Eeek it has been so long since I did a blog post! I’ve been quite busy this last year. Honestly I have also been lazy and uninspired to write about anything. But that has changed since last night when I watched the first four episodes of Santa Clarita Diet on Netflix.
Santa Clarita Diet is a suburban zombie comedy that recently premiered on Netflix. Joel and Sheila Hammond (Timothy Olyphant and Drew Barrymore) are realtors whose quiet lives get upset when Sheila suddenly becomes a zombie. As I watched the show I couldn’t help but be amazed by Timothy Olyphant and his comedic chops. I have loved him as a dramatic actor for a few years now. And anyone who has seen him make an appearance on Conan knows that he is a naturally funny guy in real life. There is some dark humor to Raylan Givens on Justified. But it is nothing like the gross out and physical humor that is on Santa Clarita Diet.
It amazes me that someone who has played Seth Bullock (Deadwood) so brilliantly can also play realtor Joel Hammond with so much alacrity and ease. Bullock is so serious and dead set on dishing out justice. As is Timothy’s other great dramatic television character, Raylan Givens. Timothy is a master at playing on subtlety in his inflection and physical presence. He owns the screen, but in a quiet subdued way.
Maybe it shouldn’t be so surprising that an actor as talented as Timothy can pull off a show like Santa Clarita Diet. But it seems to be a difficult feat for most actors to accomplish. They either fall into the dramatic or comedic sandbox, rarely playing within both categories. Comedic timing and physical humor can be difficult to pull off. But Timothy does it brilliantly with his quick dialogue and genius use of his brilliant smile.
So far I am thoroughly enjoying Santa Clarita Diet. As a whole the show is funny with some shocking (and often gross) humor. Some people may initially think that Drew Barrymore is the star of the show. And while her role is integral, it is really Timothy Olyphant that has to do all the heavy lifting. Drew’s performance is a little dead and flat feeling. Some of that is probably intentional (she is a zombie after all). But her Sheila Hammond is a difficult character to connect to. Not just for the audience, but also for the characters on the show. That is why it is important for Timothy to connect with the audience instead. We sympathize with his struggle to coexist with his zombie wife. Even if we are also laughing at each disastrous scenario his wife puts him through. Timothy Olyphant’s charming smile carries us through even when we are thinking WTF!!!
I strongly encourage you to give Santa Clarita Diet a try. As well as Timothy’s dramatic work in Deadwood and Justified. Do you have a favorite actor that can play both dramatic and comedic roles?
Well, he is one of the most talented actors working today and probably hardly anyone knows his name. Although that is sure to change after the release of Quentin Tarantino’s western, The Hateful Eight.
When you look up Walton Goggins on IMDB the film that first comes up next to his name is Django Unchained. I find that extremely funny because he has quite a small part in that film and he has done much more substantial work. He is one of those character actors that you have probably seen in many works, but you just don’t know his name. His best work is mostly on TV; The Shield, Sons of Anarchy, Justified. But now Walton is (arguably) the star of The Hateful Eight.
In The Hateful Eight, Walton Goggins plays Chris Mannix. Chris has the most lines of any character in the film (and that’s A LOT of lines since it’s a Tarantino movie). Quentin specifically wrote the part for Walton. That’s pretty amazing, especially since Walton isn’t a very high profile actor.
But he deserves to be, and hopefully now he will get the attention he deserves. I recently started watching Justified not too long ago (I’m only on the fourth season still, so no spoilers!). Justified is a very good show that really hits its stride in its third and fourth seasons. The show hinges on the relationship between Raylan Givens (played by the wonderful Timothy Olyphant) and Boyd Crowder (Walton Goggins). It is so interesting to watch these two amazing characters/actors face off against each other. Raylan is a Deputy Marshall and Boyd is a hillbilly criminal mastermind. Often times the two are struggling against each other, but they also have moments when they are allies. Their interactions always feel organic and it is hard to know which character to root for. Walton has this great cadence as he plays Boyd. When Boyd speaks it feels as though the audience is being treated to a piece of poetry. Hard to believe when faced with Boyd’s appearance of wild hair and swastika tattoos. Walton creates so many layers to this character; Boyd is someone to be feared, but he also has a sympathetic heart at times. And he is also very funny. Boyd does terrible things at times, but when he proposes to Eva, his brother’s widow over a stack of drug money, you can’t help but feel your eyes tear up and hope that everything turns out the way Boyd wants it to. There are a million reasons to dislike Boyd, but Walton’s acting instead makes you love him.
When I was watching The Hateful Eight I was so excited when Walton came on the screen. I was so looking forward to hearing his lovely voice a la Boyd Crowder. After all, both Boyd and Chris Mannix are southern boys, so I figured Walton would play them in a similar way. But I was dead wrong. I was disappointed at first because Chris’s voice isn’t as poetic as Boyd’s. But Chris still has some of that same charm. I am amazed actually by how different Boyd and Chris are. The two characters are completely distinct from each other and both are quite amazing. The Hateful Eight is a very good film (not Tarantino’s best, but still good). I found the film lacks energy at times, but whenever the attention shifts to Walton suddenly everything becomes lively again. Chris seems to always be playing everyone else in the room and it makes me wonder whether he actually really was the sheriff.
Walton imbues Chris with all these little nuances and effectively steals every scene he is in. If you didn’t know who Walton Goggins was before, you’ll never forget him after The Hateful Eight.
I used to be a huge Johnny Depp fan. For me he reached his peak around the time of Sweeney Todd. After Sweeney he has been on a downward slide, especially critically. Johnny has become a caricature of himself as seen in his last film, Mortdecai.
In the 90s Johnny had a string of indie hits and he could do no wrong. He did some great work in Edward Scissorhands, Ed Wood, and What’s Eating Gilbert Grape. Johnny’s films weren’t always successful, but he seemed to take a lot of risks and to do very different roles.
Of course, Pirates of the Caribbean changed everything for Johnny. At first it seemed he was able to maintain his artistic integrity while making huge bucks fronting a blockbuster franchise. But an island and four (I think) pirate movies later and Johnny has become kind of pathetic. He is always donning a silly costume and his acting has become more exaggerated. Long gone is the subtlety of Donnie Brasco. Now it’s all about weird wigs and dramatic flourishes. So can Johnny, an actor once praised for his quiet, quirky talent make a comeback?
Trailer Review Black Mass is Johnny’s last chance at reclaiming his past glory. If Johnny can show off his acting chops again then his recent lackluster past will be easily forgotten. But if not, it will just reaffirm the fact that he is now a has-been.
This first trailer for Black Mass is very strong, incredibly promising. It’s one of the best cut trailers I’ve seen in a long time. It’s a great technique to take one small, dramatic scene from the movie and accentuate it with great music and brief flashes of the rest of the film. But maybe this is one of the only strong moments in the film, trailers often show off the best stuff first.
There’s also Johnny’s costume, which is both good and bad. I like the whitish grey contacts, they are really eerie and entrancing. But that forehead, my God they could have named this the forehead movie. And I don’t find the old age makeup all that convincing, but then again I don’t know how old the character should be.
As for the actors Johnny is surrounded by a great cast that we just get a glimpse of, Benedict Cumberbatch, Joel Edgerton, Kevin Bacon, etc. Johnny’s acting here though is hard to judge. I think he is pretty good, but I also think the music adds a lot to the tension and helps him quite a bit. I also don’t find his accent to be very convincing. I think Johnny is acting more than actually inhabiting the character, but he definitely has me intrigued and hopeful.
It would be great for Johnny to succeed, but he’s become such a disappointment that I am doubtful. The studio has some faith in Black Mass as it is scheduled for release September 18, early in the awards season. Give your thoughts on Johnny and the trailer below. What are your favorite Johnny Depp films?
My Holy Trinity consists of: Tom Hardy, Michael Fassbender, and James McAvoy. These are actors that I will see in just about anything. They’re charismatic, incredible actors and they also take on risky roles.
Tom is at an interesting point in his career. He has recognition and acclaim from critics, filmmakers, and avid film viewers. He has done some great work in Bronson, Stewart: A Life Backwards, and Locke. Yet he hasn’t quite caught on in a big way to the general population. He came close as Bane in The Dark Knight Rises. But his face was covered up and he was overshadowed by Heath Ledger’s legacy.
Other than Mad Max Tom has quite a few intriguing projects coming up. Child 44, a gritty drama with Gary Oldman and Noomi Rapace will be out in the spring. He’s currently filming The Revenant with Leonardo Dicaprio. Tom will be returning to the DC movie universe, this time as Rick Flag in Suicide Squad in 2016. Most exciting to me is that Tom has signed on to play Elton John in a musical biopic about the singer. Tom is developing such a diverse portfolio. I hope he can successfully balance character study dramas with big blockbusters. Although I don’t understand why exactly he wants to do Suicide Squad. Maybe if he was Deadshot, that I could understand. But Rick Flag sounds like a very minor character. Mad Max is Tom’s first time carrying a movie, being the lead in a huge blockbuster film. He’s been in successful ensembles before (TDKR, Inception), but can he do it alone? If given the right material I’m sure he can. Is Mad Max: Fury Road going to propel Tom Hardy into super stardom? Trailer Review
I enjoyed the trailers previous to this one. But this trailer feels…weird to me. I’m not sure what the tone of the film is or what exactly it’s about. The positive of that is the trailer doesn’t reveal too much of the plot (a pet peeve of mine). I don’t like the music, I find that it makes the film seem like too much of a comedy.
The emphasis of the trailer seems to be on everything but Tom Hardy. Which worries me a little bit, although I’m sure he must give a great performance. I guess the studio realizes that Tom Hardy isn’t necessarily a bankable name. Instead there is an emphasis on the action sequences (which look awesome) and Charlize Theron. I’m not a huge fan of hers, but she looks decent in the trailer. What really jumped out at me though was Nicholas Hoult’s transformation. Wow, I had no idea that was him. If he can give a stellar performance he might just steal this movie out from Tom.
I haven’t seen any of the previous Mad Max films, but none the less I will be seeing Fury Road opening weekend (May 15, 2015). What do you think of the trailer? Do you like the career choices Tom is making? And are you even a Tom Hardy fan? (The only possible answer is “Yes!”)
While writing this trailer review I also got the idea for a new kind of post: Actor Analysis in which I will evaluate the past work of an actor and the direction they are/should be going in the future. Does that make sense? Give your opinions in the comments and nominate an actor for me to evaluate, possibly once a week. Or tell me it’s a shit idea, whatever. On with the trailer review:
I am not a Jennifer Aniston fan. It’s partly because I am Team Jolie (that’s so 2005, I know). But I also just feel that Jennifer reached her pinnacle many years ago now and needs to stop trying to reclaim it. The way I see it, the only reason she seems to still be popular these days is because of the love triangle between her, Brad Pitt, and Angelina that the media still perpetuates. Jennifer can be quite a good comedic actress, I’ll give her that. She was very enjoyable on Friends and in a few of her rom-coms.
With Cake Jennifer wants to be taken seriously as a dramatic actress. There are some rumors that she may even be up for an Oscar nomination for her role as a woman traumatized by an accident she suffered. Something like that anyways. The media (things like People magazine, etc.) are making a big deal that Jennifer wears no makeup and has a facial scar in Cake. I think focusing on something that superficial is insulting to women and especially to Jennifer, although she seems to be fueling these media outlets.
While watching this trailer I tried to look past surface and evaluate Jennifer’s performance as well as the film as much as I could from a 2 minute glimpse. I think Jennifer gives an okay performance here. Not bad, but nowhere near Oscar worthy (especially this year with actresses like Rosamund Pike and Julianne Moore presumably in the race). Also, I do not want to see Jennifer playing a pessimistic bitch. She also comes off as a creepy stalker, obsessed with someone’s dead wife (when you say “I’m not a stalker,” you definitely are). I don’t think even her biggest fans want to see that. There is nothing about her character in Cake that seems likeable. I think that’s also because Jennifer is trying just a little too hard to shed her good girl image. I think she should embrace it instead of moving away from it since that is where she has had the most success. Cake doesn’t seem worth my time, and that’s not just because of Jennifer Aniston. It just doesn’t feel exciting and new. It feels old and dull. Go watch Gone Girl again or something else equally intriguing. Cake feels like a snooze, as its January release date suggests. Also, why is it called Cake? Maybe I’d go see it if free cake was involved.