Tag Archives: James Cromwell

Boardwalk Empire: 3.05 – “You’d Be Surprised”

Last week can be summed up pretty easily- “Your vagina and you”, dead smartass mouthy kid, Owen watch your back, and Masserria wants heroin money.

This week? There was just way too much going on. Granted it was all important stuff, okay that’s debatable but for the most part each story line from this week did move things forward. Some in a much more naked pace than others.

As for the less interesting ones- Apparently Gillian is in deep denial or she truly believes Jimmy is still alive and just on some adventure. Yea he’s on an adventure, it’s called the afterlife you incestual loon. Seriously though, I have to make myself care about this entire story arc. It’s a struggle. The only reason I keep hanging on is the hope that I’ll catch a glimpse of Richard. Where is Richard? WHERE?!?

Whenever they go back to the Congress/District Attorney/I’m not totally sure who all is involved here storyline, I literally have to go back to my notes because I can’t be bothered to remember anyone. I could not care less about the legal battle going on. There are people being shot and I need to see that, I don’t need witty back and forth in a Senate hearing.


Granted I do love James Cromwell but even my love for Captain Dudley Smith, or Andrew Mellon as he plays here, couldn’t keep my attention during these scenes. Even sadder, Stephen Root made an appearance and the only highlight was him busting out the S.A.T. word, dishabille.

Amazingly enough, I actually liked the VanAlden appearances. I still don’t want to like him, but it’s becoming increasingly difficult, especially with that wife of his, Sigrid. She is very entertaining… and has no problem bashing a man in the head! I was watching that unfold and of course the cinematic masterpiece Anchorman came to mind.


It does (hopefully) finally bring about some cohesion to seemingly random things going out in Chicago. I imagine VanAlden’s association with Dean O’Banion won’t end once the agent’s body is disposed of. Those threads have been waving around loose for way too long, let’s get them back to weaving something.

Oh Billie Kent. How I dislike you so. I can not for the life of me figure out what Nucky sees in you, besides a piece of ass, and why he is with you. You don’t really need his help and you certainly don’t want it. Nucky is a “rescuer” and you just do not fit the bill. So why don’t you do everyone a favor and disappear. Immediately.

The only thing Billie Kent did accomplish is involve Eddie Cantor in a great way this week. I loved how Nucky brought him some Passover vodka. It’s one of those, look I brought you vodka completely free of grain and signed off by a rabbi… now find a way to fix my girlfriend’s show because otherwise I’m going to send Chalky and Purnsley over to beat your ass. Surely Nucky, of all people, would understand the importance of honoring your contracts. I mean come on. It did seem like Eddie going to New York added just a little bit more to Arthur Rothstein’s derision over being pulled into shit dealing with Tabor Heights. As he said, only things in New York matter.

Billie Kent also worked her way directly into Margaret’s storyline. Now I’m not up to date on “Keeping a Mistress 101” but it seems to me that one of the major highlights of that course would be “Don’t take your floosie to the same shop that your wife visits on a regular basis.” Apparently Nucky isn’t up to date either because there they were and come on Nucky, get it together. Margaret is giving you carte blanche to basically do whatever you want as long as you allow her to keep up appearances. You are failing Nucky. Failing hard. You best believe Margaret is getting her shit in line with a bank account and all and don’t be surprised if you come “home” one day to find yourself all alone. No one left to rescue but yourself-someone who desperately needs it.

What I’d love to see from Margaret is for her to just sack up and take over the world. I had started to dislike her at the beginning of the season but she’s come back around. Now if she were to smack that annoying ass nun who sits in her vagina class basically clutching her pearls the entire time, I’d build a statue of her likeness in my front lawn.

The big story of the episode was the aftermath of Gyp hijacking and killing Nucky’s delivery guys on their way to Rothstein. We finally got to see Rothstein lose just a little bit of his cool. I think he’s one of those tip of the iceberg kind of guys, basically the exact opposite of Gyp Rosetti.

This scene actually drove me a little nuts because they showed AR picking up that spoon at least three times in two seconds.

The writers have set up the audience exactly as they wanted. Every time we see Gyp we expect him to go ape shit and kill someone. Then they show us a couple of times that he can laugh things off so we relax a bit and then he goes and sets the sheriff on fire. This week we saw him enjoying himself with the aid of a belt. Who would have ever thought that the belt would be what saves his life? Well the belt and the naked chick he used as a human shield.

The title of the episode “You’d Be Surprised” was quite accurate because I would have never guessed the result of Rothstein and Nucky’s screaming match was Benny showing up at the Kinnernet Lodge shooting everyone he came across. Of course it does set up the rest of the season because now we get to watch how Gyp, who will kill a man for looking at him crosseyed, reacts to Rothstein sending a guy to kill him. Not only that but Gyp worked for Masseria? The same Masseria who is already pissed at the trio of Rothstein, Luciano, and Lansky? It’s going to be insane.

I did like how the episode wrapped up with Eddie telling Billie that she is nothing. She may think that she has landed this big fish in Nucky, but really she’s just a flavor of the week. You tell her Eddie!

Lucy Danzinger was of course Paz de la Huerta‘s character…at least before she was fired prior to season 3….

Whew, there was a lot of stuff in this episode. Some of it wasn’t so great, others was damn near perfection. That scene with Gyp walking through the dead bodies and pools of blood? Very reminiscent of Taxi Driver and just an incredible scene.

Going to have to go with a four out of five on this one. Gillian Darmody and the boring Senate hearing drug it down.

In the news section of today’s review – Boardwalk Empire has been picked up for Season 4! I don’t think anyone saw this as a big surprise, but it is nice to know. I can’t speak for everyone, but I know for myself, I’ve been burned by canceled shows enough times that when something hasn’t been officially announced as renewed, I just assumed it’s going to be gone.

One could hope that now they are certain they are a go for another season, perhaps they can spend a little bit more time with their other storylines. Hahaha, that’s never going to happen. Just ask Chalky White.

For now, I’m going to go sit in my Miller Chair (just kidding, I don’t have a Miller Chair but it is mentioned in the song that Eddie and Billie are singing at the end) and wait for next week.

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Get Ready for ‘American Horror Story: Asylum’

Would it be too bold to say that American Horror Story gave us some of the most entertaining horror we have ever seen on television? With 17 Emmy nominations, I feel it’s an appropriate statement. However, this is the same show in which a man was murdered and then sodomized with a fire poker. That isn’t exactly water cooler talk for the next day at the office, now is it? So where did these nominations come from, and how did it earn such a broad fan base?  It’s likely because AHS is such a strong representation of the entire horror genre, and that’s been recognized. The first season ended in December, and since then fans have anxiously awaited their horrific thirsts to be quenched, and now we finally have a date to look forward to. Season two is scheduled to premier on October 17th at 10/9c.

Season one got our attention with its devilish, mysterious nature. To sum it up, great writing that was shot well forced even those that hate the genre to not only engage in the program, but enjoy it. I myself am a self-proclaimed fanatic of horror so I find it interesting how often I have heard people say, “I hate horror movies, but I love that show.”

So what was it that you loved about season one? Was it a guilty pleasure? Did it have something to do with young Moira portrayed by Alexandra Breckenridge? Did the Friday Night Lights fans need some more of Coach’s wife Connie Britton? Maybe you just loved the classic struggles of the Harmons and all their foibles. If you can’t wait to see what happens to our beloved ghostly Harmon family, prepare for a blatant, and somewhat obvious spoiler. Season two, appropriately titled American Horror Story: Asylum, is set in a new location with few returning cast members. When starting from scratch, it is hard to assess how the new season will stack up. What do you say we try anyways?

From what has been reported, these rumors could very well be spoilers.

Season 2 takes place during the 1960s in a New England Mental Hospital called Briarcliff. The Hospital is run by returning actress Jessica Lange as Sister Jude. Given her expected intimate relationship with new cast member Joseph Fiennes, I suppose it is uncertain if she is truly devote. When I see a nun in a mental hospital, I can’t help but think of the forced conception of Freddy Kruger. Anyone else? No? Okay, so I may have watched The Nightmare on Elm Street franchise too many times.

Without the return of iconic figures such as Rubberman, the canvas is fresh for new terrors. So say hello and welcome to, “BloodyFace.” With origins unknown we know he/she/it is a murderous psychopath who has an affection for wearing human skin. Other expected plot points will reflect upon aliens, and Nazis.

Other new cast members include James Cromwell, Chloë Sevigny, Franka Potente, Clea Duvall, and Adam Levine. Yes, that Adam Levine. Apparently he was capable of putting the button down for a while on The Voice so he could become part of the on camera couple known as, “The Lovers.”

We certainly have more information this time around then the first season marketing campaign gave. Was this necessary to gain viewership again? Are we still going to be blown away with what is revealed? I would think so considering the trailers serve more to keep me awake at night rather than tell me anything too specific. There are now eleven teaser trailers of different names to spark as much intrigue as possible. (1) Special Delivery, (2) Blue Coat, (3) Hydrobath, (4) White Rose, (5) Ascend, (6) Glass Prison, (7) The Bucket, (8) White Rave, (9) Taste, (10) Bandages, and (11) Fork. All 11 are available HERE.

My expectation is that we have much to look forward to out of season 2. Returning cast members Jessica Lange, Zachary Quinto, Lily Rabe, and Evan Peters, with returning writers such as Brad Fulchuk and Ryan Murphy means continued chemistry. Murphy harnessed what terrifies him most, and transferred that fear to another medium for us to fear as well. I didn’t previously have a particular fear of aliens, nuns, or Nazis. That being said, we weren’t terrified to go into the water until after we saw Jaws for the first time.

Now for a brief moment of speculation: Co creators Brad Falchuk and Ryan Murphy have already stated that each season would belong to a non related anthology. However, one of my favorite things about anthologies is their potential for connection. Rarely do I find something more satisfying than when multiple stories intertwine to develop a grander plot. Is there a possibility Briarcliff will hold connection to our beloved “Murder House” from season one? Though the co creators have clearly stated, “No.” I would still love to think so.

Grizzly Review: The Artist

The silent era is one of the most important and one of the most sacred eras in film history. It marked the beginning of the motion picture, as well as the beginning of the future. No one had ever seen anything like a movie before, and, as bold of a statement as this may be, nobody ever will.

The late 20s marked the beginning of what was then known as the “talkie”. For years, people had been watching movies with no sound, backed only by live instrumentation to set the tone for every scene. People craved more, though. They figured that if people could talk in real life, why couldn’t they talk in the movies? The transition from silent to talkie left many actors jobless, with few able to maintain their status as a top silent actor or filmmaker, with Charlie Chaplin being one of the most recognizable names.

In The Artist, one of the world’s most famous silent actors, George Valentin (Jean Dujardin), is facing a similar ultimatum. Either he retires as an actor, forgotten like the rest of silent film, or he adapts to his ever changing environment, embracing the talkie as the rest of the world has. Valentin also has a chance encounter with Peppy Miller (Berenice Bejo), a young and beautiful dancer who decides to follow her dream of being an actress when a photo of her and Valentin is found on the cover of Variety.

Meanwhile, studio executive Al Zimmer (John Goodman), pushes the technological advancement on Valentin, which does nothing but push him away. Valentin swears that he’ll keep silent film alive, making films of his own that bomb quite drastically as Miller’s status as a leading woman rises quickly, going from extra to star in a mere two years. The two begin something of an unspoken romance that is constantly interrupted by the outside world. Eventually, Valentin finds himself poor and alone, save for his extremely loyal butler, Clifton (James Cromwell). With both talkies and Peppy Miller at the top of the entertainment industry, Valentin is lost, looking for a reason to live as happily as he once did.

The Artist has been named the best film of the year by many a critic, and is almost a shoe-in for best picture at the Oscars this year. The hype for this film, produced by The Weinstein Company, has been some of the biggest of the year, causing viewers to rush to the theater, fueled by the film’s numerous awards, as well as its 97% fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes. So, does it live up to the expectations of being the best movie of the year?

Well, in short, no. In fact, it doesn’t really even earn a place in my top 20 and possibly even 50 of the year, but it does do something that I can’t quite put my finger on. It had a certain effect on me that I can’t quite vocalize. It wasn’t nostalgic, and it wasn’t authentic, so that can’t be it, but if not that then what?

For one, in aiming to resemble the silent films of the 1920s, it does a relatively decent job, but is also missing quite a bit. Screened in 14:2 ratio instead of the 16:4 that we’re used to was quite pleasing, as was actually making the film silent to really encompass the world that it was portraying. With all of the authenticity though, came quite a few mistakes. For one, the HD quality of the film angered me slightly, as if the filmmakers were going for clean, when in actuality, they should have taken a couple pages from the Death Proof handbook and physically scratched the film, giving it a look much more akin to a 1920s film.

Also, for a silent film, there’s a hell of a lot of talking, more than necessary for a film like this, and it kind of made me wish that they had just made the film a talkie, working harder on a select few scenes that were silent to give the movie a little more flair. The intertitles were unfortunately sparse, and considering the bloated running time, 100 minutes (about a 1/2 hour more than it should have been), intertitles would have been nice.

As I mentioned above, at 100 minutes, The Artist is also far too long, deciding to focus on mostly unnecessary and overly extended comedy sequences as opposed to creating a linear narrative that gets the viewer prepared for what was an excellent and heartbreaking third act. The last forty minutes of the film most definitely saved itself from the first 60, and I wished that the plotting in the first half had been as tight and focused as the second.

The Artist is advertised as a romance film, but for being marketed as such, the romance between the two leads seems to be second to the film’s themes of the future of silent actors and their movies, which is disappointing considering that I was hoping to see a beautiful, silent romance, similar to the one that viewers saw in 1931’s City Lights.

Personally, I spend the time that I’m not watching or reviewing movies researching film history, and as a huge fan of the silent era, the whole film’s plot becomes almost irrelevant once viewers learn that silent films were still being made well into the thirties, a well-known one being 1936’s Modern Times. Valentin is supposed to represent a star as big as Chaplin, so why could Charlie still make silent films successfully, and Valentin couldn’t? Seems odd considering the star status that he seems to hold.

In theory, I probably should have loved this movie. The acting is great, with Jean Dujardin giving one of the best performances of the year. The directing by French filmmaker Michel Hazanavicius, who also wrote the scenario and intertitles, is fantastic, making reflection a metaphor for self-reflection through the sly turn of his camera. So what is it about The Artist that I don’t love? Well, besides its somewhat long first and second act, as a fan of the silent era, the film comes off as a love letter to cinema that got the address wrong. Its heart is in the right place, and its intentions are good, but the boring story never allowed things to take off like they should have, leaving the viewer at a standstill for almost 80 minutes, then gunning it for the last 20. Silent films are deliberate and artful, and require pacing that I found to be lacking here. Then again, if a silent film could win best picture in the the 1920s and the 2010s, that’d be pretty astounding.

3/5 Grizzly’s