This episode was all about the main characters dealing with problems and how to trust even those closest to them, including family.
Raylan Givens (Timothy Olyphant) was having a grand old time in the opulent home of Charles Monroe (Xander Berkeley), a money launderer for the Detroit Mob. He had company: Alison (Amy Smart), who was Loretta McCready's (Kaitlyn Dever) case worker. They weren't discussing work. Givens got interrupted twice, once by his boss, Art Mullen (Nick Searcy), who told him the case against Monroe was falling apart. The second interruption was a in the form of a rather large man named Henry Granger, outside with a baseball bat. Granger wasn't there to intimidate Givens: he may have been part of a plot to rob the Monroe house. It also turned out that Allison had planted evidence that wound up having Granger, who was a meth cook, lose custody of his child. Givens later visited Granger and set him straight and told him to never bother Alison again. Then, luck fell in their lap: Gloria, Monroe's 'maid'/girlfriend, came over and tried to open a hidden safe with bars of gold in it. It turned out the safe had been installed by Wynn Duffy (Jere Burns). So they had Gloria plant the idea that Duffy was the one who stole the money from the safe. Monroe took the bait and tried to kill Duffy, but got shot by Duffy's goon with Givens and Marshal Rachel Brooks (Erica Tazel) present. That problem solved, Givens and Allison picked up where they left off, though the seed of doubt had been planted that she was another in a string of no-good women that Givens was turning a blind eye to.
Boyd Crowder (Walton Goggins) started off trying to figure out who had stolen his drug shipment in the last episode. Aft first he thought Duffy had double-crossed him. After the bushy-eyebrowed criminal disabused him of that notion, he had a drug dealer, Cyrus (Bill Tangradi) brought in. After Duffy terrorized him by shooting a BB gun at his face repeatedly. Cyrus blurted out that he had told a hooker who had a thing for ... ahem ... pleasuring men with candy like Pop Rocks. (These events with Duffy all took place before the shootout with Monroe at Duffy's bus.) Boyd visited his fiance, Ava Crowder (Joelle Carter), in jail to see if she knew who the hooker was, since she used to be a madam. Ava didn't seem too impressed by his efforts to spring her and they fought about why Ava was there, exactly. She did apparently did give him the name of the hooker, though. Of course, Boyd, being a career criminal, had multiple problems. Lee Paxton (Sam Anderson), the man Boyd had beaten into a coma, was now awake and and wanted the sherriff, Mooney (William Gregory Lee) to kill him. Boyd, wanting to stay on this planet as long as he could, partnered with Paxton's wife, Mara (Karolina Wydra) and got her to get the jump on Mooney. Well, not exactly the jump ... she got a grip on him, if you know what I mean, while Boyd aimed a gun at his back. It looked like Mooney was Team Boyd again ... for now. They were going to have Mooney tell Lee that he had killed Boyd, and Mara was going to show him a picture of a dead man's hand with the same tattoo as Boyd's on it. That was an easy enough job, since Mara ran a funeral parlor and there would be no shortage of bodies. Boyd then brought had the hooker brought in a trunk. He took her cell phone and called a number and said, "Hello, cousin Johnny." It appeared that Johnny Crowder (David Meunier) was the traitor.
Dewey Crowe (Damon Herriman) had problems of his own. His cousin Darryl (Michael Rapaport) was still there, despite his obvious displeasure. Darryl told him that he was being ripped off, since he should have been making more money than he was. He pointed to a hotel that cost half of what Dewey had paid Boyd for this whorehouse. Dewey ran to Boyd to get a refund but the silver-tongued Crowder told him to stand up for himself, which he did. After he chewed out Darryl and told him to hit the road, Darryl, who admired him for his stance, took him to a back room and showed him why he was making less than he should. His employee, Wade Messer (James Le Gros), was skimming on behalf of Boyd. Darryl told Dewey that he needed to kill Messer, since he had stolen from him.
Nobody died in this episode, though it doesn't look good for Messer. Givens also gave Granger quite the bloody nose and Monroe apparently pulled through despite being shot by Duffy's bodyguard, Mikey.
"You wanna tell me why you had Captain Fauxhawk drag me over here?" -- Cyrus to Boyd.
"If you take those headphones off again, I'm going to staple them to your g-----n head!" --Boyd to Ava's lawyer, who wore them during their jailhouse chat so as to not hear their illicit discussions.
State of Boyd/Ava
There are already cracks in the relationship. Ava was very dismissive of Boyd during her jailhouse chat and Boyd and Mara seemed to be very sexually charged the scene when she looked over his chest and arms for a tattoo. It doesn't look like there will be wedding bells.
State of Raylan Givens
Well, there wasn't mention of Mullen looking more into the Nicky Augustine murders, but there was the sense that his boss was going to keep treating him like a child. First, there were the phone calls while Givens was at Monroe's place and then he had Brooks babysit him after the first run-in with Granger. On top of that, nobody seems to believe that Givens has good taste in women and that Allison is not going to be another woman who steals a piece of him, either physically, spiritually or materially (Yes, a woman once absconded with his money).
State of Boyd Crowder
Boyd's in a bad place now, but that's usually the spot where the head of a criminal empire is. Everybody's gunning for him and he's dealing with them as quickly as his facile mind can. It's going to be interesting to see how he takes on Johnny. He seemed to take a step back from that edge of insanity that he had teetered on in the season premiere, but it's a short stumble away.
We've come to expect that movies will take any real life character or situation and mold it into a more digestible, often more beautiful form. But some characters are, without a doubt, bound to their more terrifying forms: ring wraiths, the dementors, and Miss Havisham. However, in the newly released trailer for Mike Newell's adaptation of Charles Dickens' Great Expectations, we find Helena Bonham Carter as a new kind of Miss Havisham — one who's almost alluring.
The trailer delivers the main antagonist of the novel as someone evolved from the text's original, terrible description in which Miss Havisham is the Dickens equivalent of a zombie: "But, I saw that everything within my view which ought to be white, had been white long ago, and had lost its lustre, and was faded and yellow. I saw that the bride within the bridal dress had withered like the dress, and like the flowers, and had no brightness left but the brightness of her sunken eyes. I saw that the dress had been put upon the rounded figure of a young woman, and that the figure upon which it now hung loose, had shrunk to skin and bone. Once, I had been taken to see some ghastly waxwork at the Fair, representing I know not what impossible personage lying in state. Once, I had been taken to one of our old marsh churches to see a skeleton in the ashes of a rich dress, that had been dug out of a vault under the church pavement. Now, waxwork and skeleton seemed to have dark eyes that moved and looked at me. I should have cried out, if I could."Of course, for the film, Carter's Havisham is a creature that would perhaps more logically beget a child as beguiling as her ward and weapon against all men, Estella (Holliday Granger). The trailer sets up Pip's (War Horse's Jeremy Irvine) unwieldy life journey through the house of Miss Havisham and into his more wealthy life at the hands of a mysterious benefactor, all while Granger's cool Estella tempts him with her heartless beauty. The film also stars two of Carter's Harry Potter co-stars, Ralph Fiennes as Magwitch and Robbie Coltrane as Mr. Jaggers (Carter's Bellatrix LeStrange was bound to Fiennes' Voldemort while Coltrane's Hagrid helped Harry Potter).
Check out the trailer and judge Carter's Miss Havisham for yourself. Does she meet your great expectations? Could we even handle a Havisham who truly met Dickens' description?
Follow Kelsea on Twitter @KelseaStahler
[Photo Credit: Lionsgate]
More: Mike Newell To Direct 'Great Expectations' Adaptation Origins of 'Total Recall': Is a Faithful Philip K. Dick Adaptation Even Possible? 'Dark Knight Rises': Is Batman a Modern Day Dickens Character?
In a post-Harry Potter Avatar and Lord of the Rings world the descriptors "sci-fi" and "fantasy" conjure up particular imagery and ideas. The Hunger Games abolishes those expectations rooting its alternate universe in a familiar reality filled with human characters tangible environments and terrifying consequences. Computer graphics are a rarity in writer/director Gary Ross' slow-burn thriller wisely setting aside effects and big action to focus on star Jennifer Lawrence's character's emotional struggle as she embarks on the unthinkable: a 24-person death match on display for the entire nation's viewing pleasure. The final product is a gut-wrenching mature young adult fiction adaptation diffused by occasional meandering but with enough unexpected choices to keep audiences on their toes.
Panem a reconfigured post-apocalyptic America is sectioned off into 12 unique districts and ruled under an iron thumb by the oppressive leaders of The Capitol. To keep the districts producing their specific resources and prevent them from rebelling The Capitol created The Hunger Games an annual competition pitting two 18-or-under "tributes" from each district in a battle to the death. During the ritual tribute "Reaping " teenage Katniss (Lawrence) watches as her 12-year-old sister Primrose is chosen for battle—and quickly jumps to her aid becoming the first District 12 citizen to volunteer for the games. Joined by Peeta (Josh Hutcherson) a meek baker's son and the second tribute Effie the resident designer and Haymitch a former Hunger Games winner-turned-alcoholic-turned-mentor Katniss rides off to The Capitol to train and compete in the 74th Annual Hunger Games.
The greatest triumph of The Hunger Games is Ross' rich realization of the book's many worlds: District 12 is painted as a reminiscent Southern mining town haunting and vibrant; The Capitol is a utopian metropolis obsessed with design and flair; and The Hunger Games battleground is a sprawling forest peppered with Truman Show-esque additions that remind you it's all being controlled by overseers. The small-scale production value adds to the character-first approach and even when the story segues to larger arenas like a tickertape parade in The Capitol's grand Avenue of Tributes hall it's all about Katniss.
For fans the script hits every beat a nearly note-for-note interpretation of author Suzanne Collins' original novel—but those unfamiliar shouldn't worry about missing anything. Ross knows his way around a sharp screenplay (he's the writer of Big Pleasantville and Seabiscuit) and he's comfortable dropping us right into the action. His characters are equally as colorful as Panem Harrelson sticking out as the former tribute enlivened by the chance to coach winners. He's funny he's discreet he's shaded—a quality all the cast members share. As a director Ross employs a distinct often-grating perspective. His shaky cam style emphasizes the reality of the story but in fight scenarios—and even simple establishing shots of District 12's goings-on—the details are lost in motion blur.
But the dread of the scenario is enough to make Hunger Games an engrossing blockbuster. The lead-up to the actual competition is an uncomfortable and biting satire of reality television sports and everything that commands an audience in modern society. Katniss' brooding friend Gale tells her before she departs "What if nobody watched?" speculating that carnage might end if people could turn away. Unfortunately they can't—forcing Katniss and Peeta to become "stars" of the Hunger Games. The duo are pushed to gussy themselves up put on a show and play up their romance for better ratings. Lawrence channels her reserved Academy Award-nominated Winter's Bone character to inhabit Katniss' frustration with the system. She's great at hunting but she doesn't want to kill. She's compassionate and considerate but has no interest in bowing down to the system. She's a leader but she knows full well she's playing The Capitol's game. Even with 23 other contestants vying for the top spot—like American Idol with machetes complete with Ryan Seacrest stand-in Caesar Flickerman (the dazzling Stanley Tucci)—Katniss' greatest hurdle is internal. A brave move for a movie aimed at a young audience.
By the time the actual Games roll around (the movie clocks in at two and a half hours) there's a need to amp up the pace that never comes and The Hunger Games loses footing. Katniss' goal is to avoid the action hiding in trees and caves waiting patiently for the other tributes to off themselves—but the tactic isn't all that thrilling for those watching. Luckily Lawrence Hutcherson and the ensemble of young actors still deliver when they cross paths and particular beats pack all the punch an all-out deathwatch should. PG-13 be damned the film doesn't skimp on the bloodshed even when it comes to killing off children. The Hunger Games bites off a lot for the first film of a franchise and does so bravely and boldly. It may not make it to the end alive but it doesn't go down without a fight.
Enigmatic and deliberate Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy makes no reservations while unraveling its heady spy story for better or worse. The film based on the bestselling novel by John Le Carre is purposefully perplexing effectively mirroring the central character George Smiley's (Gary Oldman) own mind-bending investigation of the British MI6's mole problem. But the slow burn pacing clinical shooting style and air of intrigue only go so far—Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy sports an incredible cast that can't dramatically translate the movie's impenetrable narrative. Almost from the get go the movie collapses under its own weight.
After a botched mission in Hungary that saw his colleague Jim (Mark Strong) gunned down in the streets Smiley and his boss Control (John Hurt) are released from the "Circus" (codename for England's Secret Intelligence Service). But soon after Smiley is brought back on board as an impartial observer tasked to uncover the possible infiltration of the organization. The former agent already dealing with the crippling of his own marriage attempts to sift through the history and current goings on of the Circus narrowing his hunt down to four colleagues: Percy aka "Tinker" (Toby Jones) Bill aka "Tailor" (Colin Firth) Roy aka "Soldier" (Ciaran Hinds) and Toy aka "Poor Man" (David Dencik). Working with Peter (Benedict Cumberbatch) a conflicted younger member of the service and Ricki (Tom Hardy) a rogue agent who has information of his own Smiley slowly uncovers the muddled truth—occasionally breaking in to his own work place and crossing his own friends to do so.
Describing Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy as dense doesn't seem complicated enough. The first hour of the monster mystery moves at a sloth's pace trickling out information like the tedious drips of a leaky faucet. The talent on display is undeniable but the characters Smiley included are so cold that a connection can never be made. TTSS sporadically jumps around from past to present timelines without any indication: a tactic that proves especially confusing when scenes play out in reoccurring locations. It's not until halfway through that the movie decides to kick into high gear Smiley's search for a culprit finally becoming clear enough to thrill. A film that takes its time is one thing but Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy does so without any edge or hook.
What the movie lacks in coherency it makes up for in style and thespian gravitas. Director Tomas Alfredson has assembled some of the finest British performers working today and they turn the script's inaccessible spy jargon into poetry. Firth stands out as the group's suave slimeball a departure from his usual nice guy roles. Hardy assures us he's the next big thing once again as the agency's resident moppet a lover who breaks down after a romantic fling uncovers horrifying truth. Oldman is given the most difficult task of the bunch turning the reserved contemplative Smiley into a real human. He half succeeds—his observational slant in the beginning feels like an extension of the movie's bigger problems but once gets going in the second half of the film he's quite a bit of fun.
Alfredson constructs Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy like a cinematic architect each frame dripping with perfectly kitschy '70s production design and camera angles that make the spine tingle. He creates paranoia through framing similar to the Coppola's terrifying The Conversation but unlike that film TTSS doesn't have the characters or story to match. The movie strives to withhold information and succeeds—too much so. Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy wants us to solve a mystery with George Smiley but it never clues us in to exactly why we should want to.
Who would have guessed that Bud Selig is a revolutionary thinker?
(Who would have guessed that Bud Selig of all people would give me fodder for an article?)
Baseball's commish has ratified the owners' vote to drop two Major League Baseball teams before the start of next season. (Never mind the myriad legal battles that stand in his way.)
Now that the nation's downsizing trend has made its way to baseball burgs, Hollywood.com has taken the "drop-two" concept to entertainment groupings that might need a trim.
And, unlike baseball, we're not afraid to name our two, either.
Group: Harry Potter characters
Which Two Get Canned: Professor Dumbledore and Hermione Granger
Why: Both are stuck-up, righteous, know-it-alls. Who needs 'em?
Group: ABC primetime shows
Which Two Get Canned: Dharma & Greg, America's Funniest Home Videos
Why: True, the whole lineup deserves to be canned, but these shows rotted on the vine a long time ago.
Group: 'N Sync
Which Two Get Canned: Lance and Joey
Why: For one, they can't sing. For two, they starred in that God-awful movie, On the Line.
Group: James Bond movies
Which Two Get Canned: The Living Daylights, License to Kill
Why: Even George Lazenby was a better Bond than the wooden Mr. Dalton.
Which Two Get Canned: Ross and Monica
Why: The other four--especially Chandler--are actually funny at times.
Group: Destiny's Child
Which Two Get Canned: The two who aren't Beyonce
Why: Because we don't even know the names of the two who aren't Beyonce.
Group: Jackson 5
Which Two Get Canned: Marlon, Randy
Why: As if we'd ever get rid of Tito...
Group: Star Trek
Which Two Get Canned: Sulu, Transporter Chief Kyle
Why: They're the first two to go when a recession finally hits the Federation.
Group: Star Trek: The Next Generation
Which Two Get Canned: Commander Riker, Wesley Crusher
Why: Extraneous. Captain Picard needs Riker like he needs a third leg, and the young Mr. Crusher is just a skinny snot rag.
Group: Led Zeppelin
Which Two Get Canned: John Bonham, John Paul Jones
Why: They aren't Robert Plant or Jimmy Paige. This was essentially a two-man band.
Group: The Brady Bunch
Which Two Get Canned: Jan, Sam
Why: Their names have three letters. And Jan is just a whiny little snot rag. Hmm, maybe she should date Wesley Crusher.
Group: Rocky Franchise
Which Two Get Canned: IV, V
Why: Five was way too many Rocky movies. Even Sugar Ray Leonard didn't un-retire this many times.
Group: Late night TV hosts
Which Two Get Canned: Conan O'Brien, Charles Grodin
Why: Can't get rid of Jay or David; they have too much money. And we like Craig Kilborn and Charlie Rose too much.
Group: Star Wars movies
Which Two Get Canned: Return of the Jedi, Phantom Menace
Why: Jedi was the weak link of the first trio, and Attack of the Clones--despite the inane title--will be infinitely better than Phantom Menace.
Which Two Get Canned: Chloe, Luka
Why: Both of them have lost that lovin' feeling.
Which Two Get Canned: Ringo, George
Why: (See comment above, re: Led Zeppelin.)
Group: The Simpsons
Which Two Get Canned: Skinner's mom, Rod Flanders
Why: Agnes had sex with the Comic Book Guy, which is unforgivable. Rod, the elder Flanders son, has already left the straight-and-narrow path set by his dad: How boring.
And an honorable mention goes to The Sopranos, who don't need to be on this list. They do a good enough job of contraction all by themselves.