11/30/18 – Image Of The Day

Netflix has cancelled its hit Marvel television series “Daredevil” after three seasons. It was the first series Netflix made in conjunction with Marvel Studios and in many eyes, the best of the bunch which includes Jessica Jones, The Punisher, The Defenders, Iron Fist and Luke Cage. Iron First and Luke Cage have also been cancelled by Netflix and the Defenders was believed to be a one time series. For the moment, that leaves only Jessica Jones and The Punisher as active Marvel series properties on the popular streaming service.

And so here is Daredevil representing comic book fanboys fighting some baddies who are representing the executives at Netflix at this particular moment:

Movie Review – Outlaw King

In the latest Netflix produced movie to rival Hollywood features, actor Chris Pine stars in “Outlaw King” as Robert the Bruce; the warrior who took up the mantle for William Wallace aka Braveheart, after his capture. In many ways, this film is a pseudo-sequel to that movie as the culminating events of that 1995 Mel Gibson feature run concurrently with the beginning of outlaw king. As William Wallace leads his rebellion against Edward I, the king of England in a bid for Scottish independence, other Scottish villages are attempting to make peace with England and end years of bloodshed. Robert the Bruce finds his father making such a peace deal, but fears they have given up too much power. To seal the peace accord, Robert is given the hand of Margaret of England in marriage. However, when word reaches the village that William Wallace has been captured and killed, the Scottish villagers rebel and Robert the Bruce finds himself having to break the peace accord of his late father to fight for country. The Scottish people warily through their support behind Robert and name him king. Margaret becomes queen but she becomes a pawn between the armies of the Scottish and the English. Much treachery ensures. Massive battle sequences rise. While Outlaw King may not have the epic scale and romanticism of Braveheart, it does capture many of that 1995 Best Picture’s qualities. The cinematography is breathtaking, the sets are well designed and some of the battle sequences rival any from the Gibson film; especially the final battle. The tone is a bit more sullen and morose than the sweeping glory of Braveheart and Pine’s Robert the Bruce is a more withdrawn, less dramatic creation than Mel Gibson’s Wallace, but he’s solid nonetheless. For those who love historical drama and action, Outlaw King is well worth the watch, but even those who casually decide to give it a try should find much to enjoy as well. Outlaw King is now available on Netflix.

Movie Review – The Ballad Of Buster Scruggs

The Ballad Of Buster Scruggs – Auteur writer / directors The Coen Brothers have returned with their latest take on American genre cinema. This time they have returned to the Old West which they last explored in 2010’s remake of “True Grit” starring Jeff Bridges. That film was a darker, revisionist take on the western theme which turned the original 1969 John Wayne version on it’s head. With Buster Scruggs, the Coen Brothers take western cinema and dissect it from multiple angles with varying degrees of success. The Ballad Of Buster Scruggs is an anthology tale of six stories that are alternately dark, twisted, humorous, sick, spiritual and outright insane. Unfortunately, the best stories are the first few in the production with the tales getting weaker as the movie goes along. That’s not to say any of them are bad. It’s just that the more energetic and fun narratives are in the first half of the film, while the more dramatic and may I say devious tales bookend the second half. Of course, as with any Coen Brothers film, the production values are intricate and exquisite. The camera work is creative and the cinematography at times is outright breathtaking. The ensemble cast is also game – actors such as Tim Blake Nelson, James Franco, Zoe Kazan, Tom Waits, Tyne Daly, Brendan Gleeson, Liam Neeson and other all do a fine job with their performances. The Ballad Of Buster Scruggs is similar to the Coen Brothers “O Brother, Where Art Thou” in style, if that film were set in the Old West and divided into six stories rather than a cohesive whole. The themes of the six different stories in Scruggs seems to be linked by ideas of fate, life, death, and destiny. All in all, another fine effort by the Coen Brothers, albeit a bit uneven. The Ballad Of Buster Scruggs is now available for viewing on Netflix.

Movie Review – 22 July

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22 July – Devastating, hard to watch, yet impeccably made docudrama recounts the worst terrorist attack in Norway’s history in the summer of 2011. At nearly 2 and a 1/2 hours, the film lags at times, but for the most part, is a compelling portrayal of the tragic events. Director Paul Greengrass (United 93, Captain Phillips, several of the Jason Bourne films, etc.) utilizes his hyper-reality style of film-making to dramatic effect in a film which is essentially divided into three parts. The first third of 22 July depicts the actual bombing of the Norwegian Prime Minister’s office in Oslo and the subsequent attack on the summer camp of the island of Utoya. In total, Anders Behring Breivik killed 77 people and injured hundreds more in the name of extreme Right-wing nationalism. The middle third of the film is the weakest, depicting the immediate aftermath of the incident on victim’s families, the defense attorney assigned to Breivik’s case, the government and others involved. The human element is present, but it lacks the immediacy and drama of the previous opening moments of the movie. It’s also a section that we’ve seen done better in films like Stronger (with Jake Gyllenhaal). Fortunately, things pick back up in the final third of the feature which focuses on the trial of Breivik, the fight of victim’s families to keep him from speaking in court, and the push for one victim to testify against him. Overall, 22 July is an excellent, but uneven production that shows the graphic effects of terrorism. The Norway attacks in 2011 have been called that country’s 9/11, but I would say they are more akin to the Oklahoma City bombings by Timothy McVeigh. This is a case of a homegrown terrorist, acting on a delusional political mission, who felt he was fighting in a larger ideological war. Due to the nature of the killer, his sequences are far more intriguing to watch than the stories of the victims, which may not have been the director’s intentions. Still, it is a quality overall effort and director Greengrass continues to make some of the best “based in real life” dramas in cinema. 22 July is available to watch on Netflix and a few select theaters.

A Beginner’s Guide To The 2018 Boob Tube Awards

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The 2018 Emmy Awards for the best television has to offer were announced today and for the first time in 18 years, HBO did not have the most nominations. The network was beaten out by Netflix in that category. And for those of you who don’t watch much TV, here’s our breakdown of the nominees in each major category:

Outstanding lead actor in a limited series or TV movie
Antonio Banderas, “Genius: Picasso” – Zorro as a famous painter
Darren Criss, “The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story” – he plays that guy that killed that fashion dude
Benedict Cumberbatch, “Patrick Melrose” – Dr. Strange plays an English snob (what a stretch!)
Jeff Daniels, “The Looming Tower” – the sidekick from the movie Speed takes on Osama bin Laden
John Legend, “Jesus Christ Superstar” – the singer of Ordinary People playing someone not so ordinary..
Jesse Plemons, “USS Callister (Black Mirror)” – that weird, bad dude ginger from Breaking Bad pretends he’s Captain Kirk

Outstanding lead actress in a limited series or TV movie
Jessica Biel, “The Sinner” – Justin Timberlake’s wife playing an A1 nutball
Laura Dern, “The Tale” – Rambling Rose takes on some lying foes
Michelle Dockery, “Godless” – A Downton Abbey dame takes on the Wild West
Edie Falco, “Law & Order True Crime: The Menendez Murders” – Yup, Law and Order is still around and Falco plays the lawyer who defended true life psycho twins
Regina King, “Seven Seconds” – a grieving mom takes on corrupt cops
Sarah Paulson, “American Horror Story: Cult” – yet another killer weirdo from AHS

Outstanding lead actor in a comedy series
Anthony Anderson, “Black-ish” – Iron Chef judge channels his inner Bill Cosby
Ted Danson, “The Good Place” – the Cheers guy as a heavenly guide
Larry David, “Curb Your Enthusiasm” – that guy who wrote Seinfeld
Donald Glover, “Atlanta” – Lando Calrissian in the Dirty South
Bill Hader, “Barry” – SNL alum as a hitman
William H. Macy, “Shameless” – still playing poor white trash

Outstanding lead actress in a comedy series
Pamela Adlon, “Better Things” – Louis CK channeling his humor through a single mom actress
Rachel Brosnahan, “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel” – she’s a 1950s Jewish stand-up comic; sure, so realistic
Allison Janney, “Mom” – The mom from I, Tonya as a mom on A, Sitcom
Issa Rae, “Insecure” – black gal who became a Youtube star; makes me miss Myspace
Tracee Ellis Ross, “Black-ish” – Channeling her inner Phylicia Rashad
Lily Tomlin, “Grace and Frankie” – The Incredible Shrinking Woman and her friend Hanoi Jane

Outstanding lead actor in a drama series
Jason Bateman, “Ozark” – The Arrested Development dude gets all criminally serious
Sterling K. Brown, “This Is Us” – The serious Diff’rent Strokes series; Brown plays Arnold
Ed Harris, “Westworld” – Doing a better job as a Man In Black cowboy than Matthew McConaughey in The Dark Tower
Matthew Rhys, “The Americans” – He plays a Commie, Pinko double agent
Milo Ventimiglia, “This Is Us” – a slow cooker of a role
Jeffrey Wright, “Westworld” – continuing the legacy of blacks and cowboys for a new generation

Outstanding lead actress in a drama series
Claire Foy, “The Crown” – The future Lisbeth Salander as the past Queen Elizabeth
Tatiana Maslany, “Orphan Black” – Haven’t we seen enough of her?
Elisabeth Moss, “The Handmaid’s Tale” – The Lady In Red who makes babies
Sandra Oh, “Killing Eve” – A Korean female agent in MI5? So far-fetched…
Keri Russell, “The Americans” – American Traitor!
Evan Rachel Wood, “Westworld” – Host of The Truman Show with Robot Cowboys

Outstanding reality/competition series
“The Amazing Race” – shockingly still on the air
“American Ninja Warrior” – shockingly still on the air
“Project Runway” – shockingly still on the air
“RuPaul’s Drag Race” – shockingly still on the air
“Top Chef” – shockingly still on the air
“The Voice” – shockingly still on the air

Outstanding variety sketch series
“At Home with Amy Sedaris” – Who?
“Drunk History” – This one’s a bit of a blur
“I Love You, America” – Sarah Silverman trying to be funny
“Portlandia” – Sleater-Kinney chick and SNL guy hangin’ in Oregon
“Saturday Night Live” – less and less funny each year and yet, still nominated…
“Tracey Ullman’s Show” – wasn’t the Simpsons launched from this show?

Outstanding variety talk series
“Full Frontal with Samantha Bee” – The chick who insulted Ivanka Trump
“Jimmy Kimmel Live!” – The dude that said to kill all the Chinese for a laugh
“Last Week Tonight” – That British guy who used to be on the Daily Show
“The Daily Show with Trevor Noah” – The Jon Stewart wannabe
“The Late Late Show with James Corden” – The car karaoke guy
“The Late Show with Stephen Colbert” – The guy who makes fun of Donald Trump

Outstanding limited Series
“The Alienist” – Turn of the century boy prostitutes!
“The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story” – Arrogant fashion designers!
“Genius: Picasso” – Strange art!
“Godless” – Cowboys and injuns!
“Patrick Melrose” – Hawty tawty English lads!

Outstanding comedy series
“Atlanta” – Who knew rappers could be funny? Oh wait, sorry Fresh Prince…
“Barry” – Grosse Pointe Blank ripoff
“Black-ish” – Cosby Show for the 21st century
“Curb Your Enthusiasm” – Seinfeld with more adult content
“GLOW” – Female professional wrestlers and their drama
“The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel” – Schtick
“Silicon Valley” – the good ol’ days before the tech bubble blew up
“Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt” – Cult survivor readjusts to New York City’s cult of personality

Outstanding drama series
“Game of Thrones” – The Dragons And Tits Show
“The Handmaid’s Tale” – The Babymaker Show
“Stranger Things” – The 80s style Twilight Zone
“The Americans” – Double agents and paranoia
“This Is Us” – Fiery everyday life domestic soap opera
“Westworld” – Killer freakin’ cowboy robots!

The 70th Emmy Awards Primetime telecast will air on September 17, 2018.

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