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Saturday, November 17, 2018

The Top 10 Best Television Episodes of 2017

10) "Who Rules The Land of Denial" 
Fargo (FX)
Season 3 / Episode 8

Premiere Date: June 7, 2017
Directed By: Mike Barker

Brief Description: I know the general consensus was the season 3 of Fargo is the show's worst season, but considering I wasn't the biggest fan on the sophomore attempt, I quite liked the latest from Noah Hawley and crew starring twins played by Ewan McGregor. What makes the show work so well is Hawley's masterful interpretation of films by the Coen Brothers- filmmakers who can make a straightforward kidnapping-gone-wrong film like Fargo and also an absolutely delightfully bonkers film like The Big Lebowski. What makes "Who Rules The Land of Denial" so great is the show's ability to play off of the Coen Brothers tropes and create a delightfully masterfully opening where Mary Elizabeth Winstead's character can be chased by goons one minute, and then sitting in a bowling alley of purgatory with The Wandering Jew (played by Ray Wise) the next.

9) "Time's Arrow" BoJack Horseman (Netflix)
Season 4 / Episode 11
Premiere Date: September 8, 2017
Directed By: Aaron Long

Brief Description: Season 4 of BoJack Horseman dealt a lot with the titular character coming to grips with his past and his relationship with his negligent mother. The series culminates in a trippy penultimate episode where the Bojack's mother (voiced by Wendie Malick) and her dementia flip between the past and present and your left with a David Lynch-ian experience unlike anything you've seen before. A remarkable episode from one of the best and smartest shows on television.

Friday, November 9, 2018

The Top 17 Best Films of 2017

17) Molly's Game
Starring: Jessica Chastain
Written and Directed By:  Aaron Sorkin
STARS:  3 out of 4

Brief Description: Aaron Sorkin's directorial debut is neither perfect, nor earth-shattering, but his own words and dialogue make for an automatically compelling story. Based on the interesting book and real life of Molly Bloom, a former Olympic skier turned underground Poker game runner, Molly's Game is a solid movie that is worth a rental. The floor of any Aaron Sorkin project is so high that he's turning everything he touches into Must-See entertainment.

16) The Greatest Showman
Starring: Hugh Jackman and Zac Efron
Directed By: Michael Gracey
STARS: 3 out of 4

Brief Description: My enjoyment of this film comes down to two things: 1) I'm familiar enough with the real P.T. Barnum to know what a terrible person he was to the point where Hugh Jackson's portrayal of the man was an outright lie more than viewing him through rose-colored glasses and 2) I'm a sucker for catchy music. I really enjoyed La La Land, and the same people behind that film come back with a vengeance with The Greatest Showman. The songs are so catchy I had to pause in the middle of this description to go watch some scenes on YouTube.

15) Spielberg
Starring: Steven Spielberg
Directed By: Susan Lacy
STARS: 3 out of 4

Brief Description: You can't be as big of a movie fan as I am and not enjoy one or ten Steven Spielberg films. Heck, you can't even be a casual movie goer and not enjoy a handful of his films. Despite the obviously slant towards this being a puff piece, I really enjoyed the look back on Steven Spielberg's life and career and just how much he's influenced everything. It's also weird because the film made me respect the director a lot less. He was widely (and rightfully IMHO) criticized early in his career for not being able to make a good, serious, prestigious film. Spielberg tried to prove everyone wrong (mainly with Schindler's List), but after revisiting many of those films, like List, I've to believe that argument more and more.

Sunday, October 21, 2018

The Top 16 Best Shows of 2016

16) You're The Worst (FX)
Season 3
Created By: Stephan Falk
Starring: Chris Geere & Aya Cash

Click here to read why Episode 11's "The Inherent, Unsullied Qualified Value of Anything" was one of the best episodes of 2016

15) The Carmichael Show (NBC)
Season 2
Created By: Jerrod Carmichael
Starring: Jerrod Carmichael, Lorett Devine, & David Allen Grier

Click here to read about my thoughts on The Carmichael Show

14) Speechless (ABC)
Season 1
Created By: Scott Silveri
Starring: Minnie Driver & Micah Fowler

Saturday, October 20, 2018

The Top 10 Best Films of 2016

10) Allied
Starring: Brad Pitt & Marion Cotillard
Directed By: Robert Zemeckis
STARS: 3 out of 4

Check out my original review of the film here

9) Moana
Voices Of: Auli'i Cravalho & Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson
Directed By: Rob Clements, John Musker, Don Hall, & Chris Williams
STARS: 3 out of 4

Brief Description: Moana was not a film I had on my original list in 2016, but time has been incredibly kind to it thanks to the fabulously catchy songs, mainly written by Lin-Manuel Miranda, and the fact that I've had a kid between when the films first aired and it's current principal residency atop of my Netfliz queue. I don't know that the film is an effective critique of previous Disney tropes that it wants to be (especially not compared to a later film on this lost), but it's still a fun movies nonetheless with songs that'll gleefully get stuck on your head for days. And in the era of the #MeToo movement and the fact that we're now being honest about how terrible the former Disney princess movies really are, Moana is a great film that I think will stand the test of time.

Saturday, January 27, 2018

Oscar Movie Review: Dunkirk

Written & Directed By: Christoper Nolan
Starring: Mark Rylance, Tom Hardy, & Kenneth Branagh
STARS: 3.5 out of 4

SHOULD I WATCH IT: Rent it immediately and watch it on the biggest screen with the best speakers you can find.

Brief Description: Dunkirk begins with a group of young soldiers scavenging their way through an abandoned village next to the shore of Dunkirk, France during WWII. Flyers drop upon stating that the enemy has them surrounded. The young men suddenly come under attack leading two of them to the shore of the shore of the beach where they encounter an entire British battalion as they attempt to escape from Hell.

Dunkirk follows three main story lines as the United Kingdom tries to rescue these men and get them off of this beach. The first story line follows Tommy (Fionn Whitehead) and George (Barry Keoghan), two of the soldiers we met in the first scene, as they meet up with Alex (Harry Styles- who's surprisingly excellent in the film and who's fame works to the film's advantage to help distinguish between the random white kids we're following) as they spend a week trying to get off of the beach. Next, we follow Mr. Dawson (Rylance) and a group of rag tag civilians who spend the day boating across the English Channel in a last ditch effort to save the stranded, beached soldiers. The final storyline follows Farrier (Hardy) and Collins (Jack Lowden), two English fighter pilots spending an hour in the air to assist in the rescue mission any way they can.

Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Oscarmetrics: Lady Bird Is Now The Best Picture Favorite

Throughout this year's Award Season, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri became the favorite to win the Academy Award for Best Picture. It was announced so by Vulture! It cleaned up at the Golden Globes and the SAG awards, earned a butt load of BAFTA nominations, and the film's director Martin McDonagh earned a DGA (Director's Guild of America) nomination. The film was on a fast track to sweep at the Academy Awards come March. But then the Academy Award nominations were announced and a funny thing happened, the film lost its front runner status. It may not seem like it to the layman. Three Billboards earned a bunch of nominations like Best Picture, Best Actress, two Best Supporting Actors nods, Best Original Screenplay, and Best Editing. However, the one key nomination Three Billboards failed to earn was Best Director; Martin McDonagh was not nominated for Best Director.

Saturday, January 20, 2018

Oscar Movie Review: Three Billboards Outside Ebbing Missouri

Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri
Written and Directed By: Martin McDonagh
Starring: Francis McDormand, Sam Rockwell, & Woody Harrelson
STARS: 2.5 out of 4

SHOULD I WATCH IT: Only if you're an Oscars completionist. Otherwise, wait to rent it for the performances.

Brief Description: Mildred (Francis McDormand) is driving along a rural road outside her house when she sees three abandoned billboards. She spends the last of her money to take out ad space on the billboards so that they read "Raped While Dying", "And Still No Arrests",  and "How Come, Chief Willoughby?'. As Mildred's teenage daughter was raped and murdered a few months back without any arrests or leads to show for it, Mildred creates these billboards to cause a stir in her sleepy little town and to get her daughter's case back into the public eye so that Chief Willoughby (Woody Harrelson) can re-open the case and, hopefully, solve the mystery for this grieving mother.