lincoln, Life of Pi, and Les Miserables.
I here review HBO's latest episode of "Girls," entitled "Boys." Confused? Dunham has proven herself apt at creating a wonderfully amusing and captivating fictional world about not just her and her girlfriends but also the boys that creep in and out of their lives. Adam and Ray had a little adventure while the girls went home in frustration.
The news was just released that Mad Men will return to fall television on April 7. AMC will air a two-hour premiere, which I expect to cover some of the big plot points left open in season five's finale. In this post, I go over what I expect to see from the major characters we love, including Don, Peggy, Joan, Roger, and Pete (OK we don't love Pete but we love to hate him, right?)
I here review the much talked about film Zero Dark Thirty. Released in 2012 from Oscar-winning director Kathryn Bigelow, Zero Dark Thirty casts Jessica Chastain in the lead role of a woman relentlessly pursuing Osama bin Laden, primarily by way of torture tactics. I give my entertained but utterly appalled reaction.
I briefly review five celebrated films of 2012. All were pretty enjoyable, but Frankenweenie and Holy Motors were my favorites. Argo, Skyfall, and Ruby Sparks were less successful but overall good films.
After a long absence, I just want to let you know that I'm alive, and that I recommend you watch a few great movies like The Master, currently in theaters, and the classic Fury, from 1936. Also, you might want to take a break and have your dinner while enjoying the very funny Parks and Recreation or the thrilling Homeland. I also include a few other suggestions....
These are fragmented, scattered thoughts on what I consider to be the best show on television right now. That is, Showtime's Homeland. Claire Danes and Damian Lewis are incredible to watch. The storytelling is a wonder. This is one example of TV tirumphing over film in the United States.
I wanted to here reflect on the amaizng job Louis C.K. has been doing this season casting his guest stars. From ladies such as Parker Posey and Melissa Leo to acclaimed directors like David Lynch, his guests have been some of the strongest in television history. He gets them there and does incredible things with them.... Just another reason to love Louie.
The wonderful filmmaker Chris Marker died today. In a very short post, I take a moment to remember him as a personal influence in the way I view cinema.
I summarize and share my thoughts on the amazing Louie episode Daddy's Girlfriend, Part II, in which Louis C.K. draws out a dazzling performance from Parker Posey. This was a follow-up to last week's episode where we saw him successfully snagging a date with her and fist pumping in celebration. A bit premature? Perhaps. Or maybe this is exactly what Louie has been needing.
I summarize and give my reactions to Louis C.K.'s episode Daddy's Girlfriend, Part I of his amazing comedy series Louie. Guest star Parker Posey is perfect as his settled-upon love interest. Their date is set for next week's Part II.
Television has a ruling drama, and that's AMC's Breaking Bad. The show premiered last night, and I here give some reactions to its main events and developments. The episode, titled Live Free or Die, gave us lots of Walt, carefully covering up his tracks while otherwise trying to impart a threatening presence. Bryan Cranston gave us a wonderful performance, especially in the cold open. Expect more greatness in episodes to come.
My thoughts on the beginning to season three of the great FX comedy series Louie, written and directed by - as well as starring - Louis C.K. The latest episode Miami saw Louie falling for an attractive Cuban lifeguard who mistakenly "saves his life" on the beach. He also saves him from the drabness of a visit to one of the country's most dumbed-down cities. It was a sweet, nicely-acted third installment that continues in the tradition of ground-breaking television.
Louis C.K. returns with his one-of-a-kind FX series Louie. The episode, titled "Something Is Wrong," is a wonderful start to what promises to be another great season. Gaby Hoffman guest stars, relationship drama (or anti-drama) ensues, a car gets replaced by a motorcyle, and Louie ends up in a headcast. The greatest combination of the absurd, raunchy comedy, thoughtful dialogue, and drama.
I return to slightly admiring Adam Sandler for his ability to be strong and convincing (while still very funny) in dramatic roles. He owes this to two directors, Judd Apatow and P.T. Anderson. I generally dislike this actor, but I couldn't help giving him some praise for providing me with two enjoyable recent viewings: the drama-comedy Punch-Drunk Love and the pure comedy Happy Gilmore (yes, the one about the violent and profane golfer). I recommend both.
I here reflect on Mad Men's finale episode "The Phantom," which saw the return of some old habits in light of new realizations. Megan is not the perfect wife. Office gender politics persist in Peggy's world. Pete's adventures come to an end. And Roger is again alone. An exciting season has come to a calm, uneventful end.
I discuss some of my favorite aspects of Sunday night's finale. Game of Thrones has been one of the best dramas on television this season. It had a strong start in 2011 and has proven it has staying power. I expect it to be around for quite some time, and I hope its ratings remain high as I'd love to see what happens to these characters and to the Westeros world. The finale, entitled "Valar Morghulis" gave us some more great acting, magic, and dialogue.
I discuss how the last couple of episodes of The Killing, including "Off the Reservation," have worked to win me over. Mireille Enos and Joel Kinnaman, its leads, are the sole two reasons to watch. Are they good enough? I'm not sure, but it's been worth it for these last episodes.
I recently watched three films that had reasons to be good but were actually very disappointing. First up, Roman Polanski's Carnage, is worth a watch, if just for the work of its four core cast members. Then there's Soderbergh's Haywire, notable for its fight sequences but little else. Lastly, there's My Week with Marilyn - with Michelle Williams in the title role-, a completely flawed and unsalvageable viewing experience.
My thoughts on Mad Men's episode At the Codfish Ball. Highlights are mostly due to Sally Draper and her wonderful portrayal by Kiernan Shipka. Don gets turned on by Megan's successful ad pitch and Roger by Megan's mother's French forwardness. Meanwhile Peggy is told she'll be living in a house of sin if she moves in with her boyfriend.
I review two recent DVD releases: Steve McQueen's drama Shame and Jason Reitman's comedy Young Adult. Both succeed at extracting top-notch star performances, one from Michael Fassbender and the other from Charlize Theron. Shame is a better movie, but both fail to fully materialize as strong and coherent films. Aimless and little-rewarding, these are still worth watching for the performances and some well-written, winning dialogue.
I offer up some brief thoughts on Mad Men's episode Far Away Places, as well as on HBO's new comedy Veep. Sunday night is a great time-slot for television, and these are two of the reasons why.
I here give brief reviews of the two current best television dramas: HBO's Game of Thrones and AMC's Mad Men. Episodes Signal 30 and What is Dead May Never Die were both strong, giving further evidence that these are the shows to be watching right now, especially on that Sunday night before the long week starts up again. I hope you enjoyed them as much as I did.
If you're around Buenos Aires, I urge you to head to one of the participating theaters of the Bafici film festival to enjoy one of its great offerings, from local Argentine films to international fare.
I give brief reviews on three Sunday night series worth watching (the fourth being Mad Men, reviewed separately). The best of them is, of course, Game of Thrones, which returns to HBO for its second episode, The Night Lands. Meanwhile The Killing slumbers on with its Numb. The Big C had its half-hour premiere with Thin Ice, which was mostly fun to watch because of strong lead Laura Linney and her very funny husband played by Oliver Platt.
Mad Men's episode four of its fifth season, Mystery Date, premiered last night. Being the best of the season thus far, it deserved a longer review. So I here reflect on most of the episode's happenings, including Peggy's drunken chat with the new Black secretary, Joan's dismissal of her useless and abusive husband, Sally's pill adventures with her step-grandmother, and Don's hallucinations of betrayal, sex, and murder. There was a lot to this episode. Finally!
The amazing Game of Thrones returned to HBO, while the okay but still-enticing The Killing had its two-hour premiere on AMC. I here offer brief opinions on how I perceived the starts to these dramatic series - and where they seem to be heading. But before, I give some notes on Mad Men's third episode (and second week's showing). In brief: loving Peggy and accepting Betty.
I sum up some thoughts I had about Mad Men's premiere last week. We've waited a long time for this one... and it was pretty okay. But the season promises to be more. I also here give brief reviews of four series I've been watching, including Spartacus, Happy Endings, Shameless, and Community.
Having been on vacation (although still working and studying), I haven't been able to post on Shoot the Critic. However, here are some updates, pertaining to an upcoming film festival as well as two AMC series.
These are some of the best movie and TV watching moments of the past several days. They include some great performances (notably Dustin Hoffman and Walton Goggins), welcomed movie experiences, and some nice TV surprises.
Here I list 13 movies I saw over the last few weeks, categorized and ordered by how much I enjoyed them. Only six would make a Part II of a Best of 2011 list. The list ranges from absolute favorites like A Separation to disappointments like A Dangerous Method.
Thoughts on the 2012 Golden Globe Awards, including congratulations to my favorites and a few comments here and there.
I here give a few television and movie recommendations. First up is my favorite new TV series, Showtime's magnificent spy-thriller-drama Homeland. The two films highlighted hail from the United Kingdom: first, the nicely done drama Boy A featuring the talents of rising star Andrew Garfield; second, the enjoyable horror-comedy Attack the Block. Enjoy!
I review and rate the returning Sunday night dramas from HBO, AMC, and Showtime. These are the historical drama Boardwalk Empire, which has shown great improvement over last season and has been great to watch; the zombie-drama The Walking Dead, of which I've only seen the promising albeit somewhat disappointing premiere; and Dexter, the dependably enjoyable comedy-drama starring the unbeatable Michael C. Hall.
I here give brief reviews of how the returning comedies and dramas have been doing for me thus far this season. Comedies have been all-around fine with highlights being Parks and Recreation, Community, and Modern Family. The dramas have been very strong, from a thrilling Downton Abbey to a delicously fun Dexter.
I give my take on four of the month's Fall television premieres: returning dramas Boardwalk Empire and Sons of Anarchy, returning comedy How I Met Your Mother, and spanking new comedy Up All Night. I'll be continuing to watch all four, but with the most investment in Sons; and, from the looks of it, Up All Night is going to be a favorite as a guaranteed humorous half hour.
I congratulate some of my favorite Emmy wins, such as Kyle Chandler, Margo Martindale, Downton Abbey, and Mad Men. I also give some words on my must-watch show, Breaking Bad, and a much-anticipated season premiere, last night's Downton Abbey. So much drama, yet there isn't ever quite enough.
Today's blog post features movies and television. It includes short reviews and ratings of the films I've recently watched as well as the list of shows now airing and worth watching. Of the films, I would recommend Rise of the Planet of the Apes, Midnight in Paris, and Win Win. The best of television includes Breaking Bad, The Hour, and Wilfred.
Rather than give a review or recap, I just simply wrote a cold reaction to Sunday night's Breaking Bad episode (#6 of season 4) "Cornered," which focused mostly on the developing - or rather floundering - relationship between Walt and Skyler and also Mike/Gus and Jesse. AMC, with creator Vince Gilligan, continues to offer the best of television.
I give brief reviews of this year's Limitless and Bad Teacher. The first is a suspense thriller that succeeds at drawing you in with charm and pace while the other is a mildly funny but average comedy. Both could have been much better, but are nonetheless entertaining.
I take us through last night's episode Shotgun, which featured lots of waiting, unsatisfied action, but brilliant tension. Breaking Bad's fourth season continues to pick up speed, keeping tight to its core cast while further developing what will become of Walt White's mastermind meth cooking. Gus holds the strings, but for how long and to what end? Read on for more details and observations. Loving the season....
Brief reflections on the great HBO original series Oz and the potential for similar future greatness of HBO, as well as my short summary of 2007 vampire horror film 30 Days of Night. This week's viewings was another example of how I have been enjoying my television programs much more than recent film releases. Oz is a much more reliable experience than anything, even if it's fun like Woody Allen's new film or the recent Crazy, Stupid, Love.
Coming upon the weekend, I've decided to give a brief summary of my recent television and film viewings. I here only praise, with some moments of criticism, the following: the TV series Louis (written and directed by Louis C.K.) and the British Misfits, and the films Gandahar (René Laloux), Midnight in Paris (Woody Allen), and The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou (Wes Anderson). Enjoy!
I summarize and give my thoughts concerning "Box Cutter," last night's Breaking Bad Season Four premiere. This AMC series is the best drama on television, so I'll be (very happily but anxiously) covering it all season long. Bryan Cranston and Aaron Paul are back with their excellent, spot-on portrayals of Walt and Jesse; and we have Anna Gunn returning as the very convincing and strong wife/accomplice. Are you ready to read about this episode, whose title is of course a misnomer, because it ain't for cutting boxes.
I discuss my rejuvenated relationship with argubaly greatest director Ingmar Bergman after enjoying his Hour of the Wolf. The film draws to mind several posterior films from such Bergman-inspired directors as Stanley Kubrick, David Lynch and Bela Tarr. Finally I mention the wonderful Downton Abbey, a recent Masterpiece Theater series.
I reflect on my recent visit to the movie theaters to see Duncan Jones's science-fiction thriller Source Code. Mostly a weak film, it nevertheless has its good moments. Jake Gyllenhaal does a fine job despite the disappointing, oversimplistic use of the supporting cast.
I quickly wanted to share the love I have for this teenage drama-comedy I never watched while on air. Veronica Mars is smart, quirky, often hilarious - and yet also, at times, thrilling. It's a wonderful, and gutsy, television take on the private-eye genre.
I recently saw two films, one a comedy and the other an action-thriller. The first, true to its genre, was funny and mildly enjoyable. That's Cedar Rapids, starring a personal favorite Ed Helms (John C. Reilly is pretty good in it too). The other, The Adjustment Bureau, unfortunately, did little to thrill and had very little action. I like looking at Matt Damon, but not enough to ever watch this again.
It's sad to see it end, but what an end it was. The Game of Thrones debut season finale "Fire and Blood" featured some welcomed dragons and set the stage for some serious future spilling of blood. Armies are on the move and the Night Watchers are marching on the deadly walkers. I here give a brief account of the episode with some loving, appreciative comments. Thanks for another good series, HBO.
Last night's Game of Thrones episode "Baelor" was a big, big game changer. I here reflect on some of the major events, their potential consequences, and what I hope to see come from more of this great drama. HBO is doing a hell of a job. This episode, sadly because it means the end, sets the stage for next week's finale.
Some thoughts on "Historical" as a genre that pushes boundaries, especially when cross-referenced with "Fantasy." I have some viewing recommendations here as well, including the latest blockbuster, superhero movie X-Men: First Class, and oldie but goodie 2006's Pan's Labyrinth (everything before last year is old, let's face it).
I recently watched and enjoyed last year's aussie film Animal Kingdom and TV-rerun film Boiler Room. The first really hit me, and I would add it to my Best of 2010 list in a heartbeat. The second was just a good time, with some nice reminders of what made the 90s kind of fun.
Just summing up some interesting news I recently heard. Edward James Olmos is to be next season's Dexter guest star / villain – an update that inspired a quick rundown on past guests. Plus I learned of another smart casting choice – this one for a new movie series – months after it was actually announced. Still happy to know it!
I here give my reactions, with some short summaries, of Sunday night's episode You Win or You Die of HBO's action-packed yet smart and contemplative new series Game of Thrones. Things heat up, as King Robert's death leaves an empty throne. Cersei, Ned, Renly, and others make their moves; while Littlefinger hashes out a scheme that will give him power despite lacking a political bloodline, wealth, or physical strength. Great episode.
I give my reactions to my two Sunday night dramas of choice. HBO's Game of Thrones served up a great episode in "A Golden Crown" while AMC's The Killing, in "Undertow," continues to be above-average although dramatically shaky.
I here reflect on How I Met Your Mother's less than satisfying season 6 finale, as well as HBO's smart and suspensful great new drama-fantasy Game of Thrones and AMC's moody but thrilling new crime-drama The Killing. The dramas made for a wonderful Sunday night of television, but my Monday night comedy half-hour didn't live up to expectations.
With Justified recently retired for the season (along with the few other programs I watch approaching their season finales), and still much time left for the arrival of summer television (and even more time for fall television), I've recently started to watch the already-concluded series The Shield, starring the great Michael Chiklis, and the current British drama Misfits.
In this week's post, I recap the week's viewings after a very brief hiatus from the television screen. Here I discuss Justified's season finale, as well as the latest epsidoes from fabulous new dramas The Killing and Game of Thrones and four continuing comedies: the great Parks and Recreation, the still-on The Office, the quirky The Big Bang Theory, and the in-decline Community.
I hadn't been to the movie theater in a while. What dragged me to the 3D screen last night? The new comic book superhero movie Thor, starring Chris Hemsworth and directed by Kenneth Branagh– both Brits, the former a rising star and the latter a veteran Shakespearan actor and director. The two worked well together in this above-average action film.
FX's drama-crime-thriller Justified has been one of the highlights of my weekday TV viewings. Nothing else quite that good premieres between Monday and Saturday (excluding Thursday's comedy night). And, it's sincerely the best one-hour drama presently on television that is beyond its first season.
Recommended for Sunday night: AMC's The Killing and HBO's Game of Thrones – two news series with strong starts. I also report back on my viewing of 2009's psychological-thriller "Exam," which pales in comparison with similarly-themed 2001's "Das Experiment."
Hollywood never tires of remakes and adaptations. In this post, I focus on two that I will mostly likely be going to see, despite obvious hesitations as to quality. The first is Total Recall, a Paul Verhoeven science fiction thriller that kept me entertained many sleepy, high school weekend afternoons. Colin Farrell will play the lead, and I have very little problem with this casting choice. I think it's quite adequate. The other is the Baz Luhrmann adaptation of classic novel The Great Gatsby, with Leonardo DiCaprio in the title role. I don't think I have to explain why that caught my attention.
Here I discuss the wonderful experience that was watching The Turin Horse, Béla Tarr's new film, at the Bafici film festival. Also: extended version of Metropolis to be shown at MALBA this weekend and the following one.
Tuesday night was Meek's Cutoff as part of the BAFICI festival. Wednesday I had class all day, and so up next was Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives last night at Hoyts Abasto. Both were absolutely beautiful films, which I very much recommended to almost anyone.
Two great movies at the BAFICI: Meek's Cutoff and Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives.
Medianeras was a lot of fun tonight. Its screening at Plaza Cataluña was assisted by the film's director Gustavo Toretto and its two stars. Each seat had a small tub of popcorn sitting atop, welcoming the happy viewer
Following up my anticipatory BAFICI article, I've just written my first blog post regarding some films to watch in the upcoming week. The Buenos Aires International Independent Film Festival is going strong– so many great films screened, and many more to come.
AMC just kicked off its new series "The Killing"– to replace the canceled Rubicon – and the pilot looks promising. Here I give my first impressions on the show, including what I liked, what I think needs to improve, and where I think the narrative is heading. I also briefly note my recent encounter with the SHO comedy series "The Big C." Both shows are worth watching.
This is my first blog post ever. It's exciting because so many times I just want to say a few things about cinema or television (based on something I just read, saw, or learned – or that just occurred to me suddenly) but I have no place to do it.