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Saturday, April 20, 2013

OBLIVION

OBLIVION: Predictable

126mins/Action/2013


Story: Without getting into spoilers, do to the fact I could easy ruin the film for you, I'm just gonna say it's pretty predictable. Way too predictable in the sense before every corner in the story, you will predict everything. Which of course hurts the film. The story is okay, really its just okay, sure it's better then most in this genre and has a bit of originality to it, but we seen stuff like this before. The ending has issues and at times the story feels weak. The best parts for me is the music and the look of this film. The story does have twist and turns but when it happens you most likely figured it out for yourself. For me I kept saying, "Well okay that's what I thought". Is it good? Yes it is with all the issues its diffidently one of the better films this year.

Olga Kurylenko (Julia) - Weak. The character and not the actress. The character feels like the writers just didn't give the effort when writing her as like the others (mostly like Victoria who is awesome sauce).

Morgan Freeman (Malcolm Beech) - Well yep he's pretty damn awesome like every time we watch him. 

Music (M83) - My favorite part. Listen I've been a BIG fan for years now and always wanted to see the band do a score for a film. And at times during the film,  I would  just fall back into my chair listening to the score.

Tom Cruise (Jack Harper) - He's Tom Cruise in this film...again. I kinda would like to have seen some one else but he did good, even at 50.

Joseph Kosinski (Director, Producer, Screenplay, Story) - The guy knows his stuff. When Tron Legacy came out, it brought a smile to my face. He took us to a world that I just haven't seen or felt in awhile. The guy did that on his first film, his FIRST! This is only his second film, and I feel the guy just knows his stuff more then most, who have been at it far longer. Visually and musically the guy kills it.

Side-note: Apparently all the sky images you see in the film, according to the director, he photographed them himself and is not CGI! That's what I like to see and hear!

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Simplistic TV: HBO's VICE

NEWS
HBO's VICE - News

In my younger, retail, years, I worked at Urban Outfitters, aka, Hipster Outfitters.  When I worked there in the early 2000s it had the air of hipster while the term was still in its infancy, but I still liked, and continue to like, the store.  One of the things I liked best was the book/magazine collection.  A lot of counter-culture and obscure reading material was always available including the magazine "VICE" a Canadian-based music and news publication produced on a monthly basis.  I usually just read the music articles and left the news story most undisturbed.  Cut to nearly 10 years later and VICE has a TV show on HBO highlighting what they were trying to do ten years ago; highlight their news stories, which you might call "Investigative Journalism Gone Wild."

HBO's VICE seems like the world's dirty little secret.  The stories in the first episode essentially talked about Killer Kids in both the Philippines and in the Middle East, namely Afghanistan.  From child soldiers, to 14 year old suicide bombers that the Taliban use for their own purposes, you feel sick to your stomach seeing how backwards we are as a global society.

You can check out other VICE exposes on their YouTube page by clicking here for stories that are a little lighter with a touch of humor, but if you want your world news in your face than HBO's VICE is for you.

VICE is Executive Produced by Bill Maher, who you know from "Politically Incorrect" this stand-up, and HBO's "Real Time with Bill Maher" so you know the show isn't going to pull any punches, which I think separates it from other new magazine shows like "60 Minutes" and "Dateline NBC."  I think being on HBO gives the show even more leeway and allows the show to explore the extreme of fringe news.

The show isn't going to appeal to everyone; it's stark, violent, scary, and maybe a little too real for most people, but if you're an HBO-watcher already, I'm sure it isn't something you've already seen.  Some of the more graphic content was depicted in the second story of the episode, which dealt with teenage suicide bombers in Afghanistan.  Aftermath of explosions were seen, including body parts and bloodied victims.  From a Western perspective, these scenes are rarely seen and have to be searched out to be seen under normal circumstances.  There are several haunting images throughout the story that certainly stick and you want to thank the corespondents for putting themselves into this dangerous situations.

Overall, VICE has plenty of potential, and of course people are going to say the news has a bit of a slant with Bill Maher behind the show, but watch the show, do your own research, and use the stories as a template to improve your own knowledge of world news, even if it is news on the fringe.

Fun Fact:  VICE was originally named "The Voice of Montreal" in 1994, the year it was founded by Shane Smith.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

The Simplistic Reviews Podcast : March 2013




You might ask yourself, "Hey Simplistic Reviews!  It's April, this isn't the March Podcast."  Well, yeah, you're right......that's all I got.  You got us listening public, this is the March Simplistic Reviews Podcast, posted in April.

We discuss everything from chocolate Easter bunnies to Peeps and even fit in some time to worship the Season Three Premiere of "Game of Thrones."

And while it seems like we have no shame (have you listened to any of our previous podcasts) we actually do, as we introduce a new segment, "Simply Ashamed" where we talk about crying, bestiality, and illegally recording "Ghost Rider," but not necessarily in that order.

So gather around the old iPod, or your Zune, bring grandma and enjoy the fun of The Simplistic Reviews March Podcast.


Click on the link below to download the podcast and enjoy folks!

Show Notes

Sexy Cartoon Babes
Game of Thrones Love
Understanding Shame


FOR MATURE AUDIENCES ONLY.

Click HERE to listen to podcast

Check us out on FacebookTwitter, and Pinterest

Monday, April 8, 2013

The Simplistic Reviews March Madness Bracket of Good and Final Four Results: BAD

HANNIBAL LECTER (1) WINNER





BEN LINUS (2)

Ben Linus seems to always hide his motives through politeness.  Something that could keep Doctor Lecter at bay for a while.  However, Ben's massive inferiority complex is a glaring weakness that Hannibal could exploit and turn on him.

The Simplistic Reviews March Madness Bracket of Good and Evil Final Four Results: GOOD


JAMES BOND (1) WINNER

BUFFY SUMMERS (2)

There has been a litany of butt kicking babes Bond has had to befall.  Buffy's name can now be added to the list.  Right in between Xenia Onatopp and May Day.  May Day.   James Bond slept with Grace Jones.  Fact. (SHIVER)

Friday, April 5, 2013

Simplistic TV: Hannibal, Season One Premier

Hannibal - Mulligan

When trying to adapt a specific character from another medium, say literature or film, to television, its always a tricky proposition.  Since the character is already established in said mediums you have to know the audience that already recognizes the character and make them believe the transition is seamless, while still exposing the character to a new market, fans, critics, etc.  One of the most recognizable characters in modern crime novels is Hannibal Lecter; the psychiatrist/cannibal that haunted our dreams through the words of Thomas Harris.  Even if you're a "lament" you've heard of Lecter in some way, shape, or form.  Now we get to see Dr. Lecter on the small screen as he assists criminal profiler, Will Graham, from the novel "Red Dragon" to try and track down serial killers.  While the premiere episode of "Hannibal" was bumpy, at best, I'll still give it a mulligan for what its trying to accomplish, at least for a few more episodes.

If you've seen, or read, "Red Dragon" or "Silence of the Lambs," you pretty much know the deal.  There is a killer on the loose, in this case a killer impaling young girls on antlers, and on occasion one or more of their organs missing (see where I'm going with this).  Will Graham is on the case, commissioned by Special Agent Jack Crawford, played by Laurence Fishburne, to find the killer.  Crawford brings in another consultant, Hannibal Lecter, a respected psychiatrist from the Baltimore-area.  Graham and Lecter seem an unlikely duo at first with each one trying to outwit the other, but Lecter sense a kindred spirit in Graham with his ability to empathize with the killers he hunts.

Despite my misgivings about this show, the more I think about it, the more I want to see where it goes.  You know the end of the journey for both Will and Hannibal, but now its the journey of how they both got there.  It's the cat-and-mouse game that will guide the show onward, which isn't that bad when you think about it.  With so much fervor on origin stories about mythological characters (just look at every Marvel Studios Phase 1 film) "Hannibal" has a chance to succeed with an audience that wants to know; Why? and How?

While I've talked myself off the ledge about the storyline of "Hannibal" my main concern is the casting; namely Mads Mikkelsen as Lecter.  For starters, I like Mads, I think he is a solid actor who knows how to play a villain and steal scenes on occasion.  But I just feel that he is wrong as Lecter.  For starters, he LOOKS like a killer.  The thing about Anthony Hopkins playing Lecter, or even Brian Cox for that matter, was that he didn't look the part of a psychopathic, narcissistic, cannibal.  He was a posh doctor with a penchant for opera, fine dining, and drawing.  Hopkins was the ultimate wolf in sheep's clothing.  Mikkelsen, on the other hand, is a wolf in wolf's clothing. If I saw him walking down the street I would run the other way because I knew I was only a remark away from being served with a nice Chianti.  I also found myself struggling to understand Lecter when he spoke.  Since Mads has a pretty thick Danish accent, not all the dialogue came through clearly which isn't great when you are trying to hang on to everything Lecter is saying to get deeper into his character and motives.

With that being said, I don't blame the casting either.  If the creators are basing this version of Lecter on the novel "Hannibal Rising" it makes sense.  Lecter, by birth, was Eastern European, not British as some of us might assume.  While aristocratic, Eastern Europe, namely Lithuania, is vastly different than the British Isles.  Can Mikkelsen outshine Hopkins as a Hannibal Lecter for a new generation?  Well, we'll have to see about that.

From a literary standpoint, the show sticks pretty close to the source material of "Red Dragon,"  which is good  in my opinion.  It sheds more light on Will Graham and his special gift for empathy, but it comes off as kind of a second rate Sherlock Holmes, more so the Benedict Cumberbatch version than the Robert Downey Jr. version.

Bottom line, I'm giving this show a mulligan.  I can't judge a show that I have reasonably high hopes for by just one episode.  Sure, there are kinks to work out, and the show suffers from "a style over substance" problem, and if another network had the rights to Harris' work, namely an FX or dare I say, HBO, maybe the show could push the envelope a bit more, but that's not really the issue.  I think the biggest thing people are having a hard time wrapping their heads around are the casting choices and the overall mood.  We fear change, and we've been spoiled by the Hopkins' Lecter for over 20 years so when this new, "exotic" Lecter comes along our first inclination is to bash him, and I fully understand why, but before we jump to conclusions, divorce yourself from preconceived notions of who Lecter was, and let this new incarnation do it's own thing.

Fun Fact:  H.H. Holmes, who lived from 1861 to 1896, has been given "credit" as one of the first known American serial killers.  His crimes were an inspiration for the book, "The Devil in the White City."

The Simplistic Reviews March Madness Bracket of Good and Evil Elite 8 Results: FILM BAD


HANNIBAL LECTER (1) WINNER
THE JOKER (2)

Two master manipulators, but there can only be one winner.  Bottom line; The Joker is just a mad dog off the leash.  Hannibal knows how to train any canine no matter how deranged or psychotic.  The good doctor sets the table, opens a bottle of Chateau d'Yquem, proceeds to filet the Clown Prince of Crime with a linoleum knife, and feeds the rest to his pooches.  It's going to take a lot of explaining on how he got THESE scars.

Thursday, April 4, 2013

The Simplistic Reviews March Madness Bracket of Good and Evil Elite 8 Results: FILM GOOD

JAMES BOND (1) WINNER
JOHN McCLANE (3)
Let's do this one by the numbers;
1.  They both use guns.
2.  They both hate women.
3.  They both try to uphold justice, in their own way of course.

What sets these two apart is that one wears a tuxedo while the other a bloody, dirty, smell tank-top.  While I applaud John's taste in fashion, there are two things that are forever; Diamonds, and stylish, black tuxedos.  There are rules for police men, but as for Bond, the only rule resides in the bullets he puts through McClane's chest.  Happy Trails John.....

The Simplistic Reviews March Madness Bracket of Good and Evil Elite 8 Results: TV BAD

BEN LINUS (2) WINNER
CERSEI LANNISTER (8)
Every Cinderella story must come to an end; especially for a woman who has sex with her brother, makes said brother throw a young boy out of a tower, lie about it, have more sex with other family members, and oh yeah, be a total bi*ch!  Ben Linus shows why he is the master manipulator once again and sends Cersei all the way back to Lannisport in a pine box.  This Lannister just couldn't pay off her debts.

The Simplistic Reviews March Madness Bracket of Good and Evil Elite 8 Results: TV GOOD

JACK BAUER (1)
BUFFY SUMMERS (2) WINNER
In one corner; the protector of black presidents, Chinese torture survivor, and a guy that shoots Robocop's wife to obtain information that might save the U.S. from a nuclear attack.  In the other corner; slayer of vampires, demons, aliens, and other evil entities that look to take over the world, while doing all of this before cheerleading practice.  In the battle between two of TV's most bad-ass heroes, it came down to a razor-thin margin.  Ms. Summers was able to drive the final stake through Jack Bauer's heart to bring home the TV Hero Championship to Sunnydale.  Just one too many bad days for old Jack.


Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Sneak Preview: Evil Dead (2013)

Evil Dead - Ode

*I'd like to thank aintitcool.com for putting on this sneak preview of the film down in Miami, FL, and of course for bringing Bruce Campbell.*

I'm not one for April Fool's pranks. I find them annoying, stupid, and most of the time, ridiculous.  But there are times when one happens, and its wonderful.  It's even better when you are going to see one of the most classic horror films of all time, 1981's "The Evil Dead" with Bruce Campbell in the audience introducing the film and conducting a Q&A after the film.  It's even better when the film starts, gets about a minute in, and the film breaks, revealing the trick, which I had a sneaking suspicion was coming.  April Fool's, you're not here to watch "The Evil Dead" '81, you're here to watch "Evil Dead" 2013.  Truly, truly awesome, and now I'm lucky enough to bring you kids a review of the as-of-yet-unreleased "Evil Dead" remake, which is an ode to everything wonderful and right with horror remakes.

Everything you've heard about "Evil Dead" is warranted; it's a brutal, bloody, gory, sick, twisted, squirm-inducing nightmare.  In the best way possible.  While, as a rule, horror remakes are usually unnecessary, I really thought "The Evil Dead" was in need of a tune-up.  Coming out three years after "Halloween" and merely a year after the genre game-changer "Friday the 13th," "Dead" made it's mark as The Ultimate Experience in Grueling Terror.  It was low-budget, gritty, and a new take on the slasher genre.  It had the demonic spirit of "The Exorcist" but the wink-wink-nod-nod of "Friday the 13th" and even some old Herschel Gordon Lewis films.  However, if you look at "Dead" now, it seems dated.  You can tell that it only took them about $300,000.00 to make the film.  Still, I believe in keeping a classic, a classic, and not messing with a good thing.  Come some 30 years and two sequels later, a new vision of "Evil Dead" is about to be unleashed nationwide, and with the blessing of Sam Raimi and Mr. Bruce Campbell, I can honestly say we got a winner.

While keeping with the spirit of the original film, we follow five teens who have decided to head out to the middle of nowhere to a cabin in the woods.  The added twist this time around is that they are there for an intervention for Mia, played by Jane Levy, who could be America's newest Scream Queen, a heroin-addict who just suffered an overdose.  I liked the fact that the teens are in the woods for a reason, because in films like these you always get a lot of red herrings, namely the Necronomicon, which is unnamed in this version, but you should know what the Necronomicon is at this point, where you have to suspend disbelief nearly the entire film, and don't worry, you'll have to do it anyway for most of this movie, in a good way.

While the story is reasonably strong for the genre, the violence and gore is ramped up to 11, and it's wonderful.  The gore effects are great, and I was surprised to see that WETA was behind some of the work, and it makes sense, because some of the effects are right out of "Dead/Alive," before Peter Jackson got all Hollywood on us genre fans.

As a horror film, "Evil Dead" is fine, a bloody-romp in the vein of what most people are used to out of the horror genre these days, as a remake, one of the best ones made.  And while I use the term "remake," "Dead" is more like a re-imagining of the original.  There are various odes to Raimi's masterwork, including our heroine wearing a Michigan State sweater, to the old car that she is also sitting on.  We even get some chainsaw, yes, a chainsaw, what would an "Evil Dead" movie be without some chainsaw.  With all that being said, if you're a purist, go into "Evil Dead" with an open mind, and have fun with it; there are plenty of odes to the original, and if you're new to the world of Ash and the Deadites, do your homework and watch "The Evil Dead," "Evil Dead 2: Dead By Dawn" and "Army of Darkness" (the primitive screw-head next to me kept calling it "Evil Dead 3."  I wanted to tell him to go home because his mom called, and he had chores to do, plus it was a school night).  2013's "Evil Dead."  In a world full or remakes and bad ideas, its nice to see they got something right.  Hail to the King, baby.....

Fun Fact:  Look closely at the car Mia is sitting on and you'll notice that it's an Oldsmobile Delta Royale 88, the same car used in the original "Evil Dead" trilogy. Which begs the question, could this possibly be a sequel as opposed to a remake, or just coincidence?

Monday, April 1, 2013

The Simplistic Reviews March Madness Bracket of Good and Evil Sweet 16 Results: FILM BAD

HANNIBAL LECTER (1) WINNER
DARTH VADER (4)










If there was any Star Wars character in need of psychotherapy it would be Anakin Skywalker.  Mommy issues, daddy issues, inferiority complexes, obsessive behavior, night terrors, megalomania, depression, mental trauma, and so on.  All gravy for Dr. Lecter.  Anakin has also proven to be easily duped by the kinder older gentlemen hiding a dark secret.  They don't get much darker than Hannibal.  Not even Palpatine dined on his enemies.  

THE JOKER (2) WINNER
KHAN NOONIEN SINGH (3)










A man out for revenge is a scary thing.  A man out for chaos is even more frightening.  Khan's relentless linear thinking eventually makes him predictable.  There is no telling what depths or what ends The Joker would go to.  The Joker's intellect is also very comparable to Khan's.  The difference is Khan isn't certifiably insane.  A genius level intellect in the hands of a mad man is the personification of chaos.  

The Simplistic Reviews March Madness Bracket of Good and Evil Sweet 16 Results: TV BAD

BOYD CROWDER (5) 
CERSEI LANNISTER  (8) WINNER










The one thing you have to admire about Cersei is her survival instincts.  She seems to always get her way.  She can get more done with a goblet in her hand than Boyd could with a gun.  Even in defeat, Boyd could still probably respect that.

BEN LINUS (2) WINNER
TRINITY KILLER (6)










Ben Linus may not have the flare for the dramatic like T.K., but he always gets the job done.  He is relentless and getting his way and sometimes without even getting his hands dirty.

Simplistic TV: Game of Thrones: Season Three Premiere

Game of Thrones: S3, EP:1-Valar Dohaeris - Duty


And just like that; it's back!  The long-awaited season premiere of Game of Thrones was unleashed upon an unsuspecting viewership on March 31st, 2013.  I mean if I was Jesus, just getting out of the grave, I would be so pumped that I get to continue my journey with Jon Snow, Daenerys Targaryen, Tyrion Lannister, and our favorite boy-king, Joffery Baratheon.  However, before season three really kicks into high gear, I understand that it's the duty of the showrunners to get into the swing of things with an episode, while there were great moments, that needed to build up some tension, introduce, and re-introduce, some characters, and setup what is to come for the future of Westeros.

Valar Dohaeris, meaning in High Valyrian, all men must serve, is quite the appropriate title for the season opener.  We pick up right where season two left off, our favorite tubby Night's Watchmen, Samwell Tarly, running for his life from the newly-spawned, White Walkers.  What I like about what HBO did this time around is that they re-introduced the cold open, which hadn't been done in an episode or GoT since the series opener, and I hope its a trend that they finally keep this season.

Moving from North of the Wall, to a little further South, but still North of the Wall, we catch up with Jon Snow as he is being led to the Kind Beyond the Wall, Mance Rayder, played by Ciaran Hinds.  A lot of people were criticizing the casting of Hinds as Rayder, but if there was anyone with acting chops to take on a meaty role like Mance Rayder, why not Hinds?  He already has HBO cred, playing Julius Caesar in HBO's "Rome" and he's simply a great actor.  I expect good things out of the Snow/Rayder dynamic.

Meanwhile, way down South, in King's Landing, Tyrion is coming to terms with his complete lack of power, but still think her deserves some credit for his battle plan against Stannis Baratheon's army during the Battle of Blackwater.  However his father Tywin Lannister, who has taken his "rightful" place as Hand of the King, has other plans for Tyrion.  What I found most interesting about the Tywin and Tyrion confrontation is that at a certain point I was gaining some respect for Tywin.  Sure, he's the head of the most hated, and feared, family in the Seven Kingdoms, but I saw something in Tywin that I respected beyond his ruthlessness and cunning nature.  But after his tirade to Tyrion, I'm questioning my respect, and I'm interested to see how this resentment plays out during the season between the father and son.

Across the Narrow Sea, we meet up with The Mother of Dragons, Daenerys Targaryen, who is seeing her dragons grow while trying to buy an army with the spoils she acquired after pillaging Quarth.  She arrives in Astapor, a slave colony, looking into purchasing a slave army called The Unsullied.  The army is owned by a ruthless, rude, and conniving master named Krazyns, who insults Dany in his native tongue.  On top of being insulted, Dany is also nearly assassinated by a young girl seemingly sent by the warlocks of Quarth.  Low and behold, her savior was not her sworn protector, Jorah Mormont, but the wayward Barristan Selmy, former captain of the King's Guard.

As the episode proceeds we also check in on Robb Stark, Davos Seaworth, Stannis, and Sansa Stark.  Every major character is touched on, some more than others, but there is still enough revealed get your curiosity going and seeing where all the characters end up come season end.  What is even more interesting is the fact that both season three and the forthcoming season four will cover book three of "A Story of Fire and Ice."  Where will season three end and four begin?  For you book readers I'm sure you already have a clue, but I won't spoil it for the rest of the readers.

To serve all men, as I pointed out earlier, is very appropriate for the premiere.  We are seeing who is serving who, and continued play for power from Westeros and beyond the Narrow Sea.  From the lowest service of The Unsullied to the highest of service by Tywin Lannister.  it seems that all who are within service are working at the whim of either a Mad King, a lowly slaver, and everywhere in between.  With the tone set early, it seems that service and loyalty will play a major part this season.

Overall, it looks like Season Three of GoT will be the most ambitious yet, with several major plot lines to play out, and new ones to begin.  It will be our duty as viewers to sit back, relax, and enjoy the ride through, and beyond, Westeros.

Fun Fact:  In commemoration of GoT, American craft brewery Ommegang released a special edition beer called "Iron Throne" a Blonde Ale.  Check out what beer drinkers are saying about "Iron Throne" here.

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