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Monday, September 30, 2013

Simplistic Reviews Presents: Cinema and Suds, Unforgiven and The Wild Bunch/Ranger Creek Mesquite Smoked Porter


Who hasn't dreamed of being a cowboy at some point in their lives?  Riding the open plains, looking for outlaws, or even being a outlaw.  Upholding or breaking the law.  Getting drunk in bars, enjoying the company of a young lady on the 2nd floor of a saloon, or even shooting the gun at the feet of someone yelling at them to "Dance!"

In the case of cowboy/western films, there are three eras of great westerns.  In the 1950s and 60s you had the John Ford and John Wayne epics.  The late 1960s and 70s ushered in "The Man with No Name" trilogy and the cowboy anti-heroes in "The Wild Bunch" with it's ultra-violence being the trademark.  After the late 1970s, the western genre was dead, until the early 1990s with a little film called "Unforgiven," a modern classic that dissected westerns from the 60s and 70s and re-ignited people's love for classic Westerns.

Now, it's no mystery that drinking is a huge part of Westerns, case in point, William Munny from "Unforgiven."  It's not until he goes back to the bottle during the climax of "Unforgiven" that you see the "real" William Munny.

So in this edition of Cinema and Suds we have the modern classic Western, "Unforgiven" and the classic classic Western "The Wild Bunch." and a big bottle of Ranger Creek Mesquite Smoked Porter, which is plenty for this double feature.

Enveloped with Texas Mesquite, this smoked porter, which clocks in at 6.8% ABV, is bold beer with an old school taste perfect for a former-gunslinger.

Check out the video companion above for a more fun and cowboy-like hijinks!

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Breaking Bad Predictions (Justin's Take)

Okay so this is it.

Today its all over.

One of the most brilliant shows ever to be placed on the boob tube is ending, and it might go out in a bang! After 61 episodes Breaking Bad is ending on the 62nd episode in-titled; "Felina".

and if you haven't heard yet:

FeLiNa = Iron, Lithium and Sodium aka, Blood, Meth and Tears.

Now the great thing about the writing of Breaking Bad is it can go in a completely different way. How many times have Walt and Jesse got themselves in a corner and boom! Using their minds problem solved.

So this is just how I see it going and how I would like to see it play out.

Blood: Walt brings that big ass machine gun to take out the Neo-Nazi gang.

Meth: Taken back control of his product, then destroying it all.

Tears: Walt dies. He takes the Ricin, because like he said before, He isn't going to let the cancer get him and it's over when he says its over.

Now lets back up a second. I think its safe to say Walt is going back to get his meth. That was his empire that he himself built. This is triggered after seeing Elliot and Gretchen Schwartz lie on TV. I wish he went to go kill them, but I don't think that's going to happen.

When Walt goes back to get his meth he will run into Jesse. He's going to be surprised since he's under the impression that Jesse is dead. This could lead to a team up in order to get Lydia and The Neo-Nazi gang. Now there is a good amount of bad blood between the two and maybe Walt takes the ricin to show Jesse no matter what I will be dead. Both Lydia and Todd will die, maybe together in a fire at the meth lab.

Now Jesse "kinda" has a clean slate. Yes he told Hank and Gomez on tape everything that happened. But both are dead and the tape was taken by the Neo-Nazi gang. So if Jesse knows any good he will go grab Andrea's son and run off to a safe place far far away because the DEA is pretty much just looking to get Mr. White.

With Jesse gone and Walt on the verge of death, Skyler, Betsy and Flynn might just all move into a house together with both their husbands now dead. Now let me take this one step further. Last episode "Granite State" the movie, Mr. Magorium's Wonder Emporium popped up. This could be a clue using it's plot of a man who thinks his time has come and is giving his business over, maybe Walt hands it over to a family member? Far fetch? Maybe but cool none the less.

I think that's pretty much it. I wish the episode was a good few hrs so a lot can play out but I think it will be a fast, bumpy ride.

But I would like to see one more thing, even if its by a long shot. But hey I could dream right? With Walt walking into the darkness of his own death (We don't see him die onscreen) his hat remains. Like Charlie Chaplin, Walt's hat is what makes him. And maybe just maybe in that Chaplin moment, the hat gets pickup with a gust of wind and rolls. It rolls and rolls till it is stopped by someone's feet. They bend over and pick up the hat and place it on their head.

Heisenberg is back!

---Cut to Black---


What We've Learned From Breaking Bad

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Simplistic TV: Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D

TIE-IN
Agents of Shield - Tie-In

What do you do when you have a billion dollar IP and you are a billion dollar network?  Well, you try to make few billion more.  Just like what Justin Timberlake said in "The Social Network;"  "A million dollars isn't cool anymore.....You know what's cool?.......a billion dollars."

The same holds true for what Disney is trying to do with Marvel.  If you go back 20 years ago, the Marvel name was essentially worthless.  The comic book market wasn't worth the paper it was printed on and there didn't seem to be any hope in sight.  Sure, you had Dolph Lundgren's "The Punisher" and who could forget Roger Corman's "Fantastic Four," but those attempts to translate comics to celluloid were busts.  Fast forward a decade, where "Spider-Man," with Toby Maguire as the aforementioned web-slinger, hits the theaters and everything changes.  With the help of "Spider-Man," comics are once again viable options, sales went up, and every major studio snatched up as many comic properties as fast as they could, just ask Jay and Silent Bob.  While it was the catalyst, Marvel Studios was also the outlier compared to Fox and Sony.  It always seemed that Marvel Studios had the comic fan's best interest at heart.  It wasn't until 2008 with "Iron Man" that you saw what Marvel Studios really had up their sleeve, and what DC Comics wishes they could even get close to sniffing.

But I'm not here to knock DC Comics, I'm here to praise Marvel's newest tie-in "Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D," the next step in both Marvel Studios' and Disney's passive takeover of our minds and wallets.  "Agents" follows the unsung heroes of the Marvel Universe, secret agents who work under S.H.I.E.L.D, or Strategic Homeland Intervention, Enforcement and Logistics Division (no wonder Tony Stark had a hard time remembering them when he first met Agent Coulson).  In the first episode we find out that Chitauri technology has been stolen and is now being sold on the black market.  There is an unknown hacker group known as The Rising Tide hacking into S.H.I.E.L.D's databases obtaining classified information, and guess what, Coulson is back!  His death was apparently faked in "The Avengers" and he was sent into hiding by the Agency.  Oh comic book logic....

While the show will be eaten up by comic book fans and fans of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, I can see this show becoming a niche.  I say a niche mainly because of the way topics are brought up in the pilot.  To the lament who has never seen any of the Marvel films, especially "The Avengers" you will be lost.  The Battle of New York is brought up casually, the reveal that Agent Coulson is still alive is made to seem like a major revelation, and if you haven't seen "Iron Man 3" the term "Extremis" will likely go right over your head.

The concept of having a tie-in being this tied-in, is a double-edged sword.  Yes, on one side of the coin, if you love the Marvel Universe, you will hang on to every plot point, reference, and every little detail to see if you can find out how "Agents" will fit into the upcoming Marvel films.

On the other side, this show is catering to one audience; the die hard comic head, whereas the lament will be left to ask questions to his friend who loves comics and it might result in the murder of said lament......maybe.  But, Disney is genius at marketing.  Even if you haven't seen any, or very few, of the Marvel films this will be an extremely accessible show.  One, because it's on regular network TV, and you don't have to have cable to watch "Agents."  Two, if this show interests you, wouldn't it be enough for the newbie to seek out the past Marvel films and maybe even start buying comics?  I'd have to say so.  And three, well, Disney has more money than God, so even if this little experiment doesn't succeed all the way, at least Disney knows where it's bread and butter is; at the multiplexes.

Overall, "Agents" has huge upside, and it's a calculated risk that will likely payoff, mostly because this show is going to be a launching point for more niche heroes.  I'm just spit-balling here, but you could end up seeing the likes of Luke Cage, Iron First, The New Warriors, Hercules, and other heroes that could find their place in the Marvel Universe, even if it's on the small screen.  As most pilots can be, "Agents" is uneven, but will leave nerds wanting more and more each week, just as "Heroes" did nearly a decade before, but hopefully "Agents" doesn't suffer the same fate as the lack-luster show that preceded it.

Fun Fact:  DC Comics and Batman legend, Jeph Loeb, who wrote classics such as The Long Halloween and Dark Victory, is an Executive Producer for "Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D,"

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

It's a Disaster

It's a Disaster: Splendid

2012 / 88 min / Comedy | Drama

If you're looking for a film to watch this week I found it.

With all the crap that is around these days on TV and even in the theater, check out; It's a Disaster.

The film itself is far from being a disaster. It's very witty, funny and down right enjoyable.

It's Splendid.

My favorite part of the whole film is how it does a turn in the story. At first you're presented with a simple friends meeting to have dinner type of film. You know the type. Each character is having his and hers relationship problems, cheating and simply falling out of love. Everyone knows each other, there all good friends and this is something they have been doing for quiet a while now.

The only new person at the table is David Cross, who I've always thought steals the show of which he's on, even in interviews, he just steals the spotlight in his funny way.

The dialogue is lovely and the random characters like the next door neighbor and the call center guy, don't just pop up without the viewer noticing. They pop up and steal the scenes making you laugh.

There is a ton in this film that I feel will make you smile ear to ear and keep your eyes glued to your TV.

The ending might upset a few, but I thought it was just downright perfect... Enjoy!


Monday, September 23, 2013

Simplistic TV: The Blacklist: Premiere Episode

FILLING
There were two shows I'd been pining to see all summer.  One stars a resurrected S.H.I.E.L.D. Agent.  The other stars Alan F%*KING Shore.  After watching the premiere of the latter, all I can say is this.  Not since Kiefer Sutherland's 24 has there been a television show that is as pulpy, intense, humorously ridiculous, and just plain fun as NBC's The Blacklist.  A show centered around a character larger than life.  Larger than the show he's on.  A character that rights the ship no matter how bonkers or predictable the situation may be.  That was Kiefer Sutherland.  That was 24.  That is now James Spader.  That is now The Blacklist.  A show that is FILLING that hole in your heart that you don't like to admit you have.  The hole that enjoys the hell out of a show that wants to be fun.

Understand that 24 was a television event when it premiered back in 2001.  It was a show primarily based on a gimmick.  Twenty-four episodes a season, for one hour, played in real time, all equaling one day.  People watched in droves because the concept hadn't been done before.  However, something changed after season 3.  Oh, the show kept its format.  However, people stopped flocking to watch it for the concept alone.  They flocked to it because of the craziness.  They flocked to it to see how the show would push the envelop that week.  They flocked to it to see what insane thing Jack Bauer would do to someone next.  The show became a guilty pleasure that people weren't that guilty about.  The Joe Carnahan directed pilot for The Blacklist is eerily reminiscent of the 24 I used to love.  You see all the punches coming, but are still giddy when they land.  What surprises there are border on unrealistic, but you still gasp when they happen.  And OH BOY is there a character in it that chews up the scenery.  So, what's it about already?

An infamous American traitor, missing for decades, shows up one day at FBI headquarters and turns himself in.  He offers the government a list of dangerous terrorists plotting against the country.  His only request is that he'll spill what he knows to a rookie FBI profiler.   Not as experimental a concept as 24.  However, I think the series producers understand what they want to be.  They want to be that 4th season of 24 right out the gate.  They understand that what made 24 great was the outrageous situations and the crazy plot twists and of course the larger than life character.

To be honest, this review was essentially a test to see how long I could go without gushing over the sardonic brilliance of James Spader.  He is such a great choice for this character.  Raymond Reddington is essentially the bizarro Jack Bauer.  A man who talks when he should act and acts when he should talk.  A man always two steps ahead of every situation.  A man, I'm not afraid to say, plays the Hannibal Lecter role better than the man playing the Hannibal Lecter role on fellow NBC show Hannibal.  If there was one reason and one reason only to watch The Blacklist, James Spader's performance is that reason.  You can just see the potential for great stuff to come with him.  Lets hope writer Jon Bokenkamp can give him as good of material as David E. Kelly did.  Because this show will go as far as Spader's character takes it.  Relative newcomer Megan Boone is fine in the role of FBI profiler Elizabeth Keene.  What you hope for, chemistry-wise, is if she can hold her own well enough with Spader.  The man does have the potential to act you right off the screen.  Boone has her moments and will hopefully gain more strength as the show goes on.  I'd say something about Henry Lennix, but he is essentially playing the same role he plays in every single thing he's in.  "Bland Man In Charge."  Diego Klattenhoff is a bit of a cold fish as well, but who cares?  It's Spader's show.

Blacklist is a show that FILLS the void left by shows like 24 and Alias.  Shows that are aware of their flaws, but use them in a way that somehow amplifies their fun.  It is a void that needed to be filled and that networks have been trying to fill for years now.  Don't believe me?  Fox is already trying to bring back 24 one last time after their movie plans for the show went belly up.  Until that day, The Blacklist will serve as a more than adequate placeholder.  Slap on a fedora...stay away from ballpoint pens...watch it...then tell me I'm wrong.

The Simplistic Reviews Podcast: September Edition


Yay!  The rest of the months for the rest of the year end with -ber!  You can tell we are easily excited over on Simplistic Reviews, especially this month of September.

As we reach the final quarter of 2013, and our one-year anniversary of podcasting to the Interwebs, we go all out this month, well, not really, but we have to do something to get you guys excited.

In this September edition of the Simplistic Reviews podcast we talk tons of Fall TV, the final episodes of "Breaking Bad," just how bad the remake of "Robocop" will be, the return of Simply Quotable, and our favorite sports films of all time.

All this, including a surprise cameo by Al Pacino as he gets all hot and bothered about the classic Amanda Bynes' TV show "What I Like About You."  Who-Ahhhhh!!!!

Check out the show notes below for more fun stuff, and coming this week, The Simplistic Reviews List of things that we've learned from "Breaking Bad."

Show Notes:

Robocop Remake
SlaughterFilm
Cinema and Suds
Fall TV Schedule
Breaking Bad Theories


FOR MATURE AUDIENCES ONLY.

Click HERE to listen to podcast

Check us out on FacebookTwitter, and Pinterest

Playing a Film: The Last of Us

BLURRING
The Last of Us - Blurring

With the next generation of gaming consoles on the horizon, the line between video games and film continue to blur.  Developers are creating one of a kind experiences that not only immerse you in a world, but give you direct rule over it.  You are building a direct connection with the environment and characters that you are in charge of.  What a wonderful world we live in where you can escape for hours on end and feel something, just like you would during a feature length film.  One of the best video game storytellers for the best part of a decade have been from Naughty Dog Studios, between their "Uncharted" series and now their newest exercise in high art, "The Last of Us."  A tour-de-force in emotion, storytelling, and a glimpse to where the video game is heading in the future.

You might ask yourself; "Why are you reviewing a video game for a site where you concentrate on films and TV shows?"  I'll answer your question with a question, "Why the hell not?!"  If there was ever a game that needed to the mentioned in the same breathe as a film in recent memory, it has to be "The Last of Us."  The production value is off the chart, better than most recent major Hollywood pictures in my opinion, the story is cohesive, once again, better than most Hollywood films, and most importantly, you care what happens to the characters.  You forge a bond with the protagonists, you want them to succeed, and at the same time, you fear for their safety when you aren't in control of them.  When the stakes are at their highest for both Joel and Ellie (our main protagonists) you hold your breath and hope for the best, but expect the worst.  It's an interesting thing to feel while playing a video game, where at the end of the day, there are no stakes, it's just a game.  But that is where "The Last of Us" expertly blurs the lines between fantasy and reality.

"The Last of Us" begins with a flashback, where we meet Joel and his daughter.  Joel seems like a regular working stiff trying to provide for his daughter in a small Texas town outside of San Antonio.  Tragedy strikes and we fast-forward 20 years later where Joel is now living in Boston.  In the 20 years since "a giant pandemic" many citizens now live in towns under martial law.  Joel is soon enough brought into a mission to transport a young girl named Ellie across the U.S to a group calling themselves "The Fireflies" who are researching a way to cure the deadly disease that turned the world upside down.  The journey of course isn't easy as Joel and Ellie are tasked with fending off looters, cannibals, military, infected humans, and "Clickers," which look like humans with mushroom heads.  You'll meet other characters along the way who are fighting for their lives, or trying to rebuild a society that crumbled two decades ago.  There are plenty of tense scenes where tragedy could occur, and usually does, at any moment and that just ratchets up the stakes for our heroes.

From a mechanical perspective, the controls respond fluidly, the inventory menus are brilliantly designed so that the action never stops, a-la the "Dead Space" series, which adds a certain amount of strategy during firefights and while being perused by Clickers.  Everything just works perfectly together and coupled with the amazing visuals and impressive story-telling, it's a game experience that will be remembered alongside the first time you played "Super Mario Bros." "The Legend of Zelda," or any other game that you would consider timeless.

The game ranges from beautiful to tragic, calm to nerve-wrecking, and the use of the seasons as chapters gives the game a novel-like feel.  With inspiration from the likes of "The Road," "Children of Men," "Night of the Comet," and "28 Days Later," you feel in control of a Hollywood film from beginning to end.  This is clearly where the action-adventure genre for video games is headed, and that's a good thing.  "The Last of Us" tells a human story of survival, trust, betrayal, and leaving behind the past to embrace an uncertain future in a world where danger lurks around every corner.

Fun Fact:  It's heard to believe that Naughty Dog, the studio behind "The Last of Us" got started with "Crash Bandicoot" the cute marsupial that became Sony's version of Mario.  Except for the mustache.

Friday, September 20, 2013

Simplistic Reviews Presents: Cinema and Suds, Munich/ He'Brew Genesis Dry Hopped Session Ale



Ask Dr. Wattley, the main reason to be a Jew is for the jokes.  Also, because the food is pretty good.  Have you ever had brisket with some potato pancakes and a bowl of matzoh ball soup?  Trust me, it's good.

There is also the case about the supposed "Jew-run media" that everyone complains about, and sure, there are a few people of Jewish descent that have a major say in what happens in Hollywood, but c'mon, we deserve it damn it!

In this Jew-dition of Cinema and Suds, I take Schmaltz Brewing's He'Brew Genesis Dry Hopped Session Ale, only 5.5% ABV, and enjoy the underrated Steven Spielberg classic, "Munich" and feel some Jewish Pride.

Remember to check out the video above for the full Jew-view.  I love puns.....

Friday, September 13, 2013

Simplistic Reviews Presents: Cinema and Suds, Dogma and Weyerbacher Blasphemy Quadruple Ale


Hot topics are something we don't do too often on Simplistic Reviews, but when something happens we don't just sit idly by and not interject an opinion.  So here we go; who do you think gives better foot massages?  Vince Vega or Jules Winfield.  But in all seriousness.....who?

I'll let you sit on that for a few while I get into this edition of Cinema and Suds.  Now, religion is always a hot topic issue.  People either love it or hate it and people usually really hate it when you make funny of their fairy ta.....I mean beliefs.  Some might even call it blasphemy, which brings me to today's beer.

Blasphemy, by Pennsylvania brewery, Weyerbacher, is a big-time Belgian-style Quadruple (11.8% ABV) aged in whiskey barrels.  Now if that doesn't help you find Jesus, I'm not sure what will.  So while you're enjoying this beer of biblical proportions, why not throw in a film of even biblicalalalala proportions (yeah, I just made up that word).  Kevin Smith's "Dogma" is a searing look at Catholicism that stars some of Hollywood's biggest stars, and Jason Mewes (I kid, I kid).

So pull out your Buddy Christ (no, not that one), pop open a bottle of Blasphemy, and exercise some demons.  Boy, a foot massage would feel good right about now.....

Enjoy the video companion to this review, and check back every week for another edition of Cinema and Suds.

Friday, September 6, 2013

Simplistic Reviews Presents: Cinema and Suds, Back to School and Russian River Redemption Blonde Ale/Founders Dirty Bastard Scotch Ale


When you think of college what do you normally think of?  Well, you might say those all-night study sessions, hours of hanging out in the library, or maybe even haggling your Philosophy professor over that "B" he gave you on your paper about the merits of Buddhism in rural Alabama.  Of course you're all wrong; it's those killer keggers at the Alpha Beta Frat House while impregnating sorority girls!

Just imagine if you can live those glory days again, only this time with your dad being Rodney Dangerfield and your best friend being the future Tony Stark.  You get all that, and more, in the comedy classic "Back to School."  Plus, you get one of the best high diving scenes in cinema history.  Take that "Diving In!"

A reoccurring theme in films where adults go back to school is both where they learn what it it's like to be young again, and they redeem themselves.  What better beer to enjoy with "Back to School" than Russian River's Redemption; a golden blonde ale that will make you do a Triple Lindy off the top of the bar.  At a mere 5.15% ABV, the beer is light, but still packs a flavorful punch to the palate.

However, there are times when you're finished with Redemption and just want to go back to being a bastard, namely a dirty one, so crack open a Founders Dirty Bastard Scotch Ale, an 8.5% ABV brew that will get the frat party started.

So how about it, sit back, relax, pop "Back to School" into your laser disc, crack open a bottle of Redemption and Dirty Bastard (if you can find it) and feel the wrath of Sam Kinison, Satan rest his soul.

Enjoy the video companion to this review, and check back every week for another edition of Cinema and Suds.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Miami Connection

FRIENDSHIP
Miami Connection - Friendship

Being born in the early 1980s, I really missed out on that grand decade of acid-wash, cocaine cowboys, and mustaches.  Even though the early 1990s were simply an extension of the late 80s, I really wasn't cognizant of what the 80s had to offer until I was much older.  Once a decade of ridicule, the 80s have come back in a big way.  Between styles that hipsters are co-opting for their own gain, the revival of new wave pop, and of course the film "Drive," the 80s are back; at least in spirit of course.

Aside from the fashion, the 80s had no lack of action films.  For every "Die Hard" there was another "Surf Nazis Must Die."  For every "Predator" there was a "Krull."  The list goes on and on when it comes to cheesy 80s action films.  However, there was another constant in action films from the 80s; and that would be friendship.  From "Tango and Cash" to the bond between Riggs and Murtaugh in "Lethal Weapon," where would the action genre be without a great friendship?  This brings me to the forgotten classic from 1987, "Miami Connection," a study in how not to make a movie, but at the same time, the exact way every movie should be made.

"Miami Connection" is at heart a film about friends playing in an awesome band, "Dragon Sound," practicing Tae-Kwon-Do, chasing girls on the beach, and helping one of their own find their long last father.  There's a minor subplot about ninjas that sell cocaine, but never mind that.....because it makes NO SENSE!  If you're going into "Connection" looking for anything that doesn't fit a stereotype, you better return your VHS to your local Blockbuster Video.  However, if you want to experience the 1980s in all its glory there is no better way to celebrate the decade you're either trying to relive or forget than with this masterpiece.

The story behind "Connection" is nearly as entertaining as the film itself with star Y.K. Kim nearly bankrupting himself trying to make his masterwork  The Korean immigrant, and Tae-Kwon-Do master with no film experience whatsoever, decided to make a film, which at the time was considered a slap in the face to the industry, had to wait nearly 25 years to receive the credit that he thought he deserved back in 1987.  While that credit is entirely ironic, since "Connection" is really a schlock-fest cashing in films like "The Karate Kid," any credit it better than no credit at all.

What sets "Connection" apart from other action dribble from the 80s is it's earnest and sincere message.  Hell, during the closing credits a message pops up essentially saying "The only way to obtain world peace is through the elimination of violence;" a cheesy message that could only be said in decade that also introduced into our lexicon "Peace in the Middle East."  I just love the irony that the only way to stop violence is with violence to start.  But hey, the day you're in a pop-synth band playing the keytar shirt-less fighting cocaine-dealing ninjas from Miami, you might feel the need to be a little violent as well.

Bottom line, "Miami Connection" at heart, is a film about the bond of five orphans who are fed up with "stupid cocaine" looking for a friend's long-lost father, while playing some awesome music and fighting ninjas in Orlando.  What could be better?  Well, a lot, but it wouldn't be as rad as "Miami Connection."

Fun Fact: The song "Friends" was used in the retro-grade spin-off to "Far Cry 3;" "Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon," starring 80s hunk, Michael Biehn.

Also, make sure to check out Slaughter Film's live "riff" of "Miami Connection" on September 6th at midnight (so technically, September 7th) through this link, Click here dummy!

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