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Another look at “The Town”

The new international trailer and clip that have been circulating has me a bit more amped up to see the new crime thriller adaptation from director-cowriter-star Ben Affleck than the one I ran here last month. It’s not just shorter, it’s more to the point and less pretentious. The even shorter clip isn’t bad either. And, say what you will about Affleck, by casting himself toe-to-toe with both Jon Hamm and Jeremy Renner, he’s not afraid to put his own oft-questioned acting skills toe to toe with the two most dynamic new leading men around right now. I questioned that a bit a in my prior post, but I admire his nerve.

I’ve seen these at several spots, but since I saw them there last, so Screenrant gets the h/t.

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As if putting together a film festival weren’t hard enough

The organizers of the beloved Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF to its friends) have to put up with an infestation of that feared denizen of the east coast, the bedbug. Fortunately for them, the actual festival doesn’t start for nearly a fortnight. What could be worse, well…

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“Persons Unknown,” I hate you.

All will be revealed by the end of summer.

Yeah, right.

First of all, NBC didn’t even broadcast the third-to-last episode. It apparently ‘debuted online,’ whatever the hell that’s supposed to mean. If you want to cancel a series, fine, but don’t skip an episode without anything resembling an explanation.

Anyway, I finished the final hour of “Persons Unknown” last night and I was disappointed, to put it lightly.

All along, the series has been spotty and uneven, leaving me with my eyes closed and head shaking as Character A does this or Character B does that. Casting decisions were also sketchy. I could handle Cameron from “Ferris Bueller” as a corporate magnate because Alan Ruck can act. But the choice of head baddie (Joanna Lipari) was a head scratcher. I had an eighth grade English teacher who was ten times as menacing. Then the Doctor from “Star Trek: Voyager” shows up as a corporation board member with a thick mane of white hair and a take-no-shit attitude. Part of Robert Picardo’s shtick is that he’s bald. Seeing him with flowing locks of white hair is just going to make the audience laugh. Is that really what they were going for in the last half hour of the season/series?

And what the hell happened between the second to last episode and the last episode? Last we left them, the gang was bouncing around in an overturned van with the least competent ‘man in blue’ in the company (which is why they give him corpse duty, apparently) and suddenly Janet is in a hospital, Charlie and Bill are speeding down a highway in a stolen car, Moira and Erica are in Morocco (Morocco, really? WTF?), and Graham has been captured with no explanation as to how any of this happened.

All will be revealed.

What was the point of the program? They imply that the ‘winners’ move onwards and upwards, but to what? Joe supposedly won his first contest, and he ended up in Round 1 again. Ulrich went from being a badass manager type to a blubbering idiot after Janet batted her eyelashes a few times, and we’re supposed to believe that this program chooses the best and the brightest? (And really, was Janet that hot?)

So since I don’t really know anyone else who watched this show, I googled the show’s title and the first result to come up was an article entitled, “Is the ‘Persons Unknown’ Finale the Worst Series Finale Ever?” I literally laughed out loud.

We’re supposed to be rooting for Janet, who is just a mom who wants to get home to her kid. After finally getting out of the town, we see her trapped in a hospital, only to escape and finally reunite with her daughter. Her mom’s henchman is supposed to be ‘driving them to the border’ yet they stop at a seedy hotel so that they can sleep — why didn’t they just sleep in the car? The henchman said he’d be ‘right outside’? Keep moving!

No matter, it was just a plot device to get Janet asleep so she could wake up dramatically in the other hotel. We even get a shot of Joe waking up in (could it be?) the same hotel. Well, they’re back in the program, but at least they have each other.

Nope.

Joe is with a whole new group of guinea pigs, and Janet’s ex-husband, who apparently impressed the head baddie (still not one-tenth as menacing as my English teacher) enough to earn a spot in the program. Don’t worry about his girlfriend, who is trapped in a cage somewhere next to Ambassador Whatshisname. Meanwhile, Janet and the gang find themselves on a big ship in the middle of the ocean.

The end.

Good premise, terrible execution.

All will be revealed.

I hate you.

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Ghosts are scary, sharks are terrifying…

So a ghost shark must be mother-freaking horrifying. Moreover, the filmmakers have skipped the original and gone straight to cashing in with a sequel with, what else, “Ghost Shark 2: Urban Jaws.”

If you’re wondering “is this a joke?” the answer is: “of course.” If you’re wondering, “is this for a real movie?” the answer is: maybe. The directors, a couple of New Zealander-Americans (New Zealandish-Americans?), are planning to go the “Machete” route here.

H/t Cinematical.

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True Blood 3.11 – “Be brave. We’ll die together.”

I’d like to begin this week’s blog with a plea to the publicists at HBO to provide us with some more photo assets for “True Blood,” because I have to believe that you’re just as sick of looking at this all-purpose promo shot as I am. But what can I do? We haven’t been given new shots in ages, and that’s really the most appropriate picture I’ve got to kick off the proceedings. Basically, what I’m saying is blame HBO, not me. In the meantime, though, have another look at the gift that keeps on giving, week after week after bloody week…

Okay, now that that’s out of the way, let me applaud Alan Ball and his crew for offering up an awesome nod to the competing programming – yes, the Emmys – by kicking off tonight’s episode with “True Blood: In Memoriam,” which was a little bit of genius…and, if I’m to be honest, was more effective that the Emmy’s “In Memoriam” segment. (Loved the song, Jewel, but the pacing of the whole thing was off, possibly because they’re not used to scoring it to something other than just some plain old orchestral music.)

On to the episode proper. Bill blows into Fangtasia on a quest to find Sookie, but on his way toward the basement, he’s stopped by Pam, who tries to tell him that he just needs to chill out and put things into their proper perspective. He ignores her and heads for the stairs, but he’s taken down by Pam’s handy-dandy silver spray. As it happens, Sookie looks to have another savior: Eric’s Russian stripper girlfriend, who’s bitter at being blown off by him – possibly because he’s been underestimating her (who knew she was a cardiologist?) – and decides to let Sookie go…and the timing couldn’t be more perfect, since she pops up and saves Bill from Pam’s wrath. Pam’s kinda pissed about the situation, since she’s of the belief that things are going to go to hell if Eric isn’t able to present Sookie as a gift to The King.

Lafayette and Jesus are coming down from their crazy-ass trip. Jesus was clearly moved by the experience, but Lafayette, while admitting that it was pretty unique even for him, isn’t particularly interested in revisiting the situation again…and that was before he had his first flashback. But how about that second flashback, with all of the dolls coming to life and talking to him? Loved it.

So Jason’s girlfriend is a were-panther, eh? You can’t blame him for being a little upset at this revelation, especially since – as he informs her – he’d figured that her big secret was “shoplifting or something.” He bristles at her suggestion that he might not be a real man, but, hell, compared to the guys in her family, he actually is kind of a wuss. With no one to talk to, Jason finds himself wandering over to the the football field, where he finds his young high-school student nemesis from earlier this season alienating his girlfriend and pissing off his teammates from working them so hard, but I can’t tell if it’s because he’s on something or if it’s because he’s just kind of an obsessive jerk. (It’s probably both.)

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