Homeland: Season 1 (2011)

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homeland season 1 poster

*CONTAINS SPOILERS*

What I liked:

  • How the flashbacks Brody  has are threaded throughout the season and between scenes.
  • Mandy Patinkin as Saul Berenson. I was thrilled to see him, and see that he is a permanent cast member. He’s a pretty intense charatcter who is very commanding on screen, someone you root for. I like him.
  • Damian Lewis was incredibly well cast to play Nicholas Brody. He handles the role of broken and defeated very well, and he seamlessly manages to play the role of the tortured, as well as the liar.
  • Brody’s psyche is pretty damaged, and they work really well with the scenes to play with this (such as sitting in the corner, sleeping on the floor, etc).
  • The family dynamics after Brody’s miraculous return home. After eight years life had been moving along with the idea that Brody wasn’t coming home. Just because he is back now, does not mean that Dana and Jessica are going to get along any different, or that Chris isn’t going to continue to rely on Mike for all the things that Brody had missed. Basically just the way that he is transitioning back in and how his family takes it is interesting.
  • Nicholas Brody is such a layered character, which is refreshing. You never quite get a handle on him or anything he has been through.
  • The way the reveals are slowly but surely sprinkled throughout the season. It’s continually changing the way you look at things.
  • Two sides of the story are being shown – constantly at odds. You hear about the American side, and you can judge it right or wrong if you please. But then you hear the side of the “terrorists”, and again you are left to judge right from wrong, and it soon becomes evident how murky the whole thing is.
  • The wheeling and dealing and ulterior motives and the way everything is so calculated.
  • The way things come up, get resolved, and then 360 about to Brody again. I cannot explain that, but if you have seen Homeland, you will understand what I am talking about here (like the whole Tom thing).

homeland season 1 brody family

What I didn’t like: 

  • Carrie gets on my absolute last nerve. Not because Claire Danes sucked, because she didn’t, she’s very good, but Carrie as a character is a waste of life and screen time and she’s weak and aggravating. I know she is central and all that but hell, could the character just have been a little less annoying?! As I said to Natasha, whenever that blonde bitch comes up on the screen, I want to take her out on a boat into the middle of a shark infested ocean and throw her overboard with a gash in her leg. Extreme, I know, but she is irritating as hell.
  • I was so over everything always being about Carrie, and how everyone must drop everything to be there for her and she doesn’t care about anyone else. She takes everyone for granted, as though she is entitled to have people like that in her life.
  • Any time Damian Lewis had a screen kiss. It just looked like he was eating someone. Eeeeew.
  • Carrie is nowhere near as smart as she thinks she is. I did tell you she annoyed me.
  • There were times where I wished the psychology was explored just a little bit more. Not saying it isn’t, but I would just have liked to know a little bit more. They give you the reasons for everything happening, and why the people are doing what they are doing, but nothing really in depth, just enough to identify and explain things to the viewer.

nicholas brody homeland season 1

Rating:
GRADE 8So Natasha hounded me to watch this. Literally, wouldn’t let up for weeks until I got up. I am still suffering (and it’s been months) from a Sherlock hangover. Not like I haven’t watched a hell of a lot of series in between it, it’s just that after Sherlock, everything seems so bland. Anyway, at the rate she was going on, it sounded like she had hit paydirt. But then again, Natasha has a serious penchant for soldiers… Homeland is a captivating and a slow burn kind of show. I thought it was great, layered, detailed, and came together well. Just as I was about to call bullshit on something, like the way Nicholas Brody seems a little bit overly calm after his return, you see him cowering in a corner when he has no one to be brave for. Just as you want to cuss out about the fact that he is lying, there are little reveals that come up to show what is going on. Carrie is chasing Brody, burning all her bridges as she goes (and it’s not like she has ten million to burn, either), just because she is insistent that Brody is working for Al-Qaeda. As much as you can sort of see the way she is thinking and understand her logic, Carrie’s character is so grating that you don’t root for her at all – not to find terrorists, not to save people or help anyone, nothing. And for me that is terrible, because you are supposed to support them all, but I can’t. Saul, on the other hand, is a great character, and the whole bit with his wife was a bit heavy to go through, because it was really sad. I loved the way this was a very well constructed political thriller, and you never really get a handle on what is going on. There are some intense scenes, and some that leave you wondering what the hell, but not ever in a bad way. The series was shot well, too, and there are plenty characters to enjoy. The cast did a wonderful job bringing them all to life, and each delivered really well. I think that the whole friendship between Mike and Brody has been really underdeveloped, because he has returned and because Mike was sleeping with Jessica, it gets to the place where some work needs to be done there to bring the audience in to what will happen. I just feel it is a little underdeveloped. The whole time I was watching this, I was wondering what Brody was doing. Some things looked so suspicious and don’t mean much in the big scheme of things, and other minor things turn out to be pretty darned important. Then tension escalated progressively throughout the season, and I think that it was done really well. Never overkill, but ever-present. I can’t understand how I missed this show for so long. It just seems crazy. Overall, Homeland is well worth the watch if you enjoy political thrillers and a chase, thrown in with a good measure of intrigue and a cast to carry it well.

Review: Seven Psychopaths (2012)

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Seven Psychopaths Poster

“You didn’t think I was what? Serious? You think I’m not serious just because I carry a rabbit?”
– Zachariah

Marty Faranan (Colin Farrell) is a struggling screenwriter that has been trying to write a movie for ages titled Seven Psychopaths. He is having no luck, and his best friend Billy Bickle (Sam Rockwell) decides to step in and take the reigns, and starts off by feeding Marty some stories about some crazy people. What Marty doesn’t know is that Billy is so intent on helping him write the screenplay that he has gone far enough as to place a classified ad in the paper calling for all psychopaths to contact him and share their stories so that Marty may find that bout of inspiration that he is so desperate for. This way there will be a real inside look, an undeniable link to something that Marty cannot wholly understand or identify with without an inside scoop.

Seven Psychopaths Christopher Walken

Have a beer. Relax. It is only a crazy gangster’s Shih Tzu!

His first visit is from Zachariah (Tom Waits) who tells him that they were serial killers that hunter serial killers, but that his wife Maggie (Amanda Warren) had left him years ago when he could not assist her in murdering some hippy perceived to be the Zodiac killer. Meanwhile, Billy’s associate in crime Hans Kieslowski (Christopher Walken) is running their business of kidnapping and returning dogs to their owners for hefty rewards. Hans has kidnapped a Shih Tzu named Bonny from her overprotective and psychotic owner Charlie Castello (Woody Harrelson). This helps them nothing when they realize Castello is not looking to give a reward to whomever may return his dog, he is out for blood, and wants to murder the perpetrators.

Marty is rapidly pulled into the Los Angeles underworld due to his friends and their retarded decisions, and his drinking ultimately leads his girlfriend, Kaya (Abbie Cornish), kicking him out. Out of a place to live, and his movie not coming along as famously as he had hoped, the psychopaths start coming to him with their stories, and soon he has enough to fill the book with. He finds out that the stories that Billy has been feeding him are not about fictitious people, but real bona fide people in the world, which unnerves Marty just a bit.

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Such a handsome cravat of a time long past

Hans’s wife, Myra (Linda Bright Clay), is fighting cancer in the hospital, but is murdered by Castello when he makes the connection between Hans and his missing pet, Bonny. Hans no longer has anything to lose, and soon he, Billy and Marty flee to the desert, and the two become very involved with helping him to write his screenplay, and make it a success. Naturally, they grow closer, and though Marty cannot believe that he was sucked into all of it, he is still enjoying the thrill in one of those worrywart manners.

Seven Psychopaths desert

The normal and the psychos

Stuck out in the desert with a stolen pet, are they able to avoid Castello and return the Shih Tzu and get away with it, or are they going to go down in an emotional shootout like Billy wants them to? Will Marty ever finish his screenplay and have it become a crazy big movie, all the while kicking his alcohol habit?

Seven Psychopaths earns a 7/10. I enjoyed sections of the movies, while at times I sat there, mouth agape. It is sharp and smart and most definitely weird, and Christopher Walken delivers another solidly amusing character. You can actually have a look at a “psychopath” in this film, and while it leaves you feeling a little strange at times, at others it is simply hilarious how it all goes down. Woody Harrelson just cracks me up, and the logic of these people in this movie was absolutely absurd, no matter how you look at it. The film jumps between the story as it is happening, the psychopaths and their antics, as well as the screenplay that everyone is assisting Marty with. It was a very good watch, and it was a load of fun, though I don’t feel it deserved to be hyped up as much as it was.