Tag Archives: review

New Girl: Wrapping up Season Two, Will Nick & Jess Ever Move Forward?

Oh New Girl, I can’t believe we’re already approaching the end of season two! It’s nice to have a show to look forward to watching every week. Sometimes shows switch it up too much or lag in their second season. (Glee, I’m looking at you!)

But New Girl has kept it interesting season to say the least – obviously one of the highlights, as I’m sure was everyone’s – was the Nick/Jess late night kiss – how could you not love that? The best thing about it was you never saw it coming, or thought the show writers/creators wouldn’t go there – but they did (and it was hot)!

However, as the after-effect episodes have aired over the last few weeks, I’m starting to feel some ambivalence about the Nick/Jess situation – now let me tell you why.

After the initial kiss, there was the awkwardness and both of them were trying to deal with how they felt, the writer’s didn’t try to rush anything along, which was much appreciated.  Jess obviously felt strongly about the kiss, enough that she told Sam the truth, resulting in their break up. Things between Nick and Jess laid low for a while, bubbling up again at the perfect time – dealing with the new issue of jealously.

When Jess met the new manager or Nick’s bar (who he slept with), her obvious jealousy allowed Nick to see there might between them than he first thought.  He promptly broke things off with his manager and hurried home to Jess – it all seemed to be coming together, until they broke the fish tank.

Then there was the funeral for Nick’s father – an episode that was especially odd. The roommates, especially Jess, were doing their best to show their support to their friend. But the Elvis which found Zooey Deschanel dressed as Elvis – was for some reason especially off-putting, it was just too over the top. But I did really like the fact that Nick is consistently depth and responsibility, while still able to hold on to his true Nick Miller curmudgeonly ways. He’s really growing as a character and I can’t get enough of Jake Johnson’s portrayal of him.

With last week’s episode, “First Date” I had some hope – Nick and Jess were going to actually move (at least in some small way) forward! They were going to have a date! Well …kind of. This episode was just a mess for me. I loved when Nick was talking to his park bench confidante Tran, and was deciding his feelings/what he would say to Jess. It was so sweet! I know Nick Miller is known for the flubs and mixing his words, but I had really hoped we’d see him express some earnest feelings to her as a result of that conversation.

Then he got all dolled up with Schmidt and Winston’s help (and Winston’s car) – only to then deny it even WAS a date to Jess, why not just say YES! There was also the return of Dermot Mulroney as ‘fancy man’ Russell, which prompted Nick to refer to him as ‘the only man we both loved’ which was hilarious – clearly the man crush lives on. But aside from that, I didn’t really understand the point of Russell being there. Towards the end it looked like Russell’s purpose was to have the two roommates confront what they were to each other by having them write it down – but we were foiled again, never having found out what either one of them had written and back at the apartment the sexual tension remains! Don’t get me wrong, I’m a fan of the tension, the buildup, wondering where things with them will go and how it will change life in the apartment – but I find all of these false starts getting on my nerves. Some progress is better than none, isn’t it?

On the flip side, while Nick and Jess are pre-occupied with one another, I’m loving the Schmidt/Winston storylines! From Schmidt’s fear of dead bodies to their mishap with ‘outside Dave’ last week, I found myself wanting to watch their storyline more than the date. Also, Winston’s flashback to his worst date ever with the homeless man singing ‘Father Figure’ caught me so off guard, I couldn’t stop myself from laughing out loud.

It’s nice for Schmidt to have found a new level camaraderie with Winston, who’s trying to be there for Schmidt while he deals with the tough reality of Cece’s engagement (does anyone believe that wedding will actually happen by the way?) What do you think Schmidt has planned to stop the wedding?  You know that guy won’t go down without a fight! All in all a strong and highly entertaining season two thus far. With only a few episodes left, what would you like to see happen?

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This is my Spiderman

Every Saturday morning as a kid in the 90’s I’d watch Spiderman and Batman the animated series’ and loved them. Today, I still love them and my beloved superheroes have of course, been given the movie (and re-boot) treatment. I never loved the Tim Burton/Joel Schumacher Batman franchise. I liked Michael Keaton, but all in all it just didn’t feel right. But when Christopher Nolan came along seven years ago with Batman Begins, my mind was blown. It was like I was seeing the story again for the first time in the way I’d always imagined it.

It’s curious that something similar has happened with the Amazing Spiderman. I always loved Spiderman’s easy humour and sarcastic commentary in the animated series, which was something the previous franchise starring Tobey Maguire really lacked. Tobey Maguire was never my Spiderman -through no fault of his own, he just wasn’t what I pictured and much too old. Kirsten Dunst lacked the sassy pizzazz (and the natural red hair) of my Mary Jane Watson. Despite James Franco and Willem Dafoe being well cast, with each sequel the movies got worse and worse.

Now, only a handful of years later – comes Andrew Garfield to take on the role of Peter Parker/Spiderman.  I loved it, I really did. It didn’t have the epic quality that can only be found in a Christopher Nolan Batman film, but it was a really great superhero movie.  Andrew Garfield was what I always imagined Peter Parker to be. Cute, smart, flawed, sarcastic, funny – but also angry and conflicted, we saw it all on Garfield’s face and he laid it bare for the audience to see. His torment over the loss of his parents, his guilt over the loss of his uncle, he embodied the character of Peter Parker honestly and completely.

Not to mention the outstanding chemistry between Garfield and real life girlfriend Emma Stone – it was off the charts. Stone’s Gwen Stacy was smart, brave, strong willed and a typical teenager in love – but let’s be honest, those knee socks were ridiculous. Obviously the producers were going for the sexy scientist look here, it just seemed a tad unrealistic to me. Socks aside, I really enjoyed Gwen’s character and bravery, her willingness to save others over herself and be a confidant for Peter.

Rhys Ifans was a flawed but sympathetic villain, as a scientist who wanted his other arm back and went about it the wrong way. Who knew Hugh Grant’s roommate from Notting Hill could be so evil and dark? I love Martin Sheen in everything and this movie was no exception. The casting was all very well done.

My only major criticism would be the rallying of the cranes to help Spiderman reach Oscorp. It was reminiscent of the New York subway scene in Spiderman 2, (the Tobey Maguire franchise) and it just seemed unnecessary. It didn’t advance the plot and there was nothing to be gained from it. We already know some people love Spiderman and some people don’t – so what was the point?

Andrew Garfield carried this film on his shoulders and the success of it should be largely if not totally attributed to him. He was the perfect choice in casting, a fan playing the superhero they grew up loving. From the Social Network to Spiderman, I just can’t wait to see more movies (Spiderman, and otherwise) from him.

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Seeking A Friend At the End of the World, Looking at Life in a New Perspective

What would happen if the world was going to end? That is the basis for “Seeking A Friend at the End of the World.”  The film is based around main character, Dodge Peterson (Steve Carell) who, along with everyone else – discovers the world will end in three weeks time due to impending asteroid. All scientific theories and space travel missions to deter this outcome have failed. There is no solution except to accept this particularly grim fate.

Dodge and his wife, Linda hear the news in their car radio and she promptly exits, leaving him for good. Others react with angry mob scenes complete with death and destruction, while some continue their daily routines like going to work or mowing their lawns. This seemed a very real and arguably accurate depiction of what life would turn into if we all found out today the world was going to (legitimately) end in a few weeks time. It also brought about the issue of a person’s level of happiness in life – what they are willing to settle for and why they do so.  Why some people stay in unhappy marriages, why they cheat, why they marry (i.e. people who don’t want to die alone versus waiting for the right person).

After realizing his regular day-to-day routine is no longer necessary, Dodge stops going to work and has a chance encounter with a distraught woman from his building named Penny (Kiera Knightley). They become somewhat friends while Penny explains she is enduring a recent break up with an unemployed guitar player named Owen (spoiler alert, it’s loveable Adam Brody under that beard!)

The next day, when an angry mob starts to riot outside their building, Penny and Dodge take off together determined to make their destinations by world’s end. Hers: to London to be with her family. His: to track down his high school love aka the one that got away.  As is the case of most journey stories, the film is more about the journey and the people (a lot of great cameos) they encounter than the destination.

Together Dodge, Penny and little adopted dog Sorry, drive in search of their perspective destinies and find what they are looking for changes on the way. Performances by Carell and Knightly are both equally and exceedingly strong. I’ve always been a fan of Steve Carell, whether the role is hilarious (Anchorman) or more serious and heartfelt (Crazy, Stupid Love) so I maybe biased but he is just a guy I can’t help but warm up to.

Dodge and Penny are a charismatic albeit odd pairing, defying many onscreen duo/couples clichés and drawn out scenarios – there was literally no time for that. Knightley as evokes such instant, significant emotion that as a viewer I felt what she felt and teared up when she did.

I particularly loved both actors’ scenes with Martin Sheen, I won’t give away the context for sake of not spoiling for those who haven’t seen it – but he is another actor I love, I mean West Wing? Come on! And although his role is small, the relationship between him and Dodge is as rich in its complexity as it is in its emotion.

I wondered how this storyline would play out until the very end and I was not disappointed. I felt the ending was a satisfying one, true to the story and not the cop out I was almost certainly expecting. This film doesn’t try to be something more than it is. It underlines the key themes of love, fate and the unexpected, although the subject matter is particularly emotional and heavy – I really loved this film.

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