Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Rambling TV: Thoughts on Boardwalk Empire, Gotham, and The Big Bang Theory

Boardwalk Empire

This show has always had a way of sneaking up brutality on its viewers. Al Capone gets a gift of a statue of the Empire State building. It seems innocent enough..until he beats a guy to death with it later. Charming.


A good portion of this episode took place in Chicago, with Luciano visiting Capone to talk business. He comes face to face with Van Alden, and outs him as the fed informing on Capone because he recognizes him from Atlantic City. (While the real fed stays quiet.) Capone calls him in, puts a gun in his mouth and questions him over the whole thing.




He's convincing enough, so Capone doesn't kill him. It's obvious Luciano knows he's lying. Later, the real fed finds Van Alden's old file.


The other big part of this episode focused on Margaret and Nucky. I forgot how much chemistry MacDonald and Buscemi had together. She told them about Rothstein's wife threatening to blackmail them, and Nucky tells her Margaret will offer her 25 cents on the dollar instead of the full amount she's asking for. Margaret thought he was going to kill her.- She also gets drunk and kisses him, but nothing more.


Later, after Sally cuts a deal with the Bacardi guy, she's stopped by Cuban rebels on her way back to Havana and is killed. I figured she would die, but I expected one of Nucky's enemies to do it. Now I wonder if he'll ever know what happened to her?


This week's flashbacks were about Nucky and Eli wishing they were rich, trespassing in the hotel and the Sheriff catching them, but instead of arresting him, he takes them to dinner at his house instead. Little Eli was adorable throughout the whole thing. The episode ended back in real time with Capone calling Nucky to tell them they have a "problem named Charlie."


Gotham 

Why is Alfred such a dick on this show?

Is that fucking Kyle Massey?

Why do so many people find Selina Kyle interesting? I don't. (The dog was barking at CATwoman! Get it? GET IT?!)

Is Gordon the only person in Gotham with a conscious? 

Overall, I think this episode was better than the premiere. We already knew the story of how Bruce Wayne lost his parents, now they can tell us something new. They still need to work on their not so subtle hints. 

Big Bang Theory

Sheldon and Amy were so insufferable in this episode, I almost turned it off. Holy shit. Amy has consistently been getting worse with each season, but I've never been more annoyed with her than I was here. At least Howard "throwing" out the first pitch at Angels Stadium made up for it. 

Agents of SHIELD

Gah, this show is actually interesting this season and I'm looking forward to next week's episode. 

*I think I'm going back to doing these on Sunday/Monday instead of waiting for the midweek shows to air. Don't forget to click those gifs to be redirected to their makers.*

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Favorite Episode Titles A-Z

Similar to my old post (and later blogathon) about Favorite Movie Titles. These are my favorite titles for various TV shows. I don't necessarily love all the episodes, but I love their titles.


A Scandal in Belgravia (Sherlock)
Bear and the Maiden Fair (Game of Thrones)


Cripples, Bastards, and Broken Things (Game of Thrones)
Days Gone Bye (The Walking Dead)
Erlenmeyer Flask (The X Files)
Face Off (Breaking Bad)
Gliding All Over (Breaking Bad)
Hold Me In Paradise (Boardwalk Empire)
I Will Rise Up (True Blood)


Judge, Jury, Executioner (The Walking Dead)
Kissed By Fire (Game of Thrones)
Lizard-Spock Expansion (The Big Bang Theory)
Mystery of the Urinal Deuce (South Park)
Night on the Sun (True Blood)
Ozymandias (Breaking Bad)
Pretty Much Dead Already (The Walking Dead)


Quintuplets 2000 (South Park)
Rains of Castamere (Game of Thrones)
Secret Fate of All Life (True Detective)
To The Lost (Boardwalk Empire)


Under God's Power She Flourishes (Boardwalk Empire)
Valor Morghulis (Game of Thrones)
We Just Decided To (The Newsroom)
X-Cops (The X Files)
You Also Have a Pizza (Orange is the New Black)
Zombies (Rescue Me)

Sunday, September 28, 2014

A Fisti Recast-athon

Drew over at A Fistful of Films poses a great idea. He wants us to pick an Oscar nominated performance by a white actress, and replace them with an actress with color. Here are the rules:

1)  Pick an OSCAR NOMINATED performance given by a white actress that didn't require a white actress (no biopics here, even though Todd Haynes taught us that you don't need to be the same race or gender to play a real life person).  This performance can come from ANY film year.

2)  Pick an actress of color who could have been a great fit for the role instead of the one cast.  Keep in mind the time of release and chose actresses who were working at that time.  So, in other words, don't select the role of Calla Mackie in 1968's Rachel, Rachel (played by Estelle Parsons) and suggest it be a great fit for Naomie Harris, because, well, she wasn't born for another eight years.


3)  Explain WHY that actress would have made a great fit.  Plead her case.  Let's tell those Hollywood casting directors what they're missing.


4)  Have your post up by Friday, September 26th.  I've giving you a little bit of time on this one, and by all means, do a BUNCH OF THEM!  Spread the word.  Invite any and all to the recast-athon and let's give these actresses a voice!  


5)  You can post a link to your post here in the comment section, PM me on Twitter (@fististhoughts) or email me (andrew.ellington@hotmail.com).  You can use the banner I created above, or by all means use your own!


This was HARD to narrow down. There's so many talented women out there, but this is what I came up with: 

Adeparo Oduye for Michelle Williams in Blue Valentine

I adore Williams in that role, but Oduye could've easily played it as well. Oduye has had a few bit parts over the years and has mostly focused on theater, but there's two very important parts she's had that make me think she'd be awesome in Blue Valentine: Alike in Pariah and Eliza in 12 Years A Slave.




Cindy was depressed in Blue Valentine. She was trying to hold on to her marriage, be a good mother and live a stable life she was deprived from as a child. Williams gave a very emotional performance and I think Oduye could easily match that. I think of the final scene where Cindy yells "I want a fucking divorce" at Dean. She would've nailed that. Or that scene where Cindy tap dances for Dean, she would've been great there too. I wish I could tell every casting director in Hollywood to watch Pariah and see just how good Oduye is. She's a wonderful dramatic actress. An Oscar of her own is surely in her future. 

Thanks for hosting, Drew!

Friday, September 26, 2014

Indie Gems: Night Moves

You said no one would get hurt.

Josh (Jesse Eisenberg) and Dena (Dakota Fanning) are two environmentalists who team up with Harmon (Peter Sarsgaard) to blow up a dam in Oregon. The consequences that follow their quest turn out to be more than they imagined.

I don't want to give a lot of the plot away, because that would ruin the experience. When I first heard about this film at Sundance, a lot of people were comparing it to The East, another film about eco-terrorists. But really, that's all they have in common. Night Moves has a completely different structure and story and stands well on it's own two fee.

Fanning and Eisenberg both play sullen, paranoid people and of course they're both great at it. They had very interesting chemistry together. Sarsgaard isn't in it as much as I though, but he makes his little screen time memorable. The film did leave me wanting more. I wish a book would be written with the events that follow, but the film is very enjoyable and I love the leads.

Grade: A

Memorable Quote: "I think we should've known about this first..." - Dena (Dakota Fanning)

Thursday, September 25, 2014

2014 Blind Spot Series: North by Northwest


What I knew going in: Pretty much the entire movie, I just never sat down to watch it.

Roger Thornhill (Cary Grant) is an advertising executive that ends up being mistaken for a possible spy named George Chaplin. Suddenly, people are trying to kill him, he gets accused of murder himself and has to go on the run to escape police and figure this all out.

I like Cary Grant, and I hope I get to check out more of his movies. He had a lot of charisma. The film created an interesting story that continued to escalate, but at the same time felt kind of predictable. The film is also distractingly dated. Any scene involving a crowd of people (or just more people than the main characters) didn't feel organic and looked way too staged. Then there's those car scenes, but that's really nitpicking. I had a similar reaction to Citizen Kane. I felt like I was watching an important movie, but it really just wasn't my cup of tea. I'll stick with Hitch's horror movies.

Grade: C+

Memorable Quote: "Roger..pay the two dollars." - Clara (Jessie Royce Landis)

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Rambling TV: Thoughts on Boardwalk Empire and more.

If this week's episode of Boardwalk Empire moved any slower, it would've been going backwards. Episodes like this drive me nuts, because in a show's final season, you don't really have time to waste. (Hello, True Blood) The end of this episode was great though, because of what it set up. Click those gifs to be redirected to their makers.



What happened in this long hour? Chalky played Home Invasion with two women who refused to open up a safe at their house. He eventually killed his henchmen and left. Thanks for that. We know Chalky is a good guy deep down, did we need to fuck around for an hour to know that?

Mickey's back!

Margaret's boss says someone has been taking money from Rothstein's account after the man died, and her signature is on all the forms. Someone has to pay. She pays his wife a visit who sees right through her bullshit and tells her she knows she's Nucky's wife, and plans to smear her in the papers.




Luciano and Seigal try to cut a deal with Narcisse, but he refuses to work with them. Later, they shoot up a bunch of his girls at a brothel. Oh boy.

Nucky has a falling out with that senator from Boston he was trying to woo into business. After he leaves, he has a stiff drink only to wake up to see Margaret in his room. 

This week's flashback had Nucky seeing the Commodore covering up a death at the hotel, and meeting his first wife, Mabel. 


here's a gif of Carol from The Walking Dead, dressed as a walker to infiltrate Terminus to help save her family. Carol is Queen. 

Gotham

I caught the pilot episode. I think I'll continue watching it for now, but it didn't blow me away. There was a few things that were really awkward. Selina Kyle witnessing the Wayne family murders, and continuing to watch Bruce. (Though I never really cared for Catwoman, so that's why) The show used some awkward camera angles during a chase seen, and we get it. Little Ivy is going to grow up to be Poison Ivy. She doesn't always need to be standing by a large plant.

There were some promising things, particularly the men that play The Riddler and The Penguin. They are intriguing.

The Big Bang Theory



Boy, I really missed a lot last season. Raj has a girlfriend, Howard's mom is dating Stuart. Penny and Leonard are engaged, and she has an awful hair cut. They also had Bernadette help Penny get a job, because Penny must always be the dumbest person in the room and isn't allowed to succeed on her own. She always needs help. Ugh. Am I the only one that get pissed about that?


Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D

It started off with an Agent Carter cameo, so that was a plus!

Fitz and Simmon are still the most interesting. 

Skye is still annoying.

Monday, September 22, 2014

Review: This is Where I Leave You

Dysfunctional family meets again at funeral.

This has been done time and time again. The only thing that makes films like this worth it is their casts, and luckily this particular film succeeds on that front.

After their father passes away, a mother (Jane Fonda) tells her four adult children that his dying wish was for them to remain under the same roof together for seven days. They've been slightly preoccupied with their own lives, and this is the first time they've been together in awhile. They consist of Judd (Jason Bateman) whose just walked in on his wife having sex with his boss. Wendy (Tina Fey) in an unhappy marriage who becomes full of regrets when she's faced with an old flame. Paul, (Corey Toll) whose struggling to conceive with his wife, Annie. (Kathryn Hahn) And Phillip (Adam Driver) the much younger family fuck up.

The film is incredibly predictable. There are very few things that happen that you couldn't guess within the first 10 minutes. The difference here is that the cast has so much chemistry, it can kind of be forgiven. There are some very heavy moments, but also some light hearted and down right funny ones. The R rating definitely helps this film.

This is Where I Leave You won't win any awards, or show up on any best lists, but it's still a decent watch, if only for a rental. Plus, Jason Bateman is really becoming a hell of an actor, and he gives the stand out performance here. Driver and Fey also had a really tender moment that was probably my favorite in the film. 

Recommended: Yes

Grade: C+

Memorable Quote: "No, but I'm an expert on you." - Phillip (Adam Driver)