Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Analyzing the Mad Men Season 5 Poster

If you're having a hard time remembering where we left off at the end of season 4, I have a feeling you're not alone since by the time Mad Men returns to our TVs on March 25th, there will have been 525 days between episodes.

At this point, I may have to re-watch at least the last few episodes to jog my memory. I guess it's a good thing I wrote a Season 4 recap of sorts back in 2010. Wow, it really has been a while.

Could this be the beginning of the end for Don Draper? The Season 5 poster seems like it's teasing us with Don's descent, and even though it's straight from the show's opening credits, it may foresee what Flavorwire says is Don, "metaphorically jumping out of a building and/or floating in grayscale nothingness?"

Week 2 - Killer Elite


Number 2 on my 52 weeks of DVDs from eOne Entertainment, Killer Elite is perfect for adrenaline junkies who enjoy an excess of explosions, a well-choreographed-but-unrealistic fight sequence, and Jason Statham (you know, that Transporter guy who seems to be in every action flick being released these days). Also starring the iconic (yup, I said it) Robert DeNiro, Clive Owen, and Prison Break fans should recognize a much furrier Lincoln Burrows (Dominic Purcell) with a cute little Aussie accent.

In a memorable scene, Clive Owen (who's handcuffed), Jason Statham (who's tied to a chair), and a third party, have this one-on-one-on-one fight that is jaw-droppingly cool but at the same time, impossibly ridiculous and completely unbelievable. But whatever, it is what it is, which is an action film with punches to spare. It's not deep and it definitely isn't Shakespeare but I liked it. Not a bad way to spend a Sunday afternoon.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

I Won!

I got an early Christmas present this year when I, a self-proclaimed movie addict, won a contest from Canadian film distributor eOne Entertainment, that to be honest, I can't even remember entering. What I won is one free DVD a week, for a year, so basically, 52 DVDs. To say that I was excited was an understatement. Those of you who know me are aware of my constantly-growing collection of DVDs and Blu-Rays, and that I relish the thought of filling more and more shelves (even if the same people taunt me about my collection eventually becoming obsolete!).

What I've decided to do, is to watch all 52 of these movies as I receive them and take you along for the journey. So stay tuned for my posts.

Week 1: Shark Night
Week 2: Killer Elite
Week 3: Tree of Life
Week 4: 50/50
Week 5: Dream House
Week 6: R.E.D.

Why You Should Watch Downton Abbey

It seems surreal to admit that a stuffy British mini-series has somehow risen the ranks and become one of the best television shows currently on the air, but it's true. This juicy Edwardian drama has a way of investing you in the characters the same way that Friday Night Lights did - where their dreams, successes and failures somehow feel like your own.

Taking place in Edwardian England, the stand-out Dame Maggie Smith portrays super snobby, quick-witted and sharp-tongued Countess of Grantham, who spews some of the best one-liners on television today. In a Pride and Prejudice-style dilemma, the Grantham family's home and inheritance can only be passed down through male heirs, but alas, the Earl of Grantham and his wife have only had girls. Typical, right? The girls always get the short end of the stick. This period piece really is no where near as stuffy as it seems, and since it hasn't been adapted from a novel, we have no idea how it will end. And what Downton Abbey does that makes it a success, is delve deeply into not only the lives of the Earl and his family, but also the large and complex staff that serves them, who don't just remain on the periphery and are just as, if not more, intriguing.

Season 1 introduces us to the upstairs and downstairs residents of Downton. The matriarch Violet, Dowager Countess of Grantham (Maggie Smith), her son Robert the Earl of Grantham, his American wife Cora, and their three daughters, the eldest Mary, then Edith and the youngest Sybil. When the series begins, the eldest daughter is engaged to marry Earl of Grantham's heir Patrick, but when Patrick and his father go down with the Titanic, Robert's next heir is something like a second cousin, once-removed - Matthew Crawley, who then moves to town with his mother Isobel.

Downstairs, we get to see how a house of this size and status would have actually run in those times. With butlers, housekeepers, countless lady's maids to personally take care of each lady, valets (pronounced with a hard 't' apparently!), cooks and waiters. Things appear smooth on the surface, but in Downton Abbey, these 'downstairs' characters have their own hopes, aspirations, and complicated love stories that more often than not, cause as much emotional turmoil and heartache as to their employers.