Friday, November 16, 2012

The Walking Dead Season 2 Review

TV Show Info

Plot: As the Zombie apocalypse continues, Rick and the group of survivors are led to an isolated farm owned by veterinarian Hershel Greene after one of their own is lost and another is in desperate need of medical help. Rick's group tries to co-exist alongside Hershel's family, however dangerous secrets and disagreements over leadership causes tension amongst the survivors as lines are drawn and divisions are cast amongst allies. 

Executive Producer: Glen Mazzara (The Shield). Developed for Television by Frank Darabont (The Shawshank Redemption, The Mist). Based on the Graphic Novel by: Robert Kirkman, Tony Moore, and Charlie Adlard.

Starring: Andrew Lincoln (Teachers, Love Actually, Heartbreaker), Jon Bernthal (Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian, The Pacific, Date Night), Sarah Wayne Callies (Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, Numb3rs, Prison Break), Laurie Holden (The X-Files, Fantastic Four, Silent Hill), Jeffrey DeMunn (The Blob, The Mist, Burn After Reading), Steven Yeun (The Big Bang Theory, Warehouse 13), Chandler Riggs (Get Low, The Wronged Man, Terminus), Norman Reedus (Mimic, The Boondock Saints, American Gangster), Melissa McBride (Dawson's Creek), IronE Singleton (The Blind Side), Scott Wilson (In the Heat of the Night, The Ninth Configuration, Pearl Harbor) and Lauren Cohan (National Lampoon's Van Wilder: The Rise of Taj, Chuck, Death Race 2).

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

"The Tree of Life" Movie Review

C-Rav ponders over the meaning of it all as he reviews Terrence Malick's Experimental Drama Film: The Tree of Life.

Film Info

Plot: The origins and meaning of life are explored through a middle-aged man's childhood memories of his family living in 1950s Texas, interspersed with images of the origins of the universe and the inception of life on Earth.

Written and Directed by: Terrence Malick (Badlands, Days of Heaven, The Thin Red Line).

Starring: Brad Pitt (Seven, Fight Club, Snatch), Sean Penn (I Am Sam,Mystic River, Milk) and Jessica Chastain (The Help, The Debt, Take Shelter).

The various use of media material is protected by the Fair Use Clause of the U.S Copyright Act of 1976, which allows for the rebroadcast of copyrighted materials for the purposes of commentary, criticism, satire/parody and education.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

I Fall For "Skyfall" Theme

I’ve got to level with everyone. I’m not a huge fan of Adele. That’s not to say I hate her. I don’t. She has a great a voice and is a natural performer, but I don’t like any of her songs all that much. They’re fine (With the exception of the ridiculously annoying song “Rumor Has It”) but I can’t really bring myself to rave about them as much as everyone else seems to. However in general I feel what can only be described as ‘indifference’ towards her.

So when I recently found out she was lending her voice to the newest James Bond theme song for the upcoming film Skyfall, I was less than enthusiastic. It wasn’t completely due to her involvement as much as it was, to me, another bad sign pointing towards one more in a long line of recent forgettable or down right terrible Bond songs.

And so here it is….

What do I think?

Allow to me swallow my pride and admit that I really dig the hell out of it.

When it came to their theme songs, my problem with the Brosnon Bond films was that they were either bland or terrible (see Madonna’s “Die Another Day”). Now while I feel Casino Royale successfully rebooted the Bond franchise by bringing the character back to his bad ass roots in the best 007 film since Goldeneye, Chris Cornell’s song “You Know My Name” was a solid piece yet like many of its more recent predecessors, failed to be anything memorable. As for “Another Way To Die” by Alicia Keys and Jack White? Well let’s just say that Quantum of Solace has some big problems and the song doesn’t exactly help matters.

Now Adele’s “Skyfall” does something the last two Bond themes didn’t…it actually sounds like a James Bond song. Forget the fact that the song manages to include hints of the actual Bond score theme itself, it also has a suave and cool feel to it. You can just imagine a relaxed and casual Bond entering a room full of sophisticated socialites. Charming and cool, but underneath, ready to kick ass all with this song playing in the background. It just fits! Of course credit must go to Adele herself. Her voice is perfect for this song and her singing style makes it feel as though it could easily belong to more classic era of Bond films. She nails it.

After being somewhat disappointed with Quantum of Solace, I’m hoping Skyfall can continue the momentum set up by Casino Royale in bringing James Bond back to what made the character a legend in the first place. So far Adele’s “Skyfall” is a great indicator that the franchise is back on track.

Smallville Season One Review

TV Show Info

Plot: Clark Kent begins a journey searching for the answers behind his origins and learns both who he is and where he came from. However his journey also reveals a destiny set into motion by his biological father. Meanwhile as Clark grows closer to Lana his relationship with Chloe is strained due to her unrequited love for Clark and Lex Luthor wages war against his father as they both try to uncover the secrets of the Kawatche Caves.

Executive Producers/Developed For Television by: Alfred Gough & Miles Millar. Superman Created by Jerry Siegel & Joel Shuster.

Starring: Tom Welling (Cheaper by the Dozen, The Fog), Kristin Kreuk (Eurotrip, Street Fighter: The Legend of Chun-Li, Chuck), Michael Rosenbaum (Justice League, Cursed, Breaking In), Sam Jones III (ZigZag, ER, Blue Mountain State), Allison Mack (Honey, We Shrunk Ourselves, The Ant Bully, Superman/Batman: Public Enemies), John Glover (Gremlins 2: The New Batch, Robocop 2, Batman & Robin), Annette O'Toole (It, Stand By Your Man, Superman III), and John Schneider (The Dukes of Hazzard; Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman; Nip/Tuck) as Jonathan Kent.

Steven Spielberg and Robopocalypse: The Film Apocalypse?

After delivering War Horse and The Adventures of Tintin to audiences in 2011, Steven Spielberg will tackle the best-selling book “Team of Rivals” and bring the story of President Abraham Lincoln and the road to the end of the Civil War to the sliver screen.  Looking to projects beyond the film titled Lincoln, Spielberg briefly discussed his follow up film titled Robopocalypse, based on the New York Times best selling science fiction book by Daniel H. Wilson of the same name, with Time Out.
Spielberg offers some hints about what audiences can expect from the film, from the obvious premise of a global war between man and machine, and compares the upcoming film to another science fiction film directed by Spielberg himself-Minority Report. Now as a huge Spielberg fan who considers Minority Report to one his best films and an underrated one amongst cinema in general, I can’t help but be intrigued by the film despite the novel on which it’s based having strongly divided reviews and the title being admittedly ridiculous. However this comment from Spielberg himself on the films plot and themes stood out amongst everything else he had to say on the project:

“It’s about the consequences of creating technologies which make our lives easier, and what happens when that technology becomes smarter than we are. It’s not the newest theme, it’s been done throughout science fiction, but it’s a theme that becomes more relevant every year.”

What really caught my attention with his comments wasn’t the films premise, which was to be expected given the nature of the source material, but his input on exploring a theme that has been tackled numerous times in film before. Nowadays there are too many pretentious film goers who stick their noses up at any mainstream film-unless it was produced for less than one million dollars and distributed only into a number of theaters that you can count on both hands-for using a story, theme, style or even one single type of sequence that has been used before…ironically while losing their minds over films such as The Tree of Life for reminding them of the works of Stanley Kubrick.

Superhero films are the biggest victims of this over simplified method of judging films these days, however in the eyes of the “intelligent film goer” any film that doesn’t completely turn the conventions of film making on their head, or at the very least draw inspiration from the least common styles of film making, isn’t worthy of being referred to as “cinema”.  

The comments by Spielberg about Robopocalypse’s theme and how it’s not exactly the most fresh of ideas out there helped me fuel more arguments against these sort of “film fans”. Now this isn’t me fanboying over Spielberg or making it seem as though he’s come across some ingenious, undiscovered argument in favour of mainstream film. This also isn’t a premature review of the film stating its brilliance. Given the fact that the project hasn’t even gone into production yet, I’m well aware that the film could be a disaster. It’s simply an observation I’ve made about his statement that helped me realize a point I hadn’t considered all the much before.

The idea that plots and themes would be reused isn’t anything new considering many classic tales have been passed on through generations for ages. However the notion that they can continue to grow more relevant as humanity continues to grow and, in some cases, fails to heed the warnings of these stories is something to consider when criticizing a film for failing to completely reinvent the wheel.  For example, given the nature of our history, could themes of man’s evil towards his fellow man not be one that can only continue to evolve and have new examples with which to explore these ideas? It’s an interesting notion that not only does time warrant the reuse of familiar ideas, but it can also make them ever more significant and offer new methods in which to express these ideas. This to any sane person is a stronger way to judge films: How something is explored, not solely what is being explored.

Source: Time Out                                   

Debating Debra: Dexter Season Six Disaster


While the benefit of time and perspective may change the minds of many in the future, the sixth season of Showtime’s hit series Dexter has generally been met with mixed to negative reactions. While there are a number of reasons for the less than flattering reception, including an obvious plot twist involving Edward James Olmos’ character and a slow paced storyline that involved main characters gathering information the viewers already possess, the most controversial aspect of the shows sixth season was the developing romantic feelings of Debra Morgan (Jennifer Carpenter) towards her adoptive brother Dexter Morgan (Michael C. Hall).
                While the two characters are not biologically related, there has still been much aversion towards the notion of a romantic relationship between them considering the viewers and characters themselves have seen each other as family for years. Nevertheless those hoping for a quick end to the slightly incestuous romance may be in for a long wait. At a recent network press tour, Showtime boss David Nevin revealed the storyline will continue into the next season and commented on how it was a long time coming:

“It’s something that has been building for a number of years, I think. It’s an idea that’s informed how they’ve done the show for a long time.”

Now as viewers we are essentially outsiders when it comes to the creative process of making this great series. However as viewers we are also arguably the most qualified to decide whether the intentions of the show runners have been met or made clear. It’s one concept to form an idea and throw it out there; it’s another concept entirely to have it resonate with the people.
Therefore, as a viewer, I must admit that Nevin’s statements feel like complete bullshit! Having watched every season of Dexter, it is very hard to understand where the notion of a series long budding romance between Dexter and Debra throughout could come from. Over course of the shows six year run, while Dexter and Debra have expressed a strong caring and bond with each other, neither of them has ever considered each other anything beyond family despite their lack of a biological relationship.

One could argue that there hasn’t been any evidence against the idea of a blossoming romance between the two characters, which is true to a certain extent; however there also has never been a clear indication that this was a strong basis on which the show has developed over the years. The burden of proof here lies on the show and network runners and if this story has indeed influenced the progress the series has made thus far, that was not very clear at all. Otherwise there would not be such a strong backlash from viewers had they sensed this storyline was even a remote possibility.

On a personal note, as an adopted child I’d like to express that even without a biological relationship to them, I’ve never had romantic feelings towards any members of my family, extended or direct. The show is almost insulting adopted children and their family but suggesting "Hey, you know you are now REALLY family, right?"  I know I don’t speak on behalf of all adopted people, but I feel I do have some informed insight to contribute to the debate. Also, considering I was adopted as a baby, the life with my family is the only one I’ve ever known. While Dexter has very vague memories of his past before being adopted in the Morgan family, in general he’s expressed difficulty remembering the full extent of his past. Therefore it’s hard to see Dexter ever developing romantic feelings for his sister, but what about Debra?

Personally I think it destroys her character, who has always had a strong sense of right and wrong even when the issues became far too complex to include only two sides. The route the writers took in having Debra make the leap from having a strong bond with her brother to loving him in a romantic way doesn’t make any sense in terms of character consistency. A lot of people in our lives are there for us, make us feel safe, and are considered loved ones in some fashion. For Debra to quickly associate these feelings with romantic love towards someone she’s always considered a brother betrays the way the character has behaved before this point.

What do you think? Is the Dexter/Debra Morgan romance creepy? Has this indeed been a long time coming? Sound off below!

Story Source: E!

The Dark Knight Rises Movie Review

The Dark Knight Rises Film Review

C-Rav rises from the darkness to review the final chapter of director Christopher Nolan's Batman Trilogy: The Dark Knight Rises.

Film Info

Plot: Eight years after assuming the blame for the death of D.A Harvey Dent, Bruce Wayne went into a self-imposed exile and Batman has never been seen since, while Gotham City has been experiencing peace at last after criminal activity was crushed under the weight of the anti-crime Dent Act. However everything changes when a mysterious cat burglar drives Bruce out of seclusion and the far more dangerous masked terrorist named Bane proves to be Batman's most lethal foe.

Directed by: Christopher Nolan (Following, Memento, Insomnia, Inception).

Written by: Christopher Nolan & Jonathan Nolan (The Prestige, The Dark Knight).

Starring: Christian Bale (American Psycho, Public Enemies, The Fighter), Michael Cain (Alfie, The Italian Job, Austin Powers in Goldmember), Gary Oldman (Bram Stoker's Dracula, True Romance, Léon: The Professional), Anne Hathaway (The Princess Diaries, Alice in Wonderland, Les Misérables), Tom Hardy (Bronson, The Warrior, This Means War), Marion Cotillard (La Vie En Rose, Nine, Midnight in Paris), Joseph Gordon-Levitt (Mysterious Skin, 500 Days of Summer, Looper) and Morgan Freeman (March of the Penguins, The Shawshank Redemption, The Bucket List).

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Top 10 Best Steven Spielberg Films

For decades Steven Spielberg has given audiences unforgettable cinematic experiences, making him one of the greatest filmmakers in history in the eyes of many. He has terrified and entertained us with films such as Jaws, E.T The Extra-Terrestrial, and Jurassic Park. He's forced audiences to reflect on our history and witness true human drama with films such as The Color Purple, Empire of the Sun, and War Horse. Even with some massive missteps along his career, more often than not Spielberg has managed to deliver some of the best film and movie magic has to offer while stunning us, forcing us to think, and touching our hearts.

Do classics and masterpieces such as Raider's of the Lost Ark, Schindler's List, or Saving Private Ryan make this list? What about recent films such as The Adventure of Tintin or Munich? Perhaps some underrated films such as Minority Report or Catch Me If You Can make the cut? Could some overlooked/unpopular films such as The Sugarland Express, A.I. Artificial Intelligence, The Terminal and War of the Worlds miraculously appear on the list?

Find out here!