Monthly Archives: April 2012
Game of Thrones Review/Reaction: “Garden of Bones” Season 2 Episode 4 (Episode 14)
The art of manipulation and persuasion is another aspect of power explored in ‘Garden of Bones’. Using your enemies or alliance’s desire to your advantage, exploiting their weaknesses, knowing when to hold your cards close to your chest, or to set in motion events that will lead to a favorable outcome is all part of playing the game. If power is elusive like trying to grab a fist full of steam, manipulation directs, shapes and makes power tangible. The Iron Throne will not be directly won by swords and arrows or having the largest army. As Littlefinger deftly put it, “If war was arithmetic, mathematicians would rule the world”. “Playing the player” involves a keen sense of perception, understanding your opponents psyche and knowing what you can hold as leverage.
“The Cabin In The Woods Movie Review (Spoiler Free) – Subverting the horror movie tropes in the world we live in.”
At one point or another, you’ve probably felt trapped in a world were the rules, conceptions and value systems were imposed on you. And no matter how hard you tried to break the social norm, stereotype or a commonly held belief, you feel there is some overwhelming force conspiring against you. Or maybe after a heated debate you realized all your arguments were from something you watched on TV or heard from someone else. As much as we might feel like a puppet on a string at times, we ultimately do have a choice. Or maybe we’re just missing the point? These are some of the questions posed in the smart, funny, horror movie ‘The Cabin In The Woods’, directed and cowritten by Drew Goddard (Cloverfield, Lost).
You think you know the story. Five friends go on a weekend getaway of partying, mischief and possibly sex. Dana is not quite a virgin (Kristen Connolly), Curt is an alpha-male athlete (Chris Hemsworth), Jules is the libidinous blonde (Anna Hutchison), Marty is the stoner fool (Fran Kranz), and Holden is the scholar (Jesse Williams). Well not really. These young characters are quickly established as complex, morally conscious, multi-faceted individuals. However, as the story unfolds, characters devolve into caricatures we know from typical horror movies, igniting our inherent desire to see their demise. Archetypes are a shorthand way to understand and relate to people. It can also serve to marginalize people making it easier to objectify, dehumanize and even inflict pain on them.
‘The Cabin In The Woods’ holds a mirror up to the world allowing us to see it for what it really is and who we are. We can gaze into the mirror, make funny faces, cover it up, run away from it, gaze through the mirror, or if you’re courageous, “break on through to the other side”. Goddard’s directorial debut is a highly entertaining, comedic-thriller bloodfest; poking fun at horror movie clichés and “embracing the tropes they are trying to subvert”. Although, it’s not a very scary movie, what might keep you up late at night is why we want to oppress and hurt young people.
To say anything more about the story will spoil the fun. Throw away your expectations (and preconceptions) and enjoy the ride. Watch the interview below with co-star Chris Hemsworth (Thor, Star Trek).
Game of Thrones Review/Reaction: “What is Dead May Never Die” Season 2 Episode 3
If there’s one character in Game of Thrones you would want to have as a friend it would be Sam. In a world of back stabbing, hidden motives and deception, he’s compassionate, caring, honest and means what he says. His crush on Gilly is endearing and played with such glee by actor John Bradley. It was a bit silly offering his mother’s thimble to Gilly but that’s what makes Sam so likeable. I believe it when he promises to come back and rescue her. After taking the oath of the Night’s Watch, including celibacy, it will be interesting to so how far their relationship will develop.
Meanwhile, Theon has chosen family over his friendship with Robb Stark. To Balon, Theon symbolizes his failed rebellion, something he can never come to terms with. In a culture that prides itself on pirating and taking from others, his only surviving son was taken from him and held as a hostage by the Starks. That’s got to hurt! What makes Theon so intriguing to watch is despite his character flaws and the despicable way he treats women, we understand his need for acceptance, belonging and recognition. His sister Yara may not directly say she cares for Theon, but when she warns him of the fisherman’s nets it shows that beneath the her stern, cold exterior she’s not without a heart.
Check out an exclusive interview with Director Joss Whedon on Assembling ‘The Avengers’ at New York Times website. Joss Whedon talks about how he backed out of directing Iron Man, how he won the Avengers Movie with a single email pitch to Marvel Studios, and his experience on directing stars like Robert Downey Jr. and Samuel L. Jackson. The following is a brief excerpt from the interview:
Question: And you can live with having all the plot points of the previous Marvel movies dictated to you when you walk in the door?
Answer: Yeah, sure. And where all the other sequels are going to go. There was talk about, should we have this character? I’m like, you need to save that character for that other sequel. You can’t just throw that moment away. One of the biggest struggles for me was the end of “Iron Man 2″: “I’m in a semi-stable relationship.” “We approve of Iron Man but not Tony Stark.” They really made my job hard, in that respect. But you get all these pieces and it’s a puzzle. But it’s a puzzle that comes together. It’s not just a bunch of broken stuff — there is a way that it’s supposed to fit. And when it does, you find you’re being given as many gifts as you are problems.
“The Night Lands” is another highly entertaining installment of Game of Thrones. Much like “The Kingsroad”, the second episode of the first season, “The Night Lands” set up characters on their journey, establishing their motivation, the conflict they must overcome and what’s at stake. Every scene is designed to help the audience understand the inner monologue of each character and to build towards the major events of the season to come.
If there is a quibble in how Game of Thrones episodes are structured, is that very little of note actually happens until the final scenes. Although the story moves from location to location touching base with characters, one never gets the feeling that the episode itself is moving towards a revelation, turning point or resolution. Something important does happen (more on this later) but it serves as a cliffhanger to give the viewer a reason to watch what happens in the next episode rather than something the character has overcome or confronted. Unlike a procedural crime show where the episodes are self-contained and have an immediate resolution, Game of Thrones is incredibly ambitious, challenging viewers to invest in the journey and in hopes that the endgame will payoff.
“The North Remembers” lays the foundation to what promises to be an epic and riveting second season for the award winning medieval fantasy series Game of Thrones. The settings are incredibly diverse and spread over different continents from the desert of the Red Waste to the cold Haunted Forest beyond the Wall. As a red comet blazes overhead, each character’s journey and narrative, no matter where they are in the world are interconnected like strands on a spider web or ripples on a pond. The aftermath of King Robert’s death and Lord Ned Stark’s execution continues to unravel as Tyrion Lannister arrives in King’s Landing to assume the position of the new Hand of the King, Robb Stark sends him mother to forge an alliance with King Renly Baratheon and Stannis Baratheon declares his right to the Iron Throne after receiving Ned’s letter that King Joffrey is the inbred spawn of Queen Cersei and her brother, Jamie the Kingslayer.
Watch the Game of Thrones Season 2 – Inside The Episode with series executive producers providing insight on Robb Stark, Jon Snow and much more.
The fictional geography, religions, history, family lineage and cultures make Game of Thrones a richly complex, engrossing and fully realized world. Seven hells, I might even do the next review completely in Dothraki! (Just kidding). One of the challenges of adapting a 1000 page book into a 10 episode season is hiding the exposition usually disguised while characters are playing a drinking game, gutting a steer, taking a bath, shaving a chest or plainly having sex. It’s easy to be overwhelmed, gloss over a detail or forget what previously happened whether your new to the TV series or finished reading the book a long time ago. After watching the TV episode, check out some interesting tidbits and brief thoughts below to enrich your viewing experience. (These are intended to be spoiler-free up to the latest aired episode).
Warning: Major Spoilers Ahead.