ROCK PAPER WATCH


3 Comments

‘Homeland’ React 3×9 – Best episode of the season?

homeland-season-3-one-last-time-brody-carrie-e1385383564353

I know, I know.  I said I would be posting Homeland theories every week but I’ve been so frustrated with this season I just haven’t felt any inspiration, other than seeing Quinn (past Monday Man Candy, Rupert Friend) in the shower of course.  Why have I been so frustrated you ask, let’s recap.

In general, this season has been pretty boring with a couple of peaks surrounded by a lot of really low valleys.  First of all, I don’t care about Dana, Leo, or Jessica, and does Chris even exist anymore?  We get it Homeland, as you kindly reminded us during a moment of viewer frustration, Dana is Brody’s moral tether.  But did we really need to see her running away with Leo only to discover that he’s a sociopath responsible for his brother’s suicide?  No.  I get that it was to show Dana’s growth into a pessimistic adult and it led to her exiting the Brody home, but nobody cares!

Secondly, the pregnancy.  Can we just not?

Lastly, what many considered the highlight of the season was the jaw-dropping twist that Carrie and Saul had been working together during the first few episodes.  The plan was to make it seem like she was ousted by the CIA and available to act as a double agent to lure Iranian bad-guy, Javadi, into their grasp.  Turn’s out Saul wasn’t throwing Carrie under the bus at all, she was driving said bus.  I agree, this was an excellent twist but it kind of pissed me off.  Since the first season, we’ve had the luxury of experiencing Homeland from Carrie’s point of view; her damaged and messed up point of view.  But she’s our protagonist so no matter the incident, I’ve always been on Carrie’s side.  When the larger plan was revealed and I realized that Carrie had tricked ME, the faithful viewer, it hurt!  I felt like I couldn’t trust the show anymore.  I’ve never trusted like 90% of the characters anyway, but I always felt like I could trust Carrie.

Regardless of my gripes and complaints, it seems the series is finally finding its footing in this season’s last act.  Arguably the best episode aired Sunday night; let’s discuss what made it great:

1.  Brody and Carrie

As much as I would like for it to happen for storytelling purposes, this week’s episode proved that it would be impossible for Homeland to kill off Brody.  Every episode prior felt slow and uneventful.  The second Carrie and Brody appeared on-screen together, in which was a full minute of painful silence, the tension and chemistry catapulted the show into another atmosphere.  These two sizzle on-screen together and I can’t help but wonder if the earlier episodes felt so agonizing because of the lack of Carrie/Brody time. 

2.  We learn Saul’s full plan

As previously stated, Carrie and Saul worked together to turn Javadi, a member of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard by proving he had committed treason.  Now he’s back in Iran, supposedly acting as a double agent.  Saul wants to use Brody to take out Javadi’s boss or “the single greatest impediment of peace,” says Saul.  The idea is that Brody will be welcomed into Iran for his actions against the United States.  He will be treated as a war hero (sound familiar?) and invited into boss-man’s inner circle.  He’ll use this invitation to kill boss-man and then be extracted by a four-member team in a small city outside Tehran.  From there, Javadi will climb the ranks and take boss-man’s place, allowing for Iran-United States relations to finally lead to peace negotiations instead of war.

The plan is a little too “make peace not war” for me.  It’s too idealistic.  It puts too much faith in Javadi who we saw murder his ex-wife with a bottleneck a few weeks ago.  I agree with Carrie, it’s reaching, but at least we’re in the loop now.

3.  Brody is back-back

Not only is Brody back, he’s back-back.  After hitting what was surely rock bottom earlier this season, he’s now in probably the best shape we’ve ever seen him.  As a key part of Saul’s plan, it is important for Brody to be drug free and in excellent condition.  After a drug-induced detox, he begins training with a special ops team and after sixteen days, he’s in his best physical and mental state.  It was great seeing such a tortured and scattered character actually motivated and focused.

Saul so easily looped Brody into his master plan, fellow Rock Paper Watch writer Ashley Foster brought an interesting theory to my attention:  Is it possible that Brody has been manipulated by Saul since the very beginning?  Like back to his days as a Marine, was he intentionally a POW to get in with Abu Nazir?  I don’t think Saul would have condoned the death of the Vice President but its still interesting to consider.  I call this the Homeland-complex, trust no one.

4.  A few season one shout outs

During Brody’s detox-induced hallucinations, Tom Walker and Abu Nazir made special appearances.  Did anyone else feel like this was Homeland saying, “Hey guys, remember these characters? Back with the show was really good?”  It made me sentimental for season one and reminded me of everything Brody’s been through, making me feel protective of his character for the rest of the episode and probably the rest of the season. 

5.  Max and Virgil doing Max and Virgil things

Y’all, I love Max and Virgil.  They’re like the Batman and Robin of Homeland.  Maybe, Black Widow and Hawkeye from The Avengers is a better comparison since they’re more sideline characters, but whatever.  Virgil is definitely Black Widow.  Whenever Carrie or Saul has a plan, they are always available for the dirty work.  Even though Virgil often questions Carrie’s motives, they usually follow her blindly and there’s something very sweet about that.  This week, they were at Saul’s beck and call, sweeping Saul and Dar Adal’s homes for bugs.  Max discovers the fishy computer mouse planted by Alan Bernard, Mira’s former lover—leading to our next point.

6.  Saul is gonna make Lockhart his bitch

Alan Bernard, turns out, is an Israeli intelligence officer and is currently working for the great Senator Lockhart!  With evidence in-hand, Saul goes after Lockhart requesting more time so he can finish this mission in return for not releasing the images and ending Lockhart’s career.  Lockhart agrees to the terms after asking Saul why not release the images and permanently keep his position as the head of the CIA.  Saul’s response, “Because it would humiliate my wife, Senator, and because it would damage the agency.”  That’s the big difference between these two men.  Lockhart doesn’t understand that they agency needs protecting; he sees this job as a simple change of power.  Something tells me this blackmail isn’t over, is it possible that Lockhart will act as a puppet at the head of the CIA and Saul will continue to pull the strings?

7. Brody’s sidekicks

How awesome is Brody’s special ops team?  Their patience during training, and relentlessness during his detox warmed my heart.  And how adorable was it when the doctor one quizzed Brody on his relationship with Carrie?  I don’t know, camaraderie always gives me warm and fuzzies.  I hope we see a lot more of them in the upcoming episodes.

But what about Quinn?

Everyone’s favorite black-ops agent was pretty much missing this episode.  He had one scene with Saul, Dal Adal, Max, and Virgil when they were discussing how to deal with Alan Bernard and Senator Lockhart.  He had one line, “what would you like me to do?” Hold your horses Quinn, no need to shoot anyone in the arm.  His little screen time in the episode proved to me that the showrunners don’t quite now how he fits the story with Brody back.  I hope this doesn’t continue moving forward, he’s been the best part of Homeland lately.

What do you think of Homeland this season?  Are you sick of any storylines?  What are your predictions for Saul’s plan?  Did you miss Brody?  Should we write a petition for more Quinn shower scenes?

Advertisements


3 Comments

12 Things We Loved About ‘The Hunger Games – Catching Fire’

‘The Hunger Games – Catching Fire’ hit theaters Friday and shattered November records making $161.1 million it’s debut weekend. As avid fans of the series, the writers of Rock Paper Watch are counting down the 12 things they loved about the second installment on the big screen.  This goes without saying but, SPOILERS ahead!  Let us know what you think.  Did this movie make up for the lackluster first? What did you think of JLaw? Team Peeta or Team Gale? Did the sight of Finnick make you swoon?

1.  Holy sh*t, she actually loves him

Evelark_kiss_on_the_beach

The first movie missed the mark in showing the complexity of the Katniss/Peeta relationship. Catching Fire was spot-on. It made it clear that Katniss, even though she has feelings for Gale, also has feelings for Peeta. I would have appreciated more flirtation during training but the film made up for it in the arena. When Peeta “dies” after walking into a forcefield and is revived by Finnick, Jennifer Lawrence’s reaction was so intense it took your breath away.  And in case that wasn’t enough, the look on Finnick’s face after read, “holy sh*t, she actually does love him,” followed by Snow’s granddaughter saying, “I want to love someone that much.” And then there was that kiss on the beach, hot damn!

2.  The way Finnick drinks water

finnick hot You drink that water Finnick.

Guys, how perfect was Finnick? He was charming, seductive, and sly in the Capitol. In the arena he was a bit more sincere. My heart broke during the Mags and Annie scenes.  Still, everything he did had a hint of sexuality to it.  Well done, Sam Claflin, well done.

3.  Peeta mans up

Review-Peeta-600x288

In the first movie and the books, Peeta is kind of wimpy.  Don’t get me wrong, I’m Team Peeta all the way but he kind of rides Katniss’ coattails. In the first movie, there was that awful, goofy camouflage scene. This time Peeta carries his own weight (literally, since Finnick never carries him away from the fog but rather they all lean on each other like a team).  He surprisingly kills a tribute during the chaos at the cornucopia and fights off monkeys and saves Katniss with a machete. And how adorable was that smirk after he drops the baby bomb. Get it done Peeta!

4.  Oh, the costumes

weddingdress

I couldn’t have been more disappointed with the costumes from the first movie but boy, does Catching Fire make up for it.  Katniss’ wedding dress-turned-mockingjay was absolutely perfect, Finnick’s District 4 get-up was mouth-watering (ladies, did you see his neck?!) and Effie’s costumes were wildly fantastic.  It doesn’t hurt that the budget for the film expanded by more than $50 million.  Still, hats off to Cinna for working his magic with the Girl on Fire.  We couldn’t get enough of Jennifer Lawrence’s many, many wardrobe changes.

5.  Effie’s apology

Effie

Throughout the film you see Haymitch, Peeta, Katniss, and Effie acting more like a team rather than a group thrown together by odds. When Effie decides they each need gold mockingjay tokens, your heart swells. The night before the games she delivers Peeta and Haymitch their tokens, a gold medallion and cuff respectively. She then sums up her disgrace in the games with a teary, heartfelt apology and farewell.  She says that they both deserve better than to be thrust into the arena again, and as a citizen of the Capitol, Effie’s apology speaks volumes.

6.  The announcement of the Quarter Quell

quell

In the book, when it’s announced that the tributes will be selected from each district’s existing pool of victors, readers only experience Katniss’ reaction. In the film, we see all three react in ways that are very genuine for each character. Katniss, knowing she’s automatically in since she’s the only female, runs to and collapses in the snowy woods.  Peeta gapes at the television in disbelief and sadness. Haymitch angrily throws is liquor at the television.  All in all, perfect.

7.  Johanna ‘Eff-ing’ Mason… Literally

johanna

Could Jena Malone be anymore perfect? She’s come a long way since Stepmom. We meet Johanna after the chariot rides as she barges onto the elevator with Peeta, Haymitch, and Katniss.  Right after she enters she quickly begins stripping off her costume and noticeably flirting with Peeta right in front of Katniss and it is AMAZING. Her arrogance, her cheekiness, her wink towards Haymitch, all perfect. After that, it only gets better. During her interview, Caesar points out that she seems angry, not tearful she responds saying, “Well, yes. I’m angry. You know, I’m totally getting screwed over here. The deal was that if I win the Hunger Games, I get to live the rest of my life in peace. But now you want to kill me again. Well you know what? F*** THAT! AND F*** ANYONE THAT HAD ANYTHING TO DO WITH IT!!” And that’s Johanna Mason, everybody. Brilliantly, the F-bombs were bleeped out since that’s what the Capitol would likely do during a broadcast.  Also, Malone’s chemistry with JLaw only makes me more excited for Mockingjay.

8.  The Victors Village (Its just the way we imagined it)

Victor_Village

Throughout both movies, one of the things I couldn’t get over is how they nailed it with the way I envisioned the sets. Specifically, the Victors Village. Everything about the village says opulence, however, it had this dingy feeling of death about it, almost as if it served a reminder of how the victors had arrived. One of the scenes I was looking forward to the most was the confrontation between President Snow and Katniss in the library of the new victor’s home. I envisioned it to be very cold and stark with lots of dark wood, very “President Snow.” The room set up an ominous feeling for the very cold relationship that is to come between Katniss and President Snow.

9.  Plutarch as the new Gamemaker

philip-seymour-hoffman-the-hunger-games-catching-fire-plutarch-heavensbee

Does Philip Seymour Hoffman ever disappoint?  We loved his portrayal of Plutarch Heavensbee, the new Gamemaker brought in to replace the late Seneca Crane.  Hoffman was in a tough position since book-readers already know his role in the story.  Yet he still played a convincing double agent.  Posing as the top Games advisor, he carefully manipulated President Snow without giving even the slightest hint that he was in fact a conspirator for the rebellion.  Hell, I even questioned his intentions for District 12’s survival when he bellowed “Change it up.  Spin it!” and I read the book twice!  Props to Hoffman for his dynamic performance, and his decision to dress Plutarch in a more subdued manner.

10. The Arena and it’s little horrors

catching-fire-poisonous-fog

This time around, you could say the ante was upped with the games and the chaos that came along with it. Poisonous fog, crazed monkeys, jabberjays, blood baths of rain, rotating cornucopias. I was a little nervous as to how they were going to go about some of these, specifically the poisonous fog, but the execution was perfect. I mean, who didn’t feel their skin bubble up when Katniss touched the fog and screamed in pain. I sure did.

11.  Nuts and Volts

The-Hunger-Games-Jeffrey-Wright-as-Beetee-November-2013_103413

I’m currently watching Jeffrey Wright wreak havoc on Boardwalk Empire.  When I realized he was Beetee, I was a little nervous.  Would I be able to disassociate the heroine slinging Dr. Narcisse and believe he’s a tribute in the arena?  The answer was… Narcisse who?  Jeffrey Wright was sensational as the wiry and brilliant tribute from District 3.  It didn’t matter to us that Wright didn’t 100% fit the bill for Beetee; he was witty and his timing was perfect.  Volts was every bit the teacher and techie that Katniss describes in the books.   Wiress, aka Nuts, the female tribute from District 3, was also a pleasant surprise.  I was worried that her “tick-tock, tick-tock” warnings to the other tributes would be too campy when we met her in training and she seemed to be, well, with it.  But, thankfully, Nuts went nuts in the arena and the end result was perfect.

12.  That perfect ending, a look that says it all

ending

Sadness…check.  Anger…check.  Despair…check.  Determination…check.  Loneliness…check.  These are just some of the emotions that Jennifer Lawrence packed into her final close-up, when she learns the extent of the rebellion and her role as the Mockingjay.  In the last minutes of the film, Katniss Everdeen learns that while her family is safe with her in District 13, the rest aren’t so lucky.  As Gale so gently puts it, “There is no District 12.”  While the scene was fantastic because it was a true adaptation from the book, Jennifer Lawrence took it to a whole new level when she delivered so many intense emotions in one look.  We know that YA films are usually overlooked by the Academy, but they just might have to reconsider after seeing Lawrence’s passionate performance.


2 Comments

Weekly Netflix Recommendation – ‘The Fall’

Image

As three post college grads, we are constantly trying to find ways of entertaining ourselves on a budget…which led us to three pretty serious Netflix addictions. Netflix never fails to feed our addiction for finding movies we’ve never heard of, or filling our need to binge watch shows we missed or just want to relive.  Each week, RPW will be posting about their Netflix finds. We hope you enjoy!

After celebrating Halloween a little too hard Saturday night, I wanted nothing more than veg on my couch and binge watch something on Netflix.  After cracking open a bag of Halloween candy and ordering Chinese, I wanted something kind of scary.  That’s when I remembered a Q&A with Jamie Dornan, the new Christian Grey, I read about The Fall.

The five-episode series aired in the UK on BBC Two over the summer.  The show is classified as a psychological thriller and follows two “hunters.”  The first being Paul Spector (Jamie Dornan), a bereavement counselor who stalks, torments, and eventually kills single, brunette, professional women in Belfast, Ireland.  Paul’s wife Sally (Bronagh Waugh) and their two young children are clueless to his double life.  The second hunter is female Detective Superintendent Stella Gibson (Gillian Anderson), a Detective sent from the Metropolitan Police to review the investigation into the death of Alice Monroe, the daughter-in-law of a powerful politician (and Spector’s latest victim).

jamiedornan

Mostly, I started the show because I was curious about Dornan’s acting abilities.  I tuned-in for his brief stint on ABC’s Once Upon a Time and heard that his acting in this show was phenomenal.  It was.

His portrayal of Spector is haunting to say the least.  Dornan plays Spector as  a charming family man and adorable flirt then, as if on a dime, his entire face changes and he becomes a chilling, ruthless killer.  As you watch, Spector lurks in the shadows of women’s apartments and homes, taunts the police, and openly fantasizes about torturing women yet you find yourself hoping he doesn’t get caught.  It’s a delicate balance and Dornan does it beautifully.  He’s so believable that he gave my poor roommate nightmares (consider that a warning).

The+Fall

On the other side of the coin, Gillian Anderson plays Gibson as a strong, independent woman.  For the detective, men are playthings.  She shows little emotion throughout the series, except when she finds herself relating the mind of the killer she’s chasing.  As she heads the task force set out to capture Spector you start to see her walls crack but she never falters.

The format of the show is set up so that one scene is from Spector’s perspective and the next from Gibson’s.  The show really shines, when the scenes intertwine.  For example, something is said in Gibson’s dialogue and the same language will show up in Spector’s scene.  The writing is superb.  The filmography is brilliant.  The camera captures the pyschological viewpoint with odd angles and quick transitions.

If you have a free afternoon, check out The Fall on Netflix and join the rest of us as we eagerly await season two, due next summer.


2 Comments

Monday Man Candy, the Men of Scandal – Who Would You Choose?

scandal_02-washington-goldwyn-foley_0113_C.JPG

This week’s Monday Man Candy is solely to pay tribute to the delectable men of everyone’s guilty pleasure, Scandal.

In the show Scandal, Olivia Pope (Kerry Washington) finds herself stuck between two deliciously powerful men; President Fitzgerald Grant played by Tony Goldwyn and Captain Jake Ballard played by Scott Foley.  Here at Rock Paper Watch, we like to ask the important questions so which one would you choose?  To help address this question it’s only fair to weigh the pros and cons, here goes nothing!

Who looks the best without clothes?

shirtless1

shirtless2

This one is a toss-up, let’s be real, we would take either but between Goldwyn’s sculpted abs and Foley’s broad shoulders it’s impossible for a girl to choose!

Who is the best at being bad?

4570040623_e8bbd58071_z

Before Scandal, Goldwyn was best known for the character Carl Bruner in Ghost.  In the film, his character is the friend-turned-betrayer of Sam Wheat (Patrick Swayze) and his actions indirectly cause of Sam’s death.  Has his portrayal of Fitzgerald Grant made us finally forgive him?  Hardly.  He’s still bad as the President, murdering dying Supreme Court Justices and possibly his girlfriend’s mother but he looks so good doing it!

Scott-Foley4

Foley is notorious for playing the guy that just can’t get the girl (looking at you Noah Crane) but his best-known bad-guy role was in Scream 3 as Sydney’s half-brother with murderous tendencies.  When we were introduced to Jake Ballard during season two, he was a full-on creeper!  On behalf of the President and B-613, he was watching Olivia with multiple cameras and at all times.  But then he fell for her and we realized that his intentions were good.  Ballard is a top-secret spy/assassin, and let’s face it, that’s such a turn-on.

Best in unconventional sex locations

The President’s desk wins every time.  There’s no beating that.

Bonus – The closet scene

Who would win in a fight?

This is how Jake reacts in a crisis.

CSHf6FF

This is how Fitz reacts in a crisis.

Fitzcrying

Too easy.

Who has the better work uniform?

fitz-shaking-captain-jake-hands21

Fitz looks great in a suit but come on, that’s how you make a Navy uniform look good.

scandal-3-05-basketball

Bonus, they’re HOT and sweaty.

Who would be the better boyfriend?

“I am not a toy you can play with when you’re bored or lonely or horny. I am not the girl the guy gets at the end of the movie. I am not a fantasy. If you want me, earn me!” –Olivia to Fitz

It’s no secret; Fitz and Olivia have AMAZING chemistry.  They can just listen to each other breathing over the phone and break your heart.  But let’s face it, Fitz is a pretty crappy boyfriend between the wife, the season one mistress, and the lies…Fitz kind of sucks.  And is “earn me” something any girl wants to say to her boyfriend?  Don’t think so.

“I don’t play second fiddle to anyone, even the President. Goodnight, Olivia.” –Jake to Olivia

You wanna know why I like Jake?  He doesn’t put up with Olivia’s bullsh*t.  He’s not afraid to stand up to her and call her out.  Also, he has her back.  Fitz often leaves her out there on her own, she’s more than capable to handle that but Jake has her best interests at heart.  He’s a giver, Fitz is a taker and Olivia needs a giver.

scandal-jake-w724__

My winner is obviously Jake Ballard/Scott Foley.  Who would you choose?