Thursday, 21 April 2011
Okay a little late, but as rule I don't do Sky on principle! So a mate I know got the Jack Sparrow edition off of a nice little Vietnamese guy he met in a pub *whisper* and let me watch them all back to back in the only way you should watch this kind of epic fayre with no adverts and no weekly wait. We love a bit of good telly here at Connoisseur towers, this was one I was looking forward to a lot. I hid away from any reviews and talk of it and waited to see it for myself, with my own eyes. A huge production.....budget....cgi, Scorsese.....
The good, bad and ugly though not a lot of good going down; aside from the - great clobber on show, suits, shirts, tweeds, plaids, haircuts all centered around violence and corruption, Steve Buscemi is the main man, the Treasurer of Atlantic City, New Jersey (in the 20s/30's prohibition era) cum-criminal-kingpin Enoch "Nucky" Thompson and naturally as corrupt as they come. Michael Pitt (Bully, The Dreamers) as war veteran and ne'er-do-well, with friend of The Casual Connoisseur Stephen Graham who's jump from John Godden to a young and up and coming Al Capone is great to see, they were the more enjoyable bits, as were Michael Shannon (My Son, My Son What Have ye Done?) as the religious maniac prohibition agent and Michael K Williams as Chalky White (sounds like a bit part character from a 70s sitcom like On The Buses)- Nucky's counterpart in the black community, I'd argue the ugly was perhaps Kelly Macdonald - the Scotch actor playing an Irish widow who becomes rather close to Nucky with a ridiculous slow Irish-by-numbers accent I found more than a little tedious. It's a great ensemble though, other standouts were Paz de la Huerta as nucky's slutty piece Lucy who is largely naked and sweaty throughout. Michael Stuhlbarg (the Coens' A Serious Man) as a powerful and intelligent New York gangster Arnold Rothstein. Mid series along comes John Huston's grandson Jack, who does a great turn as a heavily wounded half faced ex marksman turned hitman and there's several familiar faces from The Sopranos here. Aside from a superb look and feel, the wardrobe department did wonders with tweeds, collars, overcoats, ties, collars and tie pins, the actual boardwalk was a little bit too computer generated/flash cgi for my liking. Don't get me wrong it looked great, just that bit too nice, but there were shades of too much trickery and at times it didn't look that convincing.
It seems to have received a mixed reception over here, some love it, some seem to hate it. I found it on the whole very watchable indeed with some great moments. Yeah, sure it will draw comparisons with The Soprano's and okay it doesn't really touch it. But that is the greatest televison series ever produced as far as I'm concerned so it's an unfair measuring stick. To me it was thoroughly enjoyable aside from a few minor quibbles, I got through it quickly and was keen to get onto the next episode after the last one finished.
It's very good telly at the end of the day, we don't really get that over here often, even though we're very capable (The Boys from the Blackstuff, Edge of Darkness, Our Friends in The North, Auf Wiedersehen Pet! to name just a few ) though instead this nation tends to lap up disgusting bile from the gutter, Kerry Katona's ninth life being used up again or the unfathomably popular, bilge about dickheads and tarts in fucking Essex. Do me a favour!
Another US TV release was The Walking Dead, as with Boardwalk Empire this also saw a large movie scale production going on the small screen, or large screen if you've got one of them big daft LCD things nowadays, this had esteemed director Frank Darabont behind it, him what did The Shawshank Redemption and The Green Mile too, but that wasn't as good. the US dvd was out a bunch of months before we'll get it, which is why having a multi region dvd player is the right way to go. A post-apocalyptic horror series based on the graphic novels of the same name by Robert Kirkman, The main lead in this was a familiar face from the small screen over this side of the pond too, Andrew Lincoln, who was in tedious 90's middle class (was it? I dunno actually it seemed so when I was younger though) romp, This Life, and Teachers aswell after replacing original intended star Thomas Jane. I was looking forward to this, the zombie genre is tried and tested, they were better back in the day in things like Dawn of The Dead - where talcum powdered extras stuttered around with badly coloured poster paint blood spurting out if you slotted 'em or put a screwdriver in their shell like. The modern day zombie is uglier, faster and unlike the old films where unless you were really outnumbered or just really fucking unlucky, you never got caught (though many always did in the end) nowadays they can even run dead fast in some of the films, they look meaner, hungrier and bloodier than ever, they smell a bit of blood and latch onto you like a dog with two dicks that's just necked it's owners secret stash of viagra. You have to watch these with your head switched off, they are so predictable, but enjoyable.
This was a big production about a Sheriff re-surfacing from a coma to a new, horrible world and desperate to locate his wife and son whilst dodging the living, walking dead.
I found this ever so slightly a bit of a let down... though I'm not overly sure why? The cast of characters maybe? The fact that once a few killings have occurred it gets a bit samey? Only six episodes for a series? Yeah that was a bit shitty. Though it was the best telly zombie series since.... well? ......actually Dead Set from Charlie Brooker which was actually not bad. This is well worth a watch though certainly over that other zombie show I mentioned previously set in Essex. YHN