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TV Review: PERSON OF INTEREST - Contingency 2.1 - Finding Finch

Sunday, 30 September 2012

Out of every TV show, new and returning this Fall for me Person of Interest is without doubt one of the most highly anticipated, during it’s first season J.J. Abrams and Jonathan Nolan guided us through 23 episodes of gripping drama and kick ass action whilst all the while never loosing site of POI’s main story, what is the machine? It climaxed in the season one finale with Finch kidnapped by computer super hacker Root (Amy Acker) and Reese was left picking up a public telephone but to who? That was the biggest question on everyone’s lips last season and finally it’s answered, the machine can communicate with you, it can’t talk but it can cobble voices together from various sources and deliver a coded message which in this season two opener Reese was left to figure out on his own for the first time, proving that he is brains as well as brawn.

Even the beginning of this episode was brilliant with the season one recap being dealt with by way of CCTV, taking us right back to day 1 when Finch first fired up the machine, can you see me? Do you know who I am? “Admin”. Then it continued to roll through showing us how it found Reese, some of the scrapes they have been in together and then the discovery of Root and how Finch had designed the system so that it would never attempt to find it’s master should anything ever happen to him, just brilliant. What Finch probably didn’t account for was the machine becoming self sufficient, a form of intelligence with some sort of brain which enables it to learn and adapt. For me some of the best scenes in this opener where of Reese looking into the camera and making a deal with the machine, if it won’t help him find Finch then he will no longer be it’s contingency plan.

I loved the way in which Person of Interest stuck to it’s guns, it would have been far to easy to just go and deliver Finch’s SSN right from the off and have Resse track him down kill Root and save the day, instead the machine delivered another number, that of an Asian man (Lost’s Ken Leung) who has stolen some money ($8m) from the Aryan Brotherhood. However like last season the side line weekly story never lost sight of the actual goal, find Harold Finch, Reese was always certain that the number delivered by the machine was in some way designed to fit a part of the puzzle which would help him piece together where Finch was. Reese was quick to discover however that the guy was a bit of an idiot and really had no idea as to where Finch is, leading to “Contingency” ending with Reese making a deal with the Machine.

It was brilliant to see that Reese now has the full support of both Carter (Taraji P. Henson) and Fusco (Kevin Chapman), now that they all know what each other are up to they can ultimately work towards the same goal. Reese is as charismatic as ever delivering kick ass action whilst also keeping his witty humour, the scene about him only having one friend was very good, and also when he was explaining to Fusco about the gagging order. Reese was right back into it with the Aryan Brotherhood after dispatching a few of their guys in the local bar he found himself escorted to their warehouse, on purpose of course to save Fusco’s ass yet again, that glint in his eye just as he’s finished speaking Dutch to his new four legged friend, before the camera pans away to leave it all to our imagination was just brilliant. Also worth a mention was the head of the Aryan Brotherhood (Tim Holmes), he must have been at least 7ft tall, but hey he couldn’t beat Reese, he was only having a rest after all.

What is going to be brilliant is seeing how they develop the storyline, it looks as if Reese will at least get close to rescuing Finch in the next handful of episodes, maybe even next weeks “Bad Code” but what will become of Root? I can’t see them killing her off just yet as she wants the machine for more sinister reasons, does she even work alone? For all we know Finch might have his own plan up his sleeve about how he is going to escape, or even how he can manipulate what Root does to the Machine to work in his favour. Who are all of these new government officials trying to cover up the murder of Alicia Corwin? They clearly know about the existence of the Machine as they have dispatched their resident hit man to take care of “the man in the suit”, otherwise known as John Reese.

Season 2 looks as if its going to deliver on the same level if not higher than the first season did and I can’t wait to see how deep the story will continue to take us. Person of Interest is so much more than your weekly cop procedural and this is must watch TV on a weekly basis, keep up the great work, ala Jonathan Nolan, J.J. Abrams and Denise The.

Weekly TV Previews: Will REVOLUTION Get Any Better? PERSON OF INTEREST Finding Mr Finch, VEGAS and There Back DEXTER Season 7, HOMELAND Season 2

Saturday, 29 September 2012

Hello and welcome back to the regular Fall TV season feature here at Movies Music & Television of the weeks TV previews, like always I will preview the next episode of all the shows currently under review here at MM&T as well as the shows which I’m watching but maybe not writing about every week. This is the first one back since last Fall so some shows (Dexter/Homeland) are yet to premiere on their respective networks, there for not to much to give away right now, but we’ll get through what we can, here goes;

Revolution – No Quarter 1.3

Following two episodes of Revolution I’m yet to be enthralled by what’s been on offer, best way to put it, is that in my opinion it’s been mediocre when compared to other works from J.J. Abrams, that’s not say that it can’t get better and in all honesty I hope it does, I touched on the subject in my review of “….” That there are plenty of avenues for the show to go down and hopefully it will do that. In respect of this review, well it does not really give much away other than Miles (Billy Burke) telling Charlie (Tracey Spiridakos) that the futuristic USB stick has the ability to turn the power back on and give the US it’s power back, take a look and let me know what you think.


Person of Interest – Bad Code 2.2

It goes without saying that Person of Interest is the best show that J.J. Abrams has on TV right now and the season 2 premiere did not disappoint in any way whatsoever. Reese was back to doing what he does best in kicking ass whilst Finch was off being all mysterious and wisdom like fencing off against computer hacker Root (Amy Acker). It seems that season 2 will deliver action, drama and mystery at the same level and above from what we got during season one and I can’t wait. “Bad Code” sees the hunt for Mr Finch head to Texas and possibly the first opportunity for the Machine to act outside of its usual jurisdiction of New York, amidst the kick ass who thinks Reese will be successful in finding Finch this week?


Vegas – Money Plays 1.2

From all of the pilot episodes I have seen so far in this Fall season this one has by far impressed me the most, it delivered a classy first episode which saw a weekly crime procedural mix together what should be a longer running feud between law enforcement and a local Mob boss, I’m hoping the weekly procedural side of things drops like I said in the review and hopefully we concentrate more on the bad guys v good guys side of things. The latest offering from Vegas “Money Pays” looks to continue in the light of the “Pilot”, plenty of kick ass from Dennis Quaid and a weekly procedural, I don’t mind that to much if like Person of Interest they can keep the focus on the main story behind the characters, take a look at the preview. 


Dexter – Are You…? 7.1

Without doubt the biggest returning show of the Fall season is Dexter, hype has been building since last December when Dexter Morgan plunged his knife into the chest of Travis Marshall’s chest, only to be caught by his sister and Miami Metro Lieutenant Debra Morgan, finally part of Dexter’s secret is out but now Dexter must fight even harder to stay one step ahead of Miami Metro and more importantly his sister, who can never find out the full truth behind Miami’s best blood spatter expert. Being the first episode I can’t find a direct trailer for the episode but this is the latest preview available from three days ago, enjoy.

Homeland – The Smile 2.1

Homeland was without doubt the biggest new drama to hit screens last Fall, from start to finish it was brilliant, it had you constantly guessing, is Nick Brody (Damien Lewis) a terrorist? Or is CIA Agent Carrie (Clare Danes) as crazy as everyone thinks she is? The question was answered during the season 1 finale when Sgt Brody was preparing to blow up the US President and a roomful of his representatives, of course he didn’t go through with it but now he has an even bigger position of power, spurred on terrorist Abu Nazir, Sgt Brody is now a US Congressman with an influential voice in US politics. Again like Dexter I don’t have a trailer for the first episode but this latest teaser really promises that Homeland will once again be hard hitting and possibly even better than season one.


TV Review: VEGAS - Episode 1.1 on CBS Starring Dennis Quaid and Michael Chiklis

Friday, 28 September 2012

I have to say that out of all the new “Pilot” TV shows coming out of America this Fall, Vegas starring Dennis Quaid and Michael Chiklis is probably the one which I was least looking forward too, don’t ask me why, I don’t really know. Guess I just thought it was going to be some sort of old town “western” Nevada type thing. I stand here corrected now, as I couldn’t have been more wrong, I was toying with they idea of leaving on Person of Interest (a repeat) but found the effort to reach for my Blu-ray player to check this out and I’m pleased I did because this is actually one of the better Pilots I have seen in a while and it really set Vegas up to look as if it’s going to be a really good show.

Vegas is set back in the 1960’s way before Las Vegas was set up as it is now, it was a simpler time when there were a few casino’s in the area, and most of the land was taken up by ranchers. However, the 60’s was also the time when everyone including the police and town governors were on the take, with the Mob moving in on Vegas to take advantage of the various gambling laws officials decided to look the other way with even the local Sheriff being corrupt. Things quickly go wrong for the small town during this Pilot though and the governors daughter turns up dead and the Sheriff is missing in action, step in Ralph Lamb (Dennis Quaid) a local ranch owner and former military cop who is hard as nails, Lamb really does not care to much for the new Vegas residents and within the first five minutes of the Pilot he is already beating several air traffic controllers to a pulp for letting planes give fright to his heard. With the Sheriff MIA Lamb is asked to take lead on the investigation by the mayor who for his own gains needs the crime solved.

We are introduced now to plenty of characters, joining Lamb on the hunt for the murderer is his brother Jack (Terra Nova’s Jason O’Mara) and son Cale (Billy Lush), their investigation is backed of course by the mayor Anthony “Red” Carvelli (James Russo) and Vegas’ Assistant District Attorney Katherine O’Connell (Carrie-Ann Moss). Their investigation of course does not go without its snags as new Mob boss Vincent Savino (Michael Chiklis) has recently rolled into town, the pair meet on mutual grounds to start with, but it quickly becomes apparent that Savino is not in favour of the local Sheriff snooping around unescorted in his plush Savoy Casino.

It's quite amusing that Ralph Lamb who is made Sheriff by the end of this Pilot has been brought on board to help run a more strict law enforcement operation, whilst at the same time Mob boss Savino has been sent to Vegas to straighten out and “clean up” a few unorthodox mob activities, it would seem that Savino to this point will never be directly involved in anything, and on the face of it although Lamb will and does know Savino is corrupt he will have nothing to go on, think Robert De Niro Goodfellas.

I was worried about my enjoyment of the show like I mentioned above, mainly because of the 60’s setting, I have to say that I thought Vegas actually felt at times very current, maybe even more so than Revolution does in it’s Pilot, there was nothing unbelievable about what was being portrayed, yes, a couple of the fight scenes had you laughing and came as a bit over the top, especially as Lamb chased a Hells Angel motorcycle club member on his horse only to catch him and close line him off the bike, funny, and adds to the enjoyment, kind of reminded me of Arnold Schwarzenegger in True Lies “Hurry up, my horse is getting tired”. The added thump of those punches also adds to the persona of Ralph Lamb being a hard ass.

The Pilot centred on the murder investigation, but succeeded in setting up what should be an interesting battle between Sheriff Lamb and Mob boss Vincent Savino, I would hope that each episode does not involve some sort of police procedural and they concentrate more on the battle between the police and the Mob. Following the Pilot Alcatraz’s Sarah Jones was added to the cast to play a mobsters daughter, so an interesting twist could come in there with Lamb’s free living son Cale and her. I really think Vegas looks ok, I’m wouldn’t say I’m totally sold but I enjoyed this Pilot and hopefully it will be built upon in the second episode “All That Glitters”. How about you? What did you think of Vegas? Your comments and discussion are welcome below as always.

This Week In Cinemas….. Joseph Gordon Levitt has to Kill his Future self, Resident Evil is Back and a New Comedy starring all the Regulars

Hello, and welcome as always to the weekly cinema releases here at Movies, Music & Television. As always I’m here to give you the low down on what is worth your time going to see down at your local cinema this weekend. In what’s probably one of the most highly anticipated movie release weeks this year, one movie really stands out from the crowd as something which in the Sci-Fi genre could go on to top what The Matrix achieved back in it’s day.
I’ll start as always with that game changing Sci-Fi blockbuster brought to us by Rian Johnson, LOOPER stars Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Bruce Willis, Emily Blunt, Paul Dano and Jeff Daniels, over at Slash Film Looper is regarded as one of 2012’s most highly anticipated movies and after watching several trailers and TV spots it’s easy to figure out why. In the film Gordon-Levitt plays Joe, a mob enforcer who works with a group of people known as “Loopers”, in the year 2042 their job is simple, be in a certain place at a certain time for the arrival of a time traveller from the year 2072, their task, assassinate the time traveller on the spot, no questions asked. Joe is one of the best Loopers in the business until one day his world unravels as the time traveller sent back for him to assassinate is his older self played by Bruce Willis, he hesitates for the first time ever and Old Joe escapes. Check out the latest trailer and let me know what you think.

It goes without saying that I will be watching Looper as soon as I get the chance, I don’t remember a time when a movie came with as much hype, I don’t even think Prometheus was treated to this much, I just hope that Looper will live up to it all.

Next one to mention this week is RESIDENT EVIL: RETRIBUTION starring Mila Jovovich, Sienna Guillory and Michelle Rodriguez. I have to hold my hands up here and say that I’ve never actually seen any of the other Resident Evil movies, I have a few memories of shooting zombies during the video game back in the day on my Playstation but other than that I’m going in blind, not a good thing when you consider that lead actress Mila Jovovich is wearing tight leather throughout this entire movie, hopefully. In this movie Alice (Jovovich) wakes up and continues her fight against the zombies who have all been infected with The Umbrella Corporations T-virus, check out the trailer.

Like I said, I’ve never seen one of these movies yet and whether Jovovich is wearing leather or not, I don’t think I’m going to start watching now, one for the video game enthusiast I would think.

Time to get stupid now as we head over to check out THE CAMPAIGN starring Will Ferrell, Zach Galifianakis, Jason Sudekis, Jon Lithgow and Dan Aykroyd, with the names mentioned you can pretty much guess where we are going with this, a pretty daft political comedy which will no doubt suit fans of Ferrell. The plot basically follows two CEO’s of a corporation who want to take control of the North Carolina District, the only way they can do this is by ousting the current mayor, for this they send in their own candidate for the job and from there I would imagine the laughs ensue. Check out the trailer and let me know how stupid you think this is.

So, yeah it may well be pretty stupid, but as you know I have watched things like this in the past (Step Brothers) and enjoyed them for a laugh, I certainly won’t be visiting my local cinema to see The Campaign but maybe I will catch it on TV at some point.

TV Review: REVOLUTION - Chained Heat 1.2

Wednesday, 26 September 2012

Rolling on with Revolution, the new high concept drama from NBC and J.J. Abrams, following the “Pilot” episode I wouldn’t say that I way awe inspired or anything, I thought, yeah, that was ok, let’s see what happens next week. Now I’ve had that chance as this week saw Revolutions second episode “Chained Heat” air on NBC. I Think it’s hard sometimes to become instantly attached to characters after one episode of a show, following this second episode I still wouldn’t say that I feel emotionally attached to any of the characters on display, Charlie Matheson for instance, I couldn’t care less right now whether or not she finds her brother Danny, this is probably a good thing though, because lets face if she does find him then it won’t be until the end of the first season by which point I think people may have switched off.

I love what Revolution is trying to achieve and I love how it is very similar to J.J. Abrams Lost, at least in it’s story, problem is up to now I don’t think Revolution is going to achieve what Lost did, that show set the bar extremely high for this type of concept and everything done now (FlashForward/The Event/Awake) is compared to it, I remember watching Alcatraz at the beginning of the year and feeling the same about that show, I just wasn’t attached to the main characters. Even so I still think Revolution has room to grow, there is after all plenty still to get through.

So, what do we want to know? First off, the biggest question of the show, and its premise, who is responsible for the power going off? It would already seem apparent that the Matheson family in some way shape or form either have something to do with it or they are aware of what caused the problem. The Militia’s General Monroe who worked with the Matheson’s before the lights went out seems well aware of this fact. What caused General Monroe to become the leader of The Militia and such a nasty git for want of a better word? He has now formed the Monroe Republic, who claim to be the good guys out to burn American flags, why does he hate America all of a sudden? Then we have Grace, who we met briefly in the Pilot (although I don’t remember) what relevance does she have to the story? Who are the resistance? How many people have futuristic USB sticks? Are they the resistance? You get my point here, there is still plenty to explore with the off shoots seemingly looping back to the central plot, but we have said this before.

I have a couple of issues, some of the acting this far has seemed rather hammy, particularly from Tracey Spiridakos, not all the time it just seems to be the points where she is giving a speech to her uncle Miles about how she needs to protect her brother, this episode she did handle shooting that guy whilst also killing the other one very well, I liked the way they showed the flashbacks letting us know where she mustered up the courage from. A couple of Billy Burke’s lines also came over a little hammy during this episode, I don’t remember the exact words but it was when Charlie asked him where he was going, his reply, along the lines of “it’s a great place called mind your own business”. Charlie hasn’t minded it so far, nor do I think she is going to start now.

Another little issue I have is the swashbuckling sword fights, they are pretty kick ass don’t get me wrong but I just don’t find them all that enjoyable, leave swashbuckling to pirates, the cross bows too, at times I feel like I’m watching The Hunger Games. Revolution is doing a great job this far of being (for TV) visually stunning, it really shows that a lot of money has been spent on production, for me “Chained Heat” was better than the Pilot and the added twist at the end of Rachael (Charlie’s mother) still being alive and held captive by Monroe was quite revealing. I just hope that Revolution lives up to the hype that we have all been hearing about running up to the Fall TV season.

Top 5 Indie Movie Soundtracks of the Past 5 Years - Guest Post

The indie film boom of recent years has not only been a force unto itself, but has also ushered in a love for the indie film soundtrack.  Quite often these collections are part-complilation, part-original work, and they're almost always something you can put on in the background on a rainy Sunday afternoon.  Here are five of the most notable indie movie soundtracks from the past half-decade.

Juno (2008) - Although this film may not be considered part of the indie vibe anymore given its raging commercial and critical success, Juno did bring much-deserved attention to the work of Kimya Dawson, whose voice is dotted throughout the soundtrack album.  Adorably cute or disgustingly cute, depending on your point of view, this soundtrack fits well with the film, and the Sonic Youth track alone is worth the price of the CD.

500 Days of Summer (2009) - Another cutesy film featuring the sometimes unbearably twee Zooey Deschanel, 500 Days of Summer reins itself back in from cute overload with a stellar compilation soundtrack that combines pop hits of old (Hall & Oates) with more recent indie gems (Carla Bruni).  Even if you found the movie to be too much, the soundtrack is still a worthwhile buy, and is great to put on shuffle when you have friends over for dinner.

Away We Go (2009) - Scottish songwriter Alexi Murdoch created a folk-heavy soundtrack for this film about two lost souls looking for a place to start a family, and wandering around the United States in search of a perfect home. Sam Mendes directed, which may seem a little incongruous considering he has now gone on to direct a James Bond film.  Complementing the original Murdoch tracks on Away We Go are contributions from legends like George Harrison and Bob Dylan, lending a heavy nostalgic feel to this quirky and emotional film.

Submarine (2010) - Alex Turner (of Arctic Monkeys fame) delved briefly into the world of soundtrack writing with Submarine, a bizarre-yet-charming film about a young man trying to get some romantic action while keeping his mother from the same.  The album (or perhaps EP is a better description) only has six tracks, but in those six tracks Turner shows that he really has a talent for blending sound with story.

Greenberg (2010) - As much as this movie was a dark horse for comedian Ben Stiller (who usually opts for more obvious comedy like Little Fockers, the soundtrack was also a departure for LCD Soundsystem frontman James Murphy.  Ditching the dance beats for a more piano-based feel, in many ways this is Murphy's most interesting work, and gets surprisingly little recognition from LCD Soundsystem fans.


Brynn lives, breathes, and geeks out over all things music. When she's not hanging out at shows or figuring out her summer festival schedule, she writes about bands, performances, and musicians for 

WALKING DEAD: What's Next? - Guest Post

Sunday, 23 September 2012

The final scene at the end of the second season of "The Walking Dead" overjoyed fans of the long running comic book and caused newcomers to the material to instantly begin buzzing about the mysterious cloaked figure. Because it is practically impossible to avoid spoilers on the Internet, the majority of the show's non-comic book fans quickly discovered that the person in the cloak was none other than fan favorite Michonne. Her upcoming full introduction in the third season has fans eagerly counting down the days until the season premiere, as does the pending introduction of The Governor, most commonly referred to as the nastiest character of the entire series.

What Can Fans Expect from Season Three?

The third season will find the group of survivors seeking asylum in a large prison. Although there will be a lot of zombies to contend with, Rick and the rest of the group will be all too tempted by the lure of a fully enclosed safe haven, and they will take whatever steps are necessary to fortify their new home. Unfortunately, the prison's entire human population will not have cleared out when the zombie apocalypse hit, so there will be some interesting issues brought into play by these new characters.

Michonne will prove to be both an invaluable fighting ally and an unstable individual. Her penchant for chopping heads off will definitely endear her to those who consider the zombies to be their biggest threat, but some of the other characters will see her as a personal threat. This will cause a strain on some of the currently established relationship dynamics, and it will help the show retain its important core of human emotions.

Daryl's brother Merle will return to the scene, and it is a given that he will be looking for revenge. Although Daryl does feel a very strong tie to several of the other survivors in the group, especially Carol, his familial tie is strong, so it will be especially interesting to see what choices his character makes.

How will the Show Differ from the Comic Books?

Fans of the comic book have been buzzing since the very first episode about how difficult this particular season would be to faithfully adapt for television. The comic book was always dark, but as soon as The Governor was introduced things took a drastic turn for the worse. It will be interesting to see how far the show's creative team is willing to go, but it is almost guaranteed that some of the harsher elements from the comic book will either be skipped or downplayed. As an example, there was an extended sequence in the comic book in which one of the female characters was brutally beaten and raped multiple times. It is difficult to conceive of this occurring on the TV show, but
AMC has not shied away from gore or difficult topics yet, so they might surprise the viewers with just how much they decide to include.

It will also be very interesting to see whether or not Rick makes it through the season with both of his hands intact. If the show is going to follow the comic book, then one of his hands has to be forcibly removed. The show's creators might choose to skip this, however, if only to avoid having to put two of their actors through the process of working with only one hand.

Basic Season Three Information

The first episode of the third season will debut on October 14, 2012. The new season will be split in half, with eight episodes airing this fall and the following eight airing in the spring.

Lindsey Davidson is an avid pop culture fanatic and is always one of the First to Know about the latest hot topics.

This Week In Cinemas.... It's Gangster's Galore with BRAD PITT and TAYLOR KITSCH

Friday, 21 September 2012

Back as always this week with all the latest cinema releases and the run down of what's worth your time going to see this weekend. Gangster movies are something which are always hotly debated in the film world, do they make them as good as they used too? That's the question everyone asks. Gangster movies are expected to live up to a certain standard these days but as yet there are not many in the modern day which have managed to live up to the reputations set by classics like The Godfather Part II (1974), Scarface (1983), Goodfellas (1990) and Casino (1995). There are a couple of new movies coming out this week with "Gangsta" type themes and one in particular which looks likely to join the few which have rivalled the classics we all love so much.

So, first I'll go to the release which comes with the unofficial tag line of "Yes, they still make em like they used too". Killing Them Softly stars Brad Pitt in what looks like it's going to be one his finest performances since 1999's Fight Club, like that movie Killing Them Softly also has rules, don't interrupt a Mob protected game of Poker or Jackie Cogan (Pitt) will be sent to "whack" you, in the softest way possible of course. Jackie is a Mob enforcer who is sent to investigate after a poker game which has been organised by the mob gets held up and a heist takes place leaving them 100k out of pocket. Also starring along side Brad is Scott Mcnairy, Ben Mandelshon, then some gangster credentials for you, Vincent Curatola who starred in The Sopranos and also played a gangster in the first season of Person of Interest (episode, Flesh and Blood). Even more credentials follow that with Tony Soprano himself, James Gandolfini starring along with the man who portrayed Henry Hill in 1990's Goodfellas, Ray Liotta, check out the trailer and let me know what you think.

I think this looks really good, I don't think I will be down the cinema this weekend or anything like that but Killing Them Softly will definitely be joining my Blu-ray collection when released in the next couple of months.

Next up this week, more gangsters, this time though there not Italian, there a Mexican drug cartel. Savages is the new movie brought to us by Director Oliver Stone and it stars Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Taylor Kitsch, Blake Lively, John Travolta and Benicio Del Toro. Savages follows the story of Chon (Kitsch) and Ben (Johnson), two pot dealers who share a rather attractive girlfriend, far from Harold and Kumar things go rather tits up for Ben and Chon when their shared girlfriend is kidnapped by a Mexican drug cartel as they want a share of their very lucrative cannabis production business. Ben and Chon team up with a dirty DEA Agent and they wage an all out battle of wills against the cartel, one thing the cartel don't bargain for is the skills of Chon, who just happens to be a former Navy Seal. Take a look at the trailer and let me know what you think.

I actually think this looks a little more kick ass than Killing Them Softly, there certainly seems to be a lot more in the way of explosions, so, that's two movies which have just been added to my watch list this week, how about you?

There are of course a host of other movies out this week which I'll quickly run through for you now. First off, Now Is Good a drama which stars a now very grown up Dakota Fanning, you also have an new romantic comedy starring Maggie Gyllenhaal and Hugh Dancey named Hysteria. Horror movie The House at the End of the Street also sees it's cinema release this week as well. That's all for this week, I'll be back next Friday with more. 

5 Most-Surprising Scenes from "The Dark Knight Rises"

Wednesday, 19 September 2012

The most anticipated movie of 2012, and Christopher Nolan's conclusion to his epic Batman trilogy, "The Dark Knight Rises," hasn't disappointed critics or movie goers since its release this July. Arguably the end to the greatest movie trilogy of all time, "Rises" is two hours and forty-five minutes of raw emotion, stunning special effects, jaw-dropping plot twists, and powerful action you'd see from a Michael Bay film. The Dark Knight trilogy is dark, deep, and ultra-human. Wicked Local reports that Christian Bale's last go-around as the Caped Crusader was powerfully emotional, and while the movie was an accomplishment in itself, points out five particular scenes in the film that stood out as shockers. Before you read on, we should also mention that there are spoilers to follow, so proceed at your own risk.

Breaking the Bat

The "Rises" villain, Bane (Tom Hardy), is best known for breaking Batman's back in the comic books, putting him out of commission until he heals. Nolan stayed very true to the comic book in a stunning fight scene in Bane's underground lair where Bane physically dominates Batman. He caps off the heart-pumping fight sequence by raising him over his head and breaking his back over his knee - a clear hat-tip to Bane's story in the comic books.

Death or Exile

Commissioner Jim Gordon (Gary Oldman) is ordered to be exiled from the city and as he steps out onto the ice to walk away and plummet to his would-be death, Batman makes his grand re-entrance after rehabilitating his back injury and escaping from an underground prison. After taking out Bane's minions, Batman hands Gordon a lit flare which trails to a Bat signal on the side of skyscraper, blazed in fire. It is Batman's sign that he has risen and is back to reclaim the city.

Miranda Tate Twist

"Rises" incorporated elements from the previous two Batman movies, including "Batman Begins" villain Ra's Al Ghul. This comes full circle as assumed Batman/Bruce Wayne ally Miranda Tate (Marion Cotillard) reveals herself as the daughter of Ra's Al Ghul, literally stabbing Batman in the back as he is about the finish off Bane near the end of the film.

Nuclear Explosion

After defeating Bane and Miranda Tate, it's up to Batman and Selina Kyle a.k.a. Catwoman (Anne Hathaway) to put a stop to a nuclear bomb threatening to blow up the city and fulfill Ra's Al Ghul's mission of destroying Gotham. Seeing as how it can't be detonated, Batman hooks the bomb to the Batplane and flies it out over the ocean, attempting to get it far enough away from the city so that it doesn't do any damage to Gotham. He succeeds, but the bomb goes off, taking Batman and the Batplane with it. Or does it?

Rising with Robin

In the closing scenes of the film, Batman ally, and Gotham street cop, John Blake's (Joseph Gordon Levitt) real name is revealed as Robin. While this scene was met with mixed emotions from many filmgoers, Blake was a civilian version of Robin throughout the entire movie, assisting Batman not as a hero in a mask and cape, but as a police officer. It is further revealed that Bruce Wayne leaves Robin with the coordinates to the Bat Cave and the heir apparent to Batman is shown inside the Bat Cave, rising on a platform as the movie ends. One can only assume that the new Batman has been crowned.

TV Review: REVOLUTION – Pilot 1.1 on NBC From J.J. Abrams

Tuesday, 18 September 2012

Amidst all the new and returning American TV shows this fall the one which I have been most excited about is Revolution, the new high concept vehicle brought to us from J.J. Abrams and his Bad Robot production company. Mr Abrams is on somewhat of a sticky wicket right now, he really needs something to go his way, amongst the things I have watched lately his only success has been Person of Interest on CBS which is on it’s way back for a second season at the end of this month. Other than that Abrams has seen shows like The Event, FlashForward and Alcatraz cancelled after one season thanks to poor audiences, with his long running hit Fringe due to wrap with one more season he could really do with Revolution being the runaway hit which grabs everyone’s attention just like Lost did back in it’s day. Second to J.J needing this to work out NBC could really do with something which captures and audience right now too, as we all know what happened with their latest offering Awake.

They went all out on this “Pilot” episode as is usually expected from anything to do with Abrams, they even got movie Director John Faverau in to direct the first episode, a lot of what we saw in this episode was really the kind of scenery you see in movies and was shot really well, think overgrown cities in Will Smith’s I Am Legend, the way the vines wrap themselves around buildings, abandoned cars litter the overgrown streets and time seems to have come to a stand still, that’s the kind of scenes we get here. Away from the cities people have created little villages/settlements for themselves in vacant houses or simply just pitched tents in fenced off fields, back to a more basic time before the all important invention of electricity. Actually watching this opening episode cast my mind back to the summer and Danny Boyle’s extravagant London 2012 Olympic opening ceremony, the staging regarding time before the Industrial Revolution had a very similar feel in what they were trying to portray.

To Revolution then, what did I think? I would say that I think the show looks like it’s going to be ok, not great but definitely worth your time on a weekly basis, we got introduced to so many people here in this opener that its hard to remember all their names and what their involvement may or may not be, but I’ll try and cover things in order that we don’t miss any key moments. I suppose the first of those would be the opening sequence where a frantic Ben (Tim Guinee, Person of Interest, The Fix) runs through his door announcing that “its all about to go off”, his daughter is sitting watching TV whilst his wife Rachael prepares their evening meal. Ben has in his possession a very modern USB stick which before all the power goes off he manages to download some data too, before calling his brother Miles (Billy Burke) to inform him that “It’s all going to turn off and never turn back on again”. Just then, all electrical appliances cease to work, mobile networks go down, cars bring themselves to a standstill and planes drop out the sky.

We then pick up 15 years later, when the villages I mentioned above have been formed, some people have remained living in the city’s and others including Captain Tom Neville (Breaking Bads Giancarlo Esposito) have formed the feared “Militia”, a seemingly renegade bunch who are after Ben and his brother Miles and we know very little about at this point. Ben is killed thanks to the efforts of his son Danny (Graham Rogers) who then takes off with his sister Charlie (Tracy Spiridakos) in order to find their Uncle Miles in Chicago. Kind of a quick killing I suppose, really didn’t care much because at that point I really didn’t know enough about the characters, never mind I suppose its not really going to matter, I’m guessing he’s not that big of a part in the story (although according to IMDB he is in more than the “Pilot” episode, flashbacks obviously).

I’m intrigued enough to continue watching, although batteries no longer working would suggest energy source problems rather than electricity, I’m sure all will be revealed, probably not this season though, that’s what J.J will be hoping. There were a couple of nice twists, just enough to keep you with bated breath. The fact that Miles was obviously once friends with Captain Neville who now wants him would suggest that one or both of them know something that no one else does, the lady in the house situated in the middle of nowhere who has an identical USB device to that of the one Ben had in the opening sequence and uses it for electricity in her attic, before she finally boots up her computer to inform someone of the Militia’s presence at her home, could be interesting.

It’s definitely enough to keep me watching, I just hope we don’t end up with another FlashForward or The Event where it’s cancelled after one season and no answers ever come, we’ll see how things progress when the show premiere’s on NBC September 17th, I’ll speak about it again there. What did you think of Revolution? Will you be watching? Or, do you think this is another high concept idea which will last no longer than one season? Your comments and discussion are welcome below as always.

Movie Review: THE BOURNE LEGACY - Guest Post

Sunday, 16 September 2012

From the opening sequences of Calgary Alberta’s snow-swept mountain ranges to later panoramic shots of the Philippines crystal blue waters, director Tony Gilroy holds nothing back in presenting us with an absolute visual feast as we are taken along through his masterful, quasi-adaptation of Robert Ludlum’s novel of the same name.

Joining the cast this time around and no stranger to the action genre is Jeremy Renner, taking on the role of Aaron Cross. This is Renner at his absolute best. Nothing is overdone as he artfully portrays what could otherwise be the stereotypical top-secret government spy role. Renner is joined by Rachel Weisz who plays Dr. Marta Shearing. Weisz does her best to encapture the emotion of Shearing, who’s whole world is turned inside-out as she is thrown into a deadly brew of government cover-up and espionage, but ultimately falls short to Renner. Weisz seems to get lost in her portrayal of concern and distress. Instead of evoking a sense of empathy, she often appears remedial and repetitive and her features only shift slightly in her plight to escape the films antagonist, Eric Byer played by Edward Norton. Norton does a remarkable job with what is given to him. Instead of being an archetype to the villain role, Norton is able to emulate a man who is without grudge and simply tasked with doing his job for the CIA.

The Bourne Legacy starts with Aaron Cross, agent number 5, making his way across craggy mountainscapes on a training mission to rendezvous with another fellow Outcome (this film’s Treadstone) agent, Number 3, played by Oscar Isaac. However, things go wrong when Byer initiates the termination of all Outcome agents as to quell a potential high-level government foible. A drone is dispatched to eliminate both Cross and Number 3 and through auspicious chance, Cross is able to escape. Gilroy handles this and the rest of the movies action sequences adeptly. Explosions aren’t overplayed and the chase scenes (one in particular clocking in just at 20 minutes) aren’t derivative or tacky.

Meanwhile Eric Byer works with a team of CIA agents as they attempt eliminate Cross who has come to the rescue of Shearing, another casualty of the Outcome cover-up. From here, and just as with the other entries into the series, the film takes us abroad. To the surfeited neon streets of the ritzy Gangnam suburb of Seoul to the impoverished alley-ways of Manilla, Gilroy makes the newest entry into the franchise feel right at home amongst its globe-trotting predecessors. The same grittiness of Gilroy’s Michael Clayton is present here and Renner does an amazing job at conveying that there is always something more complex and serious going on underneath the iconic intensity he brings to all of his roles.

Legacy does not hold anything back in its action. Throughout the film’s numerous fight sequences, Gilroy skillfully manages to hold his audience’s suspension of disbelief. Whether Cross is bounding over the steel roofs of Manila in pursuit of the ever-distressed Shearing or performing the most complex set of martial arts maneuver s you’ve ever seen, we are right there with him, cheering him on. The science behind Outcome’s genetic meddling is just credible enough for us to not question whichever wildly, teetering on over-the-top, direction Cross and Shearing careen into next.

One can’t help but wonder how many more films can arise from this franchise without the presence of, well…Bourne. Regardless, Bourne or no Bourne the latest edition into the franchise achieves just what it set out to do. Deliver an intelligent, sharp and thought-out action film. It seems that in stepping out of his writing shoes Tony Gilroy has found the perfect fit in directing and if his first stroll in the Bourne franchise is any litmus test, he’ll be wearing them for quite a while.

Zack Mandell is a movie enthusiast, writer of movie reviews, and owner of which has great information on actors such as Jeremy Renner. He writes extensively about the movie industry for sites such as Gossip Center, Yahoo, NowPublic, and Helium.

This Week In Cinemas..... A 70’s TV Show Movie Remake and Spooky goings on For Kids in ParaNorman

Friday, 14 September 2012

Only two movies for you this week, unfortunately I missed last weeks post which would have seen some good talking points with the releases of the impressive looking Lawless starring Tom Hardy and Shia LaBeouf, plus action from Karl Urban in comic book adaption Dredd 3D, I suppose I would have had to give a nod to Anna Karenina too starring Keira Knightly, not my kind of thing by the looks of trailers but those period dramas (which Keira always seems to get the nod for) always seem to get nominated for Oscars and who knows what else. So, back to this week and two to mention, as always I’ll start with my favoured choice.

Wednesday saw the much anticipated release of 70’s TV show remake The Sweeney starring Ray Winstone, Ben Drew, Hayley Atwell and Homeland’s Damien Lewis. I have never seen the original TV show, it’s a bit before my time but I have to admit the trailers I have seen for this movie remake do look impressive. I saw Ben Drew, otherwise known as rapper Plan B interviewed on Jonathan Ross and he gave a really good account of the movie. I really know nothing about the movie other than it’s based on the 70’s British TV show and follows the exploits of a Detective in London’s Metropolitan Police Flying Squad, being an East end flick gangsters will probably come into it somewhere down the line, after all looking at the poster Ben Drew is holding an automatic machine gun, I’m no expert but I’m pretty sure that kind of fire power is not standard police issue, even in the Flying Squad. Take a look at the trailer and let me know what you think.

I think I will give this movie a go, it looks like a pretty gritty British offering, kind of like Jason Statham’s Blitz. Ben Drew also continues to impress me, this is the second film he has done recently, the previous was Ill Manors which he Directed, Produced and wrote, proving that he is a really talented guy, top marks here I say.

Now to ParaNorman released today just in time for the kids weekend off school, it stars the voice talents of Christopher Mintz-Plasse, Casey Affleck, Anna Kendrick and John Goodman. Kid’s movies are becoming all the more appealing to me, simply because I have kids and the oldest is of the age where she wants to start watching everything she sees advertised. I don’t really know a great deal about young Norman (voiced by Kodi Smit-McPhee) other than he is a young misunderstood boy who can talk to ghosts, he is forced into a situation which sees him fighting with said ghosts, as well as zombies and grown-ups, sounds great. Check out the trailer below.

I don’t think I’ll be watching ParaNorman anytime soon, thing is I like my sleep and seeing as my oldest is only 4, I don’t think exposing her to a story about ghosts and zombies would be the best way for me to go about getting the sleep I enjoy, so, yeah I’ll take a reign check for now thanks.

Blu-ray Movie Review: THE NEXT THREE DAYS Felt Like The Next Three Weeks

Thursday, 13 September 2012

Getting time to myself on days off seems to becoming more of a regular occurrence lately, this is the second time in the last few weeks where I’ve had some time to kick back and relax, what did I do with that time? I took it upon myself to watch my latest LOVEFiLM rental The Next Three Days, a movie which I’ve heard plenty good things about but never really felt that inclined to watch. Turns out my initial thought was probably the right one because although this movie tells a very good story I just didn’t really enjoy it all that much.

Starring: Russell Crowe, Elizabeth Banks, Liam Neeson, Ty Simpkins and Michael Buie

The Plot

John Brennan (Crowe) is your everyday average guy, a school teacher who comes home to his loving wife and son every night for the perfect family life. That is until one day police storm the house and arrest his wife Lara (Banks) for the murder of her boss, with the evidence of fingerprints and motive stacked against Lara she takes the easy way out and attempts suicide whilst locked up in prison. Losing all faith in the American justice system and believing his wife to be innocent John devises a plan to break Lara out so they can all be together again as a family.

The Verdict

So, John Brennan breaks bad, just like Walter White (Bryan Cranston) in AMC’s Breaking Bad, mild mannered school teacher Brennan is thrown into a situation which forces him to become a bad ass guy who carries a gun and makes shady deals in dodgy neighbourhoods. Don’t take all that as great though, although the action towards the end of this movie is Die Hard like neo noir, the plot takes to long to set up and at over two hours long I fear you may get bored.

Since watching this movie I’ve seen a whole host of reviews, some good, some bad, some mediocre. I have to agree with the latter “mediocre” would sum this movie up pretty good, I wouldn’t say I was blown away at all and like I’ve mentioned in the title of this post it really felt like the movie was longer than it needed to be, for me by the time we got to the main meat of the story I was bored and frankly didn’t really care anymore. I don’t think it’s because The Next Three Days has a bad story line I just think that maybe I’m more inclined to watch a more explosive thriller of a movie, Russell Crowe in Gladiator for instance.

I wouldn’t say that I’m a massive fan of Russell Crowe but he does do a very, very good job in this movie and shows how good of an actor he really is. His co-star and wife Elizabeth Banks is also brilliant, I don’t know to much about her but she is very good and very attractive. I didn’t see much point in Liam Neeson’s role here, the only man who ever escaped the prison where Crowe’s wife is holed up, I like Neeson I really, really do but for what he done here anyone could have played the role really. I’ve seen this movie likened to 1993’s The Fugitive starring Harrison Ford, for me that movie and its follow up US Marshall's were better, or at least I enjoyed them more.

It's not a bad movie, nor is it a bad story but I think they could have done with reining in the length of it a little.

Would I watch it again?

At over two hours long with a very deep plot I don’t think I would watch this again, I don’t think there would be anything to see that I didn’t catch first time around and I always have plenty other movies to watch. So, no is the short answer to that one.

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