Series Review: Sneaky Pete – Season 2 (2018)

In early 2017 we saw the premiere of “Sneaky Pete”, a new Amazon series. I watched it, and I gave it a very positive review. So now season 2 has been out for a few days and I’ve watched it all. So let’s talk about it and see if it’s any good.

Ladies and gents… “Sneaky Pete”.

When we last saw Marius (Giovanni Ribisi), he found himself in a bit of a pickle. Two intimidating enforcers (Desmond Harrington & Joseph Lyle Taylor) thinking he was another man asked where “his” mother was. Why would they care about someone’s mother? Because she had gotten hold of eleven million dollars that their boss wanted. So we follow Marius as he tries to find this woman and her supposed eleven million. But we also follow the family that he’s snuck his way into as their lives start spiraling out of control as well. So now we have our plot. And while I think the first season had a somewhat more engaging plot, I still think that this season has a really interesting, suspenseful, and fun plot. It has a lot of twists and turns, and they all work quite well for the plot, keeping it all fun, fresh, and fairly unpredictable.

The characters in this are all quite colorful, unique, and interesting. Giovanni Ribisi is back as Marius/Pete, the con man posing as his former cellmate to get in with the cellmate’s estranged family. He’s an incredibly clever, quick-thinking, man who always tries to be one step ahead of everyone. In season 1 he was more of a no-good shyster who was only out for himself, but here in season 2 we see that he’s evolved a bit, like he actually cares for this family. He’s quite an engaging character, and he has a really solid arc this season. And Ribisi is great in the role. Marin Ireland plays Julia, the “cousin” of our main character. She works in a bail bonds office, and has (much due to Marius) gotten herself into some shit. And it’s interesting to see her go through that stuff and see what she does about it. Ireland is damn good in the role. Then we have Margo Martindale as Audrey, the “grandmother” of our main character, and the matriarch of the Bernhardt family. She’s tough, but she’s also a nice old grandmother. And she has one of the most interesting character arcs this season. And Martindale is of course fantastic in the role. Then we have Peter Gerety, Libe Barer, and Shane McRae as three more members of the family. They’ve all great characters with good arcs, but I’m lumping them together because I don’t wanna make this part too long. But I can at least say that they’re all great in the role. We also get a lot more of Ethan Embry as the real Pete this season, and he’s a fun and interesting character to follow. And yeah, Embry is really good in the role. Then you get supporting performances from people like Jacob Pitts, Jay O. Sanders, Justine Cotsonas, Alison Wright, Jennifer Ferrin, Jospeh Lyle Taylor, Desmond Harrington, Jasmine Carmichael, Jane Adams, and many more. And they’re all great.

The score for the show was composed by Nathan Barr, and I think he did a good job. His score isn’t the most standout thing ever, but it gets the job done. It helps create tension, it adds a little extra emotion, and it’s just overall well composed. There are also a whole bunch of licensed tracks used throughout the season, and thye work very well within their respective scenes. And I just wanna add that the show’s theme song, “Harder Out Here” by The Bight Light Social Hour, is such an awesome song.

The show was created by David Shore & Bryan Cranston, but Graham Yost stands as the showrunner. And it was written/directed by a whole bunch of different people. And this is a very well directed show. The direction here is fast-paced and fun, but never to the point of losing and seriousness/tension, because when a scene has to be serious and suspenseful, it fucking nails it. And at times it also has some fun humor in it. It’s not a comedy, but it does implement humor at various points throughout, and it works quite well.

This season/show has been well received. On Rotten Tomatoes it has an 83% positive rating. On Metacritic it has a score of 72/100. And on imdb.com it has a score of 8,3/10.

While I still prefer the first season, season 2 of “Sneaky Pete” is still a great season of crime television. It has a great plot, great characters, great performances, really good music, and great directing. Time for my final score. *Ahem*. My final score for season 2 of “Sneaky Pete” is a 9,75/10. So it gets the “SEAL OF APPROVAL!”.

My review of “Sneaky Pete” season 2 is now completed.

Trust in me…

Movie Review: Million Dollar Baby (2004)

Boxing. Two people standing in a small arena, trying to punch the shit out of each other. Yeah, I don’t understand the point of it. That said, I don’t know what the point of any sport’s existence is. Feel free to hate on me for not understanding the appeal/purpose of sports… I don’t care.

Ladies and gentlemen… “Million Dollar Baby”.

Maggie Fitzgerald (Hilary Swank) is a woman determined on becoming a great boxer, so she starts training at a gym owned by old and hardened boxing trainer Frankie Dunn (Clint Eastwood). And soon Frankie takes Maggie under his wing to help her become a great boxer. The story follows them as their relationship evolves while they also go through stuff. While the ideas presented at first glance are very basic and familiar from other boxing movies, the execution of said ideas is much better than a lot of other movies in the genre. Seeing their relationship evolve over the two hour runtime is quite fascinating and it makes for a really solid plot that actually delivers a few devastatingly emotional punches (pun intended) at the right times. So yeah, the plot here is pretty great.

The characters in this movie are all fleshed out and quite interesting. Hilary Swank is terrific as Maggie, perfectly playing this determined woman. She wsa believable in the role and I really cared about her. Clint Eastwood is great as Frankie, giving us the perfect blend of classic Eastwood gruffness and relatable vulnerability. Morgan Freeman (AKA god) plays an employee at Frankie’s gym (while also providing the movie’s narration) and he is absolutely terrific in the role. We also get a bunch of great supporting performances from people like Anthony Mackie, Jay Baruchel, Mike Colter, Brían F. O’Byrne, Michael Peña, and Margo Martindale. So this is a pretty stellar cast.

The score for the movie was composed by… Clint Eastwood? Really? *Does more research*. Yeah, Clint Eastwood composed the music for this movie… surprise. Jokes aside, he did a pretty great job with the music. It’s dramatic, it’s emotional, and it just fits the movie perfectly. Good job, Mr. Eastwood.

This movie was directed by Clint Eastwood and he did a great job. The shots look great and every shot is at the perfect length. Now, since this is a boxing movie we should talk about the boxing scenes. So how are the boxing scenes here? Yeah, they’re pretty great. They’re exciting, intense, and kind of brutal. It all feels quite realistic.

This movie has been very well received. On Rotten Tomatoes it has a 91% positive rating and a “Fresh” certification. On Metacritic it has a score of 86/100. Roger Ebert gave it 4/4 stars. And on imdb.com it has a score of 8,1/10 and is ranked #202 on the “Top 250” list. The movie won 4 Oscar in the categories of Best picture, Best Actress (Swank), Best supporting actor (Freeman), and Best director. It was also nominated for an additional 3 Oscars in the categories of Best actor (Eastwood), Best adapted screenplay, and Best film editing. 

“Million Dollar Baby” is an absolutely fantastic sports-drama. It has a great plot, great characters, great performances, great music, and great directing. Time for my final score. *Punch*. My final score for “Million Dollar Baby” is a 9,88/10. Which of course means that it gets the “SEAL OF APPROVAL!”.

My review of “Million Dollar Baby” is now completed.

Is this one of Eastwood’s best films? Hell yes.

Series Review: Sneaky Pete – Season 1 (2017)

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Netflix, HBO, Hulu… Amazon. Services that let you stream tons of shows, both licensed and original. All of whom are doing very well. And today we will be taking a look at a show from such a service, specifically… Amazon.

Ladies and gents… “Sneaky Pete”!

Marius (Giovanni Ribisi) is a con man who’s just been released from prison. Problem is that there’s a ruthless gangster (Bryan Cranston) out there who wants to get hold of Marius. So to try to get away from this shit, Marius takes on the identity of his former cellmate Pete (Ethan Embry) and moves in with Pete’s estranged family. And with this we follow Marius as he lives with this family, starts working with them, and gets dragged into some serious fucking trouble… on top of the trouble he already kind of was in. And all this makes for a surprisingly engaging, suspenseful, and clever crime series that kept my interest through all ten episodes. The situations we see Marius/Pete go through are all very entertaining and at times even tense and I loved that. It was a fairly unpredictable plot that had a few good twists throughout. Sure, there were a few convenient moments throughout the show where someone was about to find out about Marius’ actual identity and then they got interrupted before it happened, but they didn’t really annoy me, just thought it would be fair to mention. But the plot overall I thought was great!

The characters in this show are all interesting, surprisingly layered, and very entertaining. Giovanni Ribisi was great as Marius/Pete (Mete? Parius? Mate?), playing him with a special kind of charm that I thought was endlessly entertaining. Also, I have a thing for con men characters… not sure why, I just enjoy them. Then we have Marin Ireland as Julia, the estranged cousin of Pete, and she did a great job. Shane McRae was great as Taylor, the slightly jerk-ish cousin of Pete. Peter Gerety was great as Pete’s grandpa. Margo Martindale, an actress I was already a fan of BTW, was fantastic as Audrey, the grandmother of Pete. And of course, I have to mention Bryan Cranston as Vince, the ruthless gangster who wants to get Marius… yeah, he was fucking great. Then we also got some great supporting performances from a lot of people, including Michael Drayer, Victor Williams, Karolina Wydra, Jacob Pitts, Virginia Kull, and Brad William Henke. Let me just put it like this: There’s a shit-ton of great actors in this show.

The score for “Sneaky Pete” was compsoed by Nathan Barr and I think he did a great job with that. The score is perfect for this sort of sneaky (hehe!) crime drama. It often helped elevate some of the tension and drama throughout. There were also plenty of licensed tracks used throughout, mostly various types of rock songs, and they all worked very well within the show.

The show was created by David Shore and Bryan Cranston (Say what?). Yeah, great actors can co-create TV shows apparently. What’s also interesting is that Shore left the series at some point in 2016, and was replaced with Graham Yost. Not sure why Shore left, but I am also not complaining because yost created my favorite show, “Justified”. Now, I also want to mention that “Sneaky Pete” is a very well directed show. Not only because of some shots looking good, but because the directing is genuinely tense and well handled throughout. It’s not an action show, but it’s also not a slowly burning show. It’s just a very well paced crime caper/family dramedy.

This 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 77/100. And on imdb.com it has a score of 8,5/10.

“Sneaky Pete” is another solid show from Amazon studios. It has a great plot, great characters, great performances, great music, and great directing. Time for my final score. *Sneaks envelope form someone’s pocket*. My final score for “Sneaky Pete” season 1 is a 9,88/10. So it of course gets the “SEAL OF APPROVAL!”.
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My review of “Sneaky Pete” season 1 is now completed.

Without really spoiling anything, the final episode sets up the plot for season 2 very well… so I’m glad that Amazon greenlit a second season!

Movie Review: Dead Man Walking (1995)

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I am a big fan of dramas. Okay, a lot of people are that, but hear me out. I am a guy who a few years back never expected to like dramas. I was a guy who thought “I am simply a fan of sci-fi, fantasy, comedy and action…nothing more”. And look at me now! 17 years old and watching movies from all genres (except horror because those movies don’t appeal to me). What am I trying to get at here you may ask? Well I am just saying that considering the movie we are taking a look at today is a drama. And that I couldn’t find anything better to write here…yeah.

Dead men and dead women…”Dead Man Walking”.

Helen Prejean (Susan Sarandon) is a nun. One day she receives a letter from a man sitting in death row. This man is Matthew Poncelet (Sean Penn) who apparently killed a guy by shooting him in the back of the head (twice) and also raping, stabbing and finally shooting his girlfriend…yikes. But he says he is innocent and says his “friend” Carl Vitello (Michael Cullen) is the one who did it. Of course the higher ups (government, law-system, etc.) thinks he is bullshitting them. But when Helen decides to go visit him she discovers more about him and gets to know him more and form a sort of bond with him. And of course the parents of the dead couple is not too happy about it when they find out and all that fun shit. Now I am gonna leave it at that because this story is fan-fucking-tastic. It is not only well directed, but also incredibly tense and even has a little emotional weight. It is also based on a true story…yeah…let that sink in for a second.

The characters like the story are based on real life. But that doesn’t say much for this movie. I think they are very well-handled and their portrayals (while maybe not accurate to the real life people) are magnificent. And if you look closely, you will notice a ton of great actors who maybe weren’t the biggest actors ever back then. Of course we have the ones that are well known since earlier in the leads like Susan Sarandon, Sean Penn and R. Lee Ermey…but that isn’t as fun (considering they are obvious and very prominent throughout this). You will find such actors as Jack Black, Clancy Brown, Margo Martindale and Peter Sarsgaard (before they were as famous as they are now). But in general, these characters are handled very well are portrayed incredibly well.

The soundtrack is amazing. A lot of cold songs that makes you feel that everything is wrong in this world. But then there are songs that are just kinda…feelgood…yeah, feelgood. To give an example of that, search for Eddie Vedder feat. Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan – The Long Road…then you’ll know what the hell I am talking about.

This movie looks great. And to my surprise, this movie was directed by Tim Robbins…yeah. Andy Dufresne from “Shawshank Redemption” directed a movie…who knew. But the camera work was still really good and I am impressed by this. This movie also at one point made me shed a tear. And when a movie does that, kudos to that. I am not saying what happened or when the scene is, just saying it happened.

The reception for “Dead Man Walking” was great. Rotten Tomatoes has a 93% positive rating with a “Fresh” certification. Metacritic has a 80/100 sc0re for it. Roger Ebert gave it a perfect 4/4 star rating and called it:

“absorbing, surprising, technically superb and worth talking about for a long time afterward.”

imdb.com has a score of 7,6/1o. This movie was also nominated for 4 Oscars (Best Actress, Best Actor, Best Director, Best original song). It won on Best actress (Susan Sarandon).

I have spoken my words and I am ready to hand out my final score for “Dead Man Walking”. My final score for this compelling, emptional and incredibly well made movie is a 9,62/10 which makes me give it the “SEAL OF APPROVAL!”.
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Review for “Dead Man Walking” is done.

Dead Man Walking……OH MY GOD ZOMBIE REALIZATION!