Sunday, September 25, 2011

Netflix Instant Watch: Breaking Bad, Seasons 1-3

Emmy-winning Bryan Cranston portrays the complex, bedeviled Walter H. White, a high school science teacher whose discovery that he has terminal lung cancer leads him to begin manufacturing and selling methamphetamine to cushion his family's future. With the help of former student Jesse (Emmy-winning Aaron Paul), Walter plunges valiantly into the criminal underworld, doing his best to coexist with a gallery of bewildering and dangerous characters. -Netflix

Set and produced in Albuquerque, New Mexico, Breaking Bad is the story of a man taking back his life. As lead actor Bryan Cranston states, “breaking bad…means when someone …has taken a turn off the path of the straight and narrow, when they’ve gone wrong.” When Walter White finds out he has cancer, he reacts by taking his life back. Instead of reaching out to others for help, he finds control emotionally and economically through manufacturing and selling methamphetamine. Themes of the show include one’s relationship with society, man’s place in family, the effect of drug use on one’s self and their family, and of course the methamphetamine trade.

Quite simply, this show is like Weeds on meth. Therefore, please note that the stakes of producing, distributing and using the drug are significantly higher, yielding shocking drama. I highly recommend this show, because it grows characters organically, while still remaining thrilling.

In its first three years, the show has won six Emmys, with an additional 10 nominations.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

The Increasingly Poor Decisions of Todd Margaret, a funny David Cross sit-com with Will Arnett and Spike Jonze

The Increasingly Poor Decisions of Todd Margaret, B-

Todd Margaret sits handcuffed in a loud crowded courtroom, guarded by British police, as the judge reads his charges “[including] child endangerment, espionage, embezzlement, persistent public urination, [and] impersonating a gentleman.”

This describes the recurring opening for David Cross’s 2010 TV show The Increasingly Poor Decisions of Todd Margaret, a British sit-com featuring creator/star David Cross (Arrested Development) as Todd Margaret, an incapable temp who coincidentally is sent to head an international company’s brand-new London office to sell “Thunder Muscle,” a toxic energy drink. The show is as silly and unrealistic as it sounds, but still entertains. Todd is a complete imbecile, and this unfortunate characteristic leads to all kinds of over-the-top humor that will possibly give you a chuckle or two. The real laughs come from co-stars Will Arnett, known as the exceptionally funny "Job" from Arrested Development, and Spike Jonze, Oscar-nominated director of Adaptation. and Where the Wild Things Are, in a rare acting performance. Arnett hilariously plays Margaret’s foul-mouthed boss who won’t let anyone get a word in edgewise (much like an American version of Malcom from In the Loop) and Jonze plays Margaret’s awkward yet persistent former boss who is constantly being put down by Arnett’s character.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Netflix Instant Watch: Louie, Season one

Louie season one, B+

“Written and directed by comic Louis C.K. -- who plays a fictionalized version of himself -- this FX series eschews sitcom structure for a loose format that lets single dad Louie be his irascible self -- through vignettes, club performances and more.” – Netflix

This Emmy-nominated TV show uses its unusual structure to both humorously and honestly examine ordinary issues like weight gain and exercise, middle-aged dating, and, most importantly and poignantly, raising children as a single parent. Watch this if you're looking for something that's short, light, and funny, but not silly and stupid. It will play with your mind and your heart without bringing down your day. 

Monday, September 5, 2011

The Wire, a portrait of Baltimore

The Wire series, A+


Not only is The Wire the best TV show I’ve ever seen, but it is one of the best pieces of art I’ve ever experienced in any form. This American drama series, set and produced in Baltimore, Maryland, showed on HBO from June 2002 to March 2008. With episodes lasting about an hour each, it ran for 60 episodes across five seasons. The Wire is a fictional but realistic portrait of the city of Baltimore.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Red State, a fun and terrifying horror flick (re-posted, revamped)

This was originally posted in March after I saw the film via the Red State USA tour at the Wilbur Theater in Boston. I've edited it again, added more images and video, and updated the release information including the theatrical plan, VOD, and DVD/Blu-ray. Feel free to scroll to the end where I put the full length trailer, as well as the new release information. The film is out on VOD NOW till approximately October 13th, including iTunes!