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TV Review: DEXTER - Helter Skelter 7.9

Wednesday, 28 November 2012

Wow, what a brilliant episode, unfortunate though. Issak Sirko has met the end of his story line and with that goes one of Dexter’s best ever “big bad’s”. Ray Stevenson has genuinely been one of the best characters I have seen in Dexter for a long time. Season 7 as a whole has been on another level compared to the previous two and Stevenson is a big part of that. Was Issak Sirko the season’s “big bad” though? It certainly seemed that way for the most part, but in the last few episodes it seemed like it would go the way it did in “Helter Skelter” with Issak and Dexter almost becoming friends, or at least enemies who learnt to trust one another with Dexter even learning a thing or two. Maybe we have been guessing the “big bad” wrong all along, maybe it’s nightclub boss George Novikov (Jason Gedrick) who is really the bad guy here, after all it initially seemed that Sirko had been sent to Miami to get George to clean up his act, however in “Argentina” it was George who called home and effectively ordered the hit on Issak.

I can’t think that Dexter will let George get away with killing Issak, yes he did him a favour and certainly got rid of a headache but you can’t help but think that he might end up on Dexter’s table before the finale of this seventh season. Quinn is in way over his head with George, this week throwing him through a window before beating him to a pulp, and I wonder if comments I made a few weeks back about writers throwing us a clue that Angel Batista may be getting killed off is going to happen? I said then that it would be some balls up made by Quinn which resulted in someone shooting Batista by accident, that someone may be George giving Dexter an even bigger reason to treat him to a night out on his table. As always I’ll probably be completely wrong but at least its fun to get some ideas going.

It will be interesting to see how they move the Dexter and Hannah story along now, Dexter is clearly head over heels in love with Hannah, but is that feeling mutual? I’d say probably not following their embrace at the hospital, Hannah seemed a little awkward to me. I thought last week that Hannah may be one of the only characters who rolls into another season, setting up an “ideal” life with Dexter and Harrison, but now I’m thinking that may not be the case. It’s one of those where I really don’t know how there going to go with it and I guess we will just have to wait and see. If anything I’d say that her Lila side may come out a little more, especially now that the threat of Issak is out of the picture, what will keep us entertained until the season finale?

Well, there’s always La Guerta who is all but convinced that she will be re-opening the Bay Harbour Butcher case, her primary target? Dexter Morgan. Now of course she has the help of her former boss Captain Matthews, who will help her out on the case in return for his old job back. I can’t see that being much of an exciting race to the finale can you? As yet La Guerta has nothing but circumstantial evidence against Dexter, eg; he moved his boat to a new marina about the time of the investigation. I’m thinking that Matthews might figure Dexter out before La Guerta does, after all it’s been proved in the past that she’s not exactly the best detective in the world. If Matthews, or anyone else does find out it will of course be in the season finale. Again, I may be totally wrong about it but it’s worth a mention to see what you think.

I hope that the excitement does not drop out this season now that they have done with the Issak story, I’d hate to think they got rid of him to early when all along it looked like he would be the usual suspect for Dexter’s kill table in the season finale, but I guess that’s a good thing because non of us now know where they are going with the story, we can only guess as I’ve done above. Dexter has been panned especially last season for becoming to predictable, there was nothing predictable about the way Issak was killed in this episode (not even by Dexter) and I think the writers are really working on making us sweat about what’s coming next. My favourite thing about tuning into this season so far was to see a Dexter showdown with Issak, as for next week I don’t know what to expect, I just hope it’s a good as season 7 has been so far.

“Helter Skelter” was a brilliant episode, where we were served up some brilliant scenes between Dexter and Issak and some real unpredictability in the way in which Issak was killed off, I loved this episode, I’m loving this season and I just hope things continue to get better and better as we roll towards the end of a season that has re-affirmed Dexter as the best show on TV.

SyFy Movie Review: JERSEY SHORE SHARK ATTACK Starring Melissa Molinaro

Monday, 26 November 2012

Ok, yeah I know. I’ve gone and done it again, but even with a feast of other (and better - probably) movies on offer I just couldn’t bring myself to reach for the Blu-ray player when I saw a movie with a title like Jersey Shore Shark Attack. Made for SyFy movies have a certain pull for me, often promoted in the horror or thriller genre, they actually turn out to be comedy gems which give you plenty of cheap laughs at the crappy budget, production, directing and editing. JSSA has it all and to top that off they are not only taking the p**s out of a 1979 classic but they will also have you believe that some actors taking the p**s out of the real life Jersey Shore reality show residents are going to be eaten by sharks, but on that note I wouldn’t hold your breath.

Starring – Jack Scalia, Jeremy Luke, Joey Russo, Daniel Booko, Melissa Molinaro and Paul Sorvino

The Plot

Do you really need me to explain it? Ok, I will, basically Jersey Shore comes under attack from Sharks, not just any sharks though, these are Albino sharks, brought to the area thanks to some underwater drilling, a man goes missing and the local geek squad think that it’s a shark attack, they plead with the local mayor to close the beach but, like in 1979, he refuses. Next thing the have a full blooded shark massacre on their hands and the local geek squad must team up with the much cooler (but still geeks) squad to help rid Jersey Shore of the Albino Bull sharks. Now I know what you’re thinking, can you get Albino sharks? Well, a quick Google search reveals that, yes you can. So keep reading it’s not so ridiculous after all.

The Verdict

Now without doubt the funniest moment in this entire movie is the part which I believe was in the trailer (although I’ve never seen it), the scene includes the now washed up former N-Sync star Joey Fatone who unlike his N-Sync counterpart Justin Timberlake finds himself booked for all the wrong gigs, he is hired to sing at the 4th of July celebration weekend in Jersey Shore and just as he’s serenading the crowed a shark leaps out the water and takes him off the jetty, I have to be honest, I laughed my ass off even before I realised that it was Joey Fatone, now for the rest of this shark fest pile of shi…….
I seem to have set myself up with this strange affiliation of low budget (edit: extremely low budget) SyFy movies again, Jersey Shore Shark Attack is the latest comedy thriller to come from the made from TV horror genre. I have never seen Jersey Shore on MTV, but I have seen its North East England counterpart Geordie Shore and I can only imagine that this movie is some sort of over hyped reality show where people pretend to be chased by sharks. You probably won’t believe this, I certainly didn’t after fifteen minutes, but I switched off Batman Begins for this trash, right when the trashy kids were bringing down the shore whilst the posh Yacht kids were complaining about it. This far in I want to say, I have seen some pretty bad made for TV movies, and some pretty decent one’s in fact, but Jersey Shore Shark Attack is by far the worst of the lot. Oh, wait it just got worse, the Yacht club kid decided to come and talk to the “so called” cool juice monkey kid, they have become involved in the worst playground fight I have ever seen. The stupidest chase ever, I’m wondering why I’m even still watching?

THE SHARKS: Have you ever seen Deep Blue Sea? You know, the movie with L.L. Cool J? The sharks in that movie are pretty unreal and that managed to get a theatre release here in England, probably due to the fact that Samuel L’Jackson starred in the movie. This pile of shit from SyFy doesn’t quite prosper from the same dedication actor wise, in fact looking right now I’m pretty sure the girl who I suppose is the lead is some sort of Kim Kardashian wannabe.

It’s funny that every shark movie, if only low budget shark movie takes something away from Jaws, the 1979 classic produced by Richard Zanuck, but this is just a complete low budget rip off that if the Jaws producers saw they would be saying, “hey, that’s the same rocky pier we used, the shark fin comes exactly the same way, what are you playing at copying our movie?” I’d say let them copy it all they want because this utter trash can do proper movies no harm what so ever.
You can imagine already with my reference to the reality show of Jersey Shore that the people involved in this movie are all your muscle bound type, especially the guys. It got so hilarious at one point during the scene on the rocks which was clearly ripped off from Jaws that this movie was just awful. The muscle bound buffoon decided that when a load of the sharks are swimming towards the bay that he should feed them with his 25gm protein bars which he never leaves the house without, now I work out, but leaving the house without a protein bar especially the way that guy looked is all a little far-fetched for me. And to think the (fake) computer animated shark actually fell for it is even more laughable.
ALBINO SHARKS? That’s not my opinion, that’s how the Bull shark is referred to in this movie, actually writing this little bit I discovered that Paul Sorvino stars in this movie, not know him? You should, this guy is legendary probably best remembered for his part in 1990 gangster movie Goodfellas as Paul Cicero, he must have been bored the weekend they filmed this or he lives just on the filming location, essentially he plays the part of the mayor in Jaws, he opens the beaches against the gangs (Chief Brody wannabe's) wishes.
After forty minutes of this movie I’m pumped, not in the gym sense of things (it is 25 to 1 (am) after all). I feel like Dexter Morgan right now? No, not in that way! I mean I have had a lack of blogging enthusiasm lately and seem in the last week to have got that enthusiasm back. Things are bad in this movie and Dexter always reacts best when the situation is bad, I have hope I have done that here by completely trashing this shitty B-Movie, I stopped by a website once that said every bad movie has a good point, on Jersey Shore Shark Attack I can’t agree with that at all.

Smile stupid fish, clearly replaced yet another line stolen from Jaws. "Smile you son of a bitch".

Would I watch it again?

Erm, No, but I think you got that already.


TV Overview: REVOLUTION Mid-Season Finale - Nobody's Fault But Mine 1.10

Sunday, 25 November 2012

I have talked plenty about J.J. Abrams’ sci-fi drama Revolution, I reviewed everything from the “Pilot” to the fourth episode, following its third offer “No Quarter” I was wondering and posing the question, will this show get any better? Turns out after that episode it did improve slightly when it delivered episode 4 “The Plague Dogs”, a very impressive character based episode which gave me a feeling that maybe things were just going to get a little better from here on in, unfortunately that was not the case and I didn’t talk about Revolution again until maybe the seventh or eighth episode, I don’t remember the name of the episode, and to be quite honest I don’t really care, if you remember though I titled my review – who turned out the light’s? I don’t think anyone cares anymore. That was basically a review of a handful of episodes, none of which had filled me with any confidence that Revolution was going to serve up anything decent.

With shows like Last Resort and 666 Park Avenue having just been cancelled I was wondering that since we are heading towards the season finale of Revolution would it suffer the same fate. No, it won’t is the short answer to that. The reason, well it’s only the mid-season finale before Revolution takes a four month hiatus from our screens, it will return in March 2013 with the remaining twelve episodes of its first season, giving it a total of twenty two episodes. Now I have to say that reviews have been mixed on the show, mine certainly have, well actually I only gave it one decent write up the rest have all concerned the negative factors. Problem is I’m bored with this show after ten episodes, and I’m wondering will any one bother returning to the show after such a long break.

NBC seem to have a thing for doing this, they done the same with The Event, and another network tried it with FlashForward, both of which I thought were better than Revolution, but that’s by the by now. Ratings would suggest that people will be back to see what happens, Revolution’s “Pilot” was directed by Iron Man master John Favreau and attracted almost 24 million viewers across America and Canada, the same went for the shows encore a couple of nights later, even after the ninth episode (again, I don’t remember the name) Revolution is still attracting over 12 million viewers (almost Dexter territory). I just wonder how many of those 12 million plus will be back after such a long break and new shows to come in January. NBC see this as a good thing as they believe that people who are not already watching may go and watch a box set or online streaming, and they hope that will garner up more interest for its return to our screens.

Revolution does have its good points, Breaking Bad’s Giancarlo Esposito would be top of that list with the young kid being held hostage by the Monroe Republic coming a very close second (somebody Matheson). But unfortunately for me the shows bad points far out weigh the good ones, Tracey Spiridakos for instance, would be more at home starring in a low budget made for SyFy horror movie, her skills do not sit with the a for mentioned Giancarlo’s. And then there is the fact that nine episodes in and I still don’t feel attached to any of the characters, I watch it weekly and simply go through the motions.

The mid-season finale looks like it will be quite good, probably to make sure you come back to watch some more, but seriously though, it looks like General Monroe is going to have the power to turn the electricity back on, meaning that he can unleash his arsenal of helicopters and tanks on the various other countries that have now formed in what was the United States, I suppose that could get interesting, but we’ll have to wait and find out I guess. As I’ve watched it this far then I suppose it’s only fair to come back and see what it has to offer, but one things for sure I won’t be going back over the previous episodes in order to have myself caught up. How about you? What do you think of Revolution? Do you watch the show? And, will you be back for more?

TV Review: DEXTER - Argentina 2.8

Friday, 23 November 2012

I really don’t feel like there is all that much I want to say about “Argentina”, I thought it was a very good offering and I really enjoyed it but it did seem a little slower than what we have been used to so far in season 7. “Argentina” seemed to really step away from the main story this week for us all to become more involved in the character study side of things, and of course with the return of Astor, Cody and Harrison this weeks action was a little think on the ground. You would probably go with me and say though, the bar sit down between Dexter and Issak has to be one of the best scenes I have ever seen, Ray Stevenson really is an amazing actor as is Michael C. Hall, but Stevenson has you believing every word that comes out of his mouth, this guy is so convincing and it’s a shame that Dexter will probably end up killing him in a couple of episodes time.

But, what if Dexter didn’t kill him? What if Dexter manages to talk Issak around? After all the Koshka brotherhood wants him dead now anyway. There have been references made by Issak that in another set of circumstances he and Dexter could have been very good friends, no doubt using Dexter’s masterful killing and crime scene cleaning skills to help mask what the Mob had done, and let’s be honest there wouldn’t be many people who Issak Siko rolls with that wouldn’t fit Dexter’s code. So, that would maybe be good if we got to see Dexter helping Issak find his “Argentina”, that could maybe happen, as seen in the preview for next weeks episode Issak decides to invite himself around to Dexter’s apartment for “a chat”, I guess we’ll have to wait and see what that’s about.

Of course Dexter seems to have already found his “Argentina” in Hannah McKay (Yvonne Strahovski), but let’s face it she’s not exactly Rita or Lumen is she? Hannah is the first woman who accepts Dexter for exactly what he is in every aspect of his life, or at least it seems that way for now, his kids have only just come back on the scene and it’s yet to be seen whether or not she accepts that side of his life, and even if she does I don’t think Hannah is a sit in with the kids while Dexter is out doing his thing. Hannah seems to like Dexter as much as he likes her but it’s not something you can see lasting, but you never know. Lumen is one of the characters we thought may roll into another season of Dexter, that didn’t happen but maybe Hannah is here for the remainder of this show.

Now onto Debra and Dexter, finally eight episodes in she has told him the reason she came back to the church at the end of season 6, to tell him she loved him. Now, like many of us watching Dexter really didn’t know what to do with that, a little taken back maybe but clearly not in love her. I have heard plenty of people moaning about this story line, I wouldn’t say that I like it and that I don’t find it a little weird but I do think some people are to hung up on it. I guessing that following Dexter’s almost nothing response that it probably won’t be brought up again, but who knows?

Now as Debra sits and ponders where to go next with the current Dexter situation it’s clear that she is not doing one side of her job properly, other than smoking pot on the balcony with Astor she has also left La Guerta to get on with her Bay Harbour Butcher investigation. She did tell her to leave it alone, but she should have guessed that wouldn’t happen. Now for the last couple of weeks everything that La Guerta has uncovered links back to Dexter Morgan, nothing illegal as yet, but still very good circumstantial evidence that he is the Bay Harbour Butcher. This week’s final scene was La Guerta at Dexter’s boat “Slice of Life”, could she be guessing that the name of his boat has even more meaning to it now?

So, to cap it off, I wasn’t blown away by this episode but I still think it was very good, La Guerta and her Bay Harbour Butcher case look as if they will be setting up the basis of the season 8 story, Issak probably won’t be around for season 8, which is a shame because this guy has brought some intensity to the show, Dexter doesn’t love Deb in any way other than his sister and Hannah may just be taking Bay Harbour Butcher punches with Dexter, like I said above I guess we’ll just have to wait and see.

Top Movie CAR CHASES - Guest Post

Thursday, 22 November 2012

What have been some of the best movie car chases of all time? A great car chase can be one of the most memorable parts of a film, and range from more low key, realistic chases, through to physics defying races and pursuits. Some of the best car chases tend to lean towards the former, with the assumption that they could at least be possible in the right conditions. With this in mind, the following list represents some of my favourite movie car chases of all time, which are listed in no particular order: 

Batman pursues the Joker through the streets of Gotham as a police escort tries to save Harvey Dent. Armoured trucks, a Batmobile transforming into a motorcycle, and even a helicopter get in on the action in a sequence that is marked by the sheer physical weight of the forces involved. 

Bullitt, 1968 

This iconic Steve McQueen film sees him take a Mustang on a chase with a Charger through the streets of San Francisco. Buses, cars, and the laws of physics are threatened in this classic chase. 

The Blues Brothers, 1980 

A film full of great car chases, including a collapsing bridge, and a major pile up, The Blues Brothers also sees heroes Jake and Elwood evade the police in a shopping mall, crashing through stores and windows in the process. 

The Italian Job, 1969 

Mini Coopers are the star in this classic crime heist, with Michael Caine’s gang of bank robbers converging on Turin for an extended race against the Italian police. The 2003 remake of the film took a similar approach with the new Mini Cooper S. 

The French Connection, 1971 

Detective Popeye Doyle goes head to head with a speeding train in New York in this crime thriller, trying to keep it in sights as he dodges obstacles below the raised tracks. 

Terminator 2: Judgment Day, 1991 

Another great example of practical effects mixing with CGI, Terminator 2 sees a three way chase between John Connor’s dirt bike, the Terminator’s motorcycle, and the liquid nitrogen T1000’s truck through the tunnels of Los Angeles. 

Ronin, 1998 

A car chase dominated crime film reaches its high point as Robert De Niro and his gang embark on a cross-Paris trip through tunnels and traffic, with director John Frankenheimer using mostly practical effects. Most of the actors were also placed inside the stunt cars. 

The Bourne Identity, 2002 

Another appearance for the Mini Cooper, this time in the hands of Jason Bourne as he attempts to lose the police on the streets of Paris, which includes driving down a flight of stairs. 

The Spy Who Loved Me, 1977 

James Bond has been involved in some memorable car chases, but few have matched the transformation of a speeding Lotus into a submarine as it crashes into the ocean. Maybe not the most realistic addition to the list, but there had to be a place for Bond somewhere. 

Vanishing Point, 1971 

One of the best road movies of all time sees a 1970 Dodge Challenger engage in a movie-long race across American highways.

TV Review: PERSON OF INTEREST - Critical 2.7

Sunday, 18 November 2012

I wouldn’t say I was all that blown away by this weeks Person of Interest episode “Critical”, it really didn’t do all that much for me up until the last twenty minutes or so when Reese decided that he had enough of playing games and donned his ass kicking shoes, even kicking one guy up onto a car bonnet. Last weeks “The High Road” was a lot more effective in the weekly procedural, although my liking of Son’s of Anarchy may have had something to do with that (go read the link). What “Critical” didn’t do this week was give me any reason to care about what was going to happen to the Dr’s wife, she didn’t get enough screen time and although we were “living it” through the eyes of the brilliant surgeon I didn’t feel all that engrossed. What served better last week was the fact we got to know the whole family in the story and what they all stood to loose, I really wasn’t feeling that this week.

“Critical” did do something which we didn’t see in “The High Road”, it moved on the story a little, bringing people back who haven’t been in the show for a while as well as introducing us to another possible “big bad” guy for Reese to keep watching out over his shoulder for. Alistair Wesley (Julian Sands) was the former MI-6 operative who this week was in New York with his elite team of former SAS soldiers, they needed business man and energy Tycoon Oliver Veldt to be done away with, their plan? Get the surgeon (mentioned above) to botch her open heart surgery on him, as Mr Wesley stands to make a fortune if energy tycoon is out of the picture. I think all in all this may serve as an introduction to a new bad guy, Wesley knows Reese from their former Government lives and left the party a little unhappy thanks to Finch and Reese messing with his plans. He will be back, he even said it himself, so I guess we will just have to wait and see what the writers have in store for a guy who like Elias will clearly be a worthy opponent to Reese.

You always know that Reese and Finch are going to win whatever battle they are involved with, and this week that was no different, even when it emerged that they were up against former elite SAS soldiers. It never crossed my mind that they wouldn’t win and save the girl’s life and her wife’s job. I have to be honest, the SAS is the UK’s elite in the military, I’ve never been in the military but from what I gather, in order to be in the SAS you have to be hard as f**k, non of Wesley’s crew really gave me that impression and Reese dropped them like flies, now I know he is ex CIA but aren’t they more of the thinking and strategy type? They leave fighting up to Navy Seals who would probably be the US equivalent of the SAS. Of course I wouldn’t want to see Reese get beat up and I’m pretty sure that the CIA, like MI-6 will train their field operatives to a pretty high standard.

No part again for Fusco this week (well, he was in a little at the end), not that I really missed him but his corrupt story line with HR will no doubt come back into the frame of things at some point. Nice to see Carter in on things though, although she wasn’t actually involved in the weekly procedural side of things, this week she was actually doing police work showing up at the office of some tech company where someone has just opened fire. That person just happened to be our old friend FBI Agent Snow, who unbeknownst to Carter had a bomb vest strapped to himself. This could be the week where Crater finally drops deeper into the fold, as Snow informed her that “She” is going to do something terrible. We as the audience have known since season 1 that Reese’s former partner Kara Stanton is still alive and has something planned, quite what that is we don’t know as yet but I’m hoping there will be some brilliant episodes to come so we can find out. Plus Reese doesn’t know she is still alive yet, so that should be fun. She doesn’t have a reason to go after Reese though, does she?

We are really starting to get some stack of bad guys built up in this show now, all of whom seem to have something against Reese, Finch or the Machine. It should serve as an excellent run for some hopefully brilliant episodes. This week was mediocre, but like I always say they can’t all be brilliant, I think this week’s could be the staging for some brilliance to come but I guess we will have to wait and see. How about you? What did you think of “Critical”?

Blu-Ray Movie Review: MONEYBALL Starring Brad Pitt and Jonah Hill

Thursday, 15 November 2012

My latest LOVEFiLM rental landed through the door earlier in the week and it’s a movie which has been sitting on my “to watch” list for quite some time now, Moneyball, the story of pro Baseball team the Oakland A’s and their general manager Billy Beane.  There are a couple of reasons I wanted to watch this movie which I will get into below but just in case you get bored before then, you should know that the main reason is because the Oakland A’s have a very similar policy to my team Newcastle United in how they scout players with future sustainability in mind.

Starring: Brad Pitt, Jonah Hill, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Robin Wright, Chris Pratt and Kerris Dorsey

The Plot

Brad Pitt plays Billy Beane the general manager of the Oakland A’s Baseball team, the movie picks up in the last game of the pro league 2001 season when the New York Yankees beat them in the World Series (I think). We then roll into the 2002 season with Beane loosing his star players and having to start from scratch in building up another team on a wage budget which is nowhere near big enough to compete with the teams at the top. Beane decides that conventional scouting methods are no longer working and after his latest attempt at a signing goes awry he employs Peter Brand (Jonah Hill) as his assistant general manager, stops listening to what the scouts are telling him and drafts players based on statistics. This leads to the Oakland A’s equalling the record of the most consecutive games won by any pro league Baseball team.

The Verdict

I have to be honest here, Moneyball is not generally the type of movie that I’d watch, a heavy drama with a lot of dialogue, not that I mind that I just think sometimes when a film is over two hours long I may get a little bored of sitting watching people talking. There are a couple of reasons I wanted to watch Moneyball, first off was the story, a very similar one in sporting terms to that of the football club I support in England. Newcastle United have done a very similar thing to the Oakland A’s Baseball team, not in using statistics to pick players but deciding on developing their own players as well as scouting out talent on the cheap that can be sold on for profit in future seasons.

I knew very little about what the Oakland A’s and their general manager Billy Beane (Bard Pitt) had done or achieved, that’s mainly due to the fact that I know absolutely nothing about the sport of Baseball, one of my old bosses went to see a Baseball game when he was in America, he told me if I ever wanted to be bored stiff for three hours then Baseball was a sure fired way of making that happen. I read the story of the Oakland A’s when the movie was due for release and I posted the trailer, right then I could see similarities between what they had done and what Newcastle United were doing. Objective achieved on both sides of the pond I suppose because Oakland A’s are now the model of how a pro league Baseball team should be run, same goes for Newcastle United. Other clubs in both professions are looking to adopt models set up by either club in order to obtain financial sustainability and a degree of success on the pitch.

As for the movie, I have to say I enjoyed it, I was toying with the idea of not watching it but decided to give it a go, before I knew it I was nearly an hour in. We all know Brad Pitt can act but it’s a while since I’ve watched him in anything and I have to say I was very impressed with his ability, even when just sitting in silence on the screen he really put across the stress he was going through, it was delivered brilliantly by Pitt who done an outstanding job of displaying a character who could at first see things unravelling before his eyes whilst at the same time remaining confident to his doubters, most notably the Oakland A’s manager Art Howe (Philip Seymour Hoffman) who again done a brilliant job with his character, but even at the conclusion of the movie with the success the team have had he still does not agree with using statistics to draft players.

A massive nod is due here for Jonah Hill who plays Peter Brand in the movie, the Oakland A’s assistant general manager, a Yale graduate who designed the computer program that would statistically analyse every Baseball player in the league. Apparently getting on 1st base is important, I have no idea what that means but clearly this young kid did. Jonah Hill is well known for playing hilarious comedy roles, which of course he is very good at but you have to take your hat off to the guy here as he proves that his acting ability goes far beyond that of a funny man portrayed in movies like Knocked Up.

I’d say that Moneyball can be enjoyed whether you’re a Baseball fan or not, clearly I’m not but the movie is based more on the characters, the dialogue and how the stresses took their toll before ultimately paying off in the long run. It should probably be noted that the Oakland A’s are yet to win the World Series in Baseball but the Boston Red Sox, who adopted their policy and offered Billy Beane $12.5m (which he turned down) to help them implement his model have now gone on to win the World Series. I only hope it pays off for Newcastle United and we go and win the Premier League, what do you think fellow Geordies?

Would I watch it again?

I’d have to say that I would be looking at other more action/thriller type movie options first, although the story and acting from all involved was very good, it was pretty tough going at over two hours long.


TV Review: DEXTER - Chemistry 2.7 - Do What You Do Dexter

Wednesday, 14 November 2012

“Chemistry” is perhaps the slowest episode we have had in season 7 so far, but don’t let that deter you interest, the developments in the story in  during this episode are simply mouth watering and right now I can’t even begin to think where season 7 will end up in four episodes time. How will they close out this season? What might roll into the eighth? All we can do is guess and speculate and as usual I’m going to do all of that below whilst also talking through some other points from this brilliant episode of Dexter.

First off I have to start off at what for guys may well have been the best bit, Yvonne Strahovski naked, you have to admit it guys, and girls actually she looks good. Now that I’ve mentioned her we should probably start there, Hannah McKay the ultimate Femme Fatale, we knew that Hannah was going to be romantically linked to Dexter during this season but what we were not expecting was for Dexter to fall in love with his murderous counterpart. As always Dexter got it right Hannah is a killer and she never stopped killing, now she just poisons people, very cleverly though so much so that it’s untraceable and she never gets caught. It’s going to be interesting to see where they take this story, especially now as Debra has ordered that Dexter treats Hannah to a date on his table, will he do it? I doubt it.

Debra has had an interesting journey, from being utterly horrified on discovering that her step brother and love of her live is a serial killer she moved onto trying to help him, realising he was beyond help she moved onto allowing it to happen as long as she had nothing to do with the rituals, now she has stepped up one more, she wants nothing to do with it but after Hannah escaped justice yet again she has told Dexter to kill her. It’s unlikely I think, that Dexter will kill Hannah, she is the first of all the female partners in his life who accepts him for what he is on both sides of the law, what’s more likely to happen is that Debra will turn full circle herself and kill Hannah when Dexter refuses to do it. any thoughts?

What has been bubbling away brilliantly in the background is the story of Ukrainian Mob boss Issak Sirko (Ray Stevenson), one of the most convincing bad guys I have seen in Dexter and someone who poses a real threat to Dexter. I absolutely love this character and the two coming together in the restaurant was probably my favourite scene during this episode, you could liken it to the sit down between Robert De Niro and Al Pacino in Michael Bay’s Heat, that’s how powerful it was as Dexter described crushing Vincent’s scull with a fire extinguisher, the clearly shaken Issak replied with “your going to regret you ever shared that with me”, just after Dexter explained that he would be dealt the same had give or take the fire extinguisher.  

Things are really racing towards what is surely going to be one of the best season finale’s ever with season 7 of Dexter. What is going to happen? Well, we don’t know of course but right now I think that Hannah will be killed by either Debra or Issak, especially if Issak learns of Dexter’s love for her as he took away Vincent. What ever way they do it you can be sure that the last four episodes are going to be nail biting, especially in relation to the Dexter and Issak story, not only are we being taken back to season 2 with nods to Lila but now Dexter and Doakes, as Dexter finds himself with a worthy adversary who will stop at nothing to get to him.

Just to top all of that off Dexter now has another problem, La Guerta refused to leave the Bay Harbour Butcher case alone, even after her and Debra had talked about it not having any fresh leads. She reviewed the evidence one more and came across the boat moorings at the marina, and whose name is on the list? Of course, Dexter’s, if she wants to do this properly though she can’t go screaming Dexter’s name from the roof tops, she need to do it quietly. For this reason I think this is one story line which will be rolling into the eighth season with maybe even the FBI and Agent Lundy getting brought back into the show to investigate Dexter without the knowledge of Debra.

I can’t believe that after the summer we had of eager anticipation waiting on the start of season 7, we are sat here already talking about possible outcomes of it already and debating what may just keep rolling. Season 7 has been the best one of Dexter for a long time barely coming up for air and the writers have stopped at nothing to continually deliver problems for Dexter to deal with. It would seem the net is finally closing on our favourite serial killer and I can’t wait to see how they are going to wrap things up. La Guerta on the table anyone?

TV Review: PERSON OF INTEREST - The High Road 2.6

Tuesday, 13 November 2012

Well it would seem that Person of Interest is back to its best, if your interested more in the bubbling background story than the weekly procedural side of things then "The High Road" probably won't have interested you all that much, unless of course you are interested in the flashback story of how Finch met the love of his life Grace Hendricks (Carrie Preston, his wife in real life). The bubbling back story wasn't actually that bad but I really enjoyed this week’s procedural drama as Person of Interest went a little Sons of Anarchy with an Opie look-alike in Graham Wyler (David Denman). Person of Interest was back to what it does best, delivering a brilliant weekly procedural whilst letting the story unfold in the background.

“The High Road” was kind of no different to what we have seen in the last couple of week’s in that it didn’t really deliver any story of the Machine, reveal any past truths about Reese, Finch, Carter or Fusco, deal with the bubbling HR problem or anything of the sort. But, what Person of Interest done a whole lot better this week was the seemingly procedural story line. Graham Wyler, a seemingly legit business man and doting father living in the New York suburbs, his number has come up, but why? Cue the weekly twist, Graham is not Graham, he changed his name in order to go straight after a couple of his safe cracking friends got busted and done 15 years in prison, now they want him back for one final job before killing him in return for the time they have spent in prison. From then on in you just knew Reese was going to be kicking some ass.

What was good in the story this week was the back story of Finch and Nathan Ingram developing the Machine, I’m not sure if Finch wrote the code in a way where the Machine would adapt and learn or whether it was purely by chance that he realised that the Machine watched all the time, learnt Human behaviour and developed itself into what it is know. At first I thought the lady in the park painting was going to be a display of how Finch figured the machine could detect things before they happened. Turns out I was wrong (as usual) and the Machine was acting like a dating website matching Finch up with the perfect woman for him, that woman was Grace Hendricks the woman who Finch had to leave behind to protect her from what he knows. I touched on this during the first season of the show, but it does seem that Finch’s Machine is kind of like Terminator’s Skynet, only way cooler.

If you weren’t really interested in Finch and the love story side of things then “The High Road” certainly wasn’t going to let you down as the weekly procedural was just brilliant. Taking Reese out of the city and fighting for an “every man” was a brilliant move from the writers and also gave them the opportunity to bring Zoe Morgan (Paige Turco) back into the story. Her and Reese have brilliant chemistry and they bounce off each other (not in that way) really well, fancy moving into the suburbs and pulling your gun on the first girl scout who come knocking trying to sell some cookies! If this was Dexter then Reese would have been in their with Zoe already, the urges would have been to much. Who knows? Maybe Reese and Zoe will get together some day.

There was no Fusco this week, obviously keeping him self busy with HR issues, you know? Trying to keep his name out of certain documents in order that he does not get sent to prison, no worries though I’m pretty sure he will be back to his ways before long. If you hadn’t guessed already I thought “The High Road” was one of the best episodes of this second season so far, especially since Root has been done with for now, after two lesser weeks this was a real action packed episode with all the usual wit and excellent story. Reese and Zoe should be making more trips to the suburbs in my opinion. Roll on this weeks episode “Critical”, I can’t wait.

Richard Zanuck: A Retrospective (Guest Post)

Saturday, 10 November 2012

Many would agree that if television is a writer’s medium, then the theater is an actor’s medium and that film is a director’s medium.  By this, I don’t mean to imply that the acting, writing and directing aren’t all crucial aspects in the performing arts; I’m just meaning to say that for each of those mediums, the importance of a certain component becomes somewhat heightened.  In the cinema, it’s the director’s vision that sees a project through from its infancy stage until the final product is shown on silver screens around the globe.  However, film didn’t always used to be a director’s medium.  Back in the formative days of Hollywood, the producer was king.  These were the days of the studio system, and men like Jack Warner and Louis B. Mayer lorded over the industry.  But ever since the studio system was broken up, the producer’s role in the creative process has steadily decreased.  Indeed the celebrity aspect of being a producer has been thoroughly diminished, save a couple of exceptions.  Producers like Robert Evans, Harvey Weinstein and Jerry Bruckheimer have attained some notoriety over the course of their respective careers.  One of cinema’s most famed producers of any era passed away last July.  His name was Richard D. Zanuck, and the influence he had on American cinema was indelible. 

If the name Zanuck rings a bell, it may be because of him and because of his lineage.  The Zanuck family has long been a powerful clan in Hollywood, starting with patriarch Darryl F. Zanuck.  He was one of the founding members of what is now 20th Century Fox.  Richard’s career certainly benefited from his surname; ask anyone and you’ll find that Hollywood is a town built on nepotism.  But again, ask anyone in Hollywood, and they will surely tell you that Richard had a special talent and dedication that made him truly special among most ordinary film producers. 

Even though he was studying at Stanford University, Zanuck interrupted his studies to take a position at his father’s studio in the story department.  His rise to the top was speedy to say the least.  He produced his first film, “Compulsion,” in 1959, and was president of the studio only a few years after that.  His reign at Fox was short-lived however, due to flops like “Doctor Doolittle” and “Star.”  Zanuck would later say about these flops, “’The Sound of Music’ did more damage to the industry than any other picture. Everyone tried to copy it.  We were the biggest offenders.”  

Jaws: 1975
Whereas many others may have not survived a similar firing (his father didn’t), Zanuck took other jobs around the town, including at Warner Bros.  He started to find his biggest success in 1972, when he and friend David Brown partnered up to form their own company, the Zanuck/Brown Company.  The two men discovered a young, upstart director who agreed to make a couple of films for them.  That director’s name was Steven Spielberg, and one of those films was the 1975 blockbuster/masterpiece “Jaws.”  Despite all of the problems that plagued the production of that film (a faulty mechanical shark, an unfinished script), “Jaws” went on to be the highest grossing film of all time, and has largely been attributed as a game changer in studio filmmaking along with “Star Wars.”  Zanuck and crew had pioneered the Hollywood blockbuster.  His filmography would go on to include several more, including “Cocoon,” “Road to Perdition” and a bevy of Tim Burton films.  He also won the elusive Best Picture Academy Award for his work on “Driving Miss Daisy.”
It was on July 13, 2012 that Richard Zanuck died from complications due to a heart attack.  The tributes came pouring in, via press releases and twitter.  “He taught me everything I know about producing,” Steven Spielberg said.  “He was one of the most honorable and loyal men of our profession, and he fought tooth and nail for his directors.  Dick Zanuck was a cornerstone of our industry, both in name and in deed.”  His funeral proceedings featured more stars than a red carpet for the Academy Awards.  I guess it’s fitting that so many stars would show support for one of the last stars of his kind.

Zack Mandell is a movie enthusiast and owner of and writer of movie reviews about movies such as Road to Perdition. He writes extensively about the movie industry for sites such as Gossip Center, Yahoo, NowPublic, and Helium.

TV Review: PERSON OF INTEREST - Triggerman 2.4 & Bury The Lede 2.5

Friday, 9 November 2012

I have some catching up to do with Person of Interest, I haven’t reviewed any of the episodes since “Masquerade” which I actually really enjoyed, it really took the show back to what was so good during the opening season, it dealt with a weekly procedural story whilst the main plot involving the machine bubbled away in the background. Since “Masquerade” I have watched all the episode’s including “Triggerman” 2.4 and “Bury the Lede” 2.5 and have to say that I found them very forgetful, not what we have been used to of late with Person of Interest, I think since season one’s “Wolf and Cub” this show has continued to deliver brilliant episodes that we have come to expect it week on week. The first season didn’t go by without its offering of poorer quality episodes, I even debated whether or not I would be reviewing it week on week but thanks to “Mission Creep” any doubts I had were surpassed.

I suppose we can’t expect brilliant story developing episodes week on week, I still think Person of Interest is a brilliant show with a brilliant story that I’m sure still has many layers to be developed and I can forgive it for delivering a couple of poorer quality episodes at the beginning of the season. Although they have been poorer in quality I have still enjoyed the story which has been delivered, Reese has been kick ass as usual and what the show has done well is deal with the aftermath of Finch being kidnapped, he took that harder than even he thought he would. Finch has been frightened to leave the office, a fear that in “Bury the Lede” he finally seems to be making some strides to get over.

I’ll start with the fourth episode “Triggerman”, it’s been a while since I watched it and its no longer on my DVR so I think this will be more of a recap than a review, you can count the above as a review if you like. “Triggerman” was actually an ok episode but it did nothing in relation to moving on the story of the machine, as always a new number was delivered, that of Riley Cavanaugh, an Irish Mob enforcer who worked for a mid level gangster named George Massey. At first it was obvious to Reese and Finch that he would be the perpetrator, and they needed to stop him doing something, but then hold up! The usual Person of Interest twist came to the front and it turned out that the guy was actually going to be the victim thanks to his love of Annie Delaney, one of Massey’s former partners, Massey knows and was going to be dealing with him and Reese needed to stop him. Problem was that Riley saw Reese as a threat, so needed his ass kicked before he realised that Reese was actually there to help him. A decent episode like I say but nothing involving the machine just your weekly procedural to see here.

Onto last week’s “Bury the Lede” a good episode I thought, again nothing here about the machine but a real comeback for a problem that we thought had been dealt with by the end of the first season. HR was supposedly done with after Elias went to prison but if “Triggerman” proved anything then it was that Elias reach far extends the bars of his prison cell, after his sit down with Finch he called off the hit that Massey was planning so I guess it was a given that HR would be coming back into the story. What is sad about that is the corruption of Fusco, he was corrupt to start with until Reese got him cleaned up but it seems that HR’s secrets and what he’s done in the past are just going to be too much to keep covered up if he remains legit. Now that Fusco has once again stepped over to the dark side you can’t help but thing that is going to scupper what Reese and Finch are trying to achieve, but I’m pretty sure Reese will figure him out before he gets to out of hand. It’s a shame because I actually quite like Fusco, he’s does provide some laughs in the show, hopefully he will stick to his new morals for a little longer.

“Bury the Lede” was helped in its weekly procedural in that it tied in with the story of HR, the latest number to be delivered by the machine was Maxine Angelis, a New York investigative reporter who is currently looking into HR, trying to expose the head of its operation and the other names involved, that of course would include Fusco so whilst Reese is trying to help Maxine, Fusco is trying to help HR in keeping her from finding out their names. It was a good episode which I enjoyed and hopefully it will serve as a stepping stone to getting the story up and moving again.

It will be back to normal for me with Person of Interest this week, with “Bury the Lede” I was confused as it had not been uploaded to where I normally get it from, I actually thought it had not been on because of a Presidential debate, it was only when I saw a review and checked CBS’s website that I figured I had missed an episode, ISOHunt saved the day and I managed to get it from there, at least I know it is on this week so hopefully normal service will resume with me watching it on a Friday night. Roll on “High Road”.

TV Review: REVOLUTION - Who Turned Out The Lights? I Don't Think Anyone Cares Anymore!

Thursday, 8 November 2012

So, who turned out the lights? Problem is for Revolution and NBC I really don’t think me or many other people care any more. Revolution started with an impressive “Pilot” episode but has failed to deliver since that point for me, with the exception of “The Plague Dogs” this really has been a poor showing with the last three episodes “Soul Train”, Sex and Drugs” and this weeks “The Children’s Crusade” serving up very little in the way of story or any excitement. I’m not even going to bother recapping what went on in all of those episodes as I really don’t remember but it’s fair to say that they have been poor.

What Revolution has achieved is hiring Tracey Spiridakos who plays Charlie in the show, easily one of the worst actors on TV right now, it’s a good job she’s pretty hot really, although she is not my cup of tea, so to speak I’m sure there are guys watching this show solely because she is on screen every week. I actually think her brother Danny is going to become more prominent to the story and the guy who plays him is a lot better actor than what she is, they really should focus on giving him a little more screen time. On saying that it looks as if that will be the case going into the fourth episode as in the latest we spent a little more time at Monroe HQ with Rachel, the mother of Danny and Charlie who is of course still alive, shock horror, I don’t think anyone really cared all that much.

In all honesty it did bring a little something to the dynamic of the show when it was revealed that Rachael was still alive, especially when we found out that she knew a little more than she was letting on about how the electricity went out. The latest episode has explained via flashbacks that Ben was working on something with a group of other people including his wife Rachael which would provide clean energy, problem is that back fired and what they discovered was that their device actually inhibited energy and caused all electronic devices to stop working, it actually wasn’t a bad bit of the story to come out especially as it has yet to give away who is actually responsible for the power going out. Ultimately it’s down to Ben I guess for creating whatever the little pendant thing is but the government gave him a contract the moment the discovered what he created, why? Even Rachael was a little suspicious of selling off their invention to higher powers, fearing they would use it as a weapon. Turns out she may just have been right.

I’m really not into the story of Miles, Charlie and the dude with the beard heading across America (although it has a new name in the show) to find her brother, they keep stumbling across little problems which mainly see them battling with their emotions, none of which I have found all that impressive up to now. I wouldn’t even say I enjoy it that much when Miles (Billy Burke) kicks ass, don’t get me wrong he is pretty good at it but the action kind of reminds me of that Will Smith movie Wild Wild West (yes the one he turned down the part of Neo in The Matrix for), believe it or not I actually turned that movie off after 20 minutes, but for some reason I keep watching Revolution week on week.

Miles even discovered during this episode that the power is able to be turned back on, thanks to the guy with the beard who this week decided to power up an entire light house, quite why he done it wasn’t really explained, well if it was I didn’t get it, but all I can think is that he done it because Miles and Charlie were in a bit of quandary and needed a shock factor to help them get out of it. Now that Miles knows that the power can be turned back on it will be interesting to see if his attitude changes any towards what the group are trying to achieve.

We are now approaching the eighth episode of Revolution and I find myself stuck in the same quandary I did with Awake, Alcatraz and Terra Nova, I have watched it this far so why stop now? There are only four episodes left of its debut season, may as well watch them I suppose. What will follow though? Will Revolution get a second season order at NBC? I think they are going to have to come up with some major goods in the next few episodes in order for that to happen. Who knows, J.J. Abrams may well already have one in the bag, but I’m not holding my breath, if it does get a second season then I’m not entirely sure I will be watching it. What you can be sure of is that I will watch the remaining episodes of this season and will let you know what I think when it’s done.
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