Boardwalk Empire: Paris Green

Oh, happy days...aren't here anymore...

Boardwalk Empire: Complete Episode Guide 

Boardwalk EmpireParis Green

Season One: Episode Eleven

Directed by:  Allen Coulter

Written by:  Howard Korder and Terence Winter (series creator) from the novel by Nelson Johnson

The Spin:  Director Coulter wisely keeps with the “less is more” mentality he presented back in Episode Seven in this subdued but powerful episode where Korder weaves a stinging leitmotif around poisoning in both the literal and metaphorical sense.  The message boards have been a few steps ahead on this one, and it’s finally been confirmed…The Commodore (Dabney Coleman) is: 1. Jimmy’s pop. 2. Being poisoned.  3. Just might return for next season!  In the mix of these developments, Gretchen Mol as Gillian continues to put the most interesting spin on the “hooker with a heart of gold” stock character I’ve seen in years.  Kudos to the writers for keeping hers one of the most interesting characters on the show.  Meanwhile, Jimmy’s paramour (the eternally weepy Aleska Palladino) gets emotionally sucker-punched by the old switcheroo (her lady lover ran off to Paris with the photographer instead!) and by Jimmy’s stoic reaction to her now anti-climactic “Dear John” letter.  Poor old Nucky couldn’t seem to get a break as both Margaret and his brother came to verbal blows with him over this, that and the other thing, resulting in him announcing his brother’s resignation as sheriff and his Irish lass stealing away…  And last but certainly not least, a strong case for Equal Opportunity Employment is made as Van Alden goes all “Church of the Third Revelation” on his two-timing-number-two’s Jewish ass.  Whew…talk about a great set-up for next week’s season finale! Continue reading

Advertisements

Spotlight on the Independent Arts: Save Yourself

It’s time again for The Schleicher Spin to put a Spotlight on the Independent Arts.  

The goal of this recurring feature is to give exposure to, encourage collaboration with, and provide honest critiques for independent artists.  The plan is to feature filmmakers, writers, photographers, painters and musicians.  As an independent author, I feel it’s important to support and celebrate those working independently to forge their careers in the arts.   

If you are an independent artist interested in having your film, book, music or art considered by The Schleicher Spin for a Spotlight feature, please submit a comment. 

Our current entry will focus on the new full length album from New York’s own Robbie Gil, Save Yourself

Robbie Gil : Save Yourself

The Lowdown:  Robbie Gil should be no stranger to Spin readers or to fans of the New York City music scene.  He’s been featured before on Spotlight on the Independent Arts and is regular headliner at Manhattan’s legendary Rockwood Music Hall.  Recently he released a new album, Save Yourself, which can be purchased at one of his shows or through cdbaby.com.  Older songs from his album Stumble Inn and his EP Lightning in a Bottle are also available on iTunes.

Maybe it’s my bias as a writer, but my favorite musicians are those who are first and foremost masterful storytellers – the Bruce Springsteens, the Fiona Apples – they know not only how to craft a tune, but also how to tell a compelling story in as few choice words as possible.  Robbie Gil, with his “Cat Stevens-by-way-of-Ray LaMontagne” vibe is no different.  Continue reading

Boardwalk Empire: The Emerald City

Boardwalk Empire: Complete Episode Guide 

Boardwalk EmpireThe Emerald City

Season One: Episode Ten

Directed by:  Simon Cellan Jones

Written by:  Lawrence Konner and Terence Winter (series creator) from the novel by Nelson Johnson

The Spin:  After the dames get the right to vote, Nucky sees a golden opportunity with Margaret to rally the gals behind his new puppet for mayor.  Poor Jimmy mistakes his little boy’s outburst on the boardwalk about “mommy’s kissing friend” and beats the bejesus out of that sap of a photographer, resulting in his paramour plotting with the photographer’s wife to finally skedaddle over the pond to Paris takin’ the kid and all.  Meanwhile, snubbed after a visit with Margaret, Agent Van Alden falls off the wagon and runs into Lucy, resulting in the series’ most uncomfortable sex scene yet (a little more conversation would’ve been better).  Now get this – that giggly Doyle crosses the aisle resulting in a vengeful Chalky White botching a Nucky-planned rouse against Rothstein’s gang, resulting in two dead.  Back in Chicago, Capone has an unlikely revelation in a synagogue and decides it’s finally time to grow up – watch out world!  In your face (or shall we say half-faced) literary motifs (courtesy of The Wizard of Oz), the aforementioned sex scene, and a whole-lotta goin’ on resulting in all too obvious look in the mirror for Margaret made this a mixed bag of an episode.  Continue reading

127 Hours

Ummm...some help please.

When I first heard Danny Boyle would be directing a film based on Aron Ralston’s true story about being trapped in a crevasse that would be called 127 Hours, my first thought was, “Please, God, don’t let him direct it in real-time!”

I’m not a fan of Boyle’s hyper visual style.  I thought his Slumdog Millionaire was the most overrated film of recent memory and the worst Best Picture Oscar winner in many moons.  But even as a naysayer, I can’t deny he’s become one of the premier auteurs for the “ADD-Hey-Mom-Look-at-Me!” generation that’s grown up on reality shows.  With Ralston’s harrowing true story, Boyle has finally found riveting subject matter to match his out-of-control eccentricities behind the camera.

The film begins in traditional head-throbbing, loud, over-edited Boyle fashion as Ralston (James Franco, excellent in an essentially one-man-show) heads out of town for a weekend of rock-climbing and hiking through Utah’s Blue John Canyon.  After a chance encounter with the lovely Kate Mara and Amber Tamblyn, Ralston once again heads off on his own and eventually falls down a crevasse with a rock that crushes his arm.  Thankfully Boyle is not so hapless as to fail to realize that the natural beauty of the setting, the vast expanse of “wilderness” and Ralston’s singular drama should be the focus.  When that focus hones in on one man’s dire predicament, Boyle enters a whole new ballgame.  It becomes a film where silence is golden, and the noises that arise (the sound of Ralston screaming, rocks being chiseled, bones cracking, thunder rolling) evoke an “in-the-moment” jolt to the audience.

Continue reading

Boardwalk Empire: Belle Femme

Tres belle.

Boardwalk Empire: Complete Episode Guide 

Boardwalk EmpireBelle Femme

Season One: Episode Nine

Directed by:  Brad Anderson

Written by:  Steve Kornacki and Terence Winter (series creator) from the novel by Nelson Johnson

The SpinTranssiberian and The Machinist helmer Brad Anderson directs this taut episode with great restraint and the best pacing since Scorsese’s pilot.   Fresh from Chicago, Jimmy tries to reestablish his family life much to his little lady’s dismay.  When he tries to pull a number on Lucky Luciano with Momma’s help, that crafty Van Alden spoils the party by bringing him in on murder charges for the Hamilton Massacre.  But what Van Alden doesn’t realize is that his number two is in cahoots with Nucky, and he does his own number on their star witness against Jimmy.  Meanwhile, as Nucky sets his sights on fixing the local elections, Margaret does her own bit of politicking.  All of this leads up to a shocking denouement on the boardwalk, brilliantly pulled-off by Anderson’s slow-build.  This pretty lady of an episode was an absolute knock-out. Continue reading

Weapons of Mass Distraction

Pardon me while I change identities.

Is there an actress working today who looks sexier in pant suits and ladies business attire than Naomi Watts?  I mean seriously…oh, wait…I’m getting distracted.  What lucky bastard is Watts married to again in real life?

As outed CIA Agent Valerie Plame, Naomi Watts is perfectly cast in Doug Liman’s treatment on recent history, the ponderously titled Fair Game.  Oh, Valerie, didn’t you know when you wrote your book that there was a god-awful Cindy Crawford movie by that name already?  But I digress.  Based on the books by Valerie and her diplomat husband, Joe Wilson (Sean Penn, reveling in the opportunity to display his righteous indignation), the film depicts the botched build-up to the Iraq War from the point of view of a married couple caught in the crossfire.  Wisely placing the event everyone remembers (Plame’s outing) in the center of the film, the scenarios leading up to this are compellingly brought to light, and the dramatic arc of the fall-out, particularly how it affects the Wilson marriage, makes for a riveting two hours.  Continue reading

Boardwalk Empire: Hold Me In Paradise

I shot the sheriff, but I did not shoot the deputy.

Boardwalk Empire: Complete Episode Guide 

Boardwalk EmpireHold Me In Paradise

Season One: Episode Eight

Directed by:  Brian Kirk

Written by:  Meg Jackson and Terence Winter (series creator) from the novel by Nelson Johnson

The Spin:  While Nucky politics in Chicago at the Republican National Convention, his brother gets shot back in AC, forcing him to call on the only person he can trust, Margaret, to protect his ledger.  Meanwhile, he recruits Jimmy to come back home, political alliances are formed, and we get a deeper glimpse into Agent Van Alden’s sterile family life.  Brian Kirk’s lethargic direction drowns out this Meg Jackson penned episode where much happens, but it all feels a little bit sleepy. Continue reading