Fast Five Friday – A Belated Blog Post

A little late is better than not at all – I hope. In order to participate in many, interesting blog hops, and still stay true to my writing, scheduling conflicts lead to posting blog hop post a little late sometimes. This week, that happened with Fast Five Friday, which asked us to write about our top 5 TV crushes.

I was never that into the actors to have a crush, that’s for teenagers, but I do appreciate good action, combined with good looks, and more importantly a great story line. So, with that in mind, I am featuring the following actors:

Alexander (The Movie) – A Review

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Movie: Alexander

Release Year: 2004

Director: Oliver Stone

Rating: 5/5 Stars

I have always been fascinated by Ancient History. It was my favorite subject in school, and is my favorite subject to teach. Out of this reason, and many others, I decided to watch Alexander, directed by Oliver Stone, in its extended cut version, today.

While of course this is a movie rather then a documentary, produced by an epic, and larger then life director, it is essentially the story of a great man. There are sure ways the execution of it could have been done better – rather then switching back and forth within the time line, it could have been done linear, but the care it showed for each individual character was superb. As a fan of Jared Leto, I was drawn to his performance, which was as I expected exceptional, as the best friend, and essentially true love of Alexander. Colin Farrell gave an charismatic, emotional and convincing performance, even if it was considered controversial, and I have a feeling not well received because of that. Glad, that I had only heard of a hint of the controversy about the movie and its main characters relationship with two males, to whom he was closer then any woman, I saw only the depth of their relationship, rather then the dissatisfaction that others have expressed about the film, because of it.
The fight scenes where epic and grant, nothing less is to be expected by an Oliver Stone project. Sometimes the gore was much, but war is not pretty, and should not be described as such, and back then it was even more personal and therefore more explicit. Maybe it also hinted on stereotypes when it expanded to include the people of Asia, but it is after all a movie from the view of a limited worldview, of the times of the beginning of exploration, rather then after it.

In all I really enjoyed the movie, I enjoyed the care of portrayal of each characters, the emotion, the visual execution, and its depth. Having one of my favorite actors, and musicians in its cast (Jared Leto), was the icing on the cake.

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G.I.Joe – Retaliation (Review)

G.I. Joe - Retaliation Review

First thought of the movie, and the most prevailing one throughout it for me:

Why in the hell did they kill off Channing Tatum within the first 10 minutes of the film? Now that was one big disappointment, considering that another character (Flint) would not have been missed at all, while Channing’s character Duke was likable, played well and funny – not to mention he is nice to look at. Well I do watch action movies for a few reasons, deeply developed dialogue about important and thought provoking subjects is not one of them. I want to see mind-blowing action, brought by strong men and women who look good delivering the many high powered scenes, and the few lines that move the story along. Channing added provided just that – for the few minutes he was on screen.

Channing Tatum with Dwayne Johnson

The main segment of the movie, was spent going after the person reasonable for Duke’s death, and the real reason someone wanted ALL G.I.Joe’s eliminated. Fast paced, the story moves along rather quickly, many explosions and fighting scenes included, the most memorable one being a chasing/fighting scene on the side of a mountain range, reminiscent of Chinese  action movies.

Overall the film delivered what it promised, a action packed entertaining ride.

Highlights: Bruce Willis’ characters home filled with a well hidden  arsenal (look what I found behind the soup, it’s a machine gun!), and the short but sweet cameo of James Carville, playing himself.

Down-side: Bruce Willis performance which was flat, and his attempt at proving tension between him and the female member of the team was annoying at best.

G.I.Joe is available on iTunes, via Amazon and currently to stream on Netflix.

 

Serena – A Short Film (Review)

I love artfully done short films, may they be a documentary, a extended music video turned into a short film, or a story. Wigs has brought forth a few short films on their channel (available to stream on their channel as well as their YouTube Channel). “Serena” is one of these creations, masterfully done, staring Jennifer Garner (Dallas Buyers Club) and Alfred Molina (Not Without My Daughter).

Centering around a very confined space – the confessional of a Catholic Church, both manage to capture the essence and power of a tender story, a woman falling for the “wrong” man, the man on the other side of the confessional, turning the setting almost romantic. This short film, and the expressive performances, are a real gem.  Watch it for yourself:

I truly think that the casting for this project was precise, and could not have been better, with Alfred Molina using his close-ups to portray an deeply convincing Priest.

I invite you to explore more of the short stories and documentaries, as well as ground-breaking series that Wigs has to offer.

Three Reasons I Love NBC’s “The Blacklist”

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3 Reasons I love NBC’s “The Blacklist”, and you should too!

1. The Story
Fast paced, leaving me breathless with many twists and turns, combined with multlayered plot lines that makes me want more, The Blacklist had me from the start. There are no dull moments, the story is always on the move and constantly expanding in ways not always expected. A good show should not be predictable. This one is not. It is dark, it is sometimes not pretty, but it is engaging and mesmerizing.

2. The Characters
Each major character has depth and is wonderfully cast, greatly portrayed by veterans such as James Spader, as “Red” (whom I can hardly wait to see in the new Avengers as Ultron), and Herry Lennix, as Harold Cooper( he got my attention in Joss Whedon’s Dollhouse) and people I have not seen as often, like Megan Boone, who plays Elizabeth Keen, with a convincing emotional fullness, that made me a fan.

3. The Bad Guys
Blacklist has the potential for a variety of “bad guys”, with all different types of sociopathic tendencies, and takes fully advantage of that possibility. From the more macabre “The Stewmaker” to the revenge seeking “The Judge”, the range of available villains is large, and leads to unexpected confrontations, which in turn call for unexpected tactics to “collect” them. Gore is confined to the necessity, so is violence, the depth of the drama lying in the psychological aspects of the hunt, and the questions that arise on every turn.

In it’s completeness, The Blacklist is one of the best television dramas of all times. Unique, fast, intriguing and well written, it is a ride that should be savored like a fine wine, one episode at a time.