iZombie Premiere Recap: “Grumpy Old Liv”

“Grumpy Old Liv” Photo Credit: The CW

Season 2 of iZombie is FINALLY here!

When we last left our heroes and villains, things were in a state of disarray for just about everyone.

After months of hiding the truth from her ex-fiance Major, the truth finally comes out as Blaine points out what’s been in front of Major all along. Things, however, take a turn for the seemingly on top Blaine as Liv injects him with Ravi’s untested cure turning him human. He is, of course, royally pissed as this puts a damper in his gourmet brain business (but shortly thereafter is seen blissfully enjoying non-brain burrito).

Before returning to the land of the living, Blaine mortally wounds Major leaving Liv with only one option other than letting him die and infects him with the zombie virus with the lightest of scratches. Liv later tells Major that they “can be together”. Not in the way they wanted, but it’s what fate dealt them. Major reminds Liv that it wasn’t fate, it was her and her secrets that got them where they are. So Liv decides to give Major the remainder of the zombie cure (without asking!).

Liv’s brother Evan, is unaware of the epic Meat Cute shoot out, and shows up for his first day at work only to blown away by the explosion that zombie Lt. Suzuki sets off while still inside.

Liv rushes to the hospital and when is told by the doctor that her blood type is needed to save her brother’s life, she solemnly replies, “No.”

David Anders returns as Blaine Photo credit: The CW

David Anders returns as Blaine Photo credit: The CW

Season two picks up three months later.

Evan’s managed to survive after having had multiple surgeries and blood donated from another doctor. Liv’s Mom is royally pissed and accuses her of being on drugs. Even Evan tells Liv to “Go away” and “Don’t come back.” So while we can breathe easy that Liv doesn’t have to carry on the weight of her brother’s death on her shoulders, things are less than sunny in the Moore family.

I like the fact the the show didn’t pick up directly where it left off and gave some time to the grief, turmoil and aftermath of the season finale. In life, people don’t get over things super quickly. Since it’s understandable that a show that consists of watching people wallow in misery isn’t exactly must see tv, a time jump is a good way of acknowledging that people need time to forgive, forget and move on.

Clive, while still not aware of the current Seattle zombie population, definitely thinks something is off about Lt. Suzuki’s supposedly heroic death and he has his sights sets on Major. Liv and Major haven’t been on great terms either after her string of secrets and bad decisions but manages to pick up the phone to take heed to Liv’s warning of Clive’s suspicions.

We also learn that with the absence of Peyton, Liv is learning to live with, as she describes, an exceedingly dull new roommate.

iZombie --

iZombie — “Grumpy Old Liv” Pictured (L-R): Malcolm Goodwin as Clive Babineaux, Rahul Kohil as Dr. Ravi Chakrabarti and Rose McIver as Olivia “Liv” Moore –Photo: Diyah Pera/The CW Network, LLC.

Liv, Clive and Ravi investigate the death of a curmudgeonly semi-racist old man who died after being crushed underneath a car. Of course his brains become Liv’s next meal as we watch her respond to the world around her accordingly. She moans and groans to Clive about a young man’s apparel “His pants are hanging so low they looks like a bra for his ass!”

While I generally enjoy the banter between Clive and Liv,  the awkwardly uncomfortable moment when her old man brain causes her to racially refer to Clive as “one of the good ones”, made me feel that maybe that line might have gone a tad too far, considering Clive is unaware of Liv’s condition. While his “I’m just gonna try and forget you just said that” retort was amusing, in the long term I don’t see how he can keep looking past her behavior. Especially when it takes a somewhat racist turn.  Hopefully his detective skills will help him to start asking the right questions soon so we can move on from the case of the week plot points.

Speaking of plots! Freshly human sophisti-Blaine “consoles” a couple in mourning as owner of the appropriately named, Shady Plots Funerary. “Let’s take this journey together”, he says, with his trademark charismatic smirk.

Liv soon pays him a visit telling him that she needs a vial of Utopium because both him and Major may not be as fully cured as they thought. While that remains to be seen we learn that the cure does have some interesting side effects as we see the hair on Blaine’s neck literally stand on end as Liv enters the room. His zombie sense is tingling!

Blaine enthusiastically enjoys some chocolate, seemingly agrees to make inquiries as he swears he is going legit in his current business ventures and amusingly mocks Liv’s ex-fiance’s name, Somewhere out there, Major Lilywhite, the most presciently named zombie of all time, roams the Earth. Liv is not buying into his sass or his supposedly legit story and retorts, “Oh, and you can save your respectable businessman jiggery-pokery for someone who might buy it.”

Speaking of Major, I find it interesting that he holds very little in the way of animosity toward his roommate considering Ravi has been aiding Liv in her secret. I guess that’s “Bros before hooo….ex-fiances” as Ravi says.

Shortly after Liv’s visit to Shady Plots, we watch as Blaine looks over his freshly delivered Utopium supply, housed in a casket of course, as well as pay a visit to Don E, the late Scott E.’s brother, for information on who cut the supply of Utopium with the zombie virus.

We also learn that Major experiences hair-raising tingling zombie sensations too as he meets up with a client in his personal training business. After-all, Major doesn’t have a great resume after the year he’s had. This seems like a good job for him. Put those abs to use buddy!

Steven Weber is back as Vaughn, the evil face of Max Rager. He now has a red headed femme fatale named Gilda, aiding him in his dastardly purposes as they blackmail Major into becoming their personal zombie slayer using a recording of his conversation with Liv, completely outing him as the Meat Cute assassin.

Oh, and how did Vaughn obtain access to Liv’s private phone conversations you ask? Liv’s new “boring” roommate is none other than Vaughn’s villainous partner in crime, Gilda.

WHAT A TWIST!

Overall verdict on this episode?

“Grumpy Old Liv” was a solid opener.

By allowing the passage of time we are able to see a change in some of our characters while also seeing where they are likely headed next. While I enjoyed the guest spot of Adam Rose as the accidental murderer, I think allowing Clive to be in on the big secret, rather than just around for the case of the week, might make for more interesting scenarios. Let’s hope we get there by mid-season. There’s only so many personality shifts Liv can have around him before he’s had enough.

Also, this episode only feeds into my obsession with David Anders and his ability to chew scenery like nobodies business. He just oozes charisma and I hope to see more interaction with him along with Liv and her group.

Also, Peyton, come home!

Looking forward to next week!

Enjoy the goodness!

Review & Commentary: Marvel’s Ant-Man

Marvel's Ant-Man..Scott Lang/Ant-Man (Paul Rudd)..Photo Credit: Zade Rosenthal.. Marvel 2015

Marvel’s Ant-Man. Scott Lang/Ant-Man (Paul Rudd). Photo Credit: Zade Rosenthal. Marvel 2015

Be forewarned. There will be some mild spoilers. 

Last night I attended a screening of Marvel’s Ant-Man along with my usual movie going crew which included a very intense yet lovable Puppet Loki, at the recently remodeled Regal Webster Place Theater in Chicago.

I really didn’t have very much background knowledge of Ant-Man or his world going into this film, a fact that I feel only helped me to enjoy it that much more. While I understand that Marvel Studios isn’t going to follow the comics exactly and has on many occasions taken liberties with their characters’ origins and adventures, it’s difficult to not be disappointed when ones favorite elements are removed. Due to this unfamiliarity, it was a refreshing change of pace walking into a Marvel film having very little in the way of specific expectations.

Unlike The Avengers: Age of Ultron, Ant-Man is a much smaller film (no pun intended…okay well maybe a little). By smaller I mean a simpler, more straightforward and focused film. Granted, Ultron dealt with a much larger cast with an extensive backstory while also mixing in origin stories for newer characters as well as a complex villian, so a little messiness is to be expected to a certain degree.

The immediate draw for Ant-Man, aside from it being a Marvel Studios film, because let’s face it, Marvel pretty much has a super-powered hold on my wallet for as long as they make these movies, is the charming Paul Rudd. Rudd (who must be a vampire of some sort because seriously, does he even age?!) plays the Robin Hood-esqe Scott Lang who after just being released from a three-year stint at San Quentin Prison tries to live a burgle free life in an attempt to be a part of his young daughter’s life. However, as he sadly and quickly learns, not everyone is thrilled to hire an ex-con.

Lang soon finds himself, along with his best friend Luis, played by the hilariously perfect Michael Peña and his wise-cracking heist crew, back in the game. It is not long before Lang encounters world renowned scientist Hank Pym (Michael Douglas) and his daughter Hope Van Dyne (Evangeline Lilly) and finds himself thrust into the responsibilites, powers, and history surrounding the Ant-Man suit.

Ant-Man is typically at its best when Lang is working with his crew who are the film’s very effective and entertaining comic relief and one can only hope we see more of them in future Marvel Studio films.

Evangeline Lilly as Hope Van Dyne in Marvel's Ant-Man. Photo: Marvel Studios

Evangeline Lilly as Hope Van Dyne in Marvel’s Ant-Man. Photo: Marvel Studios

*Spoiler Alert concerning Hope Van Dyne*

Comic relief aside, Evangeline Lillys Hope Van Dyne is a quite the scene-stealer herself, as a complex and confident woman who refreshingly does not get damseled. Throughout the film, Hope repeatedly pleads with her father to let her don the Ant-Man suit but alas, due to the death of her mother, her father does not yield in his stance. While the fact that we don’t get to see Hope in full-action mode is frustrating, Hank Pym’s motivation is understandable and the impression is never given that his stance on the subject is due to the belief that his daughter isn’t skilled or intelligent enough. It comes down to the fact that she is his only family left and he just can’t bear to risk it.

Hope repeatedly shows that she is more than capable on many levels and is a welcome addition to Marvel’s roster of complex, intelligent and strong female characters. However, I feel the need to state, Black Widow’s multiple contributions aside, it has been long overdue for more of these ladies to suit up and lead the fight in these films (Captain Marvel just can’t come soon enough!!!).  That being said, the mid-credits scene gives me hope for Hope’s future (hehe), because Marvel, it really is “about damn time”.

Aside from Lilly, Ant-Man also features the immensely talented but consistently under utilized Judy Greer who has already experienced a very similar placement in this summer’s Jurrassic World in which she is once again, the protective mother who scolds others for their behavior.

Corey Stoll as Darren Cross a.k.a. Yellow Jacket in Marvel's Ant-Man. Photo: Marvel Studios

Corey Stoll as Darren Cross a.k.a. Yellow Jacket in Marvel’s Ant-Man. Photo: Marvel Studios

Aside from Greer’s unfortunate typecasting, other room for improvement in Ant-Man comes in the way of its villain, Darren Cross a.k.a. Yellow Jacket played by Corey Stoll. Though Stoll does a solid job at playing the unhinged cold hearted antagonist, perhaps a little more insight into his history with Pym and emotional motivations would have made the villain’s presence more captivating and memorable.

Overall, Ant-Man is a fun, focused and refreshing entry into the Marvel Cinematic Universe that benefits from its separation from the events currently unfolding in its other films while still managing to maintain a few small connections (seriously no pun intended that time!) .

What did you think about the film? Share your likes and dislikes in the comments, but please, always be respectful.

Till next time folks!

Review: Dawn – A short film by Rose McGowan

Dawn: A Short Film Directed by Rose McGowan

Dawn: A Short Film Directed by Rose McGowan

Rose McGowan has acted in a wide range of cinematic and television work throughout the years. One of my earliest memories of McGowan was her appearance as Amy Blue in the 1995 feature length, The Doom Generation where two troubled teens connect with a wayward drifter and themes of sex, violence and alienation reign supreme. From that point on, McGowan’s eclectic acting career was something that consistently stayed on my radar.

After many roles ranging from indie to mainstream, McGowan finally releases her directorial debut in the form of Dawn, a short film written by M.A. Fortin & Joshua John Miller. Dawn in many ways, continues the aforementioned themes of sex, violence and alienation, though in a much subtler context.

As we meet the titular character, played by Tara Lynne Barr, we are brought into a world of seemingly welcoming color yet saturated in loneliness as the teenage Dawn listens to the “teachings” of her mother who states that “There are certain things a lady must not ignore when it comes to pleasing a man. Taking care of her looks, being easy going. It’s the way of the world.”

This recurring message becomes the primary force in Dawn’s decision making as she navigates her first sexual awakening. The mixed messages that Dawn receives from her family and society only help her to both simultaneously follow and disregard her mother’s advice. Despite the film’s 1960s settings, it’s not difficult to see that Dawn is a response to the contradictory and exhausting pressures young girls and women currently face.

Scene from Dawn. Credit: Blackdog Films

A Ssene from Dawn.    Photo Credit: Blackdog Films

It’s clear that McGowan chose her settings thoughtfully as every scene manages to invoke a feeling of discomfort whether we are sharing a quiet moment in Dawn’s home or during the films intensely climatic final moments.

McGowan herself describes the film as “a cautionary tale” and further elaborates that “We hurt girls with casual negligence. We change the course of lives with a stereotypical view shared thoughtlessly. We shape the minds of the innocent. Let’s think different and be better.”

Dawn is a strong debut film filled with focused themes, unsettling beautiful cinematography and understated yet effective acting from a relativity unknown cast.

Here’s hoping McGowan and her team have more stories to share.

Haven’t see Dawn?

Watch it for free online now via Rose McGowan’s Official YouTube Channel and share your thoughts in the comment section!

Film Review: What We Do in the Shadows

What We Do in the Shadows

What We Do in the Shadows – Directed by Jemaine Clement and Taika Waititi

I very rarely go to the theater these days to see comedies. It’s not that I don’t want to laugh. I love a good comedy! However, with movie prices being what they are, I find that my theater funds often go towards more visually elaborate films and I usually leave the more minimal films for at home viewing.

However, when I encountered the trailer for a documentary style vampire comedy called What We Do in the Shadows, I was immediately sold. Theater prices be damned!

Luckily though, despite its limited release, it was playing at one of my favorite (and affordable) movie spots in Chicago, The Logan Theater. So I contacted my usual movie going posse and off we went into the night!

The premise of Shadows centers around three centuries old vampires, Viago, Deacon, and Vladislav as they deal with the struggles of practicality in the modern world in their New Zealand home. The film features Flight of the Conchords star Jermaine Clement along with Boy director Taika Waititi and Tangwai actor Jonathan Brugh.

Deacon, Vladislav and Viago

Deacon, Vladislav and Viago

What We Do in the Shadows kept me, along with my fellow movie goers, in an almost constant state of laughter. Much of the film’s success is owed to its ability to blend classic horror tropes with modern day pragmatism. We watch as vampire Viago is frustrated with his flatmates’ refusal to “lay down some newspaper and towels” before drinking of their victims after ruining his couch. “The red one?”, they ask. “Well, NOW it’s red!” he replies. Later, Viago inadvertently displays why this seemingly practical approach doesn’t do much to enhance the ambiance of an evening’s blood-lust as he awkwardly attempts to woo his unwitting victim.

As the film progresses through a series of hilarious and impeccably-timed macabre meets mundane scenarios, one of our vamps turns a victim into one of their own. They must then deal with the pitfalls of life with a newbie vamp such as poorly executed attempts to fly through their second floor window or bragging to just about everyone they encounter that he is now a vampire.

While the film does turn to gore-tactics from time to time, its spot on delivery creates a reaction of genuine laughter rather than disgust. At least that seemed to be the general consensus during my screening.

For someone like myself, who will typically watch almost any supernatural offering, What We Do in the Shadows was a truly vibrant and refreshing take on the horror, comedy and documentary genres.

Not sold yet? Watch the first six minutes of the film on YouTube!

Comic picks of the Week: SpiderGwen #3, Giant Days #1 and Ms. Marvel #13

SpiderGwenGiantDaysMsMarvel

SpiderGwen #3, Giant Days #1 and Ms. Marvel #13

SpiderGwen #3

Writer: Jason Latour
Artist: Robbi Rodriguez
Color Artist: Rico Renzi
Publisher: Marvel

SpiderGwen‘s been catching quite a bit of buzz lately and while I found the first two issues did hold my interest I wasn’t as captivated as the hype seemed to tell me I should be. That’s not to say that issues #1 and #2 didn’t have their strong points. Kudos to the beautiful artwork and coloring of Rodriguez and Renzi as well the ridiculously awesome idea of Gwen Stacy in a band with Mary Jane called of course, The Mary Janes. The story, in my humble opinion, just needed a little extra emotional ooomph and by golly, issue #3 certainly gave me what I wanted.

As awesome as it is to watch superheros kick ass and take names, I’ve found that I need that extra bit of emotional connection to really make my read a compelling one. Issue #3 finally has the very poignant and genuine heart-to-heart with Gwen and her father that I’ve been waiting for as well as just the right amount of character introspection due to the loss of Peter Parker. She also does that kicking ass thing I was talking about. It was a well balanced and beautifully written issue that now has me officially hooked on the wonderful and brilliantly drawn world of SpiderGwen.

Oh and because the internet can sometimes be pretty awesome, you can actually listen to The Mary Janes’ hit song “Face it Tiger” online!

Giant Days #1

Writer: John Allison
Artist: Lissa Treiman
Colors: Whitney Cogar
Publisher: Boom!Box

While perusing the shelves at what is quickly becoming one of my favorite comic spots in Chicago, Alley Cat Comics, I stumbled upon a previously unknown but magical gem titled Giant Days. I knew nothing of this comic before picking it up but something about this title’s simple yet eye catching cover of a young goth-tinged girl sitting on a pile of luggage typing into her cell phone convinced me to give it a shot. After-all, about 75% percent of the titles currently holding my interest are superhero-centric so I thought it might be a nice change of pace to try something new.

Giant Days #1 is an adorably fun, genuine and entertaining read focusing on three college roommates, Daisy, Esther and Susan as they navigate college life as well as each other’s personalities and drastically different behaviors. Allison’s writing has such a strong sense of authenticity that it’s certainly not difficult to imagine myself having similar conversations and interactions with my group of friends.  In fact, I’m sure a lot of mine have come remarkably close. Treiman and Cogar do a great job of capturing the array of emotions these three characters go through. This comic has the whole package. I can’t recommend it enough.

Ms. Marvel  #13

Writer: G. Williow Wilson
Artist: Takeshi Myazawa
Colors: Ian Herring with Irma Knivila
Publisher: Marvel

Ms. Marvel is of those comics that had me hooked from the very first issue. Kamala Khan is one of the most captivating and endearing characters that the superhero world has put out there in recent memory. As a teenage Pakastani-American living in Jersey City, she must navigate her new-found powers and responsibilities while learning how to incorporate them alongside her faith as well as her family and social life. She uses the alias Ms.Marvel in reference to her hero and idol Carol Danvers a.k.a. Captain Marvel.

Throughout most of the series’ run thus far, Kamala’s focus was on her first nemesis, The Inventor, but at issue #13 we see the beginnings a new story arc emerge. I don’t want spoil too much of the plot so I’ll just say that this issue has managed to pull together everything I love about Kamala’s personality and makes me love her even more. Additionally, even though I am a big fan of previous artist Adrian Alphona’s work I immediately took to the wonderful illustrations of artist Takeshi Myazawa as he incorporated his own interpretations of Ms. Marvel while managing to maintain the original essence of its characters.


So that’s it for this week’s top comic picks and I hope to continue in sharing my weekly faves with you. I have a nice pile o’ comics in my living room that I look forward to getting through so please keep in mind that my picks may not always reflect the actual new releases of that particular week.

Any titles currently have you hooked? Share them in comments!

So much tv, so little time: What I’m watching right now

“That’s how I was raised and I turned out TV.- Homer Simpson

I’ve been watching ridiculously large amount of television as of late. I mean really crazy stupid amounts. I have a long to-do list that’s barely whittled down because I’m either trying to catch up on old programs or I’ve made the ill-advised decision to start watching something new and have therefore sealed my unproductive fate.

The silly little problem I’m currently experiencing is that, in terms of television, we really are living in the golden age. With more and more shows really pushing the boundaries of production quality as well as attracting some truly top notch actors, it’s no wonder theater attendance has dwindled down over the last few years. The tables have turned recently as fans have flocked to theaters in anticipation of watching their favorite programs being given the big screen treatment with screenings of HBO’s Game of Thrones on IMAX as well as The Walking Dead finales and premieres.

Not only have cable companies like HBO, FX and AMC seen an unprecedented boost in viewership but streaming services such as Netflix, Hulu and Amazon have thrown their hats in the ring receiving critical praise and high viewership ratings for their original programming.

So I figured I would incorporate my poor excuse of a hobby and share a few of the shows that have contributed in keeping me from living in the land of productivity.

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Black Mirror –  Image Source: BBC

Black Mirror (BBC)
I started watching Black Mirror when I came across one of those “THIS IS THE BEST SHOW YOU’RE NOT WATCHING!” posts which described it as “a Twilight Zone-esque sci-fi series” based around technology. At first I feared this was going to be some heavy handed metaphor about the evil path that technology has taken us down but instead it tends to focus more on the pre-existing dark side of humanity and how we manipulate technology to feed it. It’s also one of those shows that will have you checking IMBD fairly frequently as plenty of recognizable faces tend to pop up from time to time.

I’m a big fan of anthology shows which are essentially like reading short stories. They often don’t get weighed down by long winded origin stories and instead typically just drop the viewer smack dab in the middle of a confusing, often nightmarish situation. What if our entire lives were recorded from our own perspective and could be accessed and projected for all to see at any time from our own minds? What if you were asked to do a perversely horrific act in front of the entire world to save one person’s life? What if you awoke to find yourself void of any memories only to discover that while most of the world was watching you, the rest was trying to kill you?

Black Mirror is not a happy show. In fact it’s a very bleak one. Though it may be lacking in joy, it’s certainly not lacking in quality.

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The Originals –  Image Source: The CW

The Originals (The CW)
The Originals focuses on the world’s first vampires, The Mikaelson siblings, as they attempt to restart their immortal lives in their old stomping ground of New Orleans with psychotic high-tempered brother Klaus leading the way as a soon-to-be-father who is hellbent on reclaiming his Louisiana “throne”. Things take a complicated and violent turn as he attempts to take power from his once progeny as well as protect himself and his family from both the literal and metaphoric demons of their past.

The Originals is a spinoff of another vampire drama The Vampire Diaries, which for some viewers may not exactly be a mark of high quality, however don’t let that idea discourage you. The Originals remains a complex and often violent hour of network television that has also managed to successfully do things with their roster of actors that few shows have, often replacing key characters with new actors in effectively inventive ways. This as well as a combination of a charismatic cast and a gorgeous New Orleans setting, makes The Originals definitely worth your time.

The Leftovers - Image Source: HBO

The Leftovers – Image Source: HBO

The Leftovers (HBO)
The best description I’ve read of the The Leftovers (based on the book by Tom Perrotta) is that it is like “an extended Twilight Zone episode” in which 2% of the worlds population, without warning, just disappear. The point of the show is not to discover some big reveal as to why this has happened but instead to take a journey with the folks who are left behind to continue on with their lives. Much like Black Mirror, this show rarely ends on a happy note and much is left of to viewers’ interpretations.

While the departing of friends and family does happen on a universal scale, The Leftovers focuses on the lives of those who live in the fictional small town of Mapleton, New York and how they have dealt with the variety of loss thrust upon them. The antagonist for this show are the cultish group known as the Guilty Remnant, who harass and frustrate the townspeople through silence, excessive chain smoking and a major lack of fashion sense (among other things).

While I’m not exactly sure what to make of this show, I couldn’t help but binge watch the living hell out of it.

Orphan Black - Image Source: BBC

Orphan Black – Image Source: BBC

Orphan Black (BBC)
Orphan Black initially focuses on the street smart/vagabond Sarah Manning, who while attempting to figure out how to be a part of her young daughter’s life, encounters the suicide of her seemingly identical twin. Of course, as you can determine quite easily from the show’s trailers and #cloneclub marketing campaign, she’s something far more unique than a twin.

A huge part of Orphan Black’s success is reliant on the remarkably subtle and complicated acting skills of its lead Tatiana Maslany, who by all accounts should just win every award ever. Orphan Black is one of the few sci-fi shows that manages to play well at the idea of existing in the real world (unless you’re some kind of nitpicky scientist person).

Orphan Black’s supporting cast of characters helps to create a captivating and innovative piece of entertainment unlike much of what’s currently out there.

Marvel's Agent Carter - Image Source: Marvel/ABC

Marvel’s Agent Carter – Image Source: Marvel/ABC

Agent Carter
If you’ve been following this blog, it’s no secret that I’m a huge Marvel fan, both of its cinematic universe as well as its comics. When Marvel’s Agents of S.H.E.I.L.D. first aired, it admittedly was a bit of a struggle maintaining the same level of excitement for each episode like I had for each MCU film. Eventually though, the show managed to find its groove before taking its winter break allowing Agent Carter to take over for an eight episode series.

I’ve often said that not every show needs to go on forever and that perhaps allowing shows to work within shorter seasons may help to strengthen their direction and focus. Whether that is the case with Agent Carter is a matter of opinion, as personally, I find the series’ main selling point being both their charismatic and extraordinarily talented cast combined with a beautiful noir 1940’s setting.

Agent Peggy Carter, who appeared in Captain America: The First Avenger must fight her way through the misogynistic roadblocks of her peers as well as the various devious foes who cross her path. Even if Marvel and their roster of superheroes are not your cup of tea, Agent Carter very well could be.


Thanks for reading and rest assured this is just of the tip of the iceberg of my tv show rotation. I hope to share more viewing suggestions with you soon.

What shows are currently holding you captive to your couch? Share in the comments!

Film Reviews: Boyhood and Wild

As much as Academy Awards nominations are likely built upon Hollywood politics and a lot of arguments can be made for and against its overall legitimacy, I do enjoy awards season as it gives me a nice little checklist of films I might not normally see (I like checking things off lists. It fools my brain into thinking I’m being productive).

Last weekend, I saw Richard Linklater’s Boyhood and Jean-Marc Vallee’s Wild at Chicago’s Logan Theater (located at 2646 North Milwaukee Avenue).

First up, Boyhood.

boyhood

The most fascinating and impressive aspect of Boyhood lies not in its story but rather its unique cinematic achievement of filming the same actors over the span of twelve years. While the story feels genuine, had the same film been shot using different actors for the various time periods, the film would have been substantially less compelling. That’s not to say that it wasn’t well-written, in fact despite the film being called Boyhood, it manages to create realistic and moving depictions of growth for most of its main cast.

Ethan Hawke, Patricia Arquette and the film’s young lead Ellar Coltrane, took on quite a challenge jumping into and out of these roles through various emotional stages, ages,weight losses and gains in their lives. Despite the potential challenges of filming these actors at various stages of their lives, the performances appeared to be very fluid played seemingly with ease.

In tackling such a tremendous length of time, the film does suffer from the occasional fatigue that can happen with a three-hour film. Leaving one to wonder not long after the film’s first two hours, what marks the end of one’s Boyhood or childhood in general (at least in Linklater’s mind).

This will likely be the film to sweep the awards ceremony on February 22nd.

Secondly, Wild.

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Wild focuses on the emotional and physical journey of the real life Cheryl Strayed. A young women who, after the loss of her mother, fell into a downward spiral of anger, depression, sex and drugs. After reaching her personal rock bottom, she embarks on the rigorous three month journey of hiking the Pacific Crest Trail.

Initially, I was concerned that this film would go the narcissistic, over-privileged and self-indulgent path that was Eat, Pray, Love. However, the film deals with real loss through an intensely gritty lens. Unlike Eat, Pray, Love, the point of Strayed’s (Reese Witherspoon) journey lies in her searching for solutions by confronting the very thoughts she’s been fighting so hard to ignore rather than relying on the mystical idea that someone or somewhere else has all of life’s answers ready for the taking.

While Strayed does encounter an interesting and sometimes scary cast of characters on her journey, the heart of her excursion remains movingly introspective. The stylistic directing choices of overlapping audio and visuals from different time frames help to enhance the film’s often frantic, visceral and dark themes. While Wild itself was unfortunately not nominated for Best Picture or Best Director, Witherspoon’s Best Actress nomination is a deserving one.