Eclectic Pop

where "pop" culture gets "eclectic"

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TV Rundown: March 23 - 28: 'Bates Motel' Hits a Sad Note

Saddest Character: Dylan (Max Thieriot), Bates Motel: After the reveal of his true parentage, Dylan's downward spiral was to be expected. What “Bates Motel” brilliantly delivered this week was the tragic notion of what that means for him as a person. It also brought about numerous implications in his already troubled relationship with Norma (Vera Farmiga) and after their explosive encounter at the end of the episode it seemed to have torn them apart for good. 

Thieriot's portrayal hit all of the right notes in a searing turn that was understated, personifying the imploding heartbreak. How “Bates” handles its ruminations on mother-son relationships continues to be fascinating. In the end, the show seems to be about just that, a mother and her two very different relationships with her sons and it is highly compelling.

Best New Character: Stevie (Gail O’Grady), Revenge: Lifetime Movie heroine Gail O'Grady is tearing it up as the conflicted antithesis to the icy Victoria (Madeleine Stowe). The show has typically struggled with the introduction of new characters and they finally have one that works.

Movie Review: 'American Hustle' (2013)

There are so many lessons to be gleaned from this smattered-together, critically adored, hot mess express. Loosely based on the true events of the 1970s Abscam scandal, “American Hustle” looks the part of a decadent period piece complete with exquisite costuming, sensational acting talent, and the…

Best New Movie Bets: March 28 | 'Noah', 'Sabotage' & more

"Noah" starring Russell Crowe

Darren Aronofsky is back with his first film since the Oscar winning “Black Swan”. This time he’s tackling a greater lightning rod than the cutthroat underworld of ballet dancers, the Biblical story of Noah. The film has been falsely advertised as a Biblical epic which it is not even close to being.

Aronofsky is no stranger to depicting spirituality on film as he wrote and directed the breathtaking “The Fountain” which was a meditation on life and death, set against the backdrop of the Tree of Life. As with that film and all other Aronofsky creations, this movie is intense and thematically dark. It would be strongly advised that kids steer clear of it.

The behind the camera information that might be interesting to note is that “Noah” reunites Jennifer Connelly with Aronofsky for the first time since he directed her in “Requiem for a Dream”. Meanwhile, rising star Logan Lerman has a multiple co-star reunion having starred with Connelly in “Stuck in Love”, Russell Crowe in “3:10 to Yuma” and Emma Watson in “The Perks of Being a Wallflower”. The controversy poised to envelop “Noah” could very well flood any of these trivial tidbits though.

Movie Review: 'Frozen' (2013)

Frozen Elsa Anna Disney
Disney's smash-hit animation is a trek back to feminine fantasy with an adult-oriented twist that captures several metaphors in a powerfully playful way. “Frozen” is a rift off of Hans Christian Andersons’ classic “The Snow Queen,” where the only remaining strand resembling Anderson’s original story is the inclusion of magical trolls and of course, an ice-blasting royal.

TV Report Card | 'Pretty Little Liars' Season 4B Review

Overview: A series of questions finally got a season of answers. After the Halloween episode revealed that Alison (Sasha Pieterse) has actually been among the living the whole time, the Liars’ had to regroup, track her down and get the information that has been alluding them for two years (show time) and 4 seasons.

Storyline Direction Pros: There have been times where the plot progression has felt blatantly strung along in past seasons and during this installment there were actual pay-offs. What happened to Ali was crystallized and the momentum that had existed in previous seasons finally hit its stride. The intrigue around Fitz (Ian Harding) was entertainingly fraught with the appropriate tension and the fallout was well handled.

Movie Review: 'Divergent' (2014)

According to recent films, the future is looking bleaker than ever. As they persistently claim we are headed to a dystopian aftermath, following civilization’s imagined fall. In case you were trying to be optimistic, it is commonly explained that this fall is more than a mere stumble. It is this collapse that will eventually lead to a full blown apocalypse.

It’s a dreary prediction that does not make for the most ideal escapism. So imagine the surprise when "Divergent," yet another film in this vein, is not only uplifting but truly entertaining.

TV Rundown: March 16 - 21: 'Tomorrow People' Hits Its Stride

Best Show that Combined Being Humorous & Sexy: The Tomorrow People: This week’s episode “Superhero” centered on Russell (Aaron Yoo) as he tried to find his vigilante ex (Melissa Roxburgh). Russell offered up his characteristic zingers and Yoo got a chance to display his marvelous comedic abilities along with some great chemistry with his love interest for the episode, Roxburgh.

Meanwhile Cara (Peyton List) and John (Luke Mitchell) got a chance to play with the lighter side of their relationship where double entendres abounded and witty chemistry followed suit.

Most Entertaining Soap Opera Character: Ally on The Bold and The Beautiful: One of B&B’s most entertaining characters continued her reign as Ashlyn Pearce’s enthralling performance remained as engaging as ever.

Best New Movie Bets: March 21 | 'Divergent' & 'Blood Ties'

Divergent: It has been billed as the next “Hunger Games”, as it is the latest YA adaptation to revolve around a rebel female protagonist who must stand against the tyrannical leadership of elitist dictators in a dystopian future.

There’s a lot of interesting social commentary that inhabits the best-selling series of books by Veronica Roth. In the “Divergent” universe people are separated by character traits.. What sets heroine Tris (Shailene Woodley) apart is that she is equally gifted in 3 of the 5 characteristics aka a “divergent”.

Quick Hit Movie Reviews #2: 'Compliance' (2012) and 'Admission' (2013)

 Compliance (2012)

What makes watching this movie so wondrously frustrating to get through is the knowledge that the events depicted throughout its run time, actually happened. As sensationally difficult as it is to believe, the disturbing situation re-enacted in the film transpired in the recent past and as security cameras rolled. This fictionalized account stays closer to the facts than most true crime films typically do.

"Compliance" tells a story so twisted and horrifying that a Hollywood screenwriter would have a hard time matching its insidiousness with a work of fiction. That's because most of the horror comes from knowing this was someone's reality. It all unravels after the manager of a fast food restaurant (Ann Dowd) receives a prank call that Becky (Dreama Walker), one of her employees, has stolen money from a customer. This accusation eventually leads to Becky being strip searched to prove her innocence and from there it gets even worse.

Quick Hit Movie Reviews #1: 'The First Time' (2012) and 'The Look of Love' (2013)

"The First Time" (2012)

A teen flick that never quite realizes its full potential. “The First Time” is bogged down by an awkward timeline which spans a very long night that bonds high school seniors Dave (Dylan O’Brien) and Aubrey (Britt Robertson). The story then continues through the following week as the two try to decide if a relationship is in the cards for them, despite a looming life change as they leave high school and proximity behind.

A stellar performance by “Teen Wolf” star Dylan O’Brien keeps the film engaging. While, co-star Britt Robertson struggles to capture the same winsome as she portrays yet another bratty character. Another in a long line, “Under the Dome”, “Life Unexpected”, “Cherry” and “The Tenth Circle” being among the others.

Movie Review: 'Saving Mr. Banks' (2013)

"Saving Mr. Banks" is the quasi-biopic of P.L. Travers’ (Emma Thompson) life and Walt Disney’s (Tom Hanks) battle with her to make the film adaptation of her classic book “Mary Poppins.” As a film, it suffers from a flurry of scattershot attempts to weave a narrative that explains Traver…

Movie Review: 'Non-Stop' (2014)

Liam Neeson’s latest thriller is a plane ride of excitement that plays as a Hitchcockian style psychological thriller. The mystery and the intrigue in"Non-Stop" is palatable, striking closing to home with recent events in a spellbinding study of suspicion. Neeson plays an air marshal assigned to protect a transatlantic flight. After take-off he starts receiving text messages threatening passengers and demanding a sum of money to stop.

TV Rundown: March 9 - 14: 'Dallas' Packs on the Twists

Top Twisty Drama: Dallas: The twists and turns just keep coming in the sudsy drama’s 3rd season. From business storylines to red hot romance and treachery, the series is still firing on all cylinders. With the added character of suave businessman Nicolas (Juan Pablo Di Pace) stepping in to aid Elena (Jordana Brewster), the show is in tip top shape.

Throw in Di Pace’s performance and you have ample charm abounding in the role of the Ewing’s latest nemesis. In a season where villains have become heroes and vice versa, there’s no telling what’s coming next.

Best New Movie Bets: March 14 | 'Need for Speed', 'Veronica Mars' & more

"Need for Speed" starring Aaron Paul

“Breaking Bad” alum Aaron Paul stars in this ridiculously plotted answer to the “Fast & Furious” franchise. The film is a gamble for the critically lauded Paul, who is making his first big-screen push since "Breaking Bad" ended, in a video game adaptation. The cheese factor for this movie is off the charts and movies adapted from video games have had a history of low success both in box office and critical praise. In my opinion, “Hitman” is the only quality adaptation that’s broken the mold.

Sonic Assembly: Edgar's Gift (Complilation Album), Puppet Rebellion & Wullae Wright

Edgar’s Gift Compilation Album

In honor of Ben Edkins, a cancer patient who passed away at the age of 25 in 2010, his family; parents Julie and Neil Bradman and friends founded Edgar’s Gift. It is a charity aimed at offering support to young adults aged 18 – 30, who are suffering from cancer.

The efforts of Edgar’s Gift are based out of Leicestershire, UK. Along with aiding the patients, Edgar’s Gift also works to aid the families who are affected by their loved one’s illness.

Movie Review: '300: Rise of an Empire' (2014)

It has been 7 years since the original “300” burst onto screens becoming a surprise box office smash that would launch the career of its star Gerard Butler into the A-List along with director Zack Snyder and popularize a production model where CGI imagery composed the majority of an epic's visual surroundings. For years since its debut, the rippling shockwaves of its pop culture impact has been substantial.

Best New Movie Bets: March [Complete Guide]

March 6: "300: Rise of an Empire"

8 years after the release of 2006’s surprise smash “300”, the sequel is finally here. This time the action centers on Greek leader Themistocles (Sullivan Stapleton) and Artemisia I of Caria portrayed by the outstanding Eva Green. Based on the unreleased graphic novel “Xerxes” by Frank Miller, “Rise of an Empire” promises to stay in keeping with the green screen epic-ness that was the original.

Stepping up to replace original director Zac Snyder is the interesting choice of Noam Murro, who previously helmed the 2008 indie dramedy “Smart People”. The first film spawned the Hollywood breakthrough of actor Gerard Butler, who led the original with the star quality necessary to make it a blockbuster. Who, if any of the cast proves to be a breakout from its sequel; will be interesting to follow. Read Eclectic Pop's Review by clicking here

Movie Review: '47 Ronin' (2013)

Reports, such as Variety's on the highly troubled production of this martial arts fantasy film has plagued the film since its onset. There seems to be an assumption that the developments during the production stage can be indicative of a troubled final product. In the case of “47 Ronin” all of its making-of struggles have not affected the film’s overall quality. Vibrant cinematography, and competent special effects keep the film on track visually.

Movie Review: '3 Days to Kill' (2014)

Kevin Costner’s comeback to mainstream theatrical films continues in this McG directed thriller. Written by Luc Besson, the scribe behind the spectacular “Taken”, he goes back to the roots of his earlier work for “3 Days to Kill”, culling from “Leon: The Professional” to be exact. Costner plays a dying assassin who is given the chance to extend his life with an experimental drug. The catch is he must kill for 3 days and complete a mission to apprehend a crime boss to get it.

Movie Review: 'The Wolf of Wall Street' (2013)

Movies have been made about debauched behavior, the rise and fall of an individual, whether consumed by greed, power or both and yet Martin Scorsese's 3-hour opus is unlike anything that has ever been done before. A towering epic that takes viewers on a scintillating tour that ventures into the dark corners of almost every hedonistic impulse imaginable. "The Wolf of Wall Street" is not a glimpse into decadence; it is a full throttle submersion.

Movie Review: 'Her' (2013)

When “The Truman Show” premiered in 1998, the idea of reality television was a distant idea and a seemingly preposterous one. Whether you thought it was the greatest idea ever or the worst, that movie would ultimately foreshadow the age of “Survivor”, “The Real World” and countless reality shows since. Movies are a window to the future, sometimes seeing as far as 50 years and other times striking a little too close to the existing timeline.