30 July, 2012

Guest Review - BREAKING BAD 5.03: 'Hazard Pay'


By perpetual guest reviewer Shawn Mahone.

Last week I talked about how Serialized shows can be at their most effective when drawing on rich source of solid material to move itself forward. I moaned that Mike's decision to move forward with Walt and Jessie felt contrived and bullshitty and that kinda ruined the episode for me, well this week the show did a something similar and it was spectacular! Everything Walter said or did was perfect for him as a character, he said things in a way and tone that makes sense when one looks at his history, he did things physically that makes sense to his history and holy hell was it fucking awesome and kinda creepy at the same time!

Walter White shares a few characteristics with Don Draper apart from being characters on Emmy winning AMC shows they have this huge common flaw...they both believe that they can change their lives at a drop of a hat and move on and people can do the same and if they cannot then they can go and screw themselves, they believe people can do the same and that a better life is always around the corner. Don Draper decided Dick Whitman could die in Korea and he could move on but as we find out his family suffered and it costs his brother his life, Don believed Lane Pryce could start over like him and instead he could not and it cost Lane his life. Walter White felt slighted and so left Elliot and Gretchen and millions of dollars out of Hubris and pettiness and being an asshole and started over. Walter White decided that being small time was no good so he made Jesse and his crew expand and it cost Combo his life when Combo did not have the skills to be beg time. Walter White decided to be Heisenberg and Hank got crippled in the process. Walter White decides to kill Gus the chicken man and replace him but he never thought about Gus current employees, what would happen to them? What do they do now that they have no money? What do they do that they are screwed and it was all because Walter White wants to be the big man in town and wants to feel the emotions of power and control? Watching this whole episode had me smiling ear to ear at the marvel that is Walter White and how brilliantly this show has turned this man in to who he is today . Walter White is an egotistical, self-serving narcissist, arrogant, greedy, murdering, lying (among a million other adjectives!) son of a bitch and how this episode showed that time and time again made me so happy and at times a little sad.

He tells Jesse the Icarus story that if you fly too close to the sun than you are going to pay the price and I think it is obvious that he is talking about Mike and how Mike is taking liberties with their money or he could be talking about Mike's crew as well and how they got caught and should be taken care of like Mike should probably one day be taken care of. But his ego does not see that this line of thinking could make him fly too close to the sun and get burned, I mean Jesse has done a lot of shit over the years for Walt but is he really going to be willing to kill 9 guys plus Mike and whoever else that gets in their way? Will he kill Lydia once he knows she has a little girl? Jesse would never hurt a child. The answer is no, the show has demonstrated that Jesse will not stoop that low and Walt just does not see that he is starting to set himself up for that moment in a year's time where he needs a M-60 gun and Jim Beaver! Don Draper can be Don Draper because the business he is in people like Pete Campbell keeping his secret is no big deal because Pete Campbell will do what serves Pete Campbell best and that is allowing Don to be Don. Walt can do what he wants to do as long as Jesse is by his side, I mean that is the only reason Mike is working with them or probably Saul too. Walt suggesting that they do away with Mike will not wash with Jesse and when he finds out about Jane or Brock than Walt better run farer than Denny's in wherever he was in the season premier.

This is probably why Walter White can never be a kingpin or a boss or a huge success, unlike Mike, Walter does not see that having a huge illegal operation that needs to look legal costs a lot of dough. People need to be paid, things need to be done and employees need to be looked after and respected so that you can gain their trust and loyalty. Walter White never understands this and never has understood this concept and that is where he is butting heads with Mike. When they cooked the Meth in the house Walt and Jesse made a tent within a tent...Walt lives in that little tent and does not understand what they outer tent is for or does...he just believes what he does in his little tent is all that matters and does not understand the bigger tent issues...great metaphor going there Breaking Bad! Top draw! top draw!

Walter White is all about Walter White and the level of Hubris ("Shall we take a vote?" "Why?") he is demonstrating has me worried for the man who knocks and worried in a good way. He is going to die and I cannot say I will be upset too, he sits in front of television with his kids watching Scarface (Yay Scarface! they got the studio and Al Pachino to give permission to use that material! Yay) basically watching his own demise and he does not even see it that magnificent bastard! Hehehe.

Who else will I not be upset about dying...SKYLER, oh please Vince Gilligan let the ricin cigarette people Chekov's ricin cigarette and let Skyler smoke it and die! Serious man that bitch needs to go! Skyler has had her chance to get rid of Walt time and time again she could have signed the divorce papers and did not and now she is paying the price and being a whiny bitch about it, what a cunt.

Walt manipulating Jesse into dumping Andrea and Brock was well done, he put it into a way that made Jesse think it was his choice and then made his mind up for him with the she would love you if she understood but...what a magnificent bastard.

Saul! oh how I love seeing me some Saul and he had some great, great, great lines. Saul continues to do his thing and get paid handsomely for it and does it with a great sense of humor and knowhow, so yay for Saul the man who is only done when Walt/Heisenberg tells him he is done.

The idea for their new business was a fantastic one and I loved how they arrived at the solution the way Breaking Bad arrives at the solution...through a process that takes time and thought! Box company...no, Tortilla factory...no, Lazerbaze!...no err sorry hell no!. So we are left with the exterminators and I got to say the look inside of the house was beautiful when they were cooking...ahh...stunningly beautiful.

Brock and Andrea were in this episode and I think they only did that to show Walt not giving a shit about poisoning a innocent child...die Walter!

The best episode of the season so far and I hear they are going to crank it up majorly in the next few weeks so hold onto your seats people!

So Walt just because you killed Jesse James does not make you Jesse James and because you do not understand that...good luck with the very little life you have left buddy.

Episode Rating 98 out of 100

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Furycast 34 - Top 20 Sarah Walker Hotness Scenes PART 3 of 5


On Yvonne Strahovski's 26th birthday (give or take), I bring you PART 3 of the podcast TOO HOT FOR YOUTUBE!

Reminder: the more views, the quicker part 4 gets unleashed. So share this with all your friends and families. And anyone with Internet access.


Just one more part to find out what is #1! And then there will be a final part of some scenes I thought should have made it on the list.

Part 1 - Top 20 to 16
Part 2 - Top 15 to 11
Part 3 - Top 10 to 6
Part 4 - Top 5 to 1
Part 5 - Choices that didn't make the list but should have.


IMPORTANT!!!
Click this link to subscribe to our podcast via iTunes. Because the next two parts will be up EARLY for subscribers!

Oh and HAPPY BIRTHDAY YVONNE!



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27 July, 2012

Review - WILFRED 2.06: 'Control'


I didn't review last week's episode of WILFRED because I hated it. So does this week's please me more?

Amanda and Jenna meet. A video of a wasted Jenna goes viral as 'Squishy Tits'. Ryan has a couple's dinner party. Things go badly. Amanda then tells everyone her very sad and gory dog story. And Wilfred finally gets to "meet" her.

QUOTING WILFRED
Wilfred: Come on treasure. I know you're under there somewhere, you dick!

Jenna: They just played 'Squishy Tits' on Howard Stern!

Ryan: What are you doing here?
Wilfred: (holding a box) I brought desert. I found it in the most charming little French bakery's dumpster.
Ryan: (opening the box) There's nothing in here.
Wilfred: Of course there is. There's a giant grease stain. And a smidge of crusty whipped cream. I've already chewed up four of these boxes this week. After tonight I swear I'm going on a cleanse.

Wilfred: Yes, Bear. I heard you the first time. Six beers and Amanda is finally starting to look bone-able. Volume, Bear. Volume!

Jenna: I don't know if you've heard but there's this Internet video that's sort of ruining my life right now.
Amanda: (lying) Oh n... uh no. I haven't heard anything about it.
Drew: I'll send you the link.

If I had to rate this episode, and I don't want to, I'd give it:

77 out of 100

Not many lines of fun dialogue and the story just didn't work all that well. At least they didn't do something TV-stupid and make Amanda break up with Ryan, because in the real world shit like that doesn't happen just because your significant other lied to you. Well, unless the sex is bad.

I guess Ryan is okay in bed.

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25 July, 2012

My time waster for the past week

Yep... you can't stop me from burning up what little time I have left doing this.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PeKCyWfA9bg

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Er_tuw3acBw

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NVPrrH2msSU

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XbKOUHG2ArI

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jgs8nuAF52U

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Review -- WHITE COLLAR 4.03: 'Diminishing Returns'


Who doesn't love a good bank heist?

Well in the particular instance of White Collar 4.03 ('Diminishing Returns'), that would be me.

Tough crowd, you say? Well in my defense, THERE WASN'T EVEN A BANK HEIST in the episode about a BANK HEIST.

Neat trick, 'White Collar'. Sure, Neal and Peter showed up at the bank -- but they were 20 minutes late. That's some riveting TV, let me tell you.

Sticking with the riveting theme, I never would have guessed that Neal and Peter would work together on a case, even though Peter doesn't work for the White Collar division anymore! Who saw that coming? Clever writers they have over there.

OK, I'll stop being a dick now. Not sure about you, but I was somewhat excited about a bank robbery episode that the beginning of the episode teased it would be, but that's not what we got. We didn't really get much that episode, either. The case was boring and otherwise un-noteworthy (is that a word?), save for seeing Peter play squash and Neal teach him how to subtly influence your mark.

This episode's only real purpose was to quickly put Peter back on track to re-join White Collar soon and fully introduce the season-long arc of Neal looking for answers about his father. A wonderful added bonus: Mozzie is back in town. Alhough we all knew that was coming. This show needs him.

Although I feel like I shouldn't really care about the Neal's father storyline, this show does a good job of sucking me into investing in the season-long arcs that really aren't special or original. I hope it turns out to be interesting and isn't dragged out too long.

I also hope next week has a better case, more memorable lines, more shady Neal activity and more Mozzie. I want those two crazy kids to get into some trouble. That is undoubtedly when this show is at its best.

NOTABLE QUOTABLES:

--NEAL: "Ring shopping's not really my thing."

--NEAL: "You're clean shaven ... you've retired from retirement."

--NEAL: "At least you have your yard now."
--PETER: "We call it a picnic area."

RANDOM RAMBLINGS:

--The first eight minutes of this episode were unbearable. Nothing happened. So. Damn. Boring.

--I admire each and every one of Neal's shady skills. Pretty bad-ass job of getting into that truck. "Since when do I need keys?"

--OK, this might just be my man-crush on Neal Caffrey showing, but that trick of making Peter pick the blue diamond was so slick and awesome. I want to be a con-man so desperately. But I lack talent, charisma, balls and a whole host of other necessary skills.

--As such, I feel like only Neal should have been capable of pulling that off, but OK.

--Mozzie! I want to personally thank you for finishing the cell phones for The Suit.

--Crap! My video cut off while Neal and Helen were talking. What happened at the end of the conversation? Help me, people!

THE SCORE: 58 out of 100

It wasn't funny. It wasn't original. It wasn't interesting. It wasn't witty. I could probably do this for a while...

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24 July, 2012

Furycast 33 - Top 20 Sarah Walker Hotness Scenes PART 2 of 5


The podcast that was TOO HOT FOR YOUTUBE gets part 2!

Reminder: the more views, the quicker part 3 gets unleashed. So share this with all your friends and families. And anyone with Internet access.


Yeah, we didn't all dig the top 15 to 11 list. But this vote was a democracy and those who participated got their way. Though, this is just for fun and not the definitive list of what is best. Just what was voted for most.

Part 1 - Top 20 to 16
Part 2 - Top 15 to 11
Part 3 - Top 10 to 6
Part 4 - Top 5 to 1
Part 5 - Choices that didn't make the list but should have.


Click this link to subscribe to our podcast via iTunes.

2013 Summer Movies in Review


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23 July, 2012

The Hobbit - Production Video #8 'Last Days'

Peter Jackson and company have put out another production video for THE HOBBIT part 1, coming out in 5 months!



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Guest Review of BREAKING BAD 5.02: 'Madrigal'


Shawn returns to guest write a review and this time his will be the only one because I am dying from the black plague. So enjoy his opinion! Note, his thoughts do not necessarily represent those of the crazed staff of writers at whateverthisis. Nor is he held to any standard in writing. ENJOY!

Serialized shows like Chuck or Breaking Bad focus on one character and create a journey that allows the character to evolve from one person to another. Along the way different people enter their orbit and are affected by the decisions they make over the journey. Everything is from their point of view and so every decision they make and every choice they choose has an effect on the story going forward. It is an incredibly intimate storytelling method and it creates the biggest problem for a show..... what happens when the main character reaches the end of the journey set in the beginning? What happens when everything was about that protagonist/antagonist and outside characters and story was not developed as well? What happens when the main character is at the top and master of all he survey's? What happens when an NBC or AMC decide that they will renew your show even though the odds of that happening was the same odds as world peace?

I think there are 2 very major reasons (and a few minor ones too) why this season of Breaking Bad has not been up to its usual greatness, the first being that Vince Gilligan created in the first 4 seasons a story of Walter White becoming Scarface and at the end of season 4 that journey was complete. He has said in various interviews that the end of season 4 could have been a great series finale and that Walt's journey had been complete. Now this is the same thing that happened to CHUCK, Season 1 flowed well into 2 and season 2 flowed well into its best season 3....at the end of 3.13 or 3.19 that was a potential end of the series, Chuck went from boy to man to spy to hero and along the way got the girl. Chris Fedak and Josh Schwartz like Vince Gilligan thought this was the end and created endings to the journey's of their leader with the thought that the end was nigh. Vince Gilligan had every right to make the same call, if anyone witnessed the AMC - Mad Men contract negotiation war....they would know that there was a chance that if AMC would fuck with Mad Men than what would they do to Breaking Bad? and so the question arises, what does a show like Chuck or Breaking Bad do when they get renewed and were not expecting it? you get weak seasons 4 and 5 of Chuck and you get a weak season 5 of Breaking Bad thus far. That brings me to my second point, with everything being about Walt or Chuck...how do you move a show forward when the characters were at their highest point? I mean are we now going to see character regression, progression, contrivances, bullshit?

After the jump we shall delve into what I liked and what I found problematic about this episode and season thus far.

"Madrigal" continues the domino effect of Walt killing Gus, Gus' Office is checked and bank numbers are found and employees are rooted out by the DEA and certain employees get nervous and take hits on on the other employees and a German executive commits suicide on a toilet! None of that would have been a problem on any other show but this is Breaking Bad. Would Gus have really left his Bank account numbers and passwords on a picture frame? or would he have left the laptop full of evidence in his legal business? would Gus have done any number of these stupid things when we have come to know him as such a perfectionist? Vince Gilligan has said that getting an unexpected renewal means they have to start the story from scratch and they have done that but they have taken a lot of shortcuts to ramp up the tension and that is not Breaking Bad, Breaking Bad is methodical and takes its time and plays the long game....this is unsettling to say the least. This makes Mikes decision to join Walt and Jesse feel contrived and bullshitty...Gus exposes Mike and all his fortune doing something Gus would never do and so Mike is forced to do something Mike would never do because of something Gus would never have done and now we can continue the story of Walt, Jesse, Mike and Saul owning the South's Drug trade! Awesome!

That rant aside there are some very good moments in this episode. Jonathan Banks was brilliant as Mike in this episode, just fucking fantastic. His minimalistic approach to acting allows us to slow down and see a man who is weary and tired and frustrated with all this bullshit that is happening all around him. He has Walt being an unpredictable piece of dynamite waiting to go off at any time, he has the winging bitch whose name I have forgotten taking out on him and all his guys and he has Hank grilling him and cracking wise with him and calling him by his first name even though he did not give Hank permission to do so. His humanity of not killing Lydia because she has a daughter and he has a granddaughter was a nice moment for our wise guy and I look forward to where this goes next.

Walt and Jesse had few scenes in this episode but they were good ones. Aaron Paul just keeps breaking my heart with his phenomenal performance as Jesse, when he broke down and started crying about how he was sorry for being stupid...I got to say Walt's death cannot come soon enough. Walt continues to manipulate and connive and keep Jesse under his thumb and as Mike keeps saying...Jesse should just run as fast as he can from the man who knocks.

So a weak second episode that is for sure, and a very shaky start to the final season. I am a sucker though for shows like these that swing for the fences and try their best even though they are under constant threat of cancellation. Chuck withered off and limped into the sunset due to having to create 50 different series finales, Breaking Bad has had to create at least 3 series finales and I do feel for the show runners when they are caught between a rock and a hard place...a studio and network who are trying to nickel and dime everything. I have hope that Breaking Bad will get better and look forward to it doing so....until then adios.

Episode Rating 75 out of 100

--Shawn Mahone

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18 July, 2012

Review - COVERT AFFAIRS 3.02: 'Sound and Vision'


When Auggie and Annie are sent on a mission together, things get all kinds of dramatic and, not surprisingly, pretty great.

I don't know why the writers of the show haven't just done it already. You know, the thing they should have done a while ago.

Put Auggie and Annie together for good.

I don't mean as a romantic couple. I mean as partners. Because the episodes where they are working closely together tend to be the best ones.

Sure, the will-they-won't-they element of their relationship amps things up, since we know she has deep feelings for him, but that stuff can easily be left to another season. The show doesn't really need them to be together as a couple anyway when it is probably more fun to see them working together.

And it works because we know they love each other as friends. We believe that Annie runs to help Auggie, even though he is a capable spy, because she can't stand the thought of losing him. He thinks it is about her not having confidence in his abilities due to his blindness but the audience knows the truth.

The episode as a whole works even apart from the Auggie and Annie relationship because it is very well structured and paced, plus the story feels like it could very well be part of a real world covert operations mission. Also, these characters are dealing with a death from the previous episode that shapes their decisions, and the audience believes in these decisions because THEY MAKE SENSE (hello TV writers in general!).

Auggie is rushing into a proposal because life is short for a spy? Check. We get it. Annie lets a mission essential element be taken because she doesn't want to lose her best friend? Of course. That's what we would do too. The two operations bosses have competing interests, one more conservative, the other more liberal, and those interests conflict with some mission goals? I believe it because the show sticks with character development instead of conveniently moving the pieces on the chessboard to fit some wacky agenda of the writer-of-the-week. Even the bit with Annie's sister and her need to piece things together works because one would expect her to wonder about such things.

It is as if the writers didn't miss anything that needed to be covered. There's even an excellent, if short, fight in an elevator that isn't made any more dramatic or action packed than it needs to be since the stakes are already high enough due to Auggie's blindness and the need for Annie to be his eyes.

Not to mention the fact that Annie shoots a gun! And not in the air. That was pretty badass.

If I had to rate this episode, and a half-naked girl testing my blindness demands I do, then I'd give it:

93 out of 100

Excellent episode. Currently the best show on USA and arguably the best written spy show on TV.

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Review - WHITE COLLAR 4.02: 'Most Wanted'


So, Peter was re-assigned out of the White Collar division. Oh no! The humanity!

This begs the $64,000 question: in which episode will everything be completely back to normal? I'm setting the over/under at Episode 4. I'll take the under.

Heck, it's hard enough to believe that the show got a whole 84 minutes or so out of what last season's finale set up with Neal on the run. This was all so predictable and I called it in last week's review of the season premier. I hate being right. (No I don't)

It only took 13 minutes of 'Most Wanted' to know precisely how this episode would play out. Not only that, but the way it played out was a little ridiculous, wasn't it? I don't think I have the time to get into how many problems I had with that insane plan. Well, I probably do have the time. But you don't need me to tell them to you.

It was fun to see Neal shot, it was fun to see more of Mia Maestro and who doesn't like seeing "The Suit" working in concert with Mozzie, but all that doesn't takeremove my overall annoyance of how quickly everything went back to normal. Live a little, "White Collar"!

Oh well. Still enjoy watching this show and will as always look forward to next week's installment. But I'm not fooled by the teaser of Peter being pulled out of the division at the end of the episode.

Should I even bother reviewing this show at this point? Give me some encouragement and your thoughts on the episode and where things are going, people!

QUOTES OF NOTE:

PETER: "The girl always gives you away."

NEAL: "This isn't exactly how we planned our retirement."
MOZZIE: "The law on our tail, an ocean breeze, a precision heist from an island overlord ... it kinda is."

RANDOM RAMBLINGS:

--Unlike Morgan Guillermo Grimes, Neal Caffrey doesn't have to break his thumbs to get out of handcuffs.

--Yes, Agent Collins would have taken his eyes off of Neal and helped put fruit in a box. It's not like he just saw that Neal escaped from handcuffs in the previous scene or anything.

--Hector would be a bad-ass protege to Neal.

--I have no talent and very little redeeming qualities, so I couldn't learn to be a decent bartender even with months of work and preperation.  But that doesn't mean a bad-ass FBI agent could learn how to be one in 30 minutes.

--Tuco! (If you know why I just wrote that, you're good in my book)

--Would Neal really be worth a $500,000 bounty?

--Anyone else get the inkling that Helen is going to die this season?

--If you have any doubt that Mozzie will find his way back to New York ASAP, you don't know this show or TV very well. Speaking of Mozzie, is it possible not to love that guy?

THE SCORE: 63 out of 100

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17 July, 2012

Furycast 32 - Top 20 Sarah Walker Hotness Scenes PART 1 of 5


The podcast that is TOO HOT FOR YOUTUBE!

That's right, boys and ladies, the second I uploaded this baby, I got THREE copyright violation notices and was immediately blocked in 177 countries!

Since I don't feel like dealing with YouTube's fair use disputing process, this will go up on other sites first. I will eventually post the whole thing on YouTube for those people able to watch it (sorry Afghanistan).

Also, it is totally NSFW and banned to anyone under 21!



Anyway, time to share this madness with every CHUCK fan on the planet! Especially if they are a heterosexual male or a homosexual female.

Part 1 - Top 20 to 16
Part 2 - Top 15 to 11
Part 3 - Top 10 to 6
Part 4 - Top 5 to 1
Part 5 - Choices that didn't make the list but should have.


Click this link to subscribe to our podcast via iTunes.



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16 July, 2012

Guest Review of BREAKING BAD Season 5 Premiere


Another guest review by Shawn Mahone, who wrote the ARCHER season finale review a few months ago. Check it out. You can check out my less glowing review HERE. --HGF

For a show that is so predictable and at times magnificently so, the cold opening raises the biggest question with the most unpredictable answer...who will bring down Walter White? Who is chasing Walter White? Who is Walter so clearly scared of? Who has Walter so petrified that he buys a huge ass gun off of Jim Beaver?

What makes this all unpredictable is that it could be Hank, Mike, Saul (or a hired gun of Saul's), Skyler, Madrigal Industries, a user who received a bad batch, one of their new dealers or and this is wish fulfillment it could be Jesse.

So at the beginning of season 5 we are entering the period of Scarface in this particular story (Vince Gilligan has said that this show is about taking Mr Chips from Scarface) and now that Walt is Scarface he has no boss because he is the boss ("Because I said So") and he is full of confidence and ego and empowerment and courage and sheer skin crawling menace ("I Forgive you", "It is over when I say it is over").

What I like about this season premier is that it did not try and outdo the last 2 episodes of last season...because that would have been insane on many levels and both resets the arc and continues in the well known and detailed formula that has made the show so loved.

The formula is the detailed process...the show gives details along the way and like the Wire everything matters down the line and in the case of this episode Gus Laptop cause all sort of shit for Walt and co, and so when there is a problem Breaking Bad goes into the whole process of how it should be fixed and so Walt and Mike argue through every reason why anything but magnets will not work...they decide magnets and we spend 5 minutes going through the purchase of said magnet, the test of said magnet the need to get more magnets. All details are worked out so that when Mike asks the necessary questions after the deed is done we as Walt know that they will not be caught because everything was thought through.

Skyler White is the weakest link this show has ever had and she continues to be so. All her scenes really drag down any episode she is in to be honest and every time I saw her I was praying for the show to switch to Saul or Mike or Jesse or Walt or anyone else but her. Having Anna Gunn on this show proves that Vince Gilligan is not as smart as people think, I know that Gunn is second in the credits and was supposed to be more important than she actually turned out to be, but the man who is third is along with Cranston the best actor on the show and wisely has been the focal point of the series. Paul's Jesse was supposed to die in season 1 but did not and maybe Gilligan is smarter than I only a few sentences chastised him for not being. But she is just a terrible actress and a terrible character that the show has never been able to figure out and probably costs the show it's drama Emmy.

Ok enough with that rant...sorry. I enjoyed this premier a lot, although the show has a limited budget it did not over use characters that did not need to be overused we saw only one scene of Hank, two of Saul, one of Hank Jr and so on and so forth. The pacing was Breaking Bad at it's best and it sets up the season very well. Walt maybe Scarface but their is still some Walt left in him like the way he ignored Jesse when Jesse was coming up with the magnet idea or how he could not stop himself for going to far with the power switch or how even though Saul made the right call and the only way out of the predicament was to pay Beneke's tax bill...Walt is still being petty because Beneke banged his wife.

My mind is a little frazzled trying to do this so quickly after work and only a limited time to think and review the episode so I apologize for what I missed. This was a solid if not spectacular start to the season and the end of the series...things are only going to go even more bat shit crazy along the way and I cannot wait to see it.

Update

I saw on HGF's article that the author said that he did not think this show was as good as Lost and some other series. While I disagree about Lost I do agree that the show is slightly over hyped but it is all about opinion in the end and what people like.

If people like answers then Breaking Bad whips Losts ass [LOST answered virtually everything mind you --HGF], if people want unpredictability then Lost whips Breaking Bads ass [it does in every way possible --HGF], if people want....to each their own I suppose.

Episode Rating: 90 out of 100.

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GoF #3: Mount & Blade Warband - Napoleonic Wars

As of this posting, you have 8-hours to get this thing CHEAP. Check out the quick gameplay commentary and then BUY THIS THING on Steam so we can play together.

Watch it in 1080p!


Buy the full Mount & Blade Collection on Steam for $8.74!

Or just buy Mount & Blade Warband plus Napoleonic Wars separately (or whatever DLC you want).

You MUST own Warband to play Napoleonic Wars.

UPDATE: If you didn't get this at the huge discount, then it is because you don't read this site religiously or do what I tell you. Sad.

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Review - Political Animals 1.01: Pilot


I could do this review in a more traditional manner, but instead I’m going to give you what I think are the top three reasons to watch (or hopefully keep watching) Political Animals.

The basic gist: The Barrish/Hammond clan is a slightly fictionalized version of the Clintons. Bud is a Southern, good ol’ boy, former President who cheated on his wife while in office. Elaine, his ex-wife, became Governor of Illinois after serving as First Lady (despite the scandal) and attempted to run for President herself, but lost her party’s primary. She then took the Secretary of State job in her opponent’s administration. Hopefully, this all sounds familiar. They also have two sons: Doug, who serves as Mom’s right hand man/adviser; and T.J., who was publicly shamed when he came out as a teen in the White House and is now battling substance abuse issues. Also, Elaine’s mother (played by Ellen Burstyn; channeling Jessica Walter’s Lucille Bluth and Mallory Archer)is along for the ride.

1. Hillary Fandom!- If, like me, you still stare longingly at your Hillary ‘08 campaign memorabilia and await the day when our fearless lady leader will return to the arena of Presidential candidacy, then this show is for you. Basically, it is Hillary fanfiction: all the characters you know and love (plus a few extra for fun) thrown into stories that would be unlikely to happen in reality, and that allow you to mess with the social, political and international structures of the world without causing a political firestorm or WW III.

2. Sigourney Weaver- who is killing it as Elaine Barrish! Yes, the fact that the character is based off of one of the most well-known and public figures in American politics probably helps; but If no one believes she’s a Hillary-esque character then the whole show fails. Weaver seems to be doing a pretty good job of bringing the confidence and emotion that makes the character believable and sympathetic. Halfway through when resident journalist Susan tells us that Elaine gave the valedictorian speech at her law school graduation to the tune of a ten minute standing ovation; I believed it based on her actions and personality.

3. It’s a mini series and it’s light and fun- Were you planning on catching up on all 47 episodes of Breaking Bad this summer? Finally going ahead with that comprehensive The Wire re-watch? No problem! As of right now there are only six episodes planned; so you’ll have plenty of time for your usual summer binge marathons or whatnot. Also, nothing in this show will tax your viewing mind so much that you can’t process anything else.

Thoughts on the future- Keep up the dialogue! One of the things that surprised me was how snappy the dialogue was (especially for USA Network fare). The lines were funny, without being too obvious; and none of the more serious stuff was preachy or melodramatic. I’m hoping lines like: “the Middle East is the diplomatic equivalent of Ikea instructions”, were not pilot gems that will disappear in future episodes. I worry about the show’s characterization of foreign leaders/diplomats. The Russian Ambassador dude in this episode seemed lifted right out of Dr. Strangelove and I fear the episode in which we meet the crazy Iranian leader who kidnapped the journalists, or the show’s equivalent of Kim Jong-un (think 30 Rock). Also, the current President guy (in the show!) is not very compelling, which makes it seem odd that Elaine lost to him. I honestly can’t remember much at all about the scenes he was in except for the fact that he looks like Richard from Lost with less eye liner.

I give it a 90 out of 100

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Review - BREAKING BAD 5.01: 'Live Free or Die'


And so it has returned. The show all the Emmy voters automatically vote for as if it was ENTOURAGE, DEXTER, or DOWNTON ABBEY. Shows that once they become part of popular culture don't even need to be watched, or be of any measurable (or unmeasurable) quality to earn the highest praise.

In the case of BREAKING BAD the praise is at least still reasonable if not unbalanced by the hyperbole surrounding its perceived quality.

It is THE show of cool. Like the new STAR TREK or THE AVENGERS or what AVATAR was before it was suddenly no longer cool to have loved it (had AVENGERS made $800 million domestically, you could count on it suddenly becoming uncool to like it).

What I'm saying is that BREAKING BAD is good. It is sometimes really good. Even great a bunch of times a year. But it's not MAD MEN great. It's not THE WIRE awesome. It can't touch LOST or BATTLESTAR GALACTICA or DEADWOOD or ROME or GAME OF THRONES. I know hardcore fans of this show freak out anytime someone points this out because it is still "cool" to like it, and so suggesting otherwise may slowly contribute to wearing off that shine. But don't worry about it. The show is safe from criticism. In fact, I bet this will be the only "negative" review of the show.

However, this isn't a negative review. More of a general and personal observation about the hyperbole surrounding the show.

I think it needs to be said:

It has excellent performances.
Great dialogue.
Fleshed out characters.
Sometimes totally forced story lines.

That final point is what bothered me about this episode. The effort to use a super-magnet to wipe out the data from a computer that can ruin all their lives felt like it only worked because the script said it should. There wasn't much organic about those sequences. It's all just too... "cool." And then of course Walt's overinflated ego-trip causes an unintended result where the police suddenly find new evidence that will obviously lead them to him down the line.

Too cute. And I bet most of you loved the shit out of it.

Where the show continues to exceed is in demonstrating the deconstruction of a once decent human being in Walt, and how he drags anyone along with him.

Walt is the top dog now and in his mind he can do no wrong. Also, everyone exists to serve him now that he has bumped off the mighty Gus. All plans work because he has thought of them. No one tells him it is "over" until he says it is. And he "forgives" his wife for acting to protect their family without talking to him about it.

Walt is the hunter and everyone else is his food chain.

Walt is king.

Walt is god.

And everyone is either condemned or forgiven by him. Perhaps this episode should have been called "You Are All My Playthings." It is the kind of thing that makes the hairs stand on the back of your neck and why Bryan Cranston earns every Emmy award he will ever receive for his performance. Walt is terrifying because he doesn't have the logical level or self control that Gus had. Walt is a loaded and cocked shotgun with a hair-trigger. He is going to go off eventually. We just have to wait to see in whose direction he is pointed when it happens.

As for the rest of it, the episode opens up with one of those scene teases that this show can do due to shooting the season before airing (most shows shoot a few episodes before the season airs), so we get a glimpse into future Walt and to wonder about whatever his need for weaponry means down the line. We also learn it is his 52nd birthday, meaning two-years will have passed since the series started whenever we get to this point in the season (finale?).

I should also mention that I enjoyed the way the show handled the recap of last year's final episodes and delivered the exposition of what happened in-between, by having Walt Jr. break it down for his dad in child-like excitement. Writers wrestle with how to effectively handle exposition all the time and this was a smart way to do it.

Sadly, Jesse isn't the focus of this episode which may be part of why I wasn't overly impressed by it. He is my favorite character and any time he is used as surface I tend to feel a bit disconnected. After all, it is Jesse who is the heart and moral compass of the show. And one could argue that Aaron Paul is the best actor as well.

At least he came up with the magnet idea. Though King Walt probably forgot that already, thinking that it was his idea all along. Power!

If I had to rate this episode, and a secret message behind a photo the police would otherwise have missed says I do, then I'd give it:

85 out of 100

I don't get washed up in the hype. This wasn't close to one of the show's best. It was good with a lot of potential for what is to come.

But still insanely superior to that shitfest that is BURN NOTICE. Holy shit... I watched all of the new season episodes of that show this weekend. What a piece of melodramatic bullshit. OVERACTING MUCH?!

Just thinking about it is making me want to score this episode higher.

So... what did you think?

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13 July, 2012

WILFRED 2.04: 'Guilt'


When Ryan's sister comes home preggers, Wilfred wages a war against the fetus due to ancient bad blood between dogs and babies for cuteness dominance.

We are reminded of what a douchenozzle Ryan's sister can be; we see more of Amanda and her quirky cuteness; and learn that dogs can only feel guilt for five seconds.

In the end, everything works out... kind of.

QUOTING WILFRED
Wilfred: Do you know how long dogs feel guilty? Five seconds. Then we move on.

Ryan: What the hell's gotten into you?
Wilfred: What the hell's gotten into you? How could you let that Trojan horse into this house?
Ryan: Trojan horse?
Wilfred: There's a war out there, Ryan. A war between dogs and babies. And you brought it to our doorstep.
Ryan: You're at war with babies? Over what?
Wilfed: Why do any great civilizations go to war? To see who's cutest. Through the millennia, under the unseeing eye of mankind, we (short pause) have done battle. The rivers have run red with blood. And towers of mutilated corpses have cast shadows upon entrail-laden battlefields. It was dogs versus babies, so it was still pretty cute...

Wilfred: (looking at an ultrasound printout) No down syndrome; no spina bifida; no lobster hands. Jesus (pause) this baby is gonna be goddamn adorable.

Wilfred: Why god?! Why?! (crying) What kind of god makes a baby live?

Wilfred: Great. Now the father's here. (crying) How many innocent babies need to survive before we put an end to this senseless nurturing?

Wilfred: God, I'm such an idiot for not duck-taping a pizza cutter to the end of Arturo's penis.

Wilfred: (written on pad) PEN15

Wilfred: Really? (blows smoke out) W-we're really gonna have this debate right now? 'Cause we all know life doesn't begin until the fetus is 10-years old.
Ryan: You have no morals.
Wilfred: Of course I do. You kill an 11-year old, you're going straight to hell.

If I had to rate this episode, and Wilfred's moral compass says I do, I'd give it:

92 out of 100

Terrific dialogue and a pretty solid message episode.



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12 July, 2012

Review -- White Collar 4.01: "Wanted"


A Mona Lisa forgery, a sick bachelor pad, a fedora, and a hot chick -- sounds a lot like the Neal Caffrey from seasons 1-3 of 'White Collar', doesn't it?

And while the start of season 4, "Wanted", looked like a series shake-up, it appears that the old gang could be back in the New York office in no time.

Of course, I could be wrong about that. And I hope that I am, because even though the first three years of "cases of the week" and season-long arcs were a pleasure to watch, a little change would be nice. One episode in a different setting isn't enough. I think we could all use a little bit more Mia Maestro on a tropical island in our lives, no?

This episode did precisely what the episode had to do: have Neal establish himself somewhere, making it feel like a new home of sorts. Have a hot chick for him to charm. Have a "bad guy" chasing him. And have Peter reunite with Caffrey to help him at all costs. So this episode was predictable and nothing special. But what matters is what comes next.

But no matter where the next few episodes take place and no matter how long it takes to get back to "normal", it essentially doesn't matter. Neal, Mozzie, Peter and some hottie will grace our screen each week and that's precisely why we watch this show. After all, it's "characters welcome", and plot and storyline "eh, whatever."

The only thing I'm really anxious about is whether or not the show will introduce a season-long arc of some kind involving Neal. The long-term storylines have been hit-or-miss on this show, but I'm still one to get suckered into caring and investing in them anyway.

What are your thoughts about the premiere? Where do you think the next few episodes are heading? And what kinds of things do you all want to see this season?


QUOTES OF NOTE:

MOZZIE: "You run, I run. That's the deal." Best Bromance on TV?


RANDOM RAMBLINGS:

--Ah, how I've missed the bad-ass fedora and the slick hat trick.

--Enjoyed the conversation between Peter and Elizabeth in the car. My future wife (if anyone is stupid enough to marry me) better know the difference between being on deck and being at the plate, though.

--Hector is a P.I.M.P.

--Twenty questions and she doesn't ask what he did for a living in New York? She's bad at that game.

--What girl could possibly turn down the sexual advances of a shady person after seeing a sandcastle masterpiece like that?

THE SCORE: 77 out of 100

It's back and I'm really happy that it is. But this episode was fairly predictable heading in and what happens in next week's episode is far more important than what we saw in the premiere.



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11 July, 2012

Game of Fury #2 - Blacklight Retribution (Take Two)

In this episode, I discuss the free-to-play PC game Blacklight Retribution's rent/purchase gear system... to a point. I also have a little bit more success in the game than I did last time. Also, BRAND NEW INTRO OMG!



I am going to keep doing these whether you like it or not so I recommend you just like it and share it with all your friends.



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Zachary Levi Joins THOR 2 (with video)

Last night on Leno, Zachary Levi made it official by announcing that he will be joining THOR 2 as Fandral, the character played by Josh Dallas in the first movie.

Dallas has television commitments that prevent him from shooting the movie.

Interestingly enough, it was Zac who was offered the part for THOR but had to back out when CHUCK was picked up for more episodes. So now the two have replaced each other in the series.

Though, which one of them will play Fandral in AVENGERS 2?

Check out Zac's appearance on Leno below (thanks to chucksarahmedia for the upload).







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Review - COVERT AFFAIRS 3.01: 'Hang Onto Yourself'


Annie and the rest of the staff find themselves in an unfamiliar situation.

I've often felt that USA shows lack a certain depth that I enjoy in my dramas. Though, they are not complete fluff in that department. There is certainly weight to shows like BURN NOTICE, WHITE COLLAR, and this little thing called COVERT AFFAIRS, but most of the time there is a predictable atmosphere around these shows that makes them nearly procedural in nature.

I guess someone at USA decided to kick some ass in 2012 and change things up because so far we are at least seeing the cage rattled on these shows. The question is, does it work... better?

The episode opens up by eliminating one of the kind-of main characters. Seemingly for good. Though, if not for good, wouldn't the CIA (or whoever took over the investigation) do DNA tests on the charred remains? Granted, whenever you write a show like this, you have the freedom to suggest to the audience that anything is possible and that a spy could have his DNA records altered to represent a stand-in corpse.

Though, once you kill off a character in this way, you should make it stick so that it carries weight with the audience for the rest of the series, because if you just bring back characters you have killed, then the audience eventually feels no fear for anyone... you know, like on BURN NOTICE.

In any event, following the shocking and explosive death of Mohinder, Annie is transferred to some super secret radical operations group where the missions and lines of leadership are determined by the operatives themselves. This element does inject new life into what was otherwise becoming a predictable, though comfortable, part of the show. However, it would be natural for the audience to worry about the loss of screen-time for their favorite main/secondary characters from Annie's previous department. Though, at least based on this episode, those characters will continue to be part of Annie's episodic world. Especially Auggie, my favorite, who often gets bucked up to a new job, only to demote himself back to a position where he can be of use to Annie.

Speaking of which, the writers decide to avoid the whole Annie and Auggie relationship question that existed at the end of last season. Sure, there seems to be an affection there but the writers don't even bother toying with the audience. They just ignore it. No doubt they will toss it in at a later date (like next week). It is just something they use whenever they need it.

Now, I've said a lot but very little about the actual events of the episode.

It is serviceable enough. Piper Perabo is a capable actor, as are all the other actors on the show. The story involves the investigation into Suresh's death, Auggie's transition in his new role, Annie's new job, and a mission to find something about someone somewhere.

The mission? Shrug. Nothing much happens except Annie does the sexy-sex with a mark.

Tune in next week when Auggie and Annie get married.

If I had to rate this episode, and the ghost of Jai Wilcox demands I do and mention his name, I'd give it:

84 out of 100

Good enough with one shocker tossed upfront.

What did you think?



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07 July, 2012

06 July, 2012

Furycast 31 - Exploring Erin McGathy


HGF discusses the future Queen of All Podcasts, Erin McGathy.

Check out her podcast "This Feels Terrible" and follow her on Twitter at @ErinMcGathy and if you don't THEN FUCKIN' UNFOLLOW ME YOU FUCKS!

Otherwise, I love you all.

I obviously have a line-in-the-sand mental issue.

Autoplaying to force you lovely shits to listen:


OR... you can RIGHT CLICK and SAVE to download the MP3. This is what the cool kids do. If you're not a cool kid, then fine. Go the other route... but I'm watching you!

Or you can click this link and subscribe via iTunes.



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Quoting WILFRED - 2.03: 'Dignity'


FX says: Wilfred's popularity makes problems for Ryan.

What happens when Ryan takes Wilfred to his job and the little rascal becomes a hit, then abuses that love and makes the meat-puppets miserable? Watch the episode to find out. This week, I'm not reviewing shit. I'm quoting it.

Wilfred: Why can't I go with you?
Ryan: I can't take a dog to the office.
Wilfred: (pointing at a cage) So you're just gonna leave me in that thing? Like some guy caged up like some animal?

Stacy: Oh my god! He's so cute!
Wilfred: (excitedly) And you, darlin', are a 9.5. Out of 20!

Wilfred: Sounds like somebody wants to see my balls.

Wilfred: Is anyone else concerned that there's a stale, half-eaten Wheat Thin under this desk?

Wilfred: This is no joke. I'm an office dog. It's my duty to entertain and amuse. And if I can't do it, they'll bring in some foosball table who can!
Ryan: Yeah. And in this economy, there's plenty of hungry young tables that'll work for nothing.
Wilfred: Suck my dick, Ryan.

Wilfred: I hereby tender my resignation as office dog.
Ryan: Well, it'll be a pretty big blow to the company. Don't forget to schedule an exit-interview with the (points) snow globe.

Wilfred: Those idiots wouldn't know adorable if it cornered them in a holding cell and raped them with a plunger handle. That reminds me, Bear? Can you pick up a plunger before our next date-night?

Wilfred: You don't fool me, Ryan. You may wear big boy pants now but underneath it all you've still got that same little boy penis.

Wilfred: What the. Are you kidding me?! 45 pages of lower-case H's! What have you been writing none of this down?! Jesus, Bear!

Wilfred: Did you see that?! Slow Piscopo stole my bit right out from under me!

Wilfred: Shouldn't you be out terrifying white-water rafters with your banjo music?!

Ricky: (seeing himself in the mirror) I look terrible!
Wilfred: Don't worry pretty boy, you still got your quick wit.

If I had to rate this episode, and toilet-time says I do, then I'd give it:

89 out of 100

I watch this show for the hilarious bits of dialogue and this one had enough of them for me to watch the episode twice. That's a good WILFRED day. From a story perspective the episode gave us a glimpse into Ryan's daddy issues, his need to stand up for himself, his nearly realized relationship with that chick from SMALLVILLE, being blackmailed into doing shit work, and utilizing blackmail for personal gain.



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