Series Review: Watchmen – Season 1 (2019)

That’s right, it’s not just christmas contrivances you’ll get. Regular reviews will show up too, I ain’t forgettin’ my roots. So, let’s talk about a comic book thing.

Ladies and gentlemen… “Watchmen” season 1!

Set in an alternate version of 2019, “Watchmen” follows a whole bunch of people, as they try to navigate the strange and intense happenings of this world they live in. And that’s pretty much all I’ll say in regards to explaining the core plot, because it’s such a weird and unique experience that if explained further, it would risk kinda ruining it. But I’ll say that the ways it ties into the classic comic book are really neat, and even looking at it without really knowing much (if anything) about the comic, it’s still a highly entertaining and unique journey that has a satisfying beginning, middle, and end.

The characters in this are flawed, layered, colorful, and just really interesting. Regina King plays Angela Abar, an undercover police officer who more or less serves as the main protagonist of the story. She’s tough, but she does also have a vulnerable side that makes her feel more human and relatable. And King is great in the role. And that’s all the cast I’ll go into, as some reveals are better left experienced (kinda like the plot). But I can say that the cast is filled out with people like Jean Smart, Tim Blake Nelson, Sara Vickers, Jeremy Irons, Don Johnson, Louis Gossett Jr, Yahya Abdul-Mateen II, Tom Mison, James Wolk, and many more, all doing very well in their respective roles.

The score for the show was composed by Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross, and good god damn, they did a phenomenal job with it. They do some tracks that are quite exciting and cool-sounding, while also providing some tracks that are a bit more dramatic and emotional. They have created a score that not only covers every emotion one needs created for a show like this, but also fits the weird and unique style of everything else in the show. There’s also some licensed tracks used throughout, and they work quite well in their respective scenes too. So yeah, this show has good music.

Based on the classic DC Comic by Dave Gibbons and Alan Moore, “Watchmen” was developed for HBO by Damon Lindelof, who also served as lead writer, while giving directing duties to a whole bunch of other people. And the craft on display here is absolutely superb, creating a world that is familiar (thanks to it technically still being earth), and yet a bit alien, thanks to its awesomely off-kilter tone. The directing is energetic, but also suspenseful, fun, and engaging. The cinematography too is stunning, giving us some great lighting and framing. And with all this said, episode 6… some of the best craft in a tv episode this year, from the shots, to the editing, to the directing… it’s fucking spectacular.

This show has been well received. On Rotten Tomatoes it has a 96% positive rating and a “Fresh” certification. On Metacritic it has a score of 85/100. And on imdb.com it has a score of 7,8/10.

“Watchmen” is one of the best new shows of 2019. It has a great plot, great characters, fantastic performances, great music, and great writing, directing, cinematography, and editing. Time for my final score. *Ahem*. My final score for “Watchmen” is a 9,90/10. Which means that it gets the “SEAL OF APPROVAL!”.

My review of “Watchmen” season 1 is now completed.

I know I called this season 1, but I sincerely hope there are no more seasons. This is a perfectly contained package.

Series Review: Legion – Season 2 (2018)

Another year(ish) has passed, the season has wrapped up (in the US and here in Sweden at least), so now I can finally talk about the insanity that is “Legion” once again. If you haven’t seen the show or know nothing about it, go read my season 1 review, then go watch the show. This is not the jumping-on point.

Ladies and gents… “Legion” season 2.

Set a year after the first season, David (Dan Stevens) finds himself having to work with both his friends and an old foe to stop Farouk (Navid Negahban) from finding his old body, which would give him a lot of power. So the basic idea this season is a bit more straightforward compared to the first, since we know what the general goal of the characters is. Of course, “Legion” being “Legion”, its approach to telling this story isn’t as straightforward and normal as most shows. It’s still filled with weird, trippy shit that may just leave you confused at first, but will make a little bit more sense down the line. But through this strange journey we do get some solid drama, suspense, and intriguing storytelling. Is the narrative as strong as the first season? Not quite. It’s still damn good, but it’s not quite as tight as the first season since it’s trying to branch out into something bigger. The plot here is still damn good though.

The characters in this are weird, unique, colorful, and endlessly interesting. Dan Stevens returns as David, the trouble yet powerful young man at the center of the story. He already got some solid development over the first season’s run, and I’m happy to see that being a thing here as well. The journey we see David go through as a character is really fascinating and it really makes him such a deep and interesting character. And Stevens is once again fantastic in the role. Next we have Rachel Keller back as David’s girlfriend, Syd Barrett (*Insert Pink Floyd song here*). She has an interesting arc here that is based around David’s arc, with his affecting hers (keeping it vague is hard). And it’s interesting. We do also get some good backstory on her. And Keller is great in the role. Next we have Aubrey Plaza once again as Lenny, the mysterious old friend of David’s. Not gonna say anything else about her arc because it’s best left experienced. But it’s great. And Plaza is great. We also of course see the return of Bill Irwin, Amber Midthunder, Jean Smart, Jemaine Clement, Jeremie Harris, and Hamish Linklater, and all are still great in their respective roles. And newcomer Navid Negahban also holds his own as the smooth yet powerful and somewhat intimidating Farouk. Really, it’s a damn great cast.

Jeff Russo returned to do the score for this season, and he once again knocked it out of the park. His score is tense, trippy, surreal, emotional, and just overall works perfectly for the show. There’s also a ton of licensed music used throughout, and all the song work excellently in their respective scenes. The use of music in this show is just phenomenal.

Based on some Marvel comics from Bill Sienkiewicz and Chris Claremont, the show was created by Noah Hawley (who’s still the showrunner). And once again, the creative minds behind this show has crafted something truly unique. Let’s start with the visuals, because that’s what a lot of people will pick up on first. The way the show uses lighting, colors, creative camera angles, effects, and even aspect ratio to create a unique style helps make this show one of the most visually interesting I’ve ever seen. I thought season 1 had some great visuals, but this season brought that stuff to the next level. And the editing (which I almost never talk about) is also sublime. This show just has such a unique style that I’ve never really seen anywhere else.

This show/season has been well received. On Rotten Tomatoes it has a 91% positive rating and a “Fresh” certification. On Metacritic it has a score of 85/100. And on imdb.com it has a score of 8,4/10 and is ranked #225 on the “Top 250 TV” list.

While not quite as amazing as the first season, “Legion” season 2 is still a great season of television. It has a great plot, really good characters, fantastic performances, fantastic music, and great directing/cinematography/effects/other technical things. Time for my final score. *Ahem*. My final score for “Legion” season 2 is a 9,54/10. So it is still worthy of the “SEAL OF APPROVAL!”.

My review of “Legion” season 2 is now completed.

Even if “Legion” would drop a bit in quality, I’d rather take it and its strange and unique kind of storytelling over most shows.

Movie Review: Hope Springs (2012)

Marriage. A bond between a man and a woman. Or a man and a man. Or a woman and a woman. The point I’m trying to make is that it’s a bond, connecting to people (sometimes out of love, sometimes because of horrible shit) in a more powerful way. But even the happiest of marriages can show cracks, especially after a really long time. Let’s explore that.

Ladies and gentlemen… “Hope Springs”.

Kay (Meryl Streep) and Arnold (Tommy Lee Jones) have been married for a long time. And while they have a nice and easy daily routine, Kay feels like their marriage has gotten a bit stale. So she books tickets for them to go to intensive couples therapy to see if she can’t fix their situation a bit. Stories about sexless marriages isn’t anything new, and the plot here doesn’t do anything new or totally unpredictable. Overall I’d call it… fine. It’s breezy and enjoyable enough, with only a few moments of melodrama that sometimes work and sometimes don’t. It’s a harmless enough plot that I’d call fine.

The characters in this aren’t the deepest, but I also don’t hate them. They’re fine. Meryl Streep plays Kay, the one of the two who gets the plot started, the one that feels like something’s off about the marriage. She loves her husband, but she wants things to be less… dry. She easily gets emotional, and it’s a bit hit or miss for me throughout. But I can safely say that Meryl Streep is great. Tommy Lee Jones plays Arnold, the Tommy Lee Jones-ian grouch who seems to be perfectly fine with the dry and sexless marriage that he’s part of. And it’s interesting to see him get some decent character development here. And Jones is really good in the role. Then we have Steve Carell as Doctor Feld, the therapist that Kay and Arnold see during their little vacation. You can tell that he’s actually interested in what’s going on, and he seems like he genuinely likes helping people. He mainly serves as a plot device to get the Kay’s and Arnold’s plot moving forward, but he’s also an enjoyable presence. And Carell is really good in the role.

The score for the movie was composed by Theodore Shapiro and it was fine… I think. I almost never really noticed it. I could at times kind of hear it, but those tracks felt more like fodder rather than any actual mood-setter. Then there’s also a bunch of licensed tracks used throughout and I have mixed feelings. While the songs themselves were pretty good, the way they were used was a bit… sledgehammer-y. Like they used songs “appropriate to the situation”, meaning lyrics exactly explaining what was going on with the characters, things we could’ve picked up on without the “YOU HEAR THIS SHIT, WE SO CLEVER!” use of music. So the music in this movie overall is… fine.

This movie was directed by David Frankel, and he did a pretty good job. Like I said about the plot, it’s quite fun and breezy, and there’s no shot that lingers too long. And the camerawork in general is fine. There are also some jokes here that are fine. I never laughed out loud, but there were a bunch of chuckles throughout.

This movie has gotten some mixed reception. On Rotten Tomatoes it has a 75% positive rating and a “Fresh” certification. On Metacritic it has a score of 65/100. Roger Ebert gave it 3/4 stars. And on imdb.com it has a score of 6,3/10.

While “Hope Springs” is far from a great movie, it’s still an enjoyable enough little romcom. It has an okay plot, okay characters, really good performances, okay music, good directing, and okay comedy. Time for my final score. *Ahem*. My final score for “Hope Springs” is a 6,23/10. While very flawed, it’s still worth a rental.

My review of “Hope Springs” is now completed.

Seen better, seen worse.

Movie Review: The Accountant (2016)

Mental health. While not always the easiest thing to discuss, it’s something that NEEDS to be talked about. There are all kinds of mental health issues out there and I feel like we need to find ways understand them and help the people with them get through it. They’re people… so they deserve all the respect and support they can get.

Ladies and gentlemen… “The Accountant”.

Christian Wolff (Ben Affleck) is an autistic accountant who cooks the books for some really bad people. And when an accounting clerk named Dana (Anna Kendrick) discovers a discrepancy involving millions of dollars, Christian has to uncook those books and see what the hell all of that is about. And as Christian is uncooking these books he starts discovering what’s up with those numbers and shit starts getting real. We also get a good look into Christian’s past, which helps develop the plot further, giving it more depth. So now we have a thriller with a really intriguing mystery and some surprising drama. Seeing Christian through various stages of his life was really fascinating, with him having autism and also having been through some shit, now doing his job and such as an adult, it’s all quite interesting. It’s slow-paced, but it’s not boring… it is simply a really interesting plot.

What I appreciate about this movie is that it takes it’s time to develop the characters. Most modern action-thrillers don’t really do that, so it was qutie refreshing to see it here. Ben Affleck plays Christian Wolff, the titular accountant. Like I said earlier, Christian is autistic, but he’s also gone through some shit that has given him a very particular set of skills. And Affleck gives a terrific performance, really dedicating himself to the role. Anna Kendrick plays Dana, the young woman who notices the discrepency in the numbers, and she was really good in the role. J.K. Simmons plays Ray King, an agent from the Treasury Department, and he’s great in the role. Jon Bernthal plays a hitman in the movie and he is great. We also get a bit of John Lithgow in the movie, and he’s really good. Really, there are no bad performances in this movie.

The score for the movie was composed by Mark Isham and it wass pretty damn good. It was tense, exciting, and just overall fit the scenes very well. There were also a few songs in there. Like song-songs, not score-songs. Anyhow, they worked very well in the scenes they were in.

This movie was directed by Gavin O’Connor and I think he did a really good job. The shots overall look really good and he manages to create a lot of tension and drama with his directing. And while the action isn’t the main focus of the movie, it is still here and we should talk about it… so how is the action here? Pretty damn good. Sure, there is a short bit where the camera shakes a lot. But it’s just for a very short bit, so it doesn’t really take away from the movie. Now for the rest of the action here, it is badass, tense, and really exciting. Like “Bourne”, but not shaky. You can clearly see the violence, and I love that.

This movie has gotten some mixed reception On Rotten Tomatoes it has a 52% positive rating and a “Fresh” certification. On Metacritic it has a score of 51/100. And on imdb.com it has a score of 7,4/10.

“The Accountant” is not only an exciting thriller, but also a surprisingly solid character study. It has a really good plot, really good characters, great performances, great music, and great directing. Time for my final score. *Ahem*. My final score for “The Accountant” is a 9,65/10. This means that it gets the “SEAL OF APPROVAL!”.

My review of “The Accountant” is now completed.

I’m not saying that the depiction of autism is 100% accurate, but it’s definitely better than in most Hollywood movies.

Series Review: Legion – Season 1 (2017)

The world of comic books is filled with all kinds of crazy characters. From grumpy billionaires dressing up like bats to angry Canadians with sharp knives in their hands, there are all kinds of weirdos in comics. Now, while it’s fun seeing some of the more “normal” and popular characters, I’d like to see some more obscure and odd characters. Now, I’m not talking about Arm-fall-off-boy, though that would be hilarious. But here we go, FOX taking a chance with one of their more… “crazy” characters.

Ladies and gentlemen… “Legion”!

David Haller (Dan Stevens) is a young man that’s been admitted to a mental hospital to get treated for schizophrenia. However he soon finds out that his crazy episodes might be because of more than simple schizophrenia, that he might have some kind of power. And that’s where I’m gonna leave it because this plot is fucking great! I mean, it’s really weird and most definitely a mindfuck… but it’s definitely great. I think that it could be a bit polarizing for some. The weirdness might seem like it has no purpose at times, but if you stick with the show then it will actually make sense. It’s weird, it’s trippy, but it’s also compelling, layered, and incredibly entertaining. So yeah, the plot here is great!

All of the characters here are troubled which makes them really interesting to watch. Dan Stevens plays David, our really troubled and fascinating main character. The character has a lot of layers to him and the fact that he might actually have serious mental problems just makes him so much more interesting. And Dan Stevens is fantastic in the role. Rachel Keller plays Syd Barrett, a woman that David falls for, and she’s great in the show. Her character has some problems of her own, and it makes her a really compelling character. Aubrey Plaza plays Lenny, a friend of David’s and she’s just a million flavors of fun. Her character is chaotic and unpredictable which makes the scenes with her so incredibly fun and investing. We also get some great performances in the show from people like Bill Irwin, Jeremie Harris, Amber Midthunder, Jean Smart, and Mackenzie Gray. Shit, every actor that pops up in this show is great… no weak performances here.

The score for the show was composed by Jeff Russo and it’s really great. Often it can be as weird as the plot, which just makes it a better fit for the show. But overall it is very well composed, containing all kinds of great stuff from big and brassy action tunes to weird electronic stuff to slower/more serious stuff. There are also a lot licensed tracks used htroughout to great effect from artists/bands like Nina Simone, T-Rex, Radiohead, and Sonny Simmons (and a whole bunch more).

The series was created by Noah Hawley (the man behind the awesomely awesome “Fargo” series). And while he didn’t write/direct every episode, it’s still clear that he had a hand in this. Speaking of directing, this is a very well directed show. Shto composition is really solid and scenes flow very well. What I also like about the show on the more technical side of everything is the use of different colors, lighting, and even different aspect ratios. It makes for a rather unique and interesting watch… and I love it. So yeah, there are loads of weird visuals in this show, but I’d argue that it all has a point. It’s style mixed with substance.

This show has been very well received. On Rotten Tomatoes it has a 90% positive rating and a “Fresh” certification. On Metacritic it has a score of 82/100. And on imdb.com it has a score of 8,8/10 and is ranked #91 on the “Top 250 TV” list.

“Legion” season 1 is an incredibly weird but also incredibly awesome show. It has a great plot, great characters, terrific performances, great music, and great directing/editing. Time for my final score. *Clears throat*. My final score for “Legion” season 1 is a 9,90/10. So yeah, it gets the “SEAL OF APPROVAL!”.

My review of “Legion” season 1 is now completed.

So it’s probably gonna be about a year until next season comes out… *sigh*. At least “Fargo” returns soon.

Series Review: Fargo – Season 2 (2015)

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Some of you people might remember that I had seen and reviewed the first season of this show a while back. If you remember that you probably also remember that I absolutely loved it. So of course I was excited about seeing season 2… and here we are, finally reviewing it.

Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you the second season of… “Fargo”.

The year is 1979, that’s right, this season is more or less a prequel to season 1. Like I said in my review of the first season, this is an anthology show. Now that we got that part cleared let’s move on to this season. And in it we follows Minnesota state trooper Lou Solverson (Patrick Wilson) as he is drawn into an investigation involving a local crime gang, the mafia and a local couple (Jesse Plemons and Kirsten Dunst). And it all of course is a huge mystery filled murder, deception and most other things you’d expect from this show if you’ve seen the first season. And there is no reason to either lie about it or postpone it anymore… I think the plot of the second season is great, as good as the first season even. I would even say that I might’ve enjoyed this season even more than the first one. The mystery is bigger and even more bizarre. It’s intriguing, entertaining and really well told.

While the plot is great on it’s own, it would be nothing without the characters, that is a fact that works for most pieces of media. With that said, holy shit the characters are amazing! They are all very interesting, colorful and all get time to shine. Patrick Wilson knocks it out of the park as Lou, which I didn’t have much of a doubt about since I love him as an actor. Ted Danson plays a sheriff and Lou’s father-in-law and he’s as great as ever. Jesse Plemons, you have shown me once again what a terrific actor you are. First “Breaking Bad”, now “Fargo”… I can’t wait to see what awesome thing you’ll do next. Kirsten Dunst, holy shit, this is the best she’s been in years. Jeffrey Donovan plays an unlikable asshole in this show, but that’s okay because his performance overall is terrific. And there are a whole bunch of otehr great actors/performances/characters in this show that I will not get into because I would be here all day. But yeah… it’s all great.

Just like in the first season we got Jeff Russo to do the score for the show. And once again it is great. It manages to create a lot of tension, a lot of suspense, a lot of drama and it is just awesome to listen to. There is also a lot of otehr tunes here that are not composed by Russo. What I mean by that is that there are a lot of licensed tracks and not only do they fit the scenes they are used in, but they are songs that I really enjoyed listening to. As someone who listens to a lot of 70’s/80’s music, this soundtrack was pretty much made for me. Especially in the last few episodes, those had some of the best tunes in show in my opinion. Yeah… this season had great music.

Season 2 takes the directing of season 1 and ramps it up to fuckin’ eleven. It’s quicker, it’s snappier, it’s even more stylish than the first season. It’s also even more violent, good grief. Yes, season 1 was pretty damn violent, but wasn’t this violent. It also didn’t have as much violence and brutality and blood/gore as this season. Not that the extra violence takes away from the show, I would amost say that it is one of the things keeping the show as interesting as it is in combination with the story and characters ‘n’ shit. The pitch black humor also makes a triumphant return in this season and as someone who loves pitch black humor to no end I actually laughed at some pretty dark stuff. No wonder I never get invited to parties…

This season of the show has been very well received. On Rotten Tomatoes it has a 100% (holy shit) positive rating and a “Fresh” certification. On Metacritic it has a score of 96/100. And while imdb doesn’t have season-based averages, the show does have a score of 9,0/10 and is ranked #23 on the “Top 250 TV” list.

The second season of “Fargo” took what season 1 did right and improved upon it. I thought the story was even better, the characters more entertaining/great (though I miss Billy Bob Thornton), the soundtrack absolutely fantastic, teh directing/action fantastic and the violence/humor great. Time for my final score. *Clears throat*. My final score for “Fargo” season 2 is a 9,90/10. I love it and it gets the “SEAL OF APPROVAL!”.
Seal of Approval

My review of “Fargo” season 2 is now completed.

So… Ewan McGregor next season then!