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LeftSideCut (3770 KP) rated Game Of Thrones - Season 2 in TV

May 27, 2019 (Updated May 27, 2019)  
Game Of Thrones  - Season 2
Game Of Thrones - Season 2
2012 | Sci-Fi
A second fantastic season
Season 2 of Game of Thrones continues the first seasons display of excellent character development and writing.

We follow Robb Stark for much of the season, as he proceeds to March toward King's Landing in open rebellion against the crown after the events of season 1. It's another slow burning season, but once again, nothing becomes dull, every scene is engaging, and you as a viewer are given time to digest all of the information being handed to you, as well as getting to know both new characters, and already established characters - learning to really detest Joffrey is a particular treat (Hats off to Jack Gleeson).

This season also contains the first proper battle of the show, in the episode Blackwater, which remains one of my favourite episodes to this day.

The closing episodes of season 1 showed that GoT was a show that was not afraid to pull any punches, and season 2 is almost an apitizer for what is yet to come.

Top tier TV!
  
American Made (2017)
American Made (2017)
2017 | Mystery
Cruise Flying High Again.
If you ask anyone to list the top 10 film actors, chance is that “Tom Cruise” would make many people’s lists. He’s in everything isn’t he? Well, actually, no. Looking at his imdb history, he’s only averaged just over a movie per year for several years. I guess he’s just traditionally made a big impact with the films he’s done. This all rather changed in the last year with his offerings of the rather lacklustre “Jack Reacher: Never Go Back” (FFF) and the pretty dreadful “The Mummy” (Ff) as one of this summer’s big blockbuster disappointments. So Thomas Cruise Mapother IV was sorely in need of a upward turn and fortunately “American Made” delivers in spades.


A quick stop in Nicaragua to pick up some paperwork from Noriega.


“Based on a True Story” this is a biopic on the life of Barry Seal, a hot shot ‘maverick’ (pun intended) TWA pilot who gets drawn into a bizarre but highly lucrative spiral of gun- and drug-running to and from Central America at the behest of a CIA operative Monty Schafer (Domhnall Gleeson). All this is completely mystifying to Barry’s wife Lucy (Sarah Wright) who is, at least not initially, allowed to be ‘in’ on the covert activities.


Flying high over Latin America.


The film is a roller-coaster ride of unbelievable action from beginning to end. In the same manner as you might have thought “that SURELY can’t be true” when watching Spielberg’s “Catch Me If You Can”, this thought constantly flits through your mind. At each turn Seal can’t believe his luck, and Cruise brilliantly portrays the wide-eyed astonishment required. This is a role made for him.
Also delivering his best performance in years is Domhnall Gleeson (“Ex Machina“, “Star Wars: The Force Awakens“) as the CIA man with the (whacky) plan. Large chunks of the film are powered by his manic grin.


Domhnall Gleeson as the CIA man with a sense of Contra-rhythm.


As an actress, Sarah Wright is new to me but as well as being just stunningly photogenic she works with Cruise really well (despite being 20 years his junior – not wanting to be ageist, but this is the second Cruise film in a row I’ve pointed that out!)). Wright also gets my honourary award for the best airplane sex scene this decade!


“Time to pack honey”. Seal (Cruise) delivering a midnight surprise to wife Lucy (Sarah Wright) – and not in a good way.


Written by Gary Spinelli (this being only his second feature) the script is full of wit and panache and – while almost certainly (judging from wiki) stretches the truth as far as Seal’s cash-storage facilities – never completely over-eggs the pudding.
Doug Liman (“Jason Bourne“, “Edge of Tomorrow“) directs brilliantly, giving space among the action for enough character development to make you invest in what happens to the players. The 80’s setting is lovingly crafted with a garish colour-palette with well-chosen documentary video inserts of Carter, Reagan, Oliver Stone, George Bush and others. It also takes really chutzpah to direct a film that (unless I missed it) had neither a title nor any credits until the end.


The real Barry Seal.


The only vaguely negative view I had about this film is that it quietly glosses over the huge pain, death and suffering that the smuggled drugs will be causing to thousands of Americans under the covers. And this mildly guilty thought lingers with you after the lights come up to slightly – just slightly – take the edge off the fun.
Stylish, thrilling, moving and enormously funny in places, this is action cinema at its best. A must see film.
  
Batman Begins (2005)
Batman Begins (2005)
2005 | Action, Mystery, Sci-Fi
Good start to the DARK KNIGHT trilogy
BATMAN BEGINS is a seminal film in the oeuvre of Christopher Nolan for a variety of reasons. Certainly, it became his biggest Box Office success to date and marked him as an "A" list Director. Also, you start seeing the recurring actors that I call "the Nolan players" in his films - Michael Caine, Cillian Murphy, Ken Watanabe. But, most importantly, BATMAN BEGINS starts showing the Hallmarks of what a "Christopher Nolan" film is.

What are "hallmarks of a Christopher Nolan" film? Well...the film starts with a long tracking shot.. If you just showed me this shot, I would have instantly said "Christopher Nolan". Nolan plays with time (as usual) in this film, albeit, in a "standard" flash back, flash forward way. And, of course, there is the driving Hans Zimmer score and marvelous Cinematography by frequent Nolan collaborator Wally Pfister. All sure signs that you are watching something directed by Nolan.

BATMAN BEGINS, of course, tells the origin story of Bruce Wayne/Batman. While most of us (including me) rolled their eyes in 2005 at the thought of another Batman flick (the memories of George Clooney and his "Bat-Nipples" still fresh), Nolan had a different idea - a serious take on the material. And it is the realism and grit that make this film work. Instead of making a COMIC BOOK movie, Nolan made a movie BASED ON a comic book (an important distinction) and this spin on this genre works very well.

Downing the cowl in this film is Christian Bale. At the time, he was NOT a household name. As a matter of fact, he was beginning to be branded as a young, talented actor who was somewhat difficult to work with. Casting Bale in the title role was a stroke of genius by Nolan. He is the perfect embodiment of this character. Showing the dark side - and intensity - that this character needs, Bale also brings a bit of playfullness that I did not remember to the part - and this helps balance the character, he is just not all "Dark Knight" (do you hear me current JUSTICE LEAGUE Directors/Writers)?

Michael Caine is also perfectly cast as the fatherly figure, Alfred Pennywise (Bruce Wayne's Butler) as is Gary Oldman as Police Sgt. Jim Gordon. What makes Oldman's casting so interesting is that it was so against type for him. The same can be said for Liam Neeson's casting as Ducard. You could argue that "Liam Neeson - Action Star" grew from this role. Along for the ride is good ol' Morgan Freeman as Lucius Fox, the "Q" of this series, so we get an answer to the age old question "how does Batman get all those wonderful toys". Finally, I have to admit that - upon rewatching this film - I was surprised at how good Katie Holmes is in the role of Rachel Dawes. Sure, it ends up being the typical "damsel in distress" role at the end, but until then she brings a character of strength to the screen that more than holds her own against Bale.

But, make no mistake about it, this film is not just about the characters, it is about the vision - and the action - that Nolan brings to the screen and he brings it hard. This film is dark - and works here. Up until now, SuperHero films were multi-colored, bright COMIC BOOK looking films, but Nolan brings grit, realism and darkness to the proceedings here. It is a jarring change that instantly made this film very interesting to watch (of course, it also ushered in the era of "dark" films, but I can't blame Nolan for poor copycats).

Nolan also relied on - primarily - practical effectst througout this film and the movie has a heaviness to it because of it. When a train crashes, you feel that a train has crashed. When Batman breaks through the window, you can FEEL the window break. This sort of visceral experience just can't be duplicated on a green screen.

Not everything in this film works - Tom Wilkerson's mob boss Falcone is a bit too cartoon-y for my tastes and Cillian Murphy's villain SCARECROW just isn't villiany enough for me - but these are quibbles in a film that was unique for it's time - and ushered in a whole new way to make SuperHero films. A type of film that Nolan will continue to tweak - and improve on - in the subsequent films in this Dark Knight series.

One final note, when rewatching a film from over 10 years ago, it is fun (at least for me) to see "stars before they were stars" in small roles. In this one, Katie Holme's Rachel Dawes character helps a little boy through the carnage of the final battle. I kept looking at that little boy and saying to myself - who is that? GAME OF THRONES fans will recognize that little boy is none other than King Joffrey himself, Jack Gleeson.

If you haven't seen BATMAN BEGINS in awhile, check it out - it holds up well.

Letter Grade: A-

8 (out of 10) stars and you can take that to the Bank(ofMarquis)