Yvette Nicole Brown Leaves Community

Our little show that could, Community may be coming backshirley for a sixth season, but one member of the study group is not. Yvette Nicole Brown who played resident Den Mother, Shirley asked to be released from her contract due to personal family reasons.

It’s reported that Brown is leaving the show to take care of her ill father. Brown states “My dad needs daily care and he needs me.” She goes on to say that spending 16 hours a day away from him, for up to five months is just something she cannot do.

Brown has been a cast member of Community for all five seasons, and has always been a central role to the show. She was also cast in the Odd Couple  reboot to air on CBS, but the more forgiving shooting schedule of a multi-cam show, along with a smaller role will allow her the time she needs to be with her family.

That makes two open cast spots for the YahooScreen show, including Jonathan Banks who will be filming Better Call Saul. Brown told TVGuide.com “I don’t want the fans to worry; it’s going to be fine. Greendale is the heart of the show, not any particular character. Even if characters come and go, the heart of Greendale remains.”

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First Official Tak3n Trailer

liam-neeson-stars-in-first-poster-for-tak3n-168210-a-1411936761-470-75Not content to let Denzel Washington have all the “old man action” fun, the incomparable Liam Neeson is back as Bryan Mills in Tak3n.

It was only a week or so ago that the official title was released, and we also found out that this would be the final installment in the popular franchise. It looks like Mills has his back against the wall this time as he has been seemingly framed from murder.

The original cast of Neeson, Famke Janssen and Maggie Grace will be joined by Forrest Whitaker.

 

I’m still a little disappointed that they didn’t go with Taken 3: Straight Tooken, but hey, there’s always a chance from straight to RedBox sequels.

 

 

Gotham: “Selina Kyle” Review

Protect Ya Neck…And Ya Eyes

selenakyleMisleading title aside, “Selina Kyle” felt more like a straight up show than the showcase that “Pilot” was. The second episode of Gotham greatly benefited from not having to focus on the Wayne family’s murder. We were able to hit the ground running and gain a sense of normalcy going forward. Yes, there was still a little fallout from episode one, what with Cobblepot still making his way back home, but in all this was a relatively contained episode that established tone and ran with it.

So with an episode titled “Selina Kyle” you’d think she would have played a larger part in the proceedings. In actuality she doesn’t get any shine until the last 15 minutes or so. The opening moments with the street kids, and the creepy abductors was great. Frank Whaley and Lili Taylor played their parts with such a nostalgic flare, it felt like they were channeling a time where kidnapping hobo children was just what ya did, and made it home in time for Howdy Doody. Do you remember those times? Petridge Farms remembers. Either way, you knew they were up to know good the second they got out of the rape van and stuck Raven Symone’s little brother in the neck with that pen. Then tossed him though a window Beverly Hills Cop style.

I’m starting to think that maybe this depiction of a corrupt Gotham is just  a little too corrupt. As of now, we know they had reach to kill the richest people in town, the Mayor rounds up kidnapped kids and sends them to prison, and grown men get beaten up in restaurants to make a point. This city isn’t burning, it’s burnt and we still have like 20 years before trouble little Bruce becomes crazy ass Batman. Hopefully they slow down the decay just a little.

Speaking of that beating scene, i’m enjoying that the big players in the show aren’t complete idiots. The same way Fish Mooney knew Cobblepot was the snitch, Falcone knew Mooney was making moves to take over. And just to show her how much he respects ambition but could still do damage, he had her boy toy get got right in front of her. While honest folk eating dinner got to play “ketchup or blood”, but not for too long as Mooney had everyone get out ASAP. Hey, free dinner!

The same accolades can’t be given to the “criminal of the week” though. Yes, they were all adequately creepy, but also pretty dumb. It all startedGotham_102_UpstateRoadsideAutoParts_1487_hires2 with the botch job that put the cops on them anyway. Yes, it is later established that they have been scooping kids all over the city, but our first interaction with them is a pretty bumbling affair. Old man shot, one kids tossed through a window, and Selina Kyle gets away. Then we get to see them stay in their already discovered hideout when they know the cops are coming, and we also see their “herder” give direct instructions to his lackey to kill the kids and dispose of the bodies while Gordon is right behind him. Seriously, he yells this stuff while Gordon was barely 5 feet away. It wasn’t even good police work, they just fell apart with very little issue.

Notice very little mention of young Catwoman here, but Selina spends very little time on screen other than a few spots here and there. She doesn’t even speak much until she and her friends are kidnapped for the second time in one episode. Going mostly by Cat (because, duh) she’s clearly a girl who can take care of herself on the rough Gotham streets but we never get to see her in full action. Her one truly successful plan was foreshadowed after she told a young boy how to defend himself in prison, “Go for the eyes”. Which she later did to a henchmen off screen, and man was his reveal brutal. Other than that, her only play was to hide between the seats on the bus. She also reveled that she saw who really killed the Wayne family, which we knew but blew Gordon’s freaking mind. He may still be picking it up as we speak.

Next week should be fun. I try not to watch the “next week on…” for any show since marketing has no clue what the hell spoilers are anymore. I’d rather not have it spoiled. That said, I like what they’re doing with Cobblepot, and the growing power struggles between the criminals. I don’t know how much we’re going to see of young Bruce, but his clearly damaged psyche can only be ignored so much. His dad may have forbade Alfred from getting the kid therapy should he die, but man this kid needs all sorts of hugs, and his little one-on-ones with Gordon ain’t gonna cut it.

Alright Gotham, i’ll be back next week. How bout you folks?

Score: B

Sons of Anarchy: “Playing With Monsters” Review

War Were Declared…

How are more bells not ringing for the rest of SAMCRO at this point? Or maybe they’re too close to the situation to fully realize how deep sons-of-anarchy-season-7-fxdown the rabbit hole Jax is leading them. It’s a deep hole, but instead of rabbits with a bad sense of time, they’re dealing with betrayed and homicidal gangs. All of them. By the end of this episode, Jax Teller has pissed off pretty much every gang in, or around Charming, and somehow still thinks this is a good idea. There wasn’t too much in terms of action, relatively speaking of course, but Sons of Anarchy gave us more than enough to chew on this week as we got to watch everyone’s favorite MC get into even more trouble.

I’m almost not even sure who Jax is supposed to be friends with at this point. Outside of the necessity of having at least one real ally that isn’t a member of SAMCRO with the Grim Bastards, they’re pissing a lot of people off, but even that feels shaky due to the Sons having them commit more than a few crimes while pretending to be the One Niners. Jax’s entire plan falls apart if even one cooler head prevails in the war that he’s ignited, and Lin somehow talks to August.

Unser continues to run into obstalces with his investigation into Tara’s murder, mostly because the people he’s using as his eyes and ears are the ones who actually committed the murder in the first place. Both Juice and Gemma are dead set on making sure NO ONE finds out about what they’ve done, and that can only remain peaceful for so long. Eventually bodies are going to have to drop, so Unser, we liked you, but you’ve been too much of a sucker for Gemma for this to end well. sons-anarchy-season-7-spoilers

Speaking of suckers, Juice is a damned fool for thinking he could push his sorrows onto Chibs again and get the same reaction he did after he tried to kill himself a couple seasons back. While Chibs openly telling Juice to put that gun in his mouth was cold, and angry, it was also filled with hurt. Those two always had a strong relationship, made all the stronger after Juice’s first suicide attempt. Chibs clearly feels betrayed on a personal level. What happens next between those two will be interesting, which means their days are also numbered, which is a shame for Chibs since it looks like he may have found himself a somebody.

Our favorite Scot is really hitting it off with the new sheriff. Jarry seemed pretty smitten with the boy with the Chelsea Grin, and both of their interactions this episode were cute and as cuddly as this show can get. Ya know, comparing scars beneath an underpass while accepting bribes. Romance.

Sheriff Jarry so far seems like less of a pushover than Unser, and recognizes how much of an ally SAMCRO can be, but also how perilous the arrangement is. This is another instance where it’s hard to tell who is playing whom here. Of course SAMCRO wants the law in their pocket going forward with this plan, but the law could also be building a case against the club. Again, it’s not like this is the most well thought out endeavor, as we officially have two major players who are key to it. Jury is now fully aware that SAMCRO killed his guys, and it’ll be interesting to see how that plays out. It’s not like Bobby to go along with a rash decision like that without getting all the info first, at least to make sure it didn’t fall back on the club, but here we are.

All of that, and I didn’t even touch on Gemma still talking to Ghost Tara, or Nero falling back in with the gangbangers. You were out of the game Nero! Watching so many fall from grace and humanity is a great direction to send this final season. The writers are doing a nice job of making others deserve the death we all know they’re going to get, and maybe give us some red herrings as well. I mean, Nero is totally gonna get got too, but he’s one of the few I think doesn’t deserve it. Jax used to be on that short list, but being Gemma’s puppet on top of putting out these fires with moonshine is turning him into a straight up villain. Our boy is going full-Heisenberg, and he doesn’t even know it.

"You know you can't trust me, right"
“You know you can’t trust me, right”

Score: B

HBO Confirms Vince Vaughn for True Detective Season 2

Fresh off the news that Colin Farrell was cast as one of the leads for True Detective season 2, HBO has confirmed Vince Vaughn for the other male lead. This kinopoisk.rucomes after months of rumor and speculation as to who else would be cast in the wildly popular show.

The 8 episode season is set to begin filming sometime this fall. According to Farrell, it will film mostly in Los Angeles.

Vaughn is set to play a criminal gone legit, but is at risk of losing it all when his business partner is murdered. An interesting pairing to be sure, but so were the original leads, and look how that turned out.

For more news on True Detective and whatever else I wanna talk about, keep it here at State of Mined.

 

Gotham: “Pilot” Review

The city before its savior

Gotham

You can count me as one of the many detractors of a Batman show that didn’t actually have Batman in it. While I was aware of the existence of the Gotham Central comic series, which focuses on the GCPD and their difficulties policing a villain filled Gotham. Their ability to use Batman as a background character is one that lends itself to the comic medium. Television would have much greater difficulty. There is also something to be said for the oversaturation of prequels and re-imaginings of popular character. I, like many, was sick of it. That is, until I began watching the masterfully done(if you can stomach it), Hannibal. Here was a show that was taking a well established franchise and really delving into what makes them work. Knowing the end game doesn’t have to ruin the journey. So what does that have to do with Gotham? Well, lets just say there are a lot of stories to get out of this city, and while it does stumble in a lot of ways, FOX’s Batman-less, Batman show is dripping with potential.

The premier episode focuses on the murder of Thomas and Martha Wayne in that back alley, and the initial fallout. Playing almost like a noir-procedural(at least at this point), Gotham does a good job of introducing you to the major players and establishing the tone of the city. We are mostly along for the ride as the paragon figure of a young Jim Gordon is paired with gruff veteran of the force, Harvey Bullock. Wait, polar opposites, paired up to fight crime? NO WAY! Yet, as cliche as the pairing is, actors Ben McKenzie and Donal Logue make it work well.

There is a nuance to both of their tried and true archetypes. Gordon is a young detective, who only wants to do the right thing in a city full of those doing wrong, on both sides of the law. Bullock has been around the block, and at this point his shades of grey have gotten darker by the year. Each actor does solid work with what they are given, but it is oftentimes contradictory. donal-logue-and-ben-mckenzie-on-gotham

We are constantly reminded that Gordon is the “just good” but he also clearly states he chose to come back to Gotham to be a cop because it’s where the action is.”  His reactions to clear crimes read as a man who’s already seen too much and is just avoiding making waves. Almost as if he wants to serves justice, but only when it’s easy. This isn’t always the case but the character feels more contradictory than conflicted in that way.

Bullock on the other hand is circling the drain after years on the force. He knows the best way to make it in Gotham is to keep your head down or it’ll get taken off, and that has manifested itself in a good cop who may be more crook than he may like. Drinking on the job and getting a little to close with the lowlifes almost cost both our heroes dearly in just this first episode.

What felt most cumbersome in the Gotham premiere were the forced nods to the audience. Oswald Cobblepot is called “The Penguin” by other characters as an insult but it doesn’t really fit his persona or physical stature yet. He’s more of a “Rat Boy” at this point than “Bird Man”. That said, he was an interesting character to watch, with is nervous tics, and sketchy demeanor. It’s like the actor had a heapin’ helpin’ of meth flakes before every take. And I somehow mean that as a compliment. It works dude, keep it up. There are also little nods to other DC characters, that may make this one episode feel bloated for some. I don’t think it went too far, as we already knew a good amount of them coming in, and there were some pretty cool liberties taken with a few. I’m looking at you somewhat surly, Alfred.

Gotham has enough potential to be a great show if it can tighten up some of the expository writing, and get a reign on some of the more cringe worthy moments. Having dramatic “dun, dun, duuuuun” music play as Penguin bites into a sandwich is on the wrong side of bad. Whereas Gordon and Bullock hanging upside down in a butcher shop as a menacing man in a leather mask comes to chop them up is good. There’s more than enough in this one episode to unpack and explore, and now that the “Pilot” and all it’s tropes are out of the way, let us hope they flesh out properly. We’re watching a show that doesn’t have Batman, because the city doesn’t need him yet, and it’ll be interesting to see it turn into the one that does.

Score: C+

gotham-cast-photo

 

Album Review: Electric Wire Hustle: Love Can Prevail

Someone needs to do the world a favor and give Robin Thicke this album. Love Can Prevail is what a “get back together” album should be, not the audio mess that Thicke released earlier this year. The New Zealand duo, Electric Wire Hustle channeled all of the soul they could muster for this album. Every track drips with emotion, but never feels sappy. Love Can Prevail captures the raw emotion, passion, and confusion of a love on the edge of total loss.

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