Community Picked Up for 6th Season

POP POP!

commposterwesternfnljpg-a29c17_960wAt the last possible moment (cast contracts expired on June 30th), Community was “saved” and is poised to air on the Yahoo Screen streaming service. Sony Pictures Television was able to reach a deal for 13 episodes to air this fall, with most of the cast  in tact (full details not disclosed as of yet).

For years, the meta-joke of  “six seasons and a movie” became a calling card for Community fans, and creators alike. The show always had a small but loyal following, and was always on the cancellation bubble. This is why each season finale felt like it was the last in the series. The only thing keeping it around was the fact that NBC was doing terribly in ratings all around. Even their “hit” shows like 30 Rock and Parks & Rec barely did any better by comparison.

So, we can all rejoice that our Greendale Gang will be back together for at least one more go of things. Now, let’s all go and find out what the hell Yahoo Screen is so we can give them some money.

Advertisements

Album Review – Kodomo: Patterns & Light

Ambient music is always a gamble. If done wrong, you end up with jumbled background noise devoid of emotion or semblance of talent. If done right, it showcases an immense talent for production and layering that fully immerses the listener, but it is still made to be played in the background. A clear example of “if you do something right, it appears as if you’re not doing anything at all.” With that in mind, Patterns & Light by Brooklyn-based electronica artist Kodomo is “doing it right.” He has put together an ambient opus that doesn’t overstay its welcome, but doesn’t fully leave a lasting mark either.

Continue reading Album Review – Kodomo: Patterns & Light

New TMNT Trailer Shows Turtles…Looks Good

“So, they’re aliens?”

“No, that’s stupid. They’re turtles…”TMNT Still

Look, much has been said about the TMNT reboot hitting theaters this August. The first couple of trailers were teasers, yes, but they still felt like they were lacking. Of course they didn’t want to fully reveal the fearsome foursome, but the films felt dour and dark for the sake of being dark. Something the franchise as a whole hasn’t been in over 20 years. Sorry fellow 20 somethings, but even the turtles you love and remember were goofy, fun-time guys. This latest trailer though, does something that 2 years of speculation, and 2 teasers hasn’t been able to accomplish; it makes this movie look good.

When costumes, toys, and concept art were “leaking” people were in an uproar. Then the teasers dropped, and there wasn’t much turtle action. It felt like standard Michael Bay fair. Which is bad because he’s only producing, so Jonathan Liebesman is working out of a perceived hole already. THIS trailer is ALL ABOUT TURTLES, which also gives away a fair amount of plot, but somehow I don’t care about that. It’s pulling off the oh so hard “we’re showing you what’s gonna happen, but making you want to see more” trick that a lot of trailers seem to fail at.

Does it look perfect? Not at all. The Foot is basically a terrorist group with guns and bombs, meaning a lot of the action will be turtles getting shot at from a distance until they get the advantage. Eh. Also, Raphael seems to have some sort of “blackcent” that is standard for a Bay production. On the other hand, Shredder is made of knives.  TMNT, against all odds, could be a good summer flick, and this trailer just may have just sold a lot of people.

The Purge: Anarchy Trailer 2, The Purgening

the-purge-anarchy-god-face.jpgIf you’d have told me that a movie with the concept of all crime being legal for one day would be one of the most boring sci-fi experiences in the past five years, i’d have laughed at you. “How could that be boring?” I would have said. Well, when you take that concept and make it a paint-by-numbers, home invasion flick. Add in an unlikable family lead by Ethan Hawke and well, you get The Purge. 

It’s sequel, The Purge: Anarchy, which is sure to the be first of many because damnit all the original made money, looks to expand the scope a bit. Good move. It also looks like our main character, played by Frank Grillo is out for vengeance. Another good move. The Purge: Anarchy at its root looks like someone entered the riot code in a GTA game. All good things, so why am I so apprehensive about a movie that’s 3-for-3 on “good things”? Because the first one was so bad, and was also tipping my “good thing-o-meter”. Anarchy could totally be front loading these trailers with all the best imagery and what will be left is nothing more than shades of daring execution of a good concept. The “rich folk hunt for sport” trope gets old really quick. Especially when SO MANY other terrible things could be going down that night. Ah well. Here’s hoping the series figures itself out, because even if it get’s so bad it’s good, that’s better than boring.

Orange is the New Black: Season 2, Finale

Everyone’s favorite inmates are back for another round in Litchfield. Orange is the New Black hit Netflix on Friday, with all 13 episodes released at once (standard Netflix practice). Since doing a recap for each episode doesn’t work, I’ll be splitting the season into 3 episode chucks all week. SPOILERS will be included, so be careful if you haven’t gotten your binge in yet and let me know what other shows you’d like State of Mined to cover.

 

orange-new-black-season-2-casting-rumors

 

Don’t Fear the Reaper….

 

You wanted a finale, you got a finale. Orange is the New Black capped off season 2 with the wonderfully tight, albeit too serendipitous, “We Have Manners. We’re Polite”. All roads led to this conclusion but there was definitely a feeling that the bow was a little too tight. Starting from the top, let’s see the events that closed out our second year in Litchfield.

The nursery rhyme that the title comes from is one of code, conducts and refinement. It’s about what to do and when. A motif that runs through the super-sized, 90 minute episode. Around every corner, someone’s code is questioned and in those moments they learn that there are definitely times to alter said code.

Vee_Orange_is_the_New_Black_Episode_209With SIS investigating Red’s slocking, Suzanne was setup to take the fall for Vee. Yet another lamb to the slaughter in the name of Vee. Of course, all her demise could ultimately be avoided if Red would just tell who it was that attacked her, which brings us to her code. Red is old school, and much like her first physical encounter with Vee, she’s not going to snitch. It took a compromise of sorts with Sister Abigail where they both agreed to set aside their personal ideals for the greater good. Yes, keeping the G-Code meant something personal for Red, but in doing so, she would enable Vee to continue ruining the lives of her “baby girls” as she liked to refer to them.

Another set of values that were finally checked were Taystee’s. After Pouessy destroyed the supply of tobacco in the warehouse, Vee decided to cut ties with the only purpose P had for acting out; Taystee. Vee laid it out clearly; good people do bad things, and usefulness is more important that loyalty. Her examples of Amazon prices and other company practices were cold, and very fitting. It was just what the rest of the girls needed to finally come to their senses and recant their earlier statements about seeing Suzanne leave with Mr. Loxley.

Turned out the actions were too little too late, as SIS had wrapped up their investigation, but Caputo, going back on his own ideals, ha some paperwork fudged to give Suzanne an alibi. Pretty much everyone recognized Vee as a full on evil entity within the prison walls. There wasn’t a person in that prison who didn’t want to see her gone, which made her eventual escape all the more intriguing because we just KNEW she had it coming. We’d earned the right to see her punished for all she’d done, and there was no way OITNB would deprive us. So when Rosa hit her with the van, it felt good. It just didn’t feel right.

Orange-Is-The-New-Black-Alex1With the 90 minute runtime, we got to see so much that had almost nothing to do with the most compelling story of the season. Notice that I haven’t once mentioned Piper, Alec, Larry or Fig. Their stories were addressed, but didn’t grab the way the Vee story did. Everything about the finale felt like a small setup toward something greater, and the finale exemplified that. The nun-uprising at the gates, Suzanne’s rants during the interrogation, even Morello describing Toy Story to Rosa; it all felt like a slow build to the convenient end.

We do have some nugget to look forward to next season. How will Alex react once she finds out that she’s back in prison because of Piper? How will Suzanne take the downfall of Vee, the only person to treat her with love and respect in quite some time? How will Caputo handle his new position? It’s all interesting, and leaves us wanting more, but what I really, really want is to see more of the inmate history.

"Orange is the New Black" Season 2 Episode 13 (Screengrab)The finale may have bypassed that storytelling element for a more focused outing, but I think it’s safe to say we’ll learn more about the women behind the walls.  Maybe Piper will have more of a role with the rest of the population. Yes, she was the central character, but her story felt more personal than last time. Season one saw her very much learning and adapting to her new surroundings. This year, if she wasn’t out on her own, she was acting as a wily veteran. Whether we liked her or not. It was the more ancillary characters who got depth, and the chance to react to their surroundings as opposed to create folly for Dandelion.

OITNB season two was far from perfect, and while it was great to see an old friend, she was taking a new approach to conversation this time around. Now, all we’ve got is time and memories on our hands until season three rolls around. We’ve got tiiiiiiiiiiime.

 

What do you think; did you like Vee’s demise? Was the show as good as it was last year?  Let me know. @TheArnold_SoM

Orange is the New Black: Season 2, Part 4

Everyone’s favorite inmates are back for another round in Litchfield. Orange is the New Black hit Netflix on Friday, with all 13 episodes released at once (standard Netflix practice). Since doing a recap for each episode doesn’t work, I’ll be splitting the season into 3 episode chucks all week. SPOILERS will be included, so be careful if you haven’t gotten your binge in yet and let me know what other shows you’d like State of Mined to cover.

 

orange-new-black-season-2-casting-rumors

Chickens have come home to roost! Wait, is that what chickens come home to do? They roost right? Anyway, these last few episodes before the plus-sized season finale had things come to a full boil, and some serious ramifications for a select few. Before we get to business, just want to address that some of my last recap bled into episode 10, “Mustachioed Little Shit”. So, Pornstache was back, he was lied on, and was ousted in dramatic fashion. Piper had her furlough, learned about Larry, had her beer. We also got to see how her super-WASP brain would warp things in the long, long ago.

What was key about this episode though, was watching the slight cracks in the armor of Vee’s following. When Watson was thrown into SHU after a random search turned up some of the tobacco they stashed, everyone watched as Vee barely batted an eye.

alexVOn to Piper, who was still trying to figure out what person she knew, would have sex with Larry. She didn’t have to do too much digging though since Polly came to visit and the two went on to have the most subtext laden conversation I can think of. Not saying the conversation was bad, seeing as Polly didn’t know what Piper did, but damn girl, buy a clue. Our “lead” character then went into “Piper Smash” mode and punched a wall until her hand bled. You know, the type of productive behavior one would expect.  I will say this much, getting the flaming bag of poo placed on Polly’s doorstep was a nice touch.

In “Take a Break from Your Values” out lovely ladies of Litchfield were warned that a storms a brewin’. Hurray for symbolism. Look, I’m all in for theme and motif, but OITNB can be a little on the nose sometimes. It’s true that more often than not, it works, but other times it can seem hokey. So, to go with the storm brewing outside the walls of Litchfield, let’s look at the storm front inside as well.

Untitled1Pouessy is still on the outs with the rest of the Vee’s crew after her assault in the bathroom. Red is searching for the rat who told Vee about her supply tunnel and sister Abbigail is none too pleased with her hunger strike group. Turns out Sister Abbie is something of a narcissistic rebel. Yes, she takes up causes to help others, but also to get her name/face out there. It’s a nice twist to add to the character; showing that she does want to make a difference but also wants to be famous for it. Here focus on image over ideals, capped off with the pun-tastic book title Nun Shall Pass, got her excommunicated from the church. For her, the hunger strike is real, but more of an opportunity to get back in the spotlight.

Abigail wonders why a prisoners’ hunger strike isn’t drumming up more media attention, when Soso tells her that the pending storm has taken up the news space in that region. Caputo also puts a kibosh on the her movement after telling the other inmates about her past, then having her hauled off to medical and force fed in a truly haunting moment.

Oh, Piper. After her little excursion, she finds out that Fig is having her transferred to a prison in Virginia along with 11 other inmates. A not so subtle punishment for digging into her misappropriation of funds.  Piper is doubly upset because her transfer is taking place on the day Alex was going to visit so that they might get some closure.

Man, this back and forth is annoying. Alex is poison for Piper, but like all bad relationships, they burn bright and hard. We also find out that Alex may be in danger since Kurba got off on a technicality and is possibly after her. This also leaves Piper as the only person STILL in prison for the whole ordeal. Comedy.

orange-new-black (1)We also find out almost immediately that Boo is the one who ratted about the supply tunnel. She gets the old shunning from Red and the Gang, but she also gets the shoulder from Vee, who has no room for snitches. Oh Boo, what was the point? No seriously, will that build to something later for Boo, or wsa that just a way to move plot along? It seemed so random and pointless. Ah well, more hits than misses in that way. Later, one of the older gals goes all stab happy on an inmate that looks like Vee in a botched assassination attempt, letting Vee know that things have gotten quite real.

In the penultimate episode, “It was the Change” Red had to go into damage control mode. After the botched shank job (which she didn’t approve) the plan was to convince Vee that they meant to stab the look alike, to send a message. Vee doesn’t really believe it.

We get a little more insight into the mind of our supervillain and man, Vee is truly evil. Remember that surrogate son who was shot by the NYPD a few episodes back? Turns out Vee set that whole thing up because he was conducting some business on the side. The woman is cold blooded in every sense of the word. OITNB is making sure that if you were remotely on her side you want her dead, buried, gone, in the worst possible way.

That made it all the more satisfying and annoying when Red went for the kill, went to strangle her with plastic wrap and then STOPPED. She stopped and tried to have some moment of levity at the Murtaugh of it all. NOOOOO. Vee’s going to kill you! And sure enough, Vee beat the brakes off of Red with a slock (Sock with a lock).

By the end, we don’t know how Red is doing or if Piper will stick around since Caputo caught her sneaking around while the rest of the women were singing 90’s pop songs in the mess hall. I guess the theme of this series has been “fool me twice, I’m a dumbass” since so many people just couldn’t take the damn hints. Either way, this is gonna be one hell of a finale.

 

 

What do you think; you think Vee is gonna get hers, is Larry as big a dumbass as I think? Let me know. @TheArnold_SoM

 

Final Trailer for Dawn of The Planet of the Apes is DOPE!

Dawn-of-the-Planet-of-the-Apes-CaesarI remember when Rise of the Planet of the Apes  was announced a few years back. We laughed at the title together. The terrible taste of the Tim Burton remake still sat in our mouths. We hadn’t started to be endlessly annoyed by James Franco yet, so we wondered why he was apart of this clear example of brand exploitation. Then we saw the movie, and it was great. Not perfect at all, but a really solid sci-fi movie. We all knew the sequel would come in the near future, but how would it be received. If these trailers are any indication we are in for a treat.

THIS is *hopefully* what happens when a film maker gets the concept and goes for it. Nothing about this feels off. The mocap/CG blend looks great, the scope and tone feel right. I was skeptical at first but I am FULLY on board with Dawn of the Planet of the Apes.