Saturday, November 29, 2014

"COPPER" Sesaon One (2012) Photo Gallery

Below are images from Season One of the BBC America series "COPPER". Created by Tom Fontana and Will Rokos, the series stars Tom Weston-Jones, Kyle Schmid and Ato Essandoh: 

"COPPER" SEASON ONE (2012) Photo Gallery



















Friday, November 28, 2014




Agatha Christie's 1938 novel, "Appointment With Death" has proven to be a problem over the past 70 years or so. If I must be honest, it is not a great novel. Considering the topic of emotional abuse, it had the potential to be great. But I feel that Christie never achieved what could have been a memorable and haunting tale.

The novel also produced adaptations in the form of a 1945 stage play, a 2008 television movie and a 1988 theatrical release. Of the three adaptations, the 1988 film, "APPOINTMENT WITH DEATH" came the closest in being faithful to novel. Is it the best adaptation? Unfortunately, I have never seen the stage play and have no idea what changes to Christie's plot had been made. I have seen the 2008 television movie. And honestly? I consider it a colorful travesty. Do I harbor the same opinion of the 1988 film? Well . . . no. It is not a bad film. But I believe it is a far cry from some of the best of the Christie adaptations.

Directed by Michael Winner, "APPOINTMENT WITH DEATH" centered on Belgian-born detective Hercule Poirot's investigation into the death of a wealthy middle-aged woman named Mrs. Boynton. Actually, the story began several months earlier, in New Jersey, where the recently widowed Mrs. Boynton learned that her late husband left a second will would enable her stepchildren and daughter to enjoy a financially stable life, independent of her. Jealous of the idea of no longer holding any power over her family, Mrs. Boynton blackmailed the family attorney, Jefferson Cope, into destroying the second will, leaving her in charge of the family finances. The family embarks on a grand tour of Europe and the Holy Land during the spring of 1937. During the sea voyage between Italy and the Middle East, fellow passenger Hercule Poirot overhears two of Mrs. Boynton's stepchildren, Raymond and Carol, discussing the possibility of their stepmother's death. More importantly, Mrs. Boynton is surprised by the appearance of Cope, fearful he might inform her children about her husband's second will.

Following the characters' arrival in Petra, Poirot and some of the other characters become aware of Mrs. Boynton's domineering abuse of her stepchildren and daughter. One of the vacationers, a Dr. Sarah King, falls in love with one of Mrs. Boynton's stepsons - Raymond. But she becomes frustrated by his inability to break free of his stepmother's grip. Sarah's frustrations reflect those of Nadine Boynton, who is near the breaking point over her husband's inability to break free from his stepmother. Also, the old lady's stepchildren are becoming increasingly worried over Mrs. Boynton's poisonous influence over the latter's only child and their half-sister, Ginerva. Things come to a boil during a one day expedition to an archeology dig outside Petra. A few hours after Mrs. Boynton encourages her family to go for a walk, she is discovered dead. It does not take Poirot very long to figure out that the old lady had been murdered. And he is recruited by the region's British Army representative, Colonel Carbury, to investigate her death.

As I had earlier stated, "APPOINTMENT WITH DEATH" is not a bad film. But it is certainly no masterpiece. Let me be frank. It is quite obvious that the look and tone of this production is more akin to television movie feature from "AGATHA CHRISTIE'S POIROT" than a theatrical movie. It is a bit cheap in compare to star Peter Ustinov's previous two Poirot movies and the 1974 one that starred Albert Finney. Some of cast members seemed to be going through the motions in their performances. This especially seemed to be the case for Carrie Fisher, Nicholas Guest, John Gielgud and sadly, Peter Ustinov. And when the star of the film seemed almost too relaxed or uninterested in his performance or the film, there is potential for disaster. What makes this sad is that Ustinov gave a funny and energetic performance for his next role as Detective Fix in the 1989 miniseries, "AROUND THE WORLD IN 80 DAYS". Adding to the film's second-hand look was Pino Donaggio's very disappointing score. Honestly, it was probably the worst movie score for any Agatha Christie's production I have ever heard. It seemed to be 1980s pop music at its cheesiest. And allowing a cheesy 80s pop tune to serve as the main score for a movie set in the late 1930s was one of the worst mistakes that Michael Winner and the other film's producers made.

But all is not lost. At least Winner can claim he directed the better version of Christie's 1938 novel. The television movie adaptation made twenty (20) years later seemed like a total disaster in compare to this film. And the 1988 movie had more virtues. Although the movie's production visuals seemed a bit of a comedown from the Christie movies between 1974 and 1982, production designer John Blezard's work in "APPOINTMENT WITH DEATH" still struck me as pretty solid. I was especially impressed by his work, along with Alan Cassie and Shlomo Tsafrir's set designs and David Gurfinkel's photography during the archeological dig sequence. John Bloomfield's costume designs also struck me as pretty solid, but not exactly mind-blowing. Despite Michael Winner's pedestrian direction and the less-than-spectacular production, I have to admit that Winner, Anthony Shaffer and Peter Buckman did a very admirable job of adapting Christie's novel. I am not saying this because it is more faithful than the 1945 stage play and the 2008 television movie. The three screenwriters made some changes to the plot - including the deletion of one or two characters - but those changes did not harm the story overall.

Most of the cast certainly injected a good deal of energy, despite Ustinov, Fisher, Guest and Gielgud's lethargic performances. I was especially impressed by Jenny Seagrove as the stalwart Dr. Sarah King, David Soul's sly performance as the Boyntons' slippery, yet charming attorney Jefferson Cope, and John Terlesky's earnest performance as Raymond Boynton. As far as I am concerned, both Lauren Bacall and Hayley Mills gave the funniest performances in the film. Bacall's hilarious portrayal of the rude and pushy American-born Lady Westholme almost reminded me of her performance as the verbose Mrs. Hubbard from 1974's "MURDER ON THE ORIENT EXPRESS". However, her Lady Westholme struck me as funnier. And Hayley Mills was equally funny as Lady Westholme's impromptu traveling companion, the obsequious Miss Quinton. But the engine that really drove "APPOINTMENT WITH DEATH" turned out to be Piper Laurie's performance as murder victim, Mrs. Emily Boynton. There were moments with Laurie's performance became somewhat hammy. But she did a great job in portraying a manipulative and emotionally sadistic woman with a talent for keeping her stepchildren in line. I found her performance very commanding.

Overall, I would not consider "APPOINTMENT WITH DEATH" to be one of the best movie adaptations of a Christie novel. Heck, I can think of several television movie adaptations that I would view as better. But I believe it is the better of the two adaptations of the 1988 novel. I wish I could say that director Michael Winner and Peter Ustinov's performance as Hercule Poirot contributed a good deal to this movie's production. But it was not that difficult for me to see that Winner is at heart, a mediocre director. And Ustinov's performance seemed at worst, lethargic. And yet, the rest of the cast (aside from two others) and a solid script prevented "APPOINTMENT WITH DEATH" from sinking into a mire of crap. At least for me.

Thursday, November 27, 2014

"BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER" Retrospect: (4.08) "Pangs"


While watching my DVD set box for Season Four of "BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER", I came across this Thanksgiving episode called (4.08) "Pangs" and wrote the following article about it: 


Season Four has never been that popular with fans of "BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER". It was the first season that did not feature the vampire Angel as a regular character. And it marked the beginning of Buffy Summer's romance with university teaching assistant/Army demon hunter Riley Finn. And many fans were not that thrilled by the Initiative storyline. I have never had a problem with Season Four. Mind you, I would not count it as among my top four out of seven seasons. But it featured at least two of my favorite "BUFFY"episodes of all time. And one of them is the holiday-themed "Pangs".

While preparing a Thanksgiving feast for her close friends in the absence of her mother, University of California Sunnydale student and vampire slayer Buffy Summers encounters the restless and vengeful spirit of a Native American, called Hus, whose people - the Chumash tribe - were wiped out by Spanish and American settlers. Hus's spirit was released during a groundbreaking ceremony for U.C. Sunnydale's new Anthropology building. Hus managed to murder the Curator for the building's museum and a local priest who had attending the ceremony. During her frantic efforts to prepare Thanksgiving and deal with Hus, Buffy is unaware that former boyfriend Angel has returned to Sunnydale to keep an eye on her, after a friend of his (former regular character Cordelia Chase) has received a vision of her being in danger. She is also unaware that soon-to-be boyfriend Riley Finn is part of an U.S. Army program called the Initiative, which hunts down and experiments on demons. One of the Initiative's victims turned out to be Buffy's current nemesis, vampire Spike, who had managed to escape from his Initiative prison in the previous episode, (4.07) "The Initiative". Due to his inability to feed upon or commit violence against humans, Spike is slowly starving. He first seeks help and refuge from fellow vampire Harmony, who refuses to have anything to do with him. Desperate, he turns to Buffy and the other Scoobies for refuge in exchange for information about the Initiative.

"Pangs" did provide a few problems for me. One, the episode's writer, Jane Espenson, erroneously stated that the Chumash had been wiped out. Despite the Spanish, Mexican and American governments; the band still exists. Two, Buffy informed her friends that her mother Joyce left Sunnydale to spend Thanksgiving with an aunt. Why did Buffy, who was eighteen at the time, stay in Sunnydale? Why did she fail to accompany her mother for what was obviously a family gathering? Did Buffy have something against this particular "Aunt Pauline"? Three, during her last fight with Hus and the Chumash spirits he had summoned, Buffy unsuccessfully used her knife on Hus and claimed that he and his fellow spirits do not die. Yet, in a scene later, Angel managed to break the neck of one Chumash spirit and impale another with a knife. Hmmmm . . . I smell inconsistency in the air. And four, Angel's visit to Sunnydale led to the "ANGEL" Season One episode, (1.08) "I Will Remember You", which I loathe with every fiber of my being.

Aside from these narrative hiccups, "Pangs" remains a personal favorite of mine. At first glance, it seemed like a stand-alone episode that had nothing to do with the season and series' plot arc. As it turned out, it did."Pangs" marked the first time Spike would hang out with the Scoobies. It led to another setback in Buffy and Angel's relationship. It marked the first time that the Scoobies became aware of the Initiative, thanks to Spike. And it provided another chapter in Buffy's growing relationship with Riley Finn. This seems like an awful lot, considering that this episode mainly focused on Buffy dealing with a Thanksgiving feast and a vengeance spirit - two topics that were quickly resolved by the end. But Espenson and director Michael Lange. But the best things I can say about "Pangs" is that it featured superb performances and some incredibly funny dialogue and camera visuals. 

I tried to think of some of the best dialogue found in the episode and came across several lines. Among my favorites featured Buffy's ability to remain focused . . . or obssessed with her feast, while discussing their problems with Hus. However, one should not be surprised that Spike was responsible for the funniest moment in the episode in a scene that featured both Buffy and her friend Willow Rosenberg's reluctance to destroy Hus, due to their guilt over the country's past with Native Americans:

BUFFY: Will, you know how bad I feel. This is eating me up -- (to Anya, who holds up the bottle of brandy) -- a quarter cup, and let it simmer -- (to Willow, as Anya goes back) -- but even though it's hard, we
have to end this. Yes, he's been wronged, and I personally would be ready to apologize...

SPIKE: Oh, someone put a stake in me!

XANDER: You got a lot of volunteers in here...

SPIKE: I just can't take this mamby-pamby boo-hooing over the bloody Indians!

WILLOW: The preferred term is --

SPIKE: You won! All right? You came in and you killed them and you took their land. That's what conquering nations do! That's what Caesar did, he's not going around saying "I came, I conquered, I felt really bad about it!" The history of the world is not people making friends. You had better weapons, you massacred them, end of story!

BUFFY: Well, I think the Spaniards actually did a lot of... not that I don't like Spaniards...

SPIKE: Listen to you! How are you gonna fight anybody with that attitude?

WILLOW: We don't want to fight anybody.

BUFFY: I just want to have Thanksgiving.

SPIKE: Yeah, good luck.

WILLOW: If we could talk to him --

SPIKE: You exterminated his race. What could you possibly say that would make him feel better? It's kill or be killed here. Take your bloody pick.

James Marsters really acted the hell out of that scene. And I am not surprised. To this day, I believe that his portrayal of Spike was one of the best television performances I have ever seen . . . period. And he was really marvelous in this episode. So were Anthony Stewart Head, who did a top-notch job in giving a comic twist to a Rupert Giles who found himself manipulated by Buffy into holding the Scoobies' Thanksgiving feast at his apartment; Alyson Hannigan, who was also superb as best friend/witch Willow Rosenberg, who did not hesitate to express her conflict between dealing with Hus and her guilt over the region's ugly past in dealing with the Chumash people. Nicholas Brandon and Emma Caufield gave fine support as Buffy's two other friends, Xander Harris and former vengeance demon Anya Jenkins. Marc Blucas was charming as Buffy's soon-to-be boyfriend, Riley Finn. And he was ably supported by an exuberant Leonard Roberts. Mercedes McNab displayed excellent comic timing in scenes that featured recently sired vampire Harmony Kendall's encounters with Spike and Xander. David Boreanaz took a break from his new series at the time, "ANGEL" to give an intense, yet at times funny performance as Buffy's ex-vampire squeeze, Angel. But the real star of this episode was Sarah Michelle Gellar. She gave both a hilarious, yet poignant performance, revealing Buffy's somewhat obssessive determination to make her Thanksgiving a success. In fact, I believe I enjoyed her performance even more than Marsters. And that is quite an accomplishment, considering that Marsters is a natural-born scene stealer.

Yes, "Pangs" had a few problems. And its main narrative surrounding the dangers of a Native American vengeance spirit did not exactly strike me as memorable. However, I do believe that the narrative made an interesting comment on how conflicted Americans have become in viewing our county's history. More importantly, Spike's comments on the cirumstances that led to Hus' path of vengeance is a brutal reminder of how monstrous human beings can be - a foreshadow of the Scoobies' future behavior later in the series. Thanks to Jane Espenson's hilarious script, Michael Lange's direction and a superb cast led by Sarah Michelle Geller, "Pangs" remains one of my favorite "BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER" episodes to this day.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

TIME MACHINE: Battle of Jonesborough



August 31-September 1 of this year marked the 150th anniversary of the Civil War conflict called the Battle of Jonesborough. This conflict, fought over two days, proved to be the last battle of the Atlanta Campaign, which occurred during the summer of 1864. The battle also led to the fall of Atlanta, Georgia and contributed to President Abraham Lincoln's re-election in November 1864. 

The Atlanta Campaign began following the Union victory at Chattanooga, Tennessee in November 1864. After Ulysses S. Grant was promoted to Lieutenant-General and made commander-in-chief of the entire Union Army in March 1864, he handed over command of the Union troops in the Western Theater to Major-General William Tecumseh Sherman. Sherman led the invasion of Georgia with three armies - Army of the Cumberland under Major-General George Henry ThomasMajor-General James B. McPherson's Army of the Tennessee, and Major-General John M. Schofield's Army of the Ohio. He fought a lengthy campaign of maneuver through mountainous terrain against the Army of the Tennessee, which was first led by Confederate General Joseph E. Johnston, who was replaced by the more aggressiveGeneral John Bell Hood in July 1864. 

Following the Union victory at Battle of Ezra Church on July 28, 1864; Sherman's forces settled into a siege of Atlanta. The Union and the Confederacy clashed during three more battles before Sherman decided to make a drastic measure to remove Hood's defense of Atlanta. He decided to cut the Confederates' railroad supply lines and force the Southern troops to evacuate Atlanta. Sherman moved six of his seven infantry corps against the Confederate supply lines. The Union Army pulled out of its positions on August 25, 1864 and struck the Macon & Western Railroad between Rough and Ready and Jonesborough. To counter the move, Hood sent Lieutenant-General William J. Hardee with two corps to halt and possibly rout the Union troops. Unfortunately, neither Hood or Hardee realized that Sherman's forces was already there in force. 

Then on August 31, Hardee attacked two Union corps west of Jonesborough. He was easily repulsed. Fearing an attack on Atlanta, Hood withdrew one corps from Hardee's forces that night. The following day, a Union corps broke through Hardee's line and his troops retreated in good order to Lovejoy's Station. On the night of September 1, Hood evacuated Atlanta, and ordered the burning of Confederate military supplies and installations. This order caused a great conflagration within the city. Union troops finally entered Atlanta on September 2, 1864 and began occupation of the city. Although Sherman managed to cut Hood's supply line, he failed to destroy Hardee's command.

As I had stated earlier, the Battle of Jonesborough proved to be the final battle of the Atlanta Campaign. It caused the besieged city of Atlanta to fall into Union hands. The capture of Atlanta greatly aided the re-election of Abraham Lincoln in early November 1864, and hastened the end of the war. Hood led his defeated army away from Atlanta and to the west. His actions allowed the Union troops to commence upon Sherman's March to the Sea in mid-November. They also resulted in Hood's reputation as an aggressive and careless commander and the virtual destruction of his Army of Tennessee during the Franklin-Nashville Campaign.

If you are interested in reading more about the Battle of Jonesborough and the Atlanta Campaign, I recommend the following books:

*"Decision in the West: The Atlanta Campaign of 1864" (1992) by Albert Castel

*"Atlanta 1864: Last Chance for the Confederacy" (2000) by Richard M. McMurry

Monday, November 24, 2014

"THE GOOD SHEPHERD" (2006) Photo Gallery


Below are photos from Robert DeNiro's 2006 espionage saga about the rise and personal fall of a C.I.A. official between the 1940s and the early 1960s. Matt Damon and Angelina Jolie starred: 

"THE GOOD SHEPHERD" (2006) Photo Gallery


Sunday, November 23, 2014

"TITANIC" (1953) Review


"TITANIC" (1953) Review

As many moviegoers know, there have been numerous film and television productions about the maiden voyage and sinking of the R.M.S. Titanic on April 15, 1912. The most famous production happens to be James Cameron's 1997 Oscar winning opus. However, I do wonder if there are any fans who are aware that another Titanic movie managed to strike Oscar gold. 

Directed by Jean Negulesco, the 1953 movie "TITANIC" focused on the personal lives of a wealthy American family torn asunder by marital strife, a deep secret and the historic sinking of the Titanic. Family matriarch Mrs. Julia Sturges and her two children, 17 year-old Annette and 10 year-old Norman board the R.M.S. Titanic in Cherbourg, France. Julia hopes to remove her children from the influence of a privileged European lifestyle embraced by her husband Richard and raise them in her hometown of Mackinac, Michigan. Unfortunately, Richard gets wind of their departure and manages to board the Titanic at the last moment by purchasing a steerage ticket from a Basque immigrant and intercept his family. The Sturges family also meet other passengers aboard ship:

*20 year-old Purdue University tennis player Gifford Rogers, who falls for Annette
*the wealthy middle-aged Maude Young (based upon Molly Brown)
*a social-climbing snob named Earl Meeker
*a priest named George S. Healey, who has been defrocked for alcoholism
*American businessman John Jacob Astor IV and his second wife Madeleine

Julia and Richard clash over the future of their children during the voyage. Their conflict is reinforced by Annette's budding romance with college student Gifford Rogers and a dark secret revealed by Julia. But the couple's conflict eventually takes a back seat after the Titanic strikes an iceberg during the last hour of April 14, 1912.

There seemed to be a habit among moviegoers lately to judge historical dramas more on their historical accuracy than on the story. As a history buff, I can understand this penchant. But I am also a fan of fiction - especially historical fiction. And I learned a long time ago that when writing a historical drama, one has to consider the story and the character over historical accuracy. If the latter gets in the way of the story . . . toss it aside. It is apparent that screenwriters Charles Brackett (who also served as producer), Richard L. Breen and Walter Reisch did just that when they created the screenplay for "TITANIC". Any history buff about the famous White Star liner's sinking would be appalled at the amount of historical accuracy in this movie. However, I feel that many lovers of period drama would be more than satisfied with "TITANIC", thanks to a well-written personal story and top-notch direction by Jean Negulesco.

Superficially, "TITANIC" is a melodrama about the disintegration of a late 19th century/early 20th century marriage. The marital discord between Julia and Richard Sturges is filled with personality clashes, class warfare, disappointment and betrayal. And actors Barbara Stanwyck and Clifton Webb did their very best to make the clash of wills between husband and wife fascinating and in the end . . . poignant. One of the movie's best scenes featured a confession from one spouse about a past discretion. I am not claiming that the scene was particularly original. But I cannot deny that thanks to stellar performances from Stanwyck and Webb, I believe it was one of the best moments of melodrama I have ever seen on screen . . . period. But their final scene together, during the Titanic's sinking, turned out to be one of the most poignant for me. And by the way, fans of the 1997 movie would not be hard pressed to recognize one of Webb's lines in the film . . . a line that also ended up in Cameron's movie.

"TITANIC" featured other subplots that allowed the supporting cast to shine. Audrey Dalton portrayed Julia and Richard's oldest offspring, the beautiful 17 year-old Annette, who had become enamored of her father's penchant for European high society. Dalton did an excellent job of slowly transforming Annette from the shallow socialite wannabe to the shy and naturally charming young woman who has become more interested in enjoying her youth. And the character's transformation came about from her budding friendship and romance with the gregarious Gifford Rogers. Robert Wagner seemed a far cry from the sophisticated man that both moviegoers and television viewers have come to know. His Gifford is young, friendly and open-hearted. Wagner made it easier for moviegoers to see why Annette fell for him and Julia found him likeable. However, I was not that enthusiastic about his singing. Harper Carter did an excellent job of holding his own against the likes of Stanwyck, Webb and Dalton as the Sturges' son Norman. In fact, I found him very believable as the 10 year-old boy eager to maintain his father's interest without accepting the snobbery that marked Annette's personality. Perhaps he was simply too young. 

The movie's screenplay also featured a subplot involving a young priest named George Healey, who dreaded his return to the U.S. and facing his family with the shameful news of his defrocking. Thanks to Richard Basehart's subtle, yet sardonic performance, I found myself feeling sympathetic toward his plight, instead of disgusted by his alcoholism. Thelma Ritter gave her usual top-notch performance as the sarcastic noveau riche Maude Young. Allyn Joslyn was amusing as the social-climbing card shark, Earl Meeker. And Brian Aherne's portrayal of the Titanic's doomed captain, was not only subtle, but he also kept the character from wallowing into some kind of second-rate nobility that usually makes my teeth hurt.

For a movie that did not have James Cameron's advantages of creating the technical effects of the 1997 movie,"TITANIC" proved to be an attractive looking movie. Production manager Joseph C. Behm and his team did a solid job of re-creating life aboard an ocean liner, circa 1912. Behm was also assisted by costume designer Dorothy Jeakins, Don B. Greenwood's art department, Maurice Ransford and Oscar winner Lyle R. Wheeler's art directions, and Stuart A. Reiss' set decorations. Although the movie did not feature an accurate re-creation of the Titanic's sinking, I have to admit that visually, the special effects created by a team team led by Ray Kellogg were very impressive, especially for 1953. They were ably assisted Joseph MacDonald's black-and-white photography and Louis R. Loeffler's editing. 

Earlier in this review, I pointed out that James Cameron's 1997 film was not the only one about the Titanic that struck Oscar gold. Although "TITANIC" did not win eleven Academy Awards, it was nominated for two Oscars and won a single one - namely a Best Original Screenplay award for Brackett, Breen and Reisch. But despite an award winning script, a superb cast led by Barbara Stanwyck and Clifton Webb and a first-rate production team, "TITANIC" still could have ended in disaster. But it had the good luck to have an excellent director like Jean Negulesco at the helm.

Friday, November 21, 2014

"AGENTS OF S.H.I.E.L.D.": (2.01) "Shadows" Commentary


"AGENTS OF S.H.I.E.L.D." (2.01) "Shadows" Commentary

Ohmigod! Did "AGENTS OF S.H.I.E.L.D." lose its sense of humor? I realize that the show is supposed to take a darker turn, but they seemed to be overdoing it. 

After an hour of viewing, I realized that the only flash of real humor came from Antoine "Trip" Triplett. The episode revealed that Jemma Simmons left the agency during hiatus. And we do not know the circumstances that led her to finally leave. This is a scenario that should have happened either in the Season One finale, (1.22) "Beginning of the End"or in this episode. Instead, it happened off screen. And what was up with that speech from new S.H.I.E.L.D. Director, Phil Coulson near the end of the episode? He sounded as if he had a burr up his ass. 

The scene between Skye and Ward was simply wince inducing. Were they trying to make Ward seductive? How can I be brutally frank? I never really cared about Ward. In fact, what was he doing there in the first place? I doubt that he knows everything about HYDRA. I even doubt that he knows everything that Garrett knew. His presence with Coulson and the others make NO SENSE to me whatsoever. As for Skye, she has more or less lost her sense of humor, let alone personality. Now, she is bland. 

Why would the U.S. Army give Glenn Talbot a promotion for losing Coulson and his crew in the last season? What were the circumstances that led Lucy Lawless and her crew of mercenaries to join the new S.H.I.E.L.D.? As for Nick Blood - the so-called "sexy" British mercenary and television cliché - could Whedon and Company be more unoriginal? And what was up with that ridiculous slow motion scene near the end of the episode? Was this episode directed by John Woo or something?

Well, it happened . . . just as I had feared. The producers caved in to the public's inability to deal with the serial drama format . . . and they ended up forcing the action for this season - to the extreme - down our throats. In fact, everything about the writing in "Shadows" was rushed - including the introduction of new characters and situation. Whedon and Co. dumped its usual style of storytelling and rushed the story in order to satisfy the critics, the viewers and the Disney corporate suits who had complained about Season One's slow development of the story line. Apparently these critics know nothing about story development in a serial drama format. And I guess Whedon and Co. lost that knowledge as well.

The only interesting aspect about this episode was the 1940s flashback featuring Peggy Carter, "Dum Dum" Dugan, Jim Morita and the new Big Bad, Daniel Whitehall. The rest of it was a rushed job filled with over-the-top action, along with grim and humorless characterization. If this new episode had been the first episode of "AGENTS OF S.H.I.E.L.D." I had seen, I would have given up on this series with the drop of a hat.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

"GONE GIRL" (2014) Photo Gallery


Below are images from "GONE GIRL", the 2014 adaptation of Gillian Flynn's 2012 novel. Directed by David Fincher, the movie stars Ben Affleck and Rosamund Pike:

"GONE GIRL" (2014) Photo Gallery

GONE GIRL Movie HD Trailer Captures00023_1_1

gone girl-sela ward-ben affleck