FOX

July 22, 2018

24: Season One

Premiering November 6, 2001 – 24 aired it’s first episode marking the beginning of one of the greatest shows to ever appear on TV. Season one is simply “Historic“.

Counterterrorism agent Jack Bauer fights the bad guys of the world, a day at a time. With each week’s episode unfolding in real time, “24” covers a single day in the life of Bauer each season. Jack deals with assassination attempts, nuclear attacks, bioterrorism, torture, traitors, sleeper cells, other bad guys and the alarming tendency for his romances to end badly — very badly.

September 3, 2017

(Ep. 90): SR Podcast – September 2017

FOR MATURE AUDIENCES

Hello friends and soon-to-be enemies!  Since its Labor Day Weekend, the gang at Simplistic Reviews thought it would be a great time to get back to work.  But it wasn’t all fun and games on our Summer break.  The fellas got a brand new studio…a brand new intern…and brand new ideas to pollute your brain with…like a sitcom about Hitler and Eva Braun or the craziest idea for a Bridesmaids sequel you’ll ever hear.  In between that Matt, Justin, and DJ tackle some of the topics they missed and prepare for nuclear winter from either North Korea or our own government while staving off ignored but still rampant national racism; institutional or otherwise…FUN FUN FUN!  But mainly they use obscenities to take out everything from The Dark Tower, to a Joker stand alone film, to Brett Ratner.  All this and more on an Always Sunny episode of The Simplistic Reviews Podcast.

0:00:00 Opening Skit
0:03:50 Show Monologue
0:8:43 Simplistic Showcase
0:36:55 TV Round Up
1:05:34 Kill F%$k Marry
1:32:21 Closing Skit

MUSIC
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March 18, 2016

Trailer Hot Take: X-Men: Apocalypse (Final Trailer)

We’ve been getting some pretty nice trailers in the run-up to the Summer Movie Season, but I guess trailers are all you get when there is a glut of ho-hum films, so it’s easy to get excited.

This time on “Trailer Hot Take” we take a look at the latest, and what seems to be the final, “X-Men: Apocalypse” trailer. It’s a mixed bag of goodies and for me personally, my verdict is still out on this one.

I have to admit, I’m digging this 80s style. I mean, look at that purple V with the sports coat!
Oscar Issac on the slab, pre-Apocalypse. I’m interested to see how they weave this origin story.
So is the suit going to be something created through “magic” or an actual tangible suit, or of “celestial” origin.
The new and improved Magneto helmet
And the new and improved Magneto suit.
Who could this be in the scene with Quicksilver? Magda….Magneto’s wife?
Is the RUSH shirt a little too on the nose?
Pre-Archangel fighting Nightcrawler in Hell in a Cell.
It looks like William Stryker is back, but in what capacity.
I may not be an Oliva Munn fan, but at least they got the Psylocke costume and sword right.
Havok going crazy in Cerebro…but why?
I hope the X-Mansion was covered for Apocalypse Insurance.
With a ton of J-Law shots in this trailer, will she meet her end at the hands of our titular villain?
Well, that’s it for this Trailer Hot Take. kthnxbye.
March 4, 2016

3 Simplistic Things: February 2016

Matt here again with 3 Simplistic Things that I’m sure you heard happened in February, but I”m going to tell you anyway.

 1. Launch of Viceland

This is something that I’m sure a lot of people missed, because honestly, if you could find me three people that watched H2 (History Channel’s sister station) I would call you a liar. VICE, on the other hand, is pretty much a household name, thanks to HBO’s weekly news show. Now, H2 is a distant memory and enter, Viceland. Full of original, compelling content, including weekly shows featuring rapper Action Bronson, LGBT crusader, Ellen Page, and much more, Viceland is TV at it’s finest.

2. The Return of Broad City

Abbi and Illana are back for more New York adventures as season three of Broad City returned to Wednesday nights on Comedy Central. While I can honestly say the season premier was a little bit of a letdown from the series premier and the season two premier, episode two was a vast improvement. I guess my issue with this season so far as been that two of the three highest rated episodes of the season have been this season. Has no one seen “Pussy Weed” or “Kirk Steele” or “Hashtag FOMO?” Oh well, maybe I’m just cranky….

3. I guess we won the Deadpool

Who’d of thought that an R-Rated Comic Book flick is, and quite possibility could be one of the highest grossing films of the year? I didn’t that see that one coming from “Deadpool.” What can be said about “Deadpool” is that they got it right. Fox had a property that they chose to take a gamble with, and let it become an organic thing in-and-of-itself, and it’s paying off….and paying, and paying, and paying.

That’s it for this month, kthnxbye!

February 4, 2016

3 Simplistic Things: January 2016

The new year begins, and while it might be new, the old saying “the more things change, the more they stay the same.” With that, here are three things to take away this past January.

1. The X-Files Return:

After nearly a year of build up, “The X-Files” returned and our favorite believer and skeptic, Mulder and Scully, respectively, look like they haven’t missed a beat.

After their last venture, the mix-reviewed “X-Files: I Want to Believe” it seemed like the X-Files were buried, but since everything that’s old is new again, the iron was struck while it was hot, as they say. The two-part premier at the end of January was a welcome return to form for the agents, but of course controversy was added after word leaked that Gillian Anderson was supposedly offered half the salary that her counterpart, David Duchovny, for the revival. Either way, with four episodes remaining, and fan interest reignited, could it be possible that more X-Files could be on the way.

2. #OscarsSoWhite Controversy:

Well, this was a big one, and for reasonably good reason. After the Oscar nominations were announced, the Internet exploded with news that there was not a single non-White actor or actress awarded a nomination. Enter #OscarsSoWhite.

Two arguments can be made for this, and both create great debate: Perhaps there simply were not enough “great” roles by non-White actors and actresses in 2015, and that brings me to the bigger question. Why? Why, were there not enough great performances by non-White actors? The simple answer is that because Hollywood is not making these roles available and great actors and actresses are being wasted. Granted, yes, Idris Elba not being nominated this year for “Beasts of No Nation” will be discussed for quite a while, but why are we talking about a single performance, when we should be talking about numerous non-White actors being nominated? There is your core problem, not just the Academy, but Hollywood as a whole.

3. Agent Carter Returns:

In a TV world crammed with male heroes, it’s great to see a female heroine come back with a vengeance. “Agent Carter” returned, and after some questionable promos that I saw about this season being a little too silly, I’m sold that Hayley Atwell is back and better than ever. Moving from NYC, and trading the concrete jungle for the palm trees of Los Angeles, “Carter” introduced some new Marvel lore (hopefully) and set the tone for the introduction of some mystical and spacey things to come.

That’s it for this month, let’s see what kind of love we get in February.

November 18, 2015

Countdown to the Force Awakens (Episode II) – Star Wars: Episode II – Attack of the Clones

Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones

Well, here it is, the one that you’ve all been waiting for. If you thought “The Phantom Menace” had issues, well, we might be here for a while. It’s the one, the only, “Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones,” just the name alone conjures chuckles, a reminder that even Ed Wood used to be called a director. And as much as it pains me to say, while this film isn’t very good, it does lay some good foundation for spin-off material such as the animated “Clone Wars” TV show and even includes some actual lightsaber fighting that is longer than a minute.

Saber up Anakin…

So, “Attack of the Clones.” Our story begins with an attempted assassination on now Senator Padme Amidala of Naboo. The plot thickens as now Jedi Knight Obi-Wan Kenobi and his Padawan learner, Anakin Skywalker, are brought in to investigate the botched assassination and to try and uncover a deeper conspiracy that involves planets erased from the Jedi archive, clones, poison darts, bounty hunters, and as much stuff as you can pack into the longest “Star Wars” films on record (142 minutes).

Once again, George Lucas, who actually stuck around this time and directed all three of the prequel films, packs it all in in this one; from laughable dialogue, convoluted political intrigue that now involves the universally loathed Jar Jar Binks, and one of the most cringe-worthy love stories in recent history. However, there is more polish on the visuals this time around, and on a Blu-Ray copy, the CG doesn’t look as dated as some of the CG in “Phantom Menace.”

While I sort of remember my experience in going to see “Phantom Menace” in the theater, I have little too no memory of seeing “Clones” in the cineplex. I was just about 19, so I remember that, but could a film be so bad or lackluster that maybe you erase all memory of the film itself. I think the only thing that I might remember, and perhaps this spoiled me, is that I read the novelization before seeing the film and I was looking forward to scenes popping up on screen. Some did, and some didn’t, and some even popped up as deleted scenes on the DVD version. Reading the novelization is properly the route I would go at this time. You know the old saying “the book was better” well, this is indeed the case for “Clones.”

Another take George?

Now before you all think I’m just going to poo poo all over “Clones” (and I’ll get to that) like I’ve been, and people might argue me on this; there is some good that came out of this film. Namely, both the animated and CG “Clone Wars” series on Cartoon Network and you could even say the success of those shows lead to 2014’s “Star Wars” Rebels.” You also had the introduction to another decent Sith villain, Count Dooku, played by none other than Count Dracula himself, the late Christopher Lee. Maybe it’s just the horror fan in me, but casting an ageless actor like Lee was something very cool and took just a little bit of the sting away from this film. While “Phantom” was so bad, there are some nice takeaways from “Clones” albeit the bad outweighs the good most of the time.

So, transitioning to the bad. Well, at least you can say that “Phantom” tried to incorporate some practical sets and costumes, very little can be said for this film. Much of the film is set on green or blue screens, including some of the acting as well, but more on that soon. There has always been a certain magic to the “Star Wars” films that blurred the line between practical and CG, those days all but died in “Clones.” It’s like overcooking a Filet Mignon; you can do it if you want, but I wouldn’t advise it (why a food saying that doesn’t exist? Maybe I’m just hungry).

With that out of the way, can be talk about acting, or “this is what happens when you decide not to re-take a shot and use your first take.” It’s been harped on how bad the acting is in these prequels, but to be honest I haven’t always been the biggest fan of the acting in the original trilogy either. Acting should be secondary to good storytelling, and that is what saves the original trilogy for me. With that being said, “Clones” is lacking in the acting department, but it’s even more frustrating when you think about the people that are doing the acting. Natalie Portman won an Oscar later on down the line. Samuel L Jackson, Oscar nominated. Ewan McGregor, gives it a shot, but you can’t paint a Monet when all you have is the color brown. I can keep going, but I think you get the point.

You’re covered in sand….I don’t like you anymore…

Of course this brings me to Hayden Christensen, and I saved an entire paragraph for him. Full disclosure, I liked his performance in “Life as a House” I think him and Kevin Klein but turned in great performances. But outside of scowling, Christensen sullied the likeness of Darth Vader and turned him into a whiny emo brat and turned his Padawan braid into the modern Jedi man bun. But just wait until you see him and Natalie Portman on screen together, that’s when things get real hot. Conversations about sand, not being able to be together, eating digitized fruit, and “I call this aggressive negotiation,” wow, this could go on all day. My point, I understand why people hate his performance, and yes, maybe he wasn’t the best pick for the future Darth Vader, but you need to have a good screenwriter and a director that actual directs to get the best out of your actors. You don’t have either.

“Clones” is neck and neck with “Phantom” as being the low-point in the “Star Wars” film franchise. The saving grace is that we at least got something positive out of it with some kick-ass animated series’ and the fact that it couldn’t get any worse…..or could it? More on that in the next installment.

January 12, 2015

The Simplistic Reviews Podcast (Ep. 36) January 2015

FOR MATURE AUDIENCES ONLY

It’s a brand new year and a brand new episode of The Simplistic Reviews Podcast.  This month the boys are not just joined by a Vern…they are joined by The Vern from The As You Watch Podcast and The Vern’s Video Video Vortex.  They pop his Simplistic cherry with a good ol’ game of Kill, F&%k, Marry.  And like all guests, the boys decide to go Inside The Podcaster…yes…it’s as gross as it sounds.  Also…Julie and Vern admit their feeling for each other.  All this and more on this January 2015 edition of The Simplistic Reviews Podcast

Show Notes
Bill Cosby
Deadpool Dead
No Bourne Crossover
Wolverine Dead
Quicksilver & Scarlet Witch No Longer Mutants
Fantastic Four Josh Trank Set Report
Batman v Superman Split

Music Notes
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Theme
G.I. Joe Theme
Thundercats Theme
Birds & Brass By Sort Of Soul
Action In Memphis By Johnny Pearson
My Flows Is Tight By Lord Digga
Inside The Actors Studio Theme Angelo Badalamenti

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May 3, 2014

Simplistic Sneak Peek Ep. 4

On this installment of Simplistic Sneak Peek, Matthew, Justin and DJ take a look at trailers for upcoming television shows including Jack Bauer’s 24 return, Damon Lindeloff’s HBO show Leftovers, and Michael Bay’s…(sigh)…new TNT show The Last Ship.  And just for kicks, the boys keep it on a Michael Bay tip and look at the 2nd trailer for the upcoming Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movie.  I got a “tip” for Michael Bay…stay away from Thundercats, Gargoyles, and Centurions if you know what’s good for you, nostalgia killer.  Anyway, you can check out the links to these trailers below if you haven’t seen them, then click the video above to see Matthew, Justin, and DJ’s thoughts about them.

 24: Live Another Day Trailer

The Leftovers Trailer

The Last Ship Trailer

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Trailer #2

April 23, 2014

Simply TV: Fargo on FX

TONE

Fargo – Tone

Some movies should just be left alone…for the most part. I’m not a huge fan of taking films and trying to shrink them down to the small screen. It’s like trying to find sense in a Pauly Shore movie (thanks Clueless). See examples like, ironically, “Clueless” and “Blade: The TV Series” for prime examples of bad adaptations. You could imagine my reservations for “Fargo” the new series on FX.  I mean, how could you add on, or create a show, to a film that pretty much had a definitive ending that needed no more explanation. Well, in the case of “Fargo” I stand corrected, and I’m excited to see what direction this newest FX offering goes into.

Whereas the film version of “Fargo” took place in Minneapolis, Minnesota this version takes place in the small town of Bemidji, Minnesota. A mysterious drifter named Lorne Malvo has arrived in town and immediately begins to wreak havoc. Meanwhile, a milquetoast insurance broker named Lester Nygaard is having a hard time dealing with a demanding wife, family members that have no respect for him, and an old high school bully that loves to remind him that he slept with his wife before they were married. A chance encounter with Malvo in a hospital turns Lester’s world upside down and sets off a chain of events that leave behind quite a few dead bodies….and that’s only the first episode.

“Fargo” is developed by Noah Hawley, who had success as a writer on “Bones” but also put out clunkers like “The Unusuals” and “My Generation.” While I can’t say such for his two failed TV experiments, the name recognition of “Fargo” and the Coen Brothers on as Executive Producers certainly gives this series name recognition, and I haven’t even gotten to the show’s lead actors yet.

It’s easy to forget that Billy Bob Thornton is a really good actor, and when given a role like Malvo in “Fargo” you can see a twinkle in his eye. I liken Thornton as Malvo to Heath Ledger in “The Dark Knight;” he is truly an agent of chaos. He’s a cold, calculating, yet charming drifter who befriends a down on his luck Martin Freeman, who plays Lester Nygaard. I guess my best summation of Malvo would be a combination of The Joker, Anton Chigurh and maybe throw in a little Rust Chole from “True Detective.” The great cast also includes Colin Hanks and Bob Odenkirk in supporting roles.

The one thing that “Fargo” might lack at this time is a strong female lead. I see potential in Allison Tolman, who plays the lone female police officer in the series, Molly Solverson, but will she be able to match Frances McDormand’s Marge Gunderson? There are quite a few similarities, including their commitment to police work and family, but Tolman has extra motivation in the series which I think will add that extra dimension to her character.  

Despite my early reservation for “Fargo” I see a very bright future for the series. Whether FX decides to continue after the initial 10-episodes, I would love to see either an “American Horror Story” type anthology direction for the series where we meet new hitmen like Malvo from around the Midwest, and hopefully some tie-in’s with the film, and perhaps situating the show as somewhat of a prequel. Either way, “Fargo” has legs, and in the deft hands of FX, I believe it will be a series that gets better and better.

Fun Fact:The tallest building in Fargo, North Dakota is the Radisson Hotel, standing at over 206 feet and built in 1985.

July 12, 2013

(Turn on the TV) The Bridge

AGAIN

The Bridge – Again

FX is known for putting out fantastic programming.  Just look at the catalog; “The Shield,” “Justified,” “American Horror Story,” “Louie,” and “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia.” Of course I’m missing a few, including “Archer” but you look at their lineup either currently or in the past, and you see the quality.  This brings me to FX’s newest show “The Bridge” a look at crime on the border of Texas and Mexico.  After watching the pilot I was left thinking, “again?”

“The Bridge” is based on the Swedish TV series “Bron” which deals with crime on the Denmark-Sweden border.  Who’d of thought; crime in Denmark and and Sweden, I thought that only happened in Steig Larsson novels.  In this American version, two cops, Diane Kruger, who is ironically German, and Demian Bichir, who is in fact Mexican, so that helps, both find a body on the US-Mexico border.  It’s discovered that the body was cut in half and comprised of two different bodies.  Intrigued?

Moving from the plot aspects to the character aspects for a second, I just want to comment on the character Sonya Cross, or North, depending where you read her character’s name from.  Now this is the third show in the past year where the creators decided to go the now-cliched detective route, namely giving the main detective symptoms of Aspergers.  We’ve had “Sherlock” on the BBC, “Hannibal” on NBC, and now “The Bridge” on FX.  There used to be an age where cops or detectives had the cliche of having a gruff exterior with a soft interior, usually involving “a past event” that shaped their character, but now we are stuck with detectives and cops who have some sort of autism.  It was cute the first time, but personally I think it’s time find a new cliche.

Being that the pilot was an “extended pilot” (clocking in at just over 90 minutes as opposed to your standard 60 minute program) we get some extra time with our main characters and our “killer.”  Yet, I didn’t really feel any type of investment with either North or her Mexican counterpart, Marco Ruiz.  The stakes seem higher for Ruiz who is balancing both personal and professional business in one of the most corrupt cities in Mexico, whereas the only thing we know about North is that she is a little off.

Stylistically, if you took the film “Savages” and gave it the Michael Mann treatment, that’s exactly how “The Bridge” looks, which means it looks great.  I would even say that it even has a little “No Country For Old Man” vibe with the look and feel of the desert landscapes.  They always say imitation is the highest form of flattery.

Overall, “The Bridge” has potential, but in a TV landscape with every cop and procedural show trying to one-up the other when it comes to violence, gory, and autistic detectives, where does this show fit?  Being it’s on FX, the pedigree is there, but it’s where they decide to go with the characters that really matters.  If I want to see gory murders and detectives with problems I’ll stick with “Hannibal.”

Fun Fact:  According to The International Boundary and Water Commission, the US-Mexico border is approximately 1.954 miles long.

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