Doubt starring Katherine Heigl, Dulé Hill, Laverne Cox & Steven Pasquale

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Doubt TV series 2017 starring Katherine Heigl

Doubt is a 13-episode legal drama series that was canceled after its first season. It is a shame because despite its shortcomings, it was a fun show with great actors, engaging storylines, and interesting (bordering on hilarious) characters.

I think Doubt lost mostly because it is main/ongoing court case has been done so many times before. Tell me if this jogs your memory:

A beautiful lawyer takes on the case of a handsome murder suspect. He claims he is innocent. She believes him because he is such a nice, charismatic and thoughtful guy. They fall in love, but, oh my god, the conflicts…

The first one I can think of is Jagged Edge starring Glenn Close and Jeff Bridges. While Jeff Bridges was no means a very nice guy even in the beginning, he was certainly gorgeous and charismatic. Those of you who don’t remember Jeff being gorgeous, do watch the film.

Jeff Bridges and Glenn Close in Jagged Edge

Jeff Bridges and Glenn Close in Jagged Edge.

But Jagged Edge was in 85, and even when I saw it in the 90s (hey, I was barely 1 in 85!), it didn’t feel that fresh.

Since then, I have seen” the gorgeous and talented lawyer falls in love with gorgeous and innocent-looking murder suspect client storyline” so many times that I can’t believe this was seen as an acceptable, driving storyline.

Note: The following paragraph includes major spoilers for the legal drama series The Good Wife starring Julianna Margulies.

So why did I keep watching Doubt? For one thing, I was happy Steven Pasquale was allowed to woo the leading lady and stay in the show. He was going to date Alicia Florick in The Good Wife, but writers changed their mind. (I remember a kiss, and maybe a one-time thing? My memory is fuzzy.) But I’m sure Steven didn’t take it personally as writers didn’t choose Will Gardner for Alicia. Then the cute ADA Finn (Matthew Goode) disappeared. Then she hooked up with the hot private investigator Jason (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) but she chose herself in the end? I have too many issues with The Good Wife storylines. I just never got over Will’s death. Oh well… I’m tremendously enjoying its spin-off The Good Fight, though. No Floricks.

OK, back to Steven Pasquale. Then I thought he was going to complicate the already complex and troubled marriage of Chuck and Wendy Rhoades in Billions,

But that ship also sailed as his character disappeared after two episodes.

So yes, even the storyline itself was annoying, it was a lot of fun to watch him. He was made for his part. And hey, I like Katherine Heigl. I guess she will probably always have my admiration and love for her part as Izzie Stevens from Grey’s Anatomy and her relationship with guest character Denny (also played by Jeffrey Dean Morgan.) And Elliot Gould is a joy to watch.

OK, so yes, this is a canceled series. But if you like legal dramas, quirky characters, social justice, diverse characters and a great office environment, I recommend the show anyway.

And let’s get to the plot and the characters:

Doubt Plot Summary and Characters

Sadie Ellis (Katherine Heigl) is a brilliant lawyer. She was practically brought up by her boss Isaiah Ross (Elliot Gould) since her mother (Judith Light) went to jail when she was very young. Ross is her mother’s lawyer, and he is in love with the mother, and this has lead to his divorce. They keep working on an appeal, but her mother’s performance and her seeming lack of remorse fail them at parole hearings. She only works, and her best friend is another successful lawyer at the firm, Albert. (Dulé Hill)

Katheibe Heigl and Steven Pasquale.

Katheibe Heigl and Steven Pasquale. I’d fall for him too, to be honest.

At the moment, their most important case is the murder trial of Billy Brennan. Poster child for white privilege, Billy is a handsome, heterosexual, and rich doctor with even richer parents. 26 years ago, when Billy was a teenager, his girlfriend at the time was murdered brutally. He wasn’t charged then due to lack of evidence, but the new DA makes it her mission to put him behind bars. Billy swears he is innocent, and he and Sadie can’t help but fall for each other pretty fast.

Apart from Billy, they have different cases per episode as well, and they are interesting. There is plenty of time spent in court, which is something we do need from legal dramas.

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Fun notes on The Guest Stars

  • Elliot Gould, who plays Sadies’s boss and father figure, played Ross and Monica’s father on Friends. His wife on Friends was played by Christina Pickles, also guest stars as Billy’s dead ex’s mother.
  • One of the judges is played by Michael Badalucco, a regular of the hit legal drama The Practice, starring Dylan McDermott and created by David E Kelley.

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Doubt: Yay or Nay?

So it wasn’t a hit, but I had fun – until the very last episode. The last episode caused a major facepalm moment.

SPOILERS: (For Doubt and Jagged Edge)

Guess what? Billy is guilty. And Sadie finds out and tells Albert. Oh…..

Was that supposed to be a cliffhanger?

Come on!

  • They could have Billy innocent.
  • They could have Billy lose and go to trial.
  • They could have Billy win, turn out to be guilty and Sadie not finding out.

But no. They had to go all Jagged Edge on us, minus a deadly fight between Billy and Sadie, though arguably, that was what they had in store for us if the show had been renewed.

Both as a writer and reader, I urge writers to stay away from this storyline of gorgeous lawyer falls in love with gorgeous murder suspect client, they fall in love, trial is won, client turns out to be guilty – the lawyer finds out.

Please change it around.

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Still, check out Doubt and see if you like it. You can always turn it off if you don’t. And if you are a Steven Pasquale fan like me, check out his also canceled series Do No Harm. It’s 13-episode thrilling ride where a doctor with a dissociative identity disorder tries to keep his psycho identity from ruining his good life.

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What’s with Teen Wolf’s Romantic Storylines:

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What’s with Teen Wolf’s Romantic Storylines: They’re Coming Out of Nowhere! Spoilers Galore

Scott (Tyler Posey) and Malia (Shelley Henning).

Scott (Tyler Posey) and Malia (Shelley Henning).

Ah, remember the simple times when Scott (Tyler Posey) was crushing on the new girl Allison (Crystal Reed), who was “bff”ed by the popular yet incredibly smart Lydia (Holland Roden), and Scott’ bestie Stiles (Dylan O’Brien) was hopelessly in love with Lydia?

Good times.

Don’t get me wrong, I love Teen Wolf. I’ve seen all the episodes. Even though some seasons and episodes prove superior to others, and the humor from the first seasons got overshadowed by the darkness and villains in the later years, it remained must-watch TV for me.

I’ll be sad to say goodbye to the show as when it airs its final episode this summer.

But no show is perfect, and things can get a bit weird after the show has been running for a long time. Just like it was weird to watch Caroline hook up with the killer of her ex-boyfriend’ mother/killer of best friend’s aunt and countless others in The Vampire Diaries, or that Joey and Rachel’s attraction toward each other came literally out of nowhere in seasons 8,9, and 10 in Friends, Teen Wolf has welcomed itself into WTF category with its couplings and decouplings.

Malia and Stiles had a sweet romance, which later got a bit more fiery and then what happened? I honestly don’t remember why they broke up. I don’t recall when they called it quits, or if they even showed that on screen.

Many of the hook-ups and couplings can be explained logically one way or the other. I’m quite fond of the thing going on between Melissa (Melissa Ponzio   ) and Argent (JR Bourne).

But the one that got me to write this piece is the latest development between Scott and Malia. They are sooooo into each other. Have you seen the looks? Or the kiss?

scott-malia-kiss-teen-wolf-sneak-video

Scott (Tyler Posey) and Malia (Shelley Henning) kiss. Image via justjaredjr.com

Not that they don’t look cute together, they do.

But…

Since when are these two attracted to each other? From the beginning of season 6B…

When there are so many couplings in friends group, especially when best friends hook up with each other’s exes, I’m annoyed. And slightly amused at the same time. Were they bored?

I get that they didn’t exactly have the time to look around for dating people since their world is often going to hell, but come on!

After confirming that I wasn’t the only feeling like this, I decided to vent on my entertainment blog.

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How do you feel about Teen Wolf’s romantic storylines? Who are your favorite couples? Who are your least favorites? Write away in the comments!

 

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Younger The Gelato and The Pube Episode Recap: Recap For Younger Season 4, Episode 8

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“Younger” Ep. 408. Sutton Foster and Peter Hermann. Image via TVLand.

Hey, everyone! If you want to refresh your memory about what happened on episode 7, here’s the episode recap. Enjoy!

 

The Gelato and the Pube: Younger Season 4, Episode 8

At home, Diana (Miriam Shor) reads Marriage Vacation, the full “novel” of Charles’ wife. At the gym, Kelsey (Hillary Duff) and Lauren are reading the book.

At home, Liza (Sutton Foster) and Maggie (Debi Mazar) talk about the book before work. Maggie and Liza hear cock sounds early in the morning. When they go to the roof to check it out, they meet their married gay couple neighbors, who tell them that this is for their restaurant. To thank them for putting up with the noise, they invite them to their restaurant.

At work, it is all they can talk about. When Charles (Peter Hermann) arrives, he talks to Diana, and she advises him to publish it so that he can control the narrative. Charles wonders if lawyers can stop her from publishing the book at all. Liza advises that Charles has dinner with Pauline before lawyers get involved, and tells him that she can watch the kids.

Diana gets a text from her boyfriend Richard that he has a surprise at home waiting for her. When she gets homes, she’s shocked to discover that the “surprise” is his college-aged son lounging on the sofa. She learns that the son, Ethan, is taking a pause from college, even though he has only a semester left. And that his mother is pissed. Richard asks if he can stay with them, and Diana unwillingly agrees.

Charles gets ready to meet Charles’ wife Pauline (Jennifer Westfield). Liza wishes him luck, and he asks her to text him in an hour so that he can leave. He also tells her how grateful that he is in her life.

Pauline starts by apologizing and telling Charles she is not the same woman she was a year ago. Liza texts him as planned, but Charles asks if she can stay for a little while. And texts her again. And again.

Liza is resting on the sofa in the hall when Charles arrives. He is withdrawn and tired, and has already called Liza a car.

In the morning, Diana asks Richard how long the boy would be staying with them.

Kelsey wants to know everything about the dinner – she isn’t sure they just talked. Charles asks to see Liza in his office. He apologizes for his behavior for the other night. He talks about what being a marriage is like, and Liza has to pretend she understands through her imagination. He has decided to publish the book as there is truth to the book. Pauline insisted on working with Millennial, and Liza in particular. Charles tells Liza that he has told Pauline it won’t happen, but Liza says it is okay. When Charles asks if it won’t be too uncomfortable, Liza asks “More uncomfortable than page 58?” And Charles smiles.

Later, Liza and Maggie go to their neighbors’ restaurant and are treated to a nice, long meal- where they talk about Liza’s situation with Charles.

At Josh’s, Josh (Nico Tortorella) and Kelsey talk about their previous failed relationships and tease each other about the other one’s bad choices. Then they go out to a bar.

At the restaurant, Liza and Maggie find out that the owners expect them to pay $500, and are understandably shocked. Later, they find themselves at the same bar as Josh and Kelsey. While getting drinks, Liza talks to the cute Irish bartender Claire, and corrects her assumptions about Josh being a player. When Josh comes, she introduces them and leaves them talk.

Josh and Claire walk together after her shift. They really hit it off, and they only separate so that she can go to her day job as a coder at a video game design company. But not before they kiss. Josh has a massive crush.

The next day for lunch, Liza meets with Charles’ wife about editing her book, and they get off on a good start. Liza tells her how women might not understand her leaving her kids to write the book. She says she wrote the book for her daughters so they don’t get into a marriage and become non-people – in the sense that they carry all the emotional labor. She also confesses to loving Charles.

At her living room at night, Diana goes crazy when she finds her boyfriend’s “fleshlight” –his son’s masturbation device and freaks out, telling him that he will buy her a new couch.

Maggie is cooking chickens for their meal. Josh texts Liza to thank her about introducing him to Claire. Maggie is shocked that Liza seems to be helping the men in her life get with other women. Liza jokes that she will end up like Jane Austen. Angry restaurant owner neighbors knock on the door, demanding to know where their chickens are. Maggie shows them to cooked chicken. They are outraged and attempt to call the police, and Maggie threatens that she will tell the police about their illegal garden on the roof. Before they can answer, she slams the door in their faces. She tells Liza that the chickens are actually from the market; she just had the chickens removed by calling the health department. Liza is impressed.

Diana is at work very early and tells about the son’s masturbation habits to Liza.

Liza goes to Charles’ office. She tells him about how Pauline made a mistake and wants her family back. Charles is adamant that he won’t let her ruin his relationship with Liza. Liza leaves the office with a confused smile.

 

 

 

 

 

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Younger Fever Pitch Episode Recap: Recap For Younger Season 4, Episode 7

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Younger's delicious love triangle: Charles (Peter Hermann), Liza (Sutton Foster) and Josh (Nico Tortorrella).

Younger’s delicious love triangle: Charles (Peter Hermann), Liza (Sutton Foster) and Josh (Nico Tortorrella).

 

Younger quickly became one of my favorite shows of all time.

It tells the story of Liza Miller, a 40-year-old woman with a college-aged daughter. When her marriage breaks down and she needs to go back to the publishing industry, she quickly learns she is too old for the job. But her artist best friend Maggie comes with an unconventional idea, inspired by the cute 26-year-old Liza met at a bar. He thought she was his age! So why not tell the whole world she is? In deed, after Maggie’s colorful makeover, Liza quickly lands the job of a marketing assistant. She also starts dating the cute 26-year-old from the bar Josh. But now she actually has to keep acting like a millennial. Can she pull off her two lives?

With the very exciting episode 9 coming up, I included a detailed recap of the events of episode. Recap of 8 is on the way. Enjoy!

Episode Recap: Younger Fever Pitch: Season 4, Episode 7

Peter Hermann and Sutton Foster, Younger

Peter Hermann and Sutton Foster, Younger.

Liza goes into Charles’ office to talk about his passionate and accidental confession, and they end up having amazing sex…only for Liza and us to realize it was one hell of a dream.

After Liza tells Maggie about it, Maggie tells her to just get it over with since Liza has obvious feelings for Charles, but Liza is hesitant.

Liza and Kelsey walk to work together with an anxious Kelsey who is still stressed. She is worried she might lose her job after her relationship with the editor – Zane – of a rival publishing house cost them their biggest earner. When Kelsey realizes her options for the day is either going to a pitchfest and listen to horrible pitches or face Charles, she takes Liza’s advice and goes back home, where Lauren has persuaded her to take a little getaway for girls. Josh gets himself invited with his weed.

Liza doesn’t see Charles in the office.

She goes to the pitchfest and listens to weird and indeed horrible pitches, until a woman named Pauline pitches a mature, realistic novel about being a woman who needs to take a vacation from her family after married life stifles her. Liza loves the idea.

During their getaway, Lauren realizes that Josh and Kelsey are attracted to each other, and says their relationship will go down the typical romantic comedy route. Kelsey denies this. But at night, Kelsey and Josh are outside, talking about trusting the wrong people. They share a moment and kiss, but Kelsey stops the kissing, saying it is not crazy but the wrong thing to do.

The same night, Liza sees Charles come into the office. They are the only souls there. She prints out the chapters, mostly as an excuse to talk to him. She goes into his office. She is nervous. She comments on Charles’ uneaten birthday cupcake. She babbles on, and when Charles comments that she seems jumpy, she just kisses him. They start making out, but the passionate session gets interrupted by the janitor. They panic and pretend everything is normal. After the janitor leaves, Charles really looks at the chapters and sees the name. He asks Liza how she got it, and what the woman looked like. Then he shows a picture from his drawer: Pauline is the ex-wife who left him! Charles abruptly leaves saying he has to leave and take care of it.

Liza is at home, lies on her bed. Charles calls, apologizing for his abrupt exit and that Liza got pulled into his family drama. He says some of the stuff that his ex put in the novel is honest. He also says he regrets that they got interrupted, not that it happened. A happy and conflicted Liza texts Pauline asking for more chapters.

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Designated Survivor starring Kiefer Sutherland, Natasha McElhone and Maggie Q

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Designated Survivor starring Kiefer Sutherland, Natasha McElhone, Maggie Q and Adan Canto. Image via pinterest.

With Designated Survivor renewed for a second season, and the season finale already having aired, it’s time I reviewed this engaging political drama/thriller starring Kiefer Sutherland. Watch out for a separate post dedicated to the finale.

Premise of Designated Survivor

Secretary of Urban Development and Housing Tom Kirkman (Kiefer Sutherland) is an idealistic and decent man who doesn’t care about power. He’s happily married to lawyer Alex (Natasha McElhone) with two kids, little Penny (Mckenna Grace, Gifted) and teenager Leo.

But soon after he is “reassigned” from the cabinet, the unthinkable happens. First, he is addressed as the Designated Survivor during the President’s state of union address. Second, Capital Hill is blown up – killing everyone, making Tom the president of the United States.

He agrees to the job in a state of shock. His family is located to the White House, and Tom is left to handle a grieving country, a second designated survivor from the opposing party, two qualified but disagreeing candidates for Chief of Staff, a governor who is ready for a coup, a general who wants to see him gone and many, many more complicated-as-hell problems. Can Tom handle it?

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Thoughts on the show

Designated Survivor has a great premise with a cast to match. Kiefer Sutherland has always been a joy to watch. I’ve been a fan of his acting long before 24 aired, and I remain so to this day. And while 24 got us used to Kiefer saving the president and the country in the field as an agent with unparalleled skills and perseverance, he definitely has the voice, attitude and looks to make one hell of a president, even though he is initially unprepared for the job.

This is my second time watching Adan Canto (who plays Aaron Shore) in a regular and much more likeable role. Sure, he can stab you in the back any moment as he has his own plans for his career, but a politically ambitious and succesful young man is still more likable than a serial killer groupie, like the one he played in The Following.

Maggie Q returns as an FBI agent. Sure, Nikita was not FBI, but she enforced law, justice, or both, one way or the other. However, she makes sure she adds subtle nuances and lets us know Hannah Wells is a different, albeit still impressive, badass character that holds her own. She’s immune to bullshit, and she won’t let public perception betray her gut. She is, however, still a human being, occasionally influenced by her grief and questions her own abilities.

I always rejoice when we have a fictional president who is a loyal and loving family man. We haven’t seen that enough in real life, and we surely haven’t seen it enough on TV.

The show also does a good job with strong female characters. Hannah is one. Natasha McElhone’s Alex is a good lawyer, and a dedicated wife and mother who does her best to make sure her family adapts to this unique situation. She tries her best so that her clients, immigrants or immigrant candidates in difficult situations, aren’t negatively affected by her change in circumstance. She is not drunk by her new status, but she is not afraid to call in favors if it means she will massively help someone in need.

Then we have Emily (Italia Ricci), Tom’s assitant and friend who is totally the opposite of the political warrior Aaron is. She is direct, honest and cares more about doing what’s right than what’s convenient. This of course hinders her career advancement in the White House, but she is not completely without ambition . She is also not shy in reminding Aaron that staff changes happen all the time.

And let’s not forget our antagonist, congresswoman Kimble (Virgina Madsen). She is confident, pretty honest for a politician and ambitious. She wants to be president next term, right after the country will, according to her, have gone to hell under the Kirkman presidency. While she pisses off us of as viewers, she pleases me as a writer. She is strong. She steals scenes. We know she can’t be trusted, but yet, we can’t predict her every move. It also helps that so far she has proven that, while she is not to be trusted, she is not evil.

Who are the villains that blew up the capital? Well, they are way too close to home for us to ever be comfortable…

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Conflicts and Antagonists

Luckily for the audience, Tom’s marriage is the only place where his abilities and whether he is the rightful person to be the president aren’t questioned every second.

Right now, apart from Emily, and of course appearances can be deceptive, everyone seems to be out to get him. Aaron does research and collects dirt behind Tom’s back, the general wants to replace Tom, the governor of Michigan’s practically given the police to do whatever they want to Muslims, other governors are sceptical and we can see the second survivor’s supporting attitude is just initial smoke screen. Oh, and many more problems and crises to come, personal, professional and nationwide.

Obviously, you expect a show set in Washington and around a new, inexperienced president to be full of conflicts, but writers are taking great advantage of a premise, and sort of a metaphorically post-apocalyptic America. Only the congress is in ruins, but anything and everything can go wrong any second. And it does.

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Check out Designated Survivor if:

1) You like quality political dramas
2) You are a fan of the cast, especially Kiefer Sutherland.
3) You are a fan of 24, and want to watch Kiefer take on a role with less action and more conflicts.

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Created by David Guggenheim.

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Money Monster starring George Clooney, Julia Roberts and Jack O’Connell

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Money Monster starring George Clooney, Julia Roberts and Jack O'Connell.

Money Monster starring George Clooney, Julia Roberts and Jack O’Connell. Image via Amazon.

Money Monster Plot Summary – No Spoilers

Lee Gates (George Clooney) is the cocky and popular host of the finance show Money Monster where he puts on extravagant stage performances and sheds out investment out like the ultimate authority. And while he knows what he is talking about, an unexpected “glitch” at the investment company IBUS has him

cause a lot of people to lose money: a total of 800 million, to be exact. The company CCO Diane Lester (Highlander’s Caitriona Balfe) is apologetic and sticks to the talking points while the CEO Walt Camby (The Affair’s Dominic West) is nowhere to be found.

This doesn’t really affect the rich Lee or his director Patty (Julia Roberts) – until a blue collar victim named Kyle (Jack O’Connell) takes them hostage on live television. He puts a gun to Lee’s head and makes him wear an explosive vest. Kyle holds a deadman’s trigger and demands answers. He wants to know how a “glitch” could happen, how Lee could give such shitty advice so confidently, and most importantly, he wants a word with Walt.

The police get quickly involved, but they don’t count on Lee’s humanity taking over and deciding to help Lee. And the more Lee and Patty listen to Kyle, the less they buy Walt’s glitch story. Can they find out what went wrong before it is too late?

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Money Monster Movie Review

Money Monster is a modern movie in the vein of Mad City. While the plots differ, there are several similarities that got me nostalgic:

Mad City starring John Travolta and Dustin Hoffman.

Mad City starring John Travolta and Dustin Hoffman. Image via moviepostershop.

  • An otherwise sane and decent man going mad when he loses his money. In Mad City, John Travolta gets fired from his job at a museum and takes the manager hostage, with the unexpected surprise of kids being there at the same time.
  • A not-so-empathetic reporter tries to control things (In Mad City, the reporter is played by Dustin Hoffman), but then he gets on the gunman’s side as he learns more about his situation.
  • We end up rooting for the wronged family man, but of course, ****spoilers**** they will tragically pay the price of taking justice into their own hands, even if we badly wanted them to win.
  • The police will make things worse.

The good things about Money Monster, apart from the stellar cast and director Jodie Foster, is that it feels like the emotional, humane drama/thrillers of the 90s. The not-so-great thing is it feels like we have seen this movie before.

And for some reason, while I was sad at the ending and enjoyed the time I spent on the movie, I didn’t feel as touched as I was when I watched Mad City.

And while Money Monster made more money at the box office and is a bit more highly rated at IMDB, I still prefer Mad City.

That said, as a 90s kid, I still feel Julia Roberts and George Clooney are more my generation than say Scarlett Johannson or Chris Hemsworth. I love seeing them on screen in lead roles. So for nostalgia and the love of cast and director, I still recommend giving Money Monster a shot. As familiar and predictable the story might feel, it still has more heart than a lot of stuff out there.

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Money Monster is a 2016 movie written by Jamie Linden, Alan DiFiore, and Jim Kouf. The movie made over 93 million dollars worldwide. It’s budget is reported to be around 27 mil.

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The Space Between Us starring Gary Oldman, Asa Butterfield, Britt Robertson and Carla Cugino: An Uplifting Love Story with Space Elements

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the_space_between_us

The Space Between Us. Image via impawards.

East Texas is scientist/businessman Nathaniel Parker (Gary Oldman)’s brainchild: A group of astranouts will go to live on Mars for four years. He couldn’t be prouder. But when it turns out his lead astranout Sarah Elliot is pregnant on space, a difficult consensus is reached to save the baby: He should stay on Mars as a journey to Earth could be deadly.

Baby Gardner grows up to be a smart and resourceful teenager (Asa Butterfield).
His only connection to our planet – managed without the help, consent, or the knowledge of the astranauts who raised him – is a high school student named Tulsa (Britt Robertson). As far as world-wary and street-smart Tulsa knows (and doesn’t believe a word of), Gardner is stuck living in a NY penthouse due to a rare disease. Gardner is the one thing about Earth that doesn’t seem to piss Tulsa off.

But as much as astranout Kendra (Carla Cugino) loves him like a son, Gardner longs to go to planet earth. And while a trip to Earth can be physically detrimental, being here isn’t doing Gardner’s psychology any favors. Despite Parker’s protests, Gardner is treated for bone density, goes to physcial therapy and finally arrives on Earth…only to find out more tests await. A discouraged Gardner manages to escape, with only two goals in mind: to meet Tulsa and find his father.

Tulsa and Gardner get along swimmingly, minus some understandable disbelief on Tulsa’s part. But as the two teens grow closer, so do Kendra and Gardner to finding them. And as much as we want Gardner to have the time of his life, we also know the two adults are only concerned about saving Gardner’s life. Can Gardner find his father and collect enough memories before he has to go back? And will Kendra and Parker find him before it is too late?

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The Space Between Us is the perfect drama romance adventure. But the focus of the movie is on the connection and love between human beings, and while the romance of Tulsa and Gardner takes focus, there is also a lot of paternal love going on.

Despite being a writer, I’m a lot like your average viewer. When I love a movie to bits, I don’t notice flaws. So if this one has any, you are going to have to let me know in the comments.

Yes, I’m a romantic. And I’m really sick of the same old sick kid love story. But Gardner isn’t originally sick. He is just literally raised on another planet. Whatever health problems arise, it arises due to different gravity and his heart responding negatively. It’s a pretty original (and logical) health problem right there.

Then, there is one or two minor twists that you might or not see coming, which serve as sweet additions to an already sweet story.

And it’s refreshing to see “antagonists” that are really just concerned about a kid’s well-being. It’s hard not to root for both sides, which makes it all the more fun and emotional to watch.

Yes, we want Gardner to find love and experience many, many firsts- including feeling the wind on his face and the rain on his body. But we also don’t want a 16-year-old to die. We want a loving, caring man (Parker) to fix his mistake. We want Kendra to save her surrogate son. We want Tulsa to finally be happy, and we definitely don’t want her to lose her favorite thing about Earth, which is understandably Gardner.

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I WILL SPOIL THE ENDING – Meaning, I’ll tell you if it is happy or sad.

Of course, I tend to have a sweet spot for Allan Loeb stories, he is one of the co-writers, and I’ve always had a bit of a crush on the awesomeness that is Gary Oldman. So I’m positively biased.

So I’m warning you. It’s a love story. It’s about different kinds of love. It’s a road trip film. It’s fighting for someone’s survival vs. someone’s happiness. And in the end, spoilers ahead, optimists and romantics win. So there. I told you. The ending is all warm and fuzzy. I loved it. It’s also embrassing, but I didn’t see the twist coming.

Loved the cast, visuals, and the soundtrack.

The film was directed by Peter Chelsom, and written by Allan Loeb, Steward Schill and Richard Barton Lewis. It is currently rated at 6.4 on IMDB.

 

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Allied Movie Review: Brad Pitt and Marion Cottilard in an Engaging Robert Zemeckis Spy Romance

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Allied starring Brad Pitt and Marion Cotillard

Allied starring Brad Pitt and Marion Cotillard. Image via IMP awards.

I liked the film, and this will be a positive review. So if you want to hate on it, you can do so in the comments or just ignore this.

Still with me? Awesome!

Allied is a 2016 feature drama, war, romance movie written by Steven Knight (Locke, Burnt, Eastern Promises) and directed by Robert Zemeckis. (Back to the Future, Flight, Forrest Gump). It stars Brad Pitt and Marion Cotillard (Inception, The Dark Night Rises, A Good Year) in the lead roles and features Matthew Goode in a tiny but key part.

It’s important to mention that Allied is an old-fashioned film shot in an old-fashioned way. There is nothing unique or disruptive about it, and this is one of the main reasons I loved it so much.

Now, I love uniqueness and disruption where it is needed. Sometimes, you need to break the rules. Go outside of what is expected. But a sexy, traditional romance story with a bit of action starring your favorite actors directed by one of your favorite directors is sometimes exactly what you need to escape the complexities of your own world.

This is not to say the characters don’t have to go through hell. They do. They must, as any compelling story will have their characters suffer. But before the suffering, there is a tremendous reward, (in the form of a romance), a fun storyline and just beauty.

So here is the Allied Plot: (No spoilers; this is all in the trailer)

Max Vatan (Brad Pitt), a capable Canadian intelligence officer, meets the equally capable and attractive, French operative Marianne (Marion Cotillard) for an assignment that requires them to play a married couple.

It’s easy to fall in love during wartime: They are both intelligent, passionate, successful, and well, beautiful to a fault. By the time their assignment is over, they are a couple in love. They get married soon and have an adorable daughter.

However the biggest challenge for Max won’t be the war, but the accusation from his government that Marianne is a German spy. In 72 hours, her innocence or guilt will be proven. If she is guilty, Max will execute her himself. If he refuses, he will be hanged.

Can the woman he loves really be a spy? And if she is a spy, does it change the fact that he truly loves her?

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It’s a horrible situation to be in, and it provides us the suspense and action we need for the second half of the film as Max tries to prove her innocence by whatever means necessary, while the war is in full swing.

Throughout the film, our focus is on the passionate and loving relationship of our two protagonists. The war is in the background, however horrible it might be.

And Max is in the most horrendous situation of his life. Sure, he has lost friends. He has killed people, in both self-defense and doing his job. But the possibility of being betrayed by his wife, and the fact that he might have to kill her, almost breaks Max, and Brad Pitt does a good job making us feeling his pain.

Of course, when it comes to other things, the screenplay doesn’t bother. When you think about it, both Max and Marianne do horrible things. They had to kill a lot of people: to defend themselves, because it is their job, etc…One could argue wartime ethics and laws are different.

But Max also caused a lot of deaths, directly and indirectly, while he was trying to prove Marianne’s innocence. He didn’t blink an eye. He didn’t have time, was facing a life and death situation, his world was falling apart, etc. But his ability to compartmentalize was so scary and impressive at the same time.

Was there really little to no guilt? Did he have a superior coping mechanism? Or did he have sociopathic tendencies?

As I said, it wasn’t this movie’s goal or job to look into Max’s psychology outside of his feelings for his country/country’s allies or his wife. But if you want to dig deeper, there is a lot to think about.

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Hacksaw Ridge starring Andrew Garfield: Poetic, Brutal and Beautiful

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Hacksaw Ridge starring Andrew Garfield

Hacksaw Ridge starring Andrew Garfield, Vince Vaughn, Sam Worthington and Teresa Palmer. Directed by Mel Gibson.

 

UPDATED: HACKSAW RIDGE Awards, Nominations and Box Office

Hacksaw Ridge is currently (as on January 1st, 2017) is rated at 8.5 on ?MDB voted by over 42,000 people. It’s Metascore is 71, and is currently at number 90 on IMDB’s Top 250 Films list.

The budget is about 40 million, and its current box office (domestic and international) has surpassed 136. The movie was nominated for 3 Golden Globes: Best Motion Picure (Drama), Best Actor (Drama, Andrew Garfield), and Best Director (Mel Gibson). It won AFI for Movie of the Year, and won several Australian Film Institute Awards including Best Actor, Best Direction and Best Screenplay.

Hacksaw Ridge starring Andrew Garfield, Vince Vaughn & Sam Worthington

Based on the incredible true story of Desmond Doss, Hacksaw Ridge is a movie about how a young combat medic didn’t bend his pacifist beliefs for anyone, and ended up being a war hero without having fired a gun or used a weapon (with the wonderful exception where he used a rifle to make a makeshift sliding stretcher for his wounded sergeant).

Plot Summary

Desmond Doss (Andrew Garfield) grows up in a violent home. Even though he has a loving mother (Rachel Griffiths), his father (Hugo Weaving) frequently uses violence on them, including his brother Hal (Nathaniel Buzolic; Kol from The Vampire Diaries and The Originals).

Their father is not necessarily evil; he is just a war veteran dealing with survivor’s guilt and PTSD horribly.

Doss boys seem to have a violent streak themselves. During one fight, Desmond almost injures Hal beyond repair, which triggers Desmond to embrace the peace-loving nature of his religion.

Desmond Doss grows up to be a loving, caring and determined man. He falls in love with beautiful nurse Dorothy (Teresa Palmer), which further ignites his love for medicine. Not having been educated well, being a paramedic seems to be his only option. Fuelled to serve his country and do something while others are also risking lives, he enlists. However, he objects to doing any weapon training and gets treated horribly by most of his fellow soldiers in training and superiors.

However, he eventually manages to get what he wants. And as horrifying violence and mayhem surround them, everyone who ridiculed him gets to see what he is truly made of – again and again and again.

rsz_hacksaw-ridge

Actual scene. Image via The Independent.

 

Hacksaw Ridge was directed by Mel Gibson. Unlike his other directed films, he is not a producer this time. He also doesn’t star in it either, unlike Braveheart, or The Man Without a Face.

I haven’t seen Apocalypto or The Passion of the Christ. However, I have seen Braveheart (and The Man Without a Face, which is not a war film.) – and while Hacksaw Ridge isn’t quite there, it is pretty damn impressive.

Hacksaw Ridge is also understandably more violent. Braveheart had swords and arrows. Hacksaw Ridge doesn’t shy away from any shot that might make you cringe or want to look away. It has more blood, more severed limbs, and people in more pain. It makes you uncomfortable, and not for the sake of show or art. War is hell, and Mel Gibson makes sure you feel that in your veins.

Many people, including the cast argue Hacksaw Ridge is both a love story and a war story; you might consider it one or the other. But I disagree. Hacksaw Ridge is an epic anti-war movie with beautiful romantic scenes and horrifying war scenes. But it is more a respectful, albeit glorious, biography of a humane man of faith than a war film or a romance.

Teresa Palmer and Andrew Garfield in Hacksaw Ridge.

Teresa Palmer and Andrew Garfield in Hacksaw Ridge.

I’m agnostic. I don’t like religious motives or messages much. But you see, Hacksaw Ridge might show a Bible, but anyone with a heart can’t disagree of how Doss has interpreted the message: “Don’t harm anyone. And absolutely, do not kill.”

And he does exactly that. He doesn’t fight back when people hit him, which might be considered extreme. But he is proving a point. He is proving his principles. And he ends up saving 75 people in the course of about 12 hours. He helps a lot more.

He gets shocked and wounded and tested. But he doesn’t give up. He prays to be able to save another man. And then prays to be able to save the next.

Comparisons to Saving Private Ryan

Comparisons are being made for better and worse, and it’s only natural.

– Like Saving Private Ryan (aff. link), Hacksaw Ridge asks some very hard questions about humanity.

“Is the life of 8 men more or less important than the life one 1, if the mother of that one kid has lost three of her four kids in the same war.”

vs.

“Is it ever okay to kill and go against your beliefs? Or is it okay to risk everything to make the world a better place?”

– Both films have disturbingly realistic battle scenes. Both films have great casts, though SPR’s might have been slightly more famous. Both are critically acclaimed; both have amazing directors.

– Both films have solid anti-war messages.

– Both films must be seen as movie lovers, and people.

– I liked them both. I just liked HR a bit better.

Mel Gibson is my favorite actor, and he is one of my favorite directors. So there is a positive bias. But HR assaults your emotions for a shorter time. It’s ultimately less depressing despite being equally terrifying at times.

It’s a matter of personal preference. I’m pretty sure I can’t sit through SPR again one more time, just like I’d have to fast-forward HR’s battle scenes. Once is enough.

– Both movies have achieved greatness at shockingly low budgets for movies this size: Saving Private Ryan at 70 mil and Hacksaw Ridge at 40 mil.

Some more reasons to see Hacksaw Ridge

– The training scenes have some good humor. I loved the sergeant’s (Vince Vaughn) reaction to the naked soldier “Hollywood.” Also, Vince Vaughn is in a dramatic role again.

I have loved Vince Vaughn as an actor since Return to Paradise, which is one of my favorite films. It provides one of the most humane, enthralling and impossible-to-make decisions ever, and Vaughn shines in a dramatic role. Sure, he almost always talks fast, but he is as good as drama as he is at comedy. HR takes him to deeper lengths than The Interns ever could or wanted to (which is really entertaining film). The point is, Vaughn has more substance than just being the king of R-rated comedies.

– The romance is very well-done. It’s not sappy or corny. It has a pureness to it we haven’t quite seen since the relationship between Wallace and Murron. It feels real (and well, it was real.) So if like me, you really didn’t enjoy The Choice, here’s Teresa Palmer’s second chance to win you over in a romantic story.

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Hacksaw Ridge is a must-see war film. It’s, in my opinion, not the best movie or the best war movie ever made. It’s however a very exquisite one that deserves to be seen on the big screen. It’s not always easy to watch, but you will feel intensely. You will occasionally escape your reality and the depressing things going on around the world. However, you’ll also be faced with the uncensored ugliness of war. I’d say it is great entertainment, but that’d not be the best choice of words. I wasn’t entertained. I felt. A lot, and all the time.

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Written by Robert Schenkkan and Andrew Knight. Also featuring Luke Bracey and Milo Gibson (one of Mel Gibson’s 8 kids). Directed by Mel Gibson.

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How about you? Have you seen Hacksaw Ridge? What did you think?

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Good Behavior starring Michelle Dockery and Juan Diego Botto: Solid Crash Course on Addictive Grey Characters

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Good Behavior, Michelle Dockery, juan diego botto

Good Behavior starring Michelle Dockery and Juan Diego Botto.                     Image via gstatic.

Good Behavior– Plot Summary (Minor Spoilers for Episode 1)

Letty (Michelle Dockery) is a beautiful mess. She’s an ex-con, a drug addict and a thief. She’s not allowed to see her son, her mother hates her, and she has to hold disgusting jobs if she wants to stay straight.

Javier (Juan Diego Botto) is a handsome, efficient hitman who just happens to be one of Letty’s theft victims. When she overhears what he is, she decides to try and save his target. She meets him, has a great date with him and has a wild night of sex. If you didn’t know his job, you could easily develop a crush.

Letty is not a hero. She doesn’t even make a great escapee. When her mother doesn’t allow her to see his son, she goes off the rails. Javier could easily kill her, but he has other plans…

Spoilers and Praises Ahead

We have a hitman who might have a soft spot for a woman he had sex with, who doesn’t do drugs and saves the woman’s life – and then recruits her for a trickier job. He doesn’t seem to be a total psychopath, and you can definitely forgive him (when you hear the reason) for job 2.

Letty is both drawn to and repulsed by him. Her escape attempts are useless, and she does need him to stay alive.

But not all murders are perfect, and we have one of the weirdest, most curious and engaging road trips ahead, including dead bodies, sexual chemistry off the charts and a Tesla running out of battery…

It’s an interesting show.

The acting is top-notch, and I don’t think we had grayer protagonists. What is interesting to note about Javier is that he seems totally against the idea of harming a child. He never once threatens to hurt Letty’s son. He doesn’t even threaten to kill Letty. He just says he will find her.

Then we have Letty’s parole officer who has his own addiction and demons to battle, a stupid eager beaver barking around and the past of Javier to discover.

I’m totally addicted. I watched the first three episodes in a row.

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Good Behavior is a new show airing on TNT. It was created by Chad Hodge and Blake Crouch.

 

 

 

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