Wednesday, February 29, 2012

The Lying Game: The Almost of Ethan and Emma

Oh Ethan and Emma. Alexandra Chando and Blair Redford are just too charismatic for this show. Monday night, I essentially watched their scenes and fast forward through everything else. Tell me honestly - did I really miss anything?

Blair Redford as Ethan Whitehorse on The Lying Game Season 1 Episode 19 Weekend of Living Dangerously
So. It opens with Ethan avoiding her. Because that's the only way they don't immediately untangle the web of nasty Sutton has wove.

Blair Redford as Ethan Whitehorse on The Lying Game Season 1 Episode 19 Weekend of Living Dangerously
Then they DO talk face to face, and as predicted, it takes 90 seconds for them to figure out the evil person with the perfect powers of impersonation screwed with their minds. Again.

Blair Redford as  Ethan Whitehorse and Alexandra Chando as Emma Becker kiss on The Lying Game
Blair Redford as  Ethan Whitehorse and Alexandra Chando as Emma Becker hug on The Lying Game
So they get back together. Yay! Hearts and rainbows. Except Ethan doesn't divulge that when he was with Sutton, despite not having tapped-that, he did kiss that. 

Blair Redford as Ethan Whitehorse on The Lying Game Season 1 Episode 19 Weekend of Living Dangerously
Okay. Then my favorite scene of the night. Emma's "will you have sex with me?" scene. This was the moment in which I decided both Alexandra Chando and Blair Redford are better than the writing they're being given. She doesn't say anything all that interesting. But the way she says it is so damn cute. She's embarrassed. She's awkward. And he makes her all-the-way say it. It was regular adorafest.

Blair Redford as Ethan and Emma make out make out on The Lying Game Alexandra Chando hotel Season One
Blair Redford shirtless as Ethan and Emma Becker hook up make out on The Lying Game Alexandra Chando hotel
So then there's five minutes of of sexy fun time. But really, there was no way Ethan wouldn't confess about Sutton before taking the ole V-card from Emma. (Although - there was no way he'd make out with Sutton in the first place, but the powers that be forced that one down on him...) 

Blair Redford shirtless as Ethan and Emma Becker hook up make out on The Lying Game Alexandra Chando hotel
Blair Redford shirtless as Ethan Whitehorse and Emma hook up on The Lying Game Weekend of Living Dangerously
The end of this scene is really irritating. Because Emma says, "As much as you deny it, and as close as we get, as much as you tell me that you love me, there's always going to be a part of you that wishes that you could be with her." and then HE says, "What do you want me to say?" and it's all wrong. First. He could be with her. Sutton her. Emma's point should be more along the lines of I can't trust you because obviously you just take whichever of us is around at the time. That's the problem here. And then his line shouldn't be like "GAR! What do you want?" it should be like "I stopped it before it went too far because she isn't you." But no. They want to play the will they/won't they with Emma and Ethan and that means screwing with their characterizations.

Blair Redford  shirtless as Ethan Whitehorse on The Lying Game Season 1 Weekend of Living Dangerously
Anyway. That's that. I guess at this moment they are once again broken up. It's too bad because the fewer scenes they have as a couple, the fewer scenes I'm actually going to bother to watch. As the mutant enemy would say, "Grr. Argh."

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

No Country For Young Men: Tom Payne as Leon on HBO's Luck

I'm still digging on Leon. I can't overstate the importance of having one young, healthy, vibrant person existing in this cast. In an ensemble where everyone is somewhere on the pathetic -- criminal spectrum, Leon (and Rosie) bring the life like a toddler in an old folks home. 

Tom Payne as jockey Leon Micheaux and Richard Kind as his agent Joey on HBO series Luck bug
Aww, Leon. He's working so hard to make weight. I only run when I'm chased. Leon runs to lose three ounces. Early in last week's episode, he got crazy excited about riding the big-deal horse that won the Goff's Million. (Yeah - I know what I'm talking about...) Look how thrilled he seems that he gets to ride a horsey!

Tom Payne as jockey Leon Micheaux bug on HBO series Luck
But then SHOCK! It's taken away from him. Look how shocked he looks!

I like the idea of the agent/jockey relationship. Richard Kind's stutter is something less than audial ambrosia, but he sticks up for Leon. Call me a sucker, but I like rooting for the dumb kid with the big dreams. It's sweet. It's endearing. And so far, it feels like he deserves success more than a fair few of the other characters.

Tom Payne as jockey Leon Micheaux bug on HBO series Luck
I love this shot.
Tom Payne as jockey Leon Micheaux bug on HBO series Luck
Poor Leon. All he wants is to ride horses. If it were up to me, I'd always put the prettiest boy on the prettiest horse. But clearly that's not exactly what Dustin Hoffman's character is going for. At least Leon got $5,000 for being fired. That's more than most of us get for not riding horses.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Gone But Not Forgotten: Angel In Season One Buffy Episode "Angel"

Buffy and Angel. For many of us, this was ground zero of the human/vampire romance explosion. And as far as I'm concerned, it hasn't been done better since.  

Sarah Michelle Gellar as Buffy Summers and David Boreanaz as Angel on Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season One
First of all, just LOOK at him.

Sarah Michelle Gellar as Buffy Summers and David Boreanaz as Angel on Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season One
The first half of season one, Angel was a big mystery. I was pretty young at the time, but from my recollection, it wasn't obvious to the television watching world what was going on. Maybe it just wasn't obvious to the middle school crowd, but in 1997, we couldn't all just jump on IMDb the second we had a theory about Angel. Oh how times have changed.

Sarah Michelle Gellar as Buffy Summers and David Boreanaz as Angel on Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season One
In the season one episode "Angel," the truth is revealed. He's the vampire with the angelic face. Fun times! We learn he killed his family and after years of being the baddest mo-fo around, he killed a well loved gypsy chick and was subsequently cursed with a soul that allowed him to feel the guilt and horror of his murderous past.

David Boreanaz as Angel on Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season One Episode titled Angel
As a character, Angel had two great things going for him. One - in this world, he was totally unique and therefore alone. NO OTHER GOOD VAMPIRES. Two - having a soul was curse, not a blessing. It wasn't all happy family times with the other good vampires nor was he granted the peace of mind of choosing to not kill. When he's evil, he has no choice. When he's got his soul, he's remembers all the horrible things non-choice-having him did. Eloquent, I know.

Sarah Michelle Gellar as Buffy Summers and David Boreanaz as Angel on Buffy the Vampire Slayer First Kiss 
So Buffy and Angel are as Romeo and Juliet as it gets. It's not just vampire/human. It's vampire and girl who is supposed to kill all vampires. And that ^^ is their first kiss.

David Boreanaz as Angel on Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season One Episode titled Angel
Plus,  they covered a bunch of all the other much-loved vampire/human squee factors. Like the scrounging around for non-human blood to survive. And the fact that he's much older and wiser than Buffy- which should be bothersome but somehow always makes human/vampire relationships even more fun. Plus the fact that he killed his whole family and has to live with that guilt forever.

David Boreanaz as Angel on Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season One Episode titled Angel
In this particular episode, Angel's maker Darla is dusted (for the first but not the last time...) And Angel and Buffy decide they can't be together (for the first but not the last time...)

David Boreanaz as Angel on Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season One Episode titled Angel
As far as I'm concerned, Buffy and Angel will end up together. They're soul mates. And all future relationships for both of them are a symptom of Angel being too awesome and getting his own show. Buffy and Spike? Pashaw. Angel and Cordelia? Say WHAT? No! No no no. Buffy/Angel. There's so much more to discuss and screen-cap! So Angel, my darling, you may be gone but you are certainly not forgotten. Stay tuned.

David Boreanaz as Angel on Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season One Episode titled Angel Cross Burn

Saturday, February 25, 2012

X-Files Saturday: I Mean, Really. His Name Is Fox.

Happy Weekend, all! Today we're starting a new Saturday series all about the angst of The X-Files. These posts will be written by my dear buddy River Sanzu. If you love angst, and you love aliens, and you love men named Fox, this is place to be Saturday mornings!

Ah, The X-Files. They were great, weren't they? Full of supernatural and unexplained phenomenon, and oh the angst. It was 1993 when we were first introduced to the angst-ridden sexy FBI agent Fox Mulder. Oh yeah, and that chick Dana Scully who followed him around.

Aliens and government conspiracies can create a certain amount of angst. The other thing is indeed that aforementioned Dana Scully. It was their relationship that propelled the series--sometimes I forget there were aliens at all.

David Duchovny as Fox Mulder on The X-Files
What was he even looking at? Her sweet sweet ass? Probably, but no. He was looking at mosquito bites that Scully thought were marks from a UFO. By candlelight, because it was 1993 and that's how things are done in the early 90s.

David Duchovny as Fox Mulder on The X-Files
I believe it was her terrible hair that kept them apart in the beginning. And their extreme professionalism, of course.

David Duchovny as Fox Mulder and Gillian Anderson as Dana Scully on The X-Files
Of course, that doesn't stop the professional smoldering angsty stares.

David Duchovny as Fox Mulder and Gillian Anderson as Dana Scully on The X-Files
David Duchovny as Fox Mulder and Gillian Anderson as Dana Scully on The X-Files
David Duchovny as Fox Mulder and Gillian Anderson as Dana Scully on The X-Files
David Duchovny as Fox Mulder and Gillian Anderson as Dana Scully on The X-Files
And then sometimes they're stuck in a back-lit warehouse basement.

David Duchovny as Fox Mulder and Gillian Anderson as Dana Scully on The X-Files
David Duchovny as Fox Mulder and Gillian Anderson as Dana Scully on The X-Files
The X-Files makes me swoon. As we all know, Mulder loves Scully and Scully loves Mulder. I'm going to spend Saturdays with you and The Angst Report reminiscing about it; through the conspiracy episodes and the monster-of-the-week episodes, their relationship held the entire thing together.

SPOILER ALERT: Sometimes Mulder didn't wear a shirt.

David Duchovny as Fox Mulder shirtless on The X-Files

Friday, February 24, 2012

Big Screen Angst: Tom Hardy as Tommy Conlon in Warrior

Happy Friday to you! Today I'm kicking off a new series called Big Screen Angst. Because tortured souls exist in movies too - we just have less time with them.

First up: Warrior. I'm about to spoil it like whoa, so if you haven't seen it and you want to go in with fresh eyes, click away!!

Meet Tommy.

Tom Hardy as Tommy Conlon in Warrior Tom Hardy Warrior Tom Hardy Warrior Tommy Conlon Warrior hot
Tom Hardy as Tommy Conlon in Warrior Tom Hardy Warrior Tom Hardy Warrior Tommy Conlon Warrior hot
When he was about 15, Tommy, his mom, and his older brother Brendan had this plan to get away from his drunken, abusive father. Except at the last minute, Brendan decided to stay behind with his girlfriend. Tommy and his mom took off. And the family never reunited.

Tom Hardy as Tommy Conlon in Warrior Tom Hardy Warrior Tom Hardy Warrior Tommy Conlon Warrior hot
Tom Hardy as Tommy Conlon in Warrior Tom Hardy Warrior Tom Hardy Warrior Tommy Conlon Warrior hot
Now, fourteen years later, Tommy is back. And he's seriously pissed. 

Tom Hardy as Tommy Conlon in Warrior Tom Hardy Warrior Tom Hardy Warrior Tommy Conlon Warrior sexy
Tom Hardy as Tommy Conlon in Warrior Tom Hardy Warrior Tom Hardy Warrior Tommy Conlon Warrior sexy
We learn straight away that his brother is a married teacher, and father of two adorable kids. Things went pretty well for him. His father is also doing much better; sober and working to stay that way. Tommy hasn't been so lucky. His mom died of cancer, slowly and with only him for support. After her death, Tommy escaped into The Marines where his best friend was killed by friendly fire. It's been a rough road for him, and he basically pins his misery on the fact that his family sucked. Throughout the entire film, he just oozes anger. Really, it must be exhausting for him.

Tom Hardy as Tommy Conlon in Warrior Tom Hardy Warrior Tom Hardy Warrior Tommy Conlon Warrior
Tom Hardy as Tommy Conlon in Warrior Tom Hardy Warrior Tom Hardy Warrior Tommy Conlon Warrior
Yet, we know he's a good guy. He took care of his mom, he's friendly to strangers, and he's only fighting so he can help out his buddy's widow. Near the end of act two, they go one step further. Tommy saved a whole tank of soldiers who were about to drown. He doesn't abandon anyone the way his brother abandoned him. It's hardwired in him. Yet, he has no one. He's totally alone. If I'm going to go all psychological, he'd rather just stay angry than risk loosing them all over again.

Tom Hardy as Tommy Conlon in Warrior Tom Hardy Warrior Tom Hardy Warrior fight Tommy Conlon Warrior
Tom Hardy as Tommy Conlon in Warrior Tom Hardy Warrior Tom Hardy Warrior fight Tommy Conlon Warrior Gavin O'Conner Tom Hardy sexy
Tom Hardy as Tommy Conlon in Warrior Tom Hardy Warrior Tom Hardy Warrior dad Tommy Conlon Warrior Tommy Dad Warrior Nick Nolte Tom Hardy
Near the end of the movie, Tommy's dad falls off the wagon. In one of the film's best scenes, Tommy lets his guard down because there's no one around to notice. He's faced with an old man, his dad, who needs some help. And, of course, Tommy steps up. The scene ends with his father saying he loves him which is probably the only thing Tommy wants to hear from him.

Tom Hardy as Tommy Conlon and Joel Edgerton as Brendan Conlon in Warrior the final fight Tommy Conlon Warrior
Tom Hardy as Tommy Conlon in Warrior Tom Hardy Warrior Tom Hardy Warrior fight Tommy Conlon Warrior Sad Tom Hardy Gavin O'Conner end
Then, the final fight. I'm not going to pretend that Warrior isn't contrived. In fact, the whole story is pretty much the definition of contrived. Plot-wise, these brothers meeting up in the final of the largest MMA tournament in the history of ever is ridiculous.  I doubt the filmmakers themselves would disagree. But when you look at it strictly from a character point of view, there is no other way for these brothers to come back together. Tommy is too angry; too bitter. He's not going to listen to anything Brendan has to say. He just wants to pound the crap out of him. And for a time, he does.

Tom Hardy as Tommy Conlon in Warrior Tom Hardy Warrior Tom Hardy Warrior fight Tommy Conlon Warrior Gavin O'Conner Warrior Tom Hardy cry
Tom Hardy as Tommy Conlon in Warrior Tom Hardy Warrior Tom Hardy Warrior fight Tommy Conlon Warrior Tom Hardy cries Warrior Gavin O'Conner
But, as much as I love Tommy, this is really Brendan's movie. (Are you shocked?) He's the underdog. He's the one with the stakes, with the family, with the house on the line. The fight is only going to go one way.  Of course, in order for Brendan to win, Tommy has to be tortured just a tad bit more. Brendan rips Tommy's arm out of its socket. Does Tommy acquiesce? Hells no! Homeboy doesn't just give in. He makes Brendan finish him. And finish him he does.

Tom Hardy as Tommy Conlon in Warrior Tom Hardy Warrior Tom Hardy Warrior fight Tommy Conlon Warrior Tom hardy cries in Warrior
Tom Hardy as Tommy Conlon and Joel Edgerton as Brendan Conlon in Warrior the final fight brothers the end Tom Hardy Joel Edgerton Warrior hug
In, like, the best fight moment ever, Brendan tells Tommy it's okay to let go. He also tells him he loves him. Tommy taps and Brendan wins. It all sounds incredibly cheesy, and when you look at the bare bones (or read a reductive blog post) it is. But Warrior earns its emotions in a way most fight movies don't. Sure, it has its cliches and improbabilities, but the characters are drawn beautifully. And Tom Hardy is just so great to look at. Like SO great. Hence my heavy hand with the screen-capping.

Tom Hardy as Tommy Conlon and Joel Edgerton as Brendan Conlon in Warrior the final fight brothers at the end Tom Hardy Joel Edgerton Hug Warrior
Tom Hardy as Tommy Conlon and Joel Edgerton as Brendan Conlon in Warrior the final fight brothers at the end Tom Hardy Joel Edgerton Warrior brothers
This is a engrossing movie. The performances are good enough to overcome some of the sillier plot elements and it really does have one of the most cathartic climaxes in recent memory. Plus (this is The Angst Report after all) OMG OMG OMG Tom Hardy is soooooooo freakin hot. And he's shirtless like half the time. I told my friend River Sanzu that at the end of the movie, I just want to climb in to that ring and do both brothers simultaneously. She told me that was gross and I'd end up getting arrested. She's probably right. It's a good thing I keep her around.

Sigh. Check out Warrior. For reals. I don't think you'll be disappointed.

Speaking of River Sanzu, her Saturday series on The X-Files starts tomorrow! So stop by over the weekend and check out The Angst Report's newest contributor!