As Breaking Bad has finally wrapped up, leaving me mostly satisfied and somewhat relieved to be free of the final season’s relentless tension, I’m realizing that something I’ve been waiting for throughout the series is never going to come to fruition: a truly rounded Latino character.
Walt and Gus are a match.
Yes, I am a Gustavo Fring aficionado; to be more specific, I experienced a phase in which I was more a Gus obsessive. For me, Gus is the most magnetic and elusive of all the Breaking Bad characters, but after his spectacular departure in the nursing home blast, I’m left wondering if part of his mystery was just carelessness on the part of Vince Gilligan. Fring’s Read the rest of this entry »
Winter streaming! I have not kept up with the monthly log, and anything not streamed has sadly streamed away from my immediately available memory.
Cosmos: This was part of my winter crash-course in cosmology. I watched loads of videos, seriously, shocking loads, from multiple series, but this, the mother and master of them all, still ranks as the best. I barely remembered it from the original run Read the rest of this entry »
I know, it’s March. I haven’t slacked off on my screen time. It’s been winter, after all. I just need to catch up with accounting for my hours.
Louis C.K. All Chewed Up: This is one of Mr. Lousy’s picks. I mostly enjoyed the stand-up, and it does make me appreciate his television show more. As much as he manages to offend, he usually turns his aim back on himself. (2008)
The Scalphunters: Where to begin? I can’t fathom a summary, so I’ll just run down the cast of this 1968 Sydney Pollack western. Burt Lancaster is an illiterate, hard-drinking fur trapper. Ossie Davis is a highly educated runaway slave finagling his way to Mexico. Telly Savalas is the hard-drinking leader of a band of Read the rest of this entry »
Alias is over. And I’m over it. It was a slog to get through to the end. Good – only three episodes left. Wait, there’s four? Nooooo! So in what seems to be my theme for 2013, here are the bullets.
I don’t get it
– Why doesn’t Sydney make Sloane tell her what the Little Red Horizon beach ball does? Because it could Read the rest of this entry »
I like the opening sequence better. It’s a fast clip sequence of Sydney in disguise – I counted 50. So that’s fun. That’s also where the fun seems to stop. I’m on episode 6 now and in the words of Sydney during her first briefing with Sloane – I can’t believe this.
APO – Authorized Personnel Only – Lamest Name. Ever.
I can’t believe they are adding even more groups to this show.
I can’t believe this is the best name they could come up with. At least with SD-6, The Covenant, The Alliance, and others Read the rest of this entry »
Raul – I have seen Sydney in Hong Kong and you were right. I knew it when I saw it.
Sydney’s been out of it for 2 years?
What and where has she been?
I’m guessing this is why they’ve been setting up that hokey regression therapy so much. How was her mother involved – because she must have been. What about Sloane? Why couldn’t the CIA and her dad and Vaughn find her? Because obviously, we have to find out in Season 3. Right?
Vaughn is married?!?
This is a great season closer. It seems this is a great opportunity to shake things up, introduce new characters, get rid of old ones in a sensible but expedient manner. Abrams better not cock it up in Season 3. I am heavily invested. I do not want to feel I’ve wasted my time.
Francie gets evil.
I have 5 episodes left of Season 2 of Alias. It’s still pretty entertaining. I’ve stopped grumbling about Sydney’s impulsiveness and gullibility. I don’t question anymore why Sydney, Vaughn and Jack Bristow are able to continually able to run their rogue missions with seemingly no consequences. Why have I stopped? Because the show continues to surprise and deliver the escapist spy thriller goods. It seems like there are fewer disguises but it’s still plenty fun. I wonder if there were more women watching because when Jennifer Garner is in disguise she has less disguise than normal like the episode with Sydney looking crazy hot in not one but two lingerie getups. It seems geared to thank the boyfriends/husbands for watching.
SD6 is blown to smithereens
I must admit I thought they would drag out the destruction of SD6 over several seasons and was pleasantly surprised when they sped up the take down. It cleans up the storytelling. Having Sydney constantly getting her counter-mission was becoming tiresome.
Sydney and Vaughn get it on
I also thought they’d draw out the Sam and Diane, will they or won’t they plot with Sydney and Vaughn. So glad they didn’t. I adore Michael Vartan. He’s just charming and their chemistry is great. His bro talk about girls with Greg Grunberg’s Weiss adds some nice levity.
Evil Francie and other character twists
Just when I was also tiring of boring, dopey Francie they kill her and replace her with an evil doppelganger! Love it! I’d much rather see Francie sleep-no-tizin’ Bradley Cooper’s gentle Will than listen to her talk about her dumb restaurant. By the way – her success and becoming profitable 6 months after opening may be the most unbelievable thing I’ve seen on the show. I’d believe in a Renaissance Italian could predict cell phones before I believed an inexperienced cook could turn a profit that quickly.
I also like Will as an analyst in the CIA, the resurrection of Emily Sloane and the inevitable reveal of Irena Derevko as a baddie. I like very much that Dixon does not jump on board the CIA train right away. It’s a little realism in a pretty unrealistic show.
They got rid of the second opener!
They’ve gotten rid of the first opener and replaced it with a straight recap. It makes more sense and serves the show better.
Guest star power
Gotta give it up – they’ve got some terrific guest stars
Faye Dunaway – the ruthless SD internal investigator who turns out to be a double agent
Christian Slater – as the wholly likable code cracker abducted by Sloane and Derevko
Rutger Hauer – as the temporary and frightening Sloane replacement
Ethan Hawke – as the face/off double agent – I kind of hate Ethan Hawke but he was fine here
Richard Lewis – playing it straight as the CIA internal affairs guy investigating Vaughn
Looking forward to the Season 2 finale. I’m guessing it’s a doozy.
A not-as-brief-as-I’d-like rundown of my Netflix streaming. Note: Hulu Plus and Amazon Prime almost merit their own summaries.
- Deep Impact: This has not made much of an impact. I’ve been on this one for two weeks and still have almost an hour to go. I just don’t care about anyone in the movie and the apocalypse preparations are more tiresome than timely.
- Theremin: Holy fuck this documentary was a surprise. I had no idea how the theremin originated, nor what kind of fantastical life its creator led. There is a Cold War/Soviet Union twist to this story that baffles the mind. Plus, Theremin himself maintains his enigmatic self straight through to the end.
- The Walking Dead: I am closing in on the halfway mark of the second season. I have to be in the mood for dread, which is really all I get from the series, so I haven’t plowed through it like I have with other cable shows that I’m a late arrival to. This is a good thing.
- The Sarah Silverman Program: I’m still in s1. I’ve watched scattered episodes before, so some are being re-experienced, though I don’t think viewing them in the context of the whole series makes any difference. It’s funny but a little too mean for me. I appreciate the songs.
- Louie: I enjoy it, but not nearly as much as I’m supposed to. Louie feels a little too mean as well, though his meanness sometimes gets directed toward a showcase of Louis C.K.’s own self-assessed patheticness.
- Wilfred: What’s with all the mean-spirited comedies that I’m watching one after the other? This one is probably on the chopping block. I tire quickly of mean best friends and people who put up with them, even if the best friend is an Australian comedian in a dog outfit.
- The Brother from Another Planet: This one I’m enjoying far more than I did The Man Who Fell to Earth (slog!), though I have to watch both slow-moving films in installments. I’m about midway through this John Sayles film.
- Black Widow: I saw this in the eighties and didn’t remember much. Why?!? It’s really a terrific film about female drive, envy, friendship, and multi-layered betrayal. Theresa Russell never really impressed me, but I like her here a lot, sort of a mash-up of Kathleen Turner with a shade of Shirley MacLaine. She jumps from sophisticated socialite to Southern new money to Malibu Barbie™ with each new conquest/prey, with an undercurrent of single-minded ambition. How can ruthlessness and regret stand so closely? And Debra Winger – this is one of her best roles. The character and the actress are perfect complements to the Black Widow, Theresa Russell. Bob Rafelson managed to make a fantastic film noir in the middle of the eighties! This isn’t as good as his Body Heat from 1981, but what is? This came as a rare pleasant surprise in my revisiting old movies. I would absolutely put the scene of Theresa Russell swimming nude in a pool and extending her hand out like the poisonous reach of a jellyfish into my top ten femme fatale moments. And I have a lot of femme fatale moments!
- The End: Burt Reynolds stars and directs. I also saw this one decades ago, though maybe not in its entirety. A few things stood out in my adult viewing. One, Burt Reynolds really is a good comic actor, and he really knows how to share with other actors on the screen. Two, the pacing is way off, with some comedic scenes stretching twice as long as they should. Three, some of the unfunny segments are also shockingly racist, particularly one with a Mexican “beaner.” While not wincing, I did enjoy all the co-stars. I am making a mental note of discussing this further.
- Moog: This doc on the Moog synthesizer is boring the fucking daylights out of me, and I’m not even to the thirty-minute mark, meaning that this is in contention for a spot on Raúl Cries Uncle, as in I may not force myself to finish it. The clever, winking opening credits gave me such hope for a contemporary look at a beloved artifact, but Robert Moog himself cannot hold the screen for more than ten seconds before he turns into one of the more unpleasant drones that his creation has the capability of making . He’s like my industrial ed teacher whose lack of presentation actually gave birth to a lack of interest in how things work. Moog and my industrial ed teacher were good at making things, but not inspiring the casual listener. Note: Moog is actually more engaging discussing Theremin!
- Reel Injun: I am about a third into this documentary about representation of American Indians in American cinema, and am becoming more engrossed as I go. I can’t tell if this is arranged chronologically or by theme. I’m hoping for TV to get some time alongside films.
- Equilibrium: I stopped after about three minutes with a brainless shoot-em-up opening that made me think I’d fallen upon a lost eighties action movie, not the smarter sci-fi Michael Fassbender film that I’d banked on. It’s in the endangered pile.
- Nikita: I’m halfway through a rocky s2, but the midpoint seems to have picked up by changing the game and introducing some new though predictable alliances. Eps 12 and 13 have nearly made up for the bad season (shoot-em-up scenes ad nauseam that may have cut short my patience for Equilibrium) thus far, though I’m still pining for last season. I have hope. Mr. Lousy, you should give this one a go once you’ve run your course with Alias.
- Archer: Now this is a spy show that knows what it’s doing! Thank you again, Mr. Lousy, for steering me here!
Walt wants what Walt wants. At this point in the game, he’s asking for ten murders in under two minutes. His precision in chemistry is now focused in mass murder, and the swastikas of the white supremacists surrounding him do not look out of place. Walt would have made an excellent commandant at a concentration camp. Yeah, it’s come to that. There’s really no coming back from this depravity.
I’ve been watching this season’s Breaking Bad with a sense of dread and intensity like no other. Every season has been fantastic, but this one, perhaps because it was truncated to make way for another next summer, has drawn me into the dark mind of Walter “I want an empire” White – his wanton ambition, ruthlessness, cunning, duplicity, and delusions of grandeur: gliding over all. Director Michelle MacLaren and writer Molly Walley-Becketthave both been working with the series for years, Read the rest of this entry »
There’s not a lot of thought here – just gushing. No spoilers if you don’t look at the pictures.
I love tv. In a major way. I remember shows from when I was a kid. I actually am baffled by people who don’t remember the shows they or their parents watched growing up. One of my earliest memories is watching the Mickey Mouse Club and desperately wanting a Mickey Mouse watch for Christmas – the one where Mickey’s in the middle and his arms are the hands of Read the rest of this entry »