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Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Ray Donovan Mini Review: Death from Encouragement

I was going to do a full scale review of the first season of Ray Donovan, but... well... it's just not that good. I'm through 11 of the 12 and I like it, but I really can't recommend it. The premise is  compelling, an inside look at a Hollywood fixer, and whenever that's the focus the show shines. Ray's humiliating ways of dealing with stalkers and corrupt real estate agents are a scream. His rag tag team of rogues are also some of the most interesting parts of the cast.

But they get a fraction of the screen time. Room has to be made for Jon Voight as Ray's jail bird father as well as his wife (deadwood's Trixie! She's fabulous.) and two kids. There was plenty of material and talent in the Donovans to sustain maybe 5 episodes, but if I were to make a pie graph of total time spent on characters, Ray's immediates would have run off with 9. They stop being bearable after 6. The actors are fine but the story structure brings the show's momentum to a screeching halt.

I mean, it feels like they wanted the show to be more about Ray doing his job, but they ran out of ideas. It's inability to break out of the family's increasingly tedious cycle of calling Ray a monster and kinda-sorta forgetting about it, made me groan out load. That cycle happens at least 3 times.

This is for hard core Schreiber and Voight fans only. And only then if you don't mind seeing their talent wasted on boiler plate material half the time. When the show snaps out of it's family drama coma and decides to raise the action, it's wonderful. But the valleys outweigh the peaks, you know what I mean?

A potentially great show watered down into an ok show.

Monday, September 29, 2014

Filth Review

Filth is the kind of movie that does a lot of things wrong. The tone is all over the place, the plot feels like it's missing a quarter of necessary development, and it has a third act twist that's... actually the best plot twist I've seen in years. I mean, for better or worse, you won't see it coming.

But either way, this movie is not for the faint of heart and it doesn't give two sh*ts about your American sensibilities. I.E., you're gonna need subtitles to cut through the brogue. But if you like James McAvoy the way I do, you're going to love almost every second of this. Because he is amazing in almost every second of this.

McAvoy is Bruce, a Scottish police detective currently estranged from his apparently swinging wife. If he can secure a juicy promotion, she may let him see her and his child again. It's just a game they're playing and Bruce will do anything it takes. Not actual police work, mind, but the complete and total assassination of all his competitor's characters.      

The photography throughout is absotootly, posilootly, gorgeous.

Bruce is a delusional, paranoid, alcoholic, drug addled, manipulative, and physically abusive monster. But you won't be able to look away. Sometimes the people under his wrath are just as unsettling as he is, but mostly they're trusting innocents. I'm ashamed to admit how long it took into Eddie Marsan's con before I finally turned against Bruce. If you thought Marsan could pull off the lovable goofball in The World's End you're gonna love him even more in Filth. He'll beak your heart even more here, too.

McAvoy is electrifying. Charming and magnetic even when his life is crashing around his ears. He'd be a cartoonish villain, but winds up being a fascinating protagonist.

The movie is at it's best when it's hoping around in between the ancillary murder case and each of Bruce's long cons. But, and this is a common problem in plenty of legitimately great movies, there are third act problems. Imogen Poot's character becomes one of the most interesting points of the film. Unfortunatly there are only 15 minutes left by then and she hadn't really mattered for an hour and a half at least.

On the flip side, there is way too much of Jim Broadbent's psychologist. I mean, I love the guy, and I liked the "find the fish" vibe his scenes have, but man... a little goes a long way. Likewise, the flash hallucinations Bruce has sometimes where his collegues wear rubber animal masks gets overplayed. And that motif leads to the only stylistic choice that falls flat on it's face. It's the credits, and while I like the idea of it, it just doesn't work. You'll see what I mean.

Though I'll take a raucously original detective thriller that's only partially successful, than well made formula. Like I said, you've never seen anything exactly like Filth. Sure; it has lot in common with Trainspotters and such, but when was the last time you saw a druggie movie as fun as that? Right? It's been a while, hasn't it?

So if this is your bag, pour yourself a drink (it's recommended, but not necessary) and get your butt to Netflix.

The photography is, again, stunning.

Friday, September 26, 2014

Bye $50!

Shadow of Mordor is apparently hot sh*t. And while I'm just a fair weather fan of Jackson's work, I go where the talent takes me. And it looks like this studio is the next Rocksteady. An up and comer that makes a licensed game a near classic, something that has only ever happened once.

You win monolith Studios. You win my money.

Monday, September 22, 2014

I'm back in!

I've never cared about until it called me a thief. Then I cared a whole hell of a lot. I'm not perfect, I've pirated stuff in years past, before being financially independent. And sure, sometimes I only look like I'm scanning my ridiculously expensive bag of coffee at the automatic check out and... why am I telling you this?

The point is I never took a dime from either Steam, Origin, or, and I didn't appreciate being flagged over for a week long strip search. But I'm back in, all I had to do was whine at twitter for five days. And I wish I didn't have to. Whine, I mean. The thing is though, I'm much more into Dark Souls 2 again. And I'd much rather jump back into that for the umpteenth time then finish up Heart of the Swarm.

Oh well... I guess I never really wanted to get back in anyway.

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Well google play... you got me.

For less than the price of taking a date to the movies, I can watch the whole last season of Ray Donovan. I really like Liev Schreiber. Seriously, listen to him on radio lab reading "The Distance of the Moon" That guy is a nerd in the most spectacular fashion. Yet the initial reviews kept me away from Ray, but I say it deserves a double take.

At least this way I know I'm going to watch it all... I'm literally invested.

Friday, September 19, 2014

Oh come ON Blizzard.

I'm fucked. Plain and simple. The help desk tweeted me back, gave me some advice that didn't work, and now I am thoroughly Rodgered. It's been 16 hours since their last reply. I've never been banned, or locked out, or anything from anybody. I've come to them now on bended knee, literally begging to be able to plead my case.

Say what you want about Origin or U-play, they've never done anything this personally insulting to

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

The Kafkaesque feedback loop of (Blizzard's Steam) went through some maintenance today and then decided to ban me. I barely use the sucker ( I got sick of Diablo 3, 6 months ago and only play star craft 2 single player once every 2 years.) and I just decided to pick up Heart of the Swarm. I was so close to finishing it and bam. Thanks a million, Blizzard. It may sound like I'm being a little snotty there and you're not wrong... but I'm also not finished.

To plead my case (which can take up to 10 days) I need to answer my security question and get an email authentication. Simple, those take seconds and I remembered my question. Only I must have triggered an email 20 times today, the first being 8 hours ago. It simply won't pop up. This happens to be the only way to contact Blizzard. Without an authenticator email I am effectively excommunicated. So now what? Tweet at them? That could take days if they ever even see it. Call them? The number just sends me back to the website.

So what the hell gives?! Is there  a bandwidth traffic jam for their maintenance day? Possibly. Will I ever spend money on ever again?

That's a really, really, really, reeeeeeeeeeeally, good question. 

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

So I was wrong about Outlander.

"Your teeth are amazing!" "Aye." "But why... and how?" "I don' ken."
I'm a guy. I'm not crazy into romance fiction, I doubt that makes me unique. But the problem is I used to think that I could like anything good. If enough people persuaded me, I thought I could appropriate art in almost every from. Unfortunately the first 3 episodes of Outlander left me a bit cold. God forbid this white male not be the target audience for once, but I wasn't, and I balked at being left out.

I was all "Jesus, another nurse the charming/chiseled/single warrior back to health scene?!" And the show was all "Yeah, that's how this is gonna go." The show being the absorbing period piece of 18th century Scotland that it is, I still couldn't let go.  

But I've blogged extensively on Breaking Bad and other great, but male dominated, shows without thinking about how unnecessary the female roles in them can be. Likewise, I began to get frustrated when Jamie Fraser became a little too noble/broken/stupendously desirable. Though well acted and written he felt so... contrived. And then I began to eat serious crow about female characters much like Jamie, which I had defended as not being too much. 

It's not just a damn good costume drama that stirs my Scottish roots sumthun' fierce... I honestly think it's making me a better person.

I just felt I had to say something, because the central antagonist just got his first big episode and he is a masterclass in calculated false humility. As far a cry as you can get from his two dimensional rapist in the pilot. That was my last huge problem "I could really use a compelling villain right about now..."  I said.

"Choke on this 100 on 100 lashes scene" They said.

"I will endeavor to do so, sirs!" I said.

Yes that is Edmure Tully.

...So watch Outlander, I guess. I'm pretty damn into it now.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

I'm Back! And I'm spectacularly tired.

Not for any write worthy reason unfortunately, my flights were on time and uneventful. I just had to work a shift at the restaurant as soon as I got back. So what'd I miss while studying the Bible and shunning the consumption of alcoholic beverages in Tampa Bay? The Knick! I love the Knick. Can't wait to catch up with that...

Outlander is rock solid, I regret my lukewarm impressions last month, what else? Ooo! Conan O' Brain preformed the monorail song live! Shove that in your face.

Right the hell now:

Friday, September 12, 2014

GTA V will be on PC in......

January. The 27th. The new consoles get it a good two months before that. But I'm ok with this. They need to take their time. I still haven't made up my mind over whether it's worth buying the damn thing again a year later. Every couple of years I think this is the time I really get into GTA. This time the casual misogyny won't bother me so much. This time a smoother frame rate and higher textures will get me on board.

I dunno, I just don't know. I want to like theses games so much more than I do.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

The Crackpot, live from Florida!

So I'm going on a little vacation, albeit one where I'll still force myself to do a little bloggin'. Maybe I'll finish up my Planet of the Apes review. Though I'll probably hold onto that when the Blu Ray comes out.

Maybe I'll review the St. Petersburg airport... nah, that'd be insufferably hipstersih.

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Jack the Ripper: DNA analyst thinks he's got his man.

The most famous cold  case in history may have just been solved. I know, I know, "with a grain of salt" and all that, but still.

This is really fuggin' cool, even if it's just  an extremely well educated guess. I don't know, Kominski was never the most convincing suspect to me. But maybe this will encourage other theorists to use actual expatriation instead of speculation to prove their hypothesis. Though starting with your conclusion is kind of a huge problem too... 

Friday, September 5, 2014

Blue Ruin Review: I hear its best served cold.

I went into Blue Ruin cold... and a little buzzed. I knew it was a bit of a critic darling and I knew it was about bloody revenge. If you want to avoid spoilers, and I suggest you avoid spoilers, stop reading right now and Netflix it. If you enjoyed Breaking Bad at all, I know you'll at least like it.

Still not convinced? Lemmie break down the beginning for you. We see a homeless man breaking out of a small house naked, stealing clothes off a line (who has clothes lines anymore?) as he runs back to his beach campsite. A fabulously sh**y immobile sedan with a tarp propped up out of it like a tent. He seems innocent enough, likable, even. Is he in hiding? Is this what the villain of the piece winds up becoming in the story's aftermath? Nope. He's the "hero."

A man who's parents were killed by a small time Dixie mafia family after his dad fooled around with the crime boss's wife. But really, the back story is just a jumping off point. Blue Ruin is all about atmosphere and action first with character development second. Dwight is the only 3 dimensional character, and even then, most of that is because of Macon Blaire's gloriously subtle performance. He's so quiet and sweet, yet so broken and crazy. This is the kind of movie that character work would have only bogged down. This movie is all about the stealth attacks and stakeouts. A micro budget Die Hard that gives the best of the genre a damn good run for it's money.

It's impossible to explain why the stealth scenes are so good without absolutely ruining them. Blue Ruining them. So here's the deal: Indie atmosphere good. Acting good. Action good. Movie good.

Give it a shot.

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

One of my favorite comedians has written his thoughts on Robin Williams. And you should read it.

The first comedian I ever loved has said his piece on the first comedian I ever knew. It's wonderful stuff. Heavy, pitch dark, yet electrically charming. If you're still reeling from the man's death as I was, I think this will help. And if you're starved for a thoughtfully produced comedian roundtable podcast, I think this will help.