Posts Tagged ‘FX
What do you get when you cross Ocean’s 11 with The Bourne Identity? A steaming pile of shit, that’s what. This 2011 movie was written by Lem Dobbs whose previous work included such gems as Dark City. It’s directed by Steven Soderbergh who filmed the aforementioned Ocean’s movies. Haywire is about a beautiful female spy (is there any other kind?) who gets betrayed on a mission and has to go on the run. 90% of the screentime is dedicated to Mallory (played by Gina Carano) avoiding capture by spies or police. At times she must outwit them, and other times she must beat the crap out of people. This is exactly what happens in all the Bourne movies. The espionage angle and the fights are portrayed realistically, just like in the Bourne movies. However, unlike the Bourne movies, this movie eschews madcap pacing necessary to build tension and keep viewers interested. Haywire insists on being slow and methodical, even during chase scenes. Mallory doesn’t seem particularly in a hurry even though everyone wants to kill her. For example, after she kills the man who was supposed to assassinate her, she takes a shower, does her makeup, and makes a phone call before vacating the premesis.
Carano, a former martial artist turned actor, is headlining in her first major motion picture. Her acting, as expected, is just as good as any former martial artist turned actor: shitty. You could easily replace her with Chuck Norris or Steven Seagal, and get the same caliber of wooden line delivery. The only difference is that Carano has a pair of tits, so I suppose that makes her better than those other guys. Soderbergh does a terrible job directing. Clearly, he wishes he had been a movie director in the 1970s. All the framings, the zoom-ins and zoom-outs, random use of black and white, and weird lens filters scream 1970s. Hey, guess what, Soderbergh? We aren’t living in the 1970s. Get over it. You can’t make a Bourne movie and film it like an Ocean’s movie. It just doesn’t work.
Haywire happens to have a pretty good cast, including Awesomely Shitty favorite Michael F. Assbender, Channing “C-Tates” Tatum, Ewan McGregor, Bill Paxton, Antonio Banderas, and Michael Douglas. Sadly, the good actors (Douglas and Banderas) get the least amount of screen time possible. The majority of the film is taken up by the people who suck at acting, namely Carano and C-Tates. Lastly, the story is goddamn retarded. The double-cross against Mallory makes no sense. If the bad guys hadn’t involved her in the first place, their plan would have totally worked. Let’s not forget how Mallory, who is a fucking spy, has a bad case of verbal diarrhea, spilling the entire events of the movie to a hostage who looks like the poor man’s version of James McAvoy. Why did she do that? It is a narrative device, obviously, but they could have just as easily told the story through a flashback, and not made Mallory look so stupid. All in all, this movie sucks ass. The lethargic pacing, the crappy acting, the faux-70s directing, and the fact that Soderbergh just can’t handle the material all make this movie a big ole turd.
Louie Season 2
The second season of Louie continues the harsh, honest, and hilarious look at the titular comedian’s life. After watching two seasons of the show, I realize that it doesn’t really conform to the typical narrative structure you see anywhere else. It is mostly a series of vignettes in the life of Louis C.K. If anything, you could say it is a bunch of disconnected short stories that can be pretty horrifying, but Louis somehow manages to extract humor from them. Although the first season was amazing, I think the second season was consistently better. Every episode was memorable, or at least had memorable parts. The two highlights for me were the episode where Louis meets comedian Dane Cook and they talk about Cook having been accused of stealing Louis’ jokes, and the hour-long episode where Louis inadvertently takes a duckling to Afghanistan while performing a few USO shows for the troops. Incredibly, the show manages to be extremely high quality with Louis taking on acting, writing, directing, producing, and editing duties. If he isn’t a one-man production team, then I don’t know what is. Season 2 continues the greatness of the first, and is highly recommended.
Louie Season 1
Comedian Louis C.K. has the funniest show currently airing on TV, aptly titled Louie. You have probably never heard of it. Instead, you spend most of your time watching Two and a Half Men and The Big Bang Theory, and laughing your ass off because you think recycled shit is hilarious. Guess what, dumbass? You need to change the channel to FX and watch Louie. The show is an honest look at the daily life of a single-dad living in New York City who happens to be a comedian and an enthusiastic masturbator. No joke is considered off-limits. In the first episode Louie is accompanying his daughters on a field trip, and the bus breaks down in Harlem. Solution? Put all the black kids next to the windows to ensure the safety of the bus. With all kinds of jokes about race, sex, religion, inadequacy, aging, parenting, and more, there is nothing that Louie won’t touch. His brand of humor can often times be like the British version of The Office. Some situations can be laugh out loud funny, but other situations can just be relentlessly cruel and awkward. At times, the show can be soul-crushing. But no matter what, in every episode, you are always guaranteed to see something completely original and well worth your time.
Season of the Witch
Nicolas Cage’s choices in movies can be considered questionable at best. Horrifyingly shitty at worst. If you check out his IMDB page you’ll see he does 3-4 movies a year. 75% of those are guaranteed to be crap. The remaining 25% has a 50% chance of being good and 50% chance of being awful. Is that enough math for one day? Well, I’ll simplify things. Season of the Witch is absolute crap. And not campy, funny crap like The Wicker Man. It’s stinky rotten crap so putrid you shouldn’t go within 500 yards of it.
The movie offers an interesting parallel to the movie Black Death. In Black Death, Sean Bean led a group of medieval knights to a village to kill a witch responsible for the plague. It turned out she wasn’t a witch at all, the villagers sacrificed the knights to some pagan gods, and HOLY SHIT I JUST REALIZED THAT MOVIE IS A TOTAL RIP-OFF OF THE WICKER MAN! EVERYTHING HAS COME FULL CIRCLE NOW! OH MY FUCKING GOD! Ahem. In Season of the Witch, Cage and Ron Pearlman lead a group of medieval knights to a village where a witch who was responsible for the plague will be put on trial. The key difference between the two movies is that in Black Death witchcraft isn’t real, and in Season of the Witch, it is real.
The movie started off promising with Cage and Pearlman speaking in really half-assed English accents as they killed hundreds of people in literally every battle of the entire Crusades. After that, the movie takes a nosedive into boring mediocrity. Nothing exciting happens, Cage brings in a very restrained performance, the CGI is horrendous, and the story is thread-bare. In the end there is a huge battle against the forces of darkness, and of course the good guys win. Yawn.
To be honest, I wish Cage and Pearlman would have used their regular voices instead of making the movie even worse with their terrible English accents. There is no rule that says every historical movie has to feature people with English accents. That’s a bourgeoisploitation fallacy. The fact that these guys were fighting demons excludes the notion they were going for historical accuracy. Why not just let them speak normally?
As an aside, why does everyone in Game of Thrones have English accents, too? They aren’t in fucking England, and the author is from fucking New Jersey. HBO should fuck off.
Justified has shown a great amount of depth and progression each year it has been on the air. The first season was largely plot-driven, but managed to utilize interesting characters to its advantage. It could be slow at times, but it was never boring. The second season improved on the first in various ways. The story became more character-driven, and each person affected the plot in their own way. Nothing felt contrived or forced. The third season managed to mesh what worked in the first and second seasons, and create something unique and memorable.
Justified Season 2
The first season of Justified was really good. Definitely one of the best shows in an otherwise barren wasteland of TV mediocrity. While the pacing was a bit slow, there were great characters, an interesting story, and nice action sequences. The second season improves on all of those things. The relationships between the characters becomes the driving force behind the series, and it is a pleasure to watch. Most captivating of all is the interaction between Raylan and Boyd. They are simultaneously friends and enemies. The villain this season was particularly good, Mags Bennet (played flawlessly by Margo Martindale), the head of an Appalachian drug cartel really upped the ante in terms of amazing villains. The plot became more intricate than in the first season, as we simultaneously follow Mags, Boyd, a few other characters, and Raylan’s investigation of everyone. There was hardly a single thing wrong with this season. It was great TV at its best. It reminds me that there is still hope out there, that people can still put together good television if they try.
A movie from 2011, this film is meant to portray 14th-century England during the Bubonic Plague. Hints are dropped that this may be a film with a supernatural bend to it. Sean Bean (who probably walks around in full armor and broad sword in real life) has been charged by the Bishop to investigate a sleepy northern village which is rumored to be untouched by plague. What we learn later is that there is a witch in the town, and he has been charged with killing her. The supernatural-medieval angle seemed kind of cool to me, but that storyline went nowhere, as it turned out that witches don’t really exist. This is certainly not the best movie I have ever seen, but by far not the worst. Some of things it does well include: casting Sean Bean, taking time to make things look realistic, attention to detail, and good performances all around. What it doesn’t do well include: very bleak, very heavy-handed directing style which becomes a burden to the movie, showing shots of rats every time someone mentions “the plague”, teasing us with one battle scene only to never have another, and killing Sean Bean. Why does this dude have to die in every movie he’s in? I actually like this guy. Just once I’d like to see one of his characters survive a movie. Or does he have some kind of death wish in real life?