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: The Last Castle (2001)

I don’t have much to say here. Not because the movie flabbergasted me or broke my soul in two. I just don’t have anything clever to say. So I guess we should just get into the review.

Ladies and gents… “The Last Castle”.

Eugene Irwin (Robert Redford) is an army general who has been court-martialed and sent to a military prison. But it doesn’t take long for him to notice how corrupt the entire place is. So he decides to rally the other inmates to rise up against the prison and its crooked warden (James Gandolfini). I like stories of revolutions. And setting one of those within a corrupt prison is an idea that I find pretty fucking clever. However, they only do the bare minimum with that idea, going for surface level ideas instead of giving us the kind of nuanced story one could expect from this kind of idea. That said, it’s not bad. Surface level isn’t exactly what I’d call a bad thing here. The story does entertain throughout the two hour runtime. I just wish it had a little bit more nuance to it.

The characters in this are… fine. Often they boil down to stereotypes we’ve seen before. Asshole, big dude, young/underestimated guy, etcetera. Robert Redford plays General Eugene Irwin, the highly regarded army man at the center of the story. He’s a good man, never bent, always doing what’s best for him and his men. He may not be the deepest character ever, but Redford’s performance really makes it feel a bit deeper than the writing would have you believe. James Gandolfini plays Winter, the colonel who’s in charge of the prison. He seems a half decent fellow at first glance, but it doesn’t take long for his crookedness to be clear. He’s a decent matchup for Irwin, and Gandolfini is really good in the role. We also get supporting work from people like Mark Ruffalo, Clifton Collins Jr, Delroy Lindo, Steve Burton, Brian Goodman, Michael Irby, Robin Wright, and more, all doing well in their respective roles.

The music was composed by Jerry Goldsmith, and it was good. Plenty of military-style trumpets, some emotional strings, and some heavy and dramatic percussion. It is a little bit generic at times, but overall it’s well composed and works quite well for the movie. There’s also one or two licensed tracks used in the movie, and that works pretty well too.

The movie was directed by Rod Lurie, who I think did a pretty good job here. There’s a surprising amount of fun camerawork throughout, and he does have a decent sense of dramatic flair. Whenever the writing is a little bland and uninspired, his direction sort of helps out in making it a bit more interesting.

This movie has gotten some mixed reception. On Rotten Tomatoes it has a 52% positive rating. On Metacritic it has a score of 43/100. Roger Ebert gave it 3/4 stars. And on imdb.com it has a score of 6,9/10.

While not a perfect movie, “The Last Castle” is still a pretty entertaining prison drama. It has an okay plot, meh characters, really good performances, really good music, and really good directing. Time for my final score. *Ahem*. My final score for “The Last Castle” is a 7,23/10. So while flawed, I’d say it’s still worth renting.

My review of “The Last Castle” is now completed.

Do you think Ruffalo played a former pilot because helicopter blades go “Ruffa ruffa ruffa ruffa”?

Series Review: Barry – Season 2 (2019)

Reviewed season 1 a few weeks back (ahem ahem). So it’s reasonable to think that I should tackle the second season now that it too has come to a close. Well, here we go.

Ladies and gentlemen… “Barry” season 2.

Set a few weeks after the events of the first season, we follow Barry (Bill Hader) as he tries to get on with his life as an aspiring actor, while the consequences of his previous actions start creeping up to haunt him. Season 1 took a concept that I wasn’t entirely sure about and managed to make something great out of it. So how would they follow that up? By upping their game tenfold. That’s right, the second season of “Barry” manages to take the dark, yet somewhat quirky ideas of the first season and elevate them in ways I didn’t think possible. It manages to be fun, heartbreaking, suspenseful, exciting, and just overall a damn concise season of television. Great stuff.

The characters in this are layered, flawed, colorful, fun, and overall just really interesting. Bill Hader of course returns as the titular hitman-turned-actor. In this season we get to see a lot of his old demons come up. Combined with a lot of his more current issues, and it gives him a lot of really engaging character development. And Hader is fantastic in the role. Sarah Goldberg returns as Sally, Barry’s girlfriend and acting partner. She goes through a bit of personal conflict throughout the season, and it’s quite engaging. And Goldberg is great in the role. And we get supporting work from people like Henry Winkler, Stephen Root, Anthony Carrigan, John Pirrucello, Michael Irby, Patricia Fa’asua, Daniel Bernhardt, and more, all doing very well in their respective roles.

As with season 1, the music was composed by David Wingo, and it’s great. Suspense-building, emotional, dramatic, and just overall well composed, working well for the various scenes it’s found in. There’s also the occasional licensed track here and there, and they work alright in their respective scenes.

The show was created by Alec Berg and Bill Hader, with those two writing most of the episodes. And the craft here is pretty spectacular. Not only did they up their game in terms of storytelling, but they also went all in when it came to direction and cinematography as well. The first season wasn’t bad in that regard, but there’s a notable leap here, created a visually arresting show that also keeps the viewer on edge throughout most of the runtime.

This show/season has been well received. On Rotten Tomatoes it has a 100% positive rating and a “Fresh” certification. On Metacritic it has a score of 87/100. And on imdb.com it has a score of 8,2/10.

Season 1 of “Barry” was great. And somehow, season 2 is even better. It has a great plot, great characters, great performances, really good music, and great writing/directing/cinematography. Time for my final score. *Ahem*. My final score for season 2 of “Barry” is a 9,94/10. Which means it gets the “SEAL OF APPROVAL!”.

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

Crazy motherfuckers somehow did it.