Tuesday, March 31, 2015

A Look at the final Mad Max: Fury Road trailer

As a lifelong movie geek, I am wildly excited for "Mad Max: Fury Road." At the same time, I always found an odd choice, an interesting choice but odd. I always wondered how many people in my age group remember the other Mad Max movies which starred Mel Gibson. I have the first Mad Max and I plan to get "The Road Warrior" as soon as the opportunity presents itself. Both of those films came out deep into the 1980's and I always wondered if Hollywood could make this franchise relevant again.

After viewing the final trailer for "Mad Max: Fury Road" tonight, I have all the faith in the world that this franchise can work again. Especially since the brainchild himself, Mr. George Miller has returned to this crazy, dangerous world.

I think if there is one actor who can channel what Gibson did with the role so many years ago, yet still make something his own, its Tom Hardy. I have watched his rise since 2002, when he had a small stint on HBO's "Band of Brothers" and I saw something special in him. Little did I know he'd make a bigger splash that most of the main cast of that mini-series, funny how things work out sometimes, eh? I can't wait to see more of Hardy as Max this May.

The "Mad Max" films made the dystopian landscape in movies cool way before "The Hunger Games" did, and I love that Miller is playing that up, I love the outlook of this entire trailer and I can't wait to plunge into this world in a couple months. I think the action in the trailer is very well done, and I love that we have only faint whispers in terms of storyline, not a whole lot has been revealed yet. I like it, especially since most trailers seem to give an entire movie away in just under two minutes.

If you haven't been introduced to the world of Mad Max yet, I think a great gateway will be presented to you in a couple months. Be ready.



TV REVIEW: AGENTS OF S.H.I.E.L.D. (Episode 15, Season 2)

TV REVIEW
 
AGENTS OF S.H.I.E.L.D.
 
EPISODE 15, SEASON 2- "ONE DOOR CLOSES"
When Lucy Lawless' Isabella Hartley died in the first episode of Season 2, I was a little upset. I couldn't believe that the show would get such a high-profile television actress and only use her for one episode. I had some suspicions, but more and more I believed her to be dead and I couldn't believe it. I always love an encore, and as tonight's episode opened, we get a glimpse of the day S.H.I.E.L.D. fell. We learn how Mack, Bobbi and Commander Gonzalez all essentially got together, and one of  the agents fighting along with them? Isabella Hartley. This episode reminded me even more why I hope there is a chance Hartley isn't dead, and I hope we see more of Lawless going forward. But that is a big chance that may not come to fruition.
 
The big storyline of tonight's episode was Coulson's S.H.I.E.L.D. getting overrun by the Real S.H.I.E.L.D. There is a big moment when Coulson has a discussion with Gonzalez, which featured Edward James Olmos returning to his character from last week. While I like Olmos' work on this show, I find his character to be paper-thin. I really don't feel his motivations for overthrowing Coulson make very much sense, which is a disappointment. I think the idea of two competing factions of S.H.I.E.L.D. could make for some incredibly compelling television, especially since we are going to see the Civil War storyline play out in 2016. But so far, they are kind of botching it, unless we learn next week that Gonzalez has interior motives. So far, eliminating Coulson from director simply because he has secrets makes no sense, since this is, in fact, a spy agency they are running. I just really don't find Real S.H.I.E.L.D.s motivations believable and that is kind of bothering.
 
I did like the part of the show that focused on Skye learning how to use her powers. I did also like her visit by Gordon, the eyeless guy who has been popping up, on and off. I find his character intriguing and I love that Marvel is using this show as a platform to introduce us to the Inhumans. I think Chloe Bennet is really growing into her character, and this is some of the very best acting she has done on the show so far. I think this episode did better with juggling so many stories and giving each storyline time to breathe and to fluctuate. So that was a sigh of relief compared to last week.
 
Plus, any episode watching S.H.I.E.L.D. lay waste to HYDRA, even if it is a flashback, is okay in my book. I also liked watching Bobbi and May go toe-to-toe, that was pretty cool too.
 
What did everyone else think?


Monday, March 30, 2015

Heroes vs. Villains Movie March Madness Bracket-Elite Eight

The Sweet Sixteen voting ended last night and what was created was some of the biggest votes ever since. When you have titans like Batman and Bond going head-to-head, of course things are going to get interesting. I honestly would not have wanted it any other way! I think you will be shocked at who advanced to the Elite Eight this week, and I can't wait to see how this wraps up.

HOW DO I VOTE? Simply send me an email or leave a comment on the comment section below with a list of characters in each section you want to advance. For example, lets say there is Character A in seed 1 and Character B in seed 16, you would list the character you want followed by the seed and which part of the bracket they are in. If you have any questions or concerns about the voting, please let me know. My email is bloggershawn@gmail.com

ELITE EIGHT

MOVIE HEROES- TOP LEFT BRACKET
Batman (4) vs. Gandalf (6)

TV HEROES- BOTTOME LEFT BRACKET
Jack Bauer (1) vs. Daryl Dixon (6)

MOVIE VILLAINS- TOP RIGHT BRACKET
Loki (9) vs. Darth Vader (6)

TV VILLAINS- BOTTOM RIGHT BRACKET
Walter White (1) vs. President Frank Underwood (3)

Voting For this round will conclude April 1st. Get your votes in ASAP!

SWEET SIXTEEN VOTING DATA
James Bond (49% of vote), Batman (51% of vote)
Gandalf (58% of vote), Luke Skywalker (42% of vote)

Jack Bauer (51% of vote), Jon Snow (49% of vote)
Daryl Dixon (51% of vote), Buffy (49% of vote)

Loki (72% of vote) Tyler Durden (28% of vote)
Darth Vader (51% of vote), The Joker (49% of vote)

Walter White (89% of vote), The Governor (11% of vote)
Tony Soprano (45% of vote), President Frank Underwood (55% of vote)




Sunday, March 29, 2015

What I'm Watching: Skyfall

What I'm Watching: Skyfall
I think over the course of this weekend, I watched the trailer for "Specter" close to a thousand times. I am so ready to see "Specter." I am excited not just because its a new James Bond film with Daniel Craig, not just because it will be our second look at the brand-new Q branch, not just because the villain of the film will be portrayed by none other than Christoph Waltz. As I explained on Friday night, I love the Craig films because his movies are telling one story between his four films. Specter is somehow connected to Quantum, and the character Waltz plays has some connection to Bond growing up on Skyfall ranch. How these big puzzle pieces collide is the reason why I have to see this new Bond film tomorrow.

I was enlightened by my love for this franchise that I spent last night watching "Quantum of Solace" and "Skyfall." I have written previously on this blog about the former but I never gave my thoughts on "Skyfall." I have several friends that have not dug the Craig movies simply because they are so radically different from the rest of the franchise. Honestly, I find that not to be true. The Bond franchise has always been a reaction to whatever time the movies are set in. In the Connery/Lazenby era, we see a lot of Russian intrigue in the films. In the Moore era, we see a lot of reactions to the Space Race and the psychedelic weirdness that was the 1970's. The Dalton years were gritty, as most action films were during that time period. The Brosnan era dealt a lot with how the world changed after the Berlin Wall fell down, and also tried to begin homaging the crap out what came before.

So where does that leave the Craig era? Well for one thing, the Craig movies love the close-quarters combat. Honestly, I have to say I do too. I like this type of action, I like that for the most part we can see what Bond is doing instead of several quick snapshots. I like how this action is both grounded in realism, but still takes time to soak up the adventure we crave in all Bond movies.

But the hard truth is that the Craig movies are not concerned with lasers from space, it is not concerned with clichéd villains who have underground layers in volcanoes. The Craig movies have really embraced the time and world we live in now to tell its story, and they really nailed it. I think one of "Skyfall'" best scenes is the moment when M (Judi Dench, giving her best performance as the character ever here), gives a speech about how the enemies of the free world are not countries anymore, they are individuals. Think about it, there is no country called al-Queda nor is there a country called Taliban. These groups of terrorists are made up of people from all over the world, of all different races (that's right people, different races) and they operate in the shadows. The best defense for this type of enemy is to be in the shadows with them, which is what M is trying to argue. When a fictional movie can still embrace the world's climate and use it to its advantage is something I find very bracing.

Then there is the work by Javier Bardem. I think Bardem was born into this world to breath life into the villainy of Hollywood. No matter what movie he's in, whenever he's being bad, you can't take your eyes off of him. His opening speech to Bond about the survival of rats is some of the hypnotic work Bardem has ever done. We feel how loopy he is, and we feel his madness as an audience member. It seems Bardem knew he had one of the richest characters to play ever and he wanted to fly with it. So that's what he did, he flew.

I think another thing that throws people off of "Skyfall" is that Bond is never really on a mission. This is a movie about the soul of what Bond stands for. This is a movie about discovering who you really are after confronting your past, and that is something that goes for Bond and M in this movie. How the stories of M and Bond parallel in this movie is the biggest reason to watch it. I think as "Skyfall" ends, it is a promise. A promise that to all the Craig haters that the template they know and love is coming. Craig's Bond had to get over his love-sickness of Vesper and he had to confront his shadowy past in order to become the Bond we recognize, but it has been an extraordinary journey. I think many years from now, the world will rejoice on how awesome Craig's run really was, and how titillating it was.


Get Hard Review

Get Hard Review
There is no mistake about it, I love Will Farrell. Yeah, he may seem familiar and he has a shameless routine that he sticks to in almost every film. But I have to admit that I have always relished in the chaos. I would never slam anybody for not liking him though, I think he fits a very particular mindset, he chases a very peculiar hilarity. But for me, liking Farrell came as early as 4th grade, when I started watching SNL religiously. Before that, I would watch it on occasion and I have vague memories of the Adam Sandler and Mike Myers and Phil Hartman days. But it was that late 1990's, early 2000's cast that really got me, and one of those people was Will Farrell.

"Get Hard" is already being met with an astounding amount of controversy. Just type in Get Hard Review into your Google or preferred browser and click on the first item that pops up. You'll be able to read pretty clearly where the vast majority of journalism voices stand on this movie. Personally, I think some of the controversy around "Get Hard" is a little outrageous, however, I did not love the movie. My problems lie more with execution rather than context.

Farrell plays James King, a millionaire living in Los Angeles who is loving life. He is about to marry a beautiful lady (Alison Brie) and he was just made a partner at his financial firm by his boss (Craig T. Nelson). What more could a millionaire ask for? I don't know, but I doubt one of those wishes would be to wind up in jail for securities fraud, but that is exactly what happens to King. On his last thirty days, King feels he must prepare for prison life, so he recruits Darnell Lewis (Kevin Hart) to help him. Darnell runs a small-time luxury car wash service and he is trying very hard to break into the business to provide for his family. King believes that since Darnell is black, he obviously been to prison. The thing is, Darnell isn't a passed felon but he will play along with King because King is prepared to give him thirty grand, and Darnell could really use the money to help build his business.

Now, I know what you are already thinking and I can bet that you understand right away how this movie is met with controversy. I don't know how many people will appreciate a storyline of a rich white man trying to get the help of a lower-class black man because he assumes he's been to prison. But right as the movie begins, we learn James King is a moronic bigot. I'm not saying that this is a "get-out-of-the-racism-argument-free-pass," I am just saying the movie doesn't not explain James King's reasoning. I am curious to see how audience react to the initial plotline. "Get Hard" has a concept that slightly stings, so if this idea for a story upsets you, I'd would say skip this entirely.

The real kicker and the reason of most of the controversy revolves around one particular scene at a gay bar. See, Darnell believes there is no hope for King and in helping to prepare for the worst, Darnell believes King should learn "to suck dick." He gets King to ask a man at the bar if he can give him oral sex, and in the bathroom King spends a good five minutes struggling with it. Now, just about every review you read anywhere is saying that this scene is homophobic. Let me say that I disagree, the scene is a play on fear. I think every man, gay or straight, fears prison because of the possibility of prison-rape. I can tell you with honesty that one big reason why I will never break the law is due to the idea of prison-rape, I don't like the idea of another man force sodomizing me and neither does James King. I just don't see how a straight guy not wanting to give another man oral sex is considered homophobic. The movie never once tries to say that being gay is wrong, its just saying a straight guy is way over his head and he doesn't know what to do about his situation. If there was a scene in a movie of a gay man being forced to give a woman oral sex, would that be considered straight-phobic? I just think in this particular scene, most critics missed the boat and are a little overly-sensitive about the material. I am not going to defend my position on gay rights, because I shouldn't have to. I don't like putting labels on people just as much as the other sane person, but this wasn't suppose to be an attack on gay-lifestyle.

The movie isn't bad because of its controversy, the biggest thing sin "Get Hard" commits is that it simply isn't funny. Will Farrell is Will Farrell in this movie, and while I found some humor in it, I don't think this will win over any of his dissenters. Even I know that Farrell really needs a passionate script in order for his usual routine to work and his character's jokes just did not land enough. What kept me watching was the wonderful work by Kevin Hart. Hart was born to be a performer and he has been surmising me all year so far, even if I haven't jumped for joy for all his films, his presence at least makes everything better.

As for the idea of an upper-class white guy and a lower-class black guy teaming-up against corporate America, well it was done much better in 1983. That was the year Eddie Murphy and Dan Aykroyd made "Trading Places. As I watched "Get Hard," I couldn't help but notice how much I liked "Trading Places" more and if I am thinking of one movie while watching another movie with a similar concept, that should say something. I think there is a fabulous "Trading Places"-esque film hidden somewhere in "Get Hard," but sadly that film never flourished.

FINAL GRADE: D+


Friday, March 27, 2015

Heroes vs. Villains Movie March Madness Bracket- Sweet Sixteen

Well, this Heroes vs. Villains bracket has been big and surprising so far. It has been a bloodbath from the beginning, but with that said, I don't think I could have seen much of this coming. Anytime I try to predict the outcome of a bracket is a time when my brain gets tied up in knots. But that is also the essential fun part of an exercise like this. I hope you have been having fun voting for this as I have been having equal fun sitting back, wondering how this whole thing will shake out.

We have finally reached the Sweet Sixteen and I can't believe who is still in and who is not. I hope you have fun as this bracket and month begin to reach its end.

HOW DO I VOTE? Simply send me an email or leave a comment on the comment section below with a list of characters in each section you want to advance. For example, lets say there is Character A in seed 1 and Character B in seed 16, you would list the character you want followed by the seed and which part of the bracket they are in. If you have any questions or concerns about the voting, please let me know. My email is bloggershawn@gmail.com

SWEET SIXTEEN:

MOVIE HEROES-TOP LEFT BRACKET
James Bond (1) vs. Batman (4)
Gandalf (6) vs. Luke Skywalker (2)

TV HEROES- BOTTOME LEFT BRACKET
Jack Bauer (1) vs. Jon Snow (12)
Daryl Dixon (6) vs. Buffy (2)

MOVIE VILLAINS- TOP RIGHT BRACKET
Loki (9) vs. Tyler Durden (12)
Darth Vader (3) vs. The Joker (2)

TV VILLAINS- BOTTOM RIGHT BRACKET
Walter White (1) vs. The Governor (5)
President Frank Underwood (3) vs. Tony Soprano (2)

**Voting for Sweet Sixteen will end on March 29th 2015, so get your votes in now!

VOTING DATA
James Bond (60% of vote), Ripley (40% of vote)
Godzilla (12% of vote), Batman (88% of vote)
Gandalf (58% of vote) Indiana Jones (52% of vote)
Harry Potter (30% of vote), Luke Skywalker (70% of vote)

Jack Bauer (57% of vote) Dexter Morgan (53% of vote)
Jon Snow (89 % of vote), B.A. Baracus (11% of vote)
Daryl Dixon (56% of vote), Doctor Who (54% of vote)
Micheal Knight & Kitt (5% of vote), Buffy (95% of vote)

Dr. Hannibal Lectre (40% of vote) Loki (60% of vote)
Tyler Durden (85% of vote), Count Dracula (15% of vote)
Alexander DeLarge (14% of vote), Darth Vader (86% of vote)
Lord Voldemort (51% of vote), The Joker (59% of vote)

Walter White (98% of vote), T-Bag (2% of vote)
The Governor (78% of vote), Stewie Griffin (22% of vote)
The Borg (52% of vote), President Frank Underwood (58% of vote)
Victoria Grayson (45% of vote), Tony Soprano (55% of vote)

Spectre Teaser Trailer

Our first big look at "Spectre," the upcoming James Bond film has landed tonight, and it is glorious.

We don't see too much, but from what we do see, it is enough to wet our appetite. Although I will admit, there are some things that I find a little puzzling. I am huge James Bond fan, I always have been. But I'd be lying if I tried to sell the idea that I loved every single movie and agreed with every single choice that has been over the last fifty years. I have the entire Bond collection on blu-ray, and some are harder to sit through than others. Personally, I prefer the Connery era the most, George Lazenby's one-note is fun but is overly-long and little weird. The Moore era was so cartoonish that its hard for me to take any of it seriously. I don't mind the Dalton era, even though they don't really feel like Bond films. I think Brosnan gets a bad rap, even though he starred in the worst Bond film ever.

Craig's era has been good so far, and I think one thing that is throwing the haters off is that Craig's era of movies are all telling one gigantic story. If you look at all the other Bond films, it feels like you are watching a massive television series. The movies were basically a day-in-the-life-of-a-case for James Bond. But Craig's movies are interesting because they build on each other and we are learning more from Bond as character than we ever have in the history of the character's pantheon. That is wild fun, but it also gives me a reservation.

Telling from the teaser, it looks like we are going to venture more into Bond's past. Whether or not Christoph Waltz is playing Ernest Blofeld or not, it seems that Waltz' character has some kind of personal connection to James Bond. That is either going to make the movie cool or it is going to make the movie suck. Tying any film's villain to the hero personally is beginning to become an annoying cliché than a meaningful twist. If you are not a mega Bond fan like me, then you might not know that Spectre is the name of a powerful criminal organization that has plagued Bond all throughout the history of the franchise and the head of that organization is Ernest Blofeld (Dr. Evil in "Austin Powers" was a parody of Blofeld). We know that Blofeld is coming, but if this new film tries to connect Blofeld to Bond just for the importance of plot, its going to feel a lot similar to when Burton decided to have Joker kill Bruce Wayne's parents. Its drama for dramatic sake and not creative sake. Of course, execution and context is everything, so I guess we'll see.

Check out the trailer for yourself, and tell me what you think.


Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Maggie Trailer

I know I have said it before, but I have always considered Arnold Schwarzenegger a self-parody more than anything. He is always doing high-concept material, he is always the chiseled action hero. But let's face it, he's never come off like a big-time actor. Schwarzenegger is one of those rare entertainers that is all about the presents and the panache of that presents, and not so much the acting. He is a big ball of charisma and cartoonish personality, and not really an actor. He never seems to really try, because why would he? He knows we all love him and we will follow him everywhere.

"Maggie" is uncharted territory for Schwarzenegger. The entire trailer shows our favorite action hero in incredible angst. It looks to me for the first time in a long time that Schwarzenegger is actually trying, actually delivering a powerful performance. I think that alone is reason enough to see "Maggie" when it comes rolling to theaters.

I hear people say all the time that they are fed up with zombie movies, and wondering when it will end. The thing is, zombies are hot right now, so the answer is that they won't go anywhere anytime soon. How these characters survive over the years is how they are handled by different artists. I love seeing different takes on a particular genre and a zombie movie is not only good if it features tons of death and gore. This looks like it is going to be a slow-burn sort of movie. No matter what, this looks to be a zombie movie unlike anything we have seen before. But maybe I am a little biased because I like the genre so much.

But Schwarzenegger though...this looks to be a once-in-a-lifetime role for him.

Check out the trailer, see for yourself.





Who Played It Best? Paul Crewe

Who Played It Best? Paul Crewe
Now that I think on it, I think its pretty funny that Burt Reynolds ended up in the "Longest Yard" remake, because the character that Adam Sandler plays in the 2005 version is the character Reynolds played in 1974. The idea of a group of prison inmates taking on their guards in a football game is a high and fun concept, something that should never be taken seriously. I think Reynolds saw that and that is part of the reason why he wanted to be apart of it again. I am glad Reynolds accepted this idea, because I have kind a special place in my heart for both versions of this movie, but my question is, who played Crewe best?

My Two Cents
The remake of "The Longest Yard" is very much the type of movie Adam Sandler would be apart of. But what is a little surprising about it is how close to the original source material it stays. There are scenes and themes that are frame-by-frame from the original movie. Does that make the remake particularly better? I don't think so, plenty of remakes have been a frame-by-frame revival, and they ended up way short in their efforts (see that 1998 "Psycho" remake). But like I said, this is a Adam Sandler movie by far, the humor in the movie is that typical Sandler humor you are used to. Which means I found pieces of Sandler's normal routine buried deep in the movie. With the 1974 movie, I never found that. Reynolds always had a gift of breathing unique life into every character he played, whether he was being funny or if he was being serious. For this reason, I am giving the edge to Burt Reynolds, if you want to argue, take it up with Sterling Archer.

Agree? Disagree? Fire off in the comment section below, or email me (bloggershawn@gmail.com) with your vote. You will have until next Wednesday to vote.

LAST WEEK: WHO PLAYED IT BEST? ROBOCOP
Our favorite science fiction cop was up for voting last week. The results are in and here is how it all shook out.
Can't beat a classic
 


Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Movie March Madness Bracket-Heroes vs. Villains- Round Two

The last four days of been a bloodbath of voting, and I am glad so many of you have enjoyed this so far.

Heroes vs. Villains is off to a terrific start and I think who did and did not make it to Round Two will both shock and excite all of you. These things are always polarizing, but this is all due to your votes, so please don't be mad if your favorite characters did not make the cut.

Below are the results of Round Two, remember that the voting session for Round Two will last from March 24th and will last until March 26th so get voting if you missed out on Round One. I have posted the characters rap sheets and hyperlinked them with each character's name. If one is done that is, I had absolutely no idea that these would take so long and I greatly apologize. I just wanted this to be as through as possible. I will get them done as fast as I can, but all the heroes are done, so look over this past month to read up on those.

Here is Round Two!

MOVIE HEROES- TOP LEFT
 
TV HEROES- BOTTOM LEFT
 
MOVIE VILLAINS- TOP RIGHT
Tyler Durden (12) vs. Count Dracula (4)
Alexander DeLarge (11) vs. Darth Vader (3)
Lord Voldemort (10) vs. The Joker (2)
 
TV VILLAINS- BOTTOM RIGHT
Walter White (1) vs. T-Bag (8)
The Governor (5) vs. Stewie Griffin (13)
The Borg (7) vs. President Frank Underwood (3)
Victoria Grayson (10) vs. Tony Soprano (2)
 
 
So that is Round Two, get voting!
 
DATA
James Bond (88% 0f vote), Marty McFly (12% of vote)
Ripley (56% of vote), Sarah Connor (44% of vote)
Atticus Finch (25% of vote), Godzilla (75% of vote)
Batman (89% of vote), Peter Venkman (11% of vote)
Gandalf (52% of vote), Captain James T. Kirk (48% of vote)
Indiana Jones (51% of vote), Katniss Everdeen (49% of vote)
Captain America (45% of vote), Harry Potter (55% of vote)
Luke Skywalker (84% of vote), Rocky Balboa (16% of vote)
 
Jack Bauer (90% of vote), Emma Swan (10% of vote)
Dexter Morgan (91% of vote), Jim Phelps (9% of vote)
Captain Jean-Luc Picard (49% of vote), Jon Snow (51% of vote)
B.A. Baracus (77% of vote), Spartacus (23% of vote)
Daryl Dixon (85% of vote), Oliver Queen (15% of vote)
Doctor Who (52% of vote), Xena (48% of vote)
Sheriff Andy Taylor (32% of vote), Michael Knight & KITT (68% of vote)
Buffy (71% of vote), Sonny Crockett & Ricardo Tubbs (29% of vote)
 
Dr. Hannibal Lecter (95% of vote), Reagan MacNeil (5% of vote)
T-1000 (45% of vote), Loki (55% of vote)
Freddy Krueger (45% of vote), Tyler Durden (55% of vote)
Count Dracula (55% of vote), Ernest Blofeld (45% of vote)
Maleficent (49% of vote), Alexander DeLarge (51% of vote)
Darth Vader (96% of vote), Norman Bates (4% of vote)
The Wicked Witch of the West (20% of vote), Lord Voldemort (80% of vote)
The Joker (97% of vote), Agent Smith (3% of vote)
 
Walter White (97% of vote), The Cigarette Smoking Man (3% of vote)
T-Bag (57% of vote), The Trinity Killer (43% of vote)
The Governor (58% of vote), Ben Linus (42% of vote)
Sideshow Bob (33% if vote), Stewie Griffin (67% of vote)
King Joffrey (33% of vote), The Borg (67% of vote)
President Frank Underwood (82% of vote), Lorne Malvo (18% of vote)
J.R. Ewing (25% of vote), Victoria Grayson (75% of vote)
Tony Soprano (96% of vote), "Nucky" Thompson (4% of vote)

TV REVIEW: "Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D." (Episode 14, Season 2)

TV REVIEW
 
AGENTS OF S.H.I.E.L.D.
 
EPISODE 14, SEASON 2- "LOVE IN THE TIME OF HYDRA"
Tonight's episode of "Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D." was kind of a mixed bag. I am not sure each show on television can juggle a multiple narrative. There are some shows, like "Game of Thrones" that can handle telling two or three stories in one episode. Part of that has to do with the fact that they don't have to worry about commercials. But I think a bigger part of that has to do with the writing team behind the story. How many shows and movies for that matter, pass or fail has to do with the writing. If the writing is sloppy, there is not one performance that can milk the characters or one director who can make the message clear. Sure, there are exceptions, as there are for just about everything, but those exceptions are rare. I am just not sure if the writers behind "Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D." really can handle multiple storylines in one episode.

For instance, we finally learned who Bobbi and Mack are answering too, as did Lance Hunter. Edward James Olmos guest stars as Robert Gonzales, the director of the "Real S.H.I.E.L.D." No, this real S.H.I.E.L.D. is no faction of the bad guys, but they certainly up to no good. This real S.H.I.E.L.D. wants Coulson out, because he apparently has too many secrets, even though they are working for a espionage agency, which seems like odd motivation for someone not to be director. But anyway, the real S.H.I.E.L.D. doesn't trust Coulson and they want Lance Hunter to join them. Hunter is still feels committed to Coulson, and I am starting to get the feeling that Lance Hunter is going to replace Grant Ward as the male badass of Coulson's group. I thought it would be Triplett, but it seems Marvel had other plans.

This would have been an interesting story to focus on, if we didn't have to pause to see what Grant Ward and Agent 33 are doing. I really felt we spent way too much of the episode watching Agent 33 get her face fixed, as well as the tension between a possible romance between her and Ward. The last thing I want from this show is a love story between these two. In fact, I really feel that Ward is starting to wear out his welcome. I loved his big twist in season 1, and the show really needed something that would flatline the audience, but they didn't kill him. So now what? The show doesn't seem to know, and he is starting to feel more like an anchor than anything else. If it were up to me, I would kill Ward by the end of this season. Brett Dalton had a great run, but it doesn't seem like anything else interesting can be done with him, and since he did what he promised Skye, I feel like his story-arc is complete. Its never good when a character is more of an footnote than an actual part of the story.

Then there was the story of Skye being brought into seclusion. It seems that Coulson's team is split hairs on what they feel should be done about Skye and her newfound powers. So she is brought to a secluded cabin for...well, that is never quite explained. There is a nice Easter Egg this episode which is teasing Quake, big time. We definitely felt bad for Skye as the show has done a good job of making her relationship with Coulson matter. But this part of episode came off so slow that I want to just fast forward and have Skye be Quake right now.

So a little bit of a sluggish episode overall, but still not bad. It seems like next week is going to be very compelling and I am engaging in this Coulson's S.H.I.E.L.D. vs. Real S.H.I.E.L.D. storyline and I am crazily curious to see how that particular arc plays out. I can really do without the Ward and Agent 33- sitting in a tree storyline. I still like Skye's origin, I just want there to be a deeper focus, and something that isn't apart of several other story threads. What did you all think?


Monday, March 23, 2015

Heroes vs. Villains: Darth Vader Rap Sheet

Heroes vs. Villains
 
Darth Vader Rap Sheet
Name: Darth Vader

From: The "Star Wars" saga

Bracket Placement: Movie Villains- 3rd Seed

Background: Once a member of the peace-keeping Jedi, Lord Vader was seduced by the dark side of the force and plummeted his galaxy into darkness. He destroyed the Jedi and anyone who allied with them, including his own wife. He ruled the galaxy for countless years with an iron hand kept everyone in check through fear. He is also a master of the Force as well as a lightsaber.


 


Heroes vs. Villains: The Joker Rap Sheet

Heroes vs. Villains
 
The Joker Rap Sheet
Name: The Joker
 
From: "Batman" in 1989 and "The Dark Knight" in 2008
 
Bracket Placement: Movie Villains-2nd Seed
 
Background: Whether he was responsible for killing Bruce Wayne's parents or responsible for killing his childhood crush, The Joker has been a thorn in Batman's side for a little over 75 years now. He is a mysterious yet inferior criminal genius, who has several dangerous tricks up his sleeve. When he makes jokes, he is always the only one laughing, while everyone else is cowering in fear. He never wants to kill Batman, only relish in the vast many ways he can make him suffer. He is a sweeping storm that rips through Gotham every time he shows up in a movie.
 



Heroes vs. Villains: Dr. Hannibal Lecter Rap Sheet

Heroes vs. Villains
 
Dr. Hannibal Lecter Rap Sheet
Name: Dr. Hannibal Lecter
 
From: "The Silence of the Lambs," "Hannibal," "Hannibal:Rising" and "Red Dragon."
 
Bracket Placement: Movie Villains-1st Seed
 
Background: For Hannibal Lecter, the eating of people began with revenge, he witnessed the cannibalizing of his own daughter and hunted down each man in the party that did it, killing them all. He grew very intelligent earning his doctorate, but the hunger never stopped. He would grow up to be the most infamous serial killer around. He has escaped from prison countless times and has vast knowledge of several other serial killers in the country.
 



Heroes vs. Villains: Emma Swan Rap Sheet

Heroes vs. Villains
 
Emma Swan Rap Sheet
Name: Emma Swan

From: ABC's "Once Upon A Time"

Bracket Placement: TV Heroes- 16th Seed

Background: Before discovering the small town of Storybrooke, Emma Swan was a normal con artist working in New York City. It was the son she never knew she had her brought her to a seemingly normal small town. But then she realizes that she is the daughter of Snow White and Prince Charming, and that she must help break the spell put forth on the town by the Evil Queen. Since breaking the curse, Swan has learned the true meaning of family and has helped the town combat any other threats that town faces.



 


Heroes vs. Villains: Sonny Crockett & Ricardo Tubbs Rap Sheet

Heroes vs. Villains
 
Sonny Crockett & Ricardo Tubbs Rap Sheet
Name(s): Sonny Crockett and Ricardo Tubbs
 
From: "Miami Vice" (1984-1990)
 
Bracket Placement: TV Heroes- 15th Seed
 
Background: Both Sonny Crockett and Ricardo Tubbs were two Miami Police Detectives who kept their city clean of drugs and prostitution. They kicked a lot of butt and  they looked stylish doing it.
 



Heroes vs. Villains: Xena Rap Sheet

Heroes vs. Villains
 
Xena Rap Sheet
Name: Xena, Warrior Princess

From: "Xena: Warrior Princess" (1995-2001)

Bracket Placement: TV Heroes- 14th Seed

Background: The series follows Xena and her traveling companion Gabrielle. Xena is on a quest to redeem herself for her dark past by using her formidable fighting skills to help people. Xena spends almost every episode on a different mission, always trying to do the right thing, fighting for the what she refers to as the "greater good". 

 


Heroes vs. Villains: Spartacus Rap Sheet

Heroes vs. Villains
 
Spartacus Rap Sheet
Name: Spartacus (name given by Romans, real name never known)
 
From: Starz' "Spartacus" (2010-2013)
 
Bracket Placement: TV Heroes-13th Placement
 
Background: The man who would become Spartacus was a noblemen from Thrace who struck a deal to combat the Greeks with the Romans. It was an uneasy alliance, but he stayed true to it, until the Romans abandoned him, and eventually forced him and his wife to slavery. Spartacus would rise quickly as a gladiator, and would come to lead an all-out revolt against Rome. Over the course of his slave rebellion, Spartacus defeated several legions, created an army of 30,000+ slaves, and even conquered a Roman city. He is a very skilled swordfighter, brilliant tactician and strategist and can even inspired his worst dissenters to his cause.
 



Heroes vs. Villains: Jon Snow Rap Sheet

Heroes vs. Villains
 
Jon Snow Rap Sheet
Name: Jon Snow

From: HBO's "Game of Thrones"

Bracket Placement: TV Heroes-12th Seed

Background: Jon Snow is the bastard child of Ned Stark, the King of the North in the land of Westros. Jon Snow would eventually join a group known as the Night's Watch, a group of soldiers dedicated to protecting the entire land from whatever would threaten it. Snow graciously gives up family and love in order to protect the realm from whatever lies over the wall. He does so with fierce command and expert swordplay.



Heroes vs. Villains: Oliver Queen Rap Sheet

Heroes vs. Villains
 
Oliver Queen Rap Sheet
Name: Oliver Queen AKA The Arrow
 
From: The CW's "Arrow"
 
Bracket Placement: TV Heroes- 11th Seed
 
Background: Oliver Queen was the son of the wealthy Queen family from Starling City. While vacationing on his father's yacht, Queen gets shipwrecked on a hellish island and is transformed by the inhabitants of that island into a full-fledged killing machine. He returns five years later to Starling City, ready to protect it from all evil that invades it. Queen is highly talented in martial arts and is quite good with a bow and arrows. Much like Batman, Queen operates with a team of people and has even inspired other citizens of Starling City to protect the city from evil.
 
 

 


Heroes vs. Villains: Michael Knight & KITT Rap Sheet

Heroes vs. Villains
 
Michael Knight & KITT Rap Sheet
Name(s): Michael Knight and his car KITT
 
From: "Knightrider" (1982-1986)
 
Bracket Placement: TV Heroes-10th Seed
 
Background: Self-made billionaire Wilton Knight rescues police Detective Lieutenant Michael Arthur Long after a near fatal shot to the face, giving him a new identity and a new name: Michael Knight. Wilton selects Michael to be the primary field agent in the pilot program of his public justice organization, the Foundation for Law and Government (FLAG). The other half of this pilot program is the Knight Industries Two Thousand (KITT), a heavily modified, technologically-advanced Pontiac Firebird Trans Am with numerous features including an extremely durable shell and frame, controlled by a computer with artificial intelligence.
 


Heroes vs. Villains: Jim Phelps Rap Sheet

Heroes vs. Villains
 
Jim Phelps Rap Sheet
Name: Jim Phelps

From: "Mission: Impossible" (1966-1973) (1988-1990)

Bracket Placement: TV Heroes- 9th Seed

Background: Jim Phelps lead a successful team of IMF agents for several years. Seemingly everyday, Phelps was given a choice to chose a mission, and every time he accepted it. The IMF wanted to create a more peaceful and less-turbulent world, and I think he did.


 


Heroes vs. Villains: Dexter Morgan Rap Sheet

Heroes vs. Villains
 
Dexter Morgan Rap Sheet
Name: Dexter Morgan
 
From: Showtime's "Dexter" (2006-2013)
 
Bracket Placement: TV Heroes- 8th Seed
 
Background: Based in Miami, Dexter Morgan is a blood-spatter expert who is instrumental in solving murders for the Miami-Dade police department. What nobody knows about Dexter is that not only does he solve the murders, but he also kills the murderers. His father noticed at a young age that Dexter would probably grow up to be serial killer, and he taught his son how to use his urges for good of humanity.
 
  


Heroes vs. Villains: Sheriff Andy Taylor Rap Sheet

Heroes vs. Villains
 
Sheriff Andy Taylor Rap Sheet
Name: Sheriff Andy Taylor

From: "The Andy Griffith Show" (1960-1968)

Bracket Placement: TV Heroes- 7th Seed

Background:  Sheriff Andy Taylor has a life in sleepy, slow-paced fictional Mayberry, North Carolina. Sheriff Taylor's level-headed approach to law enforcement makes him the scourge of local moonshiners and out-of-town criminals, while his abilities to settle community problems with common-sense advice, mediation, and conciliation make him popular with his fellow citizens.


 


Heroes vs. Villains: Daryl Dixon Rap Sheet

Heroes vs. Villains
 
Daryl Dixon Rap Sheet
Name: Daryl Dixon

From: AMC's "The Walking Dead"

Bracket Placement: TV Heroes- 6th Seed

Background: Not too much is known about Daryl Dixon's life before the zombie apocalypse hit, and it seemed that Daryl was overlooked and misunderstood due to being related to the infamous and notorious Meril Dixon. But over the seasons, Daryl has proven to be a good ally of the Atlanta Survivors. Wielding a crossbow, Dixon takes out countless zombies with ease, and he has proven to be an extreme threat to anyone who threatens his group.


 


Heroes vs. Villains" Captain Picard Rap Sheet

Heroes vs. Villains
 
Captain Picard Rap Sheet
Name: Captain Jean-Luc Picard
 
From: "Star Trek: The Next Generation" (1987-1994)
 
Bracket Placement: TV Heroes- 5th Seed
 
Background: Captain of the USS Enterprise 70 years after Kirk's final mission, Picard is the new leader of the Enterprise. Depicted as deeply moral, highly logical, and intelligent, Picard is a master of diplomacy and debate who resolves seemingly intractable issues between multiple, sometimes implacable parties with a Solomon-like wisdom. Though such resolutions are usually peaceful, Picard is also shown using his remarkable tactical cunning in situations when it is required.
 



Sunday, March 22, 2015

Heroes vs. Villains: B.A. Baracus Rap Sheet

Heroes vs. Villains
 
B.A. Baracus Rap Sheet
Name: Sgt. Bosco Albert (Bad Attitude) Baracus

From: "The A-Team" (1983-1987)

Bracket Placement: TV Heroes- 4th Seed

Background: Formally a sergeant in the United States Special Forces, Baracus went on the run with Templeton Peck, John "Hannibal" Smith, and "Howling Mad" Murdock after they were charged with a "crime they did not commit." The foursome took up employment as soldiers of fortune. Even though they lead lives as mercenaries, "The A-Team," as they would soon be called, the team always stood against evil and helped the oppressed. It can be said that Baracus was the muscle of the group, though he never got over his fear of flying.

 
 


Heroes vs. Villains: Doctor Who Rap Sheet

Heroes vs. Villains
 
Doctor Who Rap Sheet
Name: Doctor Who
 
From:  BBC's "Doctor Who" (1963-Present)
 
Bracket Placement: TV Heroes- 3rd Seed
 
Background: The Doctor is a Time Lord of the planet Gallifrey. With the use of the TARDIS, The Doctor travels through time and different dimensions battling the forces of evil. His kind have dedicated themselves to overseeing all of time and space without interference. With this vehicle, the Doctor explores the universe with mostly human companions who serve as audience surrogate characters to ask questions which allow the Doctor to provide relevant exposition.
 
 



Heroes vs. Villains: Buffy Rap Sheet

Heroes vs. Villains
 
Buffy Rap Sheet
Name: Buffy Sommers

From: "Buffy The Vampire Slayer" (1997-2003)

Bracket Placement: TV Heroes-2nd Seed

Background: Chosen by fate to be slayer, Buffy spent many years battling vampires, demons and other forces of darkness. She was  trained by her Watcher in order to find and further surpress the forces of evil.


 


Saturday, March 21, 2015

Heroes vs. Villains: Jack Bauer Rap Sheet

Heroes vs. Villains
 
Jack Bauer Rap Sheet
Name: Jack Bauer

From: TV's "24" (2001-2010), 24: Live Another Day (2014)

Bracket Placement: TV Heroes- 1st Seed

Background: Jack Bauer is an operative working for the secret Counter Terrorism Unit. He is skilled in hand-to-hand combat, firearms, and driving. He may bend and even break rules sometimes, but he does it all in order to keep the free world safe. Bauer has lots of sins to answer for, but he has always kept the lives of free people around the world in mind as he fought, tortured and killed his way to win the day over terrorism.


 
 


Heroes vs. Villains: Marty McFly Rap Sheet

Heroes vs. Villains
 
Marty McFly Rap Sheet
Name: Marty McFly

From: The "Back To The Future" trilogy

Bracket Placement: Movie Heroes- 16th Seed

Background: Instead of going back in time to stop a horrible future, or for equally selfish reasons, Marty McFly went back to make sure his family stayed together. He loves his family so much that he is willing to travel to the past to make a better future for them. Marty is ambitious, courageous and passionate about his crusade.


 


Heroes vs. Villains- Rocky Balboa Rap Sheet

Heroes vs. Villains
 
Rocky Balboa Rap Sheet
Name: Rocky Balboa
 
From: The "Rocky" film franchise
 
Bracket Placement: Movie Heroes- 15th Seed
 
Background: Loner by day, boxer by night, Rocky Balboa is good man stuck in a strong guy's body. He may fight with his fists in the ring, but he has people's thoughts in his heart at all times. Consider when Rocky made sure a customer of a pet shop paid his bill in full, consider a scene when Rocky walked a poor girl home who was being bothered by creeps. Rocky is that symbol of good wrapped up in brawn.
 


Heroes vs. Villains: Katniss Everdeen Rap Sheet

Heroes vs. Villains
 
Katniss Everdeen Rap Sheet
Name: Katniss Everdeen

From: The "Hunger Games" franchise

Bracket Placement: Movie Heroes-14th Seed

Background: Volunteered to participate in annual death games of a dystopian future in order to save the life of her little sister, Katniss soon became the beacon of hope and rebellion. Katniss survived not one, but two versions of the Hunger Games and became a symbol of the rebellion soon after. She has intense skills with a bow and arrow, as well as superb survival skills. She is a girl who grew up rough, so not much phases her and not much affects her. She also possesses the power to inspire many people across the districts of Panem.


 


Heroes vs. Villains: Pete Venkman Rap Sheet

Heroes vs. Villains
 
Pete Venkman Rap Sheet
Name: Peter Venkman

From: "Ghostbusters" and "Ghostbusters 2"

Bracket Placement: Movie Heroes- 13th Seed

Background: Peter Venkman is a parapsychology doctor who has Ph.D's in both parapsychology and psychology. After an encounter with a ghost, he founded the Ghostbusters organization with Ray Stantz and Egon Spengler. Together, the team fought off paranormal threats that terrorized their hometown of New York City. Venkman was the unofficial spokesperson of the team, but was a valued member of the team. He loves his city very much, and will do anything to stop the paranormal threats that may try to destroy his family and friends.


 

Heroes vs. Villains: Godzilla Rap Sheet

Heroes vs. Villains
 
Godzilla Rap Sheet
Name: Godzilla

From: The "Godzilla" movies.

Bracket Placement: Movie Heroes- 12th Seed

Background: Godzilla came to life after several nuclear weapons test in his region during the 1950's. Due to the weapons, the animal that was once Godzilla mutated and became a giant monster living in the water. Some believe Godzilla to be a monster who destroys, but he has proven more over the years that he destroys other threats to humanity. Godzilla is more of a force of nature over anything else, and has been used for the greater good by humanity against other monstrous threats.


 


Heroes vs. Villains: Captain James T. Kirk Rap Sheet

Heroes vs. Villains
 
Captain James T. Kirk Rap Sheet
Name: Captain James T. Kirk
 
From: The original "Star Trek" film franchise as well as the reboot beginning in 2009.
 
Bracket Placement: Movie Heroes- 11th Seed
 
Background: James Kirk got into the Starfleet due to the inspiration of his father (or after much convincing, depending on which franchise you are a fan of.), and quickly rose up on the ranks of captain. He has lead many exhibitions through deep space and has been instrumental in saving the universe and even his own home planet on many occasions. Kirk is a born leader, and has lead the USS Enterprise through ups and downs through his lengthy career as Captain.




Heroes vs. Villains: Harry Potter Rap Sheet

Heroes vs. Villains
 
Harry Potter Rap Sheet
Name: Harry Potter

From: The "Harry Potter" franchise

Bracket Placement: Movie Heroes- 10th Seed

Background: Harry Potter is a young boy who attended Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, and became a powerful and popular student. What he soon began to realize is that he is also "The Boy Who Lived." He discovered that both of his parents were powerful wizards, who joined a secret magic organization to battle dark forces who wanted to domination of the wizarding world. When those dark forces threaten the world again, Potter steps up, leading his friends in a fight against evil.


 


Heroes vs. Villains: Sarah Connor Rap Sheet

Heroes vs. Villains
 
Sarah Connor Rap Sheet
Name: Sarah Connor
 
From: "The Terminator" franchise
 
Bracket Placement: Movie Heroes- 9th Seed
 
Background: After learning that she would give birth to the child who end the war against artificial intelligence, Sarah Connor's world was turned upside down. She learned to accept her fate, and to protect herself as she entered a world who did not believe it was on the eve of a nuclear apocalypse brought on by machines. She has proven that she will do whatever she needs to do in order to protect her son from machines.
 



Heroes vs. Villains: Ripley Rap Sheet

Heroes vs. Villains
 
Ripley Rap Sheet
Name: Ellen Ripley

From: The "Alien" franchise

Bracket Placement: Movie Heroes- 8th Seed

Background: Warrant officer and third-in-command of the USS Nostromo, Ripley discovered an alien species known as the Xenomorphs. This lead to the killing of the rest of her crew onboard the Nostromo and the destruction of her ship. From this point forward, Ripley would be plagued her life by the Xenomorphs and would do everything in her power to fight them off. Ripley is a quick thinker, and just as quick of a learner. She is also very proficient with weapons.


 


Heroes vs. Villains: Captain America Rap Sheet

Heroes vs. Villains
 
Captain America Rap Sheet
Name: Steve Rogers AKA Captain America

From: Marvel Cinematic Universe

Bracket Placement: Movie Heroes- 7th Seed

Background: Once a frail boy, fighting to enlist during World War II, Steve Rogers volunteers for the Super Soldier program, becoming the world's first superhero. During the 1940's, Rogers lead a small group of pro-Allies forces against HYDRA, an evil terrorist organization born out of Nazi Germany. Thought dead after his plane crashed after a fateful mission, Rogers body resurfaces sixty years later and defrosted. Rogers now lives in modern times and joined the superhero team The Avengers, protecting the world from threats, worldly and even cosmic. Captain America is the leader of The Avengers and also works for the peacekeeping organization S.H.I.E.L.D. Captain America is the embodiment of what all Americans strive for, and is arguably represents the moral compass of the entire Marvel Universe.