The Killing 071413

The first 30 minutes were amazing. Mireille Enos continues to create a truly one-of-a-kind character, difficult to do in the cop genre. But the conversation between her and the (as it turns out) completely misunderstood pastor played by Ben Cotton, delved deeply into both the psyches of those characters and the real life problems of why it is so difficult to help those that need it the most.

But the irony of Linden’s complete reversal of fortune, from near victim to her kidnapper’s savior, was a miraculous bit of writing. The scene, began in last week’s gripping episode, was raw iron ore forged into steel by the sensational performances of both actors, whose deft touches of truth brought the words on the page to brilliant light. Both characters never raised their voices and, while there were gut wrenching tears and pleas for understanding, maintained a certain calm dignity while revealing life truths to the audience of cops helplessly listening in back at the station. Linden’s part of this psycho-therapeutic kidnapping drive through confessional did avoid complete honesty though, as it was absent the revelation of her affair with her then partner-now boss Lt. Skinner. Evidently this is a secret she would gladly take to her grave.Will someone please give this fragile tough as nails woman the love she deserves? I think Holder wants to but understands the train wreck that would occur. I’m frankly worried about ex-boyfriend being the season finale’s cliffhanger in a bad way towards my girl. That guy has issues and he could even be the killer.

And why does Peter Sarsgaard’s character now suddenly have a change of heart? If so, why? Rumor has it he has an identical twin he is taking the rap for. IMDB.com lists that Peter is playing two characters…so there you go.

Who is the killer of these girls? Only three episodes left before we have the answers. My money is on Holder’s partner, with Mr. Ex-Linden boyfriend a close second.

Poor Bullet. So tough, so vulnerable. And in the cross hairs.

The Killing…For Real

Poor Trayvon Martin. Like too many young black men… so tough, so vulnerable. And put in death’s cross hairs by a twisted set of circumstances.

If Zimmerman follows police orders and does not get out of the car Martin does not die.

Just remember that Super Bowl hero and N.Y. Giants receiver Plaxico Burress SHOT HIMSELF in the leg and got two years in prison!

http://bleacherreport.com/articles/235932-disciplining-athletes-why-plaxico-is-being-treated-unfairly

But this verdict, in this case, should not have been unexpected. We know little of what happened that night (really, we don’t) other than a teenager was shot to death. We do know that the cops let Zimmerman go on the night of the shooting and it took a national outcry for there to even be an arrest, much less a trial. We know that forensic science is not what it is claimed to be in the public imagination if it cannot be determined who was screaming on that audio tape. We know that the screams stopped after the gunshot.

We know that Zimmerman did not try to help Martin stay alive after he shot him. We know that Zimmerman disobeyed a police command to stay in his car. We know there was a fight and given the lack of Martin’s blood on Zimmerman’s clothing, most likely he was on top of Martin at the time the shot was fired. We know that just because Zimmerman attorney Mark O’Meara says race was not a factor, it doesn’t mean that was not the case.

And we know that those young black men who had not contemplated carrying a gun in Florida are now armed and know now that they can scuffle with whites, shoot them, and claim self defense.

And that is going to happen and people will then wish George Zimmerman had been convicted…

of something.

Happy 25th Birthday to Die Hard

Monday, July 15th marks the 25th anniversary of the American debut of the now classic action thriller, Die Hard. Who knew that a former bartender, Walter Bruce Willis, who was the highly unlikely star of the ABC romcom Moonlighting, would become not only one of the most iconic action movie stars in cinema history but one of Hollywood’s greatest motion picture stars period?

“Come out to the coast, we’ll have a few laughs.”

As the recent article in Maxim points out (sorry, no Hometown Hottie pix) Die Hard changed the action flick game by creating a template, dare I say a new sub-genre within the action stable, that allowed the follow-what-works mentality of the film industry a perfect model for practically all male led action dramas. From Wesley Snipes as Passenger 57 to Sam L.’s Snakes on a Plane to Channing Tatum saving the White House to Keanu Reeves trying hard not to die on a bus, over the past 25 years Hollywood has banked billions copying the simple one man against impossible odds theme of the John McTiernan helmed film.

The Maxim article on Die Hard:

http://www.maxim.com/movies/5-things-die-hard-changed-about-action-movies-forever

Yes, John McClane liked the sequined shirts of Roy Rogers (so did I) but his “yippee ki-yay motherfucker” was full on Shane meets Hang ’em High‘s Marshal Jed Cooper, not the milk and cookies cowboy singer’s approach to life on the range. And how long did Alan Rickman get roles after his bad ass turn as supersmart, superstylish Euro supervillain Hans Gruber? Answer…he is still rolling hard.

“Nice suit. John Phillips, London. I have two myself. Rumor has it Arafat buys his there.”

After the film struck gold at the box office Die Hard morphed into its own industry, birthing sequels like rutting rabbits. After the original there was:

Die Hard 2 (1990). With my favorite TV cop ever, Dennis Franz playing an airport cop and John Amos offering bad times in cahoots with William Sadler, still one of the hardest working second fiddles in Hollywood. He was William Fichtner slightly before William Fitchner.

Die Hard With a Vengeance (1995). Arguably Sam Jackson’s first big budget action starring turn. Later he and Willis would team up to make Unbreakable, maybe the most realistic (if not the best) Batman/Joker story ever told. And if you don’t think Unbreakable was Shyamalan’s take on those immortal foes, watch it again.

Live Free or Die Hard (2007). Featuring Timothy Olyphant in a bad guy role which propelled him into the superb Justified, created by the incredible Elmore Leonard. Also it had that former Apple TV ads kid, Justin Long, and a very good cameo by a self deprecating Kevin Smith. And incredible beauty Maggie Q, fresh from her sidekick work on Mission Impossible III, played an Olyphant  henchman  that would help score her own TV series, Nikita.

A Good Day to Die Hard (2013). Well, maybe they should have stopped in 2007 or at least provided a truthful title like A Good Day to Homage Die Hard. At least Moscow photographed beautifully, though. A Good Day’s sole purpose was to pay tribute to the original’s 25th anniversary, as evidenced by the ending during which the McClane children, now all grown up, serve as the proof for the longevity (and continuity) of the Die Hard brand.

But a bad sequel won’t stop the McClane train, look for Die Hardest in 2015!

Yippee Ki-yay, motherfuckers!

The Long 4th

I have come to completely ignore the celebratory side of the 4th of July. As an African American I side with Frederick Douglass. The 4th did not set my ancestors free, so no fireworks and hot dogs for me.

But there was good television to be watched.

AMC, currently my favorite cable network, aired The Walking Dead’s entire library. I paid probably more attention to the first two seasons than I ever had, swallowing the bitter pill of my rejection by a certain Cleveland university to teach a critical thinking course based on the series. I felt completely justified in my decision to present them with the idea, there is so much cultural meat on those allegorical bones (no zombie pun intended). The expansion of the main characters’ arcs is a wonder to see, as is the racial and ethnic cultural inclusiveness.

For me, the latter is a critical success. With the exception of Michael Rooker’s “Merle Dixon” the post-apocalyptic zombified world is also a post-racial one. In fact, a major (if not the overarching) theme of the series, the breakdown of our world capitalist, dog eat dog society of programmed dependence upon government, and its replacement by a decentralized dependence upon close knit groups more aligned with communism, heightens the “dog eat dog” aspects of current life into a metaphorical masterpiece of consumer consumption completely off the chain.

I am reminded of The Joker’s observation in the The Dark Knight that “when the chips are down, these… these civilized people, they’ll eat each other.” The Walking Dead is that statement, moved from literal to figurative.

Wimbledon

As a intense tennis fan it was a great relief to finally see a Brit win the tournament, although for a moment Andy Murray threatened to hand the trophy he was 40-love away from winning back to an almost resigned to lose Novak Djokavic. But that did not occur. With my boy Federer slowly fading into the good night of memory, the men’s side of tennis seems even more compelling as new faces such as Juan Martin del Potro, and that Polish semi-finalist guy (whose name I can’t remember right now) join Nole, Murray, and Nadal as serious contenders at the slams.

One observation. If Patrick McEnroe doesn’t give his brother John at least 50% of his income he should. Sunday’s “Breakfast at Wimbledon” was the first ever men’s finale broadcast by ESPN. As expected Johnny Mac was there, talking way, way to much as always. But joining him was Patrick, who has won as many Gran Slams as your truly, the difference being I don’t have an accomplished brother who has won Wimbledon on multiple occasions. And he talks as much as John does, causing me to mute practically the whole match. Please ESPN, there are a ton of ex-champions who deserve to be in that booth. Sampras, where is Sampras? He’s articulate and has won W twice as many times as McEnroe.

As for the ladies, Marion Bartoli of France won the championship. After the match she was insulted by the BBC’s announcer, who pointed out the obvious, that she was not as attractive as the “6 foot blonde amazons” who populate the game now (apparently referring to Maria Sharapova– and the lesser talented Euro “supermodel” appearing players who favor the Anna Kornikova I-don’t-have-to-win-tournaments approach to getting rich from endorsements):

http://sports.nationalpost.com/2013/07/08/wimbledon-champ-marion-bartoli-avoids-insensitive-bbc-announcers-comments-with-class/

The Killing

How much better can this show get? A more straight forward plot this year, featuring the tortured soul that is Linden, who I just want to scoop up and hug, and her wigger partner Holder, who the writer’s have right at the edge of annoyingly offensive but still charming.

Link

All Things Hannibal

Above is a link to the very fine website Occupation: Girl, a blog created by the eternally witty and insightful “cleolinda” that includes recaps of the excellently creepy first season of NBC’s Hannibal. Thank you viewers for having the good taste to watch in such numbers to sustain a renewal (unlike other terrific past Peacock offerings such as Life, The Event, Journeyman, and Awake).

Welcome to Man of Reel

This blog will answer some of the pressing eternal questions of the universe:

Why are universities so adverse to diversity when they spend so much money advertising that they embrace it?

Is the Kroger gas points program a benefit or a con job?

Why is it so hard to help people who ask for help?

Are the expectations of audiences unrealistic when it comes to TV and movies?

Does DePalma’s Scarface film still wield the most influence among young black males as it did ten years ago?

Why does the thought of LeBron being so successful still upset the fine citizens of Cleveland?

What the hell were black people thinking when they started calling each other “Uncle Tom?”

Is “The Walking Dead” the perfect narrative for teaching critical thinking skills to college students? Or is fly fishing?

Look for insightful commentary on the above, plus reviews of reviewers of television and cinema.

Stay tuned!