TRANCE // Danny Boyle wastes nothing in his latest psychological thriller “Trance”. It is electrifying and suspenseful from start to fiery finish. Delving deep into the world of hypnosis and art heisting, the erratic nature of the film allows for building layers of shifting memories into different plots. In doing so, the viewer is submerged in the pulling twists and turns of the fractured narrative, until they are spit out at the thought provoking end. With hidden subtexts and eventual revelations, the audience learns as the characters do, the true sign of an effective thriller.
At the helm is leading man James McAvoy as Simon, a gambling addicted art auctioneer. As soon as we hear his description of art theft history and the protocol in case of a robbery, we know what we’re in for. Rule one when getting robbed: don’t be a hero. But of course, good drama is in the breaking of rules, so when thieves come for Goya’s “Witches In The Air”, Simon uses a taser on our resident head bad guy, Franck (Vincent Cassel), and gets pummeled in the head for his efforts. But his reason for stepping up shifts with the development of the plot.
MAD MEN // It’s Thanksgiving time in “Mad Men” Ville. Fat Betty is stirring up shit by bringing up Anna Draper in front of Sally after seeing Megan’s hot bod while creeping around Don’s apartment. Sally continues to show signs of being a bitch like her mother, but there’s always a glimpse of hope when things are resolved. The conflict resolution is satisfying. Peggy’s falling more into obscurity as Michael Ginsberg takes the rise. Don sees Ginsberg’s name on most of his best work of the year and stays late to come up with new copy, to surprise at a meeting the next day. When everyone loves both his and Ginsberg’s ideas, Don “accidentally” leaves Ginsberg’s ideas in the taxi. Don’s idea sells. Ginsberg is humbled. Peggy is suddenly happy again.
Pete daydreams about the gorgeous Beth Dawes (Alexis Bledel) coming into his office with nothing on but a fur coat. He even goes as far as to yell at her husband on the train (“you spend Thanksgiving with [your mistress] and I’ll go have sex with your wife”). Roger persuades his soon-to-be ex-wife Jane to come with for a client meeting since her half-Jewish background could help with a Jewish wine account. They have sex. He “ruins” her new, Roger-free apartment. They really should be together. I thought for sure he’d come around. Nothing gives me greater pleasure than seeing Betty pissed off when her plans fail. I really wonder whose idea it was to give her a weight problem. Also, I love the tiny references like the one about the dangerous smog condition on Thanksgiving.
Three random facts I found out while posting this article:
- The smog at the end is apparently symbolism of Betty’s influence on Don’s current marriage.
- The title of the episode comes from the script that Megan reads with friend Julia (Meghan Bradley), as she prepares to audition for the show “Dark Shadows”.
- Strangely enough, the Tim Burton adaptation of “Dark Shadows” was released the same weekend that this episode aired.
[Directed by Scott Hornbacher] [Original Air Date: 13 May 2012]
MAD MEN // One episode ago, Megan is hitting the Heinz winning home run ad, the next she’s lying to Don and sneaking off to acting auditions. And further yet, quits the firm, with Don’s unexpected approval (“don’t want her to end up unhappy like Betty”). Peggy is conflicted with this news. Empty elevator shafts offer some possible foreshadowing for Don or a blatant metaphor. And Dennis Haskins (“Saved By The Bell”) cameos as a chef for Cool Whip.
The most interesting happening now is, of course, Pete’s affair with the ultra sexy Beth Dawes (Alexis Bledel). Pete rides the train with Beth’s husband, who openly admits to cheating. She’s so gorgeous, Pete cannot help but accept her advances, a side of Pete that’s been brewing for the last few episodes. Despite getting stood up by Beth at the end of the episode, as he sits in his car, she appears in the passenger’s seat of the car next to his, drawing a delicate heart in the fog on her window, just the sign Pete needs to keep on with the fantasy. To drive home the episode, Don listens to a master recording of The Beatles’ “Tomorrow Never Knows” from the album “Revolver”, the absolute perfect song to end the almost perfect episode, but not Don’s ideal music as he turns it off after a minute.
[Directed by Phil Abraham] [Original Air Date: 6 May 2012]
MAD MEN // Don’s in-laws are in town. Henry’s mother trips over a phone cord, which is rather hilarious, bringing Sally and Bobby in on the festivities. Sally is definitely turning into a young woman, wearing makeup and a party dress for Don’s award acceptance at the American Cancer Society ball, where he’s informed that no one wants to work with him after his letter in the paper (“bite the hand”). Peggy gets her hopes up, for reasons I’ll never understand, as she thinks lame-o Abe is going to propose (really he just wants to move in). Often I forget the time period of this series, and Peggy’s mom’s freak out caused a double take, but of course she would react like that. Megan steps up with a brilliant idea for the Heinz campaign and with no time to spare, pitches the ad in an impromptu meeting during a dinner date. Don couldn’t be more turned on. Speaking of turned on, Roger gets fresh with Megan’s mother, an image that Sally will not soon forget.
[Directed by Michael Uppendahl] [Original Air Date: 29 April 2012]
Where was Alexis Bledel five seasons ago? There I was, diligently working my way through Season Five of “Mad Men” and out of nowhere, the beautiful thirty-year-old pops up in one of the sexiest and most scandalous roles of the series’ history, Beth Dawes, the seductress of one Peter Campbell, played by Vincent Kartheiser, who, as of last month is now engaged to Ms. Bledel (Minnesota represent!). This frustrates me because we are talking about Pete cheating on his wife, Trudy Campbell, played the astonishing Alison Brie (of “Community” fame). These are two of the most gorgeous women to grace the show. Talk about even more reason to hate Pete.
I can certainly admit that these pictures are far sexier than any daydream I could imagine considering Bledel’s previously tame body of work. But sultriness aside, Bledel’s performance is some of the best work of her career. She has finally found something worthy of overshadowing her long stint on the series “Gilmore Girls”. By far, Bledel is one of my favorite parts of “Mad Men” now.
Emilia Clarke may be the only reason I’m still watching HBO’s “Game Of Thrones”. Yes, I find the plot intriguing and the characters are all somewhat interesting, but Emilia’s so gorgeous as Daenerys Targaryen, it’s the anticipating of her scenes that keeps the show enjoyable for me (that and her [spoiler alert] awesome dragons). She’s also not afraid to show her amazing body, which is apparent from many of her very first scenes.
As I have not read the books yet (which I still plan on doing), I do not know where her storyline leads, but I have a feeling there are big things in her future. She is by far the most interesting character and one of the most stunning actresses on television. Here’s to hoping she starts to branch out to feature films.
EVIL DEAD 2 // “Evil Dead 2″ loses me. I respect the first film from a horror stand point, but this sequel is too repetitive, too nonsensical, and too trippy for me to stay invested. There are several long, point-of-view shots that follow Ash (Bruce Campbell) from room to room, breaking down doors, and showing a real sense of choreography, it’s just too bad the entire film could not be as inspiring. Continue reading