Saturday, November 19, 2011

Film Reviews: The Ides of March, Barry Lyndon, The Road

The Ides of March

The days of Mr. Smith Goes to Washington is long past. Cynicism is in for political movies, and George Clooney’s newest movie (directed, that is) reflects that. While the system isn’t presented quite as darkly as in something like Syriana (also featuring Clooney), it certainly fits into the mold.

The Ides of March stars Ryan Gosling as Stephen Myers, the idealistic but ambitious young deputy campaign manager for the charismatic and talented Democratic Governor of Pennsylvania Mike Morris (Clooney), who is the favorite to win the Democratic nomination for president. While Morris is the favorite, and leads in the polls, the election is hardly decided, and may hinge on the upcoming Ohio primary. Former candidate Senator Thompson of Ohio (Jeffrey Wright) still hasn’t endorsed anyone, and his support (and his delegates) could be key to victory, but how much will his support cost? As the day of the primary grows closer, Myers gets a call from the rival campaign manager (Paul Giamatti), who insists that there are things Myers doesn’t know. Other plots involve a tenacious reporter (Marisa Tomei), Myers’ semi-paranoid boss (P.S. Hoffman), and a pretty young intern (Evan Rachel Wood).

Friday, November 4, 2011

TV Roundup: Breaking Bad

While its more famous and popular older brother Mad Men* gets most of the attention from AMC’s crop of original programming, Vince Gilligan’s Breaking Bad is quietly putting an astonishingly high-quality. In fact, I’m going to make a bold claim: Breaking Bad is the best thing I’ve seen on television since The Wire ended its run in 2008.** Having seen up through the third season of this amazing show, I want to talk a little about it. Hard as it’s going to be, I will refrain from spoilers.