Category Archives: Recaps & Reviews

Shameless Midseason Finale Recap

I don’t know if the UK version of Shameless, which inspired the American iteration is any good, but I do know that I love Showtime’s version like Gay Jesus loves LGBTQ rights. After the midseason finale in October, the show is on hiatus until January 20th. Recent announcements from Emmy Rossum (Fiona) & Cameron Monaghan (Ian) about each of them retiring from their roles on the show leave the fandom worried about the future. But season ten has already been contracted, and we will go on without them. Perhaps this will see Frank returning to the folds of the major family arcs more often, whereas the first half of this season he felt like a third-tier character. Also I expect Liam, who finally started talking last year at like age 8, to continue to emerge as a central character. He’s about the age that Karl was when the show first started. Notably, he’s also smarter already at age 9 than full-grown Karl will ever be.

One fun story that will still be in play when they return in January is Frank’s budding romance with clinically insane psychoanalyst Ingrid Jones (played by the always marvelous Katey Sagal!). The last few episodes, she had been off her meds and having a torrid love affair with Frank that led to a few knife attacks and lots of broken glass. In Ian’s last episode, he went back to prison for blowing up the van as a publicity stunt when leading the youth Gay Jesus movement. The switchback happy ending was that Mickey, who we presumed was in Mexico, was in the same facility and arranged to be Ian’s cellmate. Wow. Small world, I guess, but those two will be happy off-screen, we can presume. Lip has a new love interest and is a sponsor now for a younger AA member. He’s arguably the most “got their shit together” Gallagher of the season so far. Though, Debbie has also been fairly responsible, while raising Frannie, working as a welder, and testing the waters of a lesbian relationship. Karl has a militant new girlfriend who is working on helping him get into West Point, and poor Liam is back in public school after a year’s worth of a free ride at a fancy private school.

The biggest spectacle coming into the mid-season finale last month was watching Fiona crash and burn. For a year and a half, she had her life going so well. She’s a realtor on the rise who owns a diner & an apartment building. She’s also invested in a large retirement home development project, which was where things started to go awry. New inspections came up and she needed to throw an additional 25k at the project, but her investments were already overleveraged and she couldn’t get another loan. Finding out that her bf Ford was actually married was the straw that broke the camel’s back, and she wound up getting into a drunk driving accident and totaled her car.

Debbie helped her salvage some money for the vehicle and also put Ford in a giant metal pillory so that Fiona could blast his bare ass with paintballs as revenge for his deception. So Debbie is really on point lately. Her financial situation was balanced out by Max, her partner in the retirement home project, who offered to buy her other buildings in a way that let her stay in the investment. Because she lost the apartment building, she had to move back into the Gallagher house with the rest of the family. So her last seven episodes on the show have her back in the neighborhood. I can’t wait to see how crazy it all turns out. We miss Ian already and will value our last few months with Fi.

Don’t miss it when Shameless returns to Showtime on January 20.

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Ocean’s Twelve Movie Review

Introduction

Three years have passed after George Clooney and his crew committed an audacious Las Vegas heist, and the man they robbed from, Andy Garcia has managed to track all of them down. Actually, the movie is an update of what has happened in its 2001 predecessor, Ocean’s Eleven. The boss has only given them two weeks to repay everything they stole from the casinos plus interest. The director, Steven Soderbergh, has done an incredible job of bringing the notorious gang with common characters led by Clooney, Matt, Brad, and Don. You will notice that there are new additional faces who joined the gang, Catherine Zeta-Jones (Europol agent) and Vincent Cassel who believes that the reputation of the Ocean is exaggerated. As a sequel to the previous one, Ocean’s Twelve seems to have many common things with the original cast. However, you will notice that the bad guys portrayed in the first film are not very cruel this time.

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Robot Chicken: The Walking Dead Special Review

The stop-motion animated series Robot Chicken has ventured into the worlds of Star Wars and DC Comics for previous specials, but for its latest 22-minute themed special, the series takes on The Walking Dead. As the special opens, a nerd is visiting the U.S. Walking Dead Museum, which was established to honor and celebrate the heroes who saved the humans from the walkers, found a cure to the walker virus, and brought an end to the Walk-pocolypse—the group known as “Rick and the Gang”. The young man acting as the tour guide for the museum is being quite liberal with the facts, getting all sorts of information wrong. This angers an older Carl who is hiding in the shadows. He pulls the nerdy tourist aside to correct this information, and starts to recount the events that really happened.

The special is a collection of shorts based on many of the memorable/major events from the first 7 seasons of The Walking Dead. These are a fun mix of recreations, parodies, comical speculation as to what happened after the moments we saw on the show, and other general craziness set in the The Walking Dead universe. There are some funny running jokes such as people thinking Carl is a girl, due to his long hair. There are also some really hilarious musical moments such as Negan singing about his signature dip move, a chained-up Merle singing a love duet with a walker, and the Terminus folks (led by he voice of Daniel Radcliffe) singing a welcome song to Rick and the gang about how they have no plans to eat them. There is also a really creative sequence that is shot from the POV of a walker—we hear his inner monologue as he searches for food and falls to his death (again). And another sequence gives a Superman-like origin to Lucille the bat. Overall, the writing is quite clever, and you can really tell those involved are big fans of The Walking Dead.

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Review for ABC’s For the People

This new legal procedural show is basically How to Get Away with Murder without Viola Davis, and is exactly as disappointing as it sounds!

For the People is so excruciatingly self-conscious that, at times, especially during the pilot, it seems as if every actor is frantically waving their hands about and shouting for you to notice that they are in a TV show, finally!
 
Transparent Emotional Manoeuvring

When friends and roommates Sandra, played by Britt Robertson, and Ali, undertaken by Jasmin Savoy Brown, interact with one another in the stilted first episode. The subtext is very obviously that the best-friend-dynamic needs to be established as quickly as is possible. With the kind of emotional manipulation that it so obvious it is almost cynical, For the People tries to present the Shondaland ideal standard of six-odd youthful overachievers who all talk too fast and are simply smouldering with unresolved sexual tension, but falls very short.

Yawn. Personally, I would rather be spending some time at the kind of online casino New Zealand has to offer!
 
Subtle as a Battleship

Right from the first frame of For the People, the characters are scrambled up together in a variety of heterosexual romantic pairings, like they’ve been shaken up like dice in a cup and thrown down to see what will happen next.

But, unlike Rhimes’ greatest shows, For the People lacks even the pretence of subtlety, which is very often provided by the lead actor, a Kerry Washington, a Viola Davis, or an Ellen Pompeo. It’s spirited, and follows all the correct patterns, but I found For the People very difficult to invest in.
 
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Arrowverse “Crisis on Earth-X” Crossover Recap

Okay, last week was another amazing November sweeps crossover extravaganza in the Arrowverse, and this year’s “Crisis on Earth-X” was totally worth the hype! Starting slow on Supergirl, the story initially followed all the pre-wedding preparations. It was an episode that went heavy on the soundtrack, a theme that peaked in Kara singing a beautiful song, that I think(?) was an original tune, at Flash & Iris’s wedding. Until – of course – the alternate dimension Nazi Super Villain Army burst in. For real. It was rad. It was what we signed up for. And this round the good guys won.

The second episode in the series was on Arrow, which revealed some key plot points to us but didn’t end great per se for the good guys. We learned that the army of genetic purists from Earth-X were led by that dimension’s version of Oliver “Green Arrow” Queen & Kara “Supergirl” Danver, who were also in evil-love and unhappily married. Unhappy why? Cause of a super-cancer that was destroying her heart. So they needed Earth-3 Kara’s heart. A veritable War of the Worlds erupted, and by the end of this one, everybody but Iris & Felicity were in an Earth-X concentration camp.

Next up in The Flash, they got rescued from certain death by that Nazi boot stomp dimension’s version of Captain Cold. And as if him being a good guy wasn’t surprising enough, he was also there to rescue his gay lover and fellow fascist fighting superhero, The Ray. But Kara was still held by the evil version of Oliver and would soon go under the knife. Professor Stein took a bullet (that would eventually kill him), saving the day in this chapter, and at the end, tables were slightly turned with only Kara, Iris, & Felicity being captured. But everyone else didn’t have it easy – they were fighting the Red Tornado, who was summarily kicking their collective asses.

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