Archive for Author Quantum

Release Date: October 5th, 2012
Studio: 20th Century Fox
Director: Olivier Megaton
Cast: Liam Neeson, Famke Janssen, Maggie Grace, and Rade Serbedzija
Plot: Liam Neeson returns as Bryan Mills, the retired CIA agent who stopped at nothing to save his abducted daughter in TAKEN. When he is targeted by a vengeance-seeking crimelord, Bryan must employ his “particular set of skills” to protect his family against an army out to kill them.

Thoughts: When the first Taken came out, I’ll be honest, the trailers hooked me. Liam Neeson uttering “I don’t know who you are. I don’t know what you want…. I have a very particular set of skills…. I will look for you. I will find you. And I will kill you.”  It was that monologue that made the first film an action classic and brought Liam Neeson into a whole new realm of fame. Before Taken, he was best known for Schnidler’s List, but after it he has had a career people kill for.

Only there is something off with the latest trailers for Taken 2, though they are a flashy and beautiful, that same raw feeling, unexpected violence is gone. I suspect this film is going to go the way of The Hangover Part II, wherein the same story is told again but with a slight twist. From what I’ve gathered this film will see a family member of one of the guys killed in film one coming after Bryan Mills (Neeson) and his family for revenge and clearly people are going to be kidnapped and of course people will be killed in Mills’ pursuit to “get his family back.”

Honestly, I’m of the opinion that they should have let this one go and kept Taken as an action gem with no sequel. Unlike the Hangover, where they could have taken it into a new direction but didn’t, it’s hard to see where Taken 2 would go beyond this premise. Revenge. Simple. Sounds appealing but I get the feeling this is going to be the same old, been there before/seen him do that thing. There were early rumors that Maggie Grace, the actress who played the daughter in the first film, would take the hero role but judging from those trailers, that’s likely not going to be the case and that is disappointing. I would have loved to have seen her save her daddy this time and maybe, as a twist, have them team up halfway through the movie to save the mom and other possibly family members (brother? sister? cousin?) as a father and daughter duo. Again, though, that is likely not going to be the case here and again — that’s disappointing.

Will I be seeing this film in theaters? Maybe, if my friends drag me to it. I’ll likely see this on TV or maybe I’ll Netflix or Redbox it down the line. At this point, Taken 2 just does not have the same “must see” factor that the first film had and I’m worried that it is just not as fresh as it could be. My verdict? Wait until the reviews trickle out…

I can see why NBC passed on this. The fact that it is a romantic comedy series is not what I don’t like about it. Sure, I don’t think it’s helping my case for why I did not enjoy this pilot that much, but really, I don’t mind rom-coms that much. They might be as cliche as they come, but there can be some good qualities to them, especially when you know you need to find them when you’re trying to impress your date on a certain night. But with Mindy Kaling’s new series, there’s no romanticism for the genre. There are lots of references to them, but references do not make a show and what kills me here is that for a show with such an impressive cast, everything about it feels lackluster.

In the series, Mindy Kaling, who is also the star and creator, plays an OBGYN named (well you guessed it) Mindy and she must battle the ups and downs of dating, which gets exasperated when she gets drunk at her ex’s wedding and proceeds to ride a stolen bike into someone’s random pool. It is that setup which gives way to the rest of the episode, as Mindy explains the pilot’s events in a series of pseudo flashbacks that soon turn into flashforwards. It is a weird framing device, but it oddly works. I just hope that it is only used this once for the pilot as a way to set up everything, but if they plan on making this a recurring device, I’m going to be tuning out fairly quickly. In fact, there’s one portion of the pilot that deals with a Muslim woman and a young child that seek Mindy’s advice, and then deliver a baby… meaning that the single episode spans more then eight months. And I had no idea if the kid was the father of said baby, since they never explained it. This was rather unfortunate because it made that subplot more confusing then it should have been.

As a comedy, it’s unfortunate that the trailer gives away all the funny jokes from the pilot. Future episodes will likely not be that way, but what that tells me is that, with Mindy writing, it could mean that the jokes are few and far between. I am not comfortable with that potential future, but one thing this show has going for it is that it has apparently poached half the writing staff from Community which means it should start bringing the funny. The likes of Chris McKenna (Emmy nominated writer for the classic Community episode “Remedial Chaos Theory”), Adam Countee (who penned my favorite episode from season 3 “Curriculum Unavailable”), and Ike Barinholtz (my favorite MAD TV cast member) will be writing future episodes. In Barinholtz’s case, he’ll be performing in the show as a new regular, so I’m hoping that elevates the show’s quality.

The other thing this show has going for it is that it has a truly insane cast. Chris Messina, Anna Camp, Ed Weeks, and even the likeable Mindy Kaling do good work in their roles, especially Anna Camp who seems to be an actress who is above playing such a small, supporting role (though I suspect her part will expand as the series grows). They all elevate what is really weak material and seem to be having fun doing so, especially Messina who portrays Dr. Danny Castellano, the Nick Wagner (New Girl reference, anyone?!?) of the show. And if the show can attract guest stars of Bill Hader and Ed Helms’ caliber on a consistent basis, they could draw some extra eyes.

I’m just hoping that Mindy Kaling sticks with the acting here. Sure, her pilot does have its moment, but with her attention divided, I feel like it could deliver an overall weaker series and that’s where the worry comes in. There’s definitely going to be some people who are instant fans of the series and that’s fine. For the woman, I expect them to be the first ones aboard the bandwagon, but to draw a wider, male net, the show is going to need to deliver more funny while appealing the female sentimentality. I was hoping to like this more as, like I’ve said before, I do enjoy the work of a lot of people involved with this show. They are going to need to find their footing fast or it could lose me as a viewer. This is a series that has been overhyped (probably the most overhyped of the fall freshman class) and I suspect there are going to be people who are let down by the final product. The Mindy Project is not going to be the worst show that hits the air this fall (my money is on The Neighbors or The Mob Doctor to take that title), but it is definitely not an upper echelon comedy. Approach with caution and keep in mind that better comedies are premiering.

*½

The Mindy Project premieres on September 25, 2012 at 9:30pm on FOX.

From the forces that brought the world LOST, Supernatural, and Iron Man; JJ Abrams, Eric Kripke, and Jon Faverau, comes this new high concept television series set in the near future in a world where all forms of electrical energy have been wiped out in what has been dubbed “the blackout.” The show follows the adventures of The Mathesons’, a uncle, niece, and nephew combination, along with their friends, as they struggle to come to gripes in a world where the government we know is gone and a harsh miltia, known as the Monroe Republic, has taken over the region that was once Chicago and its suburbs.

What can I say about Revolution? Out of all the pilots that I have seen for the upcoming fall season, this is the show that shows the most potential out of the lot. With a great concept and a great creator (Eric Kripke) behind it, I have faith that the show is going to get better as it goes. Though this episode was plagued with having to set up a lot, I will say that it does lay the groundwork amicably and succeeds where so many other high concept shows have failed. However, this pilot was not as good as LOST‘s pilot nor should it be compared to that show. Though planes may have come falling out the sky in this pilot, as in LOST, the mysterious and mystic levels of mystery aren’t as captivating as LOST‘s and that’s where it is faulted. Like FlashForward, ABC’s failed attempt at doing “LOST 2.0″, the pilot cops out with a few cliche mysteries that come up from having this type of concept as your show and well, a few of them are evidenced in the trailer.

In fact, the one problem of the trailer, is that it ruined a few of the big moments that this pilot had. Firstly, the reveal at the end of the trailer is the same reveal as the end of the pilot and well, that was a huge bummer. Had that moment been kept secret, the pilot would feel a little more amped up. Secondly, the promotional imagery, the one on the stairs ruins another one of the big twists, that comes very early on in the pilot, which, again, is another huge bummer. But lastly, unlike LOST, the show does not set up enough characters for me to feel like they have a lot of stories going, now I know going forward there’s going to be new characters thrown into the mix (Daniella Alonso is a regular, but starts her work in episode 2 apparently) but I’m worried that right now, they’re going to heavily rely on the weaker mysteries to pass by some of the time. The pilot does tread into too much cliche at times but my gut tells me that they’re only doing that because of the world building that it needs to do, something I understand, and appreciate, though I hope it does not last that long.

Now, what I can say is that this show does show a lot of potential. Miles Matheson, the lead played by Billy Burke, has the potential to be a very solid male hero. He’s got the quiet demeanor to be a Dirty Harry like protagonist and Tracy Spirkados, who plays the female lead Charlie Matheson, also has some room to grow, but I think the character who could prove to be the most interesting is Zak Orth’s Aaron, he seems to be taking on a Hurley like role. I gotta admit, Hurley was one of my favorite Lost characters, and especially since Aaron is someone who, before the blackout, had quite a bit of dough. I’m a little worried that Giancarlo Esposito and Elizabeth Mitchell, two of my favorite actors, are going to be underused as the series goes as there characters seem very stereotypical and limited, so here’s hoping that with the series evolution that they’ll be given more screen time. Especially since it’s heavily implied that Mitchell’s character only appears in flashbacks (but my gut tells me a twist is due sometime in the first 13 episodes).

All in all, I believe Revolution could fill the void that LOST left as I trust that Eric Kripke and company, as long as they stay true to there vision and avoid trying to be LOST‘s full on replacement. All it needs to do is give its supporting characters things to do that are of interest and depth and it could find itself not being the next series to enter the high concept ensemble graveyard alongside failed entries The Event and FlashForward. Give this show a gander as they could be onto something.

***½

The pilot premieres on September 17th at 10pm on NBC.

What can I say about this one? I did not like the first one and yet, thanks to an old friend of mine, I’m now the not so proud owner of the following statement; “I saw The Expendables 2 in theaters.” What can I say about this film that you cannot already predict from the trailers that were released? Was the acting bad??? Yeah, you didn’t see that one come a mile away? Is the action good??? It’s actually underwhelming. Are the one liners are rapid fired?!? Of course they are!

(spoilers follow) The Expendables 2 follows the group as they are black mailed into doing a top secret mission for the mysterious Church (Bruce Willis) that sees them heading to Eastern Europe. However, before they can complete the mission, they are thrown for a whirlwind when one of the members of the team is brutally killed and their loot is stolen. Now, they’re on both a mission for Church and a mission of revenge as they find themselves becoming heroes in one of the most unlikely places. This is a film riddled with cliches and judging from the plot line I just provided, it shows you that there’s no ingenuity here. You’ve seen this plot a hundred times before and I know we’ll see a rehash of it down the line. For a men on a mission-vigilante-revenge tale it is not even executed all that well. The plot will get you shaking your head more then once and that’s just a big no-no in my book.

The film’s best actor is actually its youngest one in Liam Hemsworth and I cannot help but feel that he, like his brother Chris, is a future action star. The guy has great screen presence and easily held his own against all these action vets. Speaking of them, how in the hell did Jean Claude Van Damme become the most entertaining of them all?!? As Jean Vilian, he was brilliant as the film’s bad guy and I cannot help but think that he should be sticking to playing the villain and this might be his best turn since starring in JCVD. I will say that Chuck Norris’ entrance in the film was a hoot and his presence on the screen was appreciated after so many years off, but I absolutely hated that they butchered the classic “The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly” music to elevate his character. That really wasn’t cool.

The story of the film was really stupid though and in the end the novelty of the premise is wearing off. Not sure if I’ll be back for a third installment, but I know that these guys had enough fun to want to come back. And how can you blame them? They have nothing else going for them. Well, except for Arnie and Stallone. And maybe JCVD if he can build some momentum and stick to more comedic roles. Was this film a good bad film? Yes. Just wait for this one to hit a Redbox near you. Not worth the price of admission. Everybody in this film has done better. Everybody.

*½

Release Date: August 29, 2012
Studio: The Weinstein Company
Director: John Hillcoat
Starring: Tom Hardy, Shia LaBeouf, Jason Clarke, Gary Oldman, Jessica Chastain, Mia Wasikowska, and Guy Pearce
Plot: Lawless is the true story of the infamous Bondurant Brothers: bootlegging siblings who made a run for the American Dream in Prohibition-era Virginia. In this epic gangster tale, inspired by true-life tales of author Matt Bondurant’s family in his novel “The Wettest County In The World”, the loyalty of three brothers is put to the test against the backdrop of the nation’s most notorious crime wave.

Thoughts: I should really be more excited for this film. It has a lot of the things I like in my gangster movies and yet, for some reason, the trailer’s have underwhelmed to the point where I’ll likely wait for this movie to pop up on Netflix or TV before I actually watch it.

Lawless is a film that stars Shia LaBeouf, Tom Hardy, and Jason Clarke as brothers who run a bootlegging business during prohibition era America and finds them hunted by the authorities as they try and build up their increasingly illegitimate business. Directed by John Hillcoat, the man responsible for one of the most depressing films of the last decade in The Road, and the terrific western The Proposition. I cannot help but feel like the star power of Lawless might hurt it more then make it great. Unfortunately for Shia LaBeouf, it is hard for me to buy into him being increasingly more dramatic in his films. He has shaken his Disney image but he has yet to shake his sense of comedic timing in his more serious roles and I cannot help but get the feeling from the trailers that, as the youngest brother of the core group, he’s going to be the one designated with unleashing the quippy one liners this film will have.

Now, what is likely going to get me to see the film is really if the word of month is good enough that I’m practically forced to go to the theater by friends just to see it. Unfortunately, though, I cannot help but shake the feeling that this film will be underwhelming even with all the talent that is on the screen.

Fox is giving us another two hours of MasterChef, with a repeat on at 8pm and a new episode at 9pm tonight. This competition series keeps getting more intense with each episode as the top 5 compete for four spots. Who would have thought that a blind woman would get so far in a cooking show? Let alone be one of the contenders to win it. Though, from the previews, it seems that Christine, said blind girl, could very well be in the hot seat.

I’ll be honest, MasterChef proves why cooking shows are at the top of the reality food chain. Nothing brings out jealousy more then knowing that there’s a ton of a amateur cooks out who are cooking better then me. If only I could make things this way, I wouldn’t have to rely on K-D and prepackaged salads as my main source of cooking prowess. I just hope the surprise that has been teased in this forthcoming episode is not as permanent as some of the past twists on this show.

Official Description, “Top 5 Compete”: A game-changing twist surprises the five remaining hopefuls during a mystery-box challenge. Later, the wannabe chefs are tasked with re-creating one of Graham Elliot’s signature dishes that he served to President Obama at his flagship restaurant.

8PM

NBC: America’s Got Talent (reality competition)
ABCFAM: Pretty Little Lairs (teen drama)
CARTOON: Level Up (animation)
CNN: Anderson Cooper 360 (news)
MSNBC: The Ed Show (news)
ESPN: World Series of Poker (sports)
TLC: Craft Wars (competition)

9PM

USA: White Collar (crime drama)
TRU: Hardcore Pawn (reality)
CW: The L.A. Complex (drama)
A&E: Shipping Wars (reality)
ABCFAM: Beverly Hills Nannies (reality)
HGTV: Design Stars All Stars (competition)
LIFE: Dance Moms (horrible reality)

10PM

HGTV: House Hunters/House Hunters International (reality)
ABC: NY Med (docu)
A&E: Storage Wars (reality)
FOOD: Chopped (competition)
LIFE: The Week the Women Went (docu)
MTV: Teen Mom (docu)
USA: Covert Affairs (spy drama)

Posted on August 21st, 2012 by Quantum | Leave a Comment (7)
Filed Under Entertainment

Release Date: August 17, 2012
Studio: Universal
Director: Simon West
Starring: Sylvester Stallone, Jason Statham, Jet Li, Dolph Lundgren, Chuck Norris, Jean-Claude Van Damme, Charisma Carpenter, Terry Crews, Bruce Willis, and Arnold Schwarzenegger.

Plot: The Expendables are reunited when Mr. Church enlists them to take on a seemingly simple job. When things go wrong, the Expendables are compelled to seek revenge in hostile territory, where the odds are stacked against them. Hell-bent on payback, the crew cuts a swath of destruction through opposing forces, wreaking havoc and shutting down an unexpected threat in the nick of time – five tons of weapons-grade plutonium, more than enough to change the balance of power in the world. But that’s nothing compared to the justice they serve against the villainous adversary they seek revenge from.

Thoughts: I feel like I’m in a minority when I say that I’m not a big fan of the first Expendables. To me it was like a lot of the straight to DVD films that most of the cast was starring in before this big nostalgic reunion. It was too violent for its own good with poor acting, poor story telling, and poor directing- even if the cast was having a blast on screen (literally and figuratively).

For me, I do have some raised expectations when it comes to The Expendables 2, with a change in director and writers. But most of all because of the inclusion of some of the more funnier leading action man of yesteryear in Arnie, Bruce Willis, and Jean Claude Van Damme (who also impressed the hell out of me in JCVD). I’m hoping for a film that improves on the first one. The trailers have been pretty cool and I’m hoping this is just a lot more fun then the first film and that it becomes a little more cheesey (on purpose) and a bit little less serious. If director Simon West gets the tone right this time around, I think it will be safe to say that The Expendables is the newest action franchise for a lot of these yesteryearers,. I’m just hoping this one pans out, especially since I’d like to see a few new Chuck Norris movies- it has been far too long, even if he’s spent his break saying things that, well, I don’t necessarily agree with.

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