Tempting Television: Two New Hard-To-Resist Shows

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FOR THE FOLLOWING SHOWS

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They had me at Tom Hiddleston. When I first started seeing previews for this show during Walking Dead viewings, I knew I’d have to give it a shot. Hiddles has been one of my biggest celebrity crushes ever since my MARVEL crash course (“The Avengers”) when Loki became one of the best villains I’ve ever seen grace the silver screen. He’s incredibly charming, charismatic, and cuuuute.

More and more movie stars are recognizing television’s slow evolution as a great opportunity to dive more in-depth into a story and a character, giving themselves over the nuance and intricacy that a long-term commitment allows. Tom disappeared completely into his role of Jonathan Pine (who, in turn, disappeared completely into his role of Andrew Birch). Would I have enjoyed the show as much had a different actor played the part? Probably not.

The Night Manager mini-series—six episodes—was layer upon layer of mystery and deceit. However, I think it lost its footing while establishing too much of a backstory and not enough of a climax. Richard Roper, played with enigmatic ambiguity by Hugh Laurie, was described as being “the worst man in the world” and I think the hype made the reality fall incredibly flat. He never seemed particularly dangerous. He just watched bad things happen and had other people do his dirty work. What real threat did he pose, in the grand scheme of things? And his ultimate downfall seemed far too convenient and, despite some impressive fireballs, not nearly explosive enough. The victory somehow just didn’t taste as sweet as the characters made it out to be. (Or maybe I’ve just become far too critical of TV shows lately.)

I’d still recommend it, particularly for anyone who is a fan of either of the leads or enjoys a good spy story. This series aired exclusively on AMC Tuesday nights at 10 p.m. from April 19 to May 24. You can catch up on AMC.com. Continue reading

Fall 2015 Mini Movie Reviews

I go to the movies pretty often, usually once a weekend unless there’s absolutely nothing I want to see or I have other plans. I’ve had this habit for the past few years now, always asking around for friends to join me, but it’s rare that people want to spend the money anymore as ticket prices climb ever higher. Or they only want to go when it’s raining. Or only when there’s something mind-blowingly awesome out, worthy of a big screen night out. Not me. I’ll see anything. With anyone. Or with no one. Hell, I go alone more often than not these days.

You can find me strolling the halls of my local theater on a Sunday afternoon during their discount hours (tickets drop to just $6!) … it doesn’t bother me, in fact, it’s become my me time: I plop down in a practically empty theater, stretch my legs, enjoy my snack, and toss a sheepish grin over to the other people who are there by themselves, as if to say, I get it. We’re the film nuts. The ones who avoid the date nights, the late nights, the crowds, the kids, the squealing teens. We just want to enjoy a good movie. Or a not-so-good movie. We’re there for the experience of it. (Or because we have no social lives, but whatever, who’s judging.)

So, with all that movie-going, I can usually tell you what’s good and what to avoid. I get texts from my long-distance friends asking for my opinions and suggestions. And I’ve got ‘em. So I figured it was time to put that to good use and give you all a run-down of what I’ve seen over the past couple of months, in order of release date …

EVEREST | 9/25/15

Key Players: Jason Clarke, Josh Brolin, Sam Worthington

EverestI saw this one with my mom. (It was either this or The Walk starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt and she’s afraid of heights—this movie didn’t really do anything to help that either.) It’s the harrowing story of a group of climbers caught in one of the worst storms Nepal had ever seen back in 1996. I’m trying to remain spoiler-free this issue, so if you’re unfamiliar with the tale, just consider this: If you’re afraid of heights, frostbite, freezing to death, or suffocation, maybe skip it. Looking for a triumphant survival story? Wellllll … the cinematography was beautiful and the film had the added bonus (for me) of Jake Gyllenhaal in a minor role. Keira Knightley delivered a couple gut-punches with her tearful phone calls and by the end, I was just grateful I’d never had the urge to climb a mountain. But it was still worth seeing.

See it? If you’re a hiker, thrill-seeker, or into unflinching biopics, sure. Continue reading

Thor 2 = Thor Who?

I still remember the first words I ever spoke in specific reference to Tom Hiddleston. Before I even knew his name, before I was really paying attention, it was during a re-watch of The Avengers. My friend (same one I saw it in theaters with) and I rented it, popped a bottle of wine, and about halfway through both, I remember pointing at Loki and slurring, “I … I find him strangely attractive.”

This was, of course, before I had ever looked him up (IMDb magic), learned his life story, heard his delicious accent, and saw that he does not, in fact, naturally have that dark hair and pale greasy look, but instead, has the nerve to walk around the planet like this:

"Marvel's The Avengers" ("Avengers Assemble") European Premiere - Arrivals

Dapper bastard. Continue reading

I’ll miss you, Loki!

I’ll admit, I really didn’t get into Marvel at first. You see a face like this enough times, it kind of starts to turn you off the whole superhero thing for a while. Plus there’s so many of them! I think I’ve seen maybe a dozen on this list, only a handful in theaters, and I’m pretty sure I fell asleep during at least half. (Nicholas Cage as a flaming skeleton? What did I expect? Worst rental ever.)

I have to credit The Avengers for thawing my icy disdain for the whole genre. Well, that and the decision to erase constipated Tobey from our minds by replacing him with an adorable Brit who fell for one of the most fabulous actresses of my generation, both in the movie and IRL. Both movies took the summer of 2012 for an epic thrill ride, but the superhero-movie-on-steroids really surprised me. It wasn’t something I would have ever expected to even go see, let alone like as much as I did. But anything with enough humor (and hot men) can win me over and they did an excellent job of infusing the nonstop action with some hilarious moments, like when the Hulk beats the shit out of Loki. Continue reading