Worried about the Summer TV Slump? 5 Shows to Fill the Void

As an avid TV show watcher, it’s always exciting to read about new TV shows and even more so to watch them unfold into success stories. With that same excitement in mind, I wanted to bring MoviefiedNYC readers a little taste of what to look forward to this summer. New TV shows open the door to whole new worlds with exciting new characters that come to life and tantalize us—if they’re unique and well-drawn, we’re in. I hope that these TV shows can offer this experience to our readers.

Mr. Robot (Season Two)

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If you didn’t watch the first season of Mr. Robot on USA, you better prep for a binge. Not only was the first episode of Mr. Robot uploaded online weeks before its premiere date, but it was renewed for a second season the day of its premiere…hours before the episode even aired on TV for the first time. Mr. Robot follows Elliot Alderson (Rami Malek), a cyber-security engineer by day, hacker vigilante by night, as he navigates the inner turmoil involved in getting recruited by an undercover group of hackers for the daunting task of destroying the very firm that he is paid to protect. As the series progresses, this undertaking becomes more and more complex and unfolds into a story that you can’t get enough of. Mr. Robot offers a dark tone, complex characters and a narrator so unreliable that you never know if what you he is telling you is real or not. Rami Malik offers insightful narration that probes deep into Elliot’s mind, giving you tidbits of Elliot’s overactive mind. Mr. Robot is jam packed with a stellar cast and I am very excited to see what Mr. Robot offers to viewers during its second season. If you’re ready to give a big “fuck you” to media, corporations and societal expectations, I suggest you give Mr. Robot a chance. Mr. Robot is set to come back for its second season July 13 at 10:00 PM on USA.

Outcast (Season One)

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Big Walking Dead fan? Well, you’ll want to sit down for this one because Robert Kirkman is at it again with Cinemax horror drama Outcast. After having watched a few trailers, I know that Outcast will deliver an ominous tone that will sure to have viewers at the edge of their seats. Similarly to Mr. Robot, Outcast has decided to upload its premiere episode to YouTube weeks before its premiere date, which you can find here. More impressive is the fact that Outcast got picked up for a second season nearly three months before its premiere episode. If that doesn’t convince you to click that link above, I don’t know what will. Outcast is based Kirkman’s comic series by the same name which follows Kyle Barnes (Patrick Fugit), a man that has been plagued by demonic possession his whole life and strives to find answers as to why. With help from Reverand Anderson (Philip Glenister), Kyle embarks on a journey that will discovers that the very supernatural occurrences that have caused him so much pain his whole life may be part of a bigger picture than Kyle could have ever expected. Outcast premiered on Cinemax on June 3 at 10:00 PM.

Humans (Season Two)

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Humans offers a futuristic look at a parallel present day where “Synths” serve as servants for families across the world. What are “Synths” exactly? “Synths” are lifelike highly advanced robots that are the must-have item for households everywhere. In an attempt to lighten his wife’s work load, Joe Hawkins (Tom Goodman-Hill) purchases a “Synth” for their home. However, all is not as it seems and Laura (Katherine Parkinson), Joe’s wife, senses that something is not quite right with their “Synth.” After this realization, much unfolds into what becomes a strong syfy series. No premiere date has been announced for the second season of Humans but you can tune in on AMC sometime this summer.

Preacher (Season One)

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Another comic coming to the small screen is Preacher airing on AMC. Its first season debuted on May 22 and centers around Jesse Custer, a preacher (Dominic Cooper) whose body is overcome by a supernatural force beyond his control. Through possession, Jesse is able to harness supernatural powers and decides to embark on a journey to find God with the help of his ex-girlfriend (Ruth Negga) and a vampire (Joseph Gilgun). The cast is stellar and executive producers Seth Rogen and Sam Catlin are huge fans of the comic and are sure to make the translation of a comic to TV show adaptation successfully and tastefully.

Atlanta (Season One)

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Although not much is known about Atlanta, I have to hope that Donald Glover’s involvement going to make for a positive outcome. Atlanta could be a gateway for the portrayal of people of color in a manner that is not seen quite often on television. The prospect is exciting and I am looking forward to watching the plot unfold. Atlanta follows two cousins (Donald Glover and Brian Tyree Henry) as they try to break into the city’s rap scene. A lot about Atlanta is a mystery and even the teaser trailer is cryptic but a show with a POC heavy cast is definitely one to support and tune in for.

—Oscar Flores

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The Best Film You’ve Never Seen

Our love of Robert K. Elder began with the discovery of his book The Film That Changed My Life. Where he had the brilliant idea of asking 30 filmmakers (Danny Boyle, Bill Condon, Alex Gibney, etc) to discuss how a particular film influenced their own work and how it made them think differently about movies. Capturing lightning in a bottle, he has come back with The Best Film You Have Never Seen, where he asks 35 directors (Guillermo del Toro, John Woo, John Waters, etc) to champion their favorite overlooked or critically savaged films. Among these are are unsung noirs (Murder by Contract), famous flops (Can’t Stop the Music, Joe Versus the Volcano), art films (L’ange), theatrical adaptations (The Iceman Cometh), B-movies (Killer Klowns from Outer Space), and even a few Oscar-winners (Some Came Running).

Unable to resist the temptation we gathered our contributors and set them on the task of championing a film they felt for one reason or another had been overlooked. We hope you enjoy some of the lost gems we uncover here.
–Myrna Duarte



 
Myrna Duarte: Attack the Block (2011)
Attack the Block is such an honest, unassuming piece of entertainment that it seems unwise to praise it for things like its social observations, adjusted genre conventions, or its delicate critique of contemporary race relations. At the same time, the movie is so darn good it deserves all that praise and then some. Attack the Block is a blast of originality, wit, and pure nerve, an alien invasion movie more entertaining than the ones Hollywood has recently put out—and made for a tenth of the cost. Executive Producer, Edgar Wright’s (Hot Fuzz and Shaun of the Dead) name was used to sell the picture; his influence is clearly present throughout with its effortless ability to both send up and earnestly engage with the alien invasion genre. The real genius comes from Joe Cornish, making his directorial debut, as he introduces a band of heroes who are basically petty street thugs. We first meet them when they stick up a perfectly nice young nurse (Jodie Whittaker) who is on her way home from work. Brandishing knives and sporting dark hoodies, the five boys are the classic picture of dangerous, inner-city youth, but they’re also hilarious and courageously adventurous. Why, when out from the sky, a mysterious creature crash lands on the street, is their first instinct to poke at it, beat the hell out of it, and then drag it around like a prize. The social commentary of Attack the Block is simple; don’t judge a book by its cover. All that aside, it’s an electric, adventure story. The heavy British accents and slang may have kept Attack the Block from becoming the gigantic box office hit it should have been, but hopefully like Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz before it, it could be the under seen gem that will someday be recognized as a classic.
–Myrna Duarte

Sinann FetherstonDead Men Don’t Wear Plaid (1982)
In 1982, Carl Reiner and Steve Martin set about making the ultimate film noir parody in honor of the pulp fiction detective movies of the1940s. In this loving tribute, Martin plays Rigby Reardon, a private eye who, through the power of editing, seamlessly interacts with the likes of Humphry Bogart, Cary Grant, Veronica Lake and Bette Davis. The film follows Reardon as he investigates the mysterious death of a prominent cheese scientist, who died suddenly in a car crash. With only a handful of clues, including two lists titled ‘Enemies of Carlotta’ and ‘Friends of Carlotta,’ Reardon must work tirelessly to solve the mysterious death. The dead man’s daughter, the beautiful dame Juliet Forrest, inevitably becomes tied up in the drama and Reardon just can’t help but fall for her. This fantastically pastiche film allows Reardon to banter with Marlowe from The Big Sleep, hunt down Kitty Collins from The Killers, and trick Neff from Double Indemnity. It’s a comedy that both teases and praises the genre of noir and it’s most famous players. To put it simply: It’s a gem.
–Sinann Fetherston
Oscar Flores: Into the Wild (2007)
A movie with a meaning. These exact words come to mind when I think of Into the Wild. Emile Hirsch stars as Chris McCandless, a modern day Benjamin Braddock (with a twist, of course. No Mrs. Robinson here), that has had enough of the conventionalism, materialism and the deemed way of living that society instills upon people. After graduating from Emory University, Chris decides to get rid of his credits cards, donate all his savings to charity and take off to Alaska to bask in the beauty of nature, away from the life he leads. Through his adventures in, you guessed it, the wild, he not only finds the beauty of nature but also begins to see how beautiful life truly is. Along the way, he meets people who impact his life tremendously. This film tells one of the most compelling stories I have ever seen and interestingly so, the movie is based on the non-fiction book by the same name that tells the story of Chris McCandless and his journey in the wild. Emile Hirsch delivers a fantastic performance, reeling you into Chris’ life and evoking each and every single emotion that Chris is going through in a way that lets the viewer in. Into the Wild is my pick for best movie you have never seen.
–Oscar Flores
 
Ariadne Ansbro: Murder by Death (1976)
Peter Sellers, Maggie Smith, David Niven, Peter Falk, Eileen Brennan, Elsa Lanchester, James Coco, Truman Capote, Nancy Walker, Estelle Winwood, James Cromwell and Alec Guinness. Honestly, do I need to say more? Murder by Death is a parody film written by Neil Simon. Set in a Victorian gothic mansion, the five greatest living detectives come together for “Dinner and a Murder”. When this film came out in 1976, the main attraction was seeing Truman Capote acting. Once that novelty faded away, the movie became more or less forgotten. With this stellar cast (who have a total of 18 Oscar nominations and four wins between them) and the impeccable writing, it is amazing that this film does not have a cult following. The sheer number of classic one-liners that have found a way into my lexicon is astounding and, let’s face it, kind of disturbing.
–Ariadne Ansbro
 
George Bell: Sexy Beast (2000)
I never see or hear anyone talking about Sexy Beast, which is a sad state of affairs. Ben Kingsley plays Don Logan, a gangster trying to persuade a former colleague, Gal (Ray Winstone), to do one more job. Kingsley is the reason you should see this film, as his Don Logan is a scary, scary man. His constant berating, and coming close to physically hurting, Gal is at once painful and a joy to watch, mostly due to Kingsley’s portrayal of a complete waste of a human being. It sucks to be Gal, but it’s great to be someone watching it all unfold.
–George Bell

Sue Shannon: Three Kings (1999)
The best film I think many people have never seen is Three Kings, the David O. Russell film starring Mark Wahlberg, Ice Cube and George Clooney. I’m sure lots of people saw this film, and I often wonder what people who went based on the advertising made of it. I think this film had the worst, as in most misleading, marketing campaign ever. If you watched the trailer, with Mark Wahlberg driving a Humvee on its side and Ice Cube blowing up a cow, you’d think this was a raucous, go-America, wacky war adventure movie. In fact, it is a cynical, thoughtful look at how the United States had no idea what it was getting itself into with the first Iraq war, and how our mission there was misguided and naïve. The themes foreshadowed all of the problems encountered in the United States’ missions that followed in Iraq and Afghanistan. I have a friend who is basically the bastard child of Jon Stewart, Noam Chomsky and Leonard Cohen, and I made him watch this film – he protested from his knowledge of the film from the marketing that clearly it was a pro-America propaganda film and I was missing the ironic message of US superiority. He said “It has a Hollywood ending where America saves the day, right?” As the film was reaching its climax and things were looking dark, he said to me, “No, they’re not going to do that, right?” I said, “What, are you hoping for a Hollywood ending?” He said I was very cruel. Three Kings is a dark, independent David O. Russell film disguised as a Hollywood blockbuster. You should check it out.
–Sue Shannon

John David West: Videodrome (1983)
Director David Cronenberg created a 1980s surreal time capsule by exploiting the emergence of the videocassette recorder, the rising popularity of MTV, the changing landscape of television, and the growing availability of video porn (no internet porn in 1983!). The film stars a young James Woods and features a sadomasochistic psychiatrist played by ’80s pop icon, Debbie Harry (Blondie)—a brilliant bit of casting considering her pop culture significance at the time. As Professor O’Blivion (yes, O’Blivion), prophesizes a future where television will eventually replace reality, you can’t help but make the mental connection to present day trends in reality TV, YouTube, and Google Glasses. Also written by Cronenberg, the script is convoluted (or cleverly complex, I’m not sure), with each subsequent layer more bizarre then the previous one. Despite being dated and sometimes campy, the film’s images are still disturbing, effectively powerful, and, oftentimes just kitschy fun. As we live in a world where technology advances exponentially each year, and we systematically check out of reality and “check in” to our social media du jour, I can’t help but wonder if and when media will indeed “supplant human reality.” Maybe Cronenberg was prophetic after all. 

–John David West

Eddie Mouradian: Warrior (2011)
Warrior was a little movie that flopped on arrival in September of 2011. The problem was it was marketed as “Rocky … with mixed martial arts!” To be fair, that’s a somewhat fair assessment; the problem is the existence of Rocky V causes people to forget that how groundbreaking and incredible the original Rocky was. Warrior tells the story of the estranged Conlan brothers: Family man and science teacher, Brendan (a masterful Joel Edgerton) and Tommy, back from war and weighed down with guilt (combustible Tom Hardy, jacked to a point that it is uncomfortable) who separately enter into a mixed-martial arts tournament. Nick Nolte (an Oscar nominee for his gristled performance) also stars as the boys’ alcoholic father, and Tommy’s trainer. It all seems very boilerplate, but the story about triumph, fatherhood and the complicated relationships we have with our families, as well as, ourselves is as powerful a punch as anything that happens in the ring. The film launched Gavin O’Conner as a major director/writer double-threat and enhanced both Hardy and Edgerton’s reputations as explosive new talents. I admit, I was one of the people who dragged their feet. I have to give credit to my buddy Anthony who was relentless in getting me to sit-down, shut up and enjoy this movie. He was right–Warrior is one hell of a film.
–Eddie Mouradian
 
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Flash Review Friday: Percy Jackson and the Olympians: The Lightning Thief (2010)

With the release of Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters right around the corner, it would only make sense to shed some light on its 2010 predecessor, Percy Jackson and the Olympians: The Lightning Thief.  As a fan of mythology, I can honestly say that I definitely have a soft spot for this movie and I will definitely be seeing the series’ second installment. It’s only natural that numerous reviewers have compared the Percy Jackson films to the Harry Potter franchise, but by setting aside these obvious comparisons, a solid appreciation for the movie can be had and enjoyed.
 
Percy Jackson and the Olympians: The Lightning Thief introduces us to a world where demi gods live among the common people and hones in on the adventures of Percy Jackson, son of Poseidon; Annabeth Chase, daughter of Athena; and Luke Castellan, son of Hermes, who is arguably Percy Jackson’s main antagonist. It’s very interesting to see a book’s alternate universe unfold through a motion picture; avid fans of the book series will certainly make the second installment of Percy Jackson a huge success. I hope this Flash Friday finds you well and feel free to let us know what you think about the Percy Jackson franchise!
–Oscar Flores

 

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Flash Review Friday: Dazed and Confused

I hope you are happily winding down after yesterday’s 4th of July festivities. And what better way to do that than with a new addition to MoviefiedNYC’s weekly posts. Fridays will now provide you with Flash Review Fridays, a quick collection of thoughts about a movie, old or new. With yesterday having been Independence Day, it’s only right that the movie pay homage to the celebration of freedom.

 
This week’s movie is director, Richard Linklater’s Dazed and Confused (1993). It’s a coming of age comedy that follows a group of high school teenagers during their last day of school in May of 1976. As high schoolers, they are ready to celebrate their freedom (how appropriate) and take on all the fun that summertime has to offer. The movie gives rise to likeable characters, good-natured laughs and an organic look into these teenagers’ lives. 
Overall, the film effectively portrays what it was like to be in high school during the ’70s in a way that perfectly captured the spirit of the decade. As a fan of the 70s, it was a pleasant surprise that this movie didn’t live up to its “just another teen movie” look. With that in mind, don’t judge a book by its cover and check out Dazed and Confused. It may not be Independence Day or Forrest Gump, but here at MoviefiedNYC, we’re all about innovation and keeping things fresh. Dazed and Confused honors a different kind of freedom and while watching it, you can’t help but remember when you were in their shoes, waiting for the clock to strike 3:00, finally free of school, and ready for some summer fun. Those were the days…
–Oscar Flores
 

World War Z Review (A redeux if you will)

Prior to watching World War Z, I was wary about the movie because I thought that the trailers didn’t demonstrate the aesthetics of the quintessential idea of the zombie enough for me to formulate an opinion on whether I should go watch it or not. To my pleasant surprise, World War Z delivered more than just what seemed would be a wave of zombies coming your way. WWZ follows Gerry Lane, a former United Nations worker, and his family as they deal with what ensues from the apocalyptic happenings as they are separated from one another when Gerry is called back into action. Brad Pitt emulates the desire to be reunited with his family amazingly throughout the whole movie and while his family does offer a strong suit to the metaphoric glue that holds the film together, Brad Pitt is able to remind the audience about Gerry’s family through his performance.
 
I feel like a lot of zombie movies try to hone in on the surface issues, the main one being escaping from the mayhem, but this movie scratched the surface and took us deep into the issues of an apocalyptic world. It truly made you feel for Gerry as he visited dangerous place after dangerous place when he had family to return to. Emotionally driving such a central point in the film worked fantastically for WWZ because it is something that stays in your mind and while watching you just can’t help but think about whether or not he’ll return to his family. It was also great that the film didn’t remain in one place and we got to see how so many other places were dealing with what was going on.
 
A potential downside to WWZ, if you’ve read the book, is how much the movie deviated from what happened in the book. Book readers tend to be very critical when many changes arise in film adaptations and this transition from book to movie is sure to have people talking. The book offers individual accounts and lets you into the lives of all sorts of people. I think that staying true to the book could have added a really interesting dynamic to the movie as it would have showed drastic changes everywhere. While glimpses of what was going on in other places were great (and arguably necessary) to have, the book offers up a more diverse take, which could have really worked on film.
 
Besides that, I think that WWZ is definitely worth seeing. It offers more than just what you would expect from a zombie movie and shows that sometimes less is actually more by keeping the gore at a low (not such a bad thing in this case) and giving the audience both a micro and macro insight into the outbreak.  
 
-Oscar Flores
 
 
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