Idris Elba

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
Check us out on FacebookTwitterYouTubeLetterboxd, and Pinterest


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.

July 18, 2013

Pacific Rim (Matt’s Take)

Pacific Rim – Correct

CORRECT

In a movie climate of big booms, there is a vacuum of emptiness. You have “Transformers”, “Man of Steel”, and countless “Fast and the Furious” sequels where droves of people go just to see what I’ll call “explosion porn.” In a summer full of disappointment it’s refreshing to finally see a big budget tent pole film live up to not only its potential, but gives even more. “Pacific Rim” might be the wild card blockbuster of this Summer, but it does everything correct.

I could make this review brief and just say “Rim” is great and you should plunk down $10 at your local multiplex and support a film that, one, doesn’t take itself too serious, two, provides over two hours of action eye candy, and three, is a breath of fresh air in a time of cinema that relies on sequels that are inferior to its predecessors.  The sad part about “Rim” is that it will ultimately become a cult hit, which is odd for a film that cost upwards of $200 Million between it’s production and marketing, but that is what Guillermo del Toro films are; cult hits that delivers fan service up the ass, but just don’t make enough at the box office to call themselves “monetary hits” despite the fact that nearly all of del Toro’s films have been critically lauded (I’m not including “Rim” in that bunch because at heart it’s really just a bunch of dumb fun).

But what’s wrong with dumb fun?  I mean “Grown Ups 2” made nearly $50 Million in it’s opening weekend. “Grown Ups 2”?!  Really?!  A film that has plenty dumb, and I’m sure some people would say is “fun.”  And this isn’t going into an Adam Sandler rant.  I respect anyone that finds a niche and makes money off of it.  Del Toro has his niche, sci-fi and fantasy geeks, which are mostly single guys and girls between the ages of 18-35.  Seems like a solid demographic, right?  Not when you look at the ticket returns.  I can see “Hellboy” not making a ton of money.  It’s literally a fringe comic from Dark Horse that not many people would know about outside the comic book reading public.  “Rim” should appeal to EVERYONE who saw all three “Transformers” film as well as anyone who saw “Cloverfield” or “Independence Day” or “Godzilla” or I could keep the list going but I won’t.  My question is why didn’t this film get the love, and money, it deserves its opening week.  Yes, it’s the Summer and there are a lot of movies to see right now.  I’m not going to say they are good movies, but they’re movies nonetheless.  What continues to befuddle me is the movie-going audience in this day and age.  They will celebrate sequel after horrible sequel, but when something interesting comes their way with the same thing they are watching over and over, they dare not give it a chance?  Rant end, now let’s get to Grown U…..I mean “Pacific Rim.”

In short, “Rim” is about a war between humans and giant sea monsters.  These monsters, or Kaiju, are creating havoc within the ‘Ring of Fire” in the Pacific Ocean, decimating China, Japan, Australia, and the West Coast of the United States.  To combat this menace, the Jaeger Program was created.  A program comprised of giant robots piloted by humans, the robots, called Jaegers, hunt the Kaiju, engage them in combat, and most of the time defeat them.  Controlling the Jaegers requires a mind-meld between the pilots called “drifting” in which the pilots share memories, fears, and anger in order to fight better.  As the plot progresses we are introduced to your typical action movie archetypes; the loner with a past, the quiet girl that kicks ass, the grizzled guy in charge with a past, and your typical bad-ass roughnecks, but just become fodder for story’s sake.  The whole story leads up to a final confrontation with “a category 5 monster” and when all seems lost for humanity….well, I’ll stop there.

While acting isn’t it’s strongest suit, the camp element of robots fighting monsters makes the acting fit like a glove.  Even when Idris Elba gives his “Braveheart” speech, which is shoehorned in, I still felt inspired despite the fact I’ve heard the same speech in every sports film ever made.  Even though Charlie Day does his best Charlie Kelly the Scientist impression I still thought the character had a place in the film as a so-called “Kaiju groupie.”

Yes, we’ve all seen “Rim” before, just not all in one film.  del Toro, a master of genre film-making, borrows what he likes best from “Aliens” all the way to H.P. Lovercraft, and creates a cohesive film filled with colorful characters, locations, and amazing action set pieces.  There isn’t any new ground being broken which leads to my massive confusion of why this film isn’t getting the love it should be getting.  Are we going cold turkey on big-budget robot/monster beat-em-ups?  In the case of “Transformers”, I hope so, but not “Pacific Rim.”  There is a love and commitment to detail in “Rim.”  Keep in mind, this is the film that del Toro left “The Hobbit” for.  “The Hobbit,” a guaranteed, and critic proof, hit, was put aside so he could create a wonderful genre piece that is now being overlooked by audiences.

I could be getting ahead of myself.  Perhaps word of mouth will help “Rim” in the coming weeks and it’s box office receipts won’t drop off too much, but it’s Summer, where a film’s time to make a dent in an audiences’ wallet is limited, and it could be an uphill battle.  Regardless, the fact that “Pacific Rim” exists is a good for film.  It reinvigorates the “giant monster/robot” genre but it does it in a way that provides just enough heart and tongue-in-cheek fun where you wouldn’t mind seeing more Kaiju vs. Jaeger fist fighting.  For a fun time, check out “Pacific Rim.”

Fun Fact:  Having now appeared in five of del Toro’s films, this is the first film where Ron Perlman plays a human character, Hannibal Chau.

September 10, 2012

The Wire, Wrap-Up

*Spoilers Ahead*

The case is closed on “The Wire.”  Some of the good guys won, some of the bad guys won, and there were plenty of people caught in the cross-fire, but it was a ride that everyone should be willing to take if you enjoy story and character-driven dramas.

While this is not so much a review, as a wrap-up, I will be detailing characters, plot lines, and a few top ten lists, including; Top 10 Characters, Top 10 Tragic/Offing Moments. (Just to clarify, an offing is a death or murder of a character)  Now allow me to drop you back into”The Wire.”
————————————————————————————————————————————–
Cheese: “This is some shameless shit!”
Omar Little: “Oh, ain’t no shame in my game, doe.  I’m here about my business, ain’t dat right Joe!”
– Season Four
————————————————————————————————————————————–
It’s a little difficult to pick just ten characters that I would classify as the best from the entire series.  In such a character-driven show all your characters should be great, and trust me they’re all great.  So here goes nothing as I unveil MY Top 10 characters on “The Wire.”

10.  Det. Roland “Prez” Pryzbylewski:  The funny thing about Prez is that he went from an asshole detective who was messing up left and right to someone who I truly respected come the end of the show.  Once he started his new career as a middle school teacher, the character became a tragic reminder of someone who continues to have hope in a hopeless situation.

9.  Dennis “Cutty” Wise:  Cutty, a former Barksdale enforcer, has been recently paroled when we first meet him.  He tries to get back into the drug game when he leaves prison but realizes that the life isn’t meant for him anymore and decides to open a boxing gym for the troubled youth of West Baltimore.  He is one of the lone bright spots in the show as he not only saves his own life, but indirectly saves the life of Namon Brice, the son of incarcerated Barksdale enforcer, Roland “Wee-Bey” Brice.

8.  Brother Mouzone:  While he only appeared in a few episodes, the suit, glasses and bow-tie of Brother Mouzone left a lasting impression.  Essentially Mouzone was a mirror image of Omar Little, only Brother wore a smart suit and sported a pistol while Omar preferred a brown duster and a shotgun.  The duo also supplied one of the more surprising deaths in the series when they gunned down Stringer Bell at the end of Season Three.
—————————————————————————————————————
Omar Little: “I knew you’d come back.”
Brother Mouzone:  “I trust you didn’t lose much sleep over it?”
Omar Little:  “Worryin’ about you would be like worryin’ if the sun gonna come up.”
-Season Three
—————————————————————————————————————
7.  Michael Lee:  During Season Four we were introduced to the youth of West Baltimore and the one character that really stood out from the rest of the pack was Michael.  From a broken home, Michael tried his best to walk the line between right and wrong while trying to protect his friends and his younger brother, Bug.  In the most poignant moment of Season Five, Michael, now on the run from Marlow, Chris, and Snoop, has to say goodbye to both his friend Duquan and Bug and disappear from Baltimore.

6.  Chris and Snoop:  I consider both Chris Partlow and Snoop pretty much the same character, just one male and one female.  They are both extremely loyal, and similar to Omar and Brother Mouzone, they both have a “code.”  Chris is the more calculating of the two, and while it’s not said directly, seems to be a victim of childhood abuse.  Snoop is the colder of the two and would do anything to protect the reputation of Marlo Stanfield.

5.  Reginald “Bubbles” Cousins:  With a show so grim, it was great to see how one character in particular went from a hopeless drug addict to a reformed member of society.  That character was Bubbles, a police informant, heroin addict, and just maybe, the lone bright spot on “The Wire.”  In the series finale, Bubbles finally opens up at an NA Meeting about losing a friend, and it always brings a tear to my eye.  It’s truly a beautiful moment in the series.
————————————————————————————————————–
Bubbles: “Ain’t no shame in holdin’ on to grief.  As long as you make room for other things too.”
-Season Five
————————————————————————————————————————————
 4.  Russell “Stringer” Bell:  If anyone knows anything about “The Wire” you know Stringer Bell, portrayed by Idris Elba.  Stringer was the brains, while Avon was the brawn of the Barksdale Crew, and when Avon went away to prison he took over the crew and tried to steer them in a different direction.  Unfortunately, Stringer thought that drug dealers could be rationalized with and “trained” but the one thing he forgot about was the fact that he was still a drug dealer trying to move past his station in life, and that is pretty much what finished him off in the game.

3.  Marlo Stanfield:  Marlo was a different breed of drug dealer then what we had seen from Avon Barksdale, Stringer Bell, or Proposition Joe.  He was ruthless, had enforcers that would do all of his bidding, and he got to the kids early, looking for the next generation of hopper even in middle school.  But not even money mattered in the grand scheme for him, it was knowing that people feared him.

2.  Preston “Bodie” Broadus:  Bodie was one of those characters that I didn’t think much of when I first started watching “The Wire.”  I personally just thought he was some low-level drug dealing prick that would get killed early in the series, but as time went on, Bodie really fleshed out and became my 2nd favorite character on the show.  After Avon’s arrest, and Stringer’s death in Season Three, Bodie pretty much became all the Barksdale Crew had left and was the only dealer on the street that wasn’t scared of Marlo, and eventually, it cost him.
 ————————————————————————————————————–
Omar: “You got the briefcase……I got the shotgun…..It’s all in the game tho’.”
-Season Two
————————————————————————————————————————————-
1.  Omar Little:  I can pretty much sum Omar up in a few words.  “Omar don’t scare.” 

It is difficult to pick just ten characters as the best of the bunch on “The Wire” because they are all so damn good.  Moving on to the tragic/offing moments.

*Warning, there will be spoilers ahead*

10.Chris and Snoop torturing and killing Butchie for information on Omar.
9.  Seeing Duquan succumb to drugs.
8.  Bodie being gunned down by the Stanfield Crew while defending his corner.
7.  The death of Wallace by Bodie and Poot.
6.  Cheese being shot and killed by “Slim” Charles.  Probably the most “satisfying” death in the entire series.
5.  Frank Sobotka murdered by “The Greek”
4.  Stringer Bell gunned down by Brother Mouzone and Omar in his own building.
3.  Michael saying goodbye to Duquan and Bug
2.  Seeing Bubbles’ revenge plan backfire and kill Sherrod.
1.  Omar being gunned down by Kenard.

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 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).

Welcome to the new home of SimplisticReviews.net - We're currently still working on the site. You might notice a few issues, please be patient with us. Thanks! (Store also in testing — no orders shall be fulfilled.)
Scroll to top