Sunday, 27 July 2008

Of The Wire

Right I would like to preface this next blog post by saying that I am in no way whatsoever qualified to soliloquise what makes The Wire so bloody awesome (more awesome than The Dark Knight which as I’ve made clearly is pretty darn awesome).

I would also like to say that The Wire isn’t my favourite show on television (still belongs to Lost), but it is safe to say that The Wire is well and truly the best show on television. Not just at the moment but all time.

Now as to why The Wire is so fantastic. Well The Wire is so fantastic because it is so brutally honest with the viewer. Whilst it isn’t solely for that reason, it is definitely a big part as to why this show is superb. No other show on television is able to show with such brutal honesty the police, the drug trade, port workers, school systems, politics and now in season 5 a news room.

Of course the acting and the writing for this show are superb. In particular characters such as Omar Little (Michael K. Williams), Stinger Bell (Idris Elba), Jimmy McNulty (Dominic West)…. ah screw it the entire cast is flipping awesome and it’s a sight to behold that even within a cast of over 30 main characters (which makes Lost seem small) there is hardly a weak actor in the entire bunch.

The story is long and over arching, a lot like Lost except without the centric episodes devoted to certain characters and weird fantasy type moments. The Wire is completed grounded in reality to the point where all the music is diegetic (apart from the montages that finish off each of the seasons). The Wire isn’t one of those shows where you can sit and surf the net for an hour and still understand what has happened in the preceding hour. You have to be concentrating 100%, which is in no way a strike against but something that you must be prepared for if you do watch. Another thing about the show which again in no way is a negative point is that the plot moves at very slow pace and so takes a while to get into the main plot of the series. But it’s still the best show on TV even when its setting up all of these little plot points and layering it’s characters to a point where they look like onions.

Now onto Series 5 of The Wire. Series 5 begins a year after the end of series 4 and continues the poor state of disrepair that Baltimore is enduring. Marlo Stanfield still rules the streets of West Baltimore. Major Crimes is getting nowhere in their investigation meaning that there are more than 20 unclaimed bodies in the morgue. Mayor Carcetti is trying to get the school budget under control which means diverting money from the police funds leading to the police moral being at an all time low. They aren’t receiving overtime pay for their work and have to drive rusty cars around town on their patrols. The media is completely out of touch with what’s happening in Baltimore. Oh and McNulty is drinking again.

So all in all just another average day in Baltimore. And it can only get worse from here. Yup it looks like Baltimore is going to get a lot worse over the coming weeks hopefully leading up to an awesome ending (which from what I've heard is pretty special). So the series premiere of series 5 has shown that not a lot is going to change in Baltimore and we're going to get all the normal killings and indepth introspectives into the lives of a group of people who have never had such a heart felt look at their culture before.


P.S. Lost Comic-Con panel gave us this awesome video.

Is that Daniel Faraday I hear in the background? 30 years in the past?

Also, finally a release date for The Fall in the UK. October 3rd I can hardly wait (luckily Heroes, Chuck, Pushing Daisies, Dexter, How I Met Your Mother and 30 Rock will be back on by then).

Of The Dark Knight Part 2

It's been over 24 hours since I saw the Dark Knight and I still can't stop thinking about it. The movie is simply incredibly. "Fucking awesome" is all I could say when I came out of the cinema and really that is that needs to be said of this of this movie as it is plain and simply "fucking awesome".

My friend described it as "poetic". I told him point blank that he was wrong as it was more ironic however this is not going to be an indepth introspective of The Dark Knight, merely someone who loved it telling you how awesome it was.

So I'm going to say point blank that it's easily a 5 star film. Easily. One of six films I'd actually give 5 stars to (along with The Fountain, Requiem for a Dream, Garden State, The Matrix and Donnie Darko) and it definately deserves every iota of hype and praise it has recieved from the press and the general public. The Dark Knight might not be my favourite movie ever (still The Fountain) but it is up there (as I just said top 6).

The Dark Knight was also the best experience I've ever had in a cinema. I've had some pretty depressing experiences in cinemas and so this one just made the Dark Knight even more fantastic. No ones phone went off, no one talked, no clapped or laughed at inappropriate moments (there were still chuckles though). I'm the last person to clap for movies but I desperately wanted to give a standing ovation however no one else did so it looked like I was alone in my stance on how bloody amazing this movie was.

The Dark Knight is also the first of my five stars I've had the enjoyment of watching in a cinema. Every other one was watched in the safety of my own home (apart from The Fountain which oddly enough I watched on a 10 hour plane journey). So it's greatly improved my need to go to the cinema more often (along with Wall-E, another superb film).

Now the reviewy part. Everything about was fucking awesome. Whist I did have a couple of niggles. (Why did the Joker just leave Dent's fundraiser after Batman jumps through the window? Why didn't Batman call Gordon and tell him that the hostages were dressed as clones? Why didn't Sal Moroni have more than a walking stick after being dropped off the top of a building and breaking his legs?) But other than that everything and everyone was amazing. Paticularly Heath Ledger who is simply astounding as The Joker and it is worth seeing the movie just to watch him act in a role which if he doesn't recieve an Oscar nomination, shows how out of touch the award shows are.

The plot of the movie is dark as you'd expect with the only light coming from the occasional explosion. Christopher Nolan again shows how good a director he is backing his other films such as Memento and The Prestige.

Quite frankly this movie needs to be seen to be believed and by the looks of the numbers its raking in ($158 million in 3 days) pretty soon it will be. As I've already said in this rambling review (from someone who hasn't watched all of the Batman films), this movie is amazing. It definately gets 10 out of 10 and is the best movie that I have watched all year

Now for house cleaning. My view on The Wire will be posted soon. Very soon. Also expect in the coming weeks a look at Screenwipe, Lost Season 4 and Why the Season Finale of Doctor Who Sucked (and yet the rest of the series rocked).

Saturday, 26 July 2008

Of The Dark Knight Part 1

Just got in from the cinema from seeing it.
My verdict?
Go. Watch. It. Now.

More on that in the near future. Later on today actually, along with my view on The Wire.

P.S. More Darren Aronofsky awesomeness

Monday, 21 July 2008

Of Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog

Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog is officially the most awesome web series I have seen. Joss Whedon, Neil Patrick Harris, Nathan Fillion, Felicia Day and everyone else who worked on it are awesome, plain and simple.

I've watched all three parts multiple times and am well on the way to memorizing the words (particularly 'My Freeze Ray', 'My Eyes' and 'Brand New Day'). The songs are catchy and thankfully everyone can sing, which cannot be said of other musicals I have seen. For example Sarah Chalke whilst being amazing in Scrubs and How I Met Your Mother can't sing (see "My Musical" where she is given barely any song time). Alyson Hannigan was also awesome in Buffy and How I Met Your Mother but couldn't sing in "Once More with Feeling".

Now this could mean that no one on How I Met Your Mother can sing, however NPH just blows this theory out of the water as Dr. Horrible. He's a proper Broadway musical actor and he sings amazingly in this. Whilst Fillion and Day are both great singers (particularly surprised about Fillion) NPH blows them out of the water. Some of the best parts of the songs come from NPH's delivery, it also helps that he was amazing as Dr. Horrible.

Now I'm not going to spoil the story or ending. All I will say is that it's a love story told from the prospective of a super villain (NPH) watching the superhero (Fillion) getting the girl of his dreams (Day) that is the story in a nutshell. But obviously being a Joss Whedon product means great dialogue, great direction, great plot etc. I sincerely think Joss is one of the best directors out there at the moment (Serenity is phenomenal btw) and whilst he doesn't do anything awe inspiring with this web series it is just well directed and has all of his trademarks from his years in film and television which prove why he has such an adoring fanbase (proof). This makes the wait for Dollhouse in January even more arduous as this is the end of new Joss Whedon products till then (thankfully I have several seasons of Buffy and Angel to watch).

I can safely say that I will be buying whatever DVD/CD comes out for Dr. Horrible in the near future because to be honest these guys need to be paid for doing an awesome job. Personally I want more stuff like this with good production values and good actors, and if it means forking out a tenner for the DVD and Soundtrack I'm perfectly willing to do so.

Overall (i.e. all three acts) I'm going to give Dr. Horrible 9/10 and will probably add it into my increasing shortlist for Top 10 TV Shows I Watched in '08 (yes I know it's not TV but it's Joss Whedon and he's about as TV as you can get). As or my favourite episodes of '08, if any part of Dr. Horrible makes it on I'll probably choose Act 2 as it was the perfect match of everything that made it great (it also had the best line in the entire production which definitely helps).

Well as I write this there is still some time left to watch Dr. Horrible for free so I'm going to do so for what must be my fifth viewing (and if you haven't watched at all then shame on you).

I do realise that I've done two NPH posts in a row but it must be said that he is awesome as Barney (aka 'Swarley') and Dr. Horrible. In actual fact I did have two other blog posts planned but they'll have to come at a later date.

So I'm going to leave you with promises of more reviews (of Lost season 4, Veronica Mars 1, 2&3, HIMYM 1, 2&3 and many others) and a critique of the Wire up until this point and the premiere of Season 5 (which will be posted in a few days). I will now leave you with a video of NPH and Jason Segel singing Les Mis (it's not Dr. Horrible but it's awesome none the less)

P.S. Watchmen trailer has me psyched oh so much (particularly since I just re-read the graphic novel).