The Little Prince

TLP

Wow. The Little Prince, written by Antoine de Saint-Exupery and first published in 1943. I’ve never heard of Le Petit Prince until seeing this trailer after Netflix had picked it up. It’s a gorgeous and meaningful animated film that reaches the bar Pixar frequently raises (the closest comparison is Inside Out).

The movie opens with The Little Girl and her Mother in a waiting room for an entrance interview for a prestigious academy with other potential students. The Little Girl and her Mother have clearly been prepping for this moment. The door opens and a shell-shocked kid and his crying parents walk by. The Little Girl is next. Confident and rehearsed, she takes her place ready to knock their questions out of the park. She’s asked a question she wasn’t prepared for and goes down in flames. No matter, her mother says, we’ll pivot to Plan B, prep you up again and you’ll be in that school. Her mother constructs an elaborate and exhaustive plan (move into the school district and study like mad) for her daughter’s summer vacation.

Moving to their new home, two things are apparent. One, The Little Girl is very lonely. It’s just her and her mother and her mother works all the time. The Little Girl is expected to stick to a rigors schedule to prepare her for her future. Everything around her is structured and pale. Second, they moved next door to a kooky old man. All the neighbors think he’s nuts.

What happens next is The Little Girl and her new neighbor, The Aviator (Jeff Bridges is perfect), become friends. Seemingly, her first friend. He shows her a life of creativity and wonder. Everything isn’t made up of straight lines, right angles and a monochrome color scheme. His world formed by The Little Prince.

I’m going to skip over a ton of details, but through the 105 minute runtime, your shown a story of what we hold dearest in life. Human connections and the ability to remember them. In telling her about The Little Prince (as told by The Aviator, it’s his memories that he’s written down), he shows The Little Girl the first steps at becoming an adult. She’s been put into a void that’s been created with competition/academics and solitude with only one voice leading her by the hand in a single direction. All the choices are made for her, there is no room to explore or ask her own questions.

The Little Prince shows her a world of possibilities where we’re linked by relationships. Reaching out to others is something we all need to do. Experiencing the world and learning together enriches people in ways books can’t.  Some of those relationships may be temporary and some of them long-lasting. The hardest part of that (re: life) is that every connection does end. Physically it ends. But that doesn’t mean the relationship stops. We have our memories. It’s important not to forget.

The Little Girl’s life is shown to us using really good CG animation. While the latest Pixar and Dreamworks movie push the tech further with more ambitious set pieces and special effects, what they’ve done here is very attractive. The facial animation is the main highlight and the later segment with The Little Girl on her adventure to find The Little Prince shows off some serious technical chops.

The star of the show is the gorgeous stop-motion animation used for The Aviator telling the story of The Little Prince. Everything looks like it’s made of paper as we flit and bound from each segment. From the desert to tiny planets to green landscapes with trees and rose archways with the companionship of The Fox, it’s all amazing. The division of CG and stop-motion (there’s some 2D animation too!) works incredibly well. Great idea and execution.

A big surprise for me, I liked it a lot.

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Mr. Robot S2E08

The hits keep coming. This week an entire episode without Elliot. Surprising, daring and arguably the best of the season so far.

Man, did this episode get dark. A lot of great beats for characters and some downright shocking moments.

Mobley and Trenton finally get some significant screen time. The first scene is them meeting for the first time, something I’ve been curious about for awhile now. Mobley’s been worried about being followed and it comes to a head this week. By successfully owning the FBI, fsociety got access to a teleconference that exposes the government surveillance program “Bernstein.” That’s the program that Romaro heard about before he got killed. In the recording, it’s mentioned that they are tailing 16 people. one of them being dead. Mobley thinks they are talking about Romero. fsociety leaks the tape and now that puts the squeeze on the FBI.

They’re all at fsociety HQ when the owner,  Susan Jacobs, comes home. No one was keeping track of her. Nuts, just nuts. This sets off a crazy series of events. She’s seen them all and heard them talking. They tie her up in the room with the pool (!).

Before continuing with that, let’s talk about Angela. She’s at a 4th of July party where she gets called out by one of her dad’s old friends. She yells back at him in anger and does a rather stirring rendition of Everybody Wants To Rule The World. Then she picks up an older man at the bar. We then see that the guy she took home a few episodes ago works for the FBI. Dom assigned this guy to get info out of here (he didn’t get anything out of her) and he says he’s done.

Back to fsociety, things get intense. Susan tries to make a break for it and bonks her head pretty good. With limited options, the team goes ahead with hacking her life to get dirt on her to blackmail her silence. After some work, they find some. Darlene goes down to lay it out to Susan, one of the lawyers that got E Corp off the hook for poisoning her hometown years ago. And then…Darlene kills Susan.

That starts a tailspin. Mobley wants out and Cisco tells him that’s not a good idea for him and Mobley throws some Dark Army shade at him. Mobley and Trenton go home and my favorite directed scene of the episode comes to pass. Mobley and Trenton are both beyond paranoid and the music selection along with the play of darkness and light exemplifies their fear. Mobley pays a pizza delivery guy to go check his apartment. Trenton hears something outside and sees a car creep by and then speed away. Mobley ends up getting picked up by the feds but the surprise there is…they have nothing on him. Dom tracked him down from the End of the World party poster she found at Romero’s but has no idea he’s directly involved with fsociety. She asks him about Tyrell and he asks for a lawyer. Once released, Mobley sends a message to Trenton to meet up but he doesn’t show up. I like Mobley and have no idea (well, I do, but they’re all bad) where he is.

Darlene and Cisco are left to handle Susan back at HQ and Darlene thinks the only choice they have is to get rid of the body. They do and they take the subway to Cisco’s place. The stuff Darlene says is amazing about Susan and her past are amazing. Brilliant writing, I love it. So she spends the night with Cisco and the morning comes. He’s in the shower and Darlene looks at his laptop that he left open. Great Scott, now we know for sure Cisco is under The Dark Army’s thumb. He told them he has Darlene with him. They reply with “Stage 2” is underway. Darlene goes off the deep end in the ending of all episodes.

Amazing episode. A whole new layer of trouble. The main character of the show was absent and it wasn’t any worse off. Darlene has reached an entirely new level and all hell has broken loose. The intensity, the paranoia. It’s just dripping off of every frame now. Come one episode 9!

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Halt and Catch Fire Season 3

Halt3

Season 3 brings us to 1986. Mutiny has left Texas for California to try to make it big (again). At the show open, Mutiny has put its roots down. Cameron is living with Donna and Gordon. Mutiny is now in it’s largest space ever, with their own servers. Gordon is in charge of getting it up and running to serve their 100,000+ users while Cameron and Donna focus on expanding the business.

Mutiny is pretty much a chat BBS, now with graphics for avatars. With Mutiny doing well, they’ve added more coders. One of them, Ryan, seems to be a cut above the rest. He’s got ideas that challenge Cameron. He’s found out that Mutiny has security holes allowing hackers easy access to user’s private chats (Cam wrote that code). He wants to change it all and Donna and Cam shoot him down. This plants the seed for Ryan to look elsewhere to better use his talents.

With a print out of private chat logs that she can see many users set up meetings to trade goods, Cameron eventually comes around to an idea: an electronic trade hub. This sets Donna and Cam on the hunt for VC funding ($1.4 million) to make it happen.

Gordon is still sick but seems to be coping well. He’s listless, though. With the server up he runs out of use and works his way into managing the coders. He befriends Ryan over new software ideas, but unbeknownst to him, has been chasing after a job with Joe.

Joe’s doing gangbusters. After stealing the code from Gordon last season, his new company is cyber security for big businesses. We first see him as he presents his product to get into homes. Gordon knows that Joe’s business is based entirely on his code and is suing Joe. At a disposition, Joe shows up and rattles Gordon’s cage by asking him to work together again. A little while later, Ryan tells Gordon he’s leaving Mutiny to work for Joe (which Joe told him to go do).

We have quite the set up for season 3. Joe is basically giving Gordon brain aneurysms he’s screwed him over so many times. He gets physically ill when Joe shows up. Donna and Cam are a great team but they’re novices in this ever expanding tech world. They aren’t working in a bubble and don’t do their research. It takes  a morally questionable move by Cam to get Mutiny traction after being denied by every investor.

There’s a lot of material for season 3 to explore, I’m eager to see where it goes. Gordon might not be standing by the end.

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Mr. Robot S2E07

After a shocker opening with Joanna, the big Elliot reveal of the season! Since we have an unreliable narrator you can’t take everything Elliot shows you at face value. This episode was pretty straight forward so I’ll quickly address the others before the main Elliot course.

Angela didn’t get caught by Dom! Despite acting about as shady as a person can, Angela managed to sort of lie around Dom’s questions. Dom leaves her alone and that lets her get the WiFi back up for Darlene to get access. Mission accomplished. Darlene romps around the system to get at the FBI and she wipes out the security footage of Angela in the building. Dom, knowing she’s been had when she finds out, is now going to be doing a full court press on Angela.

Angela is terrible at being sneaky. She works to get a lawsuit that her father is involved in against E Corp to basically settle and uses that win to get into a department she wants to go to. This “lateral” move (as told by Price) seems like a waste of her skills but he gives it to her. On her first day, she wiggles her way into a managers meeting (this is in one of the law divisions, one that is heavily involved in the lawsuits that E Corp are served) and she tips her hand so obviously it makes the whole room stare at her. She’s there to get the inside dirt on E Corp’s lawsuits to expose and she basically comes out and says it in the meeting. Embarrassing and stupid move (a mission that will probably turn into a fsociety hack).

Darlene pulls another fsociety media stunt. At a televised meeting, the part of the bull statue they stole from Wall Street is dropped through the skylight. That got some attention.

After their mission, Angela goes to meet Darlene and she’s put some things together. Darlene is part of fsociety. She brings up their past and remembers that terrible horror movie she and Elliot would always watch (the one we saw at the opening a few episodes ago). That’s where the fsociety mask came from. Darlene looks taken aback by it. Angela has put some things together that she never thought about. I think Darlene is afraid that there is a trail to the genesis of fsociety now, a breadcrumb she has no way to get rid of. How many other people did she and Elliot show that movie to all those years ago? Might be nothing but it’s the little things you don’t consider that can become a problem.

Joanna has some boy toy trouble. He lays it out to her that he wants their relationship to be public, she needs to show up at his birthday party. He gives her the ultimate of show up, or we’re done. She doesn’t and when she drops in on him later, he’s none too pleased. She then hands over the reason she didn’t come: divorce papers. It looks like she’s come to believe that Tyrell is dead.

On to Elliot. In a heart to heart (so to speak) with Mr. Robot, MR tells Elliot he shot Tyrell. At first, Elliot doesn’t believe him (why was he in the trunk of the car in that dreamscape you made?) but comes around to the belief that he was really the one who killed Tyrell. It was his hands that did it even if he doesn’t remember.

Hero Elliot can’t be kept down. Despite all the threats by Ray, Elliot follows his heart and turns him. He gets the site back up but makes it public. The authorities swoop in quickly. Now it gets really wild. Elliot is “safe” from Ray but he’s visited by some seriously intense looking dudes while he’s talking to Leon at the basketball court. Leon sticks by Elliot, the guys take off but then jump him later when he’s alone. Super Leon to the rescue! He shivs like 6 guys, saving Elliots life. From there, a meeting with his shrink, Krista.

Here the lie ends. Elliot isn’t out and about and living with his mother. He’s been in prison for all of this season. The fan theory was right! The strict structure of his life, how everyone comes to see him. The fantasy layers of Elliot’s lies are peeled back one by one as he apologizes to us.

So what is presumed real: Everything dealing with Angela, Dom and Darlene. What’s been going on outside of Elliot is happening. Leon. Fellow inmate, it looks like Whiterose has told him to keep an eye on Elliot. Ray. Most likely a warden or other higher up at the prison. The site was real, he had some guards in for muscle (I’m thinking that basement Elliot was thrown into is actually solitary confinement). Other IT Guy is another inmate (that I think) bailed on the site when he found out what was on it. That forced Ray to find someone new to finish the job. Elliot originally took the gig to get on (probably) the only computer with internet access in the facility.

What’s up in the air: Why Elliot was put in jail for what looks to be 2 months. Krista says he’s getting out soon, so it can’t be for the death of Tyrell. That makes Tyrell’s well-being and whereabouts completely up in the air.

So now it looks like Elliot is getting out and will most likely join his sister. Safe to say Dom and Elliot are going to meet in person and I can’t wait to see what that’s like. He’s reconciled with Mr. Robot now, so he’s in a pretty good headspace as far as Elliot goes. That dreamscape was to show him safety and when Elliot got jumped, Mr. Robot stepped in to take the hits (brilliant idea and perfect editing to show it, my favorite bit of the episode). That means a lot to Elliot. He accepts Mr. Robot as part of himself now. Not a curse or adversary, but a partner.

This should be a major turning point of the season. The multisided die of fsociety, E Corp, the FBI and Whiterose/The Dark Army are rolling in ways that are becoming harder to predict. I don’t know who’s going to get hit first.

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Korn- Insane (Official Video)

Neat, some time was spent putting this together.

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Korn- Insane

Get this album into my hands right now! I’ve had huge expectations for this since The Paradigm Shift came out and I’m pretty sure I’m getting the album I predicted.

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Mr. Robot S2E06

Wild ride this week with a perspective tilting opener and fsociety in action!

The opening must have caught every view off guard because the first 20 minutes was set in a 90’s sitcom complete with throwback commercials. Throwback clothes, car, laugh track and cheesy sets complete the illusion and confusion. Things of note: whenever we get a glimpse of their mother, she’s shown in a terrible light. In this opening, she bickers with Darlene almost non-stop, knocks out Darlene twice and burns her with a cigarette. While their relationship with their father was obviously no picnic, mom is someone they both actively avoid as much as possible (there have been dialog hints earlier from Darlene when she visits Elliot). The other note is that this is Mr. Robot’s will to keep Elliot’s mind safe from the beating at the hands of Ray’s goons. Elliot’s first conclusion is much scarier, that Mr. Robot has won the battle and this sitcom world is Mr. Robot’s prison for him. Mr. Robot wants this to be seen as a peace treaty of sorts. Fighting does them both no good, it’s exhausting and a waste of time. Elliot also can’t get rid of Mr. Robot. It’s a demonstration to show Elliot what benefits Mr. Robot can do for him. When “the worst of it is over,” the car ride ends at the intended destination: a hospital. Mr. Robot then lets go for Elliot to wake up in a hospital with Ray at his side. Ray lets him know who the master is in their relationship.

What a mind trip.

The other side of the episode is Darlene and Angela’s fsociety mission to get FBI intel at E Corp while the FBI is still buzzing around the building. This is straight up movie caper stuff and it was a blast to watch. Tech jargon as Angela gets a crash course in hacking from Mobley. Cisco gets the hardware they need along with a brutal reminder of

Cisco gets the hardware they need along with a brutal reminder that he’s a foot soldier, nothing more. When he goes back to fsociety HQ to deliver the hardware (the big question is if it was indeed tampered with) Angela is there and she recognizes him as the guy that gave her dumb ex-boyfriend the CD that sucked her into all of this last season. Despite the clear shock from both of them that everyone in the room witnesses, Angela tells the room that she just thought he looked familiar and leaves with the hardware. Darlene, with much bigger concerns on her mind with hacking the FBI, I assume. just lets it go.

This leads to another brilliantly directed sequence of intrigue and suspense. Darlene and Angela (with Mobley assist) work together on this wild update to steal the data off of the FBI agents while they are all still in E Corp. Darlene sneaks into a hotel room next door to E Corp so she can remotely access the bootleg network that Angela is going to set up. Following the both of them around was straight up Mission Impossible greatness. It doesn’t go all according to plan so Angela is forced to double back and get the wifi connection back up or they are all screwed. While being guided through the process by Darlene, Dom shows up at Angela’s desk. If Dom sees that computer monitor, Darlene is screwed.

What an ending! Plus, Elliot was snatched up once again by Ray’s goons and dropped off in a basement in who the hell knows where. Elliot is for once grateful that Mr. Robot is with them. I’m on pins and needles, I can’t wait to see what happens next.

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Movie Mangerie 4

Bridge of Spies– A solid ‘based on true events ‘ Steven Speilberg movie. Tom Hanks plays insurance company lawyer James Donovan in the late 50’s during the Cold War. He’s recruited to defend an arrested Soviet spy in court. The government wants to put on a respectable show to the world that the U.S. following the judicial system while behind the scenes fast tracking the court to a guilty verdict. Donovan stands up for his client as best as he can and due to this, he’s asked to be a negotiator with the Soviets (and Germany sneaks in there) to make a trade for a U.S. U2 spy plane pilot. The man Donovan kept out of the electric chair is the only bargaining chip they have. A testament to Tom Hanks acting chops, the movie rides on his shoulders and it works so well because of him (have to mention Mark Rylance as the Soviet spy Rudolf Abel as well). Visually, I think the lighting design is far and away the most striking element. Not since The Hateful Eight have I admired the careful, sumptuous and subtle storytelling placement of  such a specific and largely underappreciated skill in film production. Also very apparent in this movie is Speilberg’s love of the tracking shot. An enjoyable movie if a little long in runtime.

Paper Towns– Caught this one from a trailer with Me, Earl and the Dying Girl. I like Me more (they’re kinda similar, being about making it through life during high school), but this is a solid movie. Quentin’s life is stirred up by his neighbor Margo and when she skips town and leaves clues behind to find her, Q and his best friends go on a quest to find her. Interesting story with a solid message at the end. I dug the cast too, not a bad way to spend an hour forty.

Kung Fu Panda 3– The Dragon Warrior returns, this time, to fight back an ancient foe that’s found a way out of his spirit realm banishment. I think the KFP movies are a lot of fun and this third sequel checks all the boxes. It’s funny and touching but doesn’t push any story boundaries. You can see the markers of each act and my biggest disappoint is that Po’s brothers (and sisters) in arms are pushed aside almost entirely for this movie. They barely get any dialog let alone screen time. Po’s father, Li takes up much more of that space (thankfully he’s very good). That complaint aside, I found this to be a good movie. DreamWorks Animation has really stepped up their game in recent years, The fight choreography and animation for this franchise has also been great, but the lighting and other special effects like particles, environment destruction/cloth simulation are phenomenal.

Sicario– The drug war has reached a new level on the New Mexico/Mexico border. The violence has pushed farther into the US and a special government task force looks to push back. FBI agents Kate Macer and her partner Reggie Wayne are on the front lines of a drug operation that goes south and reveals some awful new evidence that all the work they’ve been putting in isn’t doing anything. The special task force finds out about these two and brings them in (more Kate than Reggie) to help out. The task force isn’t exactly forthcoming about what they’re doing when they first come calling and oh what a ride it is. Dug this movie a lot. Seems like I don’t see much of Benicio Del Toro these days so it was great to see him strut his stuff in this. Emily Blunt holds it down as Kate and I’m all for watching Josh Brolin act too. This movie gets pretty intense and if you enjoy spec ops/drug war movies, you’re sure to like this.

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Mr. Robot S2E05

Logic Bomb

Elliot is back in his element. We get to watch him code malware for the FBI hack and that’s always fun to see. We saw the root of Elliot looking into Ray last week and I was right. Too much for him to resist when the Other IT Guy comes to give him the passwords (cue intense scene). Ray is up to some serious illegal business with just about every kind of crime you can think of. My favorite scenes this episode were in Ray’s office. Getting to hear Elliot’s joy in what he’s doing. Figuring things out. The silent back and forth he has with Other IT Guy. “Are you going to ask or just stare?” and then Elliot asks him and he gets all annoyed.

Over to Darleen, she needs Angela’s help to physically get into the FBI. With time of the essence, they need someone who can get in to do a physical drop to get them access to what they want. Kind of a hard sell when you just show up in someone’s apartment when you haven’t talked to them in more than a month. Angela is more than a little sketch about doing it, but on a meeting with her dumb ex-boyfriend and talking with Elliot she changes her mind. There is evidence of her involvement with the 5/9 hack floating around so it’s worth her taking a pro-active approach on the matter. If she has a chance to stay out of jail, she might as well take it.

Over to the FBI, they’re sweeping E Corp for evidence and find the Raspberry Pi Elliot installed in the thermostat. Dom is impressed. She’s then off to China along with her team to talk to some high-level government officials. In the meeting, she’s rather direct about a final request that the FBI wants, all the info they have on The Dark Army. Considering the scope of 5/9 they probably have some knowledge of who did it. And who pray tell is Dom talking to? Whiterose. But at the table, he’s the minister of the Chinese state security. Later, at a reception in Whiterose’s home, Dom wanders into a room full of clocks. Whiterose finds her there and they have an interesting conversation. He shows her his “sisters” wardrobe, which Dom later recalls is odd because he doesn’t have a sister. It seems like Whiterose has taken a certain level of interest in Dom (better believe a deep dive background check was done before she landed). Then, just when you think it’s going to another day of investigating in China, two gun men pop up at the hotel and kill quite a few FBI agents. Dom barely makes it. I didn’t see that coming at all. A sudden jolt of adrenalin to kick up an already excellent episode.

We pop in with Joanna too. She’s got some loose ends in her life and she cuts one away. She’s a cold woman but I can’t lie, I enjoyed her explanation. I understand her logic. But where is Tyrell? Looks like we might find out next week.

As usual, there’s some brilliant direction and staging. The change of lights as Elliot is writing script and he comes back to “reality” to reveal his watchdog, then the lights switch back when he starts typing again work. The scene with Elliot talking to Darleen at the table (I say no to the prison hypothesis, I think it’s voluntary psych facility at most. His guests during these scenes always sit in the same seat giving credence to ‘routine’ and a specific meeting area) is blocked really well. Mr. Robot appearing in the chair behind them and then Elliot answers him, but it also works as answering Darleen, which she does. The gun fight was especially brilliant. It’s one long take starting with Dom coming down the stairs with her co-worker. It’s a mundane morning, we make it down the stairs, move over to the continental breakfast and then we see the attack start the same exact way and time Dom does. We’re standing right there with her. The assassins sneak into frame on the top left and the shock of the woman we came down the stairs with getting shot right next to us hits us the same way it does her. Eccept she had the presence of mind (and training) to tuck and roll to defend herself. I would have been dead

Then there is the amazing scene with Angela and Elliot. The first notable thing is that Elliot doesn’t sit directly across from like he’s done with everyone else. He sits much closer and to her left. After a rather uncomfortable opening, they reconnect. It starts with her offering Elliot a true hand of friendship. They need each other. Their childhood and what they’ve recently done doesn’t allow them to be seperate. She tells him that she’s there for him as a friend, if he needs to talk she’ll listen. I don’t think anyone has told Elliot that in a long time. He tells her he was afraid to talk to her until he got his brain back in order and when she asks him if he did, he tells her the truth. “My dead father is standing behind you.” That’s major.

I’m already loving this episode and we get to the last scene. Mr. Robot made it known that whatever Ray is up to, isn’t important to them. They have their own issues to deal with right now. But Elliot is a crusader. That’s how we first met him in the coffee shop. He can help other people and now knowing that Ray is facilitating some heinous stuff, he can’t ignore it. He tries to rationalize it out with Mr. Robot fighting his do-gooder will. Why did Ray come to Elliot for this migration? Upon doing the job, he gets the idea that Other IT Guy was no slouch. It’s super shady but he doesn’t know any facts. Other IT Guy brings him to the doorstep of the facts though and it’s too much for him to resist. That action causes a nasty effect. While Elliot is wrapped up in the moral quandry, Ray knows he did exactly what he told him not to do. Ray comes knocking with his muscle in the middle of the night, they did God knows what to Other IT Guy and they commence tuning Elliot up.

“You looked.”

I hope they didn’t damage his hands.

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Preacher <> Season 1

I’m conflicted about Preacher. As a whole, it didn’t reach up to my expectations but I still enjoyed most of it. I’ve heard about the comic for years and had a basic understanding of the plot. So the show finally starts and it’s weird. That I was expecting but I’m not talking about subject matter. It’s the pacing. It feels disjointed and patched together like they took sections of the book and weren’t following a normal story arc. Since I haven’t read the source material, I can’t say how true that is. There are times when I wasn’t sure what was going on. Not a good feeling but it does come together (the cowboy plotline is a real headscratcher that comes in and out and doesn’t make much sense until very far in).

It’s a slow ride, I guess that’s the easiest way to say it. I’m all for building narrative but man is this show structured weird. I stuck through to the end and I’m happy I did. There’s a lot of cool stuff and it’s the main characters that got me there (my favorite being Tulip and I wanted to see where Eugene’s story was going). In that regard, it paid off for me. Oddly enough, the plot bit I heard didn’t come into the show until the end of the season finale. For weeks I was wondering if what I heard was right or if I was remembering it wrong.

It’s really hard to explain Preacher effectively and it’s a tough blind recommend. There are some creative ideas about religion that some people won’t dig (serious gore and violence too) and many probably won’t have the patience to make it all the way through. The end is probably the best part as the set up for Season 2 points to some major changes that should be a lot of fun. There are a lot of Preacher fans out there and the promise of the best things are yet to come makes me want to see it.

There’s one line of dialog that’s stuck with me since I heard it a few weeks ago:

What’s Hell like?

Crowded…

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The Revenant

revenant

The Revenant is a hell of a survival movie. Hugh Glass is leading a fur trapping expedition in 1820. It’s the dead of winter and their expedition get’s attacked by Indians (Pawnee I think). Another group of white men (French) attacked their village and kidnapped a woman. Glass and company were in the wrong place at the wrong time as these dudes come crashing through, hell bent on their rescue mission. Glass gets some of his men away and routes them off the river to trek back to base camp by land. This plan doesn’t sit well with John Fitzgerald.  As the group tries to stay ahead of their pursuers, Glass gets mauled by a bear. He’s clinging to life as his group decides to leave him behind. Fitzgerald makes some poor decisions from there and Glass survives the frontier fueled on revenge.

Sitting on a couch, after dinner, in July, in an air conditioned home really puts Glass’ journey into stark contrast. The amount of abuse and horror this guy endures is off the chart. I’m not going to detail the levels of hell he goes through because that’s really the driving force of the film. You need to witness it firsthand to get the full experience. With that in mind, I didn’t have socks on so my feet got really cold. Glass almost freezes to death a dozen times so it made me feel like I was there with him. Almost.

Production wise, this picture is the stuff of legend. It took forever to shoot, the conditions were real and they used all natural light in 99% of the scenes. That’s insane. No one in their right mind would even think of doing that. It did pay off. The Revenant is a stunning production. These amazing landscapes, the phenomenal cast, everything looks so real which adds to the brutality. Director Alejandro Inarritu has a masterful eye. He knows when and where to cut and how far away he needs the camera to be at every moment.  He loves long takes. He puts you right next to Glass in the most intense moments to shove your psyche into Glass’ head to share the experience. Masterful handheld camera work that only adds, it never distracts or confuses. Props to Cinematographer Emmanuel Lubezki for a large portion of how this film looks. He had probably the most difficult job with this production and its flawless stuff. His resume was already in the stratosphere but this puts him well into legendary filmmaker status.

Finally, Leonardo DiCaprio won the Oscar for Lead Actor for a reason and I’ll leave it at that. My man Tom Hardy puts another worthy notch on his belt as John Fitzgerald. Not sure if anyone could have played him better.

A riveting film that’s not for the faint of heart.

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Mr. Robot S2E04

Tonight’s hack tide was low. At the start we got a pre-fsociety Elliot and Darlene hanging out at Eliot’s place. She tells him about an affiliate hack she set up to get free food delivery. This quality time together shows us the seeds of fsociety.

Jumping to present day, Darlene is struggling to keep the hacker bus on the road. Her old hacker friend/informer/side piece, Cisco, gives her some info she didn’t know, something a hacker should really be on top of. The FBI found the fsociety hangout. She tries to pass it off as no big deal, but he gives her the kicker: Romero was on to something nasty. “Barenstein” (I spelled that wrong), a super secret surveillance program. She and her crew are most likely being followed by someone. Darlene’s first concern has been the Dark Army is gunning for them and Cisco doesn’t think so. That means an unknown person(s) are hanging back into some serious shadows and the FBI is now a legit concern. She has to reach out to her brother for help. She feels the walls closing in and needs to make some moves to get ahead of their tails.

Angela is swimming around in corporate filth. She turns over the info Phillip gave her last week and the two guys are busted. She’s not too sure what Phillip’s game plan is. When she goes over some legal documents, she thinks she’s figured it out and she tries a to pull a power move on him. It doesn’t work. She’s stuck in a really weird place. Plus! Phillip and Whiterose in cahoots! The plot thickens! I have no idea what they’re up to, it’s too early to tell.

WOW at the talk Joanna has with her boyfriend. A painful mix of insult and truth. His reaction is the exact one I would have had.

Elliot is duking it out with Mr. Robot for control. Therapy is of no help. Ray offering a chess board to him gives Mr. Robot a plan of his own and it works. “I’m here for a reason.” Once more some of the best stuff is with Christian Slater and Rami Malek.

We’re 4 episodes in and for the first time. we see Elliot reconnect. He sits in front of a laptop for Ray. Killer lead up with Elliot talking to Darlene, “When you said you wanted him, did you mean it?” “No, I just want you.” This weird reassurance that he, Elliot, is real and needed. That he can maintain some kind of control over Mr. Robot because he’s a part of Elliot, not all of him. Now Ray is up to some shady business that gets paid in Bitcoins. When he agrees to help Ray, he’s surprised by how easy the job Ray wants him to do. A website server migration. Then he’s really surprised when Ray calls some muscle into the room and advises Elliot to not snoop around his business. Keep those eyes to the bare essentials to get the job done. Great Scott, do we remember how this show opened last year? He takes down a local business owners shady internet business and walks away as the 5-0 rolls in on the guy. Can Elliot resist the Ray temptation? Elliot is only there for a clean internet connection and now this juicy worm is dangled in front of him? For now, he focuses on his own problems. First things first, he logs into a BBS to talk to Darlene and she fills him in on the threats. “Wait for my instructions.” The leader is BACK. So what does he feel compelled to do next? Figure out who they’re up against and how close the snare is to their neck. Knowledge is power so he’s off to hack the FBI.

More please!

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