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The Last Hurrah – Castle End

Castle lined up with 12th Precinct detectives

Castle with the 12th Precinct detectives.

Lets start out with a warning to anyone that watches and enjoys the TV show Castle, but hasn’t seen the last episode. Spoiler Alert! Warning! Don’t read past this point if you’re still planning on seeing the last episode and don’t want to know anything about it – including the end.

Now that’s out-of-the-way, I have to assume you want to continue to read my observations & comments. If you’re already a member of WordPress, you can add your comments below. WordPress wants to know who you are, even if you’re hiding behind an alias. No, spies don’t come here to gain access to the latest government secrets, but some Castle fans do…

Castle & Beckett disarming a bomb in NY together

Castle & Beckett disarmed a bomb in NY

Overall, last nights episode did bring some closure to the series. I must say, as a fan I was more than a little disappointed by the abbreviated ending. Clearly the last few seconds of episode 22, season 8, were rushed. It was a way of creating an ending which should have developed in several more episodes of Castle. It appeared to me they had a cliffhanger final in mind, then had to tack on the final seconds showing Beckett, Castle and children, all smiling perhaps even laughing at a dinner table together.

Castle a chill goes through her veins

Beckett & Castle working together

The season 8 writers were up against three intractable challenges. The first problem was the entire eighth season story arc revolved around a powerful shadow organization, secretly behind a prior longer story arc about the death of Kate Beckett’s mother which ran for 6 seasons. By creating this all-encompassing theme from the beginning, it obligated them to continue with it, and form a conclusion for that plot line. What they couldn’t plan on was the second big problem. Problem number two was the announcement by ABC studios, that Stana Katic and Tamala Jones wouldn’t be returning to Castle if there was a ninth season. This meant they had to write an episode explaining to the audience the reason(s) why Kate Beckett and everyone’s favorite Medical Examiner were no longer around. What could they do?

  1. Have Kate Beckett resign and leave Castle?
  2. Have a need for Kate to take time off and temporarily be away from Castle? (They sorta did that already)
  3. Have Kate Beckett appear to die in the last episode, leaving an opening for Castle to continue without her?

Beckett_sticking_her_tongue_outThere just didn’t seem to be a satisfactory way to remove Kate Beckett from the series without severe repercussions and this brings us to the final challenge. The network under a lot of pressure from the fans, announced last Thursday, May 12th, there wouldn’t be a ninth season. Do I believe the fans influenced this decision? Does the Pope reside in the Vatican? The Twitter feeds were tweeting faster and louder than Angry Birds on steroids. They were tweeting, “No Stana – No Castle!“, A petition was created to cancel the show at the end of season 8, and instructions were published throughout social media as to who should be contacted along with their business address.

Shock & Awe - faceFor a few weeks Castle fans were doing the American public a favor. They created a fire storm and were calling attention to a media phenomenon other than the U.S. Presidential bake-off. No need to thank us America, just doing our part to create a distraction from election news.

ABC had a PR nightmare on their hands which might have rolled over to other properties. The only thing at this point which they could have done to make it worse, end season 8 with Kate Beckett killed and have her on the M.E.’s table in season 9. Oh wait… they couldn’t have done that because they were getting rid of  Dr. Lanie Parish too.

If ever script writers were on the horns of a dilemma, this was that time. The writers were given 1 more hour to create an ending for the show wrapping up, LokSat and what happens to Caskett. C’mon, 1 hour?!  Well, that’s what they did. For that hour we had at least 3 episodes compressed into 1.

Beckett: I need a miracle, guys.
Ryan: Okay, you got it.
Esposito: One miracle coming up.

The episodes I’m referring to were; In the Belly of the Beast, Veritas and The Time of Our Lives. Each of them had dramatic stories with pivotal outcome.

  • In the Belly of the Beast – Beckett is recruited for a dangerous undercover operation with the aim of stopping a near-mythical drug baron.
  • Veritas – Beckett carries out an off-the-books investigation attempting to connect drug baron Vulcan Simmons to presidential candidate William Bracken
  • Time of Our Lives – Beckett and Castle marry in the Hamptons.

 

Castle_Beckett_together_dream_ABC_TV

But it was a Hollywood promise; not worth a damn. ~ Rick Castle

These were the problems in a nutshell, which the writers of this last episode of Castle needed to package together in a satisfactory bundle.

Were they successful? In my opinion, they did about as good of a job as you can ask for in approximately 43 minutes of normal run time. I have to say, I’m happy overall with what they did, but the last-minute of the show was so hurried, I’m not sure if I was looking at a dream sequence, a thought compression for the next set of books, or did they really get the happy ending we thought we saw?

What do you think?

Castle_Beckett_wedding_ABC-TV

Some moments we loved during Castle – all rights by owner (not me)

 

Once More Into the Breech…

Not since the time when the MDA fired Jerry Lewis and killed the Labor Day Telethon, have we seen the golden goose so badly drawn & quartered. This is what ABC Television has done to Castle, a much beloved by fans series, now in its eighth season.castle_finale_2

The episodic romance between Richard & Kate, kept people watching Castle. The perpetual watching, waiting, hoping, they will finally understand the chemistry between each other, kept viewers coming back to a clever, well acted dramedy. It took a crisis before Kate realized what was valuable in her life. The relationship needed to progress or they needed to end it. This is exactly where we are today in Season 8.

castle_beckett_better_days

By now the relationship, according to the way things were written in Season 7, should be moving toward the expansion of her public reputation, leading to possible political overtures, and maybe their first pregnancy. There was a direction and a place to increase the fan base with this story base-line already in motion. Instead, the wheels came off the chariot, and we’re left with the repetitive story of a secret criminal element, even more powerful than what drove her to find her mother’s killer(s). LokSat, seems almost a code for the writers; we’ve LOCKED our key characters into a GOING NOWHERE PLOT, and sat this one out, leaving the fan base in confusion. This announcement will require some type of drama, which many fans are concerned that it means they will kill off Kate, if there is to be a season 9.

Now, comes the backhand slap announcement before this season ends, to all of the fans of this masterfully created television program. The ABC executives declared, ‘THE SHOW MUST NOT GO ON!’ Too many people were enjoying it for at least the first 7 seasons. We haven’t quite killed it yet, so we’ll eliminate the leading co-star and important support character actors, (Stana & Tamala). The official story is, we’re letting them go, because we can’t afford to keep the most popular people in our show. Please stay tuned however, until we get our collective heads out of our lower alimentary tract and decide if we end ‘Castle’ at season 8, or limp on into season 9, with a modified version of Castle. We may keep some of the actors, but why tell them at this juncture whether they’re going to be included?

You couldn’t write a worse way to destroy a popular TV series. It was hemorrhaging fans during season 8, but now it’s almost as though it’s committing TV suicide. If this is what constitutes thoughtful executive deliberation, than they truly deserve being left with mindless comedies and reality TV entertainment with the resultant loss of a huge segment of viewers.

castle-season-rick-kate-gone

Castle on the ABC Television Network. (ABC/Richard Cartwright) Nathan Fillion

Choosing to call the series Castle was in name only. This isn’t Batman & Robin. If anything, Kate is Batman and Rick is Robin. Detective Kate Beckett (now Captain) was not just a co-star, she was integral to the entire premise of the series as was originally described by ABC.

After a serial killer imitates the plots of his novels, successful mystery novelist Richard “Rick” Castle receives permission from the Mayor of New York City to tag along with NYPD homicide detective Kate Beckett, and her investigation team, for research purposes.

This description has been rewritten so as to appear as if her role wasn’t as important as his. This is another huge miscalculation by ABC.

The really clever writing will now be, how to properly write Kate Beckett (Stana Katic & Tamala Jones), out of the end of Season 8, and transition / position for a Season 9.

REFERENCE LINKS

 
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Posted by on 24/04/2016 in Actors, Choice, Comedy, Crime Drama, Entertainment, Humor, Plot, Rom-com, Romance, Stories, Television, Writing

 

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Batman vs Superman: Dawn of Justice – review

Kal-El-symbolI’m going to start this by explaining about any review you read of a film, don’t take anyone’s word for it. There’s only going to be the slightest hint of spoilage in this review. I’m going to try and explain my opinion without revealing too much detail.

The critics of this latest DC film have been all over it, like vultures on a carcass. Well, I’m not a vulture, and the latest film directed by Zack Snyder, isn’t an old dead carcass. It’s far from that, and if you insist these iconic comic characters must conform to an older style of behavior, you’re going to be disappointed. They may resemble and look vaguely like what you remember from comics or older movies, but as suggested in this movie, this isn’t 1938.

From the moment this film starts, you’re shown images, ever so briefly of a familiar Batman childhood traumatic experience. If you saw the others, dating back to Tim Burton’s film, you know the story. This is there for a reason, and if you’re quick to criticize why it’s included, then you’re missing a larger point. I’ll explain that later. Just know this about this particular film, it’s not your Tim Burton or Christopher Nolan version of Batman. It’s also not your Richard Donner or Bryan Singer Superman movie. This is a movie that stands on it’s own, whether you like it or not, this is a solid story with bold themes and excellent cinematography. What Zack Snyder does with this movie is eschew the chains of past actors and authors. As good as Christopher Reeve was, Henry Cavill has crafted an image which he now owns. He’s not just the red – white – blue boyscout set out for truth, justice, yada-yada-yada.

After those brief introductory moments of a childhood Bruce Wayne, there’s a lot going to happen and you better set down the popcorn, and strap yourself in, because this is not only a fast journey, it’s also intense. Here’s where I really have to give credit to Zack Snyder, because he’s taken a big risk in telling a set of stories, condensed, modified, and brought together to create highly developed imagery backed by an equally intense musical score from Hans Zimmer. I’ve read the criticism, which I shouldn’t have before I saw the film; they say he combined too many story elements. This could also be viewed as part of its strength. Each of the film’s participants contributed in a meaningful way.  It’s not  a Sean Connery 007, it’s more like a Daniel Craig film.

BVS_confrontation_smallZack Snyder wants you to understand this film on several levels. Sure, there’s the obvious titled physical confrontation between Batman and Superman, but he’s introducing us to the idea there’s a lot more to this world than just one or two exceptional people. Batman being the least among equals, possessing no super powers, his role is a subset of the entire movie. An excellent subset I might add, because Ben Affleck nails his dual role.

The introduction of Wonder Woman in this movie, isn’t news to the audience, or a way just to introduce another meta-human. She’s integral to the plot, and if you look at these players, as individuals, not just a timed screen presence, you can see the most interesting aspects of this drama.

Allow me to step back for a writers moment. Just accept this as a way of explaining how well crafted this film is when you look at it in the context of graphic novels (comics). I was one of those youth who read and possessed many of the 1st Marvel Comics dating back to the early 60’s. They were imaginative and drawn in colorful action poses for the era. What attracted myself and many other young people to Marvel at that time, was the introduction of the characters having real personal problems. I’m not talking about acne or dating, they had serious character flaws, and these imperfections showed frailties and a sense of reality for the reader. DC Comics, continued to turn out strong characters, but they were barely two-dimensional. For this reason alone, I think that explains the success of the Batman TV show of the 1960’s. Even young people saw this show as stupid, cartoon characters. I think the creators saw comics as serial nonsense and decided to make fun of it through campy behavior.

For a number of decades afterwards, it seemed no created TV or film could adapt the comics essential fantasy, drama, and core plot lines, without looking plain stupid. Hats off to Richard Donner and Tim Burton for making a strong popular showing, but aside from a lack of today’s technology, they failed to transcend simple child like stories. I think the big break came when Sam Raimi introduced us to his version of Spiderman (2002). That was soon followed by Jon Favreau directing Robert Downey Jr. as Iron Man (2008). Audiences went to these films in vast numbers, and for the most part, the follow up films were successful. Then, almost everyone explained frustration with the 2007 release of Spiderman 3. No longer was there a story with singular continuity of a villain. Now there were several villains, and the biggest faux pas, the brief but silly Peter Parker dance moves. Sony dropped Raimi and after a pause, rebooted that franchise. Frankly I’m more exhausted from the reboots.

Gal_Gadot_Wonder_Woman_BVS.jpg

Zack Snyder and company have developed a complex drama, and taking a page out the early Marvel handbook, given us extraordinary insight on how these main characters think. Unlike simpler, earlier, graphic novels brought to film, he’s assuming there’s enough for younger people and the older comic book fan. He’s allowed the writing and fast pace imaging to weave an intelligent story. All people, no matter if they’re “super heroes” or villains have a background story. There’s recognition of the emotional complexity and the trauma of former conflicts for both protagonists. The casualties are real, not brushed away or watered down as if they don’t matter. Any active combat military veteran recognizes they don’t know all the reasons why they’re in the conflict. Each one has their own purpose for their presence in the confrontation. Even their reactions afterwards, aren’t the same. The film helps the viewer see some of that inner turmoil from each persons perspective.

Two people can share the same experience but have an entirely different reaction and memory of the events. Examining the individuals past experience, especially in their formative years, coupled with present time, gives each person a unique perspective. When you know Bruce Wayne suffers from a traumatic & turbulent childhood, Clark Kent comes from a stable Midwestern background, and Diana Prince is a much older and perhaps wiser soul, then the multiple stories coming together shared through each person’s eyes, becomes much more flavorful and interesting.

Speaking of flavorful, I’ve seen a lot of criticism of Lex Luthor as portrayed by Jesse Eisenberg, and frankly I went in with the idea this is going to be another Jim Carey (Ridler) act. Wrong! Why? Once again we’re reminded of Zack Snyders revision of a very well known and established villain. This is somlex_corp_logo_signeone who is intelligent, willing to use that intelligence to intimidate and be disarming. We see the beginning of a young psychopath, with all of the money to back up his quest to humble those he feels have too much power. Oddly enough, in his own twisted mind, he can never acquire too much for himself.  If people insist on wanting a young person to play the same role the way it’s been done before, get over it, this isn’t your grandfather’s Buick.

The final confrontation is through a creation of Lex Luthor, in a last ditch effort to gain the upper hand over Superman and anyone else bold enough to get in his way. This not only creates another conflict, it opens the door to what each of these super heroes begin to realize, there are many battles which lay ahead. This is where we see Wonder Woman in her full regalia, and the theater audience cheered when she joined in. Her back story is of someone much older than either Batman & Superman, and we see snippets of how her experience has taught her to remain in the background, avoid conflict when possible, find a way to cooperate. This is another example of the sophisticated underpinnings infused throughout this film.

I give this film a 9 out of 10 stars, because of it’s sophisticated, multiple complex stories woven well together and a critical examination into the psyche of each of the main players. This isn’t your casual, short attention span film. Watch carefully and enjoy! I know I will have to go back a second time just to see how much more I can pick up from the various things hinted, as well as the main story. wonder_woman_icon.jpg

 
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Posted by on 27/03/2016 in Action, Actors, Aliens, Box Office, Director, Emotional Awareness, Entertainment, Fantasy, Hollywood, Icons, Movies, Plot, Popular Culture, Soundtrack, Stories, Writing

 

Last Evening Television

So many of us now have better image and audio in our homes than what you can experience in a theatre. This has pushed the envelope for better set & sound design as well as image quality. Clearly each of us has our own opinion on what we find interesting or entertaining. spotlights right

Lets review last nights Oscars. What did you like about the show?

Did the issues about diversity get addressed, or is this an attempt by the pampered elite to stay culturally relevant? How do they make sure the right films or people get recognized based on a proportional contribution?

How do you think Chris Rock did in hosting the Oscars? Did he also fall into the stereotype of racial slur?

Oscar_statue_sml.jpgHighest paid actors of 2105.

What did you think about the environmental message Leonardo DiCaprio gave in his acceptance speech?

Actor Mark Ruffalo has declared certain questions off limits to the media, regarding the sincerity of the actors who advocate a low carbon footprint. Ruffalo was asked in a one-on-one interview with Climate Depot if celebrities like Leonardo DiCaprio, who boasts that he will fly around the world to fight global warming and former VP Al Gore, are the best spokesmen for global warming, given their huge carbon footprints.

Last nights Oscars amassed a 15-block-radius of limos; “.. chauffers are captains of a sleek, passing fleet of more than 1,200 cars and SUVs that will navigate police perimeters, barricades, bomb squads, helicopter searchlights, hundreds, maybe thousands of fans and probably a few stalkers lingering beyond the paparazzi flash.”

Lady_Gaga_thumbnailMany attendees were moved by Lady Gagas song from Spotlight. After her musical presentation, many former victims stood hand in hand with the entertainers, but in light of all the revelations about actors, producers, directors and agents who have been accused of numerous sexual abuse crimes, do you think this was another of Hollywood’s attempt to be perceived on the right side of this issue?

High profile Hollywood power players accused of being paedophiles, include Bryan Singer.

Stephen Collins’ Wife Calls Him a ‘Pedophile’.

Molestation Scandal: Hollywood’s Child Sex Abuse Coverup.

Bill Cosby’s accusers tell their stories.

In a recent (2016) movie role, “Dirty Grandpa“, Robert De Niro plays a lecherous former Army Lieutenant-Colonel, a despicable grandfather, for comedic effect. Quite a different message than that of the Academy award winner, Spotlight.

Tell us what you think in the comments section below.


I Am Not What Happened to Me. I Am What I Choose to Become ~ Carl Jung

 

 

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It’s Oscars Time – You choose

It’s Oscars Time – You choose

Well that time of year has come again, It’s Oscar time. Look over this list and you choose. You can reply down below this post.

The nominations for the 88th Academy Awards are:

Performance by an actor in a leading role

• Bryan Cranston in “Trumbo”

• Matt Damon in “The Martian”

• Leonardo DiCaprio in “The Revenant”

• Michael Fassbender in “Steve Jobs”

• Eddie Redmayne in “The Danish Girl”

Performance by an actor in a supporting role

• Christian Bale in “The Big Short”

• Tom Hardy in “The Revenant”

• Mark Ruffalo in “Spotlight”

• Mark Rylance in “Bridge of Spies”

• Sylvester Stallone in “Creed”

Performance by an actress in a leading role

• Cate Blanchett in “Carol”

• Brie Larson in “Room”

• Jennifer Lawrence in “Joy”

• Charlotte Rampling in “45 Years”

• Saoirse Ronan in “Brooklyn”

Performance by an actress in a supporting role

• Jennifer Jason Leigh in “The Hateful Eight”

• Rooney Mara in “Carol”

• Rachel McAdams in “Spotlight”

• Alicia Vikander in “The Danish Girl”

• Kate Winslet in “Steve Jobs”

Best animated feature film of the year

• “Anomalisa,” Charlie Kaufman, Duke Johnson and Rosa Tran

• “Boy and the World,” Alê Abreu

• “Inside Out,” Pete Docter and Jonas Rivera

• “Shaun the Sheep Movie,” Mark Burton and Richard Starzak

• “When Marnie Was There,” Hiromasa Yonebayashi and Yoshiaki Nishimura

Achievement in cinematography

• “Carol,” Ed Lachman

• “The Hateful Eight,” Robert Richardson

• “Mad Max: Fury Road,” John Seale

• “The Revenant,” Emmanuel Lubezki

• “Sicario,” Roger Deakins

Achievement in costume design

• “Carol,” Sandy Powell

• “Cinderella,” Sandy Powell

• “The Danish Girl,” Paco Delgado

• “Mad Max: Fury Road,” Jenny Beavan

• “The Revenant,” Jacqueline West

Achievement in directing

• “The Big Short,” Adam McKay

• “Mad Max: Fury Road,” George Miller

• “The Revenant,” Alejandro G. Iñárritu

• “Room,” Lenny Abrahamson

• “Spotlight,” Tom McCarthy

Best documentary feature

• “Amy,” Asif Kapadia and James Gay-Rees

• “Cartel Land,” Matthew Heineman and Tom Yellin

• “The Look of Silence,” Joshua Oppenheimer and Signe Byrge Sørensen

• “What Happened, Miss Simone?” Liz Garbus, Amy Hobby and Justin Wilkes

• “Winter on Fire: Ukraine’s Fight for Freedom,” Evgeny Afineevsky and Den Tolmor

Best documentary short subject

• “Body Team 12,” David Darg and Bryn Mooser

• “Chau, beyond the Lines,” Courtney Marsh and Jerry Franck

• “Claude Lanzmann: Spectres of the Shoah,” Adam Benzine

• “A Girl in the River: The Price of Forgiveness,” Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy

• “Last Day of Freedom,” Dee Hibbert-Jones and Nomi Talisman

Achievement in film editing

• “The Big Short,” Hank Corwin

• “Mad Max: Fury Road,” Margaret Sixel

• “The Revenant,” Stephen Mirrione

• “Spotlight,” Tom McArdle

• “Star Wars: The Force Awakens,” Maryann Brandon and Mary Jo Markey

Best foreign-language film of the year

• “Embrace of the Serpent,” Colombia

• “Mustang,” France

• “Son of Saul,” Hungary

• “Theeb,” Jordan

• “A War,” Denmark

Achievement in makeup and hairstyling

• “Mad Max: Fury Road,” Lesley Vanderwalt, Elka Wardega and Damian Martin

• “The 100-Year-Old Man Who Climbed out the Window and Disappeared,” Love Larson and Eva von Bahr

• “The Revenant,” Siân Grigg, Duncan Jarman and Robert Pandini

Achievement in music written for motion pictures (Original score)

• “Bridge of Spies,” Thomas Newman

• “Carol,” Carter Burwell

• “The Hateful Eight,” Ennio Morricone

• “Sicario,” Jóhann Jóhannsson

• “Star Wars: The Force Awakens,” John Williams

Achievement in music written for motion pictures (Original song)

• “Earned It” from “Fifty Shades of Grey”
Music and Lyric by Abel Tesfaye, Ahmad Balshe, Jason Daheala Quenneville and Stephan Moccio

• “Manta Ray” from “Racing Extinction”
Music by J. Ralph and Lyric by Antony Hegarty

• “Simple Song #3” from “Youth”
Music and Lyric by David Lang

• “Til It Happens To You” from “The Hunting Ground”
Music and Lyric by Diane Warren and Lady Gaga

• “Writing’s on the Wall” from “Spectre”
Music and Lyric by Jimmy Napes and Sam Smith

Best motion picture of the year

• “The Big Short,” Brad Pitt, Dede Gardner and Jeremy Kleiner, producers

• “Bridge of Spies,” Steven Spielberg, Marc Platt and Kristie Macosko Krieger, producers

• “Brooklyn,” Finola Dwyer and Amanda Posey, producers

• “Mad Max: Fury Road,” Doug Mitchell and George Miller, producers

• “The Martian,” Simon Kinberg, Ridley Scott, Michael Schaefer and Mark Huffam, producers

• “The Revenant,” Arnon Milchan, Steve Golin, Alejandro G. Iñárritu, Mary Parent and Keith Redmon, producers

• “Room,” Ed Guiney, producer

• “Spotlight,” Michael Sugar, Steve Golin, Nicole Rocklin and Blye Pagon Faust, producers

Achievement in production design

• “Bridge of Spies,” production design: Adam Stockhausen; set decoration: Rena DeAngelo and Bernhard Henrich

• “The Danish Girl,” production design: Eve Stewart; set decoration: Michael Standish

• “Mad Max: Fury Road,” production design: Colin Gibson; set decoration: Lisa Thompson

• “The Martian,” production design: Arthur Max; set decoration: Celia Bobak

• “The Revenant,” production design: Jack Fisk; set decoration: Hamish Purdy

Best animated short film

• “Bear Story,” Gabriel Osorio and Pato Escala

• “Prologue,” Richard Williams and Imogen Sutton

• “Sanjay’s Super Team,” Sanjay Patel and Nicole Grindle

• “We Can’t Live without Cosmos,” Konstantin Bronzit

• “World of Tomorrow,” Don Hertzfeldt

Best live-action short film

• “Ave Maria,” Basil Khalil and Eric Dupont

• “Day One,” Henry Hughes

• “Everything Will Be Okay (Alles Wird Gut),” Patrick Vollrath

• “Shok,” Jamie Donoughue

• “Stutterer,” Benjamin Cleary and Serena Armitage

Achievement in sound editing

• “Mad Max: Fury Road,” Mark Mangini and David White

• “The Martian,” Oliver Tarney

• “The Revenant,” Martin Hernandez and Lon Bender

• “Sicario,” Alan Robert Murray

• “Star Wars: The Force Awakens,” Matthew Wood and David Acord

Achievement in sound mixing

• “Bridge of Spies,” Andy Nelson, Gary Rydstrom and Drew Kunin

• “Mad Max: Fury Road,” Chris Jenkins, Gregg Rudloff and Ben Osmo

• “The Martian,” Paul Massey, Mark Taylor and Mac Ruth

• “The Revenant,” Jon Taylor, Frank A. Montaño, Randy Thom and Chris Duesterdiek

• “Star Wars: The Force Awakens,” Andy Nelson, Christopher Scarabosio and Stuart Wilson

Achievement in visual effects

• “Ex Machina,” Andrew Whitehurst, Paul Norris, Mark Ardington and Sara Bennett

• “Mad Max: Fury Road,” Andrew Jackson, Tom Wood, Dan Oliver and Andy Williams

• “The Martian,” Richard Stammers, Anders Langlands, Chris Lawrence and Steven Warner

• “The Revenant,” Rich McBride, Matthew Shumway, Jason Smith and Cameron Waldbauer

• “Star Wars: The Force Awakens,” Roger Guyett, Patrick Tubach, Neal Scanlan and Chris Corbould

Adapted screenplay

• “The Big Short,” screenplay by Charles Randolph and Adam McKay

• “Brooklyn,” screenplay by Nick Hornby

• “Carol,” screenplay by Phyllis Nagy

• “The Martian,” screenplay by Drew Goddard

• “Room,” screenplay by Emma Donoghue

Original screenplay

• “Bridge of Spies,” written by Matt Charman and Ethan Coen & Joel Coen

• “Ex Machina,” written by Alex Garland

• “Inside Out,” screenplay by Pete Docter, Meg LeFauve and Josh Cooley; original story by Pete Docter and Ronnie del Carmen

• “Spotlight,” written by Josh Singer and Tom McCarthy

• “Straight Outta Compton,” screenplay by Jonathan Herman and Andrea Berloff; story by S. Leigh Savidge & Alan Wenkus and Andrea Berloff

oscar-deadpool-whyGo here for a printable Oscar ballot.

 

Television Drama – Castle & The Mentalist

Stana Katic, Nathan FillionSomething old and something new for the fans of these two television programs. Those who have watched the dramedy series Castle, have seldom been disappointed. There have been some comedic and very serious episodes.

Tonight (Monday February 16th), ABC will air the 2nd part of a series called “Reckoning”. If you haven’t seen the 1st episode it will be better if you use Hulu+ or the online Castle ABC TV page to review before the 2nd part at 10 PM EST.

"Once Upon A Time In The West"

“Once Upon A Time In The West”

Some fans have complained about wanting to see only the lighter or romance side in season 7. I’m pleased to see the writers willingness to change things up, instead of staying with the same story line. I’m still trying to recover from seeing Stana Katic in the hot western outfit she wore in Season 7 episode 7, “Once Upon A Time In The West“. –>

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The preview below shows a rougher side of Richard Castle after the abduction of Kate Beckett by the two master criminals, Dr. Nieman and 3XK, Jerry Tyson.

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The Mentalist is a story of a former entertainer, Patrick Jane (Simon Baker), who posed as a psychic before his wife and daughter were murdered by a serial killer. Jane became an independent consultant working with the California Bureau of Investigation (CBI) to solve crimes, but prioritized his attention on solving the serial killer (Red John) murders.

Simon Baker & Robin Tunney in the MentalistAfter this serial killer was finally confronted by Jane in the 6th season, the story arc changed after he took a hiatus in Mexico. A mostly new group of law enforcement characters were introduced from the FBI, where Patrick Jane has settled into working with them. His former CBI Handler, Teresa Lisbon (Robin Tunney), was always a back story romantic interest of will they or won’t they, but in this last episode, they are supposed to tie the knot.

The Mentalist final 2 hour episode on CBS Wednesday, Feb. 18, at 8 p.m. EST.

This series floundered for a while in season 6 after the dramatic confrontation between Jane & Red John, but part way through season 7, it caught a second wind for me. I will be sad to see it end.

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Update to posting – last night viewing results:

Castle: Season 7 Episodes 14 & 15 boost ratings

Castle: Season 7 Episodes 14 & 15 boost ratings

Total viewers for Castle increased by 14% and held steady in the statistically important commercial age range of adults 18-49.

Castle drew its biggest audience in 11 weeks and matched a 12-week viewership high with young adults, since 11/24/14 & 12/1/14.

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Posted by on 16/02/2015 in Action, Actors, Crime Drama, Entertainment, Humor, Popular Culture, Production, Stories, Television, Writing

 

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American Sniper – The Movie

I went to see the movie, American Sniper Tuesday evening. Released in December 2014, it wasn’t a high priority for me, but knowing how Clint Eastwood approaches a story like this, I thought it should be on my viewing list. I received the visual experience I expected. It’s a no nonsense story of a man’s brief life who served in four tours in the Iraq War and became the most lethal sniper in U.S. military history.Bradley Cooper in American Sniper

What I also saw was a Bradley Cooper who immersed himself in the role. It can’t be easy for an actor to absorb the deportment and emotional demeanor of someone like a Chris Kyle. This isn’t a John Wayne or even a Clint Eastwood role in which the character portrays someone larger than life, charismatic, stoic, jaded, and able to give great stump speeches. Cooper packaged the role in a way where I could see someone like a Kyle, complex, saddled with the baggage of being a tougher man in a tough war, trying unsuccessfully at times, to reenter the civilian world. “I might have to tie you up with a rope and drag you behind my truck to knock some of the pretty off of you,” Chris Kyle told Bradley Cooper during their first and only phone conversation.

Kyle & Cooper American Sniper movieCooper was every bit as good at portraying Kyle as Peter O’Toole was in his role as T.E. Lawrence. I know making such a sweeping statement, might attract criticism, but what I focused in on was the tangible way Cooper brought this man to life without the underpinnings of overly dramatic acting. This is a different time for film biography, not the David Lean panoramic vistas combined with the Shakespearean influence of RADA. This is a not so embellished view of a real man serving in a war which later has been criticized as an unnecessary incursion into a highly volatile region of the globe. Combining that criticism with the moral ambiguity questions which naturally arise from this, it has given this film a less than enthusiastic endorsement from some entertainment critics. Whatever your views, this is a well acted and staged portrayal of a man whose life ended all too soon.

I didn’t receive the level of training which Kyle required in becoming a SEAL, but much of what I experienced in the Marines paralleled his boot camp experience. Our DI’s were all Vietnam combat experienced infantrymen and their training was designed to be intense enough to at least shock us 90 day wonders into something which might resemble the hardships of battle. Of course nothing they or Kyle’s trainers could do would prepare recruits for war and the toll it takes on the mind as well as the body for many who have served. Entering a branch of service which is designed to take you from your, “back on the block or farm days”, to a point where you’re willing and able to kill another human, is a gruesome business. When you can step back and look at it objectively, showing the life of one extraordinary man, then you have the basis of a good work.

Kyle entered the Navy’s elite SEAL training program after being rejected by the Marine Corps due to pins remaining in his arm from surgery after sustaining a severe injury in a rodeo event. He was honorably discharged from the U.S. Navy in 2009 and wrote a bestselling autobiography, American Sniper, published in January 2012.Chris & Taya Kyle together On February 2, 2013, Kyle was shot and killed by Eddie Ray Routh at a shooting range near Chalk Mountain, Texas, along with friend Chad Littlefield. I don’t use the word alleged, because even the accused doesn’t deny the fact he committed the act. This is an ever so brief, unflinching look at a life of a man celebrated by many as a hero, but in reality is an opening act for a much longer story which likely few of us will know and have the slightest understanding.

His wife Taya Kyle along with his family will have to carry on, without the foundation they grew to rely on. New direction and life forming behavior will become part of their vista, none of which we can completely comprehend.

I recommend this film as a must see for those who aren’t necessarily going for the entertainment and aren’t there to pre-judge the disposition of the duties of a combat veteran.

 

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