Endless Love starring Alex Pettyfer & Gabriela Wilde – A Glass Half-Full Review

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When you look at this romantic drama’s 6.7 rating on IMDB (by over 3,000 people), and the reviews/rants on its board, you’d think the fans rated a 10 because there aren’t many that speak favorably of the film. Or maybe they’re not just as vocal.

But since the movie has an abundance of bashing on its behalf including the book’s author (who of course has a right not to be happy with the result), I’m here to give the movie a break.

Because guess what? It’s nothing more or less than what the trailer suggests. A sweet, sexy (yes, somehow the movie manages to be both) love story with no surprises and mostly familiar actors (feat. Bruce Greenwood and Joely Richardson as the Wilde’s character’s parents.

The glass half-empty or the glass entirely empty review would go something like this:

It’s naive, clichéd and totally unrealistic (as in overly optimistic) flick that has nothing to new to offer. But then again, when that’s not the movie’s intention at all, why criticize it about it?

Because sometimes, let’s face it, some of us get in the mood for some easy watching. Something not-depressing (I’m still not tempted to watch Blue Valentine, despite its cast), something that offers pure escapism with beautiful scenery, pretty actors, a familiar love story and some easy-to-identify with problems. (Hands up if your dad or another family member totally didn’t get your choices or personality for a long time.)

But let’s take you over the plot, and then the relaxed review (that might offer some spoilers in its defense):

Jade is an introverted, beautiful girl who realizes that she hasn’t really made an impact on anyone’s life in high school. She was bookish, and was cocooned by her parents (especially her father) after the death of her older brother.

Endless Love

Image via theguardian.com

David (Alex Pettyfer) went to the same school, harboring a crush on Jade, but never quite acting on it. His dad is a loving mechanic, and David likes staying with him and helping out.

When they finally meet, it wakes up the free spirit in Jade, and they quickly become inseparable. Her mother and brother Keith (Rhys Wakefield) are happy that she’s venturing out into the world, while her father does everything he can to stop the relationship…

*

As I said, if you want originality, surprised, twists or refreshing dialogue, this is not your movie. That said, it’s not entirely without its own merits and additions to stereotypes:

-     The beautiful, rich girl is not bitchy, stupid or popular.

-     The poor boy is hot and nice enough. And he isn’t stupid.

-     None of the main characters has a deadly/incurable disease. Yes, the older brother has died of cancer, but since he is dead from the beginning, I’ll forgive him that.

-     Only one parent, from one side, is a jerk.

-    The soundtrack is decent.

-    The music festival and party dance games are a nice touch.

-     It’ light.

-     Did I mention none of the characters have Alzheimer’s? As much as it’s a tragic disease and a reality of life, sometimes you want to get away.

Watch the trailer. Adjust your expectations. And take off your movie critic hat. You might have a good time.

 

 More on Alex Pettyfer:

Magic Mike starring Channing Tatum, Alex Pettyfer, Matthew McConaughey & Cody Horn

Beastly starring Alex Pettyfer & Vanessa Hudgens

I Am Number Four starring Alex Pettyfer, Timothy Olyphant, Teresa Palmer & Dianna Agron

 

 

 

 

 

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Your Sister’s Sister starring Emily Blunt, Mark Duplass and Rosemarie DeWitt: Funny, Heartfelt and Adorable

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Your Sister's Sister

Image via movieposter.com

 

Your Sister’s Sister is a lovely low-budget drama/comedy written and directed by Lynn Shelton. This 2011 film stars Mark Duplass, Emily Blunt and Rosemarie Dewitt, and is funnier and more original than the trailer suggests. Oh, and it’s very emotional, naturally-acted and should not be dismissed as a chick flick (not that there aren’t some great chick flicks that I love, and I refuse to use it as a derogatory term, since I am a chick and I love certain romantic flicks).

Let’s move on the plot:

Jack (Mark Duplass) is still depressed a year after the death of his brother so his best friend Iris (Emily Blunt), who also happens to be the ex of the dead brother, tells him to go to her family’s remote cabin to sort himself out. The plan gets sidetracked when he finds Iris’ half sister Hannah (Rosemarie Dewitt) there, trying to get over the break-up with her girlfriend.

They get along fabulously, drink a lot, and end up in bed together. The next day Iris shows up, and a panicked Jack tries to convince Hannah to keep it a secret. Hannah can’t understand why they need to, especially since Jack claims to have no feelings for Iris. But when Iris confides in Hannah that she might be in love with Jack, she agrees.

But of course the secret will eventually come out, cause more secrets to be spilled and things will get very emotional.

*

As I said, the movie is extremely sweet, honest, entertaining and emotional. At times it’s funny too, but I’d say it’s more emotional drama than romantic comedy.

Give it a shot. It also has some hilarious, but very logical tips when it comes to how to handle your family and romantic relationships.

 

 

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The Mentalist: End of an Era – Disappointed by Red John, Happy to See Him “Go”

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Image via fanpop.com.

Image via fanpop.com.

I wrote this post after episode 6.8, where Patrick finally caught Red John. And even though I was disappointed by his identity, I’m glad that storyline is behind us. Episodes 6.9 and 10 have been different, in a really good way. Lighter, smart and fun- just the way we like our Patrick. Or let’s say we had enough of the depressed/darker Patrick. Since we are on a break, let’s say goodbye to RJ and celebrate the end of an era…

Warning: This post includes spoilers for The Mentalist pilot, finale and movies Fight Club and Identity

Ah, the good old days when we met Patrick Jane (Simon Baker) for the first time: the former psychic who joined CBI (the fictional California Bureau of Investigation) after a serial killer known as Red John killed his wife and daughter.

Remember that shocking and highly impressive first episode where he just figured the killer out from the mother’s expressions, her style and taste?

Remember that adorable, slightly cocky guy who asked all the controversial questions, made himself tea in the victim’s home and got the killer shot by his own wife after she found out what he did?

Good times. Gritty, complicated plots; sense of humor and lightness combined with repressed depression, grief and anger; a guy who made you laugh, smile and scratch your head while he solved cases fast so he and his team could have more time to figure out Red John’s identity and well, Patrick could kill him.

Interesting premise, awesome leading character, fun supporting characters, some terrific lines…

But then something happened along the way. Because after a while, nothing Jane did surprised us anymore. So it lost the shocking, or at least impossibly captivating effect. I used to want to watch 4-5 episodes in a row and that didn’t feel enough, until one a week seemed all right.

Still, like many fans, I held on. I wanted to know who Red John is. I also wanted to see a RJ-free Patrick.

But then something else happened. The show made too much of a big deal about Red John. They made him impossibly charismatic, manipulative, smart, dangerous, cunning, resourceful…You see where I’m going with this? Red John was like that killer in Se7en and more, always a couple of steps ahead.

He was so super influential that he had disciples. He had men and women willing to die & kill for him. So after a while, the cult leader Brett Stiles (Malcolm McDowell) seemed like a man who could pull it off. He had the resources. And while I didn’t see the charm and charisma, he already had a cult to do anything for him. So if the writers hadn’t given us a younger Red John, Stiles could have worked.

The longer the show lasted, the longer Red John story line got. He/she became more powerful, more influential. He got too big, dangerous and super-powerful for the show’s own good. And it came to the point where I just wanted them to get it over with. End of season 3 could have been the place to say goodbye…

One popular theory among fans was that PJ was Red John. Now, it would be spectacularly disappointing in many ways as we had come to accept and know Patrick as a decent, loving guy who, despite his faults, would do anything to protect his loved ones. A loving husband/father avenging the death of his loved ones revealed to be the killer? Nope, thanks.

A Dissociative Identity Disorder (aka Multiple Personality Disorder) “twist” would destroy the Patrick we grew to love, and would give us a not-welcome déjà vu feeling. It was once a great twist ending for books and movies. But even with Identity, I was disappointed. But now that I know who RJ is, PJ could be the better choice.

There was also the theory of one Patrick’s team members could be working for Red John. That wouldn’t work, as it would undermine Patrick’s intelligence and ability to read people.

When the 7 suspects were revealed, I didn’t like any of them for RJ. I wished that it would turn out to be a fake. That there would be a surprise.

There wasn’t. Now, of all the ones on the list, FBI agent Reede and Gale Bertrum are in deed worse candidates than the revealed Red John. They lack the charisma, IQ and the manipulative skills promised. They are also not eerie or scary one bit. Creepy, yes. Red John-level charisma? No way.

McAllister aka Red John showed up in season 1, as a sheriff of a town where one of the crimes was committed. He then showed up a couple of more times after the list, but that’s it.

McAllister being Red John feels like writers put the names in a box and then pulled with eyes closed and went ahead with the choice, no further questions asked.

Now, I’m not claiming I could have written a better show. But had I been on the writing/producing team, I’d have definitely voted for a different Red John. I’d also have a different list of suspects, if there absolutely had to be one. I’m not a big fan of the Blake association either.

Now that RJ is gone, I’m happy we moved on. Of course if this was a trick, they have this awesome Red John hidden somewhere that wasn’t on the list, I hope they won’t dedicate many episodes to it.

*

The Mentalist suffered from the serialized show curse. They made the big bad really big and bad, and in the end, we got a disappointing reveal and showdown.

Red John aka Sheriff McAllister. Image via wikpedia.

Red John aka Sheriff McAllister. Image via wikpedia.

I’m loving the happy Patrick. I hope RJ storyline died with the Blake Association storyline. Looking forward to the return of the show on January 5th.

*

How about you? How happy are you with the seasons, the identity of Red John and how he was revealed and taken out? Are you enjoying the post-RJ era?

 Other Posts on The Mentalist

 The Mentalist Season 3: Patrick Jane is back with episodes 1 & 2

The Mentalist Review

The Mentalist vs . Castle – fun characters and plots comparison

Other Posts on Simon Baker 

Book of Love starring Simon Baker, Frances O’Connor & Gregory Smith

The Guardian TV Show starring Simon Baker

Not Forgotten starring Simon Baker

Something New starring Simon Baker

The Lodger starring Simon Baker, Shane West, Alfred Molina and Hope Davis

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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This Is The End: Would Work Much Better as an SNL Stint

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This Is The End cast

This Is The End survivors. Image via ign.com.

 I wasn’t sure about This Is The End. I wanted to see it, because the idea is really cool, and some of my favorite humor has been about celebrities making fun of themselves in TV shows or on live stints. For instance:

Gerard Butler and Saturday Night Live

Writing Humor That Cracks You Up 1: Poking Fun at Oneself Unashamedly (includes Kevin Bacon, Dermot Mulroney and more.)

I didn’t want to see This Is The End because I wasn’t sure I’d be laughing that much at Seth Rogen. I have nothing against the guy, but I’ve liked him a lot more in drama. Same goes for Jonah Hill. Or if he’s doing comedy, I want Channing Tatum and a Johnny Depp cameo, aka 21 Jump Street.

And apparently, I like Jay Baruchel a lot more when he comes with Nicolas Cage, Alfred Molina and Teresa Palmer, aka The Sorcerer’s Apprentice. It might be mindless entertainment, but it is very entertaining, and sometimes that’s enough.

Now, I have a soft spot for James Franco because of Freaks and Geeks, as well as Tristan & Isolde. But his character wasn’t any more entertaining than Rogen’s. And maybe a little less annoying than Hill’s.

Also, there’s the chance the humor could/would overuse jokes about weed, guys being around other guys and then sum. Too bad I was more right about my reservations than my enthusiasm.

Now, don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying I hated the movie. I just hated some parts of it (especially if it included Michael Cera. How was that supposed to be funny other than his death scene? That was enjoyable.)

I laughed a bit, but I was more disappointed. I had to fast-forward quite a bit.

On the plus side, writing a review is easy because I don’t have to remember character names. Everyone plays themselves.

Let’s go over the good and the bad.

The Good (Also The Funny & Fun):

-       Two guys (Rogen and Baruchel) having weedy bromance moments and the background music is Backstreet Boys. That’s hilariously weird. And 90s.

-       Seth Rogen being greeted by reporters at the airport and is told he always plays himself.

-       Seth being on a cleanse which includes smoking, weed and hamburgers.

-       Also him thinking gluten is the mother of evil, and not knowing what it actually is.

-       Seth Rogen and Jay Baruchel finding themselves in the middle of Armageddon, and screaming like crazy, trying to survive until they head back to Franco’s.

-       James Franco and party folk not having a clue the word outside is falling apart and not believing Baruchel, and Rogen selling out Baruchel to maintain believability.

-       Emma Watson surviving and thinking they are in a zombie apocalypse.

-       Remaining guys shooting a sequel to the Pineapple Express at home and watching it for fun.

-       The ending with the Backstreet Boys cameo. Considering where and when Baruchel makes a wish, it’s too ridiculous not to be hilarious.

*

The Bad:

- Danny McBride: his fictional Danny takes obnoxious to a new level, and I think a character wouldn’t be that obnoxious/selfish/stupid in real world. Or people would have killed him. Seriously.

- The repetitive, unfunny jokes.

-Getting high in the middle of world ending. Yeah, sure, do that. Get extra hungry and thirsty and risk sickness. That’s cool.

- The dialogue in general.

-The Channing Tatum cameo. You want to use Tatum for comedy? Great. Have him scream his head off in a shrill voice when he is faced with real danger. Don’t make him McBride’s bitch. Literally.

*

I have nothing against well-done, R-rated comedies. And I don’t mind political incorrectness. Or actors playing similar characters, if those characters are likeable and plots of the movies vary enough. Some of my favorite comedies of all time are Old  School, Wedding Crashers and The Hangover (the first one). But not all absurd comedies click with you (like The Hangover sequel).

I think the movie would have worked a lot better if it ran for 5-10 minutes instead of 107 minutes.

Hey, all reviews and criticisms are obviously objective. However sometimes the “average” views and ratings baffle you. Like when this gets a 7.0 on IMDB. I’d have been OK with a 4 or 5. If I had seen it at the theater though, I’d have rated much lower (than 5).

*

So have you seen it? What did you think?

 

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Hostages 1×11 Review & Why Duncan and Ellen Kissing Makes Sense (Yeah, I’m Serious!)

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Dylan McDermott (Duncan) kissing Toni Collette (Ellen)

Dylan McDermott (Duncan) kissing Toni Collette (Ellen). Image via youtube.com.

 

*For a general review of the show without spoilers, please read  Hostages starring Dylan McDermott, Toni Collette & Tate Donovan

Hostages 1 x11

Apart from the scenes between Duncan’s father-in-law and his wife’s real mother being a bit too long, and me suspecting Sandrine having serious personality issues, this has been a really fun, well-paced episode with some important events. Of course the highlight (or the lowest point, depending on your point of view), is the kiss.  First:

Let’s Go Over The Plot (Caution: Spoilers all over!)

Duncan (Dylan McDermott) and team needs to go to New York so that they can save the president’s life. After all they he needs the president at the hospital alive for getting bone marrow for his wife. So they lock the family inside, giving them pretty of supplies. As being hostages go, surely being locked in the grand bedroom with a bathroom, food and untied family members is not the worst thing.

They however need the blueprints of the buildings near the church the president will be visiting, so they ask the husband who can access them through his work. Of course our dear douchey husband, who has been extra rebellious after having revealed his affair to Ellen (Toni Collette) and not getting dumped, refuses.

So Duncan takes Ellen outside, as Ellen gestures him to. He takes Ellen out and locks the rest of them in. She tells him she can get the documents, so he gives her the key and instructs her to run with her family if he doesn’t make it.

As Duncan and team are in New York, desperately needing the plans, Ellen comes through. She has obtained the plans from her husband’s mistress (Hilarie Burton), explaining their weird situation with a lie that actually makes sense, and learning more douchey facts about her husband (Tate Donovan). Like apparently, he has said their marriage is a lie. (Ouch. Captor 1, husband 0. More on this later.)

Sandrine (Sandrine Holt) goes back and forth between betraying the team and helping, and she finally comes through. They take out the shooters. Sandrine previously shared another emotional moment with Duncan’s brother-in-law (Rhys Coiro). I like the guy, but his plot with Sandrine doesn’t interest me.

Because of all the morally gray characters they’ve tried to characters, hers is the one I’m not buying. Besides, it would have been nice to see an ex female soldier without so many weaknesses. Human, yes. Mutli-dimensional? Maybe. Interesting or worth rooting for? Not so much.

And as if Duncan and co-conspirators don’t have enough to worry about, his wife’s biological mother visits the “father” to say he wants to bring Kincaid down. Yeah, sure, 30+ years later, with a dying daughter, try to bring the president down with possibly no proof of the rape. That’s smart. Dedicated man he is, our beloved….was prepared to shoot her down, but she saw sense at the last minute and she lived. Seriously, woman! This man was supposed to either kill you or let you be killed. Instead he let you get away and raised your daughter. Surely, he is not the perfect guy to trust with your itch to confess?

Oh, of course there were the scenes with our major plotter and his girlfriend, aka the president’s wife’s sister. I really don’t like them. Some viewers think this show has no likeable characters, but surely their actions make Duncan seem like a cuddly teddy bear? People who think killing innocents is OK as long as it covers their tracks? Please.

Anyhow, Duncan makes it back, gives Ellen the key to the room. Later, Ellen goes to see him in another room where he thanks her for making it happen, and he tells her that she is ready. Touched, he hugs her. Then…they kiss.

Then someone kidnaps Duncan from the street.

Then roll credits.

OK, a note on Sandrine:

Sandrine should make up her mind already: Are you team Duncan (which also means team your current bed buddy you seem to have feelings for?) or Are you team villains? Are you a cold bitch or an emotional, loving woman? Seriously. Do you remember how rude, distant and almost mean she was in the first few episodes?

THE KISS

OK, the kiss. I thought it was ridiculous at first. Then I realized, it’s actually one of the more rational/plausible things both Ellen and Duncan did. Here’s why I think so:

 Why The Kiss Makes Sense (No, really.)

There are three possibilities for both parties.

1)   There’s genuine attraction with some feelings

2)   It’ manipulation by one or both.

3)   It’s a semi-conscious mixture of 1 and 2.

And all three make sense in their own way.

From Duncan’s point of view:

If he’s actually attracted to Ellen: Stockholm Syndrome might go both ways. He’s a decent guy at the core. He didn’t plot to kill the president – he joined in on it because it was the only way for him to save his wife, and according to him, the president doesn’t mind killing and raping women. So here’s a guy who’s willing to dabble in gray areas and risk things to save his wife.

Ellen goes to equally illogical and far-fetched and dangerous methods to save her family.

At the very least, he can relate. And he’s actually really alone at the moment. He can’t see his daughter often, his wife has been sick for a long time, he has to handle a group that’s not as reliable as him, he can get killed or arrested any minute, his brother-in-law is an idiot (limo driver, beating the kids’ drug bosses…), the big guy is hot-headed (dead best friend, anyone?) and Sandrine is unreliable. For the past three episodes or so, Ellen’s the only friend he got – as weird that it is.

2) If he’s ensuing her loyalty by seduction: All I can say is go Duncan!  She risked her family’s life over and over again by rebelling stupidly so many times. If Duncan is ensuring the plan works out and none of them get killed and all he has to do is make out with Ellen, why not?

 

From Ellen’s point of view: 

1) If she’s manipulating Duncan, or trying to, well done: Trying to out-smart, or outrun or kill him didn’t work. Rebelling didn’t work. He seems to trust, respect and on some level, like her now. Why not use it? And of all the captors in the world, surely making out with one that looks like Dylan McDermott isn’t exactly torture. :)

Dylan McDermott in Hostages

Dylan McDermott as Duncan Carlisle in Hostages. Image via tvguide.com.

2) It’s not that implausible she will be attracted to him. My finding Duncan extremely good-looking aside, this is a guy who protected her daughter on several occasions. He is only in on the plot to help save his sick wife’s life, and the guy he’s helping kill turned out to be a potential killer and rapist.

He’s a person that will go to extreme lengths to save his family, risking his life and career for a small hope- like Ellen.

Remember Ellen’s husband? Cheating, financially disastrous husband who only understood the value of his wife and family at gunpoint?

Yes, Duncan took them hostage, but he’s still the better husband in my opinion. So far, it was one kiss under extreme duress. I’ll be retracting this statement if they have sex:)

3) The husband had an affair. With a co-worker, half-his age at that. Could he be more of a boring cliché? What better ways to stick it to him than kissing the guy who shot him?

My mind doesn’t work like this for romcoms, or tragic dramas, but guys, this is a thriller with morally ambiguous characters. Let’s have fun with that.

Hopefully we will never be in their shoes. But with a billion to one, possibility that I was either Ellen or Duncan, I can’t promise no kissing.

 

Also on Dylan McDermott

The Practice starring Dylan McDermott, Lara Flynn Boyle, Kelli Williams & Steve Harris

 Dark Blue starring Dylan McDermott, Logan Marshall-Green, Nicki Aycox & Omari Hardwick

 

Recommended Hostage-featuring Movies

Inside Man starring Clive Owen, Denzel Washington & Jodie Foster

The Entitled starring Kevin Zegers, Ray Liotta, Laura Vandervoort & Victor Garber

Air Force One starring Harrison Ford, Glenn Close and Gary Oldman

 

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Holy Crap Paul Walker Died!

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paul-walker-picture

Image via askmen.com.

I hate the fact that I had to write this post, but I couldn’t not write it. I really, really liked Paul Walker. I know as fans we didn’t really know him and all that. But some celebrities are appreciated more than others. To me, Walker was one of the much better ones.

I loved how he transformed his career from a regular soap opera gig to action stardom but didn’t neglect to put some less box-office friendly but seriously engaging films in between.

I loved how he had this humble attitude about him despite how traditionally good-looking he was. I loved that he didn’t shove his private life down our throats. I love I had no idea who he was dating when.

I love fast cars and fast action movies, but I never thought I’d sit through several action movies with fast cars and not get bored for a second. Yeah, there were plots, but I don’t remember much of it. Just that it was fast, furious and I had one hell of a good time during all.

I was looking forward to Hours, where he plays a dad trying to save his daughter despite all odds in an unlikely action/drama. I’ll still see it of course, but with a bit of heavy heart.

Now, it’s always sad when someone dies young. And to me, 40 is young. It’s young enough for a lot of things, and but it is damn too young to die. It’s sadder when you weren’t expecting it. He wasn’t sick, old, depressed and as far as I knew, not abusing any sort of thing. So the surprise element is huge.

My favorite Walker films are Timeline, The Death and Life of Bobby Z and my absolute favorite, The Lazarus Project. They might not be the most logical, but they had great casts, engaging plots and high level entertainment, though The Lazarus Project had a deeper, more psychological aspect.

So what can I say? I wish he didn’t die. Now all we can do is remember, feel sad and if there’s an afterlife, hope that he is already having a good time. From what I saw, he deserved it.

RIP, Paul Walker.

 

 

 

 

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Person of Interest 3X09 The Crossing Review: Crucial and Exciting with a Surprise

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Person of Interest The Crossing, Carter and Reese

 

I’ve had an on-off love affair with Person of Interest since mid-season 1. I’m saying on-off love affair, because even though I don’t stop watching the show my levels of curiosity and attachment waver a lot. Some episodes are edge-of-your-seat brilliant while some border on all right. Frankly I loved the case-of-the-week stories and I am a bit bored with HR. Now it looks like we are done with that storyline of big bad and hoping John will kick Simmons (Robert John Burke)’s ass for good next week.

I was tempted to write a review for 3×09 because it sent sparks flying all over again. It had the right amount of action, emotional scenes, Fusco (Kevin Chapman) coolness, Shaw (Sarah Shahi) sweetness-you know those rare but always entertaining- and I don’t mind Root in lock-up and moderate amounts. Let’s go over tonight’s exciting (and some a bit flawed scenes that had to be written to get the writers to the direction they wanted to go):

 Plot for 3×09 : Spoilers Ahead

Continued from the decent but not this kick-ass 3×08, Reese (Jim Caviezel) and Carter (Taraji P. Henson) have Alonzo Quinn (Clarke Peters), aka Head of HR, killer/godfather of Beecher (Carter’s cop ex whom she once suspected of being HR) and they have to take him to FBI. This time HR have a clear picture of Reese, aka man in suit and all the dirty cops (they are a dime a dozen) as well as the bad guys (apart from Elias’ men, who as a courtesy to Reese and Harold told his men not to go after him) want Reese. Some over-eager subway thugs get their asses handed by Reese. Guys, get a clue, if a man wearing a suit doesn’t back away from weapon-carrying and openly threatening (as in verbally) criminals, he’s either nuts or he knows how to out-maneuver a bunch of guys at a time.

Carter and Reese managed to get shelter at the morgue with some help from Fusco, who unfortunately gets snatched by Simmons and his men. Shaw is sent after Fusco, and Harold (Michael Emerson) goes to help out Reese and Carter, who are cornered by several HR men.

Fusco is tortured for the location of a bank that holds evidence against HR, and holds out pretty well until they threaten his son. Even then he gives them wrong information. Fusco was extra likeable and cool this episode.

Person of Interest The Crossing, Carter and Reese

Image via uverseonline.att.net.

Reese and Carter share a very personal, emotional, romantic even, moment after they share near-death experiences, and Reese reveals how much Carter means to him. He even kisses her, and well, Carter is happy about that. A date won’t look out of place, or even a less PG kiss for that matter, if they survive at the end of the episode. Of course being the ultimate warrior hero, Reese distracts Carter and gets out of their hiding to get rid of other men so she’ll be safe and free to take Quinn to FBI.

Harold ensures Carter’s safety and also John’s by having him arrested by two decent cops that don’t belong to HR.

Shaw makes a smart call by visiting Fusco’s son and saving him from death by HR crook. She lets Fusco know, and Fusco takes care of the guy who would kill him. Courtesy of his broken fingers. Yes, HR are connected and ruthless, but they aren’t the brightest. Because Fusco used his broken fingers to get out of the cuffs. (He was already in pain due to several broken fingers, so what’s breaking a thumb in addition, really, when your life is at stake?).

Carter makes it to the FBI building safe and sound, and a lot of HR criminals (cop or otherwise) are arrested in addition to Quinn.

Shaw and Fusco enjoy a funny moment in his car, him being thankful to her for saving his son’s life, her being her usual almost robotic self.

Carter gets Reese out, and as they stand in the dark alley out (yes, this is the foreshadowing to the bit that I deemed flawed), and Harold is out of his car, the phone rings in the street. Simmons comes out of nowhere, shoots both Carter and Reese, gets shot in the process but manages to escape.

As it turns out, Carter is mortally wounded and dies in Reese’s arms.

*

The fun, the cool and the seriously? Moments

The fun and the cool:

-       Shaw and Fusco were fun. I liked who she chose to save, and how Fusco saved himself – without giving HR what they wanted.

-       Quinn getting handed to the FBI, whose halls were full of handcuffed HR cops or allies.

-       Harold going to save Carter and Reese, without giving in to Root (Amy Acker)

-       Subway thugs threatening Reese, only to cut to the next moment they were kicked out of the wagon unconscious.

-       Reese and Carter sharing and showing war wounds. Lethal Weapon 3 flashbacks anyone?

Seriously? 

-       I think it is a stretch for Simmons to last this long. Seriously. He threatens and kills and screws so many people, it is a wonder one of his psycho men didn’t turn on him or someone got pissed or someone like Elias had him killed just to show him his place. He might be evil and connected, but he is no Joker. And if I were Reese, or Shaw, or Root, I would have shot the guy just to make a point. Sure, he can be replaced. But not taking him down proved to be not so pragmatic after all.

-       OK, fine, we need a recurring big bad, the actor is doing a good job, we need a cliffhanger because heavens forbid the characters rest for more than a moment. But knowing Simmons is still out there, why isn’t Carter wearing a vest? Why isn’t anyone else around? Isn’t that the front of a New York police station at night? Why isn’t Shaw around just in case? Forget about Simmons for a second. Isn’t John an ex-CIA man who’s supposed to know better? For me that scene was the equivalent of a Scream movie character opening the door without any questions even though she knew there was a serial killer around. And no they should have taught Simmons could have risked coming. Because he lost pretty much all his power. Desperate times, desperate measures, people. Geez.

 

A bit rushed, but acceptable

- The kiss scene. I don’t belong to the group that claims there was never anything romantic between Carter and Reese and that came out of nowhere. There have been many scenes that implied, told or showed they really cared for each other and understood each other. They trust each other with their lives, and in their world, it beats so many other emotions.

Superficially speaking, Reese is attractive. So is Carter. With all the stress, adrenaline, action and secret-sharing, them being more than attracted to each other is only logical. The problem is though, the scenes implying all the trust/connection/etc were always much shorter and distributed with distance among the episodes. Blink or move away from the TV and you could miss them. It doesn’t help that even recently, Reese was sleeping with Zoe. Something fun and understandable, but bad timing considering how deep Reese went in this episode.

 

All in all:

A brilliant episode with some flaws because the writers wanted to part ways with a main character. I liked Carter, and I liked the Carter on team Reese+Harold so much better than the I’m-gonna-arrest-me-the-man-in-suit Carter. I liked her pairing with Shaw and Zoe, her partnering with Fusco and going badass on HR. I also loved her new relationship with Elias.

Carter dying isn’t all that unexpected, not taking into account her main character status. She had waged war on a powerful criminal organization, and her life was at risk all the time. But how she went, who she killed her and how…That was a bit…uncalled for, and pretty much my only complaint about the episode.

That also possibly means bigger roles for Root and Shaw, and I like their current doses. I don’t want Root to have such a big role unless she’s treated by some super shrink Lightman (Tim Roth’s awesome character from Lie to Me) or something first.

Also, it wasn’t cool to kill another woman Reese cared so much about. This is the second time. What’s next? Have him bond further with Shaw and Zoe and kill them too? Give the guy a break.

What I’d love to see Next

Reese going full badass on all the villains. Don’t arrest them, don’t let them get away. Don’t let any other character pull a Simmons, including Simmons.

**

This is all from me regarding The Crossing. What are your thoughts? Please share away in the comments.

Other Person of Interest Posts

Person of Interest starring Jim Caviezel & Michael Emerson

Person of Interest Returned with a Bang: POI 2X11 – 2 Pi R Episode Review

Other Posts on Jim Caviezel

Angel Eyes starring Jim Caviezel and Jennifer Lopez 

High Crimes starring Jim Caviezel, Ashley Judd & Morgan Freeman

 

 

 

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Hostages starring Dylan McDermott, Toni Collette & Tate Donovan

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HOSTAGES starring Dylan McDermott

The night before she’s to operate on the president, surgeon Ellen Sanders (Toni Collette) is taken hostage in her house with her family by a 4-people team lead by Duncan (Dylan McDermott). The deal is simple: she kills the president during the surgery, or they will kill her husband (Tate Donovan), her teenage son and daughter (Quinn Shepard). She is warned that they have eyes and ears everywhere, and she can’t seem to figure out a way out of it.

And as much as they look like the perfect family, everyone but the mother seems to be hiding something from everyone: the son deals pot, the daughter might be pregnant and the husband’s cheating.

Unbeknownst to her, Duncan is an FBI agent, and president’s advisor, as well as Duncan’s father-in-law are in this. We also know Duncan is a loving father and a husband, he doesn’t seem to want to use more force than he has to, though he will not miss an opportunity to teach a lesson to a misbehaving hostage if he has to. We don’t know why he is doing this, though we have a pretty good guess.

Of course her first instinct being to save lives, Dr. Sanders will further challenge Duncan but she will not like the consequences….

*

The Hostages is a fun hostage-based drama/action series with a solid cast. I’ve been a Dylan McDermott fan since his The Practice days, and he has a knack for playing strong, grey and intense characters (The Practice, The Hostages, Dark Blue).

The Hostages isn’t perfect. As expected, hostages do a lot of stupid things, especially the father. But then again, not having been held hostage (thank Goodness), I can’t say for sure that people won’t act like that. Then there are your captors, who are led by Duncan, who’s essentially a nice guy. So when a captor is unwilling to kill, he also gets to do some risky stuff. Still, it provides some decent action when hostages misbehave and the captors retaliate.

It’s supposed to be a mini-series, so hopefully we’ll get all the episodes. Based on the Israeli television series.

Enjoy!

Recommended Hostage-featuring Movies

Inside Man starring Clive Owen, Denzel Washington & Jodie Foster

The Entitled starring Kevin Zegers, Ray Liotta, Laura Vandervoort & Victor Garber

Air Force One starring Harrison Ford, Glenn Close and Gary Oldman

 

 

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Scandal starring Kerry Washington, Tony Goldwyn & Darby Stanchfield

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Scandal starring Kerry Washington & Tony Goldwyn

Scandal starring Kerry Washington & Tony Goldwyn. Image via tvguide.com. Is it just me or is Tony Goldwyn the coolest and hottest president we have ever seen?:)

Olivia Pope (Kerry Washington) has left her prominent position at the White House after she helped Fitz Grant (Tony Goldwyn) get elected as the president and started her own crisis-management firm where she can handle even the most difficult and complicated problems with her ever-loyal co-workers.

Her (season 1) co-workers consist of lawyers Abby (Darby Stanchfield), Harrison (Columbus Short), Steven (Henry Ian Cusick) and ex-CIA/expert hacker Huck (Guillermo Diaz), who can prove to be resourceful and dangerous when need be. The latest addition is Quinn Perkins (Katie Lowes), who tries to adapt to their long hours, gray moral areas and their blind loyalty to Olivia, who has “fixed” their lives.

They have to deal with two important cases in the pilot episode: An ex-soldier, a true American hero who happens to be the prime suspect of his fiancée’s murder and The President – who is being accused of having slept with a young house employee. They deal with both cases with extreme care, though neither man has told them the entire truth.

As the stakes get higher, with the ADA David Rosen (Joshua Malina) arresting the soldier and President’s advisor Cyrus (Jeff Perry) panicking about the woman since the president is married with kids, things get more complicated with Olivia. Maybe the aide isn’t lying, and her relationship with the president is more than she revealed to anyone around her…

*

Scandal is an addictive and entertaining show, and especially with the short but brilliant first season (only 7 episodes) providing all the elements of a good mystery/thriller, drama, romance and cheeky sense of humor with Quinn’s constant shocked newbie state, Abby’s bluntness and Steven’s trying to balance a womanizing past with the newly engaged life.

They’re family, and there’s no intra-firm romance going on, though we sense a little crush on Abby’s side when it comes to Steven. They deal with dictators, senators, ambassadors and more – and they pretty much end up on the right side, doing the right things, following Olivia’s gut- which tends to make mistakes when it comes to the president.

The characters are also all shades of grey. Maybe David Rosen stays a bit on the whiter side for the most part, but even he does things for winning cases that I don’t approve of: like sleeping with someone for information or almost sending an innocent woman to her death even though deep down he knows it doesn’t add up.

One of my favorite characters is Grant. A wife-cheating president who has slept with a white house aide would be the cliché of clichés – since well, we have seen this before way too many times in both fiction and real life. But refreshingly, Grant isn’t a womanizing bastard. We slowly learn that his marriage is, and was, cold and lifeless – to the point of costing him the election. This is the first thing Olivia points out when they first meet. His wife Mellie (Bellamy Young) is a lot more manipulative, ambitious and White House-obsessed than he’ll ever be. By the time he and Olivia got together, they were already pretty much in love. As the season continues, we learn that they still are very much in love and they both fail to deal with it. As for the aide…that storyline has its nice twists and turns.

Another character I enjoy watching is Cyrus, brilliantly played and owned by Jeff Perry. I disapprove of his actions and low morality levels and the extreme lengths he goes to secure the president’s seat and his own position. But I love his dialogues and banter, his frustration and love-hate relationship with Olivia, and him trying to keep a baby-wanting, ex-journalist husband happy.

Olivia Pope is like Megan Hunt with better social skills, though I don’t like her sacrificing attitude when it comes to Grant. Yeah, yeah, she doesn’t want him to lose his presidency because of her, and he’s indeed a great leader. But she has to make up her mind about being a mistress, waiting for a couple of years or not being a mistress or not waiting at all. Make up your mind, and stick with it. They’re infinitely more interesting than Meredith and Derek ever were (I’m comparing to Grey’s Anatomy because both shows were created by Shonda Rhimes – the genres and plots are very different) – but with season 3, the star-crossed lovers thing might just start to get on my nerves- especially with the “other” guy Jake (Scott Foley)- whom I’ll get to in a bit.

Henry Ian Cusick’s departure was understandable – there were too many characters on the show. Even though I like them all, Steven didn’t get enough screen time. And while the beginning of season 2 makes up for his absence with good storylines, the addition of Scott Foley’s character made things a bit weird- though not as weird as the appearance of Olivia’s father.

We’ve established the obsession/passion/love-of-each-other’s lives situation with Olivia and Fitz. We also know that Olivia isn’t keen on him leaving his presidency, and even if she wouldn’t mind getting together with him, Mellie and Cyrus, separately and together, will do about anything to keep his seat. And a cute love interest that had nothing to do with politics and Fitz would be a welcome change. Instead, he is friends with Fitz, their romance isn’t off to a genuine start and I’m not buying his intense fondness for Olivia just yet. That said, if Jake has to be there, I have no objections to him being played by Scott Foley. He’s basically a good guy with a very complicated past – but he is nowhere near the impossibly nice (and unlucky) guy he played in Grey’s.

Also I’ll be very happy if Mellie gets shot/killed or at least tortured during one episode. She says or does something smart once in a while, but mostly she’s a cunning, annoying bitch. I’m not fond of characters drunk with power, and unlike Cyrus, she never adds an element of humor. I also don’t like women encouraging their husband’s affairs due to any reason or leaving their careers for their husbands. She rubs it in his face every two minutes, but let’s face it- she loves the White House more than he does.

*

Fun note: Brendan Hines, Eli of Lie to Me plays a reporter in the first season – love interest for Quinn and is the key to solving some of the secrets.

*

Final Verdict, Season by Season:

(Spoilers for 2 & 3!!!)

Season 1: Must-see entertainment.

Season 2: Quiet good until Jake starts getting involved with Olivia. A bit of a downer watching Olivia turn into a neurotic mess and get into denial about how the world works when it comes to her dad.

Season 3: Good. Though I’m hoping Fitz and Olivia don’t go through any more disastrous drama – like him having caused her mom’s death or something? Shonda – please, oh please, don’t turn Scandal into Grey’s Anatomy (which I enjoyed until Denny’s death, and each season ending with a new disaster, and well, a lot of other things…).  I mean there’s already the marriage and the White House, a murder and the election thingy.

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Betrayal starring Stuart Townsend, Hannah Ware, Chris J. Johnson and James Cromwell: When Soapy Finds Good Acting & Chemistry

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betrayal-abc-season-1-poster

Hannah Ware and Stuart Townsend pose for a steamy poster. Image via spoilersguide.com.

I’m not going to lie, I liked Betrayal. I’m not usually the one to go for soapy plots, but when it is presented with great actors, good story-telling and it’s well-shot, why resist it? (Like the first season of Revenge.) Oh, the soundtrack is pretty good too.

I’d never check it out if I hadn’t seen Stuart Townsend’s and James Cromwell’s names attached. But once I did check, I wanted more.

Some critics use the word soap as if they were disappointed. I’m sorry, but what were they expecting? It’s a soap. Just a well-done, modernized one. You could put J.J. Abrams in the director’s seat, and it’d still be a soap. OK, maybe not with Abrams. But you get what I mean.

It is a fun show.  It can remain a guilty pleasure or turn into something more. Only time will tell.  Of course I’m not above fast-forwarding or giving up if I get bored, as I did with Revenge (many episodes were watched on fast-forward) and Once Upon a Time (fast-forward for season 2, not watching for season 3). I don’t always need to be impressed, but I need to be entertained.

Here’s the plot in a nutshell, though I strongly advise you to watch the trailer:

Sara (Hannah Ware) is a beautiful, married photographer with a kid. She keeps getting neglected by her prosecutor husband (Chris J. Johnson). Then she meets Jack (Stuart Townsend) during her art show and they really hit it off. A chance meeting triggers a planned one and that turns into the start of something passionate and irresistible.

Unfortunately, Jack is also married with kids, and his wife (Wendy Moniz) happens to be the daughter of his boss (James Cromwell), a tough businessman who might have ties to crime. And as if this weren’t enough, a murder case lands Jack, the family lawyer, against the husband.

*

A lot of the complaints seem to involve the show being a soap  (I’m sorry, but next to Grey’s Anatomy, it wouldn’t even feel like one, and again, what were they expecting from that trailer and story?)

Another complaint from some viewers mentions they don’t/won’t/can’t root for the lead characters because they’re betraying seemingly good people for seemingly insignificant reasons.

While I have a list of movies where you can root for the betraying parties because the betrayed are cruel/indecent/presumed to be dead/etc. and the other person is just lovely, you don’t need to be rooting for any character or approve their behavior. That being said, the cheating aside, they are OK people The makers have gone for grey, and they’ve managed it.

If you don’t find the chemistry satisfactory between Stuart Townsend and Hannah Ware, I can’t argue with that. I like their interactions and chemistry just fine. But my personal opinions on cheating (I’m %99 against it, again see these posts to see where and why I might condone it) don’t prevent me from having an easy good time.

Maybe I’m just happy to see Townsend, Cromwell and Chris J. Johnson on a weekly basis. And I’ll argue that I understand why the characters are straying.

For one, the “perfect husband” is so career-oriented that he will be worrying about his own image even during his wife’s gallery night. He won’t buy the tie she has bought him, deeming it not good enough for the night.  Hello, it’s her night, her gift and it wasn’t like the tie had inappropriate imagery on it! Then he exchanges it, saying he got something better. She constantly has to run after him for any attention, and she might maybe get morning sex, but that’s about it. Yes, in an ideal world, she should try to talk things out and not cheat. But we hardly  watch ideal worlds on TV. And take his behavior, multiply it by 10 years and you might also be yourself craving the attention and chemistry you found with a stranger.

And while I found nothing wrong with Jack’s wife, I can also see where he’s coming from. Barely in his early 40s, he is much too young to be a dad to two teenagers. He has been with the same woman since he was 19, and she is his boss’ daughter. He seems to be more understanding of her father’s involvement in their lives while she questions his loyalty – she’s not happy he respects/admires her dad. Which is not exactly sensitive on her part because his dad raised him, funded his education and all that. This also backs up his argument on feeling his world is too small. Because it is. He hasn’t branched out to a new family and career. He has just expanded on the one he was brought up in. Again, ideally, he shouldn’t cheat. But does it make sense? Yes, it does.

They could make the dialogue a little better, and they could have spent more time developing the attraction/chemistry between them. But it isn’t bad the way it is.

Good old mindless, harmless fun with beautiful people. Let’s see what the next episodes will bring.

Fun trivia: My post isn’t the only thing the show has in common with J.J. Abrams. Merrin Dungey has a recurring guest role as Sara’s editor. Dungey starred as Sydney’s best friend on J.J. Abrams creation Alias.

 

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