Monday, December 9, 2013

Sunday-Sunday Recap: Walking Dead, Mob City, Sound of Music, Bonnie & Clyde

I won’t normally have a set-up like this since I do watch several shows and would rather make individual posts, but since it’d been a bit of a slacking week for me on getting around to posting individually, this is what you’ll have to deal with for now. Haha. There will probably be occasions where I will format in this manner, but most other times I’ll try to keep it to separate postings.

Warning-- Possible spoilers ahead so if you haven’t watched/interested in watching, be advised. You can’t say I didn’t warn you, or complain of spoilers in my post or in the comments, because you have been warned right here.

So, we’re starting with last Sunday first: the BIG Sunday if you’re a Walking Dead fan, and if you’ve been keeping up, you know it was a huge turning point for the characters in this mid-season finale. The prison is gone. They have been split up. And it ended off with viewers only having more questions. I don’t think February can come fast enough after that one, and it left me with my heart racing.

One of my favorite characters was killed, and while I expected character death(s), I did NOT expect it to be Herschel. Perhaps I’d grown to think he was safe after the whole leg incident last season, and so I was left in genuine shock at first on his death. How is it going to affect the group now? No idea. He was the wise man. The one with the most medical knowledge. I also felt he’d become the appointed father of them all. When/If the others meet back up eventually, his being gone could cause a rift between a few members or a horrible imbalance that leaves some unfocused and clumsy.

And though I’m glad Governor is dead, there was something interesting building about his character when the show came back to him in the last few episodes. He was a questionable man. And I think the writers wanted you to see that he wasn’t always bad, and at one point just wanted to move on and live his life without any more trouble. It made me wonder numerous times if he hadn’t felt trapped in the camp (with the mudhole zombies blocking his new family’s exit and later the crazy guy he goes with raiding another camp with, only to see him shoot-kill old man for fun), if he’d ever turned back to his ‘old’ ways and bothered with the prison and Rick again. He’d tried to leave and go with his family a few times. He acted different than he had in previous season, that much was noticeable. So these were definite questions that kept getting brought up after the show. Of course, now I can only wonder since our lovely Michonne finally put her sword through him. :P Sometimes I just over-analyze with characters because I get so invested with their story.

So much more happened on the episode I could go on and on about, but then this post would be much larger than it’s already becoming. I’ll be looking forward to what February brings us for the rest of the season and where we’ve left off at with the group. I’m excited! Also, high five to fans for us getting season five! :D

On Wednesday, Mob City premiered on TNT to kickstart its three-week special run. It’s mob vs. cops in the 1940s noir drama set in Los Angeles. I’d been keeping up with the previews and marking the date/time on the calendar because I LOVE shows with this kind of premise for some reason. I think it’s more of a history thing for me, but either way I was excited. YAAAWWWNNN. I was into it for maybe forty-five minutes and nearly falling asleep because it was boring. Sorely disappointing. The only thing I’d note: It should’ve stayed in the time period it originally started out at--the 20s--and built around the action of the first ten minutes. That was the best part to me out of the entire two hours. I will not be wasting anymore of my time with the rest of it.

You’ve all probably heard the Sound of Music reviews/posts/tweets by now, but I’m likely in the minority since I keep hearing how bad it was to people. I actually enjoyed it for the most part. Underwood’s acting was not particularly professional, but she was cast for her singing voice I’m sure with the acting portion on the low priority side. From my viewing side, I thought she did well with the singing, meh with the acting, but the show was overall fairly nice. The kids and Stephen Moyer (btw, never thought he looked good on True Blood, but oddly thought he was hot as all get out the other night when watching the musical??! LOL) were probably the show’s best features, lovely in acting and singing. It made me think about how we should get more live action Broadway plays/musicals on television at least. I also want to sit and watch the Julie Andrews’ version now.

Finally, we come to the final recap of the week: Bonnie & Clyde that aired Sunday December 8th on A&E, History, and Lifetime with the first part of its two-part special.

This turned out to be even better than I expected. And I had been excited about it for weeks. I kept hoping and hoping it wouldn’t be a disappointment like Mob City had been, and thankfully it wasn’t. Then again, I’d always been fascinated by this unruly couple and the history surrounding them. I live a few hours from the site where they were gunned down. Clyde is my step-father’s great uncle. I’m not supposed to like the story of the outlaws because they weren’t the ‘good’ guys, but I just do. I always have. Bonnie & Clyde did a great job telling their story of their rise in crime, along with their love story. Add in a pretty cool looking cast to play their roles, nice camera work, and narration to include facts (not just create a movie with minimal details that might confuse you later)? You got yourself a winner right here. It’s also pretty hard for me to find any good television movie with a great song attached--but this one does. In fact, this has one of the best covers I’ve ever heard.

Haven’t seen Bonnie & Clyde yet? What are you waiting for--get on that!

Also: Other shows that would've normally been on this list--though aren't always recapped because I play catch-up with them on the DVR sometimes--are Supernatural (3 episodes behind right now from season 9--argghh, hate being behind!), The Sing Off (starting December 9th), The Voice, and The Big Bang Theory.

See ya soon.


Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Paul Walker

I'm sure by now you all have heard the news.

This past Saturday, November 30th, Paul Walker and his friend, died in a horrific car accident. After the news first broke, many fans were stunned, refusing to believe and hoping against hope that it was a hoax until reps and respected news sources confirmed. Since the confirmation, I've been in a state of shock myself. It wasn't until late Sunday night when I finally let it sink in and the heavy sadness came over me.

Sometimes it's hard for people to understand the emotion a fan feels when a beloved actor/musician/author passes. I get it. And it can be hard to explain. We do not personally know the person, but there are moments and glimpses into their lives through their work and articles where it feels like we come to know them. Then the sudden loss stings and thoughts of them never being in a future piece for us to enjoy makes things emotional. I really relate.

There have been several celebrity passings that have affected me emotionally throughout my life. I never met them. I didn't feel like I'd had to in order to have the sense of somewhat knowing them as a person.

I'd seen and come to know Paul Walker from various roles and through interviews since I was in high school. He'd been one of my celebrity crushes. Gorgeous. Seemingly down-to-earth, animal lover and humanitarian, car enthusiast, healthy, funny from some of his roles. I admired him anyway. I felt like he could have been one of those celebrities that if I'd ever had the opportunity of meeting, I would've been comfortable around, someone to make an easy friendship with maybe. That's the vibe he always gave in interviews and that's why I think his passing had such an emotional impact on so many people and fans.

I don't want to sound like a broken stereo with a repeat of the same thing so many others have said or go on and on about the accident like all the other articles. Instead, I just wanted to post a short snippet here for the blog in memory of him. I'm sure he will always be remembered and named among lists of favorites and too-soon sad losses.

I know he's done many other movies besides Fast & the Furious, but I still would have to say it's my favorite of his. What's yours? And I'm planning to do some movie marathon-ing this weekend.

So, I'm going to leave this off with some smiles.

"If one day the speed kills me, do not cry, because I was smiling." --Paul Walker

Monday, December 2, 2013

Movie Review: Catching Fire

If you’ve read The Hunger Games trilogy, then you’re probably already well-aware of the powerful impact of the story. It’s more than just a love story. It’s more than an action-filled drama. There is a lot of depth to the plot, as well as many individual characters many of us fans come to know.

If you haven’t read these books, you’ll come to realize much of the same thing through the film(s). Coming from a book and film lover’s point-of-view, it’s always so difficult transitioning the two and it’s understandable. Through the years, I’ve come to accept this and learn how to just enjoy movies and books as separate forms of entertainment. But I still admit to finding myself comparing much-loved books-to-film adaptations on occasion, and The Hunger Games set has been one of those because it’s been handled just that good.

My favorite thing about The Hunger Games movie franchise is the casting. I haven’t had any complaints since the beginning, loving every cast member in their roles because they were fit for them from the start in my honest opinion. I know I certainly saw fan complaints at the start with the first film, and a lot of it dissipated afterward. I just didn’t feel any distaste toward the cast though when they were announced. And I especially loved Woody being announced as Haymitch, and Lenny as Cinna--which was funny because at the time I felt like the only one to rejoice at the news of those two guys (even though everyone loves them now, hehe).

Obviously, if you’re reading this review of Catching Fire, then you’re either interested in seeing it because you’ve seen the first, have read the books, or have already seen the first film. I’ll still try to stay clear of the spoilers because I don’t like to put spoilers in any review I write, but I can’t guarantee a completely spoiler-free review when it comes to movies, especially sequels. I’m warning you now anyway.

Catching Fire takes off right where the first finished at, with Katniss back in District 12. She is back with her family, in a new and improved house because hey, she’s a Victor now and had to move into the special Victor’s Village section of the district. She’s living there with her mom and Prim, Haymitch and Peeta across the way in another home. It’s not a bad set-up really for them, compared to what they used to live in at least. Admittedly, the film starts a bit slow with a build-up of an emotional hold for the audience to remember what the past for Katniss. She is quiet. She’s having nightmares and flashbacks. There’s an obvious tension to her, and soon it’s revealed that she can barely hunt without fear swallowing her.

Gale and Katniss have built their friendship back up and more since her return too. And with it, her and Peeta seem to have lost theirs. After a threatening visit from President Snow, Katniss has to make the decision to bring back that “love story” the citizens loved so much, and at the start of the tour the viewing audiences can almost sense the chore-like feelings both of the characters have. It’s not until during the tour and the riots when they cling to each other, and the bond becomes more than just a chore or an act, but actually about them building their genuine friendship again. There are little moments throughout when the characters are supposed to feel conflicted, and as a viewer/reader, I felt it translated extremely well onto the screen from Lawrence and Hutcherson.

And I’ll be honest since I don’t remember (it’s been so long from reading the books), portraying Effie’s character that way was stunning. I don’t recall a lot of her sympathy--only her eccentric personality--but I’m glad we get to see so much more of it here because I’d been wondering how she felt about it personally. Obviously I need to re-read my books after having not picked them up in a few years. Haha. :P

I felt it took a little longer this time to get to the training and arena. There just was a lot of detail to put into the movie and I got that. I do wish there’d been a tad more, especially on some of the characters like Finnick and Johanna, but then it’d been even longer I know. The hardest part for me was Cinna. I thought I’d cried a lot in the first installment? I was such a baby in this one even though I knew it was coming. There were several areas I lost it to tears, but that one? I quietly bawled into my popcorn cup.

A lot of fans already know the outcome with the romantic side of things to our characters' lives, but the indication was beginning to form in this installment with a few subtle hints and actions. A viewer that hasn't read the books or heard any spoilers in this area would probably get a clear enough picture by the end of this film either way. Not that it should matter... I never felt like this story had a heavy focus on romance--a light one, yes, but not the main idea.

The filming seemed so much better for this installment also. Not that it was horrible in the first-- it was just really shaky and at times almost too ‘reality-like’. I liked that the camera was steadier and the picture often brighter when needed here. Also, once again, hats off to costume design.

This was such a wonderful film. I look forward to seeing it again and again and again.

And of course, re-reading the books as I wait impatiently for the first part of the Mockingjay film to release. :)