Da 5 Bloods
On the Record
I May Destroy You
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What a show! What a time! What a joke! This remains a vital historical event in sketch show history; too bad, it is a tragedy.
The Dana Carvey Show
Usually, I mention the creators of a show or a film at first, but this is a special case. The rarity of this show is that it doesn't just stay within the boundaries of Dana Carvey and Robert Smigel, the creators. Not that they haven't done a good job, in fact they have done an excellent work. But their premise is based on the fact that the boundaries lie on the horizon that you obviously will never catch. As a result, this outrageous satirical sketch show has to and does go out of boundary. And adding to that, the sensitivity is on a whole new level when these writers go unapologetically after politically incorrect substance- often consider as offensive comedy- and more importantly going consistently against the president of the country along with racial comments, government policies, headline of the news and musical parodies.
Stamping its doom within the first act of the pilot, the show never got an unbiased chance to be checked beyond its absurdity. And is probably the reason why more than two decades later, the show holds up and has grown as one of the raunchiest and smartest sketch shows of its time. The amalgamation of wittiest writers, that later went on excelled at their own field, like Louis CK, Stephen Colbert, Steve Carrell, Charlie Kauffman, Bob Odenkirk, Robert Carlock and Steve O'Donnell, each of their polishing the sketches in first, second and the last act, serves the purpose of jaw dropping humour that fills the room with long gasps as much as it does with rioting laughter.
Another reason why it communicated so powerfully with the audience is the performance of the cast which was of Saturday Night Live scale; of course, because most of them came from that very show. There came a lot of sketch shows besides SNL but one of the main reasons none worked to that scale is the cast and their commitment. And this cast going to this length is why The Dana Carvey Show remains this unique entity that floats in its own space, it is a universe worth exploring.
CK and Buscemi is not the family you'd want but it is the one you've got and the one you can't stop conversing with.
Horace And Pete
CK's love letter to Eugene O'Neill follows a non-pretentious arthouse system. And no, I am not concluding it on the basis of its marketing technique, but the broadminded shallowness of the ideology it refers to. If the theme in Louis CK, the creator's, play dissects the inside of prejudiced abhorrent beings, he is also not obsessed on pursuing you to change or whip you with its content, on the other hand. His project isn't ambiguous or vague, if anything it is the most complete story told in its entirety to serve nothing but the purpose that it evidently wants you to eradicate from your thinking.
The livelihood that it depicts is the punishment to the unfair activities that these fellows bring upon themselves and onto others. CK doesn't compromise the quality of the show by steering it towards preaching-to-the-choir tone. Just like his stand up material, a lot of the thinking is left up to you. This personal project of his shows enormous amount of enthusiasm on not caring on the views or opinions that its by product will have. And those politically incorrect views are the distraction unlike the material we have been bombarded with in the last few years.
That crispiness, the humorisc debates, the goofiness is a celebratory distraction to what's going on or goes on in a bar. The real drama lies in the silence pitched on the screen that observes the physicality of these character in contrast to the surrounding they are in. The stillness that CK has captured is impeccable, so rarely do you get to see these calm and sweet moments choreographed and danced. Horace And Pete is a drama that is ahead of its time, just served us as a teaser to what should and could be our future, both in the real world and this two dimensional screen that we have been naming as "the idiot box".
Commandments rehashed in city lights, they might hold up, might not but Dekalog's quality surely will test against time.
Krzystof Kieslowski; the co-writer and director, of this phenomenal ten part series, which is often claimed to be as ten hour long film, is a testament in itself, to filmmaking, storytelling and, art that drives all. With the crowd pleasing concept, the writers, Krzystof Kieslowski and Krzystof Piesiewicz, are actually enjoying. That's quite a shock, isn't it? The concepts are established, the theme well introduced, the cinematography almost like some painting, the metaphors spread across like elements and the characters staged with a spectacular choreography. What more is left, they wondered. And fun, is the answer they came up with.
Take each of the chapters individually and you'll see for a brief period everyone is let loose in their own rhythm. The cars zooming, couple laughing, mother discovering her son or daughter, friends tearing up, brother spiralling plan and a boy dancing after getting an approval from her crush. What a release it is, speechless, to see such calculated tales feeling no obligation, breaking their rules, for that one smile of the day. Another fine quality and major theme of these films is the physical sequences.
He wants you to scratch your brain, Kieslowski, when the physical acts are on the run. What is that urge that he gives birth to, that we feel compelled, almost insisting, on finishing that puzzle. No matter how carefree your attitude is, if someone is being chased or chasing, you would be mesmerized until they leave the frame. The spectators are too hovering around in these films, a particular one that can be seen in every chapter except for the last one, can often be considered as the perspective through which the germ of the idea that these creators had before magnifying these stories on screen. Now, as you can see, Dekalog is timeless not because of the hard work, but because of how much they loved working hard on it, they had fun as much as you had, I'd say that's a balanced world.
Dockery owns the gun with the most convincing stance just as her smile, Frank is a good choreographer.
Scott Frank, the creator, of this western drama has got style. Not the Clint Eastwood kind. There is no hat-tilting or tobacco-chewing or loud guns fired in a bar; I would say, this is another achievement of the series, since it never has any drunk bar fights, no matter how tempting. It has presumably the panache of being in some James Bond-ish film. The spy like figurines float about or ride about in this series and sexiness is what oozes from them. To be fair, it is also gorgeous to look at; despite of few cringe worthy images, lately it looks like, these artists are working aplenty in details, just for the authenticity.
But the locations are easy on the eyes for sure. Also it grounds the field impeccably on screen. The live locations are pitched to us just as the ideas are, you don't need 3d glasses to feel like you are in it. Another advantage is how Frank is obsessed with stealing moments on one frame, that glorifies and celebrates this tale from all directions. Among many well spread out and three dimensional characters, Jeff Daniels ought to feel pretty with a juicy role like such.
And it is not just the generosity and cruelty of his character- such opposite sides of the coin is displayed in all the other characters too- but the philosophy he has in his pocket. He enters the room and he owns it and he leaves the room with whistle-blowing smile-plastering magnetic one-liners, you ought to feel happy like a four year old boy. Scott Frank has had a fair share of his moments in Godless, but what I love about the most, is how smoothly he transitions time in narration. Those very elements that helps him drive safe home, were trailed right in front of you, that went unnoticed by.
Among the few of the classics that lives up to the hype, it may even exceed it, for eventually we all know such a person and don't wish to know more about him or her.
9 June 2019
Atkinson, as confessed, has been preparing for this role since the very beginning. What started as a time-filling sketch, it is quite an elevation considering what this character; more than the series, has achieved. Rowan Atkinson, the actor and more or less the creator of this global phenomenon, has previously worked in similar arenas in stages, miming, what basically could be considered as a stand up, his appearances have always been about the performance more than the content. And with a physical language that bars no boundaries, this global outreach actually comes with a never-ending clause.
Primarily, to Atkinson. Since he could always claim his throne and the blames could easily be passed upon. But filtering or criticizing themselves, the creators have only shot definite amount of these sketchy scenes, in order to maintain the quality. And so pure the material is, that even after decades later, it hasn't gotten rusty yet. And it presumably never will. Since none of these scenarios seem effortful or tedious to the audience, the depicted gags are actually a part of a common man's routine in his day-to-day life.
And looking at those activities with an eye of an anarchistic 9 year old boy, Atkinson has managed to embed his name among pioneers like Buster Keaton and Charlie Chaplin. But even something sensational as such, comes with few flaws. Lopping off the editing and execution of this series, the shift of these chapters into one typical sitcom can easily be seen. Running out of ideas and occasionally compromising to the commercial aspect of the fame (Christmas episode), the series loses the subtlety for a brief period. When the neck starts going towards the noose rather than the other way around, that is when Mr. Bean grows simpleton, in a sense that it relies upon nothing but the performer and its inspiringly absurd performance.
The biggest trick that Soderbergh pulls off is how smoothly the casting and the tone shifts, you will be amazed how this goes, more than where this goes.
Soderbergh is always the man for the thriller. And breaking that image of his, in this mini-series, the thrills rely more upon drama and the horror.. well, on short supply. The director, Steven Soderbergh collaborating with the writer Ed Solomon, almost looks like a match made in heaven. The absurdity of the world that Solomon is famous for creating, Soderbergh with his authenticity labels this storyline with enough credibility to grab your attention. Another endorsement of the series which lured me in, was through this bizarre setting of this case that allows you, the audience, to interact and solve on your own. Something that Black Mirror, infamously tried later on too, and not to mention failed miserably.
But the difference between Bandersnatch and this Soderbergh product, is that latter one is infused on telling the story first, rather than handing over the stick to its viewers. And despite of constraining themselves to not fall for the commercial aspect, as Black Mirror did, the series still lacks the communication to build any possible hype. Also, It lacks the romance between the characters for us to care about. And as a result, this creates an outreaching physical distance where even someone as skilful as Soderbergh too feels incompetent and helpless, on serving the purpose.
The crowdedness in the screen makes the filling of the gap in the narration easily. It is also difficult to cope up, on separating their individuality but if got hold of them, the narration grows complex and easy at the same time. Soderbergh, an expert in exploring such a theme, coming from Traffic and Ocean's Trilogy, this is like a piece of cake for him. It's a pseudo reaction that only he gets to enjoy it and we, as an audience, just teased or tortured- choose your preference- in this Mosaic structure crime drama, breaking the fourth wall and re-building the crucial first three.
I bet you cannot predict where the case is going, but even for them, it is the least of their concern.
David Zucker, Jim Abrahams and Jerry Zucker. If listening to these name of the creators light up your face, then, you have lived. After finding this treasure of gold, that I do treasure, as an avid comedy viewer and lover, you can fathom my reaction to their projects. And it is not that they are shooting left and right, but there is a linearity in the process that is much more neat and clear to follow, unlike any other parodies. They draw most of the laughs from using the background and physical sequences, played behind it. The writers and directors should learn how to use the frame, the room, completely and never taking the screen for granted, like they do. It is the reason why their material is hefty and often crowded with gags aplenty on the screen.
And they craft it through pinning down the mundane, the obvious things that you cannot miss by. Just like every comedy classics, it has montage sequences like a car being parked incorrectly, a kid taught double entendres by a horrible teacher, the way they end the show claiming it to be an epilogue, the lift in the building where the jibber jabber is mocked by framing unexpected things in the background, the door that is always transparent, the informant who can answer any question and the montage of him fake driving with a silly sidekick or add up in the car.
Plus, all the on screen written material- the trump card or a flyer or a headline- is always off the charts. You cannot point finger to this world for being racist or sexist, which is not to mention, it lives and breathes for, their mocking of all of it, even sincerity, begs the question whether it is the Police Squad! or this world or you, who doesn't fit in here- it is them, yes (maybe, I should watch less of these).
Abbott sweats just as the creator does and we do, it is good, but you can see the extra effort being applied.
Luke Davies and David Michod distributes caution flyers before their play starts up. It has a catch. They have tried to walk that fine line between comedy and drama, it may serve the purpose but it may not be served up front. You, as an audience, are asked to compromise, to let go off plenty of things before you join in on their camp and work hard and earn your price. Joseph Heller's adaptation of this novel has had better versions. It certainly is more engaging and crowded but it also takes up a notch, for the shocks and thrills; unfortunately it doesn't bode well especially when it goes dark.
Out of many, many elements spread around the six chapters, the "missions remaining" countdown on the screen is the best and the most successful one. The annoyance of our lead character, Christopher Abbott communicates with us and the anger shared. On terms of humor, Hugh Laurie as an utterly confident Major gets a huge chunk of it along with his co-star and dear friend George Clooney sharing the laughs with a stereotypical commands-gone-wrong gags. There is a certain amount of light in your eyes visible as soon as they appear on screen.
Abbott as the frustrated and often flawed protagonist ultimately- after a long tiring and effortful battle with us- gets the empathy from us. With undergone loads of jarring information about the day to day politics of this camp, Abbott learns to be shameless like them, in the end, literally! Often the series tends to stretch, just for one joke or one punch which can be a test of patience for the viewers to sit through it. The term Catch-22, just like it is defined in the series, is confined in its self-created loop and no one, no one has the guts to break that wheel.
Money On A Losing Bet.
Escape At Dannemora
Johnson and Tolkin's prison environment is possibly the most spatial yet palpable tone that was ever projected on screen. And with Stahl, they have written an explicit script that oozes power and mature sequences that pushes your boundaries and takes you to newer territories. But this is as much as Stiller's tale as much as it is the creators', with a keen sense of awareness of the trajectory, his execution is off the charts. His knack for imputing music in the narration is one of his primary strength that helps him jump from one scene to another.
He has certainly evolved as a director over the years, he is enjoying his current state more than any actor, he savors each moment with a slow pill that never over chews stuff. The conversation are not only practical but very carefully written and even though the narration is crypted at times, Stiller's work is to simplify it on screen and he is thoroughly competent in his work. It is smooth as a butter and sharp as a knife, it cuts deepest and surfs through the emotions with a balanced pace.
Casting such actors is one thing, and utilizing them to their best is another. Del Toro is the reserved-mobster-natured persona that you are looking for. And parallel to him rides Dano whose character is much more three dimensional than Del Toro's and he has the potential to pull it off easily. And on the other hand, Arquette's is the scariest of all, her character somehow resembles with Freeman's Fargo version; it can go sinister at any snap and Stiller makes sure you are afraid of her. The structure of the script isn't familiar either, it focuses on the core material and works on the details. Escape At Dannemora is not your usual prison escape case, it peels off the flesh with thorough analysis of the nature it thrives upon.
may be terrifying, but it's the good kind..
Maniac is a character driven mini-series about two unique personas that decides to go under a scientific experiment and finds themselves bonding and exploring a newer world together. Created by Fukunaga and Sommerville, this sci-fi drama won't let you think that it is merely a series, for its set-pieces, production and art design along with jaw dropping visual effects gives you the apt cinematic experience.
Along with these rich technical aspects, its comic based background score and stunning cinematography celebrates and justifies this tricky and twisted concept. The narrative is often stretched and too thin, but has gripping and adaptive structure to hold on to and since its premise allows it to jump from one illusion to another, its sub-plots and short stories are enough to attain the satisfying closure in each episodes.
The zest to tell an honest and uncompromising tale fuels this sometimes emotionally shallow drama into a more raunchy and gut wrenching tale whose credit goes to none other than Fukunaga whose precision is far beyond one's imagination, he can easily surprise you through his sharp insight of the character's perspective. His creative world actually runs on subconscious thoughts and the major strength of his, is to not only fiddling with those characters but also the viewers where the entire frame of the screen along with props and background score that are used competently.
Stone has emotions on the surface and with her expressive portrayal of a disturbed girl is amazing and on the other hand Hill is more reserved and subtle and addition to that, the supporting cast like Theroux and Field too delivers. The dark humor that runs smoothly which not only draws laugh but can scare you at times, the sweat drop precision of Fukunaga and the metaphorical concept that literally is imputed in each frame, are the high points of the mini-series.
Maniac is more sane than regular tales, it doesn't overchews stuff, it doesn't take its enhanced concept for granted, it pushes the actors and viewers to newer territories that may be terrifying, but it's the good kind.
mocks over misogyny..
Sharp Objects is a character driven miniseries created by Marti Noxon that depicts an emotionally challenged reporter whose current project or case has got her into revisiting her hometown and past that eventually spirals out series of dreadful events.
It is rich on technical aspects like stunning background score, metaphorical cinematography, fine art designing and perfect editing. The camera work is something to look forward to as it is shot beautifully with amazing visuals that seeks viewers' attention through it.
The three dimensional characters, eerie resonance with practicality and its tendency to go mild with a shock-and-awe policy are the high points of the series. It's finely detailed script and awareness of the surrounding offered to the characters which the makers uses it wisely, helps a lot for it to convey the message.
As much as complex and mysterious the relationship is between the mother and the daughter, the chemistry that stands out is between Adams and Curry and the primary reason to that would be its fragility and the perspective that it depicts it with (all the conversation on the phone are beautifully written).
The adaptation by Gillian Flynn; who also wrote the original novel, is smart and explicit if not gripping and the primary reason it keeps the audience tangled in its web is the awareness of the characteristics of the characters and the palpable tone offered to it.
Jean-Marc Vallee; the director, is bang on his bucks on executing such a dark and fragile concept where he visits place with bold approach and unflinching argumentative revelations. The performance is utterly dependent on its protagonist Amy Adams that delivers the expected stellar performance and is supported decently by Patricia Clarkson and Chris Messina.
Sharp Objects eradicates one's usual judgements and mocks over misogyny on such large scale that the audience writhes on the seat in an awe of its excellence.
a brief anthology of the horrendous symphony that nature is..
Band Of Brothers
4 Out Of 5
Band Of Brothers is a character driven mini-series that is at best, precisely and probably an almost documentary but with a taste of theatrical that might easily leaves the viewers' pallet shook.
First and foremost the credit does and should go to the research team that offers an unforgettable experience to the viewers of the field work on an ongoing battle; you are more exhausted than the characters.
Despite of having such a wider range and scale the makers wisely makes a choice on narrowing down the priorities to the theme of "nature" where each part of it (there are 10 chapters), plays and projects a vital side of it.
The adaptation of Ambrose's novel is smart, exquisite and brimming with writhing emotions where the rest of the work is left up to execution which is undeniably excellent; the quality surpasses one's usual feature.
The series is also emotionally fueled where the manipulated audience finds itself on the melted side of the aisle with a cathartic energy that pumps up the heartbeat.
If the camera work is beautiful with some appealing live locations then it also has some brutal and inedible sequences where the art designers have done a tremendous work.
It is rich on technical aspects like metaphorical cinematography, stunning and cringe-worthy visuals, sharp sound effects, behemoth production designs, accurate costume designs and again the choreography of each battle sequences; all blends in and rains on the audience leaving them breathless.
The cast too have invested all their chips in which pays well, especially Lewis and Levingston. The chemistry among the characters, makers' non-biased world and the awareness of each and every details are the high points of this mini-series.
Band Of Brothers is a brief anthology of the horrendous symphony that nature is along with the repercussions that it ought not but inevitably breeds.
"the dirty work" is left upto viewers' imagination..
The Night Manager
3 And A Half Out Of 5
The Night Manager is a character driven mini-series adapted from the novel by John Le Carre, that swept away three Golden Globes on the acting category and was nominated for the best series too.
As much as simple the plot is, despite of its genre, it doesn't unnecessarily grows convoluted or even attempts to make impossible possible. And such simplistic reasons is why it connects with the audience instantly and stays true to its tone throughout the course of it.
The adapted screenplay by Farr is smart as it glorifies each little moments with equal dignity keeping the audience enchanted in its self-created tense bubble that doesn't pop but explodes. Addition to that, it not only is edited perfectly but each character's perspective is accounted in perfectly for it to justify the actions.
It is rich on technical aspects like sharp sound effects, stunning live locations, alluring costume design and metaphorical cinematography that seeks viewers' attention through it.
Beir; the director, is ahead of her game and the viewers, for her description of a sequence is not only electrifying but thought-provoking too; she is in your head from the start. The performance objective is the ace in the hole for the series, since the casting pays off more than well, as Hiddleston, Laurie and Colman have genuinely invested their heart in it.
Pragmatic conversations, three-dimensional characters, tense environment and stellar performances are the high points of this mini-series. Beir's world in here is bolder, faster and scarier than it may seem and no matter how many times the makers plays their "close call" theme, it never gets old, it never gets dull.
The Night Manager isn't shady or twisted as one's usual spy thriller and is instead beautiful on visual aesthetics and neat on terms of projecting the questionable morality where "the dirty work" is left upto viewers' imagination; a slick move.
an atrocious confession portrayed through beautiful performance..
The rudimentary process is the only weakness in this masterpiece where craft and hard work touches over the horizon that cannot be anything but utterly mesmerizing. The writing is edgy, brutal and dark with a hint of amusement in each character that helps it ground the characters and offer them the appropriate gravitas. The execution and editing is eerie yet familiar especially in such a tone that focuses primarily on character development. Addition to that, the heart of the feature lies upon the stellar performance by the protagonist who is genuinely investing all his chips in; Benedict is a revelation. He is supported too by a brilliant supporting cast like Jennifer Jason Leigh and Hugo Weaving. The series is shot beautifully with amazing cinematography, production and costume design that is utterly rich and satisfying to look upon. It is a character driven series containing some concrete material to offer and so what if they make the audience work for it; it's worth joining it and is supremely entertaining and thought-provoking. Patrick Melrose is an atrocious confession portrayed through beautiful performance where the makers being aware of its fragile premise, chooses its moment wisely and offers an amazing experience.
hold your line for..
Not much shows nowadays, walks on smart comedy and more importantly keeps it to the point and these are the reasons why it stands alone and will be a bit eerie to encounter by the normal sitcom viewer. David Crane and Jeffrey Klarik's vision seems wide and is approached too with appropriate care and understanding of the whole tone and the 'backstage' world they have projected in here. Matt Le Blanc in the centre of it is doing some of his career's best work in here and is supported too with a great cast like Tamsin Greig and Stephen Mangan. Episodes is not your usual sitcom that takes its time to prove a point; its hits fast, hard and even brutal sometime along with a proper understanding of character development that arcs its way up perfectly to the mark.
that's what she said..
It defines smart comedy but there is a quirkiness in it which increases as the show ages making the audience cringing on their seat for it takes too much time to digest or settle on their tone. The Office is definitely not for everyone for it is dark and too-much-human but having said that it has a soul somewhere in there that makes you wanna feel for the characters floating around it now whether it be then the excellence of the writers or the actors. One of the weakness of the show is of course the absence of the lead character in the final act for it makes the whole investment on it redundant. It also stretches its way down to the end especially post 5th season leading into a disappointing climax but all in all, The Office is definitely a one-time watch for the human-ness in it.
i'm the one who knocks..
It is a brilliant tale of a chemistry teacher who turns into a drug lord, is not only strong on the acting part but also in writing. A tight script with lots of surprising elements will easily hook you into it from the beginning, after which the character development is the strength of the series.
Portraying the real idea behind the character Sherlock Holmes, Hugh Laurie steals the show and won't let you leave it. Other characters besides Gregory seems a bit under-cooked but it is a minor flaw in this whole beautiful and long journey of house. It seems a bit stretched after the fifth season but gives you a satisfactory end.
i ain't cleaning that up..
Two And A Half Men
It starts off with some brilliant one liners but doesn't have much in the writing part besides that. The only thing that keeps you invested is the character Charlie Harper which eventually fades out. It could have been way better if not stretched for 12 seasons as they didn't have enough meat in it. It's a one time watch for Chuck Lorre's unique characters.