Friday, December 16, 2011

Taking a Break

For a variety of reasons, I've decided to take a brief hiatus from blogging for the rest of this month. Among them are the fact that I've got some very important stuff going on in my non-blog related life that I need to give quite a bit of my attention to right now. Also, I just kind of need a brief respite to relax (and maybe watch a few classics in my Netflix queue, if I have time), and the winter break is perfect for that. So there will be no new blog posts for the rest of December, although I will still be updating my Twitter account from time to time during that period.

I will be back in January with a preview of what I'll be writing about in early 2012. See you then.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Film Review - "The Tree of Life"

Terrence Malick’s The Tree of Life is one of the best movies of the century so far. Visually, it’s astounding: rivaled only by a handful of films that I have seen, including the director’s earlier works. But it’s also a rich experience on an emotional and thematic level, the true brilliance of which may not be seen in its entirety until after many repeat viewings. That being said, I’ll do my best to describe its magnificence after just a single viewing, and without any major spoilers to boot.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Changes at Screen Ramblings (Eventually)

Ryan McGee's recent piece on what the future of TV criticism should be really hit home with me. I'm an aspiring critic who's trying to get my work read, and as such I've favored the traditional episode-by-episode review format used by the majority of TV-related websites, since after all they must be doing something right. Well, this article has caused me to reconsider that notion. Because he's right: there are hundreds of sites out there doing exactly what I'm doing. So while I truly am passionate about what I write (and I agree with him that this is the most important thing), the fact remains that I'm not saying anything that isn't being said (usually better) by others.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Friday, October 28, 2011

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Friday, October 14, 2011

New Additions to the Grade-A Classics

Apologies once again for the lack of film coverage. Hopefully it won't be for too much longer, but what with fall premiere season I just haven't had the energy to write much related to my favorite form of media (sorry, TV and books, but the movies are still #1 in my book). However, with "Breaking Bad" over for the year I've decided to start limiting my TV coverage to reviews of "Parks and Rec", "Community", and "Sons of Anarchy" each week. This should free me up to start writing film reviews again, although as always it's only if time permits. (Sorry, but my first job as a student comes first.)

In the meantime, though, I wanted to quickly offer an update to my grade-A classics. Three new films will be added. One is "Body Heat", Lawrence Kasdan's brilliantly directed and masterfully plotted film noir, which features excellent performances by William Hurt and Kathleen Turner. Another is Martin Scorsese's "Raging Bull", a film I've been meaning to see for quite some time. Everything that's great about this movie has already been said by other critics, but I'd like to single out the brilliantly filmed (albeit brutal) boxing scenes for praise as well as DeNiro's lead performance (which is one of the best I've ever seen). It's pretty close to a perfect movie, and would probably find a spot in my all-time top 25 if I ever decided to make such a list.  And finally we have "Cries and Whispers", Ingmar Bergman's intimate, emotionally raw film about four women who gather together at the house where one of them lays dying. The acting in it is astonishing, and it allows Bergman to craft some of his most magnificent shots simply by zeroing in on the faces of these brilliant actresses, who convey an unbelievable amount of emotion with glances and expressions.

Thoughts on any of these three fine films? Hopefully I'll be back to reviewing movies soon. I'm not going to say you can count on it, but with some of the summer's supposedly best films ("The Tree of Life", "Bridesmaids", etc.) out on DVD I would expect a return to film coverage in some shape or form pretty soon. No promises, though.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

"Sons of Anarchy" - "With an X"

Some very quick thoughts (with spoilers) on this week's "Sons of Anarchy" after the jump:

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Monday, September 26, 2011

"Archer" - "Heart of Archness, Part Two"

I'm a bit short on energy (having written quite a bit about "Community", "Parks and Rec", and "The Office" over the past few days), so I didn't have the chance to write anything about this week's "Archer". It was another very strong episode, although the gags weren't quite as plentiful or as well-paced as they were last week.

I'll have a review of the final episode of this special three-part arc up a few days after it airs next Thursday. For now, though... I'm curious to hear what "Archer" fans thought about this one. Better than last week's, or not?

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Friday, September 23, 2011

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Saturday, September 17, 2011

"Archer" - "Heart of Archness, Part One"

Spoilers for the first of three all-new "Archer" episodes airing this September after the jump:

Friday, September 16, 2011

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Monday, September 12, 2011

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Friday, September 9, 2011

"Louie" - "New Jersey/Airport"

An insanely quick review (with spoilers) of "Louie's" season two finale after the jump:

Monday, September 5, 2011

"Breaking Bad" - "Hermanos"

Well, that was fantastic. “Hermanos” is easily the best “Breaking Bad” episode so far this season, and I’d even go so far as to call it one of the best hours of the show ever. There’s a heck of a lot to unpack here, so let’s get to it. More (with spoilers) after the jump:

Friday, September 2, 2011

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Fall Plans

Ah, fall, the time of TV pilots. It's always a busy season for amateur critics such as myself, and this year is no exception. The good news (well, technically it's bad news) is that it's not going to be too busy, since most of the new shows look mediocre to terrible. Odds are I'll be adding only a handful of new programs to my currently watching list, but even that small amount means that coverage of some older shows is going to get scaled back.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Series Review - "Dollhouse"

Spoilers for "Dollhouse" (one of the most underrated shows ever) after the jump:

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Brief Reviews - Three New Grade-A Classics

When I was on my brief hiatus a few weeks ago, I watched a number of films that I just don't have the time to review in full right now. Some were good, one or two were awful, and three were great and will be added to my grade-A classics. Here they are. 

Brief reviews (spoiler-free) of "Half Nelson", "Unforgiven", and "Army of Shadows" after the jump:

Monday, August 15, 2011

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Monday, August 8, 2011

Film Review - "Show Me Love"

Spoilers for the wonderful "Show Me Love" after the jump. If you've never seen it, stop reading and watch it now (it's on Netflix streaming). You'll thank me later.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Film Review - "Three Colors" Trilogy

Note: This review is spoiler-free for the most part, but the final few paragraphs contain some major ones. I've put a warning in bold before these paragraphs begin, so anyone who's never seen the films (and you should, as soon as possible) should stop there. Read on after the jump:

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

A Note About the Rest of This Week...

On Thursday, I am undergoing another medical procedure. It's completely unrelated to the things which sidelined me a few weeks earlier, and is once again relatively minor (it's dental in nature, if you're wondering). But, like before, it will require some bed rest for at least a few days.  Therefore, I will not be writing anything new until Monday at the earliest.

Same drill as before. Starting Thursday, there won't be any new blog posts (apart from the one I mention in the next paragraph), tweets, or responses to comments for a few days. And yes, this means that my review of "Louie" is going to get skipped yet again. Sorry about that, but I need to get all this stuff dealt with before classes start. The good news is that this will hopefully be the last time (in the near future, anyway) that anything like this needs to happen.

In addition, this absence (unlike the last one) has been planned for several weeks: giving me ample time to line up something to post while I'm away. And that is my review of the "Three Colors" trilogy, which will post on Saturday morning. Hopefully that will tide you over until I get back, and I promise I will respond to any comments about it the instant I'm feeling up to blogging.

Apologies once again, and thanks to everyone who's still reading in spite of these interruptions. If everything goes smoothly, I'll be back before you know it.

Friday, July 29, 2011

Episodes Blog-a-thon: "Classy Christmas"

Andrew over at "Encore's World of Film and TV" recently invited me to put together a post on my favorite episode of the 2010-11 TV season for a "blog-a-thon". The episode I chose isn't really my favorite, but it's a great one that I suspect a lot of people have already forgotten. Enjoy!

Note: There are literally dozens of other episodes I could have gone with for this post, and truthfully "Mad Men's" "The Suitcase" (or any number of "Parks and Rec" and "Community" episodes from this past season) are probably better in a technical sense. I chose this episode... well, hopefully you'll see why.

My post (with spoilers) on "Classy Christmas" after the jump:

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Brief Review - "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part Two"

Apologies for not being able to spend more time on the final "Harry Potter" film, but I just saw it a few hours ago and wanted to get this review written today since tomorrow I'll be busy with the "Breaking Bad" premiere.

Spoilers for "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part Two" (hereafter abbreviated as "DH: Part Two") after the jump:

Saturday, July 9, 2011

I'm Back...

Well, not quite back yet. I'm currently resting and having a "Sons of Anarchy" marathon, so "real" posting probably won't resume for at least a few days. But I'm fine, and hope to get back to blogging soon. Certainly before the "Breaking Bad" premiere, at least.

Okay, then. See you soon.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Dear Readers....

I just found out today that I need to undergo an emergency medical procedure. It's nothing too serious, but it will involve a few days of recovery time. Therefore, I will not be posting anything new (either on the blog or on Twitter) for at least the next 48 hours. Maybe longer. We'll see how it goes.

If you want to comment on any of the recent reviews, please do so. Just be aware that I won't be able to respond for a few days. Thanks in advance for the understanding, and see you soon.

"Falling Skies" - "Grace"

Spoilers for this week's "Falling Skies" after the jump:

Monday, July 4, 2011

Happy Fourth of July, Readers!

Go forth and barbecue, or whatever it is you usually do today. I'll be back tomorrow with a review of "Blue Valentine". See you then.

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Film Review - "Notorious"

A review of "Notorious" (the Hitchcock classic, not the recent biopic about the rapper) coming up after the jump:

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Monday, June 27, 2011

Thursday, June 23, 2011

"Treme" - "I'll Fly Away"/Season in Review

Note: I've been watching season 1 of "Treme" on DVD over the past week or so. Here are my rather lengthy thoughts on the season finale as well as the season as a whole.

Spoilers for the entire first season of "Treme" after the jump:

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Film Review - "Aliens"

Since this is a review of the sequel to "Alien", it will contain references to the events that took place in the earlier film. It does not contain any major spoilers for "Aliens", though. More after the jump:

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Monday, June 20, 2011

Saturday, June 18, 2011

My Top 6 Screen Fathers

In honor of Father's Day tomorrow, I have compiled a list of my six favorite screen dads (three from TV, three from film). This is by no means a definitive list, and I left out plenty of great fathers. Click through to see it, and please feel free to mention your own favorite film and TV fathers in the comments.

Friday, June 17, 2011

"Friday Night Lights" Discussion Thread - "Gut Check"

No one commented on last week's post, but no matter: I'm still going to put them up in case any "FNL" fans watching on NBC happen to discover the blog and want to talk about the show's terrific stretch run. As always, I am here to discuss the show with anyone who wishes to.

This week's episode, "Gut Check", is just fantastic. Again, I'm not going to post spoilers here (that's what the comments are for if there are any takers), but just about everything in this installment worked. The storylines involving Coach, Vince, and Tami were my personal favorites.

Any thoughts?

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Double Feature - "Election"/"Alien"

Note: The "Alien" review contains moderate spoilers. The "Election" one should be fine for everyone. Both reviews can be seen after the jump:

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Review - "Passion" (Film of the 1994 Producion)

Note: This review contains a major spoiler regarding the conclusion of this show. I personally don't feel it will affect your enjoyment of it, but be warned. More after the jump:

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

All Shows Ranked - Post-"Deadwood" Edition

Welcome to a new feature here at Screen Ramblings: my all-time TV show rankings. Every time I finish a series, I will place it on this list in the appropriate spot. The list is currently divided into three tiers based on series grade, but it's possible I'll add a fourth if required.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Film Review - "The Silence of the Lambs"

Note: No real spoilers in this review, but there is some discussion of the film's ending (in very general terms) as well as some analysis of the Lecter-Starling scenes. Read on at your own risk after the jump:

Saturday, June 4, 2011

"Deadwood" - Series Finale/Series in Review

Spoilers for the "Deadwood" series finale (as well as the series as a whole) after the jump:

Friday, June 3, 2011

"Friday Night Lights" Discussion Thread - "Fracture"

As I've previously mentioned, I won't be covering the stretch run of "Friday Night Lights" on NBC. I loved the final season, though, and for me this week's episode is where it really starts hitting its stride (not that it wasn't good before, since there hasn't been a bad episode of this show since season 2). I know there's at least one "FNL" fan reading, so anyone who wishes to can feel free to discuss the latest episode here (as well as your thoughts on the season so far).

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Review - "Company" (2006 Revival Filmed for PBS)

I've been a fan of Stephen Sondheim ever since first listening to the soundtrack for "Sweeney Todd". Since then I've made it my mission to seek out as many of his works as I can: including the taped productions of "Sunday in the Park with George" and "Into the Woods". Into that mix comes this 2006 production of "Company": the first of these shows I've reviewed on the blog (but likely not the last). It is an utter delight from start to finish, and for me it stands right near the top of the Sondheim pecking order.

Monday, May 30, 2011

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Summer TV Plans

With the end of "Modern Family's" second season comes the end of the last network show I review (with the exception of the sensational final few episodes of "Friday Night Lights", which I will not be covering due to the fact that I've already watched them on DVD). Summer generally brings with it the return of at least a few terrific series, though. So here's the plan for my TV coverage.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Film Review - "Easy A"

"Easy A" is one of a large number of quirky comedies that have been showing up over the last several years in the wake of films like "Juno". Indeed, "Juno" is the movie that most readily comes to mind when discussing "Easy A". Both films feature terrific lead performances from young actresses, slightly over-the-top supporting characters, and whip-smart dialogue.

Spoilers for the film after the jump:


Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Welcome/Blogging and Commenting Policies

First of all, welcome to Screen Ramblings. For my first post, I thought it would be a good idea to go over everything (as well as to discuss my policies about spoilers and comments). I will then link to the post on the sidebar. That way, new readers will be able to see it and read it.

Feel free to just skim this post if you want (I can't force you to read it), but I really do recommend reading it thoroughly (particularly if you're new to the blog). The section on spoilers is particularly vital in order to ensure that no one's enjoyment of a particular show or movie gets spoiled by accident. More after the jump: