Month: August 2012

August 31, 2012

MONTH IN REVIEW

FAV of the month
The New and Oldie
Expendables 2 / Naked Gun 

Review  /  Review

SoSo of the month
The Bourne Legacy
Review

HATE of the month
Total Recall

Review

TV SHOW of the month
The Wire
Seasons 123

August 30, 2012

The Change Up

The Change Up: SUCKS

O my…this film sucks!

It is not a good movie…Nope not even funny bad. Just wow this sucks, this sucks a lot.

Seriously did anyone read the script? It’s clearly not funny, so why make it?

This film is nowhere near somewhat funny. The only parts that this film thinks it’s funny is that gross stuff. Like kids shitting beyond what would be considered healthy, cuz holy shit take that kid to the hospital clearly that’s not healthy.

It angers me that stupid shit like this film gets made and some good scripts don’t.

Only reason to watch this would be the beautiful Olivia Wilde…

But I’ll just place a photo of her here. That way you don’t have to watch it since I just told you she is in it…

Oh good things are better now. So to sum things up, since the whole time I was on my phone googling ways to kill myself when watching this film…It sucks DON’T WATCH…let’s move on now, okay…

August 29, 2012

Simplistic TV: The Wire, Season Three

The Wire, Season Three – Stride

*Spoilers Ahead*

 I believe that the third season is very interesting in any television series.  Usually it works this way;  if the first season is exceptional and gains a sizable audience the second will have much loftier expectations.  The second season comes and it can really be a make or break (see “Heroes” for a prime example of how good series’ go wrong).  If a series can get past a lackluster second season and moves into the third season, a network usually has faith.  Also, a series can usually hit its stride in season three, and that is exactly where “The Wire” found itself after two seasons in the books (Wow, that has to be a record for using the word “season” in a single paragraph).

I like to call this season of “The Wire” The Comeback.  We move away from the docks of Season Two and re-concentrate back on the East and West Baltimore drug war and the City of Baltimore’s “war on drugs”.  We meet some new characters including Marlo Stanfield, an up and coming dealer who lives by his own code, and his two lieutenants, Chris and Snoop.  On the “law” side we get better acquainted with “Bunny” Colvin, a police Major on his way to retirement with his own ideas on how to solve West Baltimore’s drug problem, and Tommy Carcetti, a councilman with mayoral aspirations.

The first episode really sets the tone for things to come with a very symbolic “downing” of the Franklin Terrace Towers in a scene very reminiscent of the 9/11 tragedy.  However,instead of using Muslim extremists as terrorists, we see the City of Baltimore bringing down the Towers and the dealers looking on, helpless, seeing their way of life, essentially, coming to an end.  After this event, battle lines are drawn all over the city and by the end of this season, several characters meet their “ends.”

Overall, if you’ve stuck with “The Wire” for two seasons, this is a great payoff for your time spent following everyone from Bodie Broadus to Lester Freamon as their characters, and several other main characters, continue to develop.  If by the end of season three you don’t think “The Wire” is the best TV drama ever (I won’t go best show ever) you should stick to your Kardashians or “Jersey Shore” shit.

Fun Fact:  You might know Tommy Carcetti, or Aidan Gillen, for playing another scumbag; Petyr Baelish, aka, Littlefinger on HBO’s “Game of Thrones.”


August 28, 2012

The Take

The Take: Astonishing

Here in America many shows come and go. Out of probably thousands only a few are worth watching. Unlike In the UK, where there seems to be a lot more quality shows over quantity.

The Take well its a ton of goodness.

It’s simply one of the best dramas.

The Take is based off of the novel by Martina Cole. It’s first episode came on in 2009 on Sky1 in the UK. It’s about a gangster named Freddie (played by Tom Hardy) who leaves prison and is hoping to take over the empire of his boss, Ozzy (played by Brian Cox). It takes place in the 80’s which is always a great time period. I would love to talk about this show more but I don’t want to spoil anything.

So lets talk about this show’s stunning-fantastic performances. The standout is Tom Hardy who will blow you away. His acting is beyond top notch, it really is amazing. Just wait to you see his mannerisms!

The others, Shaun Evans, Kierston Wareing, Sara Stewart, Brian Cox and Charlotte Riley complete a perfect cast that you never get to see on TV, including movies. It’s really something. Brian Cox like always gives a good performance and always is great to see on film. A big surprise for me would be Charlotte Riley who’s strong performance is something to behold (by the way she is Tom’s girl in real life, he’s damn lucky, she’s beautiful and can act, a double threat that I would like to see more of.)

It’s supporting cast is outstanding. Freddie is a psychopath, there is killing, blood, a plot that keeps you going and great cinematography. What more could you ask for? This drama is one of the best you will ever see on TV. We need more of these to watch! Especially in the US.

Tagline: He’s got family, he’s got power, but he’s got issues.

August 27, 2012

Total Recall (2012)

Total Recall: Yuck


Well to sum things up the only reason to watch this is

Kate Beckinsale
…Only reason.

O man she is my weakness…O yeah and the other side.
August 26, 2012

Simplistic TV: The Wire, Season Two

The Wire, Season Two – Setup

*Spoilers Ahead*

This is a disclaimer that I should have written in the review of “The Wire,” Season One, but I’ll write it here to preface my Season Two review.  I did not watch “The Wire” on a season to season basis, essentially because I didn’t have HBO at the time and I wasn’t about to shell out $60 bucks for each season on DVD, so I waited for the magic that is HBO GO and I got my kicks that way, (you might say to yourself, “Matt, you dummy, why didn’t you just torrent it or find a pirate site.”  Sorry guys, I actually like paying for my entertainment and have respect for the art so I pay for what I want, HA!).  I digress, this isn’t an ethics course, this is “The Wire” Season Two

Every series needs to have a setup season, or a filler season if you will.  Season Two is just that for “The Wire”.  The seaport of West Baltimore is the primary setting for this season after we see several members of the Barksdale Crew put behind bars at the end of Season One.  While Avon Barksdale, Stringer Bell, and Omar Little are still major players in the grand scheme of things, they take a backseat of sorts to Frank Sobotka,  a stevedore union president trying to walk the line, and Proposition Joe, an East Baltimore drug kingpin with a connection to the mysterious “Greek” trying to sort out a truce with his West Baltimore rivals.

While I wouldn’t call this the strongest season in the series, it’s still vital as it sets up several characters for future seasons, and sets the tone for the remainder of the series.  You get a little deeper into the psyche of McNulty and his “thrist” for justice, the paranoia of Avon Barksdale, the aspirations of Stringer Bell, and how the government works in West Baltimore.

What you’ll notice in this season, and as the series continues, is the “offing” of several characters out of the blue.  It really becomes apparent that the creators of the show really wanted to show to audience that no one is safe in West Baltimore.  While I really don’t appreciate characters that I like coming to grisly ends, the fact that the showrunners have the balls to kill off anyone at any time in a small twisted way, pleases me.

Fun Fact:  After his run as Frank Sobotka, Chris Bauer took a starring role in another HBO show “True Blood” as Detective Andy Bellefleur.

August 26, 2012

The Bourne Legacy

LACKING

All my cards on the table.  I love the Bourne Trilogy.  I absolutely love it.  It pretty much redefined the spy genre and possibly the action drama genre into what we see now.  Daniel Craig’s realistic Bond is a DIRECT RESULT of Jason Bourne.  The popularity of gritty realistic action films and shaky cam action scenes (Some done right.  Most done WRONG) are a DIRECT RESULT of Paul Greengrass’s Bourne Supremacy & Ultimatum.  The trilogy starring Matt Damon is in my top three favorite trilogies of ALL TIME.  They are perfect to me.  So much so, I actually didn’t want them to make any more.  A rarity for me because I always want more.  But for Bourne, because it was so perfect, I wanted it to end the way it did.  And for a while there, I got my wish.  Greengrass dropped out of a planned fourth film and Damon said he wouldn’t make another without Greengrass.  My perfect trilogy was safe.  But then Universal realized that other than that dumb street racing franchise…they had no other cash cow.  Enter The Bourne Legacy.

The Bourne Legacy isn’t a sequel.  It is a side story that takes place in the same universe as the Bourne Trilogy.  To the franchise’s credit, they never make the following film a stereotypical sequel.  Events in each film jump around through a linear timeline set up by story mastermind Tony Gilroy.  He and most of the original cast are back with some new blood sprinkled in.  I appreciated this as an effort to make Legacy stand out and be different while still using the foundation set by Damon and Greengrass.  However, these things hinder Legacy’s success to either the uninitiated or the…how should I put this….simple minded populous who want their films to just have stuff that blow up real good.

Days before I saw Legacy, I still heard people saying that Jeremy Renner was the new Jason Bourne…He’s Not.  I still heard people saying this was a reboot of the franchise…It’s Not.  I heard people saying Matt Damon would make a cameo…He Doesn’t.  This isn’t entirely the people’s fault.  The way Gilroy sets up the story, the way the film was marketed, the way the title reads all aids in the confusion.  The word Bourne isn’t what you should focus on in this film.  The word you should focus on is Legacy.  The film is entirely about how the actions of Jason Bourne and, more importantly, Pam Landy effect certain people in the government.  It is a film about fallout.  And though I understand that The Landy Fallout isn’t a particularly catchy title, it would be a more accurate one.

With all that baggage out of the way, how is the film?  Its just fine.  Gilroy, now writing and directing instead of just writing, is a fine replacement for Greengrass.  Jeremy Renner’s character Aaron Cross, though a little less likable than Damon’s Jason Bourne, is fine as a lead.  The story, though a tad too complex for the uninitiated, is fine.  Ed Norton and Stacy Keach are fine as the baddies.  But what is still LACKING from Bourne Legacy?  I’ll give you two guess and the first one doesn’t count.

Matt Damon is what makes this franchise go.  He is the heart, the engine, the…fill in a metaphor relating to importance…that drives this universe.  Without him, without Jason Bourne, any installment in this series just feels like a really expensive fan film.  The universe itself isn’t strong enough to carry a film without him as it was for, lets say, The Dark Knight Rises.  You need more Jason than they give you, if only to serve as a smoother transition into caring for Aaron Cross.

And on a personal note, replacing composer John Powell with James Newton Howard is a HUGE MISTAKE.  Powell’s scores for Identity, Supremacy, and Ultimatum are legendary.  It would be like switching John Williams from Indiana Jones or Danny Elfman from Batman ’89.  Howard’s score is color by numbers at best.   In a film DEPENDANT on it’s audience following the Bourne universe, how do you not use the man that sets that universe’s perfect tone?  John Powell is sorely missed.

Rumor has it that a film with Damon and Renner teaming up could come as a result of Legacy’s success.  For that reason alone, I support it.  However, I’m a fanboy of the franchise.  I don’t expect anyone else to see a possible Bourne/Cross team-up as a good enough reason to watch a film that is fine but is also LACKING.  If you watch it…you’ll be hard pressed to tell me I’m wrong.

August 24, 2012

Simplistic TV: The Wire, Season One

The Wire, Season One – Trendsetting

*Spoilers Ahead*

Back in 2002, HBO was really in a groove.  They had already introduced people to what really goes on in prison (OZ), a funeral home (Six Feet Under) and a New Jersey mob family (The Sopranos).  While this was all well and good, it wasn’t until David Simon and Ed Burns (not that Ed Burns) took us to…..West Baltimore? that things really started getting good.  It’s hard to believe that the best show ever made that no one watched is ten years old now, and that show is “The Wire.”

While I could sum up the entire series in one review, I feel “The Wire” deserves much more respect than that so I will be covering HBO’s finest show over the course of six reviews (one for each season, including a wrap-up review where I’ll rank each season as well as rank the top ten characters on the show).  With that said, on with the show.

“The Wire” was conceived after HBO aired “The Corner,” a six-part miniseries that chronicled a poverty-stricken family trapped in a drug-addled neighborhood of West Baltimore.  Many actors from “The Corner” also appear in “The Wire”  almost making the former a prequel of sorts to the latter.

Season one introduces us to the Barksdale family, a power drug-dealing crew that pretty much has West Baltimore under their control, and the West Baltimore police, lead by Jimmy McNulty (Dominic West), a renegade cop with a drinking problem.  Most of the series’ main characters are introduced in the first season, including favorites Stringer Bell (Idris Elba) and Omar Little (Michael Williams).

Each season focuses on a different aspect of the greater Baltimore area, with season one focusing more on how the Barksdale Crew operates, and the methods the police use to try and curb the drug dealing and murders occurring in West Baltimore.

While I am tempted to give away critical plot twists and character development I will hold off and save all major spoilers for the wrap up review, so hopefully you will have a chance to catch up on what I call a milestone in TV, “The Wire.”

 Fun Fact:  Tim van Patten, now of “Game of Thrones” fame, directed the season finale of Season One (Sentencing).

August 24, 2012

Expendables 2

NOSTALGIC

You ever found yourself starting a diet but end up cheating a few weeks in by eating a box of chocolate frosted donuts?  That is what watching Expendables 2 is like.  You know they are fattening.  You know they are bad for you.  But for the brief time it takes you to scarf those donuts down, you’re in heaven.
The spectrum of action films usually breaks down like this:  SMART.  SMART FUNFUNDUMB FUN.  OR JUST PLAIN DUMB.  Expendables 2, like it’s predecessor, falls completely under the DUMB FUN category.  It is a half a beat away from being a full on parody.  And that is why you can’t be as mad with Expendables 2 as you can be with this or this
1.  Is the plot nonexistent?  Yes.
2.  Is the acting bad?  Yes.
3.  Is the action unrealistic?  Yes.
4.  Is Father Time catching up to most of the cast?  Yes.
5.  Do I like to list things?  Yes.
Expendables 2, however, relies on it’s NOSTALGIA while giving enough winks at the camera to make sure we remember what it is.  A dumb, yet, fun love letter to 80s guilty pleasure action films.  If you’re under the age of 25, this sort of NOSTALGIA might not hold any relevance.  But if you’re a child of the 80s and remember how awesome First Blood Part 2 was, or how joyfully insane Commandowas, or how over the top in a good way Bloodsport was, this is the box of donuts for you.  Go ahead….cheat on your diet a little….then tell me I’m wrong.   

August 20, 2012

Elephant

Elephant – Earnest

I normally write reviews on this site based on what I like and I normally don’t like including any types of politics, social commentary, or the such in my reviews (it’s just not my style to push that type of agenda down anyone’s throat).  I also realize that this review might be about four weeks overdue, but you know what they say (really, you should know the old saying).

Since the mass shooting at Columbine High School in Littleton, CO back in 1999, gun control, along with media and parental responsibility, has always been a hot topic issue, yet little, to nothing, has been done.  I’m in no way against taking away people’s guns, or telling the media how to cover sensational stories, or even how parents should take care of their kids. Maybe one day I’ll look at it from a different perspective once I’m a parent or, heaven forbid, a victim of a similar tragedy, but in the meantime I will continue to watch violent movies and play violent video games, but I refuse to watch shows like “Keeping Up With the Kardashians”or “Jerseylious”that is just cruel and unusual.

It wasn’t until July 20th 2012 that all the talk started again about gun control and media responsibilty with the Aurora, CO tragedy during the midnight showing of “The Dark Knight Rises” where 12 people were killed and numerous others were wounded.  Yes, between Columbine and Aurora there have been other mass shootings (Red Lake, Virginia Tech, Ft. Hood) but to open fire in a crowded theater during a movie that many peoplpe might have been waiting their whole lives to see, it’s really hard to comprehend what would drive someone to such an insidious act. What really went on in his mind before, during, and especially after, all the bullets had been fired, and lives destroyed?  What drives us to our actions? What shapes us into the people we become?  How can be avoid these tragedies in the future?  While it might not answer all the questions we have, Gus van Sant’s “Elephant“allows us a glimpse into the anatomy of a crime and what we might be missing when it comes to the modern teenager.

Yes, many of you might be saying “Elephant, what a boring piece of crap!” or “Jesus, that movie had nothing to say about anything, it was just a bunch of kids walking around a school.”  Yes, I will admit there was a lot of walking, a lot of tracking shots, a lot of high school kids being high school kids, well, that is the point!  If you know anything about “Elephant”you know what happens at some point during the movie, there is a school shooting, reminiscent of the Columbine High shooting.  But its the lead up to the eventual shooting that makes this film all the more complex.

Van Sant does a great job of turning the mundane into something captivating, and there is always a payoff after each vignette involving the student(s), and the earnest way of dealing with the mundane fills you with dread if you know what is eventually going to happen to the students, and the school.  While the film does focus on the shooters, and details their motivations and frustrations, what you see with the non-shooters is almost as horrifying.  From homophobia, bulimia, apathetic teachers, and drunk parents, these are all the “elephants” in the room that no one wants to talk about and could be contributions to student behavior, but apathy breeds apathy until tragedy occurs.

“Elephant,” while not the most interesting character study, gives an earnest portrayal of teens in a post-9/11, post Columbine environment, and the scary part is that much hasn’t changed.

“Fun” Fact:  Many of the actors used in the film had their real name used as their character name.

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