Changes Coming to MovieandTVBuff

I think the previous way I went about having this site running was a bit too strict. I focused too much on the site being an actual authentic review site and less on just writing my own opinions. The review process can be a  kind of a black hole of sorts. You waste a large portion of your time thinking of things to say that sound professional without actually saying anything at all. So from this point forward I’m going to write my reviews/thoughts in a more bloggish or casual manner. Hopefully this new way of making post on here will encourage me to write more and get less burnt out in the long run. I love all types of media so I’ll still stay focused on what I enjoy; videogames, movies, and TV shows. Starting now it will be a lot more laid back and with much less word count.I think that’s a good thing too. No one wants to read a block of text. That’s all for now guys. MovieandTVBuff.com will be back shortly.

The Walking Dead ‘Made to Suffer’ Review

The Walking Dead is arguably one of the best shows on basic cable. Justifiably so, the mid-season finale of The Walking Dead is proof of this with more than 10.5 million people turning in to watch. Everything we could expect for a season finale, we received  from shocking character returns, new character arrivals, reunions, and action that rivals blockbuster movies.

On last week’s episode of the Walking Dead, Michonne teamed up with Rick to help the group  get back Glenn and Maggie. Milton and Andrea carried out a research experiment to try and understand a walker’s unconscious mind(the results are disappointing).Glenn and Maggie fail to hold out against the interrogations and intimidation of The Governor and Merle. They tell The Governor the location of the group’s camp and it’s members.

This revelation forces The Governor to keep secret; his torture of Glen and Maggie. The question is how long can he lie behind Andrea’s back? His vested romantic interest with Andrea lies on the verge of destruction. Rick and the group are planning on infiltrating the town and if Andrea finds out it’s most likely all but over for their relationship.

Spoiler Warning:

Rick and the group manage to sneak into the town but quickly, the town’s people start getting suspicious. A man walks into where they are hiding. They silence him and render him unconscious before he can alert the town.  This leaves them no closer to finding Glen and Maggie. Thankfully, just when they are out of ideas, a shot rings out revealing the way for them. The shot has come from Maggie and Glen’s failed attempt at trying to escape. Maggie manages to take out one of Merle’s men and gets a weapon off him but she is blindsided by another gunman behind her.

They follow the source of the gunshot and find that Glen and Maggie are being held captive. They proceed to pop flash and smoke grenades and retrieve Maggie and Glen from the  Merle and his stunned men. A shootout ensues as they escape from the building. Glen is hurt badly but straggles along the best he can with the group. Andrea, not wanting to take the sidelines in an attack, volunteers herself. The Governor turns her down and tries to pawn her off on a petty job of going house to house and calming down town residents.

Glenn and Maggie tell Daryl that Merle is alive and responsible for torturing them. Regardless, Daryl makes a stand on seeing his brother. Afterall, they are blood and he hasn’t seen him in ages. Daryl thought he was as good as dead when they left him on the roof. Rick convinces him that the group is too weak to get back on their own. He tells Daryl that he can come back at a later time. Daryl agrees for the time being.

They take the fight back to the street. Andrea ignores The Governor’s orders and helps the town defend themselves  She shoots at Oscar not knowing who he is . She is convinced by The Governor that they are just escaped prisoners. The longer they stay there; the worse their odds become of getting out successfully.  In the midst of the firefight, Rick sees a familiar figure appear from the smoke. It’s Shane! Before Rick can take it all in, Shane shoots and kills Oscar. Rick shoots Shane in the head and goes to check the body. It turns out to be just a hallucination.

I hope that Rick isn’t reverting back to his unstable self. Rick’s sanity might be questionable at this point. After the death of Lori, nothing has been the same for him. Many viewers can only think back on the episode where he had a conversation with Lori on the phone. Thankfully, Rick had the baby to help him through that hard time.

Back at the prison, Carl hears screams in the halls. It’s coming from a new group of survivors who escaped from the the forest. They didn’t escape unscathed though. One of them was bitten. They are led by a hammer-wielding man by the name of Tyrese. When Carl comes upon them, they are fighting off a group of zombies. They seem surprised to see a little boy come to their rescue. He leads them back to the safety of their cell block. He than decides to separate them from the group for the time being by locking them in a section of their cell block.

Around the same time, Michonne discovers The Governor’s daughter. She soon figures out that she isn’t human anymore and is ready to kill her. The Governor catches her in the act and pleads for her to spare his daughter. Michonne is hesitant but her strong stance against walkers leads to her killing his daughter. All the time invested in research that he and Milton went through was for nothing. He could never bring back his daughter now. I felt sorry for him despite his shortcomings. Michonne and him, get in a physical fight where Michonne barely escapes. She is confronted by Andrea in a standoff but Andrea let’s her go despite her anger.

Michonne meets back up with the group. They lost Daryl during the escape.  They don’t like the fact that she snuck off on them but they need her if they stand a chance getting back Daryl and getting back home. Daryl’s not in a good place right now. In his anger , The Governor has gathered the townspeople and has turned his back on Merle; Blaming him for bringing the outsiders to the town. He places Daryl and Merle, in the gladiator pit to decide their fate. It’s not quite the reunion that either of them were expecting.

Review Score: 9.7/10 (Television At It’s Finest)

Extra Rant: Little Carl has sure have matured since the first season of The Walking Dead. What’s not to like about the little bastard who not only is a good shot but has a good head on his shoulders. He picked up the responsibility of  leading in the  absence of his father. My favorite little man is doing big things.

‘Life of Pi’ Review

life-of-pi-movie-image

Once in awhile a movie comes along and makes me appreciate cinema again. I usually don’t give into or condone the purchasing of 3-D tickets, but I’m going to go out on a limb and say, it actually makes the film better. The movie is given a sense of depth and clarity with its incorporation. Cheap 3-D effects. that we usually get in blockbusters nowadays aren’t used. Its inclusion is used simply as a tool to immerse the viewer into the world. From the very opening of the movie, your eyes are greeted with mesmerizing and lush imagery.  The film should most certainly be receiving some nods for visual effects at the upcoming Oscars. For its visuals alone, the film, set itself apart from the competition and it doesn’t hurt that it contains a magical and awe inspiring script to boot.

The film was adapted from a short story by Yann Martel. It covers the remarkable and spiritual story of survival of an of an Indian boy named Piscine Patel. Pi  is castaway at sea and is forced to live on a small life boat with a Bengal Tiger. The film covers religious themes but in such away that it isn’t agitating or forcing its way on the viewer. Just as Pi seeks out different religions; the viewer is given the chance to explore them as well. I would say that these themes are actually more about Pi  being given choice, as well as, giving the film watcher a wider perspective on the subject.

The film was amazingly casted and filled by a remarkable set of international actors. One of the only faults I found in movie was the decision to have Rafe Spall play the reporter. He had some pretty flat reactions to some of the more emotional scenes in the film. The decision to have Tobey Maguire removed from the role was probably for the best. He was replaced due to his image being too much related to Spider-Man. Yet, I still wonder what he could have brought to the table.  After seeing him receive a nomination for best actor in a motion picture drama for his performance in ‘Brothers’.  He definitely has shown, in my opinion, that he is willing to prove he can play more diverse characters then what has come to be expected of him.

Ang  Lee truly found a needle in a haystack. The leading role of the film is played by Surah Sharma. Not only is this Sharma’s first role in a major film but Sharma has no previous acting experience before this. Ang Lee chose him over about three thousand other candidates, for mostly his looks, but Sharma has provided a great performance for his Hollywood debut.

The real praise, however, should go to the visual effects team at  Rhythm and Hues Studios for creating one of the most believable and life-life characters ever to be brought to life; Richard Parker. Your given the opportunity to forgot that he is fictional. Even the slightest movements of Richard Parker contain subtleties that give the beast personality. The most unexpected and unique bond is brought to life on screen between Richard Parker and Pi. With all the hard work put into Richard Parker; we are actually inclined to believe that all of this. somehow might be possible.

The movie follows a pretty basic formula. Pi’s childhood is explored, he is given a romantic interest, and an obstacle he must overcome. He overcomes his obstacle but there is no definitive moment of catharsis for his character. Instead we are given an enigmatic ending  that is neither happy or sad. The moviegoer gets to decide for himself what they want to believe. This idea of story telling is very powerful and I want to praise Ang Lee for his courage in taking this film on that route of imaginative narrative. You aren’t just simply watching the movie. You have created a relationship with the author of the story. You are required to come into understanding on the material presented to you on your own accord.

Life of Pi pulls you in, breaks your heart, and leaves you to decide how to put all the pieces of the story’s puzzle back together again.

Review Score: 9.5/10 (Beautiful Film)

Boardwalk Empire: ‘Two Imposters’ Review

With only one episode remaining before the season finale, the show creates one of the most compelling episodes to date. With all the things that happened this episode. I reckon it could have made for an excellent season finale. Last week’s episode we saw Mr. Sleater’s and Margaret’s relationship come to a heartbreaking conclusion. Masseria is informed of the happenings of Nucky’s attempt to move on him by Lucky and Lansky and reacts accordingly. The episode starts off only hours after Nucky’s receival of Masseria’s suprise delivery.

This episode of Boardwalk Empire was a roller coaster ride. There should be nary a complaint of Boardwalk being too slow this episode. Only minutes in and pure unadulterated mayhem ensues. The show begins with us learning of Margaret and the kids departure on a bus out of town. Thank god, I’m sure they wouldn’t want to be here for this one. Nucky seems to have gotten all his bridges burned by Arnold Rothstein and is left to fend for himself.

With no allies in sight, he attempts to hold up in the Ritz anticipating Masseria’s men. He places several guard men throughout his household for protection. Nucky question’s Eddie on his knowledge of Margaret’s affair. He determines that something was going on between the two after her psychotic reaction to “the box” last episode. Nucky usually comes across as a heartless womanizer and not so often, a helpless romantic; but now he has finally gotten a taste of what it feels like to be betrayed by the ones he loves.

Eddie attempts to contact Eli but the phone isn’t working; a sure-fire sign that the shit is about to hit the fan.  Jimmy Darmody once told Nucky “You can’t be half a gangster”.  This theme is something we have been seeing several times throughout the season. Everything comes to a boil and Nucky is left holding the bag in one of the most intense and heart pounding scene of the episode.(Yes, there is more then one) For whatever reasons people seem to dislike Nucky for his character flaws; you have to give him some respect for his ability to hold his own.

The loyalty of Nucky’s men are definitely in question here. Money can’t buy you everything and that certainly shows. On one side we have Nucky who can’t keep a couple of men posted in his home.On the other hand we have  Chalky, who has all his men to resist $25,000 to turn Nucky in; and all out of respect for their boss. The best type of loyalty comes from respect and fear. Nucky gains loyalty through other means but I’m certain he will be changing his stance on the subject sooner rather then later.

Eddie is injured in the shootout and Nucky attempts to seek medical attention for him at the hospital. The hospital head stares at him blankly in fear, Of course, Rosetti already has Masseria’s men waiting at the hospital. More bullets fly and Nucky hightails it out of there with Chalky White as his next destination.

Meanwhile, Gyp Rosetti walks freely among the Ritz. He sure has come a long way. The last time the short tempered character was at the Ritz, he was only a guest, throwing out vicious albeit hilarious insults. Now he owns the place and his putting his feet up in Nucky’s office accordingly. He is at last reunited with the dog he imparted to the Thompsons but doesn’t see the Ritz as a suitable base.

In New York, Lucky Luciano attempts to get cash for heroine from a suspicious buyer. This endeavor doesn’t turn out out good for Lucky. He is warned by his partner Meyer but he goes ahead with the deal anyway. I always liked Lucky’s character but he never really got  a chance to thrive. He’s been under so much pressure and always has to kick up to someone. The deal goes sour with the revelation that the buyers were cops.

Gillian continues to treat Richard like he doesn’t deserve happiness. She warns him to be careful of dreams that  couldn’t possible come true. His deformity has always held him back from happiness. Richard is one of my favorite characters on the show because he has such a pure soul regardless of the things he has done. The essence of his character isn’t tainted. There is always reasoning behind his actions.

Richard has been a notable figure in Tommy’s life and I could definitely see him playing the role of his father. Well ,just about anything would be better then living with Gillian at the brothel. That certainly isn’t the best environment and Richard wants to separate him from it. In a way, Tommy, gives meaning to Richard’s life. They both are looking out for each other now.  Now that he has Julia; he has someone to share his life with. Julia’s ability to look past his ailment shows true character. She sees him for more than what is visible on the surface. I really want things to end well for these two; their relationship tugs on the  heart chords.

The last time Nucky and Chalky White met, Chalky’s  proposal to open a black run club on the Boardwalk was rejected by Nucky. It was hard to tell if Nucky was being selfish or really had too much on his plate at the moment to even give his proposal consideration. After the events unfolded this Episode, it seems like Chalky’s dream will be coming to fruition.

Nucky  is hoping for an army in Chalky’s men but Chalky isn’t a character who easily forgives. Chalky won’t give him his men but he will  give him the opportunity to get the hell out of dodge, while he still has the chance. Nucky owes Chalky big time. He gives Nucky refuge and gets Eddie treatment for his gunshot wound. If you don’t love Eddie then I think you should check if you have a heart. The guy is loyal like a pup. I would be devastated to see his character go. For all the crap Nucky gives him he never complains. He doesn’t get professional medical care but he gets the next best thing; a medical student that was intended to marry Chalky’s daughter.

Eddie goes off into and drunken,feverish, and mostly German speech which I believe eventually inspired Nucky to stay and fight. This scene and similar ones are the reason why I love Boardwalk empire. We are given the chance to examine characters from whole new perspectives; even the servant is a multi dimensional character.

Rosetti establishes a new base of operations at the Artemis Club and Gillian gives in reluctantly. She doesn’t really have much choice. I can see this being the breaking point for her character. She can’t really take much more stress after the death of her son. She is losing control right from underneath her. She finds one of Masseria’s men fornicating in the lounge and she wails on him. She doesn’t have much to call her own. She is pretty much a broken person and despite it being a whore house she will hold on to it. She continues to try to uphold its reputation as a classy joint for her own reasons.

On Nucky’s ride out of town with Chalky, they are stopped by Masseria’s men. Chalky doesn’t give up Nucky but sees that by his actions he is in far too deep to go back now. Him and Nucky are a team now and Nucky is determined to take back what is his. Yet, they aren’t in this fight alone. Eli has made a deal with an unlikely ally…

This penultimate episode will be hard to top. I’m itching with anticipation. What will Richard do with his armory of weapons? All signs are pointing to him going on a bloody vindictive rampage at The Artemis Club. If he were to do this, I couldn’t see him surviving the ordeal unscathed. My only hope is that Gyp comes down in a epic hail of bullets along with him.

Review Score: 10/10 (Masterpiece)

Homeland: ‘Two Hats’ Review

On last week’s episode of Homeland, Brody almost blew the whole operation with Roya Hammad. The pressures of being a spy  caused his will to crumble. After Carrie helped him regather himself, he was captured and taken to an unknown location by Roya Hammad.

With the disappearance of Brody, Carrie pushes to make a move on Roya Hammad. She does this under the assumption that he has been killed in action or has been turned. If he’s in fact dead or has been turned that would be the easiest route because they can make a move on Roya Hammad. The other alternative is that Brody is alive and hasn’t been turned. If that is the case and they do make a move on Roya; Brody’s cover will be exposed and he’s a dead man.

This tough decision that Carrie has to make leaves her quite shaken. Thankfully, Brody calls before they can make a move on Roya. He ask for the help of the CIA to put his family in protective custody. Saul and the team see this as a good sign because if he’s trying to protect his family than he’s still playing ball with the CIA.

Upon Brody’s capture he is not tortured but rather held with the idea that he will be tortured. Fearlessly, Brody faces this test by Abu Nazir without faltering. Abu Nazir’s attack on U.S soil is revealed to Brody. The attack is to take place at a troop homecoming event. This event would be welcoming over 300 soldiers coming home from war. If an attack were to take place at this event the results would be catastrophic. Roya Hammad would be helming the attack as a news reporter.

There is one detail that Brody does not tell the CIA about his meeting with Abu Nazir. During their conversation with  Brody, he has a flashback of praying with Abu Nazir. This is triggered when he is asked if there is any other details that he can tell them about their meeting. It’s suspicious that  he declines to reveal that segment.

It’s sad if  he feels shame for being a muslim. A man shouldn’t feel shame for practicing a religion. The other possibility is that the flashback was much more than what was showed on the surface. It could have been Brody was sharing an intimate moment with Abu Nazir and there is more that he is hiding. Saul shares his reservation with Quinn on Brody. Quinn believes Carrie should be more cautious with Brody.

It’s becoming clearer and clearer as the series goes on that Carrie’s feeling for Brody are becoming stronger. This romance is at times awkwardly inappropiate. It makes me not respect Carrie’s character at times and takes away the believability of the show. This romance isn’t the only one happening on the show.

With Brody gone, Jessica and the family are moved to a new home for protective custody. It seems like everyone in the family is turning their backs on Brody. Mike Faber and Jessica lose themselves to temptation and sleep together. It’s hard to feel angry at her when you know that Brody is also being adulterous with Carrie. It helps that Mike has been a really good role model for Chris and Dana.

Carrie’s earlier doubt’s of Quinn’s credentials reveal themself in this episode.  Saul uncovers the fact that Quin’s clearance is way higher than needed for his team. When he brings it up with Estes later on he brushes it off on the fact that everyone is on the same team. Frustrated, Saul let’s it be for the time being. He can’t be sidetracked when they are setting up Roya Hammad for a trap.

After confirming that Roya’s camera crew are transferring the bomb they stop Roya’s plan. Unfortunately, when the smoke clears ; they still don’t have Abu Nazir. In a turn of events it seems that Brody is a truly expendable man. Quinn and Estes planned to eliminate him If Abu Nazir was caught.

With Brody’s cover officially blown, the next episode of Homeland seems to be very promising. Hopefully now, Brody will finally be able to break the hold that Abu has over him.

Review Score: 8.4/10

‘Lincoln’ Review

Our most highly regarded president, next to George Washington gets yet another movie, fortunately this time he isn’t fighting off hordes of vampires. What we do get, is a pretty straight forward account of Lincoln’struggle to pass the 13th amendment through a divided house. Sounds tantalizing right? Sadly, the film is a sleep inducing two hours and thirty minutes of your life.

Spielberg who has the role of producer and director of the movie , was once well known for his producing and directing of blockbuster caliber cinema. His ambitious decision to take on the task of a biopic of the renowned president, was met with mixed reactions.I suppose I was stupid in allowing myself to believe that because Steven Spielberg was attached to the film, it would somehow be a bit more interesting.

Don’t get me wrong the movie is intelligent. It covers the very important and often nowadays overlooked topic of the abolition of slavery and racism in our country. Yes, I know it probably sounds professional to pretend to enjoy movies that are ‘deliberately’ slow and rigid in their telling but I refuse to compromise. The only thing that sets this film apart from being a cringe worthy BBC program is its permission to allow Lincoln to crack a few jokes now and then.

I suppose Lincoln’s personal story and joke telling were one of the best aspects of the film. One particularly scene I’d like to  mention involves a portrait of George Washington in the John.  He was well known for his humor and this was explored successfully in the film. The comedic elements of the movie lightened the otherwise colorless tale. Yet, even the comedic aspect of the film grew stale, leading to an on screen character eventually declaring that he can’t take another one of Lincoln’s stories.

Several parts of the movie I thought could have been handled a bit better; Lincoln’s family affairs and his imminent assassination. There were several scenes with Lincoln fighting with his wife about whether on not to allow their son to join the war but their only purpose seemed to be in cooking up a sense of empathy for Lincoln and his wife. Yes, Lincoln’s assassination happens off screen. Some may say this was done tastefully but I disagree. I think their was a missed opportunity to create some suspense and a more dramatic and climatic ending.

The BAFTA award winning actor Daniel Day-Lewis creates a believable character and is dedicated to his portrayal of the president, much like he is with most of his roles. Sadly the script is boring and uninspired and leaves little room for the actor to show any real emotion. The plot unravels at a snails pace and concludes in a anticlimactic and flat manner.

Do yourself the favor and limit yourself to just the trailer/preview. The story can be summed up in a couple words: My name is Lincoln and I want those gosh darn votes for my amendment. The best parts of the film arrive during debates on the floor of the house of representatives. It’s nothing we haven’t seen before though, in countless other movies without the old fashion, and at times difficult to follow style of speech. I suppose if you want to watch a history book unveil its self on the screen , you’ve gone to the right place.

Review Score : 5/10

‘Watchmen: Motion Comic’ Review

The Watchmen comic is regarded as one of  the finest stories in DC’s comics catalog. If you’ve never read the Watchmen comic, then the animated motion comic is definitely the next best way to experience the universe. The Watchmen plot revolves around the investigation of a masked vigilante’s death which unravels into a scheme much larger and sinister then anyone involved could have imagined.

The setting of the story is an alternate universe in which, earth is on the brink of Nuclear war due to the departure of a super being named Dr. Manhattan. This threat is felt throughout the world and casts a dark shadow over the tone of the story. This tone is one of my favorite aspects of the series.  No one is safe; not even the people that you trust to protect you.

One of the reasons the story is so good even to this day is the fact that the story can be relatable to modern times. The Watchmen contains more than just political overtones; The Watchmen story is a direct and unreserved warning of what could possibly become of the world; minus the blue guy of course. The message “Who Watches The Watchmen” is lain in graphitti upon the walls of the crime ridden streets of the world. A suitable message; which begs the question and general discussion; who holds those accountable, who are seemingly untouchable or believe they are?

One of the most interesting points of the story was in the self exile of Dr. Manhattan. A man who sees the past, present, and future. His departure of earth sets in motion a series of meticulously crafted and planned events back on earth but that’s not the part that intrigued me.

For a ‘man’ who can be or have anything he desires, he eventually grows bored with humanity and everything that comes with them: Things such as their violent nature or their incapacity to see logic when it is right in front of them. Dr. Manhattan is pleaded with to return to Earth but upon learning that the woman he loves has been with another man, there no longer is anything left to tie him down to earth. What I find remarkable is that even through this he sees that life is not meaningless. He saw a reason for humanity in the pain of the one he loved.

The actual visuals of the motion comic are what you’ve come to expect from the comic. Dave Gibbons extraordinary and original work wasn’t altered dramatically. It’s obvious some slight recoloring and touch-ups on illustrations were done but nothing significant.  The series is accompanied by a great soundtrack. Two memorable pieces are the opening title music and the ominous composition for the scenes of the Tales of The Black Freighter(a masterful interwoven subplot).

What really boggled me was how they would do the transition from panel to panel.They get away with it by actually showing characters completing their actions on the screen such as walking, interacting with objects, or other people. The animation is done in such away that you forget that its actually a comic. The only fault I can see would be in their avoidance of lip sync. This could have been done but their decision not to was a wise one in my opinion.

I always wanted to read The Watchmen comic but sadly never got around to it. I watched Zack Snyder’s adaption of the critically acclaimed graphic novel and was subsequently driven to read the source material. The film, although it was pretty good, doesn’t compare. It was created and altered just enough so that it could please a large audience but while at the same time trying to retain the qualities that make the source material so good. It was stuck in between alienating fans and losing money for the studios or compromising for marketability.

In no way am I saying that Zack Snyder’s interpretation was bad but it doesn’t have the depth that the full comic entails What makes the comic so good is that the universe is extremely believable and rich. All the material can’t be fit into a two hour plus film. Lawrence Gordon an eventual producer of the 2009 film once believed that The Watchmen Comic was unfilmable and would be better as  5 hour miniseries. That’s basically what your getting here +1 hour or so.

If your not into comics this may not be for you but if you are a fan this is exactly where to go. You get a faithful reconstruction of the comic in animated form. This may not compete with a fully animated comic but the way this work was done it definitely leaves the impression that it could be possible. I’m anticipating eagerly if they will do something similar for the Before Watchmen series that is finally among us.

Review Score : 9/10