Boardwalk Empire

July 1, 2014

Simply TV: The Leftovers

AGAIN

The Leftovers – Again

Whenever there is a new show premiering on HBO it always seems to be an event. One, their marketing team could make a show about a misplaced sponge seem interesting and the fact that TV has pretty much overtaken film as the medium of choice for A-list actors, writers, and directors says a lot. Two, HBO gives no f*cks when it comes to outlandish ideas and taking risks that no other network does, outside of FX perhaps. Three, and most importantly, HBO has two series’ ending this year, “True Blood” is mercifully coming to an end after six seasons, and surprisingly, “Boardwalk Empire” is ending after only five seasons, the latest being one of the strongest seasons to date. Bottom line, HBO needs some new programming that is going to stick outside of “Thrones” and they just might have it with “The Leftovers,” again another series that is a huge risk, but can pay huge dividends.

What we know about “Leftovers” after the first episode is that on October 14th, 2% of the Earth’s population suddenly disappeared. The series seems like it will take place primarily in Mapleton, USA, and follow the town’s police chief, played by Justin Theroux, and features antagonists like the “GRE” a chain-smoking cult which doesn’t speak, and Wayne, a mysterious man who people come from all over country to seeks his guidance. There are also wild dogs, a cool phone app on the iPhone, and high schoolers using the “c-word.”

Created by Damon Lindelof, of “Lost” and “Prometheus” fame, or infamy, depending on how you look at it, and Tom Perrotta, who wrote the novel in which the show is based, leave a lot of questions on the table in the series pilot, but any good show will do that. If you are looking for immediate closure on plot lines that are just opened after one episode, than this show isn’t the one for you. Plenty of interesting characters are introduced, and just as it was done in “Lost” we catch brief glimpses of flashbacks when characters are introduced. There is also a certain “Twin Peaks” creepiness to the town of Mapleton. Even with it’s idyllic nature, there seems to be a dark underbelly that is being hidden by the officials in charge.

While some people give Lindelof a bad rap, I’ve never had a real issue with him. Yes, I think he can bite off a bit more than he chew as seen with “Prometheus” and “Cowboys and Aliens” but that isn’t to say that the guys doesn’t have a vision. As frustrating as “Lost” might have been for millions, that didn’t stop those millions from seeing the entire show through. With Perrotta as a co-writer on the show, and helping Lindelof with the showrunning duties, I believe that “Leftovers” can be an interesting watch, as long as you’re willing to commit yourself to the show.

Bottom line, I think there is a lot to like about “Leftovers.” I enjoyed the performances for the most part, sure, there is some overacting, namely by Theroux, and Liv Tyler isn’t exactly showcasing her “range,” but I think Amy Brennaman is going to be one to watch along with Christopher Eccelston, who I think is criminally underrated and I’m surprised he hasn’t found more work in Hollywood. As long as HBO is willing to see this series through (I see maybe 2-3 seasons tops to finish the narrative that Lindelof might have in mind) I believe both “Leftovers” and a little show called “True Detective” will be able to carry HBO through some thin times that I see in 2015.

Fun Fact: A study in 2012 reported that Americans throw away nearly $165 Billion in leftovers, annually.

September 24, 2013

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

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December 30, 2012

The Simplistic Reviews Podcast: December 2012

You’ve all been clamoring for it, well here it is.  The Simplistic Reviews Podcast for December 2012!  In this sophomore edition we dig into the holiday season with what made us happy in the cinema during 2012.  From “The Dark Knight Rises” to the re-release of “Pulp Fiction” we touch it all, and not in that inappropriate way….okay, just over the pants, but give us a break.
We also give AMC, Nerds, “The Vow”, and British -Voiced Nazis a hard time in our newest segment, “Sincerely.”

All this and more on The Simplistic Reviews Podcast for December 2012.

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

FOR MATURE AUDIENCES ONLY.
 

Show Notes:

 Click HERE to listen to podcast

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December 24, 2012

Crappy Holidays: Lawless

FORGETTABLE

Seven minutes into watching Lawless, I knew how I’d feel about it by the end.  I could see my final thoughts bearing down on me like the subway train light did to Neo in The Matrix.  The story would get boring halfway through.  Tom Hardy would be awesome, but underutilized.  And Shia Labeouf would be less annoying, but still forced down our throats.  Suffice to say, I hate being right.  Lawless suffers from one of the big no-nos a film can have.  You can make a good movie or even a terrible one.   However, you never make it be FORGETTABLE.  Be honest and tell me you didn’t say to yourself when seeing the headline for this review “Oh yeah, Shia LaBeouf did do a gangster film with Tom Hardy.”  Those of you that didn’t probably never heard of the film at all. 

Why is Lawless so FORGETTABLE?  Well, from the beginning, it leads us to believe we’ll be learning a lot about the interesting art of bootlegging OR that we’ll witness an epic confrontation between the crooked law and an infamous family.  However, it speeds past the bootlegging information in about thirty seconds while drawing out this epic confrontation FOR…EV…ER!  The pacing of Lawless is the only crime I witnessed.  Whenever it looks like you’re about to get into the wheelhouse of the film, it delays you with a contrived double love story or just plain boring build up.  It hides the good moments from us while sticking us with moments we don’t care about.  We see a man get his feet washed in church while drunk off of moonshine for three minutes.  But there’s a castration…off camera.  Gangster films aren’t supposed to hide the brutal moments from you.  Those moments make it memorable.  You remember the chainsaw scene in Scarface.  You remember the horse head in The Godfather.  The baseball bats in Casino.  Lawless drowns us in snail like pacing between its few memorable moments, and when we get there, it doesn’t allow us to fully see them.    

It is a real shame this film is so lifeless because there truly is another terrific performance by Tom Hardy here.  The man is poised to be the next great Hollywood star, yet people will have missed probably half of the amazing performances he’s done.  Like Bronson, or The Take or RocknRolla or this.  The only person in Lawless that holds his own with him in the acting department is Guy Pearce.  Pearce plays slithery lawman Charles Rakes in a way only a certain few could pull off.  The brief…and I mean brief…badass scenes he and Hardy have together shakes you out of the slumber caused by the film’s slow pacing.  It is also good to see crazed Gary Oldman again.  His run as Jim Gordan has caused people to forget how awesomely nuts he can be.  But those guys collectively play second fiddle to the elephant in the room, Shia Labeouf.  Does Shia annoy you in this?  Yes.  Does Shia whine in this?  Yes.  Does Shia overact to cover his inability to act in this.  Yes.  However, compared to his previous work in a robotic trilogy that will remain nameless, it isn’t unbearable.  He would have been better as a costar in Lawless instead of the star.  I’d rather follow Tom Hardy’s more interesting Forrest than be force-fed Shia’s cliched Jack. 

If you want to see a compelling true story about prohibition, watch Boardwalk Empire.  If you want to see an actually decent Shia LaBeouf performance, watch Disturbia.  If you don’t have HBO, don’t own Disturbia, but are at least having trouble sleeping, watch Lawless.  In the lexicon of gangster films, it falls short enough for me to name ten others better than it off the top of my head.  Godfather 1, Godfather 2, Goodfellas, Casino, Miller’s Crossing, The Untouchables, Sexy Beast, The Departed, Carlito’s Way, Scarface.  See?  Compared to any of those Lawless is easily FORGETTABLE.  Take some Nodoz…watch it…try to remember you saw it after…then tell me I’m wrong.

December 9, 2012

The Simplistic Reviews Podcast: November 2012

Welcome all to the inaugural Simplistic Reviews Podcast.  This is something that we had been planning for a while, and we finally got it done.  This edition we talk James Bond, namely, his newest adventure “Skyfall,” and remember some of his greatest villains and which James Bond theme song speaks to us.  Not in that creepy way that your uncle used to when he was drunk during Thanksgiving.

We also talk TV, where DJ explains why “Arrow” is his newest guilty pleasure, Justin talks about balls dropping, and why Jewish people aren’t allowed to watch “Mad Men,” while Matt asks “Why is AMC so stupid!”

We also wonder “What is it about Ghost Dad that gets our motors revving?” And “What was Morgan Freeman really doing during his voice over sessions on “March of the Penguins?”

All this and more on The Simplistic Reviews Podcast for November 2012.

Click on the link below to download the podcast and enjoy folks!
FOR MATURE AUDIENCES ONLY.

 Click HERE to listen to podcast
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