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QUICK REVIEW: Master of None Season 1

Howdy ladies and gents, time for another TV review and today I’ll be talking about Master of None Season 1. Before this show was released I was immediately interested because of Aziz Ansari, he was not a person on my radar until I watched Parks and Recreation and he killed me with his charisma and humour. However, when I heard and read about the format of the show I wasn’t sure it was for me, but since I had some free time during the week I watched all 10 episodes and I wanted to get my thoughts out about this show.

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The show can simply be described as the following:

“The personal and professional life of Dev, a 30-year-old actor in New York.”

What I didn’t expect was how emotionally invested I’d get in this show. For all of the humourous and crazy stuff that goes down in this show, a lot of the stuff that Dev experiences is very relatable and true to life. Each episode’s title is a reference to the theme or key elements of that episode and it is surprising how many topics get presented. There are interesting themes covered like parenting, racism, infidelity, sexuality, feminism, and relationships between lovers and family. Whether it be the complications that come with being an aspiring actor, reconnecting with your family, the highs and lows of being in a relationship or the feelings of uncertainty when thinking about the future, this show covers those subjects in a very realistic and wonderful way. While some of the stories aren’t as riveting as others, I found all of the key stories involving Dev and his interactions with people to be incredibly engaging from start to the really great final episode which was so unexpected and emotionally fulfilling. Oh and I have to say that the choice of music was awesome with some really great with some of my favourite songs being featured at the intro of an episode or at other points of other episodes as well.

But what good would these stories be without its cast? This cast brings these colourful characters to life in fun and relatable ways, but at the end of the day they felt like fully formed people because of their realistic personalities and decision-making. Let’s start with Aziz Ansari who was awesome as Dev Shah, this man has an interesting and fun life, though he has issues with his personal and professional life that keep things engaging and challenging, and it was just fun to see him tackle these scenarios in ways that didn’t feel like network TV. Also great was Noël Wells as Rachel, this woman was smart, witty and not your conventional kind of lady and when she became Dev’s primary romantic interest things got even more interested. Wells and Aziz had such great chemistry and worked really together because of the humour and typical TV-based relationships. Eric Wareheim was also great as Arnold Baumheiser, this character was one of the more wacky/strange people to show up, but he was always very fun and his relationship with Dev was so chilled out, weird and relatable. Lena Waithe did such an amazing job as Denise, she was Dev’s lesbian friend who was always so cool and open about her sexuality, but not in the conventional way, but she was also very funny and gave great advice to Dev on numerous occasions. Kelvin Yu as Brian Cheng was also pretty good, but I wish I had seen more of him. H. Jon Benjamin was one of my favourite people as Benjamin, I’ve never seen Benjamin in anything live-action, but have recognized his voice work from years since Home Movies, Family Guy, Archer and Bob Burgers among other things, and in this show his character was really funny as Dev’s an acting colleague, but beyond that his character was very insightful and offered good life advice. Oh and Shoukath and Fatima Ansari did such great jobs as Dev’s parents, Ramesh and Nisha, especially with Ramesh, he was bloody hilarious with some of his dialogue.

In conclusion Master of None is a very entertaining, fun and heartfelt tale of one man’s adventure in the city of New York experiencing the highs and lows that life throws at him with varying degrees of success. While the show didn’t have me laughing out loud like comedy shows that I watch, it was really was funny, but also surprisingly engaging on an emotional level and covering certain topics in a realistic and unexpected way.

Rating: 8.5/10

So have you seen Master of None and is so what did you think of it? Please be sure to comment below and I’ll see ya on the next review, laters! 😀

 
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Posted by on December 14, 2015 in Media, Reviews, Television, TV Reviews

 

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The Joys of Watching Parks and Recreation

Howdy people of the internet, time for a semi-review of sorts. Today I wish to talk about one of my favourite TV shows in recent history, Parks and Recreation, one of the best comedy TV shows I have seen for a long time. If you have read this blog before then you will know a little while ago I did a blog post about my history with TV shows and some of my favourites of all-time, but the one show I was probably missing and I would add now is Parks and Rec. It is THAT good. Now that the show is in its final season with the final two episodes set to air tomorrow, I thought it would be nice to talk about this show and why it kicks so much ass.

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Before talking about the show, I wanted explain why I started watching it. basically I had heard some talk about Parks and Rec back in 2012 and 2013 on various websites and fair amount on AMC Movie Talk. But it wasn’t until Chris Pratt was cast as Star-Lord in Guardians of the Galaxy that I decided to give the show a watch (that and the fact that John Campea of AMC Movie Talk spoke so highly of him on the show). And that’s where it all started.

So why do I love this show? Allow me to explain…

In a nutshell the story of Parks and Rec follows the absurd antics of the town’s public officials as they pursue sundry projects to make their city a better place. The show is set Pawnee, Indiana and follows the adventures of Leslie Knope as she attempts to improve the town through government with her crew from the parks department.

The reason the show works is because of the following three main reasons: 1) It is funny, 2) The cast is brilliant and 3) It never stays the same.

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I have to admit that the first season did take some time to get into, it was fine, but the show didn’t find a focus and it’s funny factor until season two. From there all of the stories have more focus and energy, the jokes are much better and the characters really start to show their more unique and hilarious personalities. Each season afterward presents new, exciting and absurd stories for us as viewers to see, nothing ever stays the same for too long and thankfully things change for the better rather than ruining the formula of the show. The are surprises to be found and plot twists that happen in the most surprising of ways, the show’s almost like a comedy mixed in with a soap opera. There is good humour but also a lot of drama to be found (but I’ll get to that later in this post.

One of the main things that make this show work so well is the humour. People who read this blog know that I’m not the biggest fan of comedy-based stuff, though when I find a TV show that I find really funny, then I’m a happy place. For a time I thought Community was the funniest US TV show I’d watched, but then Parks and Rec, came along and blew the former out of the water. Parks and Rec is funny, it is really funny. The show has some of the snappiest humour I have seen in any show in a long time. Whether it be verbal or physical humour, it works so well and as the seasons go on the show’s funny factor stays consistent and provides many laugh-out-loud moments. Plus since the show is done in a documentary style with characters able to the break the fourth wall and talk to the audience, it just adds a level of intimacy and humour that other shows lack.

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The best thing about the show is its characters. The characters of Pawnee happen to be some of the most absurd fictional human beings ever conceived, they’re like all of the people that go to Community‘s Greendale Community College, except on a much crazier level. Whether it is the primary, recurring or guest cast members, everyone gets their chance to shine in this show. What is neat about the citizens of Pawnee is that most of them are all given plenty of screen time for you understand who they are and why they are funny, so when they make future appearances you remember and appreciate them more.

Firstly we have Amy Poehler as Leslie Knope who is delightful to watch. Leslie is a woman crazy obsessed with government and a lot of strange habits, however she is also very kind and is a brilliant friend to all of her coworkers. Poehler is just perfect for this kind of role and I love how much her character’s progressed. The gorgeous Rashida Jones as Ann Perkins is also great, she start’s out as an outsider and a nurse but eventually become integrated into the government through her friendship with Leslie. Aziz Ansari as Tom Haverford is one of the most funny people in the show, the man is classy, but also selfish, arrogant and sarcastic, but all of those traits make him so likeable. Then there’s Nick Offerman as Ron Swanson who is arguably my favourite character. He is a man of few words, hates government, loves meat and normally likes to distance himself from his coworkers, and that’s just a few elements that makes him amazing. I LOVE Offerman’s performance and he just makes me smile whenever he has key scenes in the show.

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Another great person is Aubrey Plaza as April Ludgate. Here we have a live-action version of Daria, except much more creepy, cynical and lazy. April is SO much fun because she is cute and yet so awkward and strange. And then there’s Chris Pratt as Andy Dwyer who is the character I think it arguably the best person in the show. The guy is incredibly stupid and child-like, but he’s also very sweet and his singing and physical humour makes the show SO much fun to watch. Pratt’s energy and charisma really elevate the show and provide some of the most memorable scenes in the series. Adam Scott as Ben Wyatt is probably my least favourite character in this group, that being said he has his moments where he is pretty funny (and that mainly comes from being around Leslie). Rob Lowe as Chris Traeger is just one of the best people ever. He is inhumanly heathy, absurdly positive and has such a great relationship with everyone. Jim O’Heir and Retta also bring me much joy as Jerry Gergich and Donna Meagle. Donna is a surprisingly funny and sophisticated woman who has great moments with Tom while Jerry is a man who just suffers, whether he is getting into accidents, being ignored or just being pranked by his colleagues, there is never a dull moment when he is around.

I also love small recurring characters like the brilliant Jean-Ralphio (Ben Schwartz), the sassy/crazy Joan Callamezzo (Mo Collins), the absurd/sexy Tammy II (Megan Mullally), the humourous Brandi Maxxxx (Mara Marini), the absurd Bill Dexhart (Kevin Symons), the always entertaining  Perd Hapley (Jay Jackson) and quiet and creepy Orin (Eric Isenhower) just to name a few.

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Watching this show feels like more than just 30 minutes for fun TV, it feels more like checking on good friends and seeing what they’ve been getting up to from episode to episode. What the writers and actors do so well with this show, more so than a lot of others, is make you feel connected to these characters and their situations with very real, emotional and relatable stories. For all of the humour that takes place in this show, there is a A LOT of heart, so much so that there are episodes that make you want to cry tears (sometimes of joy and sadness). I love the show so much that I re-watched the whole thing again (before season seven had aired) and now we’re on the final season and I’m not quite ready for another one of my favourite shows to end, but I guess this rollercoaster ride has to end at some point.

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In conclusion Parks and Recreation is pretty much one of the best TV shows I ever decided to watch. Few shows have the power to engage me on such a level where I am addicted and need more like a crack-head junkie. The cast is brilliant, the humour is great and each season beyond the first brings something new, strange and fun to the table in ways that most shows can’t. If you haven’t experienced the awesomeness that is Parks and Rec then I implore you to do so, you’re missing out on some good stuff yo. 😀

So have you seen the awesomeness that is Parks and Recreation and if so what do you think or it? Whatever your thoughts be sure to drop them in the comments below and I’ll see ya on the next blog post.

 
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Posted by on February 23, 2015 in Media, Reviews, Television, TV Reviews

 

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Epic Review

Alrighty then, time to talk about Epic. The latest big animated film from Blue Sky Studios, the animation studio who make films that look very similar to Dreamworks. Anyways before this film came out everyone was talking about it and said it was gonna be some really hot stuff in 2013, so I had a look yesterday to see what the deal was. So what it good or bad? Well read on and find out!

So the story in this film follows Mary Katherine (a.k.a. M.K.), a teenager who goes to live with her estranged father in a house in the forest. Her father is obsessed with the concept of their being a race of miniaturized people living in the forest. M.K. thinks her father is crazy but by through a serious of events she finds herself transported to a deep forest setting where a battle between the forces of good and the forces of evil is taking place. She teams up with a group of people from the good side to save the forest.

The story in this film should feel familiar for anyone of my generation or older, what we’re getting in this film is in the same vein as Ferngully and Avatar. The concept of there being a small society of mini people existing in the same world as humans is cool and the explanations for why we can’t see them and how they move are pretty smart too, however the rest of its execution wasn’t that good. I feel like there was a lot of drama in the film but it was cancelled out by moments of humour that really didn’t fit in the movie that well. Also there was one thing that happened that I prayed wouldn’t go down but it did and this a partial spoiler by the way… FRIGGING M.K. AND NOD KISS IN THE FILM! WHY? Now granted in this film these things are bound to happen but there needs to be a little build up before hand, there needs to be chemistry and room for the potential relationship to grow. But hell in this film these two go from being casually mates to frigging lovers at the end of the film! There are hints at them being interested in each other but not to that degree. I’m really tired of relationships be shoe-horned into films that don’t require it. Argh! Okay mini rant over, moving on…

As for the characters in this film they were a mixed bag of some nice characters to people I didn’t care about. Let’s start with Amanda Seyfried as Mary Katherine. Argh her character was annoying, while i could understand her background and shock of being shrunk down into this small new world, at the same time she seems to lack a bit of common sense, moans about a lot of time and for a main character she was a bit dull for me. Josh Hutcherson as Nod was another one of those annoying characters in the sense that he was reckless and didn’t want to answer to anyone. He has skills that makes him cool but it doesn’t matter if his character is very likable and I didn’t like him at all. then there’s Colin Farrell as Ronin, now this is the first character I actually cared about. Ronin has focus, he’s awesome, assertive and kicks a lot of ass and that’s something I appreciate in a character. Beyoncé Knowles also makes an appearance as Queen Tara, her character wasn’t in the film as much as I thought she’d be and while she was a decent character she wasn’t around long enough to leave an impression.

Christoph Waltz as Mandrake, the leader of the Boggans was pretty good. When I heard his lines in the trailers he sounded so cheesy and stupid but luckily in this film it wasn’t nearly as bad. As a bad guy he was alright but he didn’t have too much of a scary presence and that was disappointing for me. Also Jason Sudeikis as Professor Bomba was good as the father, though because of his obsessive nature over his work it made his character hard to stand at times.  Aziz Ansari as Mub was alright, most of his lines were joke-based and while some were good, others fell right flat but hey his character was better than Nod so that’s something. Chris O’Dowd as Grub was funny, I could literally just see Roy from The IT Crowd so I liked his character the entire time.

The one successful element that works in Epic‘s favor is the presentation. Visually the game looks good, it does have some moments of true beauty and looks really realistic with the good use of lighting, colour and detail. However there are a few cartoony aspects about the film that break the visual flow and clash with the realism. There is a big sense of realism but it is offset by the cartoonish style that the film adopts from time to time, the blend between cartoonish and realistic styles in this film doesn’t flow like a Pixar or Dreamworks film and it felt like both styles were fighting each other. At least when it came to the action it was very dynamic and had a good use of camera angles.

In conclusion I expecting great things from Epic unfortunately it turned to be not nearly as ‘epic’ as the name suggests. It is a good film for kids and families but the end product feels unoriginal and average. For those looking for something a little more impressive you may want to look elsewhere, Mark Kermode said it best in his review where he stated, the film connects with your eyes but not your heart like a really good animation does.

Rating: 6/10 (It looks great,but that’s the only great thing about the film)

So what did you think of Epic? Did you love it or was it just another okay animated film for you? Whatever your thoughts drop in the comments section below and I’ll see ya later on people! 😀

 
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Posted by on May 29, 2013 in Film Reviews, Films, Media, Reviews

 

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