Film: Stake Land – “Waitin’ for the messiah, but… he never came. Death came in its stead. And it came with teeth”

I’d heard very good things about ‘Stake Land’, but I can’t remember from whom. I was convinced my sibling had raved about it, but they deny this. Perhaps it was the friend who gave us flu – although I am blaming them for pretty much anything at the moment.

Either way, ‘Stake Land’ was watched and the hype seemed overly generous.

stake land

The plot is simple, boy watches family experience death by vampires, is rescued by a grumpy man, grumpy and boy go wandering across America looking for the safe zone.

Which is pretty much the plot to most post-apocalyptic films ever.

There is no humour, no wit, no spark that sets ‘Stake Land’ apart from anything that has gone before it, the only thing is does have is Connor Paolo in the lead role. Unfortunately for Paolo I’ve seen ‘Revenge‘ and his character was an awful waste of space in that, so spent I most of the film failing to suspend my disbelief and increasingly finding that he felt like a waste of space in this as well.

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TV: Revenge Season 4 predictions

I personally found the end of series 3 of ‘Revenge’ a little too much like a rejected plot from a Mexican soap opera.

It is also disappointing that ‘Revenge’ has been renewed for a fourth season as it means it can find new lows to sink to – I will still watch it (or at least read spoilers after the US have shown it) but I would really like season 4 to be Emily and Nolan sitting on a beach being bitchy about everyone.

That would be an enjoyable show!

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TV: ‘Bones’ – “The oil will loosen the seared body parts stuck to the metal. It’s no different than steak on a grill that sticks.”

Sometimes you hear about the TV show but don’t know anyone who watches it – or at least not anyone who says they watch it.

For example I watch ‘Revenge’ but I don’t mention it to more than a couple of people, this was partly as season 1 was trashy fun in the same way as a Mexican soap opera and partly because seasons 2 & 3 sank to a level that even a Mexican soap opera refuses to. By mid season 3 the only character in ‘Revenge’ who isn’t utterly reprehensible is Nolan, who I am feeling rather sorry for!

bones promo poster

(Promo poster for ‘Bones’)

But the show I am thinking of in this instance is ‘Bones’, which I must admit I’d discounted as being a ‘CSI’ rip-off with David Boreanaz who played Angel in ‘Buffy’ as the male lead to boost viewing figures.

‘CSI ‘ lost me as a viewer a few years ago when it got to the stage that I could guess the killer, the flimsy motive and the twist within 2 minutes of an episode starting. ‘Criminal Minds’ is getting ludicrous and overly gross, both of which are off-putting and they don’t seem to know what to do with Garcia.

So when the first season of ‘Bones’ became available on my TV provider’s back catalogue I decided to try a couple and it wasn’t what I expected at all. For starters it was intentionally giggle-inducing funny despite the dead people and the dialogue is very good. The characters are quirky and have back-story without them being too annoying or distracting (although I am only 6 episodes into season 1).

CRIMINAL MINDS

(Still of Garcia from ‘Criminal Minds’)

The characters of Dr. Temperance “Bones” Brennan and FBI Special Agent Seeley Booth do interact well, there is a hint of chemistry which could go either way right now! It feels like the episodes have been considered and planned rather than slung together around a dead body – in one episode in particular the subplot of Bones’ books acted as a perfect counterfoil to the depressing subject of a dead child who was the main plot.

I wouldn’t say that I care about the characters at this early stage and I am seeing similarities to characters in other shows – particularly with Angela and Zack to Garcia and Spencer from ‘Criminal Minds’, but I am currently loving not knowing with absolute certainly who the killer is before the beginning credits have started!

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Film: Law Abiding Citizen – “I’m gonna bring the whole ****in’ diseased, corrupt temple down on your head. It’s gonna be biblical.”

I don’t usually watch revenge-based films – they tend to get a bit icky, for example ‘Day of the Woman’ (aka ‘I Spit on Your Grave’).

As such I was a bit unsure about a film centred on someone taking on the people who murdered his family and also settling a score with a justice system that failed to really seek justice but instead seemed to opt for a quick win.

law abiding citizen

It helps that Gerard Butler was a tolerable Dracula in ‘Dracula 2000’ and was rather effective a dispatching people in ‘Olympus Has Fallen’. Jamie Foxx’s presence was a cause for concern – I’ve seen ‘Stealth’…

In terms of ick; the starting scene features murder and implied rape – in order to setup the need for revenge. Later there is a torture scene but most of it is off camera – then described later, there is also an inventive stabbing musically accompanied by an early Deftones’ track.

Butler is concurringly believable as a result-focused individual with the knowledge and means to exact revenge. Jamie Foxx was good enough that I almost blocked out how bad ‘Stealth’ was. The dynamic between the two of them does mean that the rest of the cast were pushed into the background.

law abiding citizen

(Still from ‘Law Abiding Citizen’)

This is a strength up until the very final section of the film, at which point it rather feels that someone wanted to get a happy ending at any cost. Although I suppose it would be irresponsible to let someone get away scot-free with literal murder.

It isn’t a bad film, although having watched it twice I don’t think I would bother watching it again – well maybe the bit with a weaponised bomb disposal robot…

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Revenge – where can season 3 go?

This may contain spoilers so if you haven’t seen all of Season 1 and 2 I wouldn’t advise reading on – unless you like spoilers!

The plot of ‘Revenge’ is fairly simple and apparently was partly inspired by The Count of Monte Cristo. Amanda Clarke’s father David was framed as a terrorist/money launderer/all-round white collar criminal when she was nine. She started to grow up in foster care – believing him to be guilty, and he was murdered in prison.

Amanda gets framed by a fellow foster child for a fire at their ‘home’ and is sent into juvenile detention.  When she gets out she is picked up by Nolan Ross who knew her father and who whole-heartedly believes him innocent. He also has a rather large sum of money for her – which is rather handy!

revenge

Amanda swaps identities with a fellow member of juvie – Emily Thorne, and sets off back to the Hamptons area of New York to see revenge on everyone who was responsible for what happened to her father – and to her of course. This is rather a lot of people including the Grayson’s who happen to live right next door!

Revenge is a soap opera so plots making sense is often optional. Half the appeal is wondering how to earth these people got into these situations and the strange way in which they will emerge – usually having learnt nothing from the experience!

The first season was fab, the second was less so, but there is still enough going on to mean I am counting down to the next season!  The trouble is I have rather lost track of what exact revenge was wanted by Emily.

In season 1 she makes a large number of people very unhappy – most of them could be argued to have deserved it (if you believe in that sort of thing!). This built up to a season finale where  Victoria Grayson boards a plane with evidence to take to a Washington DC trial which would have incriminated Conrad, the plane then blows up.

So you’d expect that from the start of season 2 there would be a concerted effort by the Federal Government – and Emily, to rebuild the case and to get to the bottom of the exploding plane.

Seemingly not! In fact Emily goes off on a little tangent including (in no particular order): going to Japan, finding a new chap, faking a breakup with the new chap, getting re-engaged to Daniel, planning to move to Paris with Daniel, finding her mother, sending her mother away, prompting Jack to ask faux-Amanda who the baby’s daddy is, faking the paternity test, lying to faux-Amanda about who the baby’s daddy is, revealing to faux-Amanda who the daddy is, stealing hospital uniforms, getting shouted at by Jack because he is stupid, saving Nolan, needing saving by Nolan (well by his computer wizardry) and throwing into the sea the laptop with all her evidence on!

Ok, so Emily has no evidence anymore, she’s ruined the Grayson’s social standing as they’ve all been arrested and generally look like scum – I mean Conrad has been elected Governor of New York which seems a bit like being the King Rat. So is Emily going to kill all members of the Grayson family instead? Maybe, she certainly stopped Jack killing Conrad in the season 2 finale!

sugarmice

As ruining them socially and legally doesn’t seem to be Emily’s end-game I guess she wants them miserable then dead. Perhaps in season 3 she will lure them all to a jungle and then hunt them down one by one, I can’t see how else this is going to make any sense – even for a soap opera.

For those looking for parallels with the Count, in the end he gives way his money and runs off with someone who had previously been sold into slavery. So, interpreting slavery in a modern setting as being anyone who has spent a prolonged time stuck socially lower/subservient to someone else, that could be almost anyone. Just please don’t be Jack.

The Third season starts in the US on September 29 (2013).

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