Mad Men Recap: Season 7, Episode 1: The Beginning of the End

Mad Men Recap
Season7, Episode 1
**SPOILER ALERT

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For me personally Mad Men is one of my absolute favorite shows of all time. I will also give that honor to Game of Thrones, Boardwalk Empire, Breaking Bad and Seinfeld. Every episode is exceptionally written and almost reads like a book. The stories told are deeper than what they appear on the surface and in a sense give us an insight into a life that would resonate with perhaps our grandfathers. The story is realistic and captures the essence of the era it portrays so well.

Similar to how the ending of Breaking Bad was presented; the final season for Mad Men will take 2 years to commence. This season we will only be given 7 episodes and next year it will all be said and done. Are you ready for the beginning of the end? Make yourself a Martini and relax into some good ol’ fashioned fun.

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Game of Thrones Recap: Season 4, Episode 2: A Toast to the Proud Lannister Children

Game of Thrones Recap
Season 4, Episode 2
**SPOILER ALERT

Last night’s episode, “The Lion and the Rose,” which is the only episode this season written by the author himself, George R.R. Martin, should have given us a clue as to what was in store. Only someone as tied to the story as himself, could have written the story that ensued. The episode was mostly focused on the highly anticipated royal wedding between Joffrey Baratheon and Margaery Tyrell.

In the usual Game of Thrones fashion, a royal wedding never goes unharmed, if you escape unscathed consider yourself lucky and if you are an actor on this show and you are still alive after a wedding consider yourself fortunate.

Ok let’s talk about what happened last night, c’mon kids and join me.

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Game of Thrones Recap: Season 4, Episode 1: Chickens, Hookers and Big ol’ Dragons

Game of Thrones Recap
Season 4, Episode 1
**SPOILER ALERT

I have decided to go a different way with my Game of Thrones recaps. I just feel like they will end up taking a lot of time to write up, being that there is a million and 1 characters per episode (really hard to spell too), so I figured I’d give you guys a quicker recap with pictures and short details. George R.R. Martin, I swear the man makes recapping difficult lol.

This past Sunday was the highly anticipated premiere of Season 4. I feel like we have been waiting forever for this to happen. Alright, let’s get this party started.

 

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The Wolf of Wall Street (2013)

The Wolf of Wall Street (2013)
Directed by Martin Scorsese
Written by Terence Winter

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Martin Scorsese has a knack and keen ability for making villains or just horrible people out to be humans one sympathizes with and almost roots for to win. In his Oscar nominated film, The Wolf of Wall Street, we may not entirely agree with the decisions that the main character makes, but we sure as hell get drawn into his world and magnetism.

The Wolf of Wall Street
is based on the true story of Jordan Belfort (Leonardo DiCaprio). He was ruthless and desired one thing above all, to be rich. He quickly landed a job on Wall Street as a stockbroker and learned the ins and outs of not only stocks, but how to prey on the emotions of people to manipulate them and take their money.

He opens his own brokerage firm with Donnie Azoff (Jonah Hill) and creates a boiler room company that sells penny stocks and hires his own hoodlum friends to join in on the scheme. He names the firm Stratton Oakmont, with a lion as a mascot, the company sounds intelligent, grounded and financially smart, at least to most people who know nothing about stocks and trading.

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Gordon Gecko said, “The point is ladies and gentlemen that greed, for lack of a better word, is good,” and Belfort would undoubtedly agree with him. Set in the 90’s the film is just on the heels of the time when the Gordon Geckos of the world ruled and not only is greed the motivating factor for all the debauchery that ensues it is also the downfall of his empire.

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The movie takes the viewer on a wild ride of drug usage; think snorting lines off a hooker’s behind and gulping Quaaludes down with booze. Most of which is done at work and on the house as Belfort offers up pleasures one could desire in between phone calls and lunch breaks and promises Chanel suits and expensive cars over his daily motivational work meetings. These temptations make his employees work harder to acquire those material goods and money, only further entangling the people on the other line with emptying out their pockets to them.

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What Scorsese delivers is a ride along with Belfort that would please Bacchus himself. He utilizes wide shots where the viewer is able to encompass everything that is going on from a marching band entering on the right to people having sex in a corner. It’s as if we are viewing the world literally through Belfort’s eyes, taking it all in and wanting more each time.

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The film is narrated by Belfort which is an interesting directorial choice, but one that we have seen before with Scorsese. Similar to the format of Goodfellas, Henry Hill (Ray Liotta) narrates the entire film and we get a first hand perspective as to what was going on in his head and what drove his decisions to do awful acts and conspire with gangsters. This narrative device works similarly in this movie because the story that plays out is Belfort’s; it is what he believed happened and what drove him to live this type of lifestyle.

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The actors in this film are superb, DiCaprio, Hill, Rob Reiner, Jon Bernthal (yes Shane from TWD), to name a few, all do a great job at capturing the essence and feelings of people who are living lives filled with greed, both the people making the money and those who partake of the riches. Margot Robbie plays Belfort’s second wife Naomi, she really takes what could have been a simplistic character to another level. She is raw and gritty and a great newcomer to Hollywood.

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DiCaprio is phenomenal; he is able to capture every nuance and feeling of the character and to take it to another degree. In one way, this almost reminded me of his performance in What’s Eating Gilbert Grape, he really pushes himself to delve deep into the character and gets at the heart of the emotions of the story and seemingly delivers it with ease. Although Belfort is a thief, DiCaprio plays him as charming and has this appeal that would make anyone want to his dirty deeds for him.

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Hill is like a firecracker on screen, you let go of the firecracker and you want to see more, you want to see it explode and he does just that, to the point that we forget it is Hill himself. The guy who did stoner-boner movies has now turned into a bonafide actor and plays off DiCaprio just perfect as his big-toothed sidekick.

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One of my favorite scenes in the movie was in the beginning when Belfort was still green and he goes to lunch with his new boss Mark Hanna (Matthew McConaughey) who schools him on how the world of Wall Street works. What makes this scene priceless is the presence of McConaughey, who although just appears for a cameo part, really sets the tone for the entire film. The way Belfort admiringly looks at him when he beats his chest and snorts cocaine is so odd, yet fascinating. Did you know that McConaughey was just doing that in between takes, but it ended up getting used for the film?

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Overall great movie, I don’t think it could have beat out 12 Years A Slave, it was bad timing, maybe had it been another year, Scorsese, Winter and DiCaprio could have won, but this year it was just too tough. If you haven’t seen it and you waited forever like I did (like I always do), go do yourself a favor and check it out.

}}Melissa

March TV Favorites

I will admit it; I watch a lot of television. I just got a Roku, so now I have the ability to watch even more shows. Yes, I have a problem I need an intervention. But when I get home from work and the gym all I want to do is rest and watch TV. YAY! I also tend to catch up with other things while I am watching, like email, cleaning up, Twitter and of course my favorite thing in the world Pinterest. All of this keeps me on the pulse of the TV world.

I figured since I originally wanted to do more TV reviews on here, I can give you guys maybe my monthly TV favorites. I am totally stealing this from all the YouTubers out there who do this type of post.

1. The Following: Season 2
This is most definitely my favorite show right now. Joe Carroll is busy creating a new cult and of course trying to destroy Ryan Hardy in the process. Kevin Bacon and James Purefoy are awesome in this and seriously my fave match, they play off each other so well.

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2. The Americans: Season 2
I really dig this show it’s about Russian spies living in the US in the 80′s. Keri Russell and Matthew Rhys make a dynamic team. They live next door to FBI agent, who is secretly having an affair with a Russian and he doesn’t know that he lives next to spies. They always have some secret task that they are up to and it is fun to watch it play out. Plus the Russians are always super sexy!

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3. Workaholics and Broad City
Both of these shows are on Comedy Central and basically they are very similar except one is focused on dudes and the other girls. Both are young 20-somethings who are raunchy, rude and crude and facing the issues of getting real jobs, sex and having fun with friends. I absolutely am addicted and I look forward to these shows every week. Adam DeVine is my absolute fave! If you like shows that use the lewdest, crudest words out there then you should watch this, they really push the envelope.

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4. Lindsay
Yes, Lindsay Lohan now has her own reality TV show on the Oprah network OWN and I have to admit I am obsessed. I have always liked the Lohan, not sure why I just do. There’s something captivating about watching her face all her challenges from trying to stay sober to just waking up in the morning. Seriously this girl doesn’t get up till like 2pm everyday. I guess it is interesting to watch because usually we just see the demise of Hollywood stars and we never see the part where they try to pick themselves up and start again.

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5. Bates Motel: Season 2
I am a big Hitchcock fan and I love the movie Psycho, so I just love this show. I have to say the best thing about this show are the actors. Freddie Highmore plays Norman Bates and Vera Farmiga plays his mother, Norma Bates. Together these two are an odd pair, she is a doting, loving, almost smothering mother and he, the son who will do anything to protect her. The bond they share is sweet, yet very twisted and weird. My favorite scene this season so far is when the two of them sang, “Mr. Sandman,” it was creepy, weird and just odd.

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}}Melissa

The Walking Dead Recap: Season Finale, Season 4, Episode 16: Terminus is for Lovers

Season 4, Episode 16
***Spoiler Alert
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The season finale, “A,” what all TWD fans have been waiting for finally came this past Sunday. The episode was watched by over 15.7 Million viewers, needless to say everyone was anticipating what was going to happen and I think it is awesome that a show like this can garner so many viewers.

The show started with a flashback to when Herschel and Rick were at the prison and this scene gets inserted a few times throughout the show. The talks revolve around Herschel telling Rick to teach his son to farm, to hold back from going out to search for supplies and to stay and enjoy quality time with Karl. In the usual wisdom of Herschel he teells him that if he teaches his son to farm, then one day Karl can teach his son as well. In this type of society, the opportunities for fathers to teach their sons valuable lessons has been destroyed.

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Although I believe that Rick has taught Karl other lessons about survival, that have nothing to do with being a child, like how to shoot a weapon, kill a person or walker and how to be tough even when you are on the brink of having an emotional breakdown.

Upon walking down the road, they stop for the night to rest and then Daryl’s team of marauders show up and find them, but Daryl himself is nowhere to be found. If you remember from last week, the leader of the gang said he was about to find Rick, the man who strangled his friend.

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This is when everything starts to crazy, all the guys point guns at Rick, Michonne and one of them grabs Karl and threatens to kill him. Then Daryl shows up and tells them that they are good people, but they don’t believe him and they literally kick the living daylights out of Daryl. WHAT?!

Rick’s survival instincts kick in and he bites the leader on his neck, yes just like Bill Compton, he bites him in the jugular and kills him. Michonne manages to kill her attacker and Daryl does the same and eventually the pack of crazy people are dead.

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Daryl is back with his OG group and now they are a true force to be recockend with, although Rick is a bit shell shocked over everything that happened. As is Karl, who just wants to stay as far away from him as possible.

Off they go to Terminus, this group is the first that sounded apprehensivev about going. They load up the guns from the bad guys and throughout the epsidoe Michonne keeeps on mentioning all the bad camps she has run into along the way. Foreshadowing much?

They finally get to Terminus and they peak through the fence and jump over to check it out. They hide their extra guns in a hole and basically that was a way of telling us I am sure that they will go back for them!

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Inside Terminus it seems at first pretty quiet and upon entering a warehouse they see everyone painting posters for Terminus. Is it just me or does this place look like the prison set just painted differently?

Everyone seems friendly and nice and they put their weapons down and expalin who they are and that Terminus is a safe place of refuge. Hmmm, who said that last time? Oh yeah the GOVERNER!

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They kindly hand back their weapons and even graciously give Michonne her sword back. They tell them that they will fix them a plate and the creepy lady outside is grillin up some goodies. All of a sudden Rick notices something different, one of the guys has Glenn’s pocket watch.

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Another has Daryl and Maggie’s poncho! OMG the freaking poncho, everyone wants that hot item, I hear it is the biggest trend in zombie apocolypse gear.

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This is when everything goes out of control, shots are fired, yet they miss every single time. As they are running through Terminus, we see a room filled with candles. Ok this is weird. Then a room full of what appears to be animal carcasses. Ok that is really weird too.

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But they keep running past all of this and finally have to surrender because they threaten them with killing Karl. They aim directly at him and then tell everyone to get into a storage container.

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What?? Yes get into the storage container he tells them. When they step in they see a carton for powdered milk. Once inside, guess what… SPOILER alert… the gang is inside. Reunited and it feels so good.

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So we know that Carol and Tyreese are most likely on their way. Hopefully they see that Terminus is not what it is and we will find out what the hell is reaally going on in there.

Theories anyone, theories, Bueller?, Bueller?

I think that these peeople are cannibals who lure people to Terminus to eat them. Mabye they are a cult and they sacrifice people in order to save themselves and the world. Was the powdered milk a sign that they are feeding them to fatten them and eat them? What do you guys think?

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I thought the finale was good and it finally picked up. Honestly this could have happened 3 episodes ago! I am alone in this? I hope that next season gets better and we start to see the fun loving action of killing zombies and people, that we viewers have grown to love. I also hope that we find out where Beth is and that she is ok, because Bethyl totally needs to happen and those Terminus jerks need to die.

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Peace out Walking Dead, see you back in October 2014!

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}}Melissa

 

Rental Loving: Kill Your Darlings (2013)

Kill Your Darlings (2013)
Directed by John Krokidas
Written by John Krokidas & Austin Bunn

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Now this is a movie I was really excited to see because I love the writers of the beat generation and have studied them extensively. I actually started my thesis with the topic or question of did drugs influence the creativity of the beat writers or were they naturally already creative people? I focused on William Burroughs and Allen Ginsberg and a bit of Jack Kerouac because I had to narrow my search down, but anyways I spent a whole year researching this and devoting all my time into it, so needless to say I thought this movie would be right up my alley. I feel weird sometimes divulging personal info like that, but I am trying to open myself up more because I know I always like to read others personal anecdotes.

With that said, I came into this movie with high expectations. Kill Your Darlings marks John Krokidas directorial and writing debut and it is obvious that he has potential, but I believe this movie ultimately missed the mark.

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The film centers on a young Allen Ginsberg (Daniel Radcliffe) who is freshly admitted to Columbia University. Upon his arrival he sets himself apart in the classroom by his distinct knowledge and contradictory viewpoints. There he meets Lucian Carr (Dane DeHaan), a charismatic guy with bravado, wit and a certain way about him that draws people towards him. He is like a sexy little magnet with blonde hair and blue eyes that make both men and women just follow his every word.

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The two become instantaneous friends and Carr pushes Ginsberg to not only open his mind with poetry, but to push the envelope when it comes to thinking about the old ways of literature and writing. At the club they frequent they collaborate with William Burroughs (Ben Foster) who is in on Carr’s “New Vision” writing group and a partner in crime when it comes to taking drugs.

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Carr declares to them that they will write rebelliously, forgo tradition and poetic pentameter and rhyme and to free their minds from those literary constraints. This he calls, the “new vision,” and he can be credited for starting the beat revolution in a sense with his ideology.

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Jack Kerouac (Jack Huston) appears for a short period, as he was in his formative years of being a sailor and a meandering man.

Now the whole story really is about Ginsberg and Carr’s relationship, but the second story at play is Carr’s strange, pseudo love affair with professor David Kammerer (Michael C. Hall). He was obsessed with Carr and would write his papers and was relentless in his pursuits of him.

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Carr grows weary of the relationship and stabs him in what he claims was in self defense. I am not really giving anything way since this is on the poster and cover of the movie and I as I mentioned is a sub-plot and even an afterthought of the entire movie.

What I liked about the movie is that it is highly stylized and looks perfect as a replica of 1944, there is even a sepia tone to the entire film which resembles the clothes and dreariness of that time.

I also enjoyed all the literary references, there are not many movies that mention Beowulf and William Butler Yates, so for us book people out there, we had some literary boners going on.

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Dane DeHaan is fabulous in the movie, there is something electric and mysterious about this actor and when he is on screen I focus all my energy on watching him. Daniel Radcliffe also did well and it was nice to see him show us how he has refined his acting chops.

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The story in the movie fell flat, it started with a bang and an interesting narrative and half way through the film the intent of the movie started to fade away. It was as if the writers were trying to cram in as much literary references and famous icons into the film as possible. I felt at times I was getting bored, yawning, and day dreaming and forgetting I was even watching a movie. The story was disjointed and all over the place, but I find that movies that focus on these iconic writers tend to have a hard time really popping on screen.

There was something deep and intense about their writing, it was on a creative note that at times is even hard to understand and decipher and to try to put these ideas into a movie is very difficult. This movie came off as pretentious and full of narrative fluff. The only movie that has conveyed the feeling of the beatnik era to me is Inside Llewyn Davis, despite it not being about them at all, it truly gave me the sense of what these writers faced and how they felt.

If I had to give this movie some type of a rating, I would say this is the type of movie you watch when you are on your couch bored as hell and would like to hear some background dialogue that will make you feel smart.

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}}Melissa