Friday, 23 January 2009

Of Role Models

Role Models is a new movie from the Apatow gang. That means it involves one of the many actors linked to Judd Apatow and his cohorts. In this case it's Paul Rudd, Elizabeth Banks and Chris Mintz-Plasse. This group of actors, directors and writers tend to cast each other in each others movies and they've produced some really good movies (Forgetting Sarah Marshall and 40 Year Old Virgin). Role Models is an incredibly funny movie and if you're looking to go see a comedy movie at the moment, this is probably you're best bet for a laugh (although The Wrestler is incredibly funny at points, whilst also being incredibly bleak at the same time).

So the movie is essentially about two guys who sell energy drinks to children and convince them to get off drugs. Paul Rudd's character is tired of his job and his life. This attitude manages to convince his girlfriend to dump him and because of this he decides to go on a rampage which ends up with him having to do community service by being a role model for small children. This is where the hilarity ensues. Of course the children are dysfunctional. Sean William Scott's character because a mentor for Ronnie, a small black children with a penchant for swearing and breasts (they fit into this movie far better than Sex Drive). Paul Rudd on the other hand gets Augie played by Superbad's McLovin. You know it's awesome now. Augie is a nerd, out and out. He's got no friends and enjoys playing LAIRE. Imagine Dungeons and Dragons or World of Warcraft in real life and you get the picture.

So this where the movie really kicks off. It also manages to do the emotional grounding well. Whilst it isn't as strong as other movies of the same ilk, this one surprisingly does feel too long like Superbad did. Whilst there is a bit of a dip in the middle (it's very slight) it still manages to come back for incredibly strong ending. The entire last scene is based around the LAIRE game but I won't spoil it for you, I will say however that it is better than the ending for Sex Drive which definitely proves just how hilarious it really is.

Role Models is a lot of fun. There are great supporting roles from everyone. There's the ex-drug addict who runs "Sturdy Wing" (the role model agency), Augie's step-dad (ZOMG KEN MARINO FROM VERONICA MARS!!!) and Ronnie, trust me this kid will have you in hysterics, an awesome turn of a comedy from such a young actor, whilst it isn't as strong as the kids in the Wire, this kid is able to turn every single line that he gets into comic gold. However the true star is Augie. Christopher Mintz-Plasse however steals the show however, just as he did in Superbad. His turn in Role Models is entirely different to that of Superbad but is still hilarious. Instead of being the sex starved teenager with no back bone, in this he plays a lovable nerd whose parents just don't understand him. He's found what he wants to do but his parents just don't understand it and put him in for "Sturdy Wings". It really is a incredibly funny role, which amazingly comes to life most during the LAIRE scenes.

Overall Role Models is a funny comedy movie. There's a bit of romance between Paul Rudd and Elizabeth Banks (Paul Rudd gets some amazing sarcastic lines off as well) and also Christopher Mintz-Plasse gets a girl as well. Well worth checking out. 8/10

Of Sex Drive

On my computer I have a list of movie that I need to review. Every so often I realise I've missed one off, so since the beginning of this month my list has been growing progressively longer. It currently stands at the obscene number of 18 films I aim to review in the incredibly near future including this one. I could be optimistic and say "I'm going to have them all done by January 31st!!!" but to be honest I probably won't so we're going to start with Sex Drive.

If you've checked out the above trailer then well you've actually seen the best bit of the movie. Yup the funniest part of the movie is in the trailer. Yes there are funny moments in the movie put that part in the trailer is the funniest. It's part of the 15 minute climax to the movie which I will say I laughed a lot at, but it is a bit annoying to have the best part of a movie spoiled in the trailer (however I laughed my arse off when I saw it the first time). So with that out of the way review time.

Sex Drive is a stereotypical teen comedy. It has everything you'd expect. A road trip, an awesome car, a virgin, lots of sexcapades, breasts, sex and of course humourous incidents. Now you might notice that I only put humourous, not hilarious and that's because it doesn't reach a level of hilarity such as Tropic Thunder or Role Models (yup I'm reviewing them both). So the movie is about as cliched as they come, but it still makes it work. The cast is fun and as I said there are funny moments such as the main character getting an erection during an abstinence convention and a girl urinating into a cars engine (I don't know why I didn't use boner and pissing just then).

The thing with Sex Drive is that the majority of it is mediocre, there's a "been there, done that" feel to it. It can't quite reach the level that Superbad set two years ago (even if that movie was about 20 minutes too long). Teen movies have come a long way since American Pie, which is where this movie seems to plant its feet. Since then there has been this sort of more "adult" comedy movie. This sort of genre had its way paved by Kevin Smith, Judd Apatow and Seth Rogen. The problem with Sex Drive is that whilst being funny, it just isn't funny enough. The new adult comedies seem to have out grown this constant need for sex jokes and actually have stories that have emotional grounding and are still hysterical.

Sex Drive does have it moments of funniness, in particular the last confrontation and Seth Green as the Amish man. Both were highlights in an otherwise "meh" movie. I would love to say run out and see this movie, but at the moment there are better comedies out such as Role Models and it also Oscar season so great movies like The Wrestler, Slumdog Millionaire and Benjamin Button are out there for people to go see (which they won't, idiots).

So overall Sex Drive is a funny movie with brief flashes of greatness. They spoiled the funniest moment in the trailer but I can sort of forgive them, I just wish that there had been more moments like that. 5/10

Thursday, 22 January 2009

Of Oscar Nominations....and Why They've Pissed Me Off

Well the Oscar Nominations are in. I'm quite happy with some of them. Benjamin Button managed to get 13 nominations (that's more than Lord of the Rings: Return of the King got) and 10 nominations for Slumdog Millionaire. Both got a ton of nominations I agree with such as both getting Best Picture and Director nominations. Brad Pitt deserves his Best Actor nomination even if I hope Mickey Rourke gets it for The Wrestler (don't you fucking dare give it to Sean Penn Academy!!!)

However now lets see why they've annoyed me. The Dark Knight got 8 nominations. Great. All of them, however, except for Heath Ledger are for stuff no one cares about. Everyone knows that the only awards that matter are Picture, Direction, Writing and Acting. Dark Knight got 1 nomination in those departments. No mention of Best Picture (it was better than The Reader for sure) and no mention of Best Director for Christopher Nolan who despite being one of the best directors in the business is yet to receive any recognition from the Academy. Same goes for Writing. So Dark Knight wasn't one of the best comic adaptations of all time? It seriously didn't deserve a nomination, it didn't have to win, just get the nod that it was a fantastic film. Also if Heath Ledger doesn't win now, the Academy is fucked.

Yay for the Wrestler's two nominations (both in acting). Boo for the fact that Darren Aronofsky has been ONCE AGAIN snubbed for Best Direction. However we can get over that because the guy is as amazing as he is. However the fact that the song "The Wrestler" by Bruce Springsteen at the end of The Wrestler didn't get a nomination despite there being only three in that category anyway, two of which are from Slumdog Millionaire. I hope the song from Wall-E wins, but I wish to God more that The Wrestler had gotten a nod. Also Mickey Rourke had better win.

There are other things I'm annoyed about no nominations at all for Gran Torino? Vicky Cristina Barcelona for Original Screenplay? Leo DiCaprio for Revolutionary Road? Well at least In Bruges got nominated for Screenplay and Robert Downey Jr. got a nomination for Tropic Thunder. At least it wasn't all bad. But the Dark Knight/Wrestler snubs hurt. Whilst Wall-E was in for a shot as Best Picture, really it doesn't hurt as much as the other two because it WILL win Best Animated Feature, I just wish Dark Knight and The Wrestler were even in with shot.

First Impressions - Lost Season 5

Yay, biased post time. Lost Season 5 began yesterday in the states and I have had the privilege of watching episode one "Because You Left" and episode two "The Lie". As always Lost has rocketed back to where we left them last season. Everything we wanted wrapped up has been wrapped up. Where exactly did the island go (more exactly when now)? Who does Ben want to go back to island? Will Jack ever shave off that goddamn beard?

So what we got was two pretty intense hours of Lost. "Because You Left" was a fantastic premiere, although not quite as strong as the "Pilot" or "Man of Science, Man of Faith". We got some little bits set off the island, detailing where the Oceanic Six and what they're doing, but overall the bit we really wanted was WTF was happening on the island. Luckily we got that in spades. The island is now traveling around in time. We got to see the Nigerian Drug Plane crash (letting us meet the deceased Ethan Rom again), possibly the future because it seemed the helicopter had left and also the hatch pre-explosion. This of course led to an amazing moment involving Daniel (second big WTF moment of the episode). Not only is Daniel around in the 1970s during the building of the Orchid but also he can communicate with Desmond who is off the island! So my two favourite characters have this unique bond and I couldn't be happier.

"The Lie" was a tad weaker but that was mostly because it followed the Oceanic Six instead of the people still on the island. We still got some fun moments like the return of Frank (albeit briefly), Hurley summing up the entire show proving how silly the story sounds on paper and the return of the deceased Ana-Lucia. Oh and of course flaming arrows. Flaming arrows are always good.

So Lost is back and I'm going to get about 15 more weeks of freaking awesome until I have to go back into hibernation for another 8 months and the return of the last and most freaking awesome season of television ever.

Lost is suggested to the highest degree, and honestly if you aren't watching it then I don't know what the hell else you could be watching, at the moment there is no better show on television (apart from possibly Mad Men).

Tuesday, 20 January 2009

Of Heroes Volume Three

Guess what? I really don't know how to some up the awfulness that was Volume 3. So instead I'm going to do a brain storm about why I didn't like it. So first off positives!!!


- Kristin Bell
- Good actors (including Kristin Bell)
- Elle is a cool character
- The episode where the heroes got together and so did the villains was cool
- As was the episode before the last episode of the volume.

Phew that was tough

- Awful character choices
- Hiro as a 10 year old
- The decision to kill off Elle
- Making Sylar a good guy only to completey change direction by the end of the season (admittedly good idea but they still made him a good guy in between)
- WTF was up with the eclipse episodes?
- Using time travel....again!!!! as the reason why the world must be saved
- Bringing back Adam only to kill him off in the next episode
- Awful use of Francis Capra
- Re-use of superpowers
- Why exactly was the world going to end?
- Completely degrading an actor from The Wire
- Completely screwing around with your shows history
- Not even fact checking stuff about time WHEN YOUR SHOW IS ABOUT TIME TRAVEL!!!
- Having Seth Green for three episodes and making him read comics
- Making Claire into some sort of emotional devoid robot to set up the possibility of her maybe becoming a villain (has yet to happen)
- Making Sylar into a sympathetic character during a time period we knew he was out doing hardcore murders
- Making the story completely and utterly awful
- The fact that Pushing Daisies had to die for this mess to actually maybe someday become good
- Keeping Tim Kring in a controlling position
- Having the Mr. and Mrs. Petrelli working together despite being on opposing sides and having no opportunity to organise the lie they tell Sylar
- Managing to succeed in making Mohinder a worse character than he initially was
- Mohinder having spider powers
- Hiro's complete stupidity at opening a safe his father told him not to open
- Peter jabbing himself with the serum to give him superpowers despite spending the last 30 minutes trying to destroy it.
- Not killing off a single main cast member
- Essentially killing off every character who could have had potential later on
- Stop bringing back Ali Larter. She's died once but because of your inherent problem with killing main characters she was still back this year, as a new character.
- Having characters disappear on a whim (where was the Haitian in the finale)
- Because it needs saying more, WTF WAS UP WITH NATHAN?!?!?!
- Copying a plot point of Lost....badly
- Succeeding in making a worse story than Season 2
- Destroying nearly all interest I have left in the show
- Oh and killing off Elle

Volume 3 sucked. Believe it or not that isn't a comprehensive list, because it's been almost two months since I watch the show I've forgotten a lot of what pissed me off so this is just a sample. Overall 4/10

Favourite TV Shows 2008 - Biggest Dissapointments

Every year certain shows are bound to disappoint you. In last years list I had a dig at 24, I had never watched the show before and started with season six. I really didn't enjoy it. However people said it was the weakest season so I went and found season one and again it just seriously didn't mesh, neither did last years 24: Redemption. So I've called it quits, I don't think I'm supposed to like 24, someday maybe but at the moment I really don't think so (plus it keeps my schedule clearer).

So in 2008 there were a number of shows which disappointed me most. These were Heroes, South Park, Fringe, Doctor Who and My Name is Earl. So here's why:


Honestly there is far too much to go into about Heroes and it's awful third volume. Season 2 showed a definite dip in quality after the stellar Season 1. Throughout its second season only Veronica Mars' Kristin Bell kept me watching (and is actually part of the reason I watched the show in the first place). Kristin Bell was just good in Volume 3 but seriously Heroes needs someone to sort out every single little stupid error they've made. The characters are down right awful now (and yet they have fucking amazing actors?!?!), the story makes no sense and we seem to be over reliant on stories that should have been used once and only once. There's so much I can say and infact I will in my next blog post.

South Park

South Park didn't have a godawful year like Heroes, just a sub par one. We still got great episodes like Tonsil Trouble and The China Probrem. Plus there were so many great ideas from Pandemic's spoof of Cloverfield to Obama being a professional diamond thief. However it just lacked some of the magic from the shows best episodes, like Cartoon Wars, Fantastic Easter Special and Trapped in the Closet. However South Park has proved it can jump back from worse slumps than this and so I'm still waiting with baited breath for Season 13 in March.

Fringe did show what it would become in it's tenth episode, but still that's after nine episodes of set up. To be honest this is mostly due to me geeking out over the fact that J.J Abrams created it. He might have done Lost but this definitely just didn't have the bang that Lost had in it's first string of episodes. Whilst the tenth episode of the show is simply amazing, I just felt it took a tad too long to reach that point, unlike Lost which opened amazingly and then blew out all expectations with it's third episode.

Doctor Who
Honestly Season 4 only disappointed me on two points. For having one of the weakest episodes of the show ever (Unicorn and Wasp can go die) and also a godawful finale. However those were my only disappointments. Stephen Moffat still writes the best episodes of the season, the reveal at the end of the first episode blew me away and the penultimate five episodes were as strong as the New-Who has been. However I just can't get that finale out of my head and it just ranks as my biggest disappointment of the year (apart from missing the DCFC/FR concert).

My Name is Earl

I really liked Season 1 of My Name is Earl. It was funny and it was interesting to watch him to do his list. Then there was a really long wait until Season 2. But then it came and so did Season 3 and the first half of Season 4. To be honest because it had been gone so long I was completely meh about it. I'd found funnier shows and now I just couldn't get into it. I've still seen every episode but every time it just gets harder to watch the next (in fact I've found myself watching four or five in a sitting because I seriously couldn't be arsed when they aired)

Of Random Blog Posts

Alright this blog post is posted just for the hell of it (although Heroes Volume 3 review follows shortly). So today a lot of stuff happened. Because of this quite massive news dump I thought I'd devote an entire blog post to just running through some key points.

- Obama's Inauguration, an incredibly key point today. Today marks the end of the eight year reign of George W. Bush as the President of the United States of America. Instead we now have Barrack Obama, the first black president (although some people will say otherwise). This is a massive turning point in the history of the world and I can safely say that I was at school watching on a little television without about 10 other people my age listening to his speech after he was sworn in (plus it synched up dinner which is a massive bonus).

- New show premieres. This week (in Britain) we get Generation Kill (I've got all seven episodes on my laptop but I think I'm more likely to watch on television) on Sunday at 10 on FX. Lost is back on Sunday as well from 9 with two episodes (so fucking psyched) and Pushing Daisies is back next Friday with Season 2 and if the ratings are maintained I might actually get to see episodes 11-13 which is a massive bonus (but also a massive kick in the balls to the American fan base).

- Finally the new companion on Doctor Who. Apparently Michelle Ryan (Jekyll, Merlin) has been signed on as the new companion. This caries on the fact that it's always a male and a female and the fact that Matt Smith is such an unknown, it definitely helps to have an actress who is more well known (especially as she is also known in America as well). I'm not going to comment officially on this however until I know for a fact that she has been signed on.

Sunday, 18 January 2009

Of A Veronica Mars Movie?

Wow and I thought my Veronica Mars love would be over for a little while. However it looks like if there is a higher power he/she clearly loves me. A whole fucking lot.

I've talked about the Veronica Mars movie before. I've said I'm anticipating it a lot but until now it's only been sort of hinted at. Rob Thomas has said he wants to work on it soon and Kristin Bell has said she wants to be part of it. Then today we got the awesome news. Since Cupid (Rob Thomas' new show) has had it's initial order reduced to 8 episodes instead of 13 (like Castle), he's got the opportunity to write the Veronica Mars movie!!!

I'm now officially pumped beyond belief.

In this news story we get some cool little bits of information. For starters it's actually going to finish the show!!! That is amazing news. It's been too long and I need to find out if Keith won the election or if Veronica and Logan hooked back up (although I hope Piz isn't hurt). Alright if you don't watch the show that is honestly just names but to me? I'm just psyched. Rob Thomas has already spoken to Kristin Bell (Veronica Mars), Jason Dohring (Logan Echolls) and Enrico Colantoni (Keith Mars) and they've all said yes. All that's left is a script (70% broken in Rob Thomas' head!!!) and funding. Luckily one of Veronica Mars' original producers was Joel Silver who you might know better as the guy who produced the Matrix films. He's on board so the movie has got funding!!!! We're fucking set.

Oh and speaking of canceled shows futures, the last three Pushing Daisies episodes won't air till the summer. Bugger. However hopefully we'll get the promised comics and movie and maybe ITV will even get all 13 episodes of Pushing Daisies Season 2 and we get the last three before America. It could happen and would make me love ITV twice as much (wait that would be double nothing....scratch that).

Wrap up. In the near future expect the final, final part in my wrap of 2008 television. The most disappointing shows of 2008 (as long as it's up before February it's not late). Also expect reviews of Pi, Requiem for a Dream and The Fountain this week now that I've seen The Wrestler. My first thoughts of Lost Season 5 and a metric ton of film reviews, including Pineapple Express, Kung Fu Panda and In Bruges. However due to other commitments (work and script writing) may make some of this hard to do. Ahh well there's always February.

Saturday, 17 January 2009

Of The Wrestler

It's another one of those big moments for me. I've finally gotten around to watching The Wrestler. I've been a big fan of Darren Aronofsky since 2007 (talk about coming late to the party), so I've been anticipating this movie for quite some time. And now it's finally in cinemas. It has some really good buzz, particularly about Mickey Rourke's performance as Randy "The Ram" Robinson. Believe this hype. This movie is phenomenal. Okay yes I will tend to be bias as Darren Aronofsky is my favourite working director at the moment, however so far I think he's four for four. He hasn't yet directed a bad film, something which so many directors do. Danny Boyle has the Beach and David Fincher has Alien 3. Whilst some people think that The Fountain was awful, I fucking loved it and I fucking loved this movie as well as Pi and Requiem for a Dream. Darren Aronofsky is an incredible director and I have loved every minute of every movie he has ever directed.

Before you ask, yes this is a drama. It might be called The Wrestler, but honestly wrestling is only the backdrop. The two guys sat behind us in the cinema seemed to be pretty pissed off, however honestly? It's got Golden Globes for gods sake. Do some research! They hated it but this wasn't their sort of movie. They'd probably have preferred a Michael "'splosions" Bay movie. What they saw instead was one of the most beautiful movies I've ever seen. It might not be as visually stunning as The Fountain but The Wrestler is a different beast. It feels more personal than the epic scope that The Fountain had. In this movie, Darren Aronofsky also proves his maturity as a director. Gone is the MTV editing from Requiem and Pi and gone is the gorgeous special effects of the Fountain. Instead we got something exceedingly different from any of his three preceding films

The Wrestler is shot almost like a documentary. It is almost entirely done using a handheld camera and there are times when the cameraman actually has to try and catch up with Mickey Rourke as he goes along. This hugely benefits the movie as we actually feel like we are following this hulking giant and yet at the same time because it almost always follows behind him and the fact that this camera is never addressed we feel distant from the character. Making his loneliness that bit more poignant. In fact I have never seen a movie that makes a characters back so interesting. A lot of the movie is just following Mickey Rourke around and yet you're hooked. One particular scene has Rourke walking down the stairs to his job at the deli he works at and slowly this crowd begins to pipe up and eventually just as he is about to go through the curtains to his counter and the cheering just gets louder and louder. Then he goes through and it just stops.

Alright I've gone long enough without talking about it. Mickey Rourke as Randy. How was it? Let me just say that I have only ever seen two actors be completely enveloped by a character. They were Heath Ledger as The Joker and Javier Bardem as Anton Chigurh. I can now bring that number up to three. Mickey Rourke IS Randy "The Ram". Yes the movie is essentially a metaphor for his career, but hell if it isn't a fucking good metaphor. Nicholas Cage who was originally going to play the character could in no way have made the movie as amazing as Mickey Rourke did. Rourke's performance will, no doubt, go down as one of the all time great performance and he elevates this movie to an already amazing level. He shows so many emotions, perfectly naturally. There's humour, depression, love, happiness and anger. It's just perfect how he does and I honestly don't think another actor is going to come along in a while and take this spot. If Rourke doesn't win an Oscar I'm going to be severely upset.

The movie is incredibly moving with some parts just showing this perfect honesty for the character. However other parts are downright gruesome. The movie definitely shows that wrestling is fake. No question. Before hand many of the wrestlers plan out their fights and organise who will win. However some of the beatings they take? Fucking real. Whilst the stuff you will tend to find on Sky Sports is all completely fixed and fake with no real injuries at all, the underground scene shown in this movie is fucking intense. There is actual blood spilled. Some of it self inflicted to enhance the play these two muscle bound men are doing. Other stuff like barbed wire, staple guns and real glass are used and in one of the most cringe worthy scenes ever put to film we watch a fight play out between two men and the aftermath of how they get patched up afterwards. If you've ever wanted to watch a man use a stapler on another man, this is the movie for you.

Overall The Wrestler is an amazing film. It doesn't quite beat Requiem or Fountain but it stands as an amazing achievement. Pi is still the weakest Darren Aronofsky movie but honestly that isn't saying much. This movie stands as one of the most personal movies ever, with amazing acting from Mickey Rourke and strong supporting acts from Marisa Tomei as his striper friend (a lot of breasts are shown in the movie). The movie is deeply affecting and features on of the most brutal scenes I have ever seen. Rourke is a shoe-in for an Oscar and Darren Aronofsky can keep his head held high as he has directed another incredible film. 9.5/10

Saturday, 10 January 2009

Favourite TV Shows 2008 - Top 10 Episodes

Alright my msn is down so I've got no distractions from doing this blog post which was supposed to be done a few days ago. However I was still distracted by Wall-E in Blu-Ray (damn it looks gorgeous, plus it still affects me the same way as when I watched it the first time.)

So here are my top episodes of all of television from 2008.

Honourable Mention: The Stolen Earth Doctor Who
The finale might have been shit but this episode got me so pumped up that I just can't not put it on this list. It might not have been as strong as last years Blink or even Steven Moffat's other episodes from Season 4, but in terms of fan service it is the perfect Who story. It's just a shame that the entire episode is a waste when you think about the awfulness that follows.

10. Pilot
Breaking Bad
The episode of Breaking Bad is not necessarily the best episode of Breaking Bad. To be honest I could have chosen any episode of the show and it would still be the same. The entire first season of Breaking Bad is amazingly strong. I could have chosen any of the other six episodes of the show and it would still be the same. Breaking Bad is one of the best new shows in a long long while. It deserves to be watched by everyone and chose its first episodes in the hopes that some more people will check it out before the second season premieres in March.

9. Slap Bet How I Met Your Mother
I love How I Met Your Mother and this episode perfectly encapsulates the entire show. It created quite possibly the funniest recurring joke on any comedy show ever (although so far it hasn't been mentioned in Season 4, but still I think they may be saving them for some important points in the story). It also brought all the cast together in one of the single funniest 20 minutes of any show. Oh and the wonderment that is Robin Sparkles. It's this sort of hilarious episode that most sitcoms wish that they could have.

8. Chuck versus Santa Claus Chuck
This years Chuck Christmas episode was the episode that got Chuck it's spot on my list. If you're a fan of Chuck then you owe it to yourself to watch this episode. All of the cast are involved in the main story and it's really funny. However then the episode takes an amazing emotional turn and just left me wanting more, especially after what happened to Chuck and Sarah's relationship. Also any show that manages a Die Hard crossover (yes Chuck is now officially in the same universe as Die Hard) is fine by me.

7. Middle Ground The Wire
Sometimes The Wire's pre-finale episodes are just as strong as the actual finale. In this case, Middle Grounds was better. It's not the best episode of the Wire (that comes later) however it does feature the amazing scene where one of the best characters on the show is taken out in one of the most one sided standoffs ever. It might be tense, but hell if the haunting final shot isn't enough to pound it into your head I don't know what is.

6. The Norwegians Pushing Daisies
I could have chosen almost any episode of Pushing Daisies Season 2 but I chose this one, potentially the last episode to ever air (there were three more filmed). This episode just nails the style of the entire show. There's the weird humour, funny characters, adult jokes (MILF) and awesome set design. You can just tell how comfortable the cast is with each other and it's a fucking shame the show got canceled. With episodes like Oh, Oh, Oh…It’s Magic and Bzzzzzzzzzz! it's a wonder why they can cancel this and not something like Knight Rider.

5. Mr. Ferguson is Ill Today
Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles
This is the strongest episode that Terminator has put out. Whilst the death is a bit of a cheat, the way we get to that moment is one of the best produced televisual stories ever. Lot's of shows can mess around with the order that a story is told and this is one of the few stories to do it right. It's these sorts of episodes that make me want to watch television. The Simpsons, Malcolm in the Middle and How I Met Your Mother have all done stuff like this but it still feels just as fresh to watch this time (especially as this is a drama).

4. There's No Place Like Home Lost
I debated whether to put this or The Shape of Things to Come on the list, but I chose the finale because, well, it's a Lost finale!!! These episodes always fucking rock and Damon and Carlton didn't disappoint. In the full two hours of the finale so much stuff is packed in that just makes you wonder how on earth they do. The story covers so much ground and in a season we finally find out how the Losties get off the island, only to be told that they have to go back and a fan favourite has bitten the dust.

3. An Echoll's Family Christmas Veronica Mars
Episode 10 of Season One, and another Christmas Episode. This episode might play out a lot like a locked room mystery, but it's packed full of the wit that you expect from Veronica Mars. Kristin Bell is superb and we get the normal brilliance from Logan Echoll's. Also the butler gag near the end had me in stiches. Veronica Mars just proves it's intelligence not only as a mystery show but as a proper drama in this episode.

2. The Constant
A sequel of sorts to last years top episode Flashes Before Your Eyes. In almost every way it expands upon it's predecessor in terms of everything. There's more emotion (I cried at the end), the acting is fucking amazing (seriously where is Henry Ian Cusick's Emmy?) and it's one of the best written/directed/scored episodes the show has produced. The story just changes the entire Lost story, the direction is perfect really help build up momentum and Michael Giacchino's score is perfect, welling up at all the right points and just making the emotion hit all that more home. This would have been my favourite episode of all time and stands withe Blink as one of those fucking amazing points of television, but obviously this being number 2 means it wasn't the best.

1. Final Grades/-30- The Wire
These episode don't necessarily go together. They're not the last and second last episodes of The Wire. Final Grades is the last episode of Season 4 and -30- is the last ever episode of the show. But honestly I couldn't decide. Final Grades bookends one of the most emotionally heartbreaking seasons of television ever whilst -30- bookends one of the greatest television shows all time. Obviously neither episode can be viewed without the hours of backstory needed, both of them just hit that high point of television writing and make you know why you love this medium.

For a different take on the best episodes of 2008, look here. Obviously I operate differently to other websites as I nominate shows from other years, but only 4 episodes this year didn't come from 2008, so I'm getting better.

Other Mentions
Dr. Horrible's Sing Along Blog
Just watch it alright? It's on amazon to buy, so get it and love it.

Red vs. Blue: Reconstruction Episode 16
One of the greatest twists ever filmed!! You might have to watch the preceding 125 episodes though to understand entirely.

Death Note episode 11

The best episode of the best anime ever. I was gobsmacked. It really was incredible.

Wednesday, 7 January 2009

First Impressions - Scrubs Season 8

Yes I'm beginning to get out of my "Of..." thingy.

Short but sweet.

Scrubs Season 8, so far, seems a return to form, which in recent years has sunken more into more fantastical humour (although I will say some remains). The premiere is a strong opening episode, however the second episode I would say is one of the strongest episodes that Scrubs has ever produced, it's one of those highly emotional episodes that Scrubs does oh so well. Also any show that uses my favourite Death Cab for Cutie songs gets instant props for being awesome.

Scrubs looks to be off to a terrific start this year. With this probably being the last season, it really would be the best time to go out. Plus it's also to see that ABC are treating the show right. No longer is it being shuffled as some sort of lame person. It is being paraded as one of the strongest shows on television, as it should be.

Courtney Cox is so far impressing me on Scrubs. Shes one of the four Friends I don't mind seeing in things (although Matthew Perry needs to do more). She seems to fit in wonderfully in the Scrubs universe, although she seemed under utilised in the second episode, odd for an actress who is only signed on for three episodes. However I'm betting Episode 3 may be all about her.

As for that second episode? It is phenomenal. It has a rock hard emotional story line and whilst I feel some jokes just don't fit the show (although they are getting closer to Seasons 1-4). Really this episode didn't need any jokes but some were really good. JD overreacting to the check out kid and Denise's story were pretty funny.

Finally new favourite character? Denise, by far.

Tuesday, 6 January 2009


Well you know I said I'd have to wait 36 hours? Guess what? Extend that another 24. The little note I was given failed to mention that my package had failed to reach it's destination yet. So I was being told to go pick up a package that hadn't even been delivered to it's final destination yet? Good fucking job Royal Mail. have escaped my wrath other than a.. Honestly a 24 disc boxset? That's going to cost a bit more than 5 quid postage and packaging? Please tell me next time.

Finally Yesterday I said I had no qualms with them, oh how times change. Today I got a package. I think "Oh cool on of the DVDs I ordered has arrived" so I open it and find my new copy of Donnie Darko. But it's the wrong fucking copy. It wasn't the normal version + extras it was the 2 disc directors cut. Obviously this is their fault because on they are separated by completely different pages (although this should teach me to buy from those fucking third parties). However upon closer inspection I realise "I've spend 2 quid on a DVD worth at least 10". So I'm keeping this mistake DVD, buying the one I want and selling my old one. I'm happy and I get two copies of the movie. So really this is one of this happy mistakes you hear about every so often.

Also btw if anyone is interested in a Donnie Darko DVD just comment below or contact me some other way (i.e e-mail)

Favourite TV Shows 2008 - #01 The Wire

Honestly, it couldn't be any other show. Believe the hype. With people from TIME, Entertainment Weekly and The Guardian calling it the best show on TV, it's normal to think "stupid critics, don't know a fucking thing about television". However you are fucking wrong, you are so fucking wrong that the only way you could be more wrong is if you tried to deny the holocaust. Trust me, The Wire is unequivocally the best show on television...ever. I might hold Lost as my favourite television show, but The Wire is possibly the only show which can contest that, however I will say that it is better than Lost in terms of what it is. It is just superb. I'm probably going to go around in circles just sort of quietly ranting to myself in a corner. I'm nowhere near qualified enough to actually comment on what this and how it does it so well. It's riveting. I've never seen anything which attempts to do what this show does, and it does it perfectly. It comments superbly on just how fucked up some of America is and all the problems that it has from drugs, police, politicians, dock workers, journalists and the school system. However, and there is no way I can word it better, "no other TV show has ever loved a city so well, damned it so passionately, or sung it so searingly", it's just so fucking true! You can tell that the creator David Simon, loves Baltimore, loves it with all his heart, and yet he knows exactly whats wrong with it. He writes this searing criticism of where the city is going but it just seems like this massive warning saying "I don't want this to happen to my city!" I've seen interviews with the guy and he's oh so intelligent. He's funny and he's up on politics. Most of the stuff I watch is little geeky TV shows, and they're fucking awesome, don't get me wrong, but The Wire is just a completely different level to all other TV shows. It's just a shame that it doesn't get recognised by awards shows (however that's because TV awards are fundamentally broken, but that'll make a good blog later on.

Last year I said this about The Wire:

The Wire is a novel. There is no other way to describe it, if you miss a single episode you’re fucked. However the show includes a massive array of characters and each episode focuses on multiple plot points, and it makes it work.

and it sticks. The Wire is exactly like a televised novel. Not some shitty novel. This is one of those almighty amazing novels which is just so great you read it one sitting (I've done that many a time). The Wire may just be one of the storytelling pinnacles of television. The story feels realistic. You might think I'm bullshitting you but I'm not. The Wire doesn't have characters who can survive a million bullets, moving islands, superpowers or people that can wake the dead. It has real people, many of whom are actually played by people from Baltimore and not professional actors. Speaking of which the acting in The Wire is possibly the highest level I've ever seen by an ensemble. There isn't a weak link at all. It's like they're all operating at 110%...honestly.

Last year The Wire was at number 5 last year and this year it's number 1. Really the main reason for that is I just fucking got it this year. Last year I knew it was god but I wasn't too sure. This year Season 3 grabbed me by the balls and season 4 by the heartstrings. Season 3 and 4 of this show combined are one of the strongest showings of any show ever (it's stronger than Veronica Mars Season 1). I've spoken about television perfection before and I would say that this show is one of the few that has obtained that. Yes Season 5 is a bit weaker but it's still fucking better than 99% of the shit that currently airs. The Wire is that once in a lifetime show. Something which may never be bettered and something deep I hope isn't, because if I die and something better than this is made? Well I won't be able to do anything because I'm dead but I'd be quite miffed wherever I've ended up.

Here's Charlie Brooker of Screenwipe's opinion:

Honestly I would love to go on but The Wire is something that you need to experience. I could talk about Michael K. Williams portrayal of Omar or Andre Royo's portrayal as Bubbles. But then I might take away some of the joy of getting to experience these characters, as they are some of the strongest written in a fucking long time. Everything on this show comes together in the most satisfying of holes. The acting, writing, setting, directing, dialogue and characters. If you're looking for an amazing show to sink you're teeth into then this is it. It's 60 episodes long and is quite honestly one of the best experiences that you can possibly have sat in front of a television. You might not be interested in black American lifestyles, but this show will make you interested and just hold you by the neck showing everything you don't want to see. Drug overdoes, murder and gang wars. Along with the dirtiness of politics, prostitution and the police force. How shit the school system is and what do the newspapers really miss?

This is my final plea. If you haven't seen this show then do it. Don't give up after 3 episodes because the dialogue is so thick with slang, stick with it and you'll come across one of those hidden gems of television. Something you can treasure for ever as you are one of the select few to experience it. But remember your tissues for Season 4.

I do wish there could be more episodes of the Wire, because I would love to put it as number 1 next year. But there won't be. I'm just glad I got to watch this masterpiece before it ended. It truly is astonishingly amazing. Something which shouldn't be passed over.

Monday, 5 January 2009


Seriously? I just got a little note through my door informing me that a package couldn't be delivered. Fair enough if I couldn't answer the door. However I was there and the reason that they won't give me my fucking package is because full postage hadn't been paid.

WHAT THE FUCK? I bought this from (it was only available in the US) and they said postage would only cost 4 quid. However now I'm being charged an extra £21.70 so that something bought for me as a Christmas present can sit in some warehouse until I can come and get it, and then have to pay for's mistake!!! I wouldn't have bought the package if I'd have known that postage was £25!!! It wasn't that much last time and now for some reason I'm being charge a bout a quater of what I ordered is worth!!! A 25% increase on what I fucking paid? Go fuck yourselves. is paying dearly (I have no problems with who have never delivered anything late).

Now Royal Mail, you and I are on rocky ground to start with what with postal strikes and whatnot. However now you can't even bring me a package which I can't collect till tomorrow? I have the money to pay for it, I'd have a problem but the least you could do is DELIVER MY FUCKING MAIL. I now have to wait an extra 36 hours now to get my package. Lucky fucking me. If that isn't enough I won't even get to use when I get it.

This has severely pissed me off, I've been charged way too much for postage (plus a 1 quid holding charge? You think I wanted you to hold onto my package? Fucking twats) and now I can't even get hold of my package because Royal Mail seem to have a problem with actually delivering the mail!!!

So now I pledge to not buy anything from (which is a shame because that's the only way I can get hold of Dr. Horrible on DVD). Now if only I could boycott Royal Mail, then I'd be happy.

Favourite TV Shows 2008 - #02 Veronica Mars

This show was actually hanging out at number 1 in my mind for a while. But obviously I found a better show (and trust me it's amazing). So Veronica Mars gets in at number 2. The greatest murder mystery of the 21st Century also makes for one of my favourite TV shows of all time.

Veronica Mars Season 1 as I have previously said is one of my favourite all round seasons of television ever. Honestly it's completely and utterly perfect, there is hardly a thing I'd change about it. The pacing is spot on, the characters are relatable and the dialogue is the funniest outside of a comedy show. However I've already gone in depth into Season 1 and let me just say that it is necessary viewing for almost anyone. If you want to see how to create the perfect murder mystery then just watch Season 1 of this show.

In my last blog post I more or less ran Veronica Mars into the ground. I raved about much I love this show. Honestly it's one of the few shows I would recommend to everyone. Whilst the quality of the show dips a little (think 9 for both Season 2 and 3) and you can sort of see why it came at number 2. In fact in my head I had a joint first place going, however my number 1 choice deserves unanimous praise for itself whilst Veronica Mars just became a labyrinth of plot points in Season 2 and Season 3 suffered because it wasn't one continuous mystery.

Veronica Mars Seasons 2 and 3 are still great television but compared to the stupendousness of Season 1 any television show is going to come off worse.

The thing I love about Veronica Mars is that in my eyes, it validated the teen drama. People have been preaching on at me about The OC, Gossip Girl and Skins but I've never been pulled towards them. It was Veronica Mars that showed me what this genre could be. Veronica Mars combines neo-noir and teen drama into one perfect package. People die, STDs are contracted and dads have sex changes, but the show never forgets that Veronica Mars (played superbly by Kristin Bell) is a teenager, with teenage issues (albeit with other stuff thrown in). She has a boyfriend, shes a social outcast and shes only got a single parent. It's all stuff that most teenagers can relate to. But then they throw in the amazing hook of a murder mystery and it just makes the show feel like a complete whole.

Whilst Lost may end up being the perfect serialised story over it's six years, but Veronica Mars perfected the single season story-arc, more so than 24 and Buffy. Veronica Mars is just a level of storytelling that every show should look to be. It's just a shame that it got cancelled after 3 glorious seasons because I could still watch her try and solve mysteries any day of the week. It's just a shame the show ended on a cliffhanger because now we might never know who won the election and what exactly the castle are.

Ah well hopefully someday the bitch will be back. (come on Veronica Mars movie!!!)

Sunday, 4 January 2009

Favourite TV Shows 2008 - #03 Lost

Honestly the only thing I have to justify is "why so low?" Lost is amazing television. It's that sort of necessary viewing that everyone who watches television should watch. It is sort of the crystallization of what a serialised show should be. Whilst most shows go season by season, Lost has one story which has so far sustained it for four brilliant years. Plus with Season 5 starting in less than 3 weeks and the final season little over a year away, the Lost story looks set to blow away all expectations till its conclusion.

The only reason Lost is at number 3 this year is because I found two shows which I loved this year, they might not overthrow it as favourite (although one is stunningly close) they were superior to what Lost offered in 2008. Lost Season 4 was arguably the best season of Lost since Season 1, but with only 14 episodes it just didn't compare to the consistency that my top 2 shows offered over more episodes. However Lost is still superb and is the show I'm most hyped for that comes back this year (the fact that my top 2 shows have finished also helps).

So Lost has a near perfect cast (there have been a few duds), superb writing (only one show can beat it), a level of direction that is of film standard and quite possibly the most gripping story ever written, in any medium. You seriously have no clue where on earth the story is going to take you.

Lost might be pegged as that show set on a desert island where weird shit happens. But honestly it's so much more, Lost is about the characters, the writing and, yes, the weird shit. It comes together in one of the most fully realised packages a television show could ask. You actually become attached to characters (so much so I've teared up at certain points). Really Lost is perfect television and only one show matches it terms of quality.

Season 4 moved at a terrific pace with only two episodes that felt average. Plus then there was the fact that we got the ever so brilliant "Constant" like other top end television such as last years "Blink" from Doctor Who, "The Constant" elevated what it meant to tell a story on Lost, "The Constant" was the perfect merging of "Flashes Before Your Eyes" and a normal Lost episode that made the episode just amazing television. Then there was the fact that it had a real emotional pay off and was a real game changing moment.

Not many shows can claim to have as many amazing episodes as Lost, and those that do, are the elite. Shows like The Sopranos, The Shield and The Wire. Shows that fundamentally changed television. That is exactly what Lost is doing. It is the only show airing on a main network in the US to have a definitive end point, most other shows will either die a drawn out death or just get canceled. Lost will actually get to tell it's story and that's what makes it brilliant.

Lost is like a novel, and if the next two parts of the story maintain any of the quality that was to be found in Season 4, Lost will be held against that lofty pedestal of "GREATEST SHOW OF ALL TIME". However really we can't judge that until 2010 when the show finishes. But I know for a fact that I'm going to be there ever step of the way to watch this utterly sublime show until it finishes.

So if you're not already into Lost then just watch it!!! If you are I'm preaching to the converted. Here I present the first scene of Lost...obviously it looks better on a proper television in widescreen but it's still epic.

Saturday, 3 January 2009

Of Mad Men Season 1

Finally, I've finished Season 1 of Mad Men. I've still got Season 2 left to watch but that'll be on BBC4 soon. I just needed to get a load of shows out of the way in time for the dump that will be happening early next month. It also doesn't look like I'm going to get Damages finished in time. Dammit. Ahh well I'm done with Mad Men for the time being, yay. Although the show is utterly brilliant so I shouldn't act so happy, especially since Season 3 hasn't even been confirmed yet (however really it's an inevitably especially with the amount of awards it's won).

Alright so Mad Men is the latest critical darling of the US. However guess what? This show deserves it. Luckily unlike amazing shows like The Wire and Battlestar Galactica it isn't being snubbed by award shows and this year won the Emmy for Best Drama (which, whilst I'm bias towards Lost, it truly deserved). So what is Mad Men about? Some sort of drama set inside a mental institution? Nope it's actually a show in 60s America and deals with the advertising agencies on Madison Avenue (hence Mad Man). It's a bit like Life on Mars in how it portrays it's period. However there are a few differences. For starters it's not set in England, so no John Simm or Philip Glenister, secondly it doesn't have the same humour as Life on Mars and finally there's no sci-fi element, this is straight up drama. So Mad Men deals with the 60s exceedingly realistically. All the costumes and sets look right. All the props are from the 60s, political references and products that are being advertised are all real products from the era. Then there are also the 60s attitudes.

Mad Men focuses on a very Republican attitude which means we miss out on the liberal hippy movement. Instead we have straight up capitalism, everyone wants money or to save money especially in the advertising game. Then there's the sexism. Jesus Christ, men in the 60s were dicks. All the men are essentially served by the women, women who don't work stay at home, those that do are secretaries. Then there's the fact that they're all sex objects. The men just flirt and sleep with any women they want even if they're married (there are more affairs than I can count in the first season). What's even more shocking is that most of the women actually take it!! This chauvinism is just so blatant that its amazing to think how far we've come in 40 years (and also how little depressingly). The other two overly common things are smoking and drinking. EVERYONE in this show smokes and drinks. Of course this is before all the health warnings and in fact one of the first storylines of the show is how are they supposed to advertise cigarettes now that they can't pay off doctors to say they don't kill. People smoke everywhere and most of the male characters spend most of their work days drinking, when they aren't flirting with secretaries or actually doing work (and even then they've probably got a glass in hand). So it's unsurprising that one of the most memorable scenes shows the adverse affects of alcohol (think Mr. Creosote from Meaning of Life,except not played for as many laughs).

Right massive kudos have to go to Matthew Weiner for creating this show. He used to write for the Sopranos however once that finished he decided to get a script he'd had for seven years made. Thankfully AMC made it (and have no cemented themselves as one of the strongest channels at the moment with two amazing shows) and we got Mad Men. Unluckily I'm a little late however I can still praise Weiner for the adeptness of his writing and making the show feel like the 1960s (I've been regaled with many a tale from grandparents). This show, like the Wire, is a slow burner with overarching stories taking a few episodes to come to fruition however it is well worth the pay off as Season 1 ended with an incredibly strong finale that managed to throw a curve ball by revealing, what is now an obvious plot point, that one of the lead characters is *removed so as not to spoil awesome twist for the people who haven't seen the show*

Finally we need to talk about the acting. Jon Hamm as Donald Draper is incredible. One of those amazing performances where an actor is overshadowed by the character, it might not be Bryan Cranston or Michael C. Hall level of amazingness but it's still a powerful performance. However he is just one actor of an incredible ensemble. Every single actor on the show deserves boundless praise. I can think of only two ensembles on television that come close and they're The Wire and Lost. We have Elisabeth Moss as Peggy Olson, Don's secretary. Vincent Kartheiser as the immensely slimy Pete Campbell (trust me you'll hate and feel sorry for him at the same time). January Jones as Betty Draper, this is seriously one of the strongest female performances to come along in a while and doesn't get enough credit. Christina Hendricks of Firefly fame as Joan Holloway, the sort of office slut except shes smart as a whip. Finally John Slattery as Roger Sterling, another incredible performance (especially in the later portion of the season). Plus that's not even getting into the supporting cast which is just as strong.

So overall Mad Men is a fantastic. If you like you're dramas then you'll love this show. It might not be as perfect as The Wire or as fast paced as Lost but it's a fantastic drama series. 9.5/10

Of the Eleventh Doctor

Well here we are, the unveiling of the new Doctor. So the new Doctor is...Matt Smith. He really hasn't done much however he's acted with Billie Piper in Secret Diary of a Call Girl, Ruby in the Smoke and The Shadow of the North. However I've never seen him act....seriously I don't know what to think. He's done drama before as he was a lead character in Party Animals (didn't see) and was also in this years In Bruges.

I'm seriously going to have to check him out.

Good luck to you mate, I had no clue you David Tennant was when he was cast and he turned out brilliantly, so hopefully so will you.

Favourite TV Shows 2008 - #04 Pushing Daisies

I've been dreading doing this post for a while. Season 2 of Pushing Daisies kicked off with a really great episode however then we got to see the ratings. What was the highest rated new show of 2007 was suddenly down 50% of its viewers from last year. So every week I watched knowing that unless the ratings drastically improved, the show would join shows like Firefly and Veronica Mars in the cancellation pile.

Then it happened.

On Thursday 20th November, it was announced that Pushing Daisies had been canceled and my heart broke. Here we have one of the most original shows of the past decade being canceled whilst a show like Knight Rider is allowed to live (however the good news of this is that Knight Rider probably won't make it to a second season, it is also an early pick for IaSG14's challenge). Pushing Daisies only managed to air 10 episodes this year however this episodes were of such an amazing consistency that this really was the only place for it.

However this post isn't about mourning but about celebration. We still have three episodes of Pushing Daisies left to air this year (if ABC does actually air them), and all ten episodes aired in 2008 were more than enough to get Pushing Daisies a place on this list. So without further ado let's get into the main plot.

Pushing Daisies is a procedural. Each work someone dies and it is up to Ned (superbly played by Lee Pace) and Emerson Cod (Chi McBride) to track down the killer. However Ned has the power to bring back the dead. However if he keeps them alive for more than a minute then someone else has to die. This also means that he cannot touch anyone whom he has brought back or they'll die. This proves to be a problem because he has brought back his true love Chuck (Anna Friel). So the series is essentially a romance crime show with a load of fantastical elements. However the show moved more into a serial nature this season with some key stories such as one of Chuck's aunts turning out to be her mother, Emerson looking for his daughter, Ned trying to escape his father and Chuck bringing her father back from the dead. All of these played out wonderfully. However it's just a shame that I'm never going to get a proper conclusion to any of them (apart from Emerson's daughter if ABC actually release the last three episodes).

Alright so first of all Pushing Daisies is exceedingly quirky. It has it's own style that really benefits the series because it just perfectly suits it. Everything is just so quirky and colourful. Season 1 is available on blu-ray so if have a blu-ray player go out and buy (although the cheapest I've seen it is about £20 which is still about £2 for an episode). The show really does have an amazing sense of style with everything looking gorgeous and quirky. It's the sort of thing Tim Burton might do if he wasn't so into the colour black. The set design is also exquisite and you can just tell that it would have cost a lot to make and also an awful lot of love. Which not ironically is what the show is about.

The wordmanship of Pushing Daisies is also great, which has to go to Bryan Fuller. Each episode is backed full of sly little jokes (quite often innuendo such as in the latest episode the truck named Mother having MILF printed on the back) as well cute little things such as almost everything being doubled named. Such as Coeur d'Coeur, and The Darling Mermaid Darlings. Plus there's singing!!! Kristin Chenowith who plays Olive is luckily a Broadway singer so her voice is actually really good (just like Neil Patrick Harris') and every so often we get a song which just adds to the quirky nature of the shower. Luckily Bryan Fuller also knows how to develop the shows story and I would say that there was only one episode which didn't maintain the high quality of the rest of the season and that was only because it wasn't actually involved in the main story.

Side note: Bryan Fuller is one of the best writers in the industry and whilst Pushing Daisies had to die for it to happen, he's going back to Heroes and will hopefully salvage the end of Season 3 (although it's not going to be easy)

Pushing Daisies is one of the best shows on TV at the moment and deserved more love than it got. However it was just too quirky for television. A show about a pie maker who can bring the dead back to life simply wasn't going to last long. Luckily it made it two season (although the number of episodes is that of a full single season) which is a damn side more than other shows get (Firefly got 15). So go out and try and find this show on DVD. Season 2 improved on Season 1 in nearly every way imaginable and was just amazing television. It's bound to go down as a cult classic. I just hope that we actually get the movie and comic series. I mean goddammit there are so many lose ends. Who is Ned's dad? What is up with Dwight Dixon? What happened to Oscar Vibenius at the end of Season 1? What about Dilly Balsam? Will Ned and Chuck ever get together?

So now I just want to have a moment of silence for the show that was one of the most refreshing shows ever and really didn't deserve what happened to it.

Tomorrow we move onto the Top Three. I hope there are some surprises (although not it probably won't happen).

Friday, 2 January 2009

January 2009

HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!! Yeah I know it's late. Sue me. May 2009 be less sucky than 2008

Alright this is going to be a new little feature. I aim to do one blog post a month in which I will sum up what I will be posting in the blog that month. Should be fun. Obviously these posts will most likely come on the first of said month from now on however yesterday was New Years Day and I was out till early. So really please forgive me. However I do hope to be doing this once a month.

Stuff Coming Soon
- The remaining four shows in my Favourite TV shows feature
- Review of Mad Men Season 1
- Review of Heroes Volume 3
- Review of Pineapple Express
- Review of Kung Fu Panda (I'm watching movies I missed in 2008)
- Darren Aronofsky Special (i.e four more film reviews)
- Review of American Gods
- IaSG14's challenge (trust me I'm getting to it)
- First thoughts on Scrubs and Lost's new seasons

Now for a little something extra where I go through some other stuff:

Currently Listening to: Letter from an Occupant - The New Pornographers
Currently Watching (TV): Mad Men Season 1 finale
Currently Watching (Movie): Pineapple Express/Kung Fu Panda
Currently Reading: American Gods by Neil Gaiman
Currently Playing: Fallout 3

Other Stuff:
Scrubs Webisode
Crank 2 trailer (WARNING NSFW!!!)
Questionable Content (You will have to read the rest of the comics but damn if it isn't funny, have fun)

Finally the 11th Doctor is announced tomorrow!!!! Please don't be someone shit (although I actually trust the casting department because they brought us David Tennant). Also The Wrestler is out on the 16th. I am quite possibly the most pumped human in existence right now (honestly there is no movie I want to see more).

Favourite TV Shows 2008 - #05 Dexter

Even with a weaker third season, Dexter is still one of the best all round shows on the television. I've already gone into why Dexter is so great so I'm going to keep this review exceedingly succinct.

For starters for my review of Dexter season 3 click here

As a brief summary Dexter is a serial killer, who only kills other serial killers. He might seem to be an absolute evil character but instead we actually feel for him. This is mostly due to Michael C. Hall's incredible performance as the title character. There are few absolutely amazing performances left anywhere and this is one of them. Along with Javier Bardem as Anton Chigurh, Heath Ledger as the Joker, Michael Emerson as Benjamin Linus and Bryan Cranston as Walter White this is a performance that just needs to be seen to be believed. It is a performance that simply transcends the show and makes it must watch TV (even during this weaker season).

This being a weaker season is also the reason why it has fallen from two to five. Season 2 was about as tense as television can possibly get. This season seemed to suffer from the amazingness that was season 2. Whilst the story is still gripping and the acting amazing (seriously Jimmy Smitts = God), it was sort of overshadowed by last season. Dexter is still incredible I just hope it didn't peak to early as there are still at least two seasons left. Which whilst being a good thing, I'd hate to think that Season 2 was the best overall season (although it does have the weakest finale).

Dexter is still a powerhouse and a show I wouldn't give up watching because it is television at its best. However unlike last year where only Lost was better (although some people would say that is debatable) I watched four shows which were just better this year. Trust me if you know me then you can probably guess what these four shows. However today I'm going to say track down Dexter Seasons 1 and 2. Get hooked then come back and watch this, trust me you will not regret it (unless of course you have some serious problem with serial killers).

Of No Country for Old Men

It now comes time for me to review the winner of last years Best Picture, which I wholeheartedly agree with. No Country for Old Men simply was the best movie released in 2007. However living in the UK it was released in 2008. In fact the only movie which apparently came close was There Will Be Blood which I will eventually get round to seeing. This year I may in fact have reviewed the winner of that little golden statue for Best Picture. Really looking at it there are only two movies which could possibly win the Oscar and they're Milk and Frost/Nixon, neither of which I'm particularly enthused to see (apart from possibly Milk). However we're to talk about No Country for Old Men, one of the best films of the past ten years.

No Country for Old Men is truly stunning. The overall plot is that Llewelyn Moss (Josh Brolin) comes across a massacre in the middle of the desert along with a lot of money, which of course he takes (everyone else is dead and it's set in the 80s, there's not really much else to do). However doing this leads him to be followed by Anton Chigurh (Javier Bardem) a serial killer and the local sheriff, Ed Tom Bell (Tommy Lee Jones). So the following two hours take us down the road of how Llewelyn is going to try and avoid the serial killer and remain alive. The film builds up the tension beautifully which is really helped by some amazing acting and stunning cinematography.

Joel and Ethan Coen aren't newcomers to the film industry. They've definitely had their fair share of critical acclaim with movies like Fargo and the Big Lebowski. However this film is definitely a lot different from there more well known fare. Fargo was their last Oscar winning effort and was decidedly more lighthearted in content as was this years Burn After Reading. However No Country is exceedingly noir. Whilst the Coen Brother's ever so brilliant dialogue is still intact (amazing considering how close this film is to the original book) and the fact that there are so many of their trademarks. There's even the fact that all of the characters speak with an accent. However unlike Fargo where the accent is funny (I can't help thinking of that movie when I see Sarah Palin), here the accent is necessary for the film considering it is set in Texas. It is also easily their best film. Whilst the Coen's suffered a bit after 2001, this movie brought them back full force and showed how they are not only one of the best collaboration efforts in the industry but also one of the best writer/director combos (they've now won two Oscars for Screenplays and one for direction).

Now for the acting. I'm going to have to get Josh Brolin and Tommy Lee Jones out of the way. Tommy Lee Jones is a fine actor and has done some great stuff however compared to his actors in this film he just doesn't compare. Brolin had a fantastic 2007 with three great movies and was in this years W. and he performs amazingly. He really was perfect for this role and whats even more surprising is that the Coen's didn't originally want him for the role. However he got and he does an incredible job playing the character and is for all purposes the main character. However Javier Bardem steals the show. Like Heath Ledger in The Dark Knight, Javier Bardem plays quite possibly one of the greatest screen villains of all time. Seriously he's up there with Hannibal Lecter and Darth Vader. The character of Chigurh is just monumentally evil and he features in nearly all of the films best scenes. One scene set inside a petrol station is just so tense because you know that this guy isn't against random killing and you just don't know whether or not the owner of the station is going to live or not. Chigurh is also the master of the coin toss. Aaron Eckhart might have taken Two Face's custom trait in the Dark Knight but Javier Bardem perfected it in this movie, whats even better is we never actually find out the outcome of the tosses it's only hinted at.

Finally I wanted to talk about gorgeous this film is. Roger Deakins is a master when it comes to cinematography. The film feels so incredibly barren and it's a damn shame that he didn't win an Oscar for it (that went to There Will Be Blood which again, I will see). But you just have to be shocked at amazing it looks. Even when not in high definition you can't help but gasp at how amazing it looks. Roger Deakins even worked on Wall-E which also somewhat explains how that film looks gorgeous as well.

Honestly this a movie that just needs to be seen. Joel and Ethan Coen are two of the best directors out there at the moment and this is easily they're best film (although there is much love for Fargo). The acting is stunning and it is well worth watching this film just to see Javier Bardem as one of the greatest villains ever (he won for Supporting Actor last year just like Heath should this year). The cinematography is just stunning and this is truly one of the best films to have graced us this decade, I might love Garden State and The Fountain that bit more but No Country for Old Men is simply an incredible movie that should be watched by everyone. 10/10

Thursday, 1 January 2009

Of Yes Man

Would you believe that I saw this movie before Benjamin Button? Obviously left a bigger mark on me than Yes Man. Another Jim Carrey comedy. It's not a bad movie. It just feels like more of the same. Yes Bruce Almighty and Liar Liar are funny films but Yes Man just seems to carry on the Jim Carrey tradition of something supernatural happening and then comedy ensues. I would say it is one of the weaker Jim Carrey comedy films. I laughed for sure during the movie because Jim Carrey is a funny bloke. I enjoyed Bruce Almighty, Liar Liar and Dumb and Dumber. However this movie just felt a little tired. If it had come out five years ago I would have probably liked it more, as it stands it just isn't as good.

However it is not Carrey's worst film. That dubious accolade goes to Number 23. However it is far from being his best. Jim Carrey at the top of his game has put out The Truman Show and Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, two absolutely phenomenal films. Yes Man is decidedly not as amazing as either of those and whilst it is a little flat it's still alright. Mediocre but funny in places.

The premise of the movie is that Carl Allen (Jim Carrey) doesn't take any chances with his life. Until he goes to a seminar where a "covenant" is formed which means if he doesn't say yes then bad things will happen to him. So after this he starts saying yes and finds his life becomes more enjoyable. Then he meets a women they fall in love know what fuck it. You know exactly where the plot goes. He says yes to everything then an event happens which fucks everything up with the girl so he tries to get the "covenant" reversed, finds out that he was actually taking chances the whole time and there wasn't a "covenant". This enables to go back to the girl and tell her that he does love her and that it wasn't just him being forced to say yes. There we go happy ending.

Luckily there are a few funny scenes. Stuff like the granny blowjob and drunk fight are funny and play to Carrey's strengths but the rest movie is just "been there, seen that". Four years ago Jim Carrey did Eternal Sunshine which still stands strong as one of my favourite movies of all time. It's different from the more public appealing Jim Carrey but it's also a fantastic movie. Carrey might be known for this more rubber faced type of comedy but honestly I would say pay £3 for Eternal Sunshine, watch it and love forever on DVD than to pay £6 to go see a mediocre Jim Carrey movie when he's done so much better stuff. 6/10

Favourite TV Shows 2008 - #06 How I Met Your Mother

First post of 2009 (I'll post some thoughts of the new year up later)

As much as it pains me to say, How I Met Your Mother is good. Damn good. I'd been recommended to watch it by several people and it wasn't until a friend wouldn't shut up about it back in May that I decided to take the plunge and watch it. In fact that was my summer project (along with a job and relax of course...oh and make a short film). Well in my eyes, How I Met Your Mother is probably the best sitcom on television at the moment. The only reason it's higher up than The Office, 30 Rock and Arrested Development is because I love this sort of comedy and also it's such an inventive show. The Office, 30 Rock and Arrested Development are all this new age of comedy. They aren't filmed in front of an audience. They're not done on a set where you can only see three walls and they all like to play around with the conventions of comedy with stuff like breaking the fourth wall. How I Met Your Mother has two things I love about it though, for starters there's actually a mystery!!! It's been four seasons and we still don't know who the mother is and I'm fine with that, because the comedy is still good. Secondly the show likes to mess around with the timeline of it's stories. Episodes like "Ted Mosby, Architect" and "The Pineapple Incident" like to mess around with the conventions of storytelling making it a fun show to watch.

It doesn't just mess around with the conventions of time though there's the fact that it is like we are being told a story. As the name of the show suggests that story is "How I Met Your Mother", so we follow Ted Mosby and his friends around as Ted tries to find wife. This is all set around the backdrop of Ted Mosby in the future telling this to his children. Because of this some of the details get lost along the way so names get forgotten (and replaced with Blahblah) and some details are smudged (sandwiches are used as a substitution for marijuana so the kids don't find out that their dad smoked). All of this is used to great effect because it actually feels like we are being told the story along side the kids. Plus it helps that it's actually a pretty funny story to boot. In fact one great moment comes at the end of the episode when after 20 minutes of having this one girl set up as being the mother (this is the first episode so what did we know) and then the narration tells us "and that's how I met...your Aunt Robin" it's a great punchline to an already great pilot episode (any show that can use the words "smurf penis" is instantly awesome).

Alright the cast is made of Ted Mosby (Josh Radnor), Marshall Eriksen (Jason Segel, Forgetting Sarah Marshall), Lily Aldrin (Alyson Hannigan, Buffy the Vampire Slay and American Pie), Robin Scherbatsky (Cobie Smulders) and the perennial favourite Barney Stinson (Neil Patrick Harris, Dr. Horrible). The cast are great, you can actually see there is chemistry between them. Ted is the lovelorn main character, Marshall and Lily are the married couple who are constantly horny and deeply in love with each (they've only had sex with each other) and Robin is the Canadian person trying to make it as a reporter in New York. Then there is Barny. Barney is quite possibly the greatest comical character to ever grace the planet. How I Met Your Mother has been compared to Friends multiple times (it is a show about a group of friends living in New York so it's not exactly unwarranted). If Barney is any character in Friends then he is Joey...except AWESOME!!! Joey was a bit of a dopey playboy. Barney is slimy, wears suits and just loves to have sex with women (despite being played by a homosexual). In fact Barney is so awesome lets go into more depth below

Barney is just an amazing character. Every single episode is packed full of just choice quotes. I mean in the first episode he comes out with amazing quotes like "Lebanese girls are the new half-asians" and "Suit Up!". Barney is just an hilarious who will regularly steal the show. In fact I can't help but go through a list of his awesomeness: his Christmas carol rewrites about having sex with Ted's sister, his letter to a girl who he's just had sex with explaining how he's a ghost, the tour of his apartment, the bracket of trying to decide who the craziest girl he's ever slept with is, the bro-code, driving lessons, the hot crazy scale, and the list just goes on. Barney proves one things, that it is still possible to make an amazing character with a catch-phrase. How I Met Your Mother also proves that the regular sitcom isn't dead (although shows like Do Not Disturb would desperately like to prove that wrong).

How I Met Your Mother is also unique for sitcoms in that it isn't actually filmed in front of an audience which means it only takes about three days to film an episode. It also makes it possibly for them get guest stars like Sarah Chalke (Scrubs), Bryan Cranston (Breaking Bad) and Britney Spears. Believe it or Britney was actually quite good and proved that whilst she had that psycho meltdown she could still come back from it (it also made the South Park episode a bit less funny for me).

Alright last thoughts. How I Met Your Mother is funny, damn funny. Neil Patrick Harris is awesome. There's a load of little geeky references. It actually strives to do something different with it's story telling. It's got an awful lot of heart but at it's a core it is about romance and relationship and whilst that might turn some people just remember that Neil Patrick Harris is awesome.