EVERYONE GOT TO EPISODE 5 OF MR. ROBOT

HOLLYWOOD – It was revealed today that everyone got to episode five of USA’s Mr. Robot before giving up.

A study by the Federal Office of Uncertain Statistics revealed that everyone who watched  Mr. Robot watched it until episode five and then gave up. The show stars Rami Malek as Elliot, a computer programmer who works for a cyber security company by day, but by night uses his skills to right wrongs etc. It’s like Knight Rider with laptop instead of a car called KIT 9000. Elliot is recruited by the mysterious Mr. Robot (Christian Slater) the leader of a group of rag tag predictably diverse hackers.

Dr. Parker Fillipe of the FOUS told the Studio Exec EXCLUSIVELY:

The viewer experience of Mr. Robot has been unusually unanimous. Everybody watched the first two episodes and thought it was ‘kick ass’, ‘genuinely original television’ etc. High approval. Then then next two episodes intrigue and interest slowly congeal as twists are predicted and Elliot’s Asperger’s voice-over becomes tiresome. What viewers found particularly irksome was how something was said and then immediately contradicted. For instance in the first episode he talks about how devastatingly lonely he is and then ten minutes later he’s in bed with his beautiful drug dealer. I imagine that is resolved in a later episode but none of us could be bothered at this point.

Has any other show been so universally judged in a similar way?

Critically yes. Lost finale, or True Detective Season 2 spring to mind, but people still watched, and most people watched all the way to the end. But Mr. Robot, no one and I mean absolutely no one watched passed episode 5.

Mr. Robot Season 2 is due in 2016.

TRUE DETECTIVE SEASON 2: FINALE ‘OMEGA STATION’ REVIEW

TRUE DETECTIVE SEASON 2: FINALE ‘THREE SHOOT OUTS AND A BABY’ REVIEW – So the 90 minute show  finally slopes off to a half-baked demise, trudging toward a horizon it has no hope of reaching and taking some consolation in the wonderful geographical diversity of California.

‘I can hear you, I just don’t find you convincing,’ says  Jordan, Vince Vaughn’s girlfriend. She’s already told him he’s a bad actor and I was applauding this meta-moment of honesty when I realized she was writing my review. I get it Nic Pizzolatto. I can see all the ambitions of the series; I can hear the pitch that must have had HBO bosses so excited. ‘It’ll be LA Confidential meets Chinatown, meets the Long Goodbye,’ he said. ‘Red woods, salt flats, Michael Mann inspired action shoot outs, snappy dialogue, career redefining roles!’ The boldness of putting John Carter, a Mean Girl, Alexander the Great and the guy from Hall Pass together must have been breathtaking. Exhilarating almost.

So what went wrong?

First off, in this kind of series the crime has to be a character. It has to be well defined and have a shape. That doesn’t have to be at the forefront. In Chinatown the real crime is revealed only very late, but for a show like this – 8 and a half hours of it – we need to know what is making all these car rides necessary. Here we had land deals, a guy with burnt eyes, a bit of aimless spook and ultimately nothing. The resolution revealed nothing we didn’t already know from the pilot episode.

Secondly, the career redefining didn’t happen. Rachel McAdams was AWFUL. She just look constipated and miserable. There was no humor and though I know humorless people do exist, I don’t believe in them. Colin Farrell’s accent actually changed in the finale into something cowboy-ish when he donned a Cowboy hat, as if the accent was so random it would be swayed by his headgear. Vince Vaughn brought a melancholy. Faltering delivery. That rivaled William Shatner when he was pondering. Something philosophical. In Star Trek.  Taylor Kitsch was basically gay Rachel McAdams and made me long for the old fashioned definition of gay, which Webster’s defines as ‘men having joyous sex with men’.

But to blame them would be unfair as they were lumbered with the worst dialogue, asinine characterization,  and dumb scenes. Daniel Day Lewis would have struggled to make Ray Velcro’s relationship with his fat ginger-haired asshole of a son, Chad, interesting or moving.

These characters didn’t do anything because that’s what the character would have done; they did it all because that’s what Nic Pizzolatto had written. Just like they all spoke the same way. When Velcro gets together with Benzedrine, I was sure he should at least have said ‘Sorry about that sucking a robot’s dick line’, but he actually wasn’t the same person as the person who said that in … what? … episode 2? The jumping into bed was to give his death emotional weight. Just as the goodbye with Jordan was supposed to ‘tragically foreshadow’ Frank’s demise. But hey, at least they got out of the city for the day! The beauty of those final scenes – especially Vince Vaughn’s trek through the Tree of Life desert – were fatally undermined by the stupidity that put them there. Velcro’s salute to his son was so unnecessary it literally showed a signpost when they signposted it. Frank gets to stumble around and it was nice but I never cared for Frank and I never saw him do anything particularly smart. Even the heist he pulled off with Velcro was as uneventful a shoot out as I’ve ever seen.

And the epilogue, hinting at a new family was rendered ridiculous by the presence of Nails (first name Nine Inch), the goofy hard man who seems happy to hang around Venezuela indefinitely.

Okay, I did it. I got to the end. Of reviewed shows which have disappointed. Game of Thrones irritates me almost the same amount that it impresses, but it is never dull. True Detective was a severe disappointment but I got to the end because of you, dear reader. It was you. Feel free to use the comment box to sling flowers or shuriken.

TRUE DETECTIVE 2: BLACK MAPS AND MOTEL ROOMS

TRUE DETECTIVE SEASON 2: EPISODE 7: BLACK MAPS AND MOTEL ROOMS  – So we’re almost at the light at the end of the tunnel, but that unfortunately means – we’re still in the tunnel.

The penultimate episode of the second season of True Detective finally got rid of a major character, but my nonchalance was almost unbearable. Let’s rewind to the motel room where the now framed Velcro (Colin Farrell) and Euripedes (Rachel McAdam) basically recreate the inside of Nic Pizzolatto’s writing room of a head as he desperately tries to remember what happened in all the other episodes as a way of bringing out some closure. As they do this the sexual tensions fizz, leading them to some of the silliest dialogue – ‘You’re not a bad man’ ‘Yes, I am’, ‘Oh no you’re not’  ‘Oh yes I am’ etc. There is a sense that finally the show is becoming leaner as David Morse and the sister split along with Paul’s (Taylor Kitsch) mom and girlfriend. Velcro’s fat son was busy watching Friends so we saw not a whisker of the grumpy lad (my favorite character of the whole show thus far).

Frank (Vince Vaughn) is finally getting smart and violent. Even though having just been told everyone has been bought, he entrusts his wife with shady henchman #5. His showdown with Zee Roooshun is going to be fun. I hope he shoots Osip while the nasty man is elongating one of those endless vowels of his.

Next week we have the last 90 minute episode – which I hope begins with Paul on a stretcher being told by Ray, ‘Lucky he hit you with one of those fancy paint balling guns and not an actual bullet’ (from an idea suggested by @pennywisereject).

TRUE DETECTIVE 2: ‘CHURCH IN RUINS’ REVIEW

TRUE DETECTIVE 2: EPISODE 6: ‘CHURCH IN RUINS’ REVIEW – You know the old Chekhov, ‘If a character practices stabbing a man in five vital points in act one by two someone is going to have to bleed out.’

I think it must be from his essay ‘On Predictability’. The episode begins with something of a cliffhanger. Vince Vaughn and Ray Velcro sit down to have coffee – will Ray have sugar and milk? of course not, he likes his black. How do you say black in French? Noir! Coincidence? I don’t think so – and discuss Ray’s vengeance killing of the wrong guy off of Frank’s tip. Such is the faux (French for fake) drama of this whole set up, that they even end up leaving as friends but without anything that had Ray hammering on the door being actually resolved. I’m coming to the conclusion that Ray’s a bit dim. Nic Pizzolatto really missed a trick when he had Ray go and visit the actual rapist in jail. I would have given him a pass for the whole season if the rapist had been a fat carrot top with a penchant for sulkiness and sitcoms of the 90s. At least Ray is beginning to get the fact that his son is a bit of an amorphous blob who has zero interest in model airplanes. They sit and watch the quietest episode of Friends I’ve ever seen – I mean it was silent – and Friends proves to be the last straw, sending Ray off on a coke and whisky binge. I don’t want to be too judgmental, but Ray looks like he really doesn’t know how to do drugs or alcohol. He even destroys his room!

Meanwhile, Ani (Rachel McAdams) and her sister have knife practice conversation while setting up for the Eyes Wide Shut party.  Ani is so avid about going despite the fact that it is unclear what can be gleaned from such a dangerous move – and in fact Taylor Kitsch’s Paul does the best police work by simply breaking in – that you have to wonder if Ani just wants to take part in an orgy. Again we knock up against the cold fact that what David Lynch could show as the dangerous dark underbelly in the 80s is now simply the belly. This wild orgy involves lesbianism (horrors!), drug taking, voyeurism and sex. In other words, it’s a Tuesday.

Frank (Vince Vaughn) is still stumbling around from trap to trap, looking menacing and sorrowful in equal measure, but his machinations are seriously undermined by the revelation that Ray is his best friend. Vince Vaughn’s staccato delivery of lines. is becoming similar. to the way. William Shatner used to speak. as Captain Kirk.

So Paul has some contracts, Frank has some Mexicans, Ray has some broken furniture and Ani has stabbed someone because of a poorly developed backstory.

TRUE DETECTIVE 2: ‘OTHER LIVES’ REVIEW

TRUE DETECTIVE 2: ‘OTHER LIVES’ REVIEW – True Detective: why do I bother? Part 5.

The second half of True Detective felt like a reset, with everyone getting a costume change, a mustache shave and the possibility to all stand around saying why they’re doing though we no longer care about what they’re doing. The big shoot out happened and rattled the box. Ani has been demoted; Velcro has quit the force; Paul has been promoted to a bad suit and Frank has been dragged back in just as he thought he was out. I honestly don’t remember from week to week who got killed and there are literally zero emotional stakes. Half way through the episode a black lawyer (DA, police, I don’t remember) has Velcro, Paul and Ani meet in the middle of the street so she can have everyone state baldly their motivation for continuing the show, or be given it by her if they had trouble remembering why they should give a shit.

People have talked a lot about what doesn’t work this season, comparing it to what worked last season, but it goes through the whole DNA of the show. It isn’t simply too many characters, or an uncompelling drama, piss-poor dialogue or acting that simply doesn’t know what to do with what’s been given. It’s all of those things, but what is most irritating is there is somewhere here a really good idea.

What Nic Pizzolatto needed was a very good script editor, a writers room maybe, and another year of rewrites. The Chinatown, LA Confidential stuff is there it just needs someone to say go back and do over. And it helps if the twists are surprises for the audience as well rather than being the characters discovering something the audience guessed back in episode one.

 

 

TRUE DETECTIVE 2: ‘DOWN WILL COME’ REVIEW

TRUE DETECTIVE 2: ‘DOWN WILL COME’ REVIEW – Halfway through the second season of True Detective we are served up with a Michael Mann style shoot out, but does it actually make any sense?

I try and I try and I try to like Nic Pizzolatto’s second season of True Detective. I admire the anthology form. I think the stunt casting of Vincent Vaughn is courageous. I love the setting of an updated Chinatown Los Angeles, with its arterial freeways and empty nighthawk spaces. But whereas True Detective 1 was The Matrix –  a lifetime in the making – True Detective 2 is TV’s Matrix Reload. That same cold sweat of watching talented people being disappointing. The same fear that the first one that impressed you so  much won’t stand a re-watching.

Episode 4 is the halfway point and nothing much has happened since the first one. Taylor Kitsch is still gay; still pretending not to be. Velcro is still soulful. Rachel McAdams still hasn’t had that shit; constipated expression remains. Vince Vaughn is still unconvincing as an unconvincing gangster. Everyone still talks in that all-our-dialogue-has-been-written-by-the-same-teenage-poet-way.

None of the escalations actually seem to escalate. When Paul is mobbed by the press, they seem remarkably un-persistent. They seemed to be there only so that Rachel McAdams could also be put in further trouble and Velcro’s comment about them all being scapegoats to be proved likely. Pizzolatto himself seems to have got bored with this episode and so provided us with a WOW moment of a shoot out.  This is what Game of Thrones lapses into at its worse i.e. Season Four. It really was unnecessary, but it was fun and it escalated amusingly. The CGI head shots made it a bit too video gamey, but still … it woke me up and Frank didn’t talk about his dental care.

 

TRUE DETECTIVE 2: NIGHT FINDS YOU REVIEW

TRUE DETECTIVE ‘NIGHT FINDS YOU’ REVIEW – There follows a review of the second episode of season 2 of True Detective. There are spoilers.

I’m not sure if I’m going to review every episode. I don’t know if I have the energy. I feel like every single character on the show, darkly brooding, vaguely incompetent and humorless to the point of rigor mortis. This week’s episode began with an opening monologue by Vince Vaughn – to put beside all those other Vince Vaughn monologues – and herein we have some of the problems with this season so far. Vince’s gangster lies in bed with his wife and starts muttering about the water stain on the ceiling. Cut! Leave it there. We get it, everything is falling apart. No, now we have long monologue about a childhood of neglect, locked in a cellar for a few days. It’s a bit needy, and the feeling is we’re being positioned to feel sympathy for this character, before he has done anything to earn it. We’re supposed to root for him, because of this. Just to make sure we got it, Vince makes sure we know not only that he is still in that cellar, but that the water stain was a symbol of this. If Nic Pizzolatto was a first time writer, this scene would have been slashed by red pen – ‘show not tell’ would be written in the margin, but as it stood the overwritten grandstanding was allowed to stand.

The investigation gets under way as each of the jurisdictions is given a representative on the special squad: Ray Velcro (Colin Farrell) has floppy hair and a tragic mustache, Antigone Flibby-dibbly-dee (Rachel McAdams) smokes an e-cig and Paul Exposition (Taylor Kitsch) has the haunted look of a man who starred in John Carter and won’t be allowed to forget. The latter also revealed himself to be a repressed homosexual  in one of the clunkiest exchanges of the series so far which even had one of the characters commenting on the clunkiness of it. The dialogue is uniformly awful, with everyone saying everything, sometimes twice. ‘There are appointments with his psychiatrist. Looks like he was seeing a shrink,’ says Ray ‘Sherlock’ Velcro.

The ominous soundtrack and the industrial landscape hint that something terrible is lurking here – ‘What is this place?’ Ani says as they drive past what I believe is usually called ‘a factory’. And these are detectives? The final scene offers the first real hook of the series and will probably guarantee that I’ll tune in again next week. I will be hugely disappointed if we open to ‘INT: HOSPITAL. NIGHT. Ray is hooked up to a life support machine.’ Ray dying would be a nice quick twist. And frankly he deserves to die. He walks into a house where a murder might have taken place, sees a large pool of blood and then holsters his weapon? I might not be a ‘true’ detective, but I’ve got a feeling neither is Ray.

For more Reviews CLICK HERE.

TRUE DETECTIVE 2: ‘WESTERN BOOK OF THE DEAD’ REVIEW

TRUE DETECTIVE 2: EPISODE 1 REVIEW – John Carter from Mars and a Mean Girl look moody with Alexander the Great and  Jennifer Aniston’s boyfriend.

I used to be a big fan of James Ellory. I loved the LA Quartet and American Tabloid. But The Cold Three Thousand. Spoiled it for me. There’s a point when you hard boil something that everything evaporates and all of a sudden all you have is the smell of burning. In that book there was nary a sentence longer than four words. Everything was clipped and succinct to the point it suc.t.

The Western Book of the Dead – the first episode of the second season of Nic Pizzolatto’s HBO anthology series True Detective is geographically and tonally in prime James Ellroy territory, a dark noir set in the underworld of Los Angeles and environs. It features a set of characters, none of whom ever go to supermarkets or laugh at reruns of The Simpsons (the first five seasons). None of them have even heard of Game of Thrones. Colin Farrell plays Ray, a corrupt cop who drinks, does drugs and who has a fat dopey ginger haired son who is probably the son of his wife’s rapist. Rachel McAdam is Ani, a police officer whose day’s work seems to be going around the county arresting her own backstory – sister’s a prostitute, dad’s a mystic. Taylor Kitsch is officer Woodrugh, a traffic cop and war veteran who is so troubled that he can’t even have a blow job without a haunted facial expression. And Vince Vaughn is the local mobster with the Corleone urge to get into some legitimate business and leave it to his yet to be conceived heir.

I’m not sure if this anxiety over paternity that goes through the first episode is directly related to the shadow cast by the success of True Detective Season 1, and I do have to remember that I couldn’t stand the first show for at least the first three episodes. However, the incessant soundtrack, clipped dialogue and the constant moodiness feel like they’re covering up something superficial and wrong: ‘I wanted to be an astronaut,’ Ray complains into a voice recorder. ‘But astronauts don’t even go to the moon anymore.’ Well, boo-f*cking-hoo.

The body turns up at the end, giving the impression that this was all prologue and there’s hope this might find its groove, as the characters finally swoop on the story, but the familiarity and Justin Linn’s full immersion in True Detective style is not a good omen. And some of the writing is awful. Police detectives approach the mansion of a local big wig who has gone missing: ‘This is a big house for one man’, which is political commentary + exposition – anything anyone would actually say. The guy lives in Los Angeles and he hasn’t noticed that rich politicians live in big houses? Maybe I’m being harsh but Ray did say ‘I welcome judgement’.

Oh and finally…

[SPOILER PREDICTION: If it turns out that Vince Vaughn set up Colin Farrell’s wife’s rape as a way of compromising a cop and putting him in his debt, and then Colin Farrell finds out in episode 7, I will be very displeased.]

TRUE DETECTIVE SEASON 2 SPONGEBOB SQUAREPANTS SURPRISE

HOLLYWOOD – The first reviews are in for True Detective Season 2 and the biggest surprise has been the appearance of animated character Spongebob Squarepants.

True Detective creator Nic Pizzolato explained to the Studio Exec the inclusion of Spongebob Squarepants:

When I finished the first season I knew we had done something very special with the team we had assembled. Woody Harrelson, Cary Fukunaga and Matthew McConaughey and I knew the easy thing to do would have been to simply try and repeat that and I knew that would have been entirely the wrong thing to do. So I decided to go in a totally new direction. I got a new director and I cast Colin Farrell, Rachel McAdams and Vince Vaughn. Initially I wanted Vince to provide a lighter shading with his hilarious every-man comedy persona, the likable schlub, but he was keen to do something different. That was great but it left us with a problem. Everyone looked like they wanted to take a shit they were so glum. I was drinking in West Hollywood and I bumped into Stephen Hillenburg, who I knew from back when we both worked on 60 Minutes together. I asked him about Spongebob and he was a bit down about how Spongebob Squarepants Sponge Out of Water had turned out. I didn’t think anything of it but the next day I got up to do some writing and I wrote the words ‘Who lives in a pineapple under the sea’. It was unbelievable.

What role does Spongebob play?

I wanted him to be the goofy desk sergeant that is always getting things wrong and yet providing Colin Farrell’s character Ray Velcoro with some welcome relief from all the brooding he has to do. His japes, whether trying the cocaine that he is supposed to be filing away as evidence, or jawing with the local hookers, just add another color to my palate. Imagine how dour it would be without Spongebob to cheer things up?

The first episode ‘The Western Book of the Dead’ sees a mobster trying to go straight and corruption rife in the LAPD while Spongebob accidentally leaves his trousers at home.

True Detective Season 2 is currently showing on HBO. 

5 FACTS YOU NEVER KNEW ABOUT TRUE DETECTIVE 2

HOLLYWOOD – True Detective 2 is going to be hitting HBO in June but what do we really know about it?

Although we already have the facts about True Detective 1, we sent the Studio Exec FACT squad into the underbelly of the badlands to find FACTS out like a real detective, I mean a genuine detective, an authentic detective, or a true investigator to find out about True Detective 2.

1. Despite coming from an impeccable source, the casting news that Owen Wilson, Jim Carrey, Zach Galiafanakis and Jack Black feature in the series looks to be untrue, possibly a ‘spoof’ of some kind.

2. The confirmation of Vince Vaughn, however, like much of his work, is no laughing matter.

3. Although it’s called True Detective, the characters never actually existed, the story is based on Nic Pizzolatto’s brain squirts and the setting of Los Angeles is a fictional kingdom like Narnia. To add to the titular falsehood, there are actually no detectives in the show, just police officers.

4. Rachel McAdams is to play the woman, doing stuff and not just being naked or a whiney wife type as a way of solving some of the accusations of misogyny leveled at the first season. For the men, Colin Farrell has a moustache.

5. Although the new season of True Detective is not a continuation of the first season, Matthew McConaughey and Woody Harrelson are thought to have cameos to add some extra incomprehensibility.

For more FACTS click HERE.

ZACH GALIFIANAKIS AND JACK BLACK TAPPED FOR TRUE DETECTIVE 2

HOLLYWOOD – Rumors have been rife about the casting of HBO’s second season of True Detective, with names such as Vince Vaughn being banded around with what can only be described as gay abandon, but Studio Exec can now confirm that Jack Black and Zach Galifianakis have both been confirmed in lead roles.  Continue reading “ZACH GALIFIANAKIS AND JACK BLACK TAPPED FOR TRUE DETECTIVE 2”

BREAKFAST WITH ASSHOLES: 27. COLIN FARRELL

DUBLIN – No living actor can lay claim to so many duff movies as Colin Farrell, with the occasional glimmer of gold amongst the dross (In Bruges), but now redemption holds out a hand in the form of a role in the second season of True Detective.

I met Colin over a breakfast of poached Guinness, two slices of Guinness, two rashers of Guinness fried in cow’s Guinness, all washed down with a couple of large mugs of piping hot Guinness to talk to him about his ‘career’.

So Colin. Total Recall. What the f*ck?

Yeah. Sorry about that. You know, I think what it was was… 

And Alexander?

Now that was all Oliver Stone’s fault, the hairy eye-browed bastard told me…

And Phone Booth, and S.W.A.T., and The New World, and…

Now listen here I was good in Saving Mr. Banks.

You were awful in Saving Mr. Banks. And you were basically playing yourself.

In Bruges, Minority Report, Seven Psychopaths?

But that makes me even more angry. If you can be good, why be so bad so often? 

My heart isn’t in it, I suppose. Hasn’t been since Ballykissangel. Did you ever see Ballykissangel? It was the True Detective of gentle Irish dramedy.

Okay. True Detective

Ah, True Detective. The Ballykissangel of gritty philosophically inclined serial killer drama. 

Is it? 

I spoke with Nic Pizzolatto and he told me that he thinks I’m ready for my version of the McConaissance. Really? Yeah. We haven’t worked out what to call it yet, but I’m leaning towards the re-Farrell-birth.

True Detective: Season 2 broadcasts in 2015. For more Breakfast with Assholes Click Here.

TRUE DETECTIVE 2 CASTING CONFIRMED

HOLLYWOOD – Last night, Nic Pizzolato confirmed True Detective 2 will star Ashton Kutcher, John Cryer and Angus T. Jones.

Pizzolato explained his decision:

What we have here is the whole package. They’ve worked together before, plumbing the dark obsidian heart of the American family in Two and a Half Men. And with Angus T. Jones we have exactly they kind of loopy Christianity which is perfect for the character. 

It has already been confirmed that the characters for the Second Season will be totally different from the first season. And the setting of the show will also have changed. 

We are in California now. Not Los Angeles, but the less known California. Disneyland, Sacramento, the Big Sur. Places like that. And the story is all about the dark mythos of the lurking deities of the mouse which haunts the Californian hinterlands of the swirling psychosphere.  

 True Detective 2 returns in 2015.