Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Review of AtlasShrugged Part II: The Strike

Eminent domain, intellectual property rights, class warfare. Alternative energy sources, government managed vs private enterprise. Political cronyism, corporate sabotage. 

These are some of the issues addressed in Atlas Shrugged Part II: The Strike, the film trilogy adaptation of Ayn Rand's prescient & polarizing novel Atlas Shrugged.

Viewers will be treated to strong lead performances by Samantha Mathis, Jason Beghe, Richard T. Jones, Esai Morales, John Rubenstein, Kim Rhodes, Ray Wise, and Ayre Gross. The supporting cast is equally entertaining. Even the extras command your attention. Their screen presence evokes both sides of OWS and imply and infer answers to the question 'who built this?'.

i haven't seen part I of the movie's trilogy, and i haven't read Ms Rand's book, but prior to seeing the movie i knew the plot's premise. But even if i hadn't been familiar with the subject, the movie's script, direction, and performances are so engaging and topical i never had the feeling that i'd missed something or couldn't follow the action.

The real strength of this movie, is that like the book from which it is adapted, it will most likely stand the test of time. And whether you take the side of those who question and challenge authority, or those who opt to disappear, or those who are authoritarian, this movie stimulates real-life dialogue.

Atlas Shrugged Part II: The Strike, now playing.Please check your local movie houses.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Review of Showtime's Dexter Season 7 Premiere "Are You? & S7EP2 "Sunshine and Frosty Swirl"

SHOWTIME®'s Dexter Season 7 Press Release October 2012:

With 3.04 million viewers for the night and 2.4 million viewers at 9 p.m., DEXTER delivered its highest-rated premiere ever.

· Dexter continues unprecedented growth in its premieres, up every year since its prior cycle for the sixth consecutive year.
· The premiere now ranks as the top telecast of the year for SHOWTIME®, outperforming the Shameless (1.6 million, 3/4/12) by 50 percent.
· With 3.04 million viewers for the night, the season seven premiere night was up 10 percent versus season six premiere (vs. 2.76 million) and up versus the S6 finale (vs. 2.71 million).
· At 9 p.m., the seventh season debut was up 10 percent versus the S6 premiere (3.04 million vs. 2.19 million) and up versus the S6 finale (vs. 2.23 million).
· Dexter is the No. 1 rated series on Showtime, watched by nearly 5.5 million weekly viewers across platforms in its sixth season, the series' highest rated season ever.
· Roughly 3.5 million viewers, or 65 percent of the series’ weekly audience, watched DEXTER S6 on a time-shifted basis (after its Sun 10 p.m. airing) — viewing replays, on their DVR, and On Demand.

Season 7 returns in explosive fashion, as Dexter (Michael C. Hall) is finally forced to confront his greatest fear, as Debra (Jennifer Carpenter) witnesses his insatiable, ritualistic slaying of a killer. Now Deb knows the secret of his Dark Passenger, his undeniable thirst for blood, and the Code that their father Harry ('James Remar') instilled in him as a young boy.

But as Deb tries to reconcile the unfathomable idea that her beloved, mild-mannered brother is Miami’s most notorious serial killer, Dexter is still pulled by his natural impulses to seek out the guilty and exact his brand of vigilante justice, which leads him on the trail of a brutal Ukrainian mobster (Ray Stevenson).

Along the way, Dexter meets Hannah McKay (Yvonne Strahovski), a strong, independent woman with a past that she's struggled to put behind her. As a turn of events leads Miami Metro Homicide to ask for her help in solving some old cases, Dexter works with her and begins to wonder if there's more to this woman than she's professed. [End of Press Release]

How can a serial killer be likeable? This is the question that has been in the back of my mind since i first became a fan of Showtime's Dexter. It took 7 seasons for the answer to make it's way from my subconscious to my conscious. But now that we the viewers are getting even more intimate with Dex' "dark passenger" we're seeing him not only through Dex' narrative but Debs's as well. Season 7 premiere episode "Are You?..." forces us to. The seventh season's villain is not a who but a what---Ukranian organized crime syndicate. Season 7 is also funny. The humor's a nice tension reliever. Face it, if it weren't for the humor, the title character would be grotesque. 

Sure we've always known what Dexter does is a crime, but like Deb, something in our "lizard brain" knows, as wrong as it is, we can't/won't turn Dexter in. Heck we barely morally condemn him for being a serial killer. And seeing him through Deb lets us understand and own up to being an accessory to his crime(s). He's the hybrid anti-hero/super-hero. As he says to Deb in S7EP3 "Buck The System": "I want to let you in on my process so you can understand that what I do is good." When Deb tells him the legal system works & makes his murders unnecessary he answers with "then why am i so busy?" It's that line and Deb's non-response to it that makes it o.k. for society to understand why Dexter murders. Even if we can't condone it.

Check out Showtime's Dexter Sundays at 9:00pm ET Please Check Your Local Listings.