Here Are the 2019 Emmy Winners!


I was happy to see Chernobyl win.  Otherwise, the Emmys never interest me as much as the Oscars.

Here’s a list of tonight’s winners:

Best Supporting Actor (Comedy) — Tony Shalhoub, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel

Best Supporting Actress (Comedy) — Alex Borstein, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel

Best Writing (Comedy Series) — Phoebe Waller-Bridge, Fleabag

Best Directing (Comedy Series) — Harry Bradbeer, Fleabag

Best Actor (Comedy) — Bill Hader, Barry

Best Actress (Comedy) — Phoebe Waller-Bridge, Fleabag (Should have been Julia Louis-Dreyfus for Veep)

Outstanding Reality Competition Program — RuPaul’s Drag Race

Best Supporting Actress (Movie or Limited Series) — Patricia Arquette, The Act

Best Director (Movie or Limited Series) — Johan Renck, Chernobyl

Best Supporting Actor (Movie or Limited Series) — Ben Whishaw, A Very English Scandal

Writing for a Limited Series or Movie — Craig Mazin, Chernobyl

Best Actor (Movie or Limited Series) — Jharrel Jerome, When They See Us

Best Movie — Black Mirror: Bandersnatch

Best Actress (Movie or Miniseries) — Michelle Williams, Fosse/Verdon

Best Limited Series — Chernobyl

Outstanding Writing For A Variety Series — Last Week Tonight With John Oliver (really?)

Outstanding Variety Sketch Series: Saturday Night Live (should have been Documentary Now)

Outstanding Variety Talk Series: Last Week Tonight With John Oliver (at least it wasn’t Samantha Bee)

Best Supporting Actor (Drama) — Peter Dinklage (Game of Thrones)

Best Writing (Drama) — Jesse Armstrong, Succession

Best Supporting Actress (Drama) — Julia Garner, Ozark

Best Actor (Drama) — Billy Rose, Pose

Best Directing (Drama) — Jason Bateman, Ozark

Best Actress (Drama) — Jodie Comer, Killing Eve

Best Comedy Series — Fleabag (should have been Veep or Barry)

Best Drama Series — Game of Thrones

 

Titans S2Ep1, “Trigon”, Review by Case Wright (Dir. Carol Banker)


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Welcome back! This has been a hard year for me in terms of reviewing season two and three shows-

Sabrina 2- garbage

Stranger Things 3- Just so very sad.

And then there was Titans.  I was prepared for a sophomore slump like I had seen all year with my favorite shows and ….. it NEVER happened.  Season 2 Episode 1 was like a new pilot of my most beloved show.  It had family murder, a quasi Lucifer, and an introduction of Death Stroke, Bruce Wayne, a new Titans Headquarters, and a cure for male pattern baldness!

The episode picked up where it left off with Dick turned into an evil minion and the rest of the gang trying to help.  Hawk and Dove go to Jason Todd and they all descend upon the EVIL Farmhouse …. and are invited in or are they?  Trigon (Seamus Dever) is up to his old tricks of temptation, manipulation, and pagination – he’s really into orderly manuscripts; it can’t be all about world destruction.

The Titans fall one by one.  Jason Todd is manipulated to kill his “older brother” Dick, Starfire is tricked into killing Rachel, Hank gets Dawn hooked on smack… yes smack…horse…the dragon…the boy…the beast…H…or dope.  You even see the needle enter her arm and shoot it up.  I’m not sure whether this show or Breaking Bad is darker?  Maybe I need to watch something lighter like Disneyland being hit by a meteor or all the unicorns dying to Adiago For Strings.  But, man oh man it is enthralling!!!  I know that DCU is yet another subscription service, BUT it is worth every single penny to me! *Views expressed do not represent this blog, but are always correct. *

Once everyone is turned and Gar is nearly beaten to death by the now Evil Titans, Raven’s heart breaks allowing Trigon to fulfill his prophecy and start some earth destroying.  He reaches into his daughter’s chest, crushes her beating heart, turns it into a ruby, and puts the stone on her forehead….and I thought my childhood Thanksgivings were awkward…HIYOOO! Then, Trigon goes full-on Lucifer, which almost made this a Horrorthon post.

Gar wakes and breaks Raven free of the curse and she kills/banishes her father. EPIC… JUST EPIC! Anywho, once the dust settles, we get introduced to our new villain Death Stroke (who apparently hates Jason Todd; I don’t know why because he really grows on you) and Bruce Wayne.  This was a really good portrayal of an older aging Bruce- from father to Dick’s peer.  The episode ends with the Titans in San Francisco in their familiar HQ to the fans of the animated series.

This show succeeded in so many ways.  It’s deliciously 99% Cacao Dark.  It has great action, great dialogue, heart wrenching failure and redemption.  The performances, as always, were superb across the board.  I will say that Jason Todd (Curran Walters) should get a spinoff of the Red Hood.  He would be an amazing Anti-Hero and a clever take on a Batman like hero without ANY rules.  Ahem Greg….Ahem!  See you in a week!

This Way Up: TV series review


Before I start this TV series review I will admit I am gullible for a dark British comedy; and the darker they go the more I love them!

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This Way Up:

Is a dark British comedy that follows Aine (Show creator Aisling Bea ) While she goes thru the disaster of her life. Rebounding as an English tutor in a foreign land she begins to discover who she really is. Finding a new life with a someone you wouldn’t expect while also connecting with her sibling rivalry Shona (Sharon Horgan) This Way Up also stars (Tobias Menzies as Richard) (Indira Varma as Charlotte) and (Aasif Mandvi as Vish)

I know other reviewers are going down the “Catastrophe” or “Fleabag” thoughts. And I completely understand that. But, for me, I just watched Aine suffer a “teeny weeny” breakdown and re-introduce her-self to her-self. For this series only having six, about 25 minute episodes, it is fast paced, excellently written and handles delicate subject matter very succinctly.

Would I Recommend?

Why are you still reading this review? Go, now, and spin up your Hulu and get to watching!

Here is you a teaser if you want!

This Way Up: All episodes are now streaming on Hulu

 

“Titans” S1 Ep 10 & 11; “Koriand’r” & “Dick Grayson” Review by Case Wright *Spoilers*


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Do you know the exact moment when you sold your soul?  Or when your soul is forfeit are you so far gone that you don’t notice?

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Dick Grayson started as the damaged hero and ended with nothing.  He’s a tragic hero whose pride destroyed him.  He became seduced to believe that his pain allowed him to decide life and death, causing him to commit the paragon of sins: Patricide.  As you look at the 11 episode arc, you see Dick losing his identity as Robin, and in doing so, he loses his moral compass and his soul.

I reviewed these last two episodes together because they flow as one episode.  It could’ve been titled The Last Temptation of Dick Grayson.  Unfortunately, he made the wrong the decision and we see his soul die. Not only was the story brilliantly written, but these two episodes had a creepy factor that was palpable.  In fact, the story began and ended in a haunted house.

In the previous episode, Starfire starts choking Rachel.  Dick and Donna burst in and Starfire stops, but the damage has been done and Rachel’s mom insists that Starfire leave.  Starfire does and Dick and Donna follow.  Rachel’s mom has successfully separated the group.  We learn that Starfire is an Alien and needs to stop Rachel from unleashing her father Trigon who is basically the Devil.

Rachel has been trying to keep from using her powers because she can’t control them and they seem inherently evil because … well … they are.  Rachel’s mom as it turns out is still all about Trigon AKA Satan and she really wants her some Satan.  In order to do it, she needs to get Rachel to use her evil mojo and pull her dad out of a mirror.  Rachel’s mom accomplishes this by infecting Gar through a haunted mirror.  Rachel’s mom tricks Rachel into pulling her dad out of Hell because only he can save Gar.  Well, she does and Gar is healed by Trigon, but evil is now unleashed upon us.  How did this work?  Rachel was manipulated and seduced.  She knew that her father was likely pretty pretty bad, but she was willing risk us all to help her friend, making the act selfish, but disguised as altruistic.

Dick Grayson enters and he is in his idealized reality, but not all is well.  First of all, he’s in Southern California, which is almost a hell dimension all on its own.  Dawn is his wife and he’s got another baby on the way AND they both have left the hero business behind to pursue a life of….well let’s just assume real estate? They probably have some really cool pictures of themselves on local benches.  In fact, Minka Kelly should really be on ALL advertisements at all times.   

Jason Todd arrives in a wheel chair and informs Dick that Batman has run a muck, killing the villains instead of beating them to near death, which is …. better?   Dick returns to Gotham and is continually manipulated by Satan that Bruce can’t be stopped without killing him.  Dick fights his way through the mansion and upon seeing that Starfire was killed by Batman, he gives into his wrath and commits patricide.  By giving into this final act of evil, Dick becomes Trigon’s minion.  Dick even gets evil eyes, but I didn’t not to use a screen cap of that because it might spoil visually.

These episodes and the season as whole take a deep dive into PTSD and human weakness.  Dick was filled with bitterness and pain and when he burned his Robin suit he also burned the last vestige of his hero identity.  When he kills Bruce, he wasn’t in costume; he was just angry Dick Grayson who wanted to get back at his Dad.  Dick answers the question for us posed at the beginning:  we don’t know when our soul is forfeit because we left all our scruples behind getting to that point, therefore, we become a husk of a human being capable of anything.

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“Titans” S1 Ep 9, “Hawk and Dawn”, Dir Akiva Goldsman


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Anger turned inward is suicidal, but anger turned outward is homicidal.  This episode (Dir Akiva Goldsman) was a story of rage and revenge.  Where do you put all of your anger when self-help groups, drinking, and drugs no longer satisfies the grief?  Revenge.  Revenge is as seductive as heroin and it does not have to be directly done to the individual that wronged you.  Revenge is an idea of retribution distilled into a violent id.

Titans once again challenges us to support primitive justice.  In the not too distant past, blood had to be answered with blood.  In Titans, blood still calls and must be answered.  There is no lawyering up to satiate the desperate pang for revenge.  It is pure.  It is violent.  Honestly, maybe it’s healthier?  Civilized society gives us Justice – the impartial review of the facts to determine legal guilt and reasonable punishment. Vengeance is instant punishment by the aggrieved for the likely guilty.  Vengeance is not civilized, but it is satisfying.  This episode answers the question what does it take for a civilized person to close the door on society’s civilized justice and enter the world of primitive vengeance?

The episode begins with Hank and his brother in football pads filming their first adventure as superheroes.  They are about to beat up a pedophile so that he will plead guilty to his crimes.  Why do they opt for this life?  Hank was sexually abused by his football coach in middle school.  Later, he becomes a football star at his college, but he and his brother get kicked out for fighting.  Without anything, they decide to go after pedophiles and mete out justice in their neighborhood.

Then, we meet Dawn. She is a ballet dancer, daughter to a sophisticated Londoner, BUT her mother is married to an abuser and she keeps going back.  Despite her family’s dirty secret, they remain within the boundaries of the law and society.  We see all of the characters meet moments later.  Hank and his brother and Dawn and her mother all run into each other on the street.  Just as we’re about see the guys become superheroes, a car kills the mom and the brother.

This sends both Dawn and Hank down a spiral of depression and drinking.  In this haze, they find each other, but their anger is just under the surface- Waiting. The loss and the drinking doesn’t send Dawn outside of society. It takes something more for to turn away from society- Intimacy.  No, I don’t mean sex.  I mean real intimacy.  Dawn gets Hank to tell her about the sex abuse he suffered.  She is there for him.  He has undressed himself by sharing his trauma, she can relate to his pain because of her abusive father. Through this shared pain and intimacy, Dawn leaves society and decides to mete out her own justice.  She enters the world of vengeance.

Dawn confronts Hank’s football coach and demands that he turn himself in.  He refuses and a very good fight ensues.  This is what makes this show great.  It’s honest in terms of the physics.  Yes, she lands some solid kicks and punches, BUT he is a large grown man and he makes contact and delivers some ass kicking as well.  In Arrow, we would have to believe that a 100 pound 5’0 lady could beat up four men at the same time.  It always took me out of it.  The fights in Titans are brutal and honest.  To get the upper-hand in this fight, she has to stab the coach in the leg.

Just as the Coach is about to win the fight and kill Dawn, Hank arrives and beats the snot of the Coach.  This is the shared intimacy.  Hank offers to let her leave- that she was never there.  There’s a beat. Then, NO. Right then, she has fully crossed over.  She closes the door of the Coach’s home so they can finish beating him possibly to death.  We watch from a distance as she fully closes the door on us.  The reason is that we are on the outside looking in; Dawn has left our society.  We as the viewer in the comfort of our home and safety and permanently separated from her new life.

When they arrive home, they complete the intimacy by removing all of their clothing and consummating their relationship. They are now both changed.  The story ends with her being roused from coma by Rachel inserting herself into Dawn’s dream.

Greg, you love spin-offs – this is a great one.  Ritchson and Kelly have perfect chemistry; you feel their pain.  The characters and their story is wonderfully dark.  It would be a great addition to the DC Universe as its own series!

 

 

Capsized:Blood in the Water, Review by Case Wright, Dir: Roel Reine’


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Capsized: Blood in the Water- It’s Lifetime with Sharks! I’ve watched Shark Week since I was a wee lad and in all of my years this is the first MOW for Shark Week that didn’t have any narration explaining/teaching about sharks. This was a movie that could’ve just been on Lifetime and it would’ve fit right in if they threw in a creepy babysitter or doctor.

The characters were a crew of five VERY stupid people.  I don’t just mean kinda dumb. I mean they should’ve been monitored in daily life on sea and on land.  Mark (Josh Duhamel) is the captain who makes nothing but bad decisions.  Mark (Joshua Close) is the first mate who is a self-centered alcoholic. Meg (Rebekah Graf) – the captain’s girlfriend who spends most of the film not doing much.  Brad and Deborah who don’t really do much either.

The director does try to build suspense, but all of the character’s decisions are so dumb that it makes you really lose sympathy.  The death scenes are also a little light on the gore.  I know this is a true story and all, but Shark Week- you root for the sharks (at least, I do).

They set sail, which I gotta say is a little weird to me.  I never understood the allure of sailing when wind powered vessels became obsolete since the steam age.  Once at sea, we learn that Mark is a stubborn, alcoholic, and incompetent first mate.  He drinks himself into a stupor so they miss the storm warning.  Meg is supposed to go to safe place down below during the storm, but she ignores everyone and gets injured.  Eventually, this injury is both life threatening and attract LOTS of sharks. Then, they get the storm warning, but John ignores the Coast Guard’s instructions to stay put, causing them to get capsized.

They manage to get a raft, but don’t go into it and attract lots of sharks with Meg’s open wound.  Why don’t they go inside the raft? Who knows?  John tries to apply a tourniquet to Meg’s wound, but Mark tells everyone that Meg gonna die anyway and starts fighting everyone.  John goes nuts and starts swimming for a mirage and gets eaten.  Mark gets the great idea to drink the ocean.  I say, Let Mark Be Mark! Drink That Water! Fly Mark Fly! Live Your Saltwater Drinking Truth!

Of course, the saltwater makes Mark go crazier and he tries to knock the boat over.  Mark falls out of the boat and we watch him slowly get eaten, but not enough really.  This is just too light on the gore for me. I want some Giallo levels of gore, but nope. I gotta wonder if IRL Mark really fell out of the boat.  Hmmmm.

They remain adrift for a long long long time more and Meg succumbs to her wound and the last two survivors toss her out of the raft as we see a shark coming up to I guess her remains… we don’t know for sure because they don’t show it.  UGHHH.

The Coast Guard stops looking for them and the last two survivors decide to flip the raft over because there’s water in the boat, which is making them cold, but they were adrift for over a week- how didn’t it dry out? A Russian freighter finds them, but as they swim for the boat Deb gets tire and Brad’s like – Sucks to be you! He eventually decides to help her, but that was coooold blooded.

I enjoyed this.  It was Lifetime on the waves.

 

Titans, S1 Ep7 & 8, Asylum, Donna Troy Review By Case Wright,


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The asylum episode really didn’t have a lot going on.  Rachel’s mother is in an asylum and they rescue her. Rachel thought her mom was dead. Nope, just held hostage at the Evil Well-funded Psyche unit?  Sidenote: this psyche unit looks better funded than anything we have goin on in Seattle and we have a terrible homelessness problem.

Maybe, The Evil Group could franchise or just run our city for a couple of years?  The Evil Group catches Dick and mind messes with him and he burns his Robin suit.  That’s about it.  Nothing great.   Basically, it was a filler episode.

Donna Troy on the other hand is a fun episode.  Donna Troy was Wonder Woman’s sidekick and we dig deeper into that history.  It’s a lot more fun and goes deep into the inevitable PTSD heroes would have after years of violence.

The show opens back in Toronto…I mean Chicago.  Rachel and her mom have bonded overnight.  Really?! You haven’t seen her in…your whole life AND thought she was dead and you’re besties?! Word?

Dick’s “quit” … well kinda.  He can’t figure out what to do with himself.  So, he and Starfire break up and he heads to…..Vancouver..I guess.  Anywho, Donna Troi AKA Wonder Girl AKA Darkstar AKA My Canadian Girlfriend…I swear! She hasn’t quit, but she is a photographer.  I really didn’t know that was a photographer was a thing anymore.  I figured that it was de-professionalized like journalism by the internet and the iPhone.

Meanwhile, Starfire and the rest of the group are traveling to Rachel’s mom’s farmhouse in the middle of nowhere.  They get on a train and are nearly captured by the feds.

Dick is at Wonder Girl’s photography artshow and everything is normal.  Just kidding, she’s made a Faustian deal to get hard edged photos of warlords for a fee.  As you do.  She goes to meet some evil guys for a photo shoot, but Dick follows her and he sees the evil dudes and beats the crap out of them.  Donna is also quite the linguist and translates the pictures of an ancient language on Dick’s phone that will explain Rachel and her origin.  FUN!!!

She gets through to him that Dick not done with being a hero, but he is done with Robin.  Soon, he’ll be …. Nightwing!!!! Can’t wait!!!  Dick and Troi do some research on the texts and decide to head to the farmhouse.  Somehow they know the address and start heading on down.

Dick and Troi are still enroute and don’t think to give Rachel a ring.  At the farmhouse, Rachel does a mindmeld on Starfire.  BAD IDEA! She uncovers Starfire’s mission and identity to her.  Unfortunately for Rachel, Starfire’s mission is to kill Rachel and stop her from bringing about the gotterdammerung. Starfire wakes and starts choking Rachel!!!  SO EXCITING!!!