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Review: ‘Zero Dark Thirty’

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Does this retelling of the now famous execution of one of the world’s most elusive criminals worth watching? Here’s my take on the film that is now in the running for Best Picture at this year’s Oscar’s.

You’ve probably heard a lot of hype leading up to this film, so I can only assume that those of you still on the fence about going to see this are looking around for opinions on the other side of the coin.

The most buzzing news right now is that the film portrays a very candid display of torture tactics that were used by the CIA to capture the men who would eventually lead us to Osama Bin Laden (UBL). This film does not pull punches with showing us just how brutal these tactics were, and some are arguing that this is an endorsement for Bush’s foreign policy (definitely an unpopular foreign policy.)

I don’t want to get into that. See the film for yourself and draw your own conclusions. It’s actually very subjective, and I would argue there are more reasons to see this as a film that is indifferent to whether or not torture works. It’s more about how a small group of people worked tirelessly and did whatever it took to bring UBL to justice. That’s what warrants this film a lot of praise.

Directed by Kathryn Bigelow (The Hurt Locker), Zero Dark Thirty spans the decade long manhunt for UBL, but it actually pays a lot closer attention to the rise of his real nemesis, Maya played by Jessica Chastain. Her gradual rise to prominence as a CIA operative, as well as her obsession in finding UBL is the standout of the film.  There is a scene at the end of the second act that is probably the most intense, emotional, and beautifully written performances I have ever seen an actress pull off.

Yes, much better than Anne Hathaway in Les Miserables. 

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Chastain deserves an Oscar in my opinion, but it is the intense third act that really exudes the power of the film. The Navy Seal Team 6 raid on UBL’s compound is probably the best military tactics operation I have ever seen presented in film. The realism and significance behind the direction of this act is so well done, it allows me to forgive every minor issue I had with the movie.

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Speaking of which, the only hurdles you’ll have to go through when watching this is the sluggish first act. It’s important, yes, but I was honestly bored for the first 45 minutes and craved for the plot to start moving forward. Luckily, the post 2008 scenes are exactly what I was looking for, and I found myself enjoying the film tremendously throughout.

This film is definitely worth watching and paying hard-earned money for. Politically, both sides can conclude what they want from the film, and opponents of America will obviously have nothing to hold on to here. I didn’t like The Hurt Locker very much, though I really wanted to. Zero Dark Thirty actually ended up being everything I wanted The Hurt Locker to be and more.

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I will be honest. If this movie had been based in fiction, I would probably only count it as an above-average (good not great) film about military and political espionage in the middle-east. It’s the way they handled the emotional impact of this true story that really makes the movie a classic, and one of the best films of the year.

 

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15 Most Anticipated Movies For 2013

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If you haven’t noticed already, I am a fanatic when it comes to movies. I’ve been scouring the upcoming movies for 2013 and have compiled a list of features I am most excited about.

Enjoy the list! Let me know if there’s anything good I missed.

15. Sinatra. 

Finally. A movie about Frank Sinatra is hitting the big screen. All we know so far is that it will be directed by the legendary Martin Scorsese. The script is being rewritten, so there is a slight chance this might be delayed to 2014. Let’s hope the movie lives up to Walk the Line and Ray.

14. Oz: The Great and Powerful (March 8)

We’re finally getting a glimpse into the backstory of the Wizard of Oz. I’m not sure anyone actually asked for it, but the trailer looks like this could be a fun prequel for one of the best movies of all time. See the trailer here.

13. The Incredible Burt Wonderstone (March 15)

The only reason I’m excited about this is because Steve Carell and Jim Carrey are finally in a movie together. It has something to do with magicians, but I don’t really care. See the trailer here.

 

12. The Hangover Part III (May 24)

Yes, part II was disappointing, but it’s looking like the final movie will be breaking new ground. There’s no wedding or bachelor party this time, freeing up the script to new possibilities. I’m excited to see this one live up to the classic part I.

11. Kane and Lynch 

This one’s still in pre-production, so a 2013 release is still up in the air. Regardless, I’m excited to see the popular video game being translated into film with Jamie Foxx and Bruce Willis handling the lead roles. The casting is spot on. The movie is about death row inmates who escape and wreak havoc. There’s no trailer, but you can see the poster here.

10. Hancock 2

We know nothing about this for sure, except that Will Smith is returning and it will be released in 2013. Fingers crossed.

9. Zombieland 2

Another tight-lipped sequel, but hopefully the better complement to a less-than-stellar looking zombie flick we’ll be getting with World War Z (at least for people like me who actually read the book).

8. Oblivion (April 19) and After Earth (June 7)

I bunched them together because they’re essentially the same movie. Tom Cruise movies are pretty hit or miss these days, but Oblivion actually looks to be a fairly original take on the post-apocalyptic genre. PLUS it has Morgan Freeman. See the trailer here.  After Earth is pretty similar in comparison, only this one stars Will Smith and his son (remember the kid from Karate Kid?) Also, it’s M. Night Shyamalan’s allegedly last chance to make something good again. See the trailer here.

7. Iron Man 3 (May 3) and Thor: The Dark World (November 8)

You know what the deal is with these.

6. Pacific Rim (July 12)

One of the few original blockbusters coming out this year, this one looks amazing just because it’s a simple aliens versus humans action fest that isn’t based on board games, video games, books, or movies that came out decades ago. Seriously, see the trailer for yourself here.

5. The Wolverine (July 26)

Skeptical? It takes place in Japan, has samurai, doesn’t have a terrible version of Deadpool, and has Hugh Jackman as Wolverine. Oh, and it’s not X-Men Origins: Wolverine. So it has that going for it. See the awesome poster here.

4. Star Trek Into Darkness (May 17)

Though I’ve never gotten into Star Trek aside from the 2009 reboot, I’m definitely excited to see the Enterprise crew return in another special effects heavy adventure. I love the characters, and the settings are just jaw-dropping. See the trailer here.

3. The Lone Ranger (July 3)

So, it finally happened. Really, I’m just excited to see Johnny Depp play Tonto (like everyone else). See the trailer here.

2. Ender’s Game (November 1)

Never read the books or comics? You’ve been missing out. This movie has taken way too long to take shape and will hopefully be a surprise hit. It’s basically about a supergenius child who is called upon to save mankind from an overwhelming alien invasion. See some screenshots and a full description here.

1. Man of Steel (June 14)

When Batman Begins came out in 2005, I immediately craved the same stylistic reboot for Superman. Unfortunately, we got Superman Returns which was more of a memorial to the originals than it was a reboot adapted to modern times, so it flopped. When The Dark Knight came out, that was it for me. Many people, myself included, knew then that Superman would be treated with the same justice, and we finally have it taking shape under the direction of Watchmen and 300‘s Zack Snyder. Everything from the trailers points to this being a significant step forward in the Superman franchise. See for yourself here.

There are some other high-profile sequels that I’m honestly not that excited about. Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug and Hunger Games: Catching Fire are both coming out and will be probably be well-received, but I’m not desperate to see them since we just saw the franchises start out in 2012. Take a breath Hollywood! Also, 300 is coming out with a sequel, even though the last one was fairly conclusive and we’ll be getting a RoboCop reboot. Even Pixar is doing another sequel. This is basically 2009 all over again…

Like what you read? Connect with me further via twitter @JonNegroni. I’ll follow back if you seem like a real person.

Don’t forget to check out THE JON REPORT every day, updated at 8am for a list of today’s main headlines as selected by my editorial team (me) 

Review: ‘Cloud Atlas’

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I saw Cloud Atlas at a second-run theater over the weekend and hesitated to write such a late review. My justification is that many people either skipped this one at first run, are waiting to rent it because of the long runtime, or have just not heard enough about it. Well, here’s my take.

THE CONCEPT

Take six short stories (essentially) that span six completely different time periods, highlighting the connections that bind people together across the span of humanity. You’ll see a composer struggling to find success as a bisexual in in the 1930s, a journalist attempting to take on Big Oil in the 70s, all the way to a group of revolutionaries exposing the corruption of cloning in 2144. That barely covers what you are about to see with this film. Put simply, it is a mosaic tied together by string.

WHAT WORKS

Many of the visual effects are just stunning, especially for an independent film (this is the most expensive indie film to date, costing over $100 million). The most impressive scenes come during the action-packed future timeline in 2144 New Seoul. Really, the rest of the movie doesn’t even compete with the visual flair of this time period, not even the period set further than this.

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Many elements of this film are fantastic. The acting is well-done, as this film boasts a huge A-list cast, with Tom Hanks, Halle Berry, and Jim Sturgess dominating most of the standout roles. You’ll recognize Ben Whishaw, who played the new quartermaster from Skyfall, and my favorite character turned out to be Doona Bae’s Sonmi.

The pacing is very impressive as well. The stories begin chronologically, introducing us to the characters in a slow, gradual pattern. The film then shifts stories at random, giving only minutes to each story. In theory, I should have hated this, as there was no cohesion behind the transitions. It worked for me, however, and will probably work for people who are inattentive, as this will force them to constantly pay close attention.

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Finally, the soundtrack is easily the best of the year, which turns out to be the film’s biggest downfall.

WHAT DOESN’T WORK

Unfortunately, the stories just aren’t that interesting. In a novel, they definitely would be. With more details and context, I probably would have been rooting for the sympathetic abolitionist played by Jim Sturgess in 1849. I would have cared that Timothy Cavendish broke out of the nursing home with his band of carefree elders in 2012.

The problem is that a movie that brags about how epic and grand it is with its moving, powerful soundtrack just doesn’t match up with the simplicity and (ultimately) irrelevant stories we’re being told.

I just couldn’t figure out if the movie was trying to be a mosaic or not. At one point, you’re seeing how all of these stories are connected, but then that anxiety is rewarded by conclusions that really make no difference or impact. It’s a mosaic tied together by string, which is great for some, I suppose, but frustrating for me.

When it comes down to it, I had no idea what the film was trying to say.

IS IT WORTH WATCHING?

I’m conflicted here. The film got everything right except for the problem that its source material just doesn’t do it for me. I’ve never read the novel, but I’m guessing that the book has the same mosaic format to it. I’m someone who has been raised on Assassin’s Creed, a franchise that is all about connections between ancestors and how that makes a significant impact on the story being told.

Cloud Atlas was disappointing to me. I loved elements of it, such as the pacing, some characters, and the score, but the content just didn’t live up to how great these elements are. It is an ambitious film, for sure, in that it tells 6 different stories in 6 completely different settings and actually nails the presentation. Unfortunately, I feel like I gained nothing from watching it.

I don’t think this is worth watching if you are a casual moviegoer looking for something interesting to take up your time. It is a long 3 hours, and many are bound to lose interest after the first hour. If you are a lover of film, however, and want to see some great set pieces, beautiful effects, and listen to an amazing score, you’ll like this film.

 

Top 7 Movies of 2012

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This was a fantastic year for movies, so I just had to make a list. Keep in mind that these are the movies I personally enjoyed the most and may not be for everyone. I did leave out some great movies on this list, so I will be doing honorable mentions at the very bottom.

7. Rise of the Guardians (PG)

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What? Pixar didn’t make my favorite animated movie list? Honestly, Brave didn’t even beat out Hotel Transylvania for me. I found it bland, boring, and ultimately underwhelming, especially for a Pixar film. No, Rise of the Guardians makes this list because it simply was the most enjoyable animated film I saw this year. It could have easily been a contrived mess, cashing in on the exciting premise of seeing Santa, the Easter Bunny, Jack Frost and the Tooth Fairy fighting the Boogeyman. Thankfully, the movie has some great storytelling behind it thanks to the series of books it’s based upon, making it an action-packed kid’s movie with some interesting, sometimes deep themes. Plus, it was great to see The Sandman actually being the “strongest” of the guardians. Definitely glad I went out and saw this one.

6. Dark Knight Rises (PG-13)

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What a great way to conclude a trilogy. I have to admit that I wasn’t as impressed as everyone else with The Dark Knight, but I more than appreciated how well they crafted such a phenomenon. I had my doubts that DKR would even manage to come close to meeting expectations fans had for this film, but I was pleasantly surprised. Put simply, the movie did it for me. It had plenty of flaws and gaping plot-holes, but it was still an enjoyable ride from start to finish, and they managed to end the trilogy in a way that pleases pretty much everyone. I call that a win.

5. Les Miserables (PG-13)

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What more can I say besides the fact that Anne Hathaway and Hugh Jackman were so good at their roles that absolutely everything else I disliked about the movie pretty much meant nothing because, holy crap, I got to see some of the best acting of the year done to a musical. See this in theaters while you can.

4. Chronicle (PG-13)

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What a fantastic movie this turned out to be. At a time when we’re getting bombarded with the “handheld camera” style of filmmaking (Paranormal Activity 4 anyone?), I was relieved to see a studio really nail it with Chronicle. The movie already wins points on not being an adaptation or sequel. It was just an ambitious project that was filmed extremely well and ended up being one of my favorite movies of the year. It worked because it was simple and well-executed with believable characters and, of course, the powers these kids used evolved from entertaining to epic, making the final battle scene one of the best superhero finales I can say I’ve seen.

3. Ted (R)

Image Courtesy of filmofilia.comI hate Family Guy these days. Ever since the end of season 6, I have been extremely disappointed with the show and have completely given up on it. Sure, I watch episodes every so often to “check-in” and see if the show has managed to fix whatever it is that they broke. Hasn’t happened yet, but maybe that’s why I enjoyed Ted so much. Seth McFarlane, the mastermind (and pretty much every voice) behind Family Guy, American Dad, and The Cleveland Show produced this movie, and it really was like the spirit and humor of past Family Guy were revived. Ted was easily the most funny movie I saw this year, and the reasons it worked go beyond the humor. Just look at how they handled Mila Kunis, who we probably should have hated but ended up empathizing with. The casting was the most well-done aspect of this film, with Ted becoming one of this year’s biggest new stars. Not bad for a teddy bear.

2. Skyfall (PG-13)

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I’ve been an avid fan of the James Bond franchise since I was old enough to watch them back when Goldeneye came out. To be honest, however, I haven’t enjoyed a Bond film (with the exception of Casino Royale, though even that was disappointing in part) since The World is Not Enough back when I was just 9 years old. The charm and mind-splitting plot of James Bond just hasn’t been there until we received Skyfall, a Bond movie that finally took some serious risks. They say that Bond films are most successful when they reflect the taste of the times. This is why Cold-War, macho villainy, and gadget hi-jinks were so popular back in the baby boomer days. Now, we’ve finally received a Bond film that adapts to the audiences of today. It was a fantastic action film that utilized the gritty realism and introspection we have come to expect thanks to Christopher Nolan. The villain ended up being the best movie villain of the year, I’d say, thanks to a brilliant performance by Sam Mendes. Just the fact that Skyfall actually took the risk of showing us a more emotional Bond without polarizing what makes him iconic is a testament to how well this film was made. 

1. The Avengers (PG-13)

I just enjoyed this film the most, okay? It wasn’t the most well-made film that came out this year. It wasn’t the best story. It didn’t have the best special effects. It didn’t have the best characters. Still, this was the most fun, escapism movie I saw this year. I lost myself in watching some of my favorite movie heroes fighting alongside each other against my favorite villain from their string of movies. I laughed and cheered alongside hundreds of people watching this movie, which is an experience I’ll never forget. When I think back, I waited four years for this movie, starting with Iron Man, so I easily could have been disappointed if just one of the characters fell flat. Not the case. Captain America, Iron Man, Thor, and The Incredible Hulk lived up to my expectations perfectly. Thank you Marvel Studios.

Honorable Mentions:

  • Argo
  • Lincoln
  • Django Unchained
  • The Hobbit
  • Cabin in the Woods
  • Moonrise Kingdom
  • Wreck-it Ralph
  • Looper
  • Life of Pi

Like what you read? Connect with me further via twitter @JonNegroni. I’ll follow back if you seem like a real person.

Don’t forget to check out THE JON REPORT every day, updated at 8am for a list of today’s main headlines as selected by my editorial team (me) 

Review: ‘Les Miserables’

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People have been waiting a long time for Les Miserables to hit the big screen. Constantly regarded as one of the greatest musicals to ever hit broadway, this piece of work has, until now, been an undertaking some would call “unfilmable.” Well, I’m here to let you know that, yes, this movie works, and it just might be the best movie you’ll see this year. Maybe.

BIAS

I have no bias with this work. I had never seen the play, read the book, or known any crucial plot points before seeing this film (not for lack of wanting. I had tickets to the broadway play in 2008 but the show was canceled due to the writers’ strike. I’ve been charred ever since.)

So this review is coming from the words of someone completely unfamiliar with the source material, so take my opinion for what it is. I won’t be in the business of trying to compare the movie to the book or play, since I simply can’t.

WHAT TO EXPECT

Image Courtesy of projectqatlanta.comIf you don’t know much about the story or backdrop, know that you will be entering a biopic of sorts centering around the character of Jean Valjean played by Hugh Jackman, with his story taking place over a period of about 20 years (40 if you count the unseen prologue) in 17th century France.

Yes, the movie has plenty of supporting characters, but the story really revolves a long chase scene between Jean Von Jean, a convict who broke parole but is seeking spiritual redemption, and Javert, the ruthless policeman who hunts him played by Russel Crowe.

The movie carries many themes, with one of the most prominent being freedom. Halfway in, the story coincides with the second French Revolution that took shape in the 1830s. The story coincides beautifully with these events, making it a fitting period piece.

This movie is truly a musical, with characters constantly singing and very, very rarely speaking out of song. I don’t have to have seen the broadway play to know that the music is one of the world’s most celebrated scores, constantly pulling at your heartstrings throughout the movie’s long 2.5 hours.

Oh yeah, the movie is long. If you don’t have the RunPee app (an app that shows you when the best times are to take a bathroom break) GET IT. I did and benefitted greatly, since the movie is constantly introducing new characters and jumping forward in time, though there are plenty of long song sequences you can cut short.

Back to the music, you may have already heard that the movie has pioneered a new method of recording the music. Rather than produce all of the singing in a studio months before production, most of the singing recorded is actually being sung on camera, and it shows. The raw emotion in the sound this creates is extremely noticeable and provoked many in the audience to tears, literally.

WHAT WORKS

Pretty much every scene with Hugh Jackman and Anne Hathaway, who plays Fantine, is pure gold. Their performances overshadow most everything else about the film, and awards will most likely be handed out. The music is phenonemnal, though the only songs that really did it for me were “I Dreamed a Dream,” “On My Own,” “Red and Black,” and “Do You Hear the People Sing?” Everything else was fine, but there was just so much singing that many of the others songs were cluttered and forgettable. Something I’m sure purchasing the soundtrack would cure.

WHAT DOESN’T WORK
I’m not going to say that Russell Crowe did a poor job. He really didn’t. I’m just burdened with having to compare him to Hugh Jackman. The performances were far apart in my opinion, mainly because of Crowe’s lack of emotion, though perhaps that’s what the character of Javert calls for.

The sets are hit or miss. They ranged from epic in scale, especially towards the beginning, but then meander to looking like something out of a Lemony Snicket novel. It was too noticeable for me to forgive.

I know British accents are all the range, but do we really lack the capacity for pulling off French accents in America? It’s annoying to watch a French Revolution movie where the 8 year old is leading one of the most epic battle songs sounding like Kelly from Misfits. 

On a more serious note, I hesitate to judge the story, which I frankly found rushed. Yes, this is a different medium. Movies can’t do what books do. I just wish that more explanations between time skips could have occurred. You absolutely have to pay close attention, or you will be yearning for more.

I also wish they could have done more with Cosette, played by Amanda Seyfried, though I’m appreciative that they took full advantage of Sacha Baron Cohen, who played Thenardier the Innkeeper.

IS IT WORTH WATCHING?

For most people, definitely yes. It’s pure drama with some action, so don’t expect much humor. If you want to get truly involved in a long, gripping, and performance-rich musical, you will get what you paid for with Les Miserables. Almost everyone can appreciate the beauty behind the music, but the movie is definitely not for everyone. If you couldn’t even handle the music breaks in Phantom of the Opera, for example, then this is definitely not the movie for you.

For fans of the source material, I can say with confidence that every person I know that has seen both the play and the movie have greatly enjoyed this. I’ve yet to hear of disappointment from the fans. There was a standing ovation at the very end, which turned out to be one of the best I’ve ever witnessed. Not a dry eye in the house.

I highly recommend that you see this in theaters! I can’t imagine the sound being better in your living room. On a final note, here is my favorite quote from the movie that gave me chills: “To love another person is to see the face of God.”

 

Review: ‘Arrow’

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I HATE the CW. It doesn’t even try to make shows for my demographic, and hey that is alright. But with Arrow, the superhero biopic based on the quasi-well-known D.C. superhero Green Arrow, could just might show a more balanced network on channel 5.

Having premiered back in September, I’ve given the show 6 episodes to prove itself, so this review is based on my impression of those 6 episodes alone.

The first thing you need to know about this new show is that it has absolutely no connection with the Green Arrow of Smallville fame, which is great news for probably most people. That version of Green Arrow differs tremendously from this new envisioned hero. It’s like comparing pop music to rock n roll, or at least that’s how I make sense of it.

Arrow relies on the kind of gritty storytelling that borrows somewhat from Chris Nolan’s Batman and, surprisingly, Lost. I never really got into Lost having only watched 10 or so episodes, but if there’s one thing I took away from their storytelling, it’s the use of ongoing flashbacks to bolster the story. So, imagine a superhero television show that paces itself like Lost.

In a nutshell, Arrow is about a 20 something billionaire named Oliver Queen (Stephen Amell) who was shipwrecked at sea for 5 years. He returns from his isolation with an agenda: to use his superhuman  skills acquired mysteriously from his time on the island to the right the wrongs of his father, who acquired his wealth by taking advantage of the poor.

Yes it’s Robin Hood mixed with Batman with the show Revenge for good measure. One of the show’s strong points is that we are introduced slowly to the character of Oliver Queen. We begin with his return to his home of Starling City, as he juggles reconnecting with his estranged family/friends and taking down the crony capitalists that are choking the city to death. arrow-stephen-amell-cw

That’s Arrow’s biggest strength: character development. Oliver is interesting and constantly changing. One minute he is a brooding anti-hero unafraid to kill someone who stands in his way. The next minute he is a detective, figuring out the best way to subdue his well-protected enemies. Then we have the minutes where Oliver is an actual person, struggling to fit back into the lives of his beloved family who thought he was dead for years. Oh, and let’s not forget that we are treated to excellent flashbacks to his 5 years of desperate survival that turned him into the character we already know. The show goes out of its way to make Oliver Queen a great character.

I wish I could say the same for some of the other characters. With the exception of Oliver’s mother Moira (Susanna Thompson) and Oliver’s bodyguard Dig (David Ramsey), the rest of Arrow’s cast are either one-note or should be one-note. This is more apparent early-on with Laurel (Katie Cassidy), Oliver’s girlfriend before the shipwreck, of which he cheated on her with her sister, who did not survive the shipwreck. Yikes. Although this character is ripe with great plot opportunities for drama, I did not find Cassidy’s portrayal of the character very compelling or fun to watch. Watching her be a lawyer is especially frustrating and full of one-liners like, “I’m the only one who cares about this city!” and “I will always fight for the little guy!” Sorry Laurel, Rachel Dawes did it better.

I could go on and on about the lackluster characters, but instead I’ll focus on how the show ultimately redeems itself via the excellent pacing, memorable villains, above-average action scenes, and the show’s fantastic commitment to comic-book tie-ins. Even the people who don’t recognize the nuance references to the D.C. comic universe benefit from the rich universe this show borrows from. It works.

The show is on a good path, and it’s only main flaw (again the characters) is improving weekly. If there is one thing that can really make this show a must-watch, it would be the implementation of more moral “real world” dilemmas that we all know and love from D.C. stories such as Batman (at what point do you become the villain you’re fighting against?) and Superman (security versus freedom). Arrow has teased us with these deep questions, such as how Oliver Queen has readily murdered dozens of bodyguards and security personnel to accomplish his missions. At first we rolled our eyes at the inconsistency of this, but then a major villain early on actually points this out to Green Arrow and it sunk in. Oliver then begins to show how his torture on the island made him callous and depraved. These are great themes more than suitable for a D.C. character.

So yes, Arrow is definitely worth watching for most people. It has the beautiful actors and supernatural-ish world and characters CW watchers crave and it has the fantastic storytelling and action that is usually witnessed on ABC and Fox. It’s a fun show that can sometimes throw drama-infused curveballs, and I can’t wait to see how the first season turns out.

-On a side note, I am very much against D.C. copying Marvel for a superhero team up movie in the form of The Justice League to rival The Avengers. Shows like this prove that D.C. belongs on the small screen, and a team up using this version of Green Arrow would be 10 times better than using, say Ryan Reynold’s Green Lantern. We’ll see if I eat my words once Man of Steel comes out.

 

Why I Love Commercials

And it’s not because other people hate commercials. I’m not a contrarian (or at least, I try not to be). Also, It’s really a coincidence that I am writing this after one of those politically advertised elections of all time–I actually just wanted to talk about this today.

Anyways, I love commercials. I haven’t always loved them, but over the past year I have noticed something very interesting about the trajectory this form of traditional advertising is on.

Think about it. The advent of on-demand television and Netflix has made commercial advertising trickier than ever. I don’t think I need to really emphasize just how easy it is for us to bypass commercials altogether. The unintended consequence of this new reality is that advertising quality and creativity have only made commercials better.

Gone are the days when commercials could just blanket every market because executives were confident their message would be seen no matter what. Here are the days when more money than ever before is being spent on market research, target demographics, and well, production.

Even over the past 4 years, I’ve noticed a sharp increase in commercial quality across the board on the same channels, especially cable networks such as FX, TBS, and Comedy Central. Compared to just a few years ago, I find myself more engaged and more likely to respond to television advertising, which let’s face it, is necessary during these changing times.

Commercials are now more interactive. They share ideas with social media. I saw a commercial the other day that made me laugh out loud, and that never happens. It may not even be that the content is that much better than it was a decade ago or the products are better. It’s really just that advertisers are doing a better job of capturing our attention.

Just look at the commercial I used as this post’s featured image (clicking on it will take you to the youtube video for the commercial). Amazing right?

How am I so sure that this is a result of more challenging advertising hurdles? Well, I’m not. Correlation is not akin to causation and all that. Still, I can’t help but believe this is a case, due to the fact that I find myself actually enjoying commercial advertising for the first time, even on Hulu.

Whatever the reason for this perceived increase in commercial quality, I find myself being a person that enjoys people trying to sell me things in-between my favorite shows. Let’s just hope this won’t have an adverse effect on my wallet.

JN

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