‘Bordertown’ Pilot – Unoriginal, Unfunny Adult Cartoon

Posted January 8, 2016 by johnjamesdamico
Categories: TV Review

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bordertown_inside_look_1280x720_443484739953

Imagine if you took Family Guy and American Dad!, meshed them together, and took out anything that made those shows likable. You’d have FOX’s new animated series Bordertown.

Okay, to be fair, I’m just judging this based on the first episode. Maybe it’ll improve as the show continues. But honestly, I’m not sure if I plan on coming back again to watch.

So Bordertown focuses on two Southwestern families living on the border between Mexico and California. Our protagonist Bud Buckwald is a middle-aged man and an open racist. This is where a lot of the humor in the show comes from.

And I often really like this kind of racial humor. All in the Family did it well. South Park has been doing it well for years. Family Guy and American Dad! have also done it well in the past. The problem here is that this episode doesn’t really do much new with this kind of comedy. And it’s not really going to be that funny if we’ve heard these jokes before.

So the main plot of this episode is that Bud’s daughter Becky gets engaged to J.C., the son of the Mexican family living next door. And of course, Bud isn’t happy with this and does everything  he can to try and stop it.

But what else doesn’t work about this pilot? Well, as you might have been able to tell by the above photo, the animation here just has a very unappealing look to it. I feel like they animators went out of their way to make everything to look as ugly and bland as possible.

The voice acting isn’t very good either in my opinion. Most of of the characters voices are just really annoying to listen to.

Then there’s the characters themselves. One problem I have is that some of them are kind of underdeveloped, at least at this point in the series. In particular, I’m talking about Bud’s wife. I feel like I know hardly anything about her. Hopefully she’ll get some more development in later episodes.

Is there anything here to enjoy? Well, despite the comedy not being very good overall, this episode did get a decent amount of chuckles out of me. Some of the jokes are a little clever and amusing. And there were a couple of genuinely funny jokes, mainly towards the end of the episode. But overall, I just didn’t like this very much.

I give this pilot a 4 out of 10.

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‘The Ridiculous 6’ – Sandler Netflix Mediocrity

Posted December 29, 2015 by johnjamesdamico
Categories: Movie Review, Netflix

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adam-sandler_0

By John D’Amico

I can’t say I really hated this film. In fact, I wouldn’t even really call it bad. Having said that, I wouldn’t be surprised if this one did well at the Razzie Awards this year. Just saying.

‘The Ridiculous 6’ is a comedy western starring Adam Sandler as Tommy aka “The White Knife,” who one day has to go on a mission to save his deadbeat father (Nick Nolte). Along the way, he meets his five half-brothers who decide to go on the mission along with him.

One of the first things that struck me about this movie was how seriously it was taking itself in the first fourth of the plot. The amount of jokes in this portion of the movie were pretty minimal. At the same time, it didn’t feel like the it was going for straight-up drama either because of the typical Sandler-esque humor sprinkled throughout. I’m not even sure if I’d necessarily call this a bad thing. But it just kind of left me scratching my head.

6

But in spite of this peculiar start, the rest of movie is pretty much the comedy that I expected going in. So how was the comedy you might be wondering? Well, it could have been better to be honest. We get some annoying characters like Taylor Lautner as one of Tommy’s half-brothers, some disturbing humor like an accidental decapitation, and some gross-out comedy that I’d prefer not to describe.

But sprinkled throughout the film, there definitely were some jokes that got some genuine laughs out of me. For instance, shortly after the introduction of Terry Crews’ character Chico (one of Tommy’s brothers), Chico makes the decision to confess to his newly found half-brothers that he is in fact a black man.

There’s also a really clever scene where the brothers meet Civil War general Abner Doubleday (played by John Turturro), and take part of the first ever game of baseball. And just for the record, Doubleday didn’t really invent the game, but I’m willing to let that slide considering how well-written this scene was.

Overall, ‘The Ridiculous 6’ wasn’t a bad movie in my opinion. But I didn’t really like it either. It was just kind of meh. I give a 5.5 out of 10.

If you’re interested, you can stream the film here.

2015 Academy Award Nominees Predictions

Posted January 14, 2015 by johnjamesdamico
Categories: Editorial

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Best Picture

  • Birdman
  • Boyhood
  • Foxcatcher
  • Gone Girl
  • The Grand Budapest Hotel
  • The Imitation Game
  • Inherent Vice
  • Selma
  • The Theory of Everything
  • Wild

Best Actor

  • Steve Carell-Foxcatcher
  • Benedict Cumberbatch-The Imitation Game
  • Michael Keaton-Birdman
  • David Oyelowo-Selma
  • Eddie Redmayne-The Theory of Everything

Best Actress

  • Amy Adams-Big Eyes
  • Felicity Jones-The Theory of Everything
  • Julianne Moore-Still Alice
  • Rosamund Pike-Gone Girl
  • Reese Witherspoon-Wild

Best Supporting Actor

  • Josh Brolin-Inherent Vice
  • Ethan Hawke-Boyhood
  • Edward Norton-Birdman
  • Mark Ruffalo-Foxcatcher
  • J.K. Simmons-Whiplash

Best Supporting Actress

  • Patricia Arquette-Boyhood
  • Jessica Chastain-A Most Violent Year
  • Keira Knightley-The Imitation Game
  • Emma Stone-Birdman
  • Meryl Streep-Into the Woods

Best Director

  • Ava DuVernay-Selma
  • David Fincher-Gone Girl
  • Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu-Birdman
  • Richard Linklater-Boyhood
  • Bennett Miller-Foxcatcher

Best Original Screenplay

  • Birdman
  • Boyhood
  • The Grand Budapest Hotel
  • Foxcatcher
  • Selma

Best Adapted Screenplay

  • Gone Girl
  • The Imitation Game
  • Inherent Vice
  • The Theory of Everything
  • Wild

Best Animated Feature

  • Big Hero 6
  • The Book of Life
  • The Boxtrolls
  • How to Train Your Dragon 2
  • The Lego Movie

Best Foreign-Language Film

  • Force Majeure
  • Ida
  • Leviathan
  • Mommy
  • Two Days, One Night

Best Documentary Feature

  • 20,000 Days on Earth
  • Citizenfour
  • Life Itself
  • The Overnighters
  • Virunga

The Trip to Italy (2014) [Netflix review]

Posted January 5, 2015 by johnjamesdamico
Categories: Movie Review, Netflix

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the trip to italy

“The Trip to Italy” is the sequel to the 2010 film “The Trip.” Like its predecessor, this film follows British comedians Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon playing versions of themselves as they take a road trip on which they do restaurant reviews. But this time around, the location is Italy.

I had the good fortune of seeing the original in theaters. You can read my review of it here: https://johnjamesdamico.wordpress.com/2011/07/29/the-trip-movie-review/

As was the case with the original, the chemistry between Coogan and Brydon really makes this film. Their banter got a lot of laughs from me. And their impressions are really on-point. The best one by far was Coogan’s impression of Robert De Niro from about half-way through the film.

This scene showcases their banter pretty well:

To my surprise, this film is very well-shot, especially for something like this. It’s not necessarily the kind of thing that you would expect from a simple comedy film, but director Michael Winterbottom went out of his way to include some really nice-looking shots of Italy. See below:

italy

The film has a runtime of 1 hour and 48 minutes. I think that Winterbottom could have benefitted from trimming the movie down to 90 minutes at most. The film’s pacing can be slow at times and I think Winterbottom could have told the same story in a movie that was just a bit shorter.

But overall, I recommend that you check this movie out, especially if you enjoyed the original (although, it’s not at all necessary to see the original first).

But if you’re still not sure at this point if this is a film you’d enjoy, feel free to check out the trailer here:

You can watch “The Trip to Italy” now on Netflix streaming: http://www.netflix.com/WiMovie/70297797?trkid=13462047

The original is also available on Netflix streaming: http://www.netflix.com/WiMovie/70154139?trkid=13752289

Red Band Society: Pilot Review

Posted August 31, 2014 by johnjamesdamico
Categories: TV Review

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I always appreciate a well-made dramedy. And lately I have been thinking about how there aren’t really any on TV anymore (at least not any that I personally enjoy all that much). The only one that I could come up with is FX’s Louie (but I kind of think of that as a whole different genre in of itself).

But anyway, I think I may have found a solution in the new FOX series Red Band Society.

A quality dramedy series should have two main goals: to make the viewers laugh, and to make to viewers feel something. And while this show could try a little harder in the comedy department, it mostly accomplished the aforementioned goals.

The show centers around a group of teenagers who live in a hospital, along with some of the people who work there. The show has a good cast of likable, interesting characters. But the standout character here is young Charlie, played by Griffin Gluck, who also acts as the show’s narrator.

The episode had a few of those touching kind of moments (especially towards the end); the kind of moments that, while you’re watching them, make you pause and think “yeah, that’s some good stuff right there.”

Is the show without flaws? No. There are aspects that just come off  as cheesy and unrealistic. For instance, there’s this one character who is often portrayed as a total stereotype of a snobby, popular high school cheerleader. We do get to see a little more depth to the character later on. But a lot of the time, she felt like something out of a cartoon from the 1990s.

But despite some of it’s flaws, I would still like it if people would go and give this show a chance.

So make sure you watch the premiere of Red Band Society on Wednesday, September 17th on FOX.

2014 Primetime Emmy Awards Predictions

Posted August 25, 2014 by johnjamesdamico
Categories: Editorial

Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

Emmy-Awards-key-art

The Emmy Awards is an extremely tough awards show to predict. You think you see an obvious winner among the nominees, but then they totally throw you for a loop and pick a winner that may seem completely random. But I’m going to give it a shot anyway.

  • Comedy Series: Veep
  • Drama Series: Breaking Bad
  • Variety Series: The Colbert Report
  • Miniseries: Fargo
  • Television Movie: The Normal Heart
  • Lead Actor-Comedy: Don Cheadle-House of Lies
  • Lead Actress-Comedy: Amy Poehler-Parks & Recreation
  • Lead Actor-Drama: Matthew McConaughey-True Detective
  • Lead Actress-Drama: Michelle Dockery-Downton Abbey
  • Lead Actor-Miniseries/Movie: Mark Ruffalo-The Normal Heart
  • Lead Actress-Miniseries/Movie: Cicely Tyson-The Trip to Bountiful
  • Supporting Actor-Comedy: Tony Hale-Veep
  • Supporting Actress-Comedy: Mayim Bialik-The Big Bang Theory
  • Supporting Actor-Drama: Aaron Paul-Breaking Bad
  • Supporting Actress-Drama: Anna Gunn-Breaking Bad
  • Supporting Actor-Miniseries/Movie: Colin Hanks-Fargo
  • Supporting Actress-Miniseries/Movie: Julia Roberts-The Normal Heart

The Knick: Pilot Review

Posted August 15, 2014 by johnjamesdamico
Categories: TV Review

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the-knick-cinemax

So I just watched the series premiere of the new Cinemax drama The Knick.

The Knick tells the story of Dr. John Thackery, a surgeon living in the year 1900. Thackery is portrayed by Clive Owen, who turns in a very good performance, which could earn him an Emmy nomination come next summer.

Throughout the episode we discover a few interesting things about this character that I can only imagine will make for some very compelling stories down the road.

Something that should be known before watching this show, is that it features some very graphic and disturbing surgery sequences.

I won’t get into detail, but I will say that what I saw in the early scenes of the episode may have been the most graphic thing I have ever seen on television. So if you’re like me, and you’re not used to seeing that kind of stuff, I would just be cautious going in.

Don’t get me wrong, I wouldn’t let this discourage you from watching the series, but you just need to know what you’re getting into to. And if you’re squeamish, I would recommend covering your eyes a little during the surgery scenes (there’s really only two of them by the way; one at the start of the episode, and one at the end).


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