Downton Abbey: Season 2 (2011)

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*CONTAINS SPOILERS*

What I liked:

  • The stark differences shown between wartime battlefronts and then the jarring peace that is experienced in other places (such as at Downton).
  • The relationship between Lady Mary and Carson.
  • Sybil and Branson – I have always liked this pairing, because it does not fit in with the times, so it gives it a dangerous edge. Plus they just look gorgeous together. Granted, the show takes forever while dancing around this thing, but Findlay and Leech have fantastic chemistry, and I was rooting for them from the off.
  • How much Edith has improved. Goodness, what a piece of work she was in the beginning! She has definitely gotten better, though I am still no fan of hers.
  • Cousin Violet does have a heart, though she never, ever wants that part of her to be seen. A big scene this was evident was when Daisy and William were getting married, and she was crying, but passed that off as a bad cold. Silly woman.
  • Lavinia Swire. I know we were (technically) supposed to hate the girl, but she was so pure, so good, so sweet, that you could not help but like her, and feel for her when Matthew was so obviously still in love with Mary.
  • That Christmas episode was absolutely fantastic.
  • Daisy and Mr Mason – so sweet.

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What I didn’t like: 

  • Cousin Isobel just peeved me this season. Last season she was some annoying comic relief – this season she was a control freak, nasty, pushy, and just plain down rude. No love for that.
  • How Lady Mary can really just be a spoiled brat (this is specifically looking at how she handled the whole Carson not joining her and Sir Richard at their new home).
  • This whole Robert Crawley scenario with the housemaid, Jane. I was not a fan of that at all, and felt it was most uncalled for.
  • Thomas being back. The man is so evil, cowardly and underhanded and annoys me endlessly!
  • Ethel and her whole pregnant, baby, can’t work thing. I know it sounds cold, but she made a stupid decision, and is holding everyone else accountable for it. She’s also pushy to boot.

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Rating:
GRADE 8.5Seriously addictive show! We start up with the war in full swing, and it seems that everything is changed. Downton is still functioning, but with minor changes. Bates is still gone, and Anna’s heart is still broken, and it sucks. Times were certainly different, as this season showcases how desperate all the men seemed to be to serve in the war to show their loyalty to the country, no matter what. Robert Crawley was especially offended on being a “mascot” and that he was not going to be sent to the front, while William was prepared to leave his father just to join the effort.

I was highly unimpressed to see Thomas back so soon, and evidently that slippery snake has not changed his ways. Maggie Smith, as always, entertained me endlessly with her aversion to technology, and the way she dealt with both the telephone and the gramophone was, naturally, hilarious. Only Carson is her equal when it comes to technology!

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Sybil made me so happy this season, as she was really in her element, having studied to be a nurse and caring for people. She was respected. Branson hanging around was awesome, and I was thrilled to finally see their relationship progress to something. I was not a fan, however, of the subplots that came in and ended without really giving much closure. For instance, Robert being a total twat and having that affair with the maid was something that horrified me, I always thought he was made of sterner stuff, and they dance around it and then the maid leaves. Done. Poof. Gone. No more. Really?! After the entire fuss that was kicked up about it, I would have assumed more. Also, for instance, Patrick returning. That was a thing and then bang, all gone. Oh well.

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Mary’s new beau was definitely a smarmy and nasty character, and I was not impressed. Matthew, of course, is still just pure perfection for me, and I was so sad when he was so terribly wounded at war, I could not bear to think of him wallowing in such a depression, thinking himself less a man because of his wounds. But holy joy for us, things changed! Yay! I am really starting to get worried about Carson’s health… his heart just doesn’t seem able to bear things anymore. Mrs O’Brien, still sly as a fox, has definitely changed her tune quite a bit at times. She is still cold and cruel, but she is no longer as bad as she previously was when she was with Thomas, and her loyalty to Cora is astounding.

I must say that Cousin Isobel really just worked on my nerves this season, it was not as amusing as last to watch her. The way that Downton was totally changed was interesting and frustrating in equal measure, because there was some extreme amusement to be found there, but there was also things that were irritating. Again, the divide between the rich and the poor was highlighted fully here, with the rich being more concerned about some of the space being used up as opposed to the assistance that was generated.

As much as Mary peeves me, I actually really just want her and Matthew to be together, because he does love her. Too much. It was sad to see the way the whole thing with Lavinia Swire went, but it did clear the path for them to be together. Edith has changed a lot, and with all her flaws and all she is no longer deadly nasty and cruel as she was before. I was terribly sad, then happy, then worried, then depressed watching the whole Bates/Anna story. Finally he gets shot of his wife, everything is smoothed over at Downton and he returns, but then his wife dies and Bates is in trouble, and he marries Anna and is then arrested… good gracious me, not happy times. Oh my goodness, again there is just far too much to talk about here and just not enough space! Go watch this, immediately, maybe then we will all be on the same page about it!

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Rapid Review: The Bourne Identity (2002)

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bourne identity

“You’re U.S. Government property. You’re a malfunctioning $30 million weapon. You’re a total goddamn catastrophe, and by God, if it kills me, you’re going to tell me how this happened.”
– Conklin

SYNOPSIS: A man is picked up by a fishing boat, bullet-riddled and suffering from amnesia, before racing to elude assassins and regain his memory. – via IMDB

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GRADE 8.5love Jason Bourne. Seriously. I love these movies. I have always enjoyed them. Plus, Matt Damon. Because Matt Damon is amazing. But really, I wish I could express how exciting and brilliant I find these movies. Okay, okay, let’s move on to the movie itself. The Bourne Identity is one of those action movies that ticks all the boxes for me. It is smart, has a really good story, has a solid cast carrying it all, is directed well, looks fantastic and has brilliant choreography. The pacing is something I liked. No rush here, so sirree, it starts with Bourne in the ocean, shot, fished out, almost dead, and as Bourne learns about himself, so does the audience, and that is a fun thing. There is no rush, and when the action kicks in, you get swept up in this intense mystery of who the hell Jason Bourne is, and what he was before the amnesia kicked in. Matt Damon is just brilliant here. He delivers us Bourne and he nails it – the emotions are down, you identify with Jason and root for him, even though you know nothing about him at all, it doesn’t matter. Hell, even when you learn he was a super spy assassin, that doesn’t matter. Bourne is layered, and his blank-slate introduction made him someone you could identify with in a hurry, so they didn’t have to tell you too much. But you uncovered more and more about him and find ways to slot the new information in on the man you have discovered him to be without his memory. The story is also pretty sharp, definitely a solid spy-thriller and it doesn’t get old, either. The camera work is also something to be admired, something that transports you right into the events that are unfolding before your very eyes. The Bourne Identity is a solid movie, with a gritty, realistic hero, something I would highly recommend spending some time watching, as it is well worth it!

Sporadic Scene: Banshee (Season 3×03) – Nola Longshadow vs Clay Burton

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Banshee is something I became hopelessly addicted to, and the biggest reason for my addiction? Clay Burton. Truly. The man is freaking awesome (you can check out my gushing here). Season three also gave us one of the most epic fights I have seen in years. The second Nola’s tomahawk flew into the scene and pinned Burton, you knew that there would be hell to pay. As much as I liked her, she had absolutely none of my loyalty in the deadly match when it came right down to it. The fight was perfectly choreographed, looked amazing and had thrills laced throughout it (scalpel tray in the boot of the car, a roof being shredded, car badges becoming weapons). It was exhilarating from start to finish. Brutal, bloody, beautiful.

Ugh, I cannot seem to find a clip that plays when embedded in my site, but if you click it will take you to YouTube itself so you can go check out the epic!

PS: Contains spoilers if you haven’t seen this far in Banshee yet!

If you have a scene that you would like featured, drop me a mail at sporadiczoe@hotmail.com with a link to the scene and an explanation as to why.

Rapid Review: Batman Begins (2005)

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Batman Begins Poster

“There is nothing to fear, but fear itself!”
– Scarecrow

SYNOPSIS: After training with his mentor, Batman begins his war on crime to free the crime-ridden Gotham City from corruption that the Scarecrow and the League of Shadows have cast upon it. – via IMDB

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GRADE 9The movie was simply amazing, with great cinematography as well as a brilliant score. This is one of my favourite origin stories, if not my most favourite. I know they have been done to death, but let’s face it, not quite the way that Nolan has done it. The man is a master, and he revolutionized the way we perceived the Batman films after they were butchered by Joel Schumacher. Nolan’s casting choices were dead on. Michael Caine is a perfect Alfred and Gary Oldman’s Jim Gordon is a solid, trusty character. Christian Bale is my favourite Batman because he manages to pull of both Bruce Wayne and the caped crusader, which is something a lot of actors fail to do. ore often than not in superhero movies the actor can either pull off his identity or the alter ego, but so few times are they a success at both. He is pitted against the awesome Scarecrow, and Cillian Murphy was freaking perfect here, he plays the role so well. You cannot forget about Liam Neeson’s Ra’s al Ghul because he was truly a formidable enemy to have. Morgan Freeman’s Lucius Fox is a character that I thoroughly enjoy. The confused love story between Bruce and Rachel is very sad, too. Never overplayed, never not there. I think that the humour that is put forth in this movie is exactly what it has to be: not enough to make it a comedy, but not so greatly lacking that there is nothing but insurmountable drama. The humour that is laced throughout this is hilarious and gets me giggling good and proper, which is fun. The plot is put together well, and manages to stand on its own, and is definitely more than your average hollow action flick. If you have not watched it, where have you been?! For those who have watched it, watch it again and again! A Christopher Nolan Batman marathon is worth it each and every time. The length of the movie was just right, with plenty time to tell us Bruce’s story as well as take us through the motions of becoming the Batman. It did not feel long or dragged out anywhere, so well done! There is so much great stuff going on for this movie, from the awesome score from Hans Zimmer, to the great performances from the cast, a fantastic story and plenty action that looked fantastic… you can’t help but love this movie!

Sporadic Scene: True Detective (Season 1×04) – Who Goes There Tracking Shot

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Wow. This is one of those incredibly well shot and intense scenes. True Detective is, hands down, one of the best shows I have ever seen, and there was just so much going on there that was right and perfect. Anyway, Cohle and Hart eventually go off the books when they decide that Cohle must try and infiltrate a biker gang he was once undercover in, and in exchange for the co-operation of one of the main members, Cohle needs to help with a hairy situation. Eventually Cohle decides that, no matter what the hell is going down, there are some things that he just needs, and decides to take them. What follows is six minutes of pure epic.

If you have a scene that you would like featured, drop me a mail at sporadiczoe@hotmail.com with a picture/gif/video of the scene and an explanation as to why (should you want to include it).

Sporadic Scene: Crazy, Stupid, Love (2011) – Family Reunion

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Do not watch this if you have not watched the movie, it is a bit of a spoiler!

This scene is undeniably one of the very best things about Crazy, Stupid, Love. I mean it was wholly unexpected the first time I watched it and geniusly crafted, the family reunion had me in stitches. Everything that could go wrong, did go wrong, but it was handled with aplomb, and it definitely the standout scene of the movie. If you have not seen this yet, you have got to get to it!

If you have a scene that you would like featured, drop me a mail at sporadiczoe@hotmail.com with a picture/gif/video of the scene and an explanation as to why (should you want to include it).