Must Watch TV Dramas

Shameless – This US adaptation by John Wells (E.R., Third Watch, The West Wing, Animal Kingdom) of the popular UK version is superb viewing. The writing, the acting, the direction, this is family drama at it’s best. The Gallagher clan are trying to survive and stay together, their parents are addicts and the kids are in charge. Think Party of Five in a poorer neighbourhood and on crack,  their sense of family is inspiring. Funny and dramatic, this show certainly delivers entertainment. With a cast featuring Emmy Rossum and William H Macy who won a Screen Actors Guild award for his performance of the drunk patriarch Frank and Joan Cusak who has won an Emmy for her guest starring role as the lovable agoraphobic Sheila, Shameless is a must watch. As a side note it also has one of my all time favourite TV couples nicknamed Gallavich, and Noel Fisher is incredible in this show.

Mr.Robot – The brainchild of Sam Esmail (who just so happens to be engaged to Emmy Rossum of Shameless), is about a young man’s Elliot’s struggles with himself and the struggle to keep our live private from big corporations. Elliot and his band of hackers try to take down Evil Corp, yet it’s all the pieces in the middle of the puzzle that make this show one of the most intriguing on television. Rami Malek and Christian Slater are phenomenal in their roles with Malek scoring an Emmy win for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series and Slater nabbing the Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role in a Series, Limited Series or Motion Picture made for Television at the Golden Globes. The Show also won the Golden Globe for Best Television Series – Drama. Carly Chaikin and Portia Doubleday are also stand outs with Chaikin’s character of Darlene as one of my favourites on the show. Who is Mr Robot ?

The Affair – A story focusing on two couples marriages and The Affair between two respective parties, this show is chock-full of drama, suspense and mystery. This was so much more than what I thought it was going to be and it never disappoints. I love the split parts in each episode. It’s great to see the different perspective each character has, I haven’t seen this since the show Boomtown. Golden Globe  wins for Ruth Wilson , Maura Tierney and the show as a whole, this a must watch for Drama fans. I may be a little biased as I’ve been a fan of his since I saw him in The Mighty Ducks but Joshua Jackson is amazing in his role of Cole Lockhart.

The Walking Dead – If you don’t know what this cult show is, where the hell have you been?! This doesn’t need too much explanation but I’ll do a quick synopsis anyway. Former sheriff wakes up to a world gone to hell. There are zombies (walkers) roaming everywhere, he has to find his family and then try to survive in this post apocalyptic world where the humans are actually more terrifying than the zombies. Robert Kirkman created the Graphic Novels and this intricate universe where nobody is safe and humanity is tested, do yourself a favour and check out The Walking Dead however if you are squeamish, be cautious as it is quite violent. Wins for Special effects and makeup.

Kingdom – Created by Bryan Balasco, this riveting drama follows former MMA fighter Alvey Kulina (played remarkably by Frank Grillo who is a fighter in his own right) and his sons who are now the MMA stars on the rise. This has fast become one of my all time favourite dramas. Jonathan Tucker does an insanely superb job of playing the seemingly misguided Jay Kulina, but beneath the rough exterior is a man who wants to help his family anyway he can. Jonathan Tucker deserves more recognition for this role, he deserves nominations for SAG, Critics Choice, Emmy and Golden Globes. As does the show as a whole. If you love drama do yourself a favour, run to find http://kingdom.directv.com/ and start watching it now!! Also Kiele Sanchez had one of the best performances and storyline in season 2, I wont give it away but it was extremely personal to her and she was a complete and utter superstar for how she handled it, that performance alone deserves an Emmy nomination.

This Is Us – A new show that has only just begun is This Is Us. It is hard to describe this show without giving away spoilers. Family drama, interweaving storylines, you will need tissues pretty much every episode. That’s all I will say. I am a huge Milo Ventimiglia fan as I am a Mandy Moore fan and their work in this show blows me away. This show really does deserve all the praise it gets. I also am loving that Sterlinh K Brown is in this, yes everyone loves him from The People v. O.J. Simopson: American Crime Story  but I am a Supernatural girl and he was great as bad guy Gordon Walker. http://www.nbc.com/this-is-us?nbc=1

On my list of shows to watch:

Bloodline – This family drama looks intense. It’s a bit hard to figure out from the trailer but it has the one I live in a family drama, mystery. With a cast including Ben Mendhelsohn and Linda Cardellini I am all in for this. Made for Netflix.

Animal Kingdom  – Based on the  extremely successful Australian movie of the same name this show follows the drama of a family involved in crime. Again a stellar cast with Ellen Barkin, Scottt Speedman and Shawn Hatosy, this is going to be excellent viewing. Made for Netflix.

 

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New DVD’s!

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Frankie Go Boom – A funny and quirky look at a pair of brothers dysfunctional relationship and the absurdity that occurs when they try to reconcile. With a killer cast lead by Charlie Hunnam of Sons Of Anarchy fame this movie will not disappoint. Also watch it for Charlie’s SOA co-star Ron Perlman (Clay) as a transvestite.

Ted – a foul mouthed talking teddy bear, a socially awkward Mark Wahlberg, an annoyed yet sweet girlfriend, a fascination with Flash Gordon, plus a cameo from Ryan Reynolds. Of course this movie is awesome! Watch it! Enough said.
However not one for little kiddies despite the cute looking bear.

50/50 – A young man who lives a healthy lifestyle finds out he has cancer. This story (based on the true story of writer Will Reiser), is an account of how the patient and his friends deal with the situation. Lead by a remarkable performance from Joseph Gordon-Levitt, this is one of the best films I have seen all year. I’ve owned it a week and watched It 4 times already. It is funny, smart and emotional. Definitely a MUST SEE.

New DVDs

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Tom Hardy is absolutely gorgeous in this movie!!! The paintball scene is my favourite! HOT!!!

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This is one of my favourite movies of all time!! It’s breathtaking. In my opinion this is Brad Pitts best performance. The ranch they live on us gorgeous, I would live there in a heartbeat.

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While the book of The Lucky One is WAY better than the film, Zac Efron did a spot on job of the character. Sure he didn’t have long hair and wasn’t a bit of a hippy like in the book, but he did an amazing job!

Love that the original 21 Jump Street gang made cameos in this film. Even if I didn’t like how some of them ended up. 😦

All I have to say regarding American Reunion is: “Stifler Rules!!!”

Farewell to an Icon – Nora Ephron

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1941 – 2012 Age: 71.

Today the entertainment community lost one of its brightest stars.
Nora Ephron, writer, author, humorist, producer, editor and director passed away Tuesday night.

Ms. Ephron was responsible for such films as Sleepless In Seattle, Hanging Up, When Harry Met Sally, You’ve Got Mail, Silkwood and many more.

She paved the way for many female writers and producers. To that we owe a great thanks.

Her work will live on as her legacy.

Farewell to a truly talented and lovely lady.

Here’s some quotes from one of my favourite Ephron movies You’ve Got Mail.

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The Lucky One – Movie Review

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Starring: Zac Efron, Taylor Schilling, Blythe Danner, Riley Thomas Stewart, Jay R. Ferguson, Adam LeFevre, Robert Hayes & Courtney J. Clark.

Screenplay by: Will Fetters

Novel by: Nicholas Sparks

Directed by: Scott Hicks

Logan Thibault has just returned from his 3rd tour of duty with the US Marines from overseas and is on a new mission. He will track down the girl from the photograph he found in the desert, to thank her for saving his life.
He walks across 5 states to find this girl but when he finally sees her he can’t bring himself to telling her the truth.
Instead he works for her and her grandmother as a way to thank her. He becomes close with her son Ben, and her Nana and ultimately with Beth herself.
But what does Beth’s ex-husband Deputy Sheriff Keith Clayton (son of Judge Clayton) have to say when he discovers his ex-wife’s new friend is the mysterious man asking about Beth in the local bar weeks before.
And how will the truth affect Beth & Logan’s relationship.
And just who did the photo of Beth that was found in the desert belong to?
Why was Logan meant to find it?

I want to start first with the performances.
I thought Zac Efron did a great job in this role. Physically and mentally I believed him.
I liked Taylor Schilling in the role of Beth but I’m not totally convinced on her and Efron’s chemistry.
Blythe Danner I thought was great as Nana. However I missed her witty phrases. I think there one in the whole movie.
I thought Ferguson was great as Keith. Not as douchey as in the book but still an ass.
Stewart as Ben was adorable. Well done little man.

I going to try and not be spoilery when I mention comparisons to the book. Apologies if it is.

Firstly I want to say while I did really like this movie (despite feeling rushed) I must say I much prefer the book. And it still doesn’t go beyond The Notebook. That was ultimate!
However I thought this movie could have come close if it had left in a lot more from the book.
There was a lot of information missing from the film.
We really didn’t get to see why it was so important to Logan to find this girl and what went down overseas. We saw a bit but not enough. I wanted to see more Victor.
We didn’t get to see as much of Zeus’s impact on his human friends as in the book. In the movie Logan follows in his fathers footsteps (like in the book) but in the book he only has his mother and Zeus as family members. Whereas in the movie he had a sister, bother in-law and nephews.
There also wasn’t enough emphasis on the treehouse (and the photo) for the ending to really have a strong impact.
In the book we know that the structure is very old and not the most stable. It is quite prominent in the book. Here I found that it was kind of thrown in with no real attachment to story. It felt like a filler.
I really wanted more emphasis on Zeus and the treehouse. And I think considering Logan walked 5 states for a picture we should have had more story on that like there was in the book. All the talk of destiny wasn’t really a factor in the movie.
In the book Logan fixes a car and not a boat like in the film. Didn’t like that change too much.
I also wanted to see more of Keith and Ben’s rocky relationship.
I thought the location was absolutely stunning and overall performances were great. Especially Efron. I really thought he did a great job (and not just because he’s hot).

All in all I liked the movie but I thought there was a lot missing that was in the book that could have helped explain more in the film. And I don’t think the slight changes really needed to be made. I don’t think changing his college career from anthropology to philosophy was necessary.
The group I went with hadn’t read the book and they felt the same in that the movie felt a bit rushed and a bit lacking.
If I had to choose book or film I would say book. But I will still like this movie and will still buy this DVD when it is released. It’s still a beautiful story.
Hasn’t surpassed The Notebook though. But having read The Lucky One and seen the film it makes me wonder what was left out of The Notebook.

What did you think of the book/film? Would love to hear your thoughts.

The Hunger Games – Review

Starring: Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson, Liam Hemsworth, Woody Harrelson, Lenny Kravitz, Elizabeth Banks, Wes Bentley, Stanley Tucci, Paula Malcomson, Willow Shields, Amanda Stenberg, Alexander Ludwig & Donald Sutherland.

Screenplay by: Gary Ross, Suzanne Collins & Billy Ray.

Adapted from the Novel by: Suzanne Collins

Directed by: Gary Ross

Set in the dystopian future of Panem the U.S.A. Is no longer operating as it once was. The country is broken up into 13 districts. The 13th being The Capitol where people live bathed in riches. The Capitol hold yearly games as an intense reality show called The Hunger Games. 2 children from each of the 12 districts -1 boy, 1 girl- known as Tributes are selected in a lottery to compete in the games. The Hunger Games are set in the woods and the children are given supplies and weapons. This is a fight to the death competition. Last person standing wins and is bathed in riches.
Katniss Everdeen (Lawrence) offered herself as Tribute so her sister Primrose didn’t have to go. She along with fellow Tribute Peeta Mellark (Hutcherson) embark on a journey with the lottery drawer from their district Effie Trinket (Banks), former winner of the games and their mentor Haymitch Abernathy (Harrelson), and stylist for District 12 Cinna (Kravitz).
Once they are ready they are sent into the game. Who will come out victorious? And just what will he/she do to win?

I found this movie quite interesting. The more I think about it the more I like it. It reminds me a bit of Dark Angel. The fact that she ends up rebelling against the Capitol and basically starts a revolution.
In later books of course. Which I haven’t read any of.

There were many more players than the ones I stated earlier. Sutherland plays President Snow. A devious man who cares about very little. A good protagonist for Katniss.
Bentley plays Seneca Crane who is basically from what I gathered the producer/director of The Hunger Games. He seems mighty conflicted. He seems to want to do one thing where the President is telling him something else.
Tucci plays Caeser Flickerman, the host of the show. He interviews the tributes before the game, commentates during and interviews the winner. Tucci can do no wrong. The guy is a genius!
Hemsworth plays Gale Hawthorne, Katniss’ best friend and rival of her affections to Peeta. He isn’t really featured too much in this movie.
But I will state now I am a Teem Peeta girl. He’s just so sweet. I love the dynamic between he and Katniss. Fighting together and sometimes against each other. Taking care of one another. It’s just gorgeous. He loves her so much.
I absolutely loved Harrelson & Kravitz in their roles. Kravitz brought a lot of heart to his role. I thought he was remarkable. Doesn’t hurt that he’s gorgeous. 😉
Harrelson was a mix of heart and laughter. What he does best. Loved it!
Banks was quite interesting in her role as Effie Trinkett. Quite funny.
Overall performances I thought were very good. Directing and cinematography was beautiful.
Costumes were pretty incredible! The capitol features very over the top couture fashions in a lot of bright colours where as in the poore districts its basic clothing.
Now I won’t sit here and say its the greatest movie ever, because it’s not, but it is very good.
Despite a lot of people’s protestations regarding casting choices for most of the characters, I think the casting director did a wonderful job. Everyone performed to their best and gave this movie a beautiful feel.

I would definitely recommend this movie but I would probably say don’t take little kids (as there were many in our theatre). This is a movie about kids killing each other after all. It is graphic. Parents be warned.
It is scary to think that in our day and age of WAY TOO MANY (CRAP) Reality Shows that this could be the next step. Laugh if you will at that, but Reality TV seems to have no limits and really how do you top that? With this?
I’m looking forward to seeing the next 2 films. I want to see an uprising!
What did you all think of the movie?

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The Vow – Movie Review

Starring: Rachel McAdams, Channing Tatum, Scott Speedman, Sam Neil, Jessica Lange, Jessica McNamee, Tatiana Maslany & Wendy Crewson.

Screenplay By: Michael Sucsy, Marc Silverstein, Abby Kohn & Jason Katims.

Story By: Stuart Sender

Directed By: Michael Sucsy

Based on the true story of Kim and Krickitt Carpenter.

Newlyweds Paige (McAdams) and Leo (Tatum) were madly in love and loving life, until one day their world is turned upside down. After a horrible car accident leaves Paige with memory loss for the last 4 years of her life – in which she met and married husband Leo- he has to try and win her love all over again. This doesn’t go as smoothly as he would like as he has to compete with her absent family (Neil and Lange playing her parents) back in her life and her old fiance Jeremy (Speedman) back on the scene. Who Paige still remembers being engaged to.

Will Paige and Leo find love together again?

I have been waiting to see this movie since the trailer was released early last year. I went on Friday with my grlfriends ready to have a tearjerking experience. But alas I did not. While I am a fan of McAdams and Tatum, I am a big fan of Speedman (thanks to his Felicity loving Ben Covington days). Even though I figured (knew) what the ending would turn out like, I was secretly hoping that Paige would choose her ex Jeremy. I wanted more Speedman on the screen damnit!

In any event, I am normally a sucker for a romantic movie. I am pretty much like Kristen Bell in the way that my emotional scale is usually between two certain points. If it’s remotely sad I’m crying and if it’s really happy I’m crying. However I don’t like crying in front of people so I try to supress it. But this movie didn’t actually make me cry which is very odd. I got a hint of tears in my eyes when Jessica Lange was talking about the affair. That was it. To me that was the most moving part.

I personally didn’t see much chemistry between McAdams and Tatum. Not like a married couple. More like siblings. So it didn’t really get me. I actually thought McAdams and Speedman had really great chemistry (and it’s not just because I like him. I know how to be objective and professional thank-you very much), and would love to see them do another movie together as love interests. Contrary to what others are saying I didn’t find his character so awful. He loved this girl so of course he would think of trying to win her back. And I thought their scene towards the end was gracious and sweet. Not douchie at all.

I liked the movie but felt it was lacking that chemistry for me. My friend said she liked that Tatum always seems to play the same type of characters and so that must be what he is like in real life. Ok fair enough, but it would be nice to see him play someone different and a little rougher.

I read articles about the real couple Kim and Krickitt Carpenter and was more moved by their story than the movie version. What a remarkable couple.

I don’t like when you know so much about an actor, because then it starts to take away from their performance. You are not watching a movie about Paige and Leo finding love, you are watching a movie about McAdams and Leo pretending to be Paige and Leo fall in love. Personally I blame the paparazzi and tabloids for this. They have ruined the mystique of the story telling experience.

I like to be objective when I go sit to watch a movie. I’ve been watching movies and tv and all the award shows since I was a baby. While I am no paid expert and currently don’t work in film/tv apart from this blog, I do know as an avid movie/tv viewer what an audience needs and what they don’t. At least for me I do. A movie, like a song is a personal experience. We all interpret them differently and apply it to ourselves differently.

While I liked this movie, I did not love it. I would probably still buy it on DVD but compared to other romances of the past few years it was average. The Notebook is still the ultimate sweeping romance. That movie is perfection. It was written, directed and acted beautifully. Dear John I am not a huge fan of. It was ok, but not one of my favourites and I wouldn’t buy it on DVD. Remember Me was heartbreakingly beautiful. Tragic yet beautiful.

In closing I would like to say that I am dissapointed that I didn’t feel the urge to cry during this movie, and McAdams and Speedman need to make another movie together this instant. AND someone PLEASE give Scott Speedman a lead in a movie! The guy is brilliant!
What did you all think? Write your thoughts in the comment section.

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