Ken Cosgrove dances to Daft Punk.
MAD MEN: “The Crash” (6.8) EPISODE REVIEW
At least Don and Sylvia are over after last episode’s “PUT ON MY SHOES” stuff. Of course Don doesn’t know how to handle this and throws his phone. There’s a doctor going around SCDP/CGC and he injecting people with some sort of drug that gives them a massive boost of energy. It’s hilarious to see everyone going off the rails and doing whatever.
While there’s all sorts of antics going on, a game of William Tell (with Stan getting stabbed in the arm) and Ken tap dancing (how’s he doing that after getting involved in the car crash at the beginning of the episode), Don does what he always does, throws himself into his work. This leads to Don giving a hilarious speech where he tries to inspire everyone and get the ball rolling. And it ends up being one of the funniest things said on the show.
Stan tries to get a piece from Peggy by revealing to her the recent loss of his cousin. Peggy tells him to move on, and Stan says that he’s not like her. It’s nice to see Stan revealing a little about his life. Meanwhile, there’s some CRAZY SHIT going down at Draper’s apartment. Some random lady breaks in starts to steal stuff from their place. Sally sees her, but she doesn’t really know what to do in this situation. While Sally seems to be growing up (reading Rosemary’s Baby and wearing short skirts) she doesn’t know to handle grown up issues like this.
Don’s “creative” mind is going at full speed as he goes down to a storage room to dig up an old add from “1958, 59” (see how Don is stuck) and we get see several other adds from over the years. It’s nice to see how this show is also looking back at it’s past without being sentimental about it.
Throughout the episode there’s glimpses of Don’s past and they’re nicely added and flow with the story very well, but they don’t add anything to the story. Of course Don got laid as a kid in the whorehouse, did we need it put into a scene?
This might be the strongest episode of Mad Men so far this season, this is another great episode where things go into crazy territory like last season’s “Seven Twenty Three”. Cinema Note: great final shot of Don walking from Ted’s office to his office. Musical Note: while there’s an older version of “Dream a Little Dream of Me” playing in the flashback sequence, the end credits plays Mama’s and the Papa’s “Words of Love”, it would have been perfect if they played Mama’s and Papa’s “Dream a Little Dream of Me” instead!
STAR TREK: INTO DARKNESS FILM REVIEW
JJ Abrams helms another Star Trek film with this sequel to his outstanding remake. All the elements are set in place quite quickly and things play out exactly as they should in Into Darkness. There’s still the great relationship of Spock and Kirk going against each other and it’s just as entertaining the second time around (and still much better than the original films or series). Quinto and Pine own their characters fully and still have enough touches of the original characters. Into Darkness is more or less, a remake of Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan.
Khan is one of the most memorable villains in the Star Trek films, and he’s played here by Benedict Cumberbatch, and he’s damn near perfect. In fact, he’s the only perfect thing in Into Darkness. His Khan is like a sci-fi version of The Dark Knight’s Joker with his acts of terrorism and also like Silence of The Lambs’s Hannibal Lecter, there’s even a few scenes of Khan behind a wall of glass.
There’s plenty of massive sets and impressive action scenes, and it all moves very quickly, but everything that happens is very familiar. The movie moves with ease, but it’s too easy. The story is simple, and there’s some back stabbing and some more explosions and there’s a nice opening at the end of the film for another film. If this was anything besides Star Trek, I have a hard time believing anyone would really like this.
There’s tons of stuff here for Star Trek fans to spot out, like the switching of roles between Spock and Kirk towards the end, Tribbles and “Dammit man, I’m a doctor!”
Abrams is, for better or worse, becoming the go-to guy for sci-fi with shows like Lost and Fringe and his film Super 8 and his upcoming Star Wars: Episode VII. But after getting past the sheen and clarity of Star Trek, there’s too many issues going on with his blurry, in-the-way lighting (lens flare) and cutting shots too quickly (I know it’s an action movie, but still). I fear that he’s going to use the same cheap tricks on Star Wars as he’s done with Star Trek and I’m very worried. Star Trek: Into Darkness isn’t going to blow anyone away, although it is a very entertaining film and there’s some nice performances, there’s not much to look back on once it’s over.
Rating: 6 out of 10.
Mad Men EPISODE REVIEW: “For Immediate Release” (6.6)
SCDP is about ready to go public and it’s stock is set very high. BUT, all sorts of shit hits the fan. Much like season three’s “Shut The Door, Have a Seat” there’s some grand maneuvering by Don for a quick turnaround from disaster for the company. Don has a dinner with Herb and gets so disgusted by even having dinner with him that he gets up and leaves and tells Herb that he’s done Jaguar. This is done on Don’s watch without any sort of thought on how this will effect SCDP. While it’s great to see Don step up like this towards Herb, the entire office is tired of his antics.
Everyone is pissed at Don for ditching Jaguar, Pete falls down the stairs and Joan is pissed as well, after going though what she had to for the company to land the account. Pete runs into his father in law at a whorehouse and then Vicks ends up pulling out from SCDP. Everything seems to going out of control, but of course there’s a turnaround. Towards the end of the episode, Don runs into Ted Chaough and they come up with a solution to win Chevy together. This merger is bound to be a very interesting dynamic, I’m very interested to see how Don and Ted will work together. But I have place some slight blame on the writers for making this merger seem too forced and sounding like a quick solution to a problem. Of course, things always seem to work out very differently than you expect on Mad Men (look at “The Other Woman” compared to this episode!)
Some film reviews
KILLING THEM SOFTLY
Based off a cheap Elmore Leonard rip off novel from the 70’s, this film feels like a cheap Tarantino rip off at times. And it can also feel like a rip off of Goodfellas and whatever other crime film you can think of. There’s some great performances here from Brad Pitt and James Gandolfini, but all these scenes don’t really add up to much in the end. Lots of talk and more talk with some great sequences of violence tossed in. What really threw me off was the use of 2008’s political election and economy tossed in, like the film had a statement to make about America or something like that. I can’t get on board with this, and it’s slightly distracting and it’s too obvious, especially the final speech from Brad Pitt.
Rating: 5 out of 10.
A decent cast can’t help this film out of the bland direction and parody paraded as homage to older gangster films. Ryan Gosling, Josh Brolin, and Sean Penn all phone in some simple performances. There’s some great set pieces and some nice colors here and there, but most of Gangster Squad is misdirected with some boring action scenes, even more boring scenes of dialog and a waste of good actors.
Rating: 3 out of 10.
THE PLACE BEYOND THE PINES
Despite a very promising opening with a great tracking shot, the rest of Place Beyond The Pines falls apart with it’s plot format of having three stories. The first part is decent with Ryan Gosling returning to his town, finding that he has a child and robbing banks. The second story deals with Bradley Cooper as a cop who’s dealing with his guilty conscious and dirty cops (of course!) (and one who’s played by Ray Liotta, and he’s perfect as a dirty cop). The third story takes place a handful of years after the first two and drops the entire film into a very conventional, cliche spot. Although there’s some great acting and good direction, the story is too typical and see through.
Rating: 4 out of 10.
Sam Rami’s original films have been favorites of mine for years, and now they’ve finally remade it. Rami and star Bruce Campbell both supported this remake, and I skeptical waking into this that it wasn’t going to work. Evil Dead takes plenty of moments from the first two Evil Dead films and places them into a much grimmer and scarier atmosphere. Ash isn’t here, replaced by a girl brought out to the cabin so she can get over her drug addiction. This film is filled with blood, gore and more blood. There’s not much to laugh at here with Ash gone from the story, but it’s a new time and I can say that this is one of the best horror films I’ve seen in a while. While some of the gore might be too much for some, there’s enough references to the original films for this to be satisfactory to fans.
Rating: 8 out of 10.
I already write a little about how much this man’s writing means to me in another post. And I’m very glad that Ebert’s site has been redone. One thing that has kept me wary of going to Ebert’s site over the years has been the dreadful design. Although I am wary of other people’s reviews being on the site, I will continually check up on Ebert’s page.
Top 16 Films of 2012
15- Killer Joe
14- The Avengers
13- The Amazing Spider-Man
12- Moonrise Kingdom
10- Cabin In The Woods
9- The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey
7- The Late Quartet
5- Perks of Being a Wallflower
4- Shut Up and Play The Hits
3- The Dark Knight Rises
2- Django Unchained
1- TIE: Lincoln and The Master
Mad Men EPISODE REVIEW: “The Flood” (6.5)
I knew MLK’s death was going to play into this season, and there’s plenty of connections to JFK’s death in season three (“The Grown-Ups”). It’s interesting to see Joan, who was somewhat racist back in season two, get emotional over this event.
Pete ends up having a great moment where he gets into an argument with Harry and calls him a racist and brings up that King had a wife and three children. It’s great how the show has the viewer going against a character in one episode and then rooting for him in the next.
Don is still lost at sea this season, not having a very strong reaction to these events and not even wanting to deal with his children or go outside, Plus, his mind is still set on his mistress upstairs. (Will Don ever let go of her? I’m already getting tired of this relationship) But the show surprises with Don taking his son to go see Planet of The Apes. It’s always a good episode when Don goes to the theater. Plus, Don makes an outrageous statement about his kids: “You want to love them, but you don’t” and then he gets emotional and continues with “Then you see them do something, and you feel that feeling you were pretending to have, and it feels like your heart is going to explode”.
Cinematography note: great wide shot towards the end in Pete’s apartment.
I’ve started a secondary Tumblr page that’s going to be filled with all sorts of pointless shit, like everyone else’s Tumblr page.