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Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Mythbusting Season One of 'American Gods'

The higher the concept, the bigger the risk. That's been the play for Starz for a while now, and most of those have ended abruptly. From 'Camelot' to 'Da Vinci's Demons,' Starz hasn't had the same success that networks like HBO and Showtime have had recently.

Sure, 'Outlander' has been a success, and 'Black Sails' ran it's course, but Starz has always lacked that one show that would make people coming back to the network season after season, ala, 'Game of Thrones', and perhaps they've found that one show in 'American Gods.'

Spearheaded by Bryan Fuller and Michael Green with Neil Gaiman serving as Executive Producer, there are some heavy hitters involved in 'Gods,' but can and will it be enough to actually save the series and allow it to continue even after a relative cliffhanger to end the first season.

The long and short of 'Gods' can be as complicated or as simple as you want it to be. Simply, we follow a just paroled man named Shadow Moon get involved in things far beyond his comprehension that involved Old Gods, New Gods, and other mythological beings. Add in a powerful revenant from beyond the grave and trippy flashbacks, and you have 'Gods' in a nutshell.

If you look at the series numbers, they dropped week after week, which is never really a good thing, but considering the high productive value and the high concept, you have to believe that Starz has big plans, and high hopes for the show that could be their own water cooler show.

What 'Gods' has going for it are a couple of things. One is certainly the shock factor of seeing some truly crazy things, ie, women swallowing people with their vaginas, genie fellatio, and even a game of checkers, it gets really wild. The second, and third, biggest things are the visuals and the story composition of each episode that includes visuals out of a Tarsem Singh film mixed with the work of Clive Barker and even Jim Henson. Most episodes begin with a flashback that usually preludes the actual content in said episode and introduces us to a new character, new superstition, or new religious belief. These are some of the strongest aspects of the show, if you're into the folklore element of the show. This is where the divergence can stem.

A show that is so reliant of flashbacks and exposition can really drag a show into the muck and perhaps that is why the ratings steadily declined week to week. Shows like 'Game of Thrones' usually always had forward momentum even with the large amount of characters to juggle. The characters in 'Gods' are pretty minimal, yet there is a lot of exposition to deal with and with a limited amount of episodes in season one, there are only eight, the start and stop aspect can be hard to deal with at times.

However, this doesn't mean 'Gods' isn't interesting, in fact, it's very interesting and I'd love to see where it goes from here, especially being a non-book reader and from what I've heard, there are a great deal of divergent stories and a ton of extra stories to be told. The good thing about a show that deals with mythology and theology is that there are 1000s of years to draw from and 100s of religion and belief structures to draw inspiration.

The fact that we actually had a show created out of the vivd and lush dreamscapes of Neil Gaiman is a miracle. 'Sandman' has been stuck in development hell for the longest, and will likely continue to be, and I'm sure the relative success of 'Preacher' last year over at AMC helped in getting 'Gods' green-lit and put into production. But the question will be; how long of a leash will Starz give these 'Gods,' and can it go the distance in giving the definitive version of one Gaiman's best works to date.

Saturday, June 17, 2017

The Best of Armond White: (A Retrospective) Part Four

All good things much come to an end, and we're going to end this retrospective with something very special and something we can all relate to. Hate; deep-seeded, unadulterated hate. We love hate on the Internet, it's what created the Internet and what makes it so wonderful!

Suicide Squad (2016): 25% RT Score

Armond Says: Think metaphorically again, and see that Suicide Squad entangles post-Vietnam and post-9/11 notions about heroism and citizenship...Suicide Squad is The Dirty Dozen for millennial viewers (and voters), who think their patriotic moral conflict is new.

Matt Says: Well that's one way to put it. You could also say that "Suicide Squad" is a film bloated beyond repair with what we could agree on is one of the worst villains in recent comic book films. But on the other hand this film has been beaten to death and saying anything else about it is just white noise.

Green Lantern (2011): 26% RT Score

Armond Says: The F/X of Hal creating objects out of his ring's green light are successfully, modestly fantastic. Such professionalism needn't resort to dumb stereotyping.

Matt Says: There's no doubt some of the effects were done nicely, but there was no saving this film from itself. An early blunder by DC that would set the tone for many of it's future failures.

Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides (2011): 32% RT Score

Armond Says: Depp's caricature is so far past its expiration date that it forces speculation about the actor's own movie stardom.

Matt Says: It's safe to say that the ship has sailed on Jack Sparrow, and this film just kicked sand in the audiences' faces.

Red Riding Hood (2011): 11% RT Score

Armond Says: Too bad Hardwicke didn't adapt The Scarlet Letter -- better yet, she could have transformed the asinine Easy A.

Matt Says: You get a two for one with this one. Not sure I understand the hate for "Easy A," it was fun enough, but we can agree on that "Red Hiding Hood" should have stayed under the hood.

Morning Glory (2010): 56% RT Score

Armond Says: Morning Glory is just routine Hollywood dishonesty (with the most annoying song-score since Juno) and wastes its stars.

Matt Says: Another two-for-one with a dig at "Juno." I can't speak much for "Morning Glory," as a film; it was forgotten about just as quickly as it was watched.

The Heartbreak Kid (2007): 29% RT Score

Armond Says: We deserve better than this and expect better from the Farrellys.

Matt Says: Personally I haven't expected much from the Farrellys since "Kingpin."

88 Minutes (2008): 5% RT Score 


Armond Says: 88 Minutes plays like a script Tom Cruise rejected back in the '90s, forcing Pacino to run -- across campus, across town, through parking garages, up and down stairs.

Matt Says: Let's be honest, Pacino isn't a very good runner onscreen. Just see "Insomnia" and "Heat" for prime examples of old men running poorly.

The Happening (2008): 18% RT Score 


Armond Says: A better title for M. Night Shyamalan's The Happening would be Nonsense. It's like an amusement park ride that has no reason for being -- and no meaning -- besides visceral excitation. Only difference is that The Happening isn't fun.

Matt Says: Yeah, this film just isn't good. I mean, it's just bad. You'll wish you were the person laying down in front of a riding mower.

Well there it is folks. You've seen the good, the bad, and the ugly. In the Wild West that is Rotten Tomatoes there is a lot of blame to go around. However, the beauty of RT is the fact that it gives everyone a voice. Critics aren't going to agree with audiences, and vice versa. But speaking from both a critic and a member of the audience; just go and watch film. Watch the worst of the worst and the best of the best. If you truly want to be part of the conversation, you need to see it all.

Friday, June 9, 2017

Wonder Women

Wonder Woman: Wonderful

PG-13
2017 ‧ Fantasy/Science fiction film ‧ 2h 21m


There isn't much to say about WB and their DC Movies but when it comes to Wonder Women one thing I will say is...


Wonder Women is a Wonderful film.


WB finally made a real movie. They created something that was enjoyable to watch and not a torture to sit through. A movie that had a beginning, middle and end. Not a over complexed film trying to do something different. (See Suicide Squad a movie that shows everything you shouldn't do in a movie)


WB went back to the basics and it pays off big time



Gal Gadot is Wonder Women, one that I can not get enough of. When it comes to Justice League the truth for me, and I believe as well as the general public is we aren't really excited about it. But Gal Gadot has given me more enthusiasm for JL. This is what WB should done. Introduced each character in their own film before Justice League, this was the first and biggest mistake.


Chris Pine does a great job as Steven Trevor. One of Pine's greatest abilities as a actor is his comedic timing. It works beautifully here that only helps the flow of this movie. Keep in mind this is still a 2hr and 21 minute movie but never did I feel that. Batman v Superman was a different story.

Credit has to be given to Director Patty Jenkins. Jenkins made a great action film that has a solid story line and the best scene in a DC movie to date.


Wonder Women is the first DC movie (Man of Steel, Batman v Superman, Suicide Squad) from scene to scene that kept my attention locked. I felt emotion on the screen, the last 3 never did that for me. Lets swing over to action. The action in WW is great. The fight sequences are fantastic and this should be the standard from this point further.  



Hey WB pay attention here!


Jenkins directed her first feature length in 2003's Monster. A movie that Charlize Theron won an Academy Award for Best Actress. Now her second film after her TV stint is Wonder Women which at the time of writing this charges toward $420 plus million. Which would be 2017's 8th biggest movie on 4,165 theater screens.


Which was the lowest...

Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice was on 4,256

Suicide Squad was on 4,255

Man of Steel was on 4,207

WB this is what you need, continue what you did with Wonder Woman.
























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