Category Archives: Review

Gotham: “Harvey Dent” Review

Did you mean Selina Kyle?

**SPOILERS BELOW**

Who names these episodes, seriously? There has been a running theme, and a gag among people who cover these shows, that Gotham names episodes after characters who have very little screen time or affect on what happens. This episode was named “Harvey Dent”, after the infamous District Attorney who is an ally to Jim Gordon, and soon Bruce Wayne, that will eventually become Two-Face. But because Dent has so little to do with, and in the episode, you would only know that, if you already know that. Continue reading Gotham: “Harvey Dent” Review

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Gotham: “Arkham” Review

Never trust a man who won’t eat his own canoli

**Spoliers Below**

More moves, more shakes and a little trouble at home for out man, Jim Gordon. Gotham  was a little packed this week, as “Arkham” brought with it some revelations, and some plot movement. It’s weird to talk about so much plot and landscape changing in a show’s fourth episode, but that’s part of the appeal of Gotham as well as one of it’s more glaring weaknesses. But this episode was more focused on the established universe as opposed to winking and nudging the knowledgeable crowd, which made from an enjoyable affair overall.

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The villain this week, Gladwell, was fun but felt a little forced. We never learn who was employing him to take out members from both sides of the Falcone/Maroni war, and not a big enough deal was made of that fact. Yes, it was just a theory that was being thrown out by Gordon and Nygma, but it was still an interesting thread considering it was well…true. Gladwell was knocking off Councilmen who were paid off by both families, constantly altering the vote over what would happen with the land surrounding Arkham. The general’s put some pawns and lieutenants into motion and the city’s most desperate citizens were caught in the middle without even knowing. He also made sure to spew that quote his dad told him about simplicity (Which is a Da Vinci quote by the way), but he method of mayhem was anything but. His flute/dagger/looking glass thingy was needlessly complicated, which made it seem as though there was more story to be told but alas, Gladwell was shot down by Bullock and Gordon before we found anything out.

Can we write a letter to the person, or persons who name Gotham episodes? Yes, Arkham Asylum played into the framework of the episode, but just like “Selina Kyle”, this episode didn’t have much to do with the Asylum as a setting, but more as an idea, and while it is abandoned now, once the plot device of real estate came into play, it became hard to ignore the fact that we know Arkham does reopen as the holding place for Gotham’s worst criminals.

Speaking of the worst, Fish Mooney is setting something up to take Falcone down, but what we don’t know. What we do know is, she has no qualms with holding Joker style auditions(no pencils, but still). It’s hard to say what hiring a cute, not so songstress, will do. Especially if she’s using her as a weapon, but Liza was a way more convincing version of whatever Mooney was looking for. Maybe she’ll use her to get close, or earn his trust, or even drawn attention in some way. I don’t know, but Gotham has mustered up some intrigue, so I’ll call that a win.

Our ol’ pal Cobblepot made his presence known at the Gordon house. Showing up at the house was just a way to move the Gordon Family gotham_104_arkhamemptylotgladwell_5948_hires1drama forward, now that Barbara is openly questioning Jim’s actions, and he now knows that shes been talking to Montoya. What was really interesting was watching Cobblepot executing his own schemes. Finding out that he was the mastermind behind the robbery was nice. Working his way up the criminal ranks, by holding on to some of the money to return to Maroni. He then poisoned the henchmen he’d hired and took their loot for himself. Clever, but man, it’s gonna be hard to come by some more thugs if he keeps that up.

“Arkham” had some good beats. While the procedural aspect was a little phoned in and simple, especially given the difficulty Gordon has dealt with trying to crack much simpler cases. On the other hand, this could be signs of things to come. I didn’t fully like the use of the Arkham name, but I did enjoy the backdrop of the famous structure. It has a presence in the city, and with it opening, we should be introduced to some of the early baddies in Gotham mythos. I do want to know more about who hired Gladwell, and maybe that will come into play later. Right now, Gotham is hitting something of a stride, and it’s shaping things quite nicely.

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

24: Live Another Day, Recap- 2:00pm-3:00pm

[**SPOILERS AHEAD**]24LiveAnotherDay-jpg

Well Jack has gone and done it now. Carrying out his plan B from last week, he’s found himself boxed in on all sides as he tried to get the necessary information on the drone attacks. After a couple of action packed, frantically paced hours, 24 went claustrophobic with this episode. Since Kate and Ritter know for a fact that Jack is in the Embassy, they immediately alerted the Marines in the building, stacking the deck heavily against our hero. It felt just like old times.

What made the first half of this episode so entertaining was how quickly and easily Jack worked his way to Tanner, who was held in an interrogation room. Embassy security needs a full overhaul if a guy can work his way that deep into the building with no issue. Once Jack was able to earn Tanner’s trust, not that Tanner had many options as Jack pointed out, the episode went into lockdown mode. Getting into the building was no problem, but Chloe couldn’t find Jack an out. Despite all his rage, and all that.

Back over with the family Heller, all of Boudreu’s well laid plans blew up in his face. Firstly, President Heller somehow won over Parliament with his speech. So even after they were ready to have his head, he received a somewhat 80’s-tastic slow clap. Then both the President and Audrey were finally made aware of Jack’s presence which meant Boudreu had to answer for holding back information. To top it all off, he then threw a bit of a tantrum at Navarro and his team for not catching Jack BEFORE he got into the embassy. I like what they’re doing with Boudreu. Yes, he’s being a bit of a sneak right now but his motivation is very clear, for now.

vlcsnap-2014-05-21-02h42m17s172From one barely functional family to a family held together with crazy and duct tape; Naveed you silly man. You know your lady has hereditary crazy eyes, telling her your “I want out” speech was a terrible idea. Of course, it was made worse because Simone is damn near impossible to get a read on. I don’t even want to know what it was like to date her, let alone ask her to marry. I can only assume he did it in a public place, lest she decided to get stabby.

Anyway, Simone told mommy dearest, and as expected she didn’t take it well. 24 pulled a good swerve here as I was sure Naveed was about to have more than a couple major organs replaced with bombs. Instead, Margot showed just how far she’s willing to go in order to get things done. Having her goons hold her own daughter down and well, let’s just say Simone may want to invest in a diverse glove collection.
vlcsnap-2014-05-21-02h43m12s214Watching Jack spin so many plates by the end of this episode was dizzying. Yes, we all knew Jack would make it out of that room mostly ok, but we had no idea how. The Marines were ready to kill, especially after Jack had already shot two of them to buy time (square in the vest as Kate pointed out). His conversation with President Heller was great and layered. The show of respect on both sides, even while acknowledging that this situation could easily get out of hand. Also, Jack saying he knew the protesters were fine because he’s the one that pulled the trigger was classic Bauer.

Thanks to Kate, Jack is “safely” in CIA custody, and she as the flight key so maybe Tanner will finally be more than a stand still plot device. As seemingly tight as this episode ended, it’s safe to assume another show is going to drop in the next hour; the reveal of another baddie, maybe an allegiance change. In any case, 24 is firing on all cylinders so far.

24 Live Another Day: Premiere Review

[**SPOILERS AHEAD**]24LiveAnotherDay-jpg

By the time the opening six minutes were through, the audience was immediately reminded what Jack Bauer was and still is capable of. It was a tense reveal to an old friend. 24 has been gone for four years and made sure to let us know that physically, Jack hasn’t lost a step. It was over the course of the two episodes (2-hour premiere) that we learn what was left of the Jack we used to know. Jack is definitely back.

When 24 premiered in 2001, it was a risky endeavor on all fronts. FOX took a chance on a heavily serialized, espionage/action show that would follow the events of a twenty-four hour day in real-time. Each episode taking place over the course of an hour, with Jack Bauer trying to stop whatever terrorist event is happening that day. For a time, it worked. 24 ushered in a style of action and storytelling that would be imitated and expanded on for the next decade, and due to its cinematic feel, the lasting effects were felt more in in theaters. The Bourne and Taken franchise come to mind. The eighth and “final” season of 24 aired four years ago, and left something to be desired. It was clear that the creative team was running on fumes, and the format that had made the show so spectacular to begin with was working against itself. What we have here, at least in the early goings is a return to form, and the new 12-episode format will allow the writing team to cut some of those filler hours out of the day. Gone will be the days constantly watching Jack drive while frantically talking on the phone, or mountain lions, hell, he may even be able to sneak a nap in.

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Early in, we find out that Jack is a man alone. Despised and considered a traitor by pretty much everyone due to the events that closed out Day 8, Jack has been pretty much off the grid until popping up in London. Jack is broken. At one point mentioning “I have no friends”, Jack is a man without a country but yet he still feels a duty to do what is right. That means he first has to break out his right-hand woman, Chloe from the London branch of the CIA. In what has become a recent trend in action, Jack has himself captured and purposefully brought to a special wing of the compound. It is in this time that we meet many of the (potential) major players. The only person on to Jacks true intentions is Kate Morgan (Yvonne Strahovski, Chuck) but she’s not exactly in good standing with the agency after it was discovered that her husband was selling information to the Chinese right under her nose.  Ashamed, she is working out her last week with this branch of the CIA. Her direct foil, the Doakes to her Dexter in some ways, is Agent Erik Ritter (Gbenga Akkinagbe, The Wire). Then there is her direct supervisor Steve Navarro, who may have a bit of a sympathetic ear at first but eventually plays into the action trope of being doubtful to the point of willful ignorance.

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It’s moments like that, which are peppered thoroughout the 2-hour premiere that we are reminded that as much as we love 24, it is and always has been a big, dumb, action flick. That is meant with all of the endearment in the world. 24 has always played into our collective knowledge of action movie traits, and either plays into them, or turns them on their head. When we meet the leader of Chloe’s hacker coalition, Adrian Cross (Michael Wincott, The Crow), he just oozes potential villain, even if he is on “our side” at first. Then there is the military Drone Pilot, Chris Tanner (John Boyega, Attack the Block, Star Wars: Episode VII), who had all the signs of “fall guy” painted on him from the moment he stepped on screen. Between the wedding ring, and his insistence that he get his weekend pass, we just knew bad things were ahead for poor Chris. Turns out, the military drone would be hacked, and attack his commanding officer out in the field, that low and behold, Chris had issues with. So now Jacks mission has a few faces.

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The first two hours in what is sure to be a terrible day for Jack delivered in big and familiar ways. We got to see a reunited Jack and Chloe, and how their lives have gone without each other. Their back and forth moments in hour two hit on many emotions for them. Chloe calling out Jack for not just asking for her help, and Jack checking Chloe for regurgitating counter-culture propaganda under the guise of civil freedoms. It’s obvious that these two need each other in a bad way after his four years of exile and her prison time.There is also the relationship between President Heller, his head of Staff Mark Boudreau (Tate Donovan, Damages) who is also Audrey Heller’s husband and Audrey herself, the President’s daughter and Jacks ex. Mark is playing things close to the chest in the early going, especially regarding Jack’s return. While his actions do setup some familiar 24 trickery later, when we see the mental state the President is in, clearly an older man who isn’t nearly as sharp as he once was, Marks actions make more sense. President Heller even had trouble remember the names of the four soldiers killed by the drone strike, making for a tense scene between Heller and Boudreau.

It’s fun to see all of the early moving parts since there will only be ten more episodes. We’ve already had one villain killed off via knife to the ear by his seemingly, ditzy girlfriend *What a twist*, and we got a glimpse of the potential “big-bad” for the season in the form of Michelle Fairley (Game of Thrones). With less filler in this day, things should move at a good clip. The odds are already stacked against our guy, but this is 24, and as Jack already pointed out in an early standoff “You may think I’m at a disadvantage, but I assure you I am not”. Jack is most definitely back.

 

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Foster the People- Supermodel Review

Foster the People

 

Coming out three years after their debut album Torches, Foster the People have released Supermodel. Twelve tracks of what I would call “introspective-electropop”. Not entirely sure if that makes sense even to me, but after what was one of my favorite albums of 2011, Supermodel plays as if it’s trying to differentiate itself but using the same tools as last time. It’s hard to talk about Supermodel  in a vacuum, wanting to give credit to the new music without constantly comparing it to Torches, but since Foster the People only have the one album to go off of as a body of work, it’s the only bouncing off point. Supermodel isn’t so drastically different that you can just ignore the previous album, and in truth, it’s hard to pull that off. I can only think of one band right away (Brand New) that sounds sonically and tonally different album to album yet remain consistent. So should you listen to Supermodel? Yes.

Continue reading Foster the People- Supermodel Review