Series Review: Mayans M.C. – Season 2 (2019)

That’s right, two posts in one day. A rare occurrence here. But today it happens. Now either this is a blessing or a pain, depending on your point of view. Either way, let’s talk about Hispanic bikers.

Ladies and gentlemen… “Mayans M.C.” season 2.

Set several months after the first season, as EZ Reyes (JD Pardo) has a lot of problems to balance. From familial tensions, to problems hitting the club, to the constant antagonistic pressure from federal prosecutor Lincoln Potter (Ray McKinnon). Secrets are discovered, drama occurs, it’s more “Mayans”. And I thought the plot here was great. There’s a lot of threads going on here, but they never feel like a fucking mess. And seeing it all unfold is quite engaging. Sure, some of its social commentary (while being shit I agree with) can be a bit on the ham-fisted side at times, but it never full on detracts from the overall storytelling of the show.

The characters here are flawed, layered, and overall quite interesting. JD Pardo returns as EZ Reyes, prospect within the Mayans M.C. He deals with a lot of personal shit this season around, after a revelation at the end of the first season. And combining that with some of the stuff happening this season makes for a compelling arc. And Pardo is once really good in the role. Clayton Cardenas returns as his brother, Angel, and he also has a great arc here, with Cardenas giving a great performance. Sarah Bolger returns as Emily, former love of EZ, current love of gangster Miguel Galindo. She’s got a lot going on too. And Bolger is really good in the role. And with supporting work from people like Ray McKinnon, Michael Irby, Danny Pino, Edward James Olmos, Carla Baratta, Richard Cabral, Emilio Rivera, Ada Maris, and many more, you get some damn fine performances rounding out the cast.

Just like with season 1, the score for season 2 was composed by Bob Thiele Jr, and once again it’s great. A lot of guitars, some others strings, overall it manages to create a sound that honor some of the Mexican culture, while also capturing the feel of a gritty biker drama. There’s also plenty of licensed music used throughout, and it all fits very well, while also just in general being pleasing to my ear.

The show was created by Elgin James and Kurt Sutter, with writing and directing by both of them, along with a bunch of other cool people. And the craft here is top notch. There’s a strong vision for how they want the episodes to flow, which comes through both in writing and in camerawork. Season 1 was a strong, decently confident start. Here in season 2, their confidence is clearly a lot higher, which makes their craft feel even stronger. These guys know what the fuck they’re doing, and the way it comes through in the show makes it such a standout in today’s tv.

This season/has show has been well received. On Rotten Tomatoes it has a 100% positive rating. On Metacritic it exists, but has no score. And on imdb.com it has a score of 7,5/10.

Season 2 of “Mayans M.C.” improves on what was set up in the first season, even if some of its social commentary can be slightly clumsy at times. It has a great plot, really good characters, great performances, great music, and great writing/directing. Time for my final score. *Ahem*. My final score for “Mayans M.C.” season 2 is a 9,50/10. So while it borders on a lower rating, it still gets the “SEAL OF APPROVAL!”.

My review of “Mayans M.C.” season is now completed.

’cause a beaten dog never forgets.

Series Review: Mayans M.C. – Season 1 (2018)

In 2008, a show called “Sons of Anarchy” started airing. It was created by Kurt Sutter, and ran for seven seasons, ending in 2014. I loved that show. And in 2018 we got a spin-off. And in 2019 I finally watched it. So let’s talk about it.

Damas y caballeros… “Mayans M.C.” season 1.

Set a few years after “Sons of Anarchy” ended, we follow EZ Reyes (J.D. Pardo), a prospect within the Mayans motorcycle club. And throughout the show we get to see him take part in the club’s various dealings with various criminal elements, as well as the law. So now we have our biker crime-drama. Early on it’s easy to tell that it’s a bit more focused than it’s big brother, “Sons of Anarchy”, at least in terms of first season stuff. There is more of a central through-line here that makes it a bit more compelling in parts. But it’s not free of faults, as there’s a lot going on here. They set up a few face-to-face conflicts early on (cool), but they also then have a lot of sneaking around going on, making it a little convoluted at first. I did settle into it after a few episodes, but I feel like dumping that many separate plot threads early on is a bit much at the start, ease people into your world, then expand. Though like I said, I did settle into it soon enough, and I did find the overall plot quite compelling, especially when things started ramping up towards the end of the season.

The characters in this are layered, flawed, colorful, and overall quite interesting. J.D. Pardo plays Ezekiel “EZ” Reyes, the show’s main protagonist. A smart young man acting as a prospect for the Mayans M.C. He’s a good guy involved in some complicated, sometimes illegal shit, which makes it interesting to see his inner turmoil throughout the season. And Pardo is really good in the role. We then get Sarah Bolger as Emily Galindo, a woman EZ once had a relationship with, but is now married to a cartel boss. She has an interesting arc throughout the season that I won’t spoil, but it does make her quite a fascinating character. And Bolger is great in the role. We then get Danny Pino as Miguel Galindo, the cartel boss that Emily married. He’s ruthless when people make him angry, but can be a reasonable man when shit isn’t hitting the fan too hard. He has a few more sides than other, similar kinds of characters, which makes him quite interesting. And Pino is great in the role. We also get supporting work from people like Clayton Cardenas, Michael Irby, Edward James Olmos, Carla Baratta, Richard Cabral, Maurice Compte, and many more, all doing very well in their respective roles.

The score for the show/season was composed by Bob Thiele Jr. And I think he did a good job with it, using a fair bit of acoustic guitars that helps brings the biker side and the drama side into one. There are also a good amount of licensed tracks used throughout, and they work quite well in their respective scenes. So yeah, this show has some damn good music.

“Mayans M.C.” was created by Kurt Sutter & Elgin James, with writing and directing by them and a whole bunch of other cool people. And the craft here is pretty tight, building decent suspense when needed, and having a good flow between the various storylines going on in each episode. They also find a way to really get intimate with the characters through the direction, really making me feel like I’m there with them. As for the few action scenes throughout the show, they’re pretty good. Kinda standard, but still serviceable enough.

This show/season has been pretty well received. On Rotten Tomatoes it has a 72% positive rating. On Metacritic it has a score of 57/100. And on imdb.com it has a score of 7,5/10.

While starting off with a few too many balls in the air, season 1 of “Mayans M.C.” is still a highly compelling biker drama. It has a good plot, really good characters, great performances, great music, and really good writing/directing. Time for my final score. *Ahem*. My final score for “Mayans M.C.” season 1 is an 8,99/10. So I’d say that it’s definitely worth a watch.

My review of “Mayans M.C.” season 1 is now completed.

At first I was worried about a “Sons of Anarchy” spin-off. But you guys proved me wrong. Bien hecho. 

Movie Review: Southpaw (2015)

southpaw

It’s the eye of the tiger
It’s the thrill of the fight
Risin’ up to the challenge
Of our rival
And the last known survivor
Stalks his prey in the night
And he’s watching us all with the
Eye of the tiger

Ladies and gentlemen… “Southpaw”.

Billy Hope (Jake Gyllenhaal) is boxer, and a damn good one at that. I mean the guy is the junior middleweight world champion. Well, he is that until something happens. Something that makes him lose everything. So now he has to find a way to work his as back up in life, and for that he takes help/training from Tick Wills (Forest Whitaker). And I have to say that rarely have the plot of a movie depressed me as much as “Southpaw”. Without spoiling anything, let me just say that Billy’s life goes from fine, to bad, to shit, to lowest low. And with his life falling down, so goes your emotional dominoes. That’s right, the plot made me feel like shit and I think that is a bit of a plus. I even have to admit that there were a few points where I almost teared up a bit. Sure, the story is cliché in a lot of ways, but the movie uses those clichés to it’s advantage and that is a good reason for me to like it.

I think it goes without saying that Jake Gyllenhaal is fucking phenomenal in the movie as boxer Billy Hope. Te guy has proven himself time and time again that he is one of the best actors working today and this is jsut another example of his talents. He commits to the role both physically and mentally and is perfect in the role. Forest Whitaker gives one of, if not the best performance of his in recent years. Rahcel McAdams is also really good as Gyllenhaal’s wife. 50 Cent is also in this movie, basically playing Jake Gyllenhaal’s manager and he is actually realld good in the role. In the movie we also have relative newcomer Oona Laurence playing Gyllenhaal’s daughter and I would say she gives a damn fine performance. I rarely like child performances, but she was really good in the movie. Everybody did a great job in the movie.

The score for the movie was provided by the late (and great) James Horner. It is emotional, it is a little thought-provoking and it is pretty damn good. And the use of all the licensed rap songs is perfect. Sure, if you’re not a fan of rap music then you might not enjoy them, but I liked the songs and I thought they fit perfectly.

This movie was directed by Antoine Fuqua and you notice that he was very passionate about this project. You can see how much effort he put down to make sure this movie was as well directed as possible. The overall direction is great, but where it excels is in the boxing scenes which are intense, fierce and brutal. I especially kind of love the first-person shots they sometimes do where you see the actor throw punches at the camera and you see it weave away and dodge, those shots were really cool. Here is a little fun fact for you: This movie was intended as a follow-up to “8 Mile”, this movie was even set to star Eminem. But since there were some scheduling conflicts, Eminem had to drop out and the part went to Gyllenhaal, which may or may not have been for the better.

This movie has gotten some mixed reception. On Rotten Tomatoes it has a 59% positive rating. On Metacritic it has a score of 57/100. And on imdb.com it has a score of 7,5/10.

“Southpaw” is a movie that features a pretty cliché story that actually uses the clichés to it’s advantage while also having great emotion, great acting, great music and great directing. Time for my final score. AAAAAAAHHHHHH! My final score for “Southpaw” is a 9,84/10. It gets the “SEAL OF APPOVAL!”.
Seal of Approval

Review of “Southpaw” is now completed.

Did you see how much Gyllenhaal beefed up for this? Jesus Christ.

Movies left in 2015 I am looking forward to

Movies

How are you doing, guys? Personally I am doing great with summer vacation going on. Anyway, I am here to just tell you what movies left in 2015 I am excited about. And to be completely clear, these are in no particular order, these are just movies in general I am looking forward to. So let’s stop standing around like a bunch of jackasses in a circle and get this going!

Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens.
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Let’s get the obvious shit out of the way first with what I would assume will be the highest grossing movie of this year, “Star Wars episode VII: The Force Awakens”. Just like everyone else I am looking forward a lot to “Star Wars” because it is motherfucking “Star Wars”! Some people are skeptical because of J.J. Abrams directing, I however am excited to see what he brings to the table considering his “Star Trek” reboot was fucking awesome (in my opinion). So yeah… “Star Wars”.

Ant-Man.
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Again, getting the obvious stuff out of the way first. That’s right, I am really looking forward to seeing Marvel’s next movie “Ant-Man”. If you remember a long time ago, I did put it on my “Most Anticipated Movies of 2015” list. It was fairly high on that list. And even though Marvel can do no wrong these days I might be wrong about it. I mean, I was wrong about “Blackhat” which turned out to not be that great… but this is Marvel, not modern Michael Mann, so I think it will go well.

Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation.
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You guys all know that I love Tom Cruise, he’s a great actor and I have a lot of respect for him as well for doing all of his own stunts. And this time he has out-triumphed himself with his foolishness by climbing on a plane taking off. First the Burj Khalifa, now a plane. What’s next, riding on the outside of a real life rocket? Tom, if you’re reading this… DON’T, NO!

Spectre.
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IT is a new “James Bond” movie directed by Sam Mendes who did “Skyfall” (which I have not seen yet, I know, shame on me). But I did see Mendes’ movie “Road to Perdition” and that movie was awesome and I did see “Casino Royale” so I know Daniel Craig will be great as Bond. This will probably be a great movie as well.

The Martian.
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It is a sci-fi movie starring Matt Damon (who is awesome) and is directed by Ridley Scott (who is awesome). What is not to be excited for!? Okay fine, Ridley Scott has had some missteps these past few years, but remember that this is the same guy that gave us “American Gangster”, “Alien”, “Gladiator” and “Blade Runner: The Final Cut”. Trust me, I got hope in this project. Also, come on guys, “Prometheus” wasn’t THAT BAD!

Bridge of Spies.

Next up is a spy-drama with the always successful combination of Tom Hanks and Steven Spielberg. Now they are taking on the cold war and spies. This is what dreams are made of, all of these awesome details. This will probably be great based on the earlier collaborations of these two.

Southpaw.
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This movie has such a combination of factors that it is almost unbelievable. I will try to round them up as decently as I can because this movie over the past few months has earned my interest more and more to the point of it becoming one of my most anticipated of the year.
1: The plot is about a boxer’s life going from hit to shit… that sounds great.
2: It is directed by Antoine Fuqua who made “Training Day” and “Shooter”, both of which I haven’t seen in a long time. But I remember liking them, so that’s something!
3: It stars Jake Gyllenhaal, one of my favorite actors who has proven himself these past 10 years that he is one of the greatest actors living today.
4: It is written by Kurt Sutter, the creator of “Sons of Anarchy”, one of my favorite TV-shows of all time. And I remember that show having some great writing, so that is good.
5: The soundtrack was done by Eminem. If you don’t like his music, that’s fine but don’t scold me for liking it! I like his music and I do think it might fit in this movie. And that is the final nail in this coffin.

Sicario.
SICARIO-2015

This might be the movie I am looking forward to the most out of all ones left this year. I know, more than “Star Wars” which I am still looking forward to more than you’d believe. But there is a strange allure to this movie that just makes it more interesting to me than “Star Wars”. I guess it might be because of the excellent cast including Emily Blunt, Josh Brolin and Benicio Del Toro. It might also be because of this movie being directed by Denis Villeneuve who made “Prisoners” which most likely will stay my favorite movie of 2013 because of how amazing that is.

So those are the movies I am most excited to see in the second half of 2015. What are some of yours? Comment below and let me know!

Have a good one!

Series Review: Sons of Anarchy (2008 – 2014)

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For some reason I am very interested in crime-related stories. Whether they are real or not, they just interest me. And I don’t necessarily mean reading about them on the internet, I mean read books, watch movies or TV relating to crime in one way or another. And one type of crime-related thing that I’ve always had a keen interest in is the world of biker gangs. Hells Angels, Bandidos, you name ’em. So then I found out that my parents had started watching a TV-show about a biker gang. So I got pretty interested and started watching with them. And now that it’s over I thought it could be fun to review it for you people (Sidenote: I know it finished fall of 2014, but the last episodes didn’t arrive here in Sweden until 2015).

Sons and daughters… “Sons of Anarchy”.

This show follows a biker gang in the fictional city of Charming, California, but the main focus is on member Jackson “Jax” Teller (Charlie Hunnam). And being part of a biker gang like that sounds fine and dandy… except if you recently have become a father like Jax. It also gets more difficult when he has to balance that and being part of a gang that takes part in criminal activities. The club is led by Jax’s stepfather Clay Morrow (Ron Perlman) who might be a little bit corrupt in his ways. So throughout the show we get to see Jax struggle with both being part of this criminal gang and being a decent father. Now while what I explain might sound “meh”, it is actually really intriguing. It is a great set up for a great plot and a great execution of said plot. Every season they have new obstacles to face, new enemies to fight and new situations to be part of. I love the plot and execution of the show.

The characters in the show are some of the best I have ever seen. They are both incredibly well-written and incredibly well-acted. Let’s start with our protagonist Jax. I think Charlie Hunnam was the perfect pick for him. Sure, I never questioned it since I had no idea about this show until about 2010/2011. But I think he portrayed the character perfectly. He gets a lot of development throughout the show. From the not too trigger-happy rookie guy to the great leader/killing machine. That is not a spoiler since I didn’t tell you what happened to him! Now I am quickly gonna go through the main members of the club so this doesn’t get too long. Ron Perlman  as Clay is kind of like a more asshole-y version of Hellboy (Fitting since he played Hellboy). Next is Jax’s mother/Clay’s wife Gemma (Katey Sagal). She is a major bitch through the show. but I can’t deny that Sagal plays her pitch perfectly, she was awesome. Filip “Chibs” Telford (Tommy Flanagan) is the Scottish and awesome sort of best friend of everyone in the club. He is loyal, he is badass and he got an awesome accent. Robert “Bobby” Munson (Mark Boone Junior) is the sort of uncle of everyone in the club. He is a big guy with a big heart and knows how to show loyalty towards his close friends/fellow members. Alex “Tig” Trager (Kim Coates)… such a sick little bastard. I am not kidding, he is a sick fucking guy… butthat is what makes him so awesome. Don’t worry, he can be serious and a good man whenever he wants to. And finally we have Juan Carlos “Juice” Ortiz (Theo Rossi) who is the little guy in the club, but he can kick a lot of ass when he needs to. Every actor is doing a fantastic job in this show and never feel miscast. There are more characters of course, but most of them are sort of back and forth type characters… but they still play big parts. The characters and acting in the show are awesome.

The music in this show is some of the greatest I have heard. Maybe I am just biased considering the majority of the music is rock/metal… but it is still great. The soundtrack is for the most part done by the band “The Forest Rangers”. The badass music fits the badass style of the show. There are also a lot of covers of well-known rock songs such as Bob Dylan’s “All Along the Watchtower” or Queen’s “Bohemian Rhapsody”. We of course also have the main theme tune “This life” by The Forest Rangers and Curtis Stigers… I love it. It fits the show perfectly and is a great musical track overall.

This show is very well-directed. For one, you can see the action happen, it isn’t obstructed by shaky-cam (Woohoo!). The show also got a lot of dark humor mixed in every now and then to keep the mood nice and light-hearted if it’s needed. But the humor is often VERY dark, so maybe all people won’t like it. Another warning I might give is that the show is incredibly violent. So if you are squeamish then maybe not have a look… or have a look and see if you can take it. Here is also a little fun fact; Katey Sagal who plays Gemma is married to the creator of the show, Kurt Sutter who shows up in the show a few times as the character Otto. Another fun thing is that in a few episodes we get a cameo from the founder of Hells Angels himself, Sonny Barger… that’s kinda cool to know. I can also admit that this show have made me cry more than once… yeah, good job. I can probably also say that my favorite season might be the final one. Sure, all seasons are fantastically well-paced, but the final season is so suspenseful and great that it just becomes my favorite. So here is a question; If you have seen the show, which season is your favorite? And who is you favorite character? Mine might be either Tig or Chibs… can’t decide.

This is a show with universal critical acclaim. Now I am not able to give you the overall scores of most sites since they divide by season and have no overall score, but I can still link them. Rotten Tomatoes! Here comes Metacritic! And finally we have an overall score on the one and only imdb.com where it has an 8,7/10.

“Sons of Anarchy” got a great story with a great finale, some great characters/performances, amazing music, great directing/camera work, great action and just a great feel throughout. Final score time! My final score for “Sons of Anarchy” is a 9,92/10 which of course grants it… the “SEAL OF APPROVAL!”
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“Sons of Anarchy” is now reviewed.

Ride into this world…