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Reviews

Patient Zero (2018)

Should have never been released I've had this movie down on my watchlist for a while now- never knowing why it hadn't been released... till I saw it. Whatever it cost to make this movie- you can tell it all went into paying the cast- the rest looked like it was done by a few college kids as a summer project. Everything about Patient Zero is cheap: the set is cheap (the movie taking place entirely in a dimly lit underground warehouse), the zombies look cheap (splash on yellow contacts with some fake blood), and worst of all: the script. There was no point at all to this film- I wish I had stopped at the opening credits because all you needed to know was there. What happens next is 70 minutes of cheesy dialogue with the fakest American accents and the poorest acting Zombies and Humans, only to have ended with an even more cheesy ending. Save yourself the watch and watch 28 Days- much better.

Growing Up Fisher (2014)

Where Nostalgia is Mistaken for Annoyance "Are you sure you should be driving?" NBC is currently trying a couple of new family centered series of which this is one and the other being About A Boy. Unfortunately, the premise is relatively thin and the show quickly abuses the abilities of the protagonist, Mel Fisher. The premise revolves around Mel Fisher, a blind lawyer, who goes about his life fooling everyone into believing he can see. The protagonist can apparently chop down trees with a chainsaw, teach his daughter to parallel park, leap over other lawyers with a simple bound. The comedy would need to be irreverent and edu for this to have the slightest shot at success. 'instead, it goes for a sappy, feel-good vibe with a voice-over by Jason Bateman. Despite it being based on the creator's actual childhood, the element of truth doesn't make it any less absurd or any more worthy of being a TV show. Just as it's hard to keep up with how many failed sitcoms there have been during mid-seasons, I'm losing track of how many mawkish, barely funny sitcoms these days are drawn from the writer's own family experience and upbringing. Creatively, the story of Me is an awfully stifling place to start. Memoir has its place beyond the page, but sitcoms are usually not it - for the same reasons that family stories you think are so table-poundingly hilarious are difficult to convey to any audience larger than a dinner party. Network execs need to stop indulging this strange habit and ask writers and producers to look for pilot pitches someplace other than their home movies and photo albums: it just isn't funny. For these reasons Growing Up Fisher gets a 2/10.

Kill Your Darlings (2013)

Coming-Of-Age Blackhole "Another lover hits the universe. The circle is broken. But with death comes rebirth. And like all lovers and sad people, I am a poet."

Typically, coming-of-age stories unfold in a predictable fashion: the youth tentatively ventures into the world beyond the one he knows, where he encounters people and things that will change him and his outlook on life forever. It would be easy to dismiss Kill Your Darlings as yet another entry in a tired genre.

The premise revolves around Allen Ginsberg (Radcliffe) who arrives at Columbia University keen to start a life away from the shadow of his famous dad, poet Louis Ginsberg (Cross), and his mentally unstable mother (Leigh). He meets the electrifying Lucien Carr (DeHaan), a rebel radiating so much charisma and ambition that it's easy to forget his lack of actual talent. Lucien brings together the aspiring artists who will soon come to change the literary world with their words: Allen, William and Jack. As their lives intersect, their destinies intertwine, tangled up in the form of David Kammerer, a man hopelessly caught in Lucien's enthralling spell.

The whole idea of the beat generation was that if you could dismantle the structure of communication and still have some worth then anything was up for grabs. If poetry could give up rhyme and still have substance, then sex could give up its hetero prefix and still have love, and society could give up its mores and still find order. To such a message, the dull and plodding structure of standard film school does no homage. Nor do the film makers even seem aware of the message of the beat generation, putting in scenes of jazz, sex, drugs, and English class without seeming to understand their inter-relationships.

Radcliffe continues to she his "Hogwarts alumni" image by taking risky, unconventional and edgy roles that all share in their seemingly controversial nature. The film starts out bold and overwhelming, demanding utmost attention. Unfortunately, once attention is given, the film cannot hold its grip and deliver a rousing culturally relevant story about some of the most influential figures in contemporary literature in the last century. DeHaan is a firecracker as the capricious Lucien, burning so brightly that it's no wonder the other characters can't tear themselves away from him. Hall gets to sound a note of quiet desolation as David, whose infatuation isn't played simply as the unrequited madman. Only Elizabeth Olsen - as Jack's long- suffering girlfriend- is called upon to play a stereotype.

What's ironic is the Kammerer/Carr case slowed down the spontaneity of the Kerouac novels, and amounts so lithe here... The real purpose of KILL YOUR DARLINGS is Carr's hypocrisy countered by Ginsberg's realization as a homosexual morphing into a significant generational spokesman... And in that, Radcliffe's edgy demeanor exceeds a visually pleasing but ultimately monotone story, rushing through what's really important: the collaborating genius between the three primary Beats. For these reasons Kill Your Darlings gets a 4/10.

Batman: Arkham Origins (2013)

Arkham City 5 hour DLC "Don't add me to the weight you carry..."

I know I'm not the only one when it goes to saying that Arkham Asylum shocked gamers back in 2009, presenting a dark malevolent atmosphere superhero game like no other. What nobody ever expected was Arkham Asylum, a sequel that pushed the boundaries to both video game storytelling and game engineering. So when they announced that a new prequel game was coming out, I was looking forward to it, but questioned it's success as soon as I heard that Warner Bros Montreal was making it and not the almighty Rocksteady. I feared that Origins would suffer the same fate all superhero video games do: mass advertising yet no game creativity and effort.

When I finally played the game, I was relieved that the game managed to exceed my expectations. No, this is no Arkham City or Asylum if you're wondering, consider it more of a Arkham City 5-6 hour DLC package.

I'll start off by saying that the story is by far the best of the franchise, it feels the most batman like of all three games. We are presented with a darker and deeper storyline, expressing a more humane and vulnerable Batman. In fact the character development is so well done in this game, you can actually feel Bruce Wayne's pain and anger and fears. The interaction between him and Alred is very well done, you can feel the emotion and tension of their parent child relationship throughout the game.

As for the gameplay, I think it was a notch down from the predecessors. While I commend WB for trying to be original and not blindly copying Rocksteady, I think it was a backfire. The combat system and boss fights have been dumbed down to simple and formulaic approaches. It's really just an over kill and bosses can be defeated using the 3 same buttons time and time again. The combat flow has disappeared and now you will experience abrupt glitches and loss in frame rate when combatting large groups of enemies. It's a real shame because the game has so much replay value, but is obstructed by game freezes and massive bugs.

The voice acting in this game is just as good as the previous games. I was a little nervous about Kevin Conroy and Mark Hamill being replaced, but Roger Craig Smith (Batman) and Troy Baker (Joker) were great replacements. Smith did a great job of bringing Batman to life, and even seemed to bring more character and emotion to the character.

At the end of the day, if you loved the first 2 games then you'll love this one. As a Batman fan in general, you'll really love this game, just don't expect it to extend the limits of the batman universe we've loved since 2009. For these reasons Batman Arkham Origins gets an 8.5/10.

300: Rise of an Empire (2014)

Ancient Greece Has No Limits "Better we show them, we chose to die on our feet, rather than live on our knees!"

"300: Rise of an Empire" will be no surprise in delivery other than it is possibly better than the first? There will, still, be fight scenes reminiscent of flawless dance moves, and the great choreography is what lends the film to being a great 'dance' movie (hello Step-Up 3hundred). The difference in approach comparatively between the two films would be the perverse nature of the second's delivery of the story at hand. The first had a far more romantic predisposition.

A pretty obvious notion is that no other film does better with the long continuous shots of action with the occasional slow motions. This is a wonderful style to marvel on, for those who like these kind of things (I do!). This is the main reason I came to watch this, yet it is not the only thing that impressed me. But before moving on, I want to further claim that I seriously enjoyed these style of shots and frankly, all...ALL of the action sequences. They are just marvelous and glorious to watch and from minute one, I was attached and just smiling on every fight sequence.

Still on the matter of action sequences, they are better in visual quality & dynamics of the setting, although I suspect the reason may be the budget and resource constraint on the first film. If Snyder had this the last time, it would be as good as this. Fortunately, Rise of an Empire, even in the hands of new director Noam Murro, didn't mess it up and brilliantly improves upon it. And though the quality of visuals were not perfect (such as the blood effects), the style is just so gratifying to watch. One last thing, the soundtrack is genuinely amazing, and is unbelievably fitting for the scenes. Even before the action begins, my heart pumps up, and during the fight itself, the soundtrack did good to enhance the suspense of the action. Words are not enough to explain it...you have to listen to it first hand.

As Themistocles, Australian actor Sullivan Stapleton is fine, though he lacks somewhat the charisma Gerard Butler showed playing Leonidas in the first film. But Eva Green as Artemisia is magnificent, magnetic, by far the most charismatic character of the film. Rodrigo Santoro is back as (a very fantastic) Xerxes. Lena Heady reappears briefly as Gorgo, Queen of Sparta. There are very fine action scenes involving naval battles, but the movie's best scene has Artemisia bringing Themistocles to her boat to ostensibly discuss peace, but it all ends up in a heated sexual rump.

Like the first, "Rise of an Empire" is undoubtedly clothed in beauty, from the moonlighting to the muscled bodies, the supple breasts to the eloquent sprays of blood, the film is about an aesthetic which is part of the story. Is it masking a lack of story? definitely not, it is the story.

"300" was ground breaking at the time of release, "Rise of an Empire" merely perfects that first step into a world of a different, and maybe more enigmatic, way of story telling. For these reasons 300:Rise of an Empire gets a 8.5/10.

The Grand Budapest Hotel (2014)

Welcome into the Mind of Wes Anderson "Did he just throw my cat out of the window?"

Can a film be absurd, funny, exciting, violent and colourful at the same time? Yes. 'The Grand Budapest Hotel' combines all those elements. And I didn't even mention the most important characteristic: it is visually wonderful.

In this film, director Wes Anderson creates his own universe, full of colourful characters, old- world charm and witty one-liners. The nice thing about creating your own universe is that you can make it look perfect. Every shot, every little detail and every set is flawless. From lead character Gustave H.'s purple jacket to the title of the newspaper announcing the war (The Trans-Alpine Yodel) - Anderson has given thought and attention to everything.

Wes Anderson serves up what might be called a 'romp-com' with this between-the-wars tale of the misadventures of Monsieur Gustave (Ralph Fiennes), concierge at a splendid spa hotel which manages to be located simultaneously in the Alps and Eastern Europe. Falsely accused of the murder of one of the hotel regulars (Tilda Swinton, made to look like a cross between Edna Everage and Miss Havisham), Gustave and his apprentice escape from prison and go on the run, aided by a 'mafia' of continental concierges.

If one measure of a work of art is how thoroughly it creates its own world, then this movie is completely successful. It is funny, witty, charming. There isn't a dull frame or a wasted moment. In the spirit of the Mitteleuropa that it dusts down and recreates, like the wares of its fictional baker, it is exquisitely crafted and delicious. It is nostalgic whilst casting a shrewd light on nostalgia, and only superficially superficial.

Ralph Fiennes steals the show as the sophisticated Gustave H., who never despairs, even in the most unfavourable circumstances. He is supported by a large number of star actors, who are sometimes almost unrecognizable. Because of the amount of support actors, some of them are a bit underused. Tilda Swinton gets rather little screen time, as does Harvey Keitel.

The Grand Budapest Hotel tells a dark story, and Anderson isn't afraid to give some shocking moments, hence the film's R rating. Coming off of Moonrise Kingdom, this is surprising, but it's also a refreshing change of pace from Anderson's latest outings, including Fantastic Mr. Fox.

Supporting roles from Harvey Keitel, Willem Dafoe, Jeff Goldblum, Jude Law, Bill Murray, and Edward Norton help round out the delightful cast of characters, yet sometimes the hotel feels a bit too crowded. This may not matter much given that Fiennes and Revolori are the stars of the show, but it can be a bit jarring considering their limited screen time. Blink-and-you'll-miss-it appearances from the likes of Owen Wilson can break up the film's quick and zippy pace, and one wonders if his character is entirely necessary or if Wilson appeared for simply fan service given Anderson's legendary cast.

The Grand Budapest Hotel is definitely a Wes Anderson film, down to its very core. If you know his style, then you known what to expect, as this movie is full of it. Thankfully though, it's not a case of style over substance, with a great story to accompany the gorgeous visuals. The colour palette is beautiful; it's nice to see lot's of bright colours when so many other films are so dark and dreary. The set design and costumes are perfect, and there's so much attention to detail within the sets. The cinematography is phenomenal, and I really like how the film was presented in different aspect ratios.

You really can't go wrong with this film. It's probably Wes Anderson's best film, it has gorgeous visuals, excellent acting and a wonderful story. If you're a fan of Wes Anderson's previous work, you cannot miss this, and even if you're not a fan you should go and see it anyway. For these reasons The Grand Budapest Hotel gets a 9/10.

Non-Stop (2014)

9/11 Overkill "I'm not hijacking this plane. I'm trying to save it!"

Despite its shoddy CGI shots of a bogus jetliner plunging earthward with two fighter jets flanking it, the film qualifies as an extremely preposterous but thoroughly entertaining airborne mystery- thriller.

At 61-years of age, rugged Liam Neeson stars as troubled U.S. Air Marshal William Marks. Not only has Marks survived the death of his cancer-ridden, adolescent daughter, but he has also experienced a devastating divorce along with the loss of his 25-year job as a New York City Police Department detective. Meantime, the unshaven Marks has deteriorated into a guilt- ridden, nicotine-addicted, alcoholic plagued by memories of his grim past.When he starts getting text messages in flight to the effect that someone is going to start killing people aboard the plane every 20 minutes, his day couldn't get much worse. Except it could. And does.

For whatever reason, this plane never feels cramped and the tight spaces only come into play with the aforementioned lavatory fight scene, and even that seems like the most spacious airplane restroom of all-time. Even the multiple drop-dead deadlines aren't really played for full effect, and the decent supporting cast isn't given much to do, save for looking suspiciously at Neeson.

You may need to suspend disbelief and not think too hard about the events as they transpire. You are bound to find a plot hole or two if you look too hard. Some behaviors of the passengers, and even of Marks himself, felt very unrealistic, given the situation. Actually, hearing the entire motivation behind the whole complex plot verbalized may be a downer for some people.

The screenwriter team wrote an exhilarating story that really captures the audience attention from start to finish and Jaume Collet-Serra directed a solid plot that kept the movie's pace going strong, leaving no room with unnecessary fillers that tends to drag the story. There are a few camp and corny moments here and there, but the acting was realistic and believable enough to keep the movie dramatic and engaging.

Overall, it's a great action film that is full of twists and turns that will make you glued to the screen and have you guessing the unpredictable outcomes. This is one of Liam Neeson's better thriller films, coming 2nd to his original Taken film. For these reasons Non-Stop gets a 7/10.

Delivery Man (2013)

Letter of Complaint: Dead on Arrival "Yo no soy David Wozniak"

I went in expecting a comedy but got a serious drama with a bit of humor to make it funny. Watching Vince Vaughn fumble around in his role as a meat delivery man can seem kinda humorous but its almost annoying.

When David (Vince Vaughn) finds out he's the father to 533 children through donations he made to a fertility clinic 20 years ago, he learns that a fraction of them want to meet him. Against the advice of her lawyer best friend Brett (Chris Pratt), and while trying to mend the relationship he has with his girlfriend Emma (Cobie Smulders), David decides to set out and see how his children turned out. Along the way he starts to find himself waist deep in the situation.

Delivery Man has a hard time finding its tone and at times suffers from not knowing what it wants to be, but it does have some heartfelt moments. I wasn't familiar with the original Canadian film so I can't be the one to judge if this remake holds up to the original. Cobie Smulders didn't have much to work with, and the same thing could be said about the teens playing Starbuck's children. I still ended up enjoying this a lot more than I expected to so I was pleasantly surprised with Delivery Man.

This is, I think, a fairly original concept, which could be pursued as a drama just as easily as a comedy, as is the case here. It isn't the tidiest job of scripting in the world - the debt subplot is largely unnecessary, there are other plot lines which aren't necessarily resolved satisfactorily (or at all) and, for a comedy, it is not especially loaded with laughs.

Despite it's many lows, it also has some highs that make this worth a watch. It really comes down to a 50/50 and whether you like Vince Vaughn or not. For these reasons Delivery Man gets a 5/10.

About a Boy (2014)

Mid-Season Premiere Graveyard "We still up for ribs?"

I watched this show with low intentions. The real reason I watched the pilot is because I've seen pretty much every good show released in the last decade. The show is no Breaking Bad or Big Bang Theory but despite the budget/premise/ and everything I decided to give it a watch.

Will Freeman lives a charmed existence. After writing a hit song, he was granted a life of free time, free love and freedom from financial woes. He's single, unemployed and loving it. So imagine his surprise when Fiona, a needy single mom and her oddly charming 11-year-old son, Marcus, move in next door and disrupt his perfect world. When Marcus begins dropping by his home unannounced, Will's not so sure about being a kid's new best friend, until, of course, Will discovers that women find single dads irresistible. That changes everything.

The storyline seems condensed, as if two episode plots were badly cut together into one. And everything falls just short of believable, starting with the blonde Cellist's rapid acceptance of Will's wild make-believe leukemia-afflicted, African voodoo saved son.

Driver's character is grating, pushy, and not appealing or likable, so her son's jokes about dating her fall flat; there is no chemistry between her and Walton. The plot is predictable and Walton's rescue of Marcus at the talentshow lacks any emotional punch while also being over the top. No one at a middle school talent show would react with such bipolar reactions- from throwing paper wads and insults to a standing ovation to a mediocre rendition of a pop-song.

Once you strip down the predictable jokes; you're left with a banal arrangement of gender and social stereotypes. Fiona's new-age sensibilities are read only as a failure of parenting, and Will's toxicity as a single man is viewed through the prism of disapproval.

Overall, this just goes to show that most sit-coms that premiere during mid-season are bound to fail. For these reasons About a Boy gets a 1/10.

Almost Human (2013)

Futuristic CSI "Dorian?"

I really wasn't expecting much from "Almost Human". The ads made it look like a stylized action- drama, and recent J.J. Abrams projects haven't always panned out well. That being said, after finishing the first season, I've been hooked on the show that's filled with human drama, action, humor, suspense, and mystery. But it's the human interactions between the two leads that makes the show very interesting and thought-provoking.

Karl Urban plays the role of hard-as-nails cop who doesn't take too kindly to synthetic androids one in particular, played by Michael Ealy, who is the complete antithesis of Urban. Ealy's character, Dorian, despite being an android, is very believable and convincing; conveying emotions that are almost human. It'll be really interesting to see how their relationship plays out in the subsequent season.

The show has almost nailed it, with a great mix of first and foremost action. Both protagonists make a great duo, and the humor they share is quite entertaining. It's fun to watch alongside the other cast members. That being said, there could be some more information of side-characters, there are lot of events or pre-dispositions that the show doesn't go into depth that could help with the series.

The visual effects are pretty great and impressive for an episodic TV show. They've definitely got a cyberpunk-ish feel thats almost a mix between I-Robot, Minority Report and Continuum. Despite the show featuring future sciences, its nothing implausible and they use a lot of hypothetical sciences scientists are just beginning to test the potential of today like grapheme or IR camera disruption. The show is about future technologies spreading way too fast for law enforcement to keep up with.

Lucky for us the writers do not fall into the same trap as others by forcing the two main characters differing ideologies and attitudes down our throats at each possible turn. By the end of the first episode Kennex and Dorian are more comfortable working together and appear to be a good co-op of human and android, and they even manage to crack a few jokes while on the job.

Almost Human could benefit from a more solid and emotional plot with continuity that motivates the viewer to keep tuning in. With so many procedural shows in TV, it runs the risk of getting canceled. Especially because of its higher than average budget. Hopefully the show will be given another season and the creators could change up a bit the structure of the episodes to keep things interesting. But for now Almost Human gets an 8/10.

Sirens (2014)

When Networks use Stupidity and Garbage and call it Comedy "Did he drink the bottle?"

Sound the alarm, someone has a bad case of envy, and it isn't pretty. The smarmy and sophomoric Sirens, about three obnoxious Chicago paramedics, is USA Network's awkward attempt to branch out into the bawdy world of dark adult comedy. Confusing tastelessness and cheap profanity with actual humor, this misfire from producer feels like a low-grade Brooklyn Nine Nine rip-off.

Michael Mosley, from the unfortunate final season of Scrubs, stars as Johnny, the supposedly endearingly ringleader, who shares an ambulance with equally obnoxious gay buddy Hank and hopelessly dorky newbie Brian. They talk a lot about porn and penis sizes and just as when a siren goes off on my block, my impulse was to cover my ears and wait for it to stop.

The characters are dull and the jokes fall flat on every line, it's extremely hard to feel connected to any of the cast and you'll find yourself falling asleep before starting to laugh at the show.

To sum up, there is no real potential here unless there is a complete makeover. For these reasons Sirens gets a 1/10.

Breaking Bad (2008)

Going Where No Show Has Ever Dared To Go "We're done when I say we're done!"

I probably haven't been hooked to a TV show like I have to Breaking Bad before. I personally admire the fact that the show pulls no punches. I find myself pausing at the fact that I am so intrigued by this hard core street wise program, more than any of the other big name series. This one really hits home and gives a true behind the scenes look at what most would consider the bad guys. I'm not condoning the contents of the story, and I don't think the show is either, there is no glamor in what these boys are doing, but it's giving an insight to the darker side of many streets.

Breaking Bad serves as a revelation, it's like watching a butterfly emerge from a chrysalis, Bryan Cranston delivers a heart-breaking performance as Walter White, an over-qualified chemistry teacher who discovers that he has cancer. This discovery completely changes his perspective on life, the realization that his mediocre life could soon be over and he has little to show for it triggers a change in life that simply leads from one amazing drama to the next.

Crystal meth is not something taken lightly in any drama, the show tackles these issues admirably by showing the ups and downs of dealing, the unsavory characters who Walter meets along his journey. What makes this show different is that it doesn't glamorize drugs; it does show what a human being is capable of put into various characters who Walt meets along his journey. What makes this show different is that it doesn't glamorize drugs, it does show what a human being is capable of put into various circumstances.

The atmosphere of the show is intense, epitomized by the brutal heat of Albequerque in which the characters often find themselves. The suspense and tension throughout is nerve wrecking. And then there are the shocks. The scream out loud moments.

The acting is what is really glorifying from every character. That being said Aaron Paul is magnificent, in fact it was decided not to kill off the character on the strength of his performance. He's a no-nonsense guy who does drugs and then tries to go clean; he falls in love; he cares about children - he must run the gamut of emotions in the series' five years. His relationship with Walt is sometimes compatible, sometimes antagonist, sometimes dangerous, and often frightening. Aaron is the good guy who does illegal things, but doesn't have Walt's mean streak.

The direction and writing in the show are top-notch and one is really surprised by how much you care and are involved by the characters. The cinematography is of the quality of an Oscar- winning film, as is the editing and the other technical aspects of the show.

Bryan Cranston's transformation is one riveting and absorbing performance as he moves towards the dark side, believable on both ends. As his drug whacked assistant follows suit while creator Vince Gilligan over the first four and a half seasons keeps a tight grip on storyline by introducing a series of intriguing and comic characters pertinent to the telling, keeping it buoyant and suspenseful with some powerful twists.

The creator, writers, directors and actors have paid attention to every single detail, putting thought into every nuance in every character in every scene. Because of this attention to detail there is something of everyone in this show. Every thinking brain will immediately be attracted to the intelligence so evidently on display, that even if you're not a drug dealing chemist in Albuquerque, you will find something in the characters that connects you to them and makes you hang on for dear life.

This is without a doubt one of the best shows out on television, it's great for any thrill-seekers that envy a good suspense and a terrific show. Some people are put off by the subject matter of this show but that should not put you off if you don't watch the show, you are missing out greatly. For these reasons Breaking Bad gets a 10/10.

House of Cards (2013)

Of Matadors and Men "I love that woman, I love her more than sharks love blood."

I firmly believe that one of the major aspects of what makes House of Cards so good is the ability to watch all the episodes back-to-back with no commercials or programming schedules to get in the way. This small but hugely significant idea will be an industry game changer and I am certain that this is just the beginning.

Fans of David Fincher and Kevin Spacey have been eagerly looking forward to House of Cards. Not only is this an opportunity to see an elite Hollywood director and actor take on a new medium, but it represents Netflix's first attempt at original programming (I guess Lilyhammer came first, but House of Cards is a much bigger investment for Netflix). The CEO of Netflix has said that House of Cards is meant to be a show on the quality level of the top cable stations, such as HBO, and the final product delivers on this promise.

House of Cards follows several characters involved in the political scene in Washington D.C., including politicians of various rank and influence (Kevin Spacey is a House Majority Whip in the House of Representatives) and an upcoming reporter played brilliantly by Kate Mara, who you may recognize from the first season of American Horror Story(Review coming shortly). The cast is uniformly excellent and thrives under Fincher's direction. Occasionally, Kevin Spacey's character will talk directly to the camera and offer some narration, which is the only area where the show stumbles, but it isn't too distracting. Speaking of Fincher's direction, it shouldn't come as any surprise to know that House of Cards looks great. The atmosphere is moody and resembles a tone somewhere between The Game and The Social Network. The music is equally good, complementing the mood of the show without becoming overbearing.

As for the plot, the show is wonderfully paced ( with the exception of one misstep midway through the first season). There are no explosions or bloodbaths, but it is utterly compelling watching Underwood slither through government, poisoning every corner of it with his influence, gradually moving everything into place for him and his wife. On top of that, as with any great show, the show casts off key characters is shocking circumstances and does not suffer a drop in quality. I was left open mouthed at one point for example in a way I haven't been since watching The Wire, and I would recommend the show for that moment alone.

Season 2 begins exactly where Season 1 leaves off and you're thrown back into the world of political intrigue, back-handers and devious politicians looking to gain political capital. The immense shock value of moments that turn with either actions or words is a testament to the way in which the show draws you into the characters. Those who believe the characters are shallow haven't really watched the show. Instead they've had it on the background while they play Angry Birds on their phone, because this show reveals more and more about the characters in each transitory moment.

House of Cards has wonderful background music, adding gravitas to every scene. All of the actors display an understanding of the backstories their characters must have. The writing is sparse and carries the action with an alacrity befitting Washington where the important to the non-profit organization to the beat reporter.

The truth is, it not only lets you see the what is happening in politics, but as an individual you could really learn and play the chess gamers which is being played in the series throughout, right from the start and as the season progresses with time, it will surely make you a cult follower without you even noticing it. For these reasons, House of Cards gets a perfect 10/10.

Free Birds (2013)

An attempt to rob your hard earned money "The Great Turkey"

A thanksgiving movie about two turkeys going back in time to keep turkeys off the menu at the first thanksgiving. Setting aside the fact that they probably weren't the main course if they were eaten at all, nobody should have expected this to be anything but a cheap kid's movie

The story feels like copious amounts of drugs were used to write it and more drugs were used to ignore the numerous plot holes and paradoxes that come from their use of time travel. The jokes are so bland that I find it hard kids would enjoy it and the ending I found even more infuriating which serves no greater purpose for education.

The animation is very poor, the character movements re very stiff as though it's a slow frame rate. The acting is atrocious. There are scenes that are just plain wrong, like the animals getting stoned by a crowd of people. How on earth that got approved is beyond me. I find it shameful that a celebrated cast such as Owen Wilson, Woodey Harrelson, and Amy Poehler (who all know how to give real comedy) would be in this garbage of a film.

This isn't a movie; it's just an hour and a half long commercial put into some very cheap looking and generic animation that looks like it belongs with those Direct-to-DVD, bargain bin DVDs that are always in Wal-Mart and looks like no one but confused grandparents buy.

For these reasons Free Birds gets 0/10. Officially a contender for the Razzies.

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