Fresh(ish) off the success of their respective TV staring endeavours, Toni Colette (of United States of Tara) and Dylan McDermott (from American Horror Story) unite their unquestionably powerful screen presence in this new thriller: Hostages. I was immediately intrigued by star power alone for this series and then even more plussed once I heard the premise: a homebred terrorist played by Dylan takes the USofA’s doctor’s family hostage played by Toni as he attempts to convince her to help him assassinate POTUS. Not wanting to give up too much more of the plot in the first paragraph of my article, I will say that this show delivers.
Backed by a decently rounded up cast of C-listers and newbies, Hostages is without a doubt a showdown between the scene-stealing and adversarial leads as you cannot help but hope they get to face off again and again as the show continues. The premise is REALLY hard to believe in- let’s be honest with ourselves. In this day and age, when an ice cream shop is likely inspected 18 times for 3 weeks before the president might consider visiting it, are we actually to fall for the scenario that the president’s doctor/surgeon isn’t a LITTLE more closely watched the night before she puts the big man under the knife? I do hate shows that ask me to believe they could happen while begging me to ignore a few discrepancies, but hey: it’s Hollywood. Overall, the plot and acting along make it a thumbs up following the pilot.
All honesty, I’m a superhero geek so even if this ended up being shitty I was likely gonna stay tuned and suggest it to the rest of the nerds out there. That said, I’m not watching Arrow, so clearly I have some sort of SOME sort of requirements as far as script and plot line goes! Today, I’m looking at the recently released TV continuation of the epic 2012 film The Avengers: the Marvel Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.. While trying to transplant what was one of the most grandiose films of all time (particularly graphically and budget-wise) into the small screen was a huge risk for the continuity of this brand, let’s be honest; Marvel has so much god damn money and devoted followers that they can do whatever they want and always come out ahead. Thankfully, this attempt was both decent and intelligible.
You’ll notice right away that my adjectives to describe this show aren’t exactly out of this world. Let’s call a spade a spade: the CGI (or whatever the hell it is they call it these days) is good as far as TV standards are considered but far from great and the HUGE name actors are of course there so the unique banter that we came to love from the film is starting from scratch with a few of the smaller characters carrying over and using the introduction of some new blood onto the set. The always bald but tension-cutting and humour Clark Gregg is revived from movie and works alongside previous co-(not quite)star Cobie Smulders of How I Met Your Mother fame. Joining the cast are Ming-Na Wen (from ER) and two essential newcomers (and eye candy) Chloe Bennet and Brett Dalton. Long story short, she’s funny and he’s doable. Now, let’s get to the show itself!
This movie is not for everyone. First off, if you’re obsessed with Ryan Gosling (as I’m slowly finding out half the man-loving world is) then you’ll want to see him as severe and lean and sexy as ever in this. Second, if you love Asian revenge movies (plays really), then BAM this is up your alley. Third, if you liked the film Drive by director Nicolas Winding Refn then you’ll love this because it’s basically Drive 2, set in Bangkok… with an equally amazing and eerie sound track. Oh, fourth, if you like violence: watch this.
Set in modern day Thailand, this is a revenge film about family honour and drug lord crime. The two protagonists are both severely flawed as they attempt to restore peace to their respective homes. Ryan plays the brother of a murdered child rapist who is tasked by the incredible Kristin Scott Thomas (whom you will remember from Gosford Park
Drop Dead Gorgeous but CERTAINLY not recognize) who acts as matriarch to this f-ed up family and who through horrendous guilt and near-incestual flirtation demands for retribution of her dead son. Ryan is pitted against a retired police officer who murders without shame the worst members of society in this vast asian city. There’s sword fights, massive gun shoot ups, beatings to death with bare hands and a lot of kinky sexy: if you’re into any of that, this movie is worth a look.
How much do my friends HATE it when I leave a voice mail. I’m not joking, I get RAILED constantly by my closest friends who have no qualms informing me that short of their mother and grandparents, I am the only person in their lives still leaving voice mail. Am I alone in this?
Why the voice mail hate on? What’s wrong with leaving a funny message (which I almost always opt for by the way) to let a friend know you’re thinking about them and want them to hear the sincerity in your voice. In an age where mis-reading text messages is a five time daily occurrence, how can anyone be down on my attempt to bring clarity to a situation by clearly explaining and emoting what I want to communicate? While I’ll get into my reasons for vm’ing later, I just wanted to posit the basic and starting off question: What happened to the voice mail? What year was it exactly that this method of indicating to someone that you need to speak with them became antiquated and (apparently) annoying? I often get quoted: “Adam, I have call display, so I know you called and I’ll get back to you when I can.” Well smartypants, maybe I don’t want you to get back to me, and maybe I didn’t or couldn’t text, did you ever think about that? And, WHY ARE YOU YELLING AT ME? It’s just a voice mail! You may think I’m tending for my usual histrionics here, but this issue is no laughing (well, fine, it kind of is) matter with my group of friends as we constantly battle to voice mail or not to voice mail.
Yes, the entire British domain and international community of nerds are well aware of this little gem, but, seeing as it somehow didn’t pick up a single worth Emmy and that basically ZERO of my gay friends have heard about it, I thought it was high time I tell y’all about the amazing show Orphan Black. And, before you zone out because you “don’t like shows with robots and flying cars”, know that this British dark drama actually takes place in present day and has one of THE hottest man starring in it- often naked- and I just found out is FROM my hometown of Vancouver, Canada and went to uni at Seattle, Washington. So yeah, you’ll get to watch my future husband bang a lot if you turn on this show!
Orphan Black actually takes place (though you have to pay attention to realize it) in Toronto, Canada where its filmed and wonderfully makes use of some pretty amazing local talent. Starring the darkly beautiful (and Canadian) actress Tatiana Maslany it follows its sometimes-heroine, sometimes-villain as she attempts to reconcile the fact that she is not a normal girl but a clone and an endangered one at that. The MAIN Tatiana is thrust into a life of lies as she attempts to recover her daughter and is forced to work with other very colourful versions/clones of herself and survive about 4 different factions of people trying to kill her. The show is futuristic in the science made available in the world but not so advanced that you couldn’t see most of this happening in the next few decades if the scientists really wanted. What matters here though is two things: the unbelievable acting and the incredibly HOT co-star Tatiana plays against and gets pounded by (excuse my French) in countless scenes.
Cheap as in…. well, not amazing.
The only reason I fought the urge to ignore yet another “demonic possession” movie scoring a whopping 4% on Rotten Tomatoes was the protagonist role accredited to the ever-lovely Julianne Moore. The ageless ginger has constantly saved difficult movie after difficult movie for me with her tremendous acting ability and today is no different- though, this time she can only do so much to bolster this pained script. Honestly, I wonder if she was friends with the director or owed her bookie a couple mil cause things production seemed sloppy at best.
6 Souls is an admittedly scary look at the intersection of multiple personality disorder and demonic possession (according to this film they mingle). Julianne plays the role of a critical psychologist who debunks cases of MPD (actually referred to in the psych world as Dissociative Identity Disorder… but that sounds less sexy to the audience). Called in on a special case by her father, she starts to question how her (quite handsome) subject can so perfectly portray the personalities of other dead actual living beings. Played by Jonathan Rhys Meyers, the “antagonist” of the film also adds some decent acting chops to the film but between the two of them it’s really not enough to call this film an actual success.
Oh Kristen, can’t you please just focus on finishing the Veronica Mars film?
The Lifeguard is a boring look at an existentially angsting 30-something (good god I hope she’s not pretending to be in her 20s) who quits “the rat race” lifestyle of big city living and working as a reporter to return to her sleepy town in Nowheresville to take up her old home with the rents’ and job at the local pool as a lifeguard. Already I can tell you’re clicking to the next article. Yes, this movie is much more for those looking for drama, a pseudo love story and for us 20-30 year olds who likely have too much time on our hand to think about the minutia of daily comings and goings as they/we search for meaning outside of “making money and being powerful“.
Kristen Bell is by all means a fine actor in this production and there’s nothing hoakey or bad about it, but good lord does this thing move slowly. Focusing on her sad return to a simpler time, this movie follows the older lifeguard as she slowly but surely falls for a high school senior (I think his name is David Lambert… he is MUCH too young for me to call hot, but he’s cute enough for those into that type). The story is painful as you watch the blond regress but eventually discover herself through the eyes of a younger and non-spoiled younger man. To be honest, I did NOT watch this one all the way through but saw enough to warn you about it.
Acknowledging that this movie has been out in the theatres since early this year and likely for a while now on DVD, I did want to take the time to review it because a) in broad terms the topic of this film is within my career bailiwick, b) friends keep asking “if it was good” and, c) it actually was decent enough to take the time to blog about.
Side Effects follows a supremely depressed woman through her action of a horrendous crime and the resultant trial and punishment as it’s questioned if she was to blame or the pharmaceuticals she was prescribed with. Trying to be “relevant” as America’s culture of “pop a pill and you’ll feel better” shifts less from this medical model towards a more pure and vegan mindset that altering chemicals won’t lead to anything but trouble, this psychological mystery has enough twists and turns to keep it interesting but isn’t ever brilliant enough to make you REALLY want to recommend it to someone else. Starring some huge names including: Jude Law, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Channing Tatum and the maudlin Rooney Mara as its lead, there is no lack of star power and sex appeal… just a lack of a uniquely original script.