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QUICK REVIEW: House of Cards Season 2

Howdy ladies and gents, time for my first TV review for a while, and after almost TWO years I’m finally talking about the second season of House of Cards. I remember liking season 1 in 2015 and I knew I’d get back to the show at some point but with all the additional TV I watched over the last two years with Buffy, The Wire, Luther, Regular Show, Better Call Saul and so on, just finding the time has become tough. But anyway I finally finished season 2 and I’m ready to talk about it.

Story-wise the show can be summed up as the following:

“A Congressman works with his equally conniving wife to exact revenge on the people who betrayed him.”

So what I liked about this season was that it picked up right where the last left off and things escalated quickly. House of Cards season 2 to me was able personal struggle. What happens when one is pushed into a corner? When they have the weight of the world on their shoulders or have demons from their past that come back to get them? These questions and more were explored for many of the characters in this show including Frank and Claire Underwood, Doug, Raymond, Remy, Rachel and Garrett the President. Tensions run high, alliances are formed and broken, and lies and deceit are abound as many people deceive, cheat and use each for personal gain with very few genuine individuals who aren’t corrupt or end up as victims. Witnessing the ever-shifting nature of the political landscape was fascinating whether it was backhanded deals, certain individuals challenging the chain of command or having to deal with financial issues, all of that stuff is really insightful and engaging. Like before some of the political jargon got lost on me and so some of the finer details did escape me, and some episodes weren’t as engaging as others, but when this show got going good gravy it had a lot of great surprises and shocking moments that increased my love for this world that is so cold, complicated, lonely and corrupt.

The cast were all very good. Kevin Spacey as Frank Underwood was fantastic, I know he’s a manipulative, calculated and dangerous individual but good god do I love him. His ambition, cunning and swagger made him so magnetic to watch, he stole every scene he was in and it also helped that he broke the fourth wall every so often with dialogue which was so cool and quotable. Robin Wright was even more impressive than last season as Claire Underwood, not only was she loyal to Frank but also had her own material to deal with which was very complicated and emotionally painful, we also got to see just how much of a force of nature she could be when attacked or how she could be as corrupt as Frank. Both Frank and Claire were tested this season, having to deal with person demons and not being able to fight back on their terms. Michael Kelly as Doug Stamper was awesome, his character is very reserved, calm and yet has personal flaws which made him very compelling to watch, and I really enjoyed seeing his relationship with Frank and Rachel. Mahershala Ali was really good as Remy Danton, he’s a guy with morals and ethics, however, he was also very crafty, illusive and a bit of a troublemaker for the Underwoods.

I also enjoyed Molly Parker as Jacqueline “Jackie” Sharp, she brought an interesting new voice to the table because of her history, her interactions with the Underwoods and her ties to Remy as well. Rachel Brosnahan was really good as Rachel Posner she had a fairly complicated and emotional time this season when it came to her living situation, Doug and some of the other people she interacted with. Kate Mara as Zoe Barnes was once again pretty good too, Sakina Jaffrey had some good moments as Linda Vasquez, Constance Zimmer was really impressive as Janine Skorsky because of some of the dramatic material she brought to the table, Michel Gill definitely became a lot more interesting at the forefront of the main plotlines as President Garrett Walker, while he was the least interesting character in this show, he was certainly at his most engaging in this season. and Reg E. Cathey was great as Freddy Hayes as his character had a lot more pivotal moments to shine, beyond his interactions with Frank, there was some specific spotlight put on him that fleshed out his character in a great way. When it comes to the presentation it’s still on point. Visually the show’s shot well, has good lighting and nicely framed shots too. The soundtrack by Jeff Bell continues to be one of the shows highlights with a fantastic sound that is eery, melancholic, haunting and uncomfortable.

In conclusion season 2 of House of Cards was a very enjoyable session for me, this second session painted a detailed picture about the highs and lows of politics, the complexity of personal and professional relationships and the pressures/difficulties that come with the road to power. For the most part I was captivated with this show and I will check out the next season very soon.

So have you seen the second season of House of Cards and if so what do you think of it? Please be sure to comment below and I’ll see ya on the next review, laters! ūüėÄ

 
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Posted by on June 30, 2017 in Reviews, TV Reviews

 

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QUICK REVIEW: House of Cards Season 1

Howdy ladies and gents, time for a TV review again, YAY! Today I’ll be talking about the first season of House of Cards. I recently gave my quick thoughts in a recent blog post, but this post will be a little more expansive.

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Story-wise the show can be summed up as the following:

“A Congressman works with his equally conniving wife to exact revenge on the people who betrayed him.”

At first things unfold in an interesting way. You’re basically being introduced to this world through Frank Underwood’s eyes, you learn about the world of politics and government, and then there’s the journalism side of things as well. And you see how these two things operate separately but also how they intersect and have positive and negative effects for the people on either side. But what you learn quickly is that this is Frank’s story, everything is about him, and even when he isn’t the primary focus, in some way things will tie back to him, and there lies the show’s biggest strength and flaw. Frank’s a character with ambition and aspirations, but in order for him to get from A to B, he has plot and plan ahead and this involves everyone around him whether they are his wife, friends, enemies, other colleagues or people he doesn’t know, as they serve a purpose in the grand scheme of things. It is really smart and creative to see how these stories pan out and how the characters do things that intentionally and unintentionally relate back to Frank’s main plan. Of course there are parts of the story that don’t directly involve Frank like the smaller stories involving Claire, Zoe, Peter or Doug that have varying levels of significance. I will say Peter Russo’s arc is one of the most intriguing and dramatic and Claire’s story certainly gets more dramatic towards the latter half of the season. In terms of negatives HOS takes a little while to get into, the pace is slower than most shows I normally watch, I wasn’t completely sold on the first few episodes and a lot of the time I forgot the names of many characters and sometimes couldn’t follow certain conversations because of the political jargon. And finally certain stories set up some interesting possibilities, however they don’t all pan out the way you’d want them to (or at least the way I wanted them to).

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As the cast there are all pretty good. Kevin Spacey just kills it as U.S. Congressman Francis “Frank” J. Underwood. Frank’s a thinker, he’s proactive and is always a few steps ahead, and if something isn’t going his way he knows how to flip it and make the situation work for him. In some ways Frank reminds me of Cersei Lannister from Game of Thrones in the sense that they are smart, cunning and confident. They know the game when it comes to politics and power, they know how to manipulate and persuade people, they’re stubborn and know no defeat. Rarely are they on the side of failure. So when they do trip up or make a mistake it is worse because they’ve been right for so long. I’ve always liked Spacey as an actor and this show really displays his acting talents in full force as he is charming, aggressive, relatable and just fun to watch. Robin Wright is just as important as Claire Underwood, at first she does come across as Frank’s wife and rock who supports him in all that he does, but as things progress you start to see that she’s a very strong individual who’s just as smart and cunning as her husband. Plus there is moments dedicated to her backstory and seeing how she develops as a person. Wright is an actress I haven’t seen that much of in recent years so it’s nice to see her in such a great role here. Kate Mara as Zoe Barnes is really good, Zoe is a young, gorgeous, intuitive and forward-thinking kind of woman who wants to further her work in journalism and will do so whether the means are morally or ethically correct or not. I love the working relationship that she obtains with Franks and how they help each other but also how the relationship changes when they really start to need things from each other. Mara plays this character pretty well with style, grace and beauty.

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Corey Stoll may be the season-stealer as Peter Russo, Russo is a good man with a troubled background, he’s involved with a lot of bad stuff and that in turn leaves him in dangerous situations which he eventually gets out of thanks to Frank. So Peter, through manipulation actually gets his act together and tries to do good, and I’d like to say more but it would be ruining things. Peter’s story arc is one of the best aspects of the season and Stoll is brilliant and I really like what he brought to the role. Michael Kelly as Douglas “Doug” Stamper is great, I’ve seen Kelly in a few TV shows and films here and there, but this is the most substantial role I’ve seen from him and he’s really good as Frank’s Chief of Staff. Kristen Connolly is great as Christina Gallagher and I also liked Sakina Jaffrey as Linda Vasquez. Sandrine Holt as Gillian Cole was quite good too, at first she’s a nice and respectable lady, but then she really grows some balls and goes into some aggressive places. Constance Zimmer is good as Janine Skorsky, at first I found Janine quite mean and frustrating but she eventually cooled down and showed¬† more resourceful and nicer side later on. Michel Gill does well as President Garrett Walker, even though his character seems a little plain at times, at other points he’s shown to be smart and cunning too. Mahershala Ali is also great as Remy Danton, I like how he and Frank have history and sometimes are opposed but other times need each other for mutual purposes. Ben Daniels as Adam Galloway was good, however I felt like his character could have been delved into a little more or just been taken out altogether. Reg E. Cathey is good as Freddy Hayes, even though he’s only around every so often, I love his interactions with Frank and how relaxed and friendly he is. And finally Rachel Brosnahan as Rachel Posner is good as well and I found her character interesting considering her line of work and how she progresses.

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Oh by the way the presentation is great. The show is shot really well, everything looks so clean, the lighting is nice and the cinematography in general looks pretty. The soundtrack is also very good as it is very dramatic, haunting and disturbing, most times it feels unsettling and it works with the action on-screen. Oh and that opening, at first I really didn’t care for it as it came across as a bit plain with the music and just a time-lapse of different locations in DC, but I started to get into it and I will say that both the music and imagery gets more interesting after the sun goes down.

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In conclusion season 1 of House of Cards is pretty damn good. It introduces you to the world of politics and journalism, and how they intertwine. There is tension, drama and chaos, and it is just intriguing to see how these key characters interact and develop. I will say that certain story aspects didn’t pan out the way I would have liked and some of the political jargon lost me, but overall a good start to an interesting show.

Rating: 8/10

So have you seen the first season of House of Cards and if so what do you think of it? Please be sure to comment below and I’ll see ya on the next review, laters! ūüėÄ

 
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Posted by on September 9, 2015 in Films, Media, Reviews, TV Reviews

 

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Horrible Bosses 2 Quick Review

Good day to you ladies and gentlemen and welcome to a new film review. Now every once in a while you end up going to the cinema and seeing a film you didn’t expect to see, but when the choice is made by one of your best friends, you just have to go with it, and that’s what happened when I saw Horrible Bosses 2. As most people know on this blog, I’m not keen on comedies and I hadn’t seen the first film, but I thought I’d give it a try. So how did the film turn out? Read on and find out.

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The premise for the film is as follows:

“Dale, Kurt and Nick decide to start their own business but things don’t go as planned because of a slick investor, prompting the trio to pull off a harebrained and misguided kidnapping scheme.”

I thought the plot was fine, however it was fairly convoluted, strange and kind of generic. The best parts of the film was when the main three men went into kidnapping mode as everything else didn’t have enough humour or unique traits to be engaging. When it comes to the humour, there were a few laughs here and there, but most of it was jokes that fell flat or physical humour was crude, lame or a bit offensive.

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As for the cast they are good for the most part, though some are better than others. Jason Bateman as Nick Hendricks is probably the most tolerable of his trio, he is level-headed and has certain funny moments, but is a bit dull. And Charlie Day as Dale Arbus, bloody hell, that man, Day was good in Pacific Rim and frigging amazing in The Lego Movie, but in this film he was one of the most annoying people I have ever come across in a film, ever. He’s an idiot who does things without thinking and acts like a fool too often for it to be funny. Jason Sudeikis as Kurt Buckman, he’s alright, he looks a bit like Ed Helms and has some funny lines too. Together Bateman, Day and Sudeikis make a formidable group, though they remind me of a less interesting version of The Hangover guys, and at their worst they remind me of The Three Stooges. All their constant bickering can get tiring after a short amount of time.

Jennifer Aniston as Dr. Julia Harris was pretty decent. Now I have to say something, I normally despise Jennifer Aniston, I think that she’s overrated and overhyped when it come to humour and hotness too. That being said she was tolerable in this film and I would be lying if I didn’t find her attractive in this film. Jamie Foxx was pretty funny as Dean “Motherfucker” Jones, his dialogue was great and though his role was small it was used to good effect. Chris Pine was probably the best person in the film as Rex Hanson, Pine is really funny, has great comedic timing and his character is a douche but the man is so charismatic and cool that you can’t help but like him. another good performance comes from Christoph Waltz as Burt Hanson, this was a very different kind of performance I’ve seen from Waltz but he was pretty funny for sure. And finally Kevin Spacey was really awesome as David Harken and Jonathan Banks (who I love from Breaking Bad and Community) was pretty good as Detective Hatche.

In the end Horrible Bosses 2 wasn’t as bad I expected it to be. There were a few laughs to be had, the story was ridiculous and humourous and the cast did a good job. That being said, at the same time, the jokes weren’t always on-point, some of the cast members are really annoying and I felt like some of these plot elements were a bit clich√©. I know a lot of people loved this film, but for me it was alright.

Rating: 5.5/10 (Better than expected)

So have you seen Horrible Bosses 2 and if so what did you think of it? Please leave your comments below and I’ll see you on the next review yo! ūüėÄ

 
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Posted by on December 10, 2014 in Film Reviews, Films, Media, Reviews

 

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Month of Superhero Film Reviews: Superman Returns

Howdy ladies and gentlemen and welcome to Day #9 of my¬†Month of Superhero Film Reviews!¬†During this month I‚Äôll be reviewing of some of the best and worst comic book adapted films. Now we’re gonna skip ahead by a few decades to 2006 with the last Superman film in the form of¬†Superman Returns.

I remember seeing this film in the cinema back in 2006 and thinking it was really good, but I was 16 and very foolish and I think I was getting over the heartache that I got from X-Men 3 so this film sort eased the pain. But after repeat viewings over the years on TV, the film actually got worse and worse and I really started to hate it. So has that changed in 2013? Let’s have a look in this review shall we?

In terms of the plot well Superman Returns sort of tries to fit itself into the old Superman film continuity by including Superman 1 & 2 but ignoring films 3 and 4. In this film it tells the story of  Superman returning to Earth after a five-year absence. He finds that his love interest Lois Lane has moved on with her life, and that his arch-enemy Lex Luthor is plotting a scheme that will destroy the world, starting with the United States.

This film had some potential, I like the concept of Superman leaving and having to reestablish his connections with his family and friends, especially Lois Lane. The problem here is that execution of the story is a bit messy, since this film tries to fit into Superman 1 & 2 there’s a lot of inconsistencies and plot holes that arise that tamper with the overall story. Add to that Lex Luthor is attempting an evil scheme that’s very similar to what he did in the first Superman film. And speaking of the first Superman film, there are a lot of homages/references to the first two films to the point where its a little more annoying than it is necessary.

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Now let’s talk about the cast and let’s start with¬†Brandon Routh¬†as¬†Clark Kent/Superman. Routh certainly looked the part and looked nice as a modern version of the Christopher Reeve character, Routh was obviously an unknown actor at this time and this film made his career big in the future. I think he did okay as both Clark and Superman, however I wasn’t sure if he had the same level of screen presence that Reeve had back in the day.¬†Kate Bosworth¬†as¬†Lois Lane: A reporter who works with Clark Kent at the¬†Daily Planet, and former lover of Superman. Also forget about Superman, Lois Lane is the invincible one. Did you see her in that plane sequence? She flew all over the place, getting smacked about and yet she was completely fine when Superman saved and landed the plane. And what about that bit in the sinking boat when she gets decked in the head by that heavy door? HER NECK SHOULD HAVE BEEN BROKEN OR SOMETHING. Yet she just gets knocked unconscious, so unnatural and unrealistic. I don’t understand.

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As for Kevin Spacey¬†as¬†Lex Luthor he was honestly the best person in this film. I guess that’s a given because Kevin Spacey is Kevin Spacey after all, but yeah I loved his version of Lex, he’s still incredibly vain but is much more serious and makes for a much more interesting version of the character when compared to¬†Gene Hackman. Also Parker Posey¬†as Kitty Kowalski was okay as Lex Luthor’s henchwoman, she was pretty, the problem was that she was so annoying and high-pitched in her voice that I couldn’t stand it.¬†And then there’s¬†James Marsden¬†as Richard White. I forget he’s the nephew of Perry White and fianc√© to Lois Lane, to me he’s still Cyclops from X-Men just without his sunglasses. I basically don’t care about his character because he gets in the way of Superman and Lois romance.

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I also want to mention¬†Frank Langella¬†as¬†Daily Planet¬†editor¬†Perry White, he was very good and had the same amount of charisma that ¬†Jackie Cooper¬†did back in the older films. Also¬†Sam Huntington¬†makes for a¬†Jimmy Olsen¬†and¬†Tristan Lake Leabu¬†as Jason White, the son of Lois Lane and Superman is just there. I’m not too keen on child actors and this kid is not really terrible nor is he amazing, he’s just there.¬†And lastly from beyond the grave Marlon Brando¬†reappears as¬†Jor-El which is a nice reference to the past.

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Now let’s talk about the presentation. Visually the film is pretty damn good, I mean when compared to the old Superman films it’s a hell of a better. This was the film that finally gave us a proper good-looking film with updated CGI, convincing fight sequences and nice action scenes. The two best scenes in the sequence when Superman saves the plane and when people are shooting Superman and that bullet hits eye and bounces off. Unfortunately these moments are few and far between and these are the best points in the film because the scenes of characters talking and developing the story aren’t all that interesting. As for the soundtrack by John Ottman is nice, Ottman’s rendition of the classic Superman theme by John Williams is faithful and sounds pretty epic, as for the rest of the soundtrack it works in places but it’s not one I’ll remember any time soon.

And lastly how does it compare to the comics? Well I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, my knowledge of the Superman comics is pretty much non-existent, so again I can’t really answer this department.

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So to conclude¬†Superman Returns¬†is just a disappointing film especially since its coming from director Bryan Singer who gave us two good X-Men films prior to this. There was potential for this film to be brilliant and it had some nice ideas, but the execution was off, with numerous problems and plot holes this film just wasn’t the Superman film that fans were hoping for.

Rating: 6/10 (Oh this film just hurts me, disappointed is the word of the day)

So there’s my review people, only 21 more to go. So have you seen Superman Returns and if so what are your thoughts on it? Drop me a comment and let me know your thoughts yo! Come back tomorrow and I’ll have a new film review online, until then peace out!

 
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Posted by on June 9, 2013 in Film Reviews, Films, Media, Reviews

 

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