Oscars 2013!

Last night was the 85th Annual Academy Awards! As always, I watching it, anxiously hoping my favorites would take home the gold. This year was different from the past in that I am SICK! Not just a little sick, but “Oh my God, please make it stop” sick. I wish the Norovirus on no one.

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In my movie viewing in preparation for last night, there were 3 films I did not get to see- Argo, Life of Pi, and Silver Linings Playbook. These proved to be some of the biggest winners of the night.

 

Host Seth McFarlane did a fine job as host, despite reports to the contrary. William Shatner reprises his role of Captain Kirk…

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I repeat, William Shatner reprises his role of Captain Kirk (possibly for the last time) and McFarlane did a fine job.

 

We get some really good music last night. Catherine Zeta Jones returned to sing All that Jazz from Chicago, Jennifer Hudson brought the house down in her Dreamgirls number, and the cast of Les Miserables performed “One day More”. Barbara Streisand sang a tribute to Marvin Hamlisch, Adele sang Skyfall, and Shirley Bassey performed Goldfinger! This is not including the great vocals by McFarlane himself. Overall, I give the telecast a 7/10.

Here is the run down of nominations, my predictions and the winners.

BEST PICTURE

“Lincoln”
“Life of Pi”
“Django Unchained”
“Amour”
“Zero Dark Thirty”
“Beasts of the Southern Wild”
“Argo”
“Les Miserables”
“Silver Linings Playbook”

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My personal favorite of the bunch was Django Unchained. Behind that, I was pulling for Les Miserables. Winner was Argo- which I will be watching soon. (0/1)

BEST DIRECTOR

Michael Haneke, “Amour”
Benh Zeitlin, “Beasts of the Southern Wild”
Ang Lee, “Life of Pi”
Steven Spielberg, “Lincoln”
David O. Russell, “Silver Linings Playbook”

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I thought this was going to Spielberg, but once again a gap in my viewing snuck in phenomenal director Ang Lee for Life of Pi, another must see film I am told. (0/2)

BEST ACTRESS

Jessica Chastain, “Zero Dark Thirty”
Jennifer Lawrence, “Silver Linings Playbook”
Emmanuelle Riva, “Amour”
Quvenzhane Wallis, “Beasts of the Southern Wild”
Naomi Watts, “The Impossible”

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I did not see Silver Linings Playbook, but I was aware of its buzz surrounding Jennifer Lawrence. I suspected that it was just some Hunger Games fanfare, but with her win last night, I seem to have been mistaken. (0/3)

BEST ACTOR

Daniel Day-Lewis, “Lincoln”
Bradley Cooper, “Silver Linings Playbook”
Hugh Jackman, “Les Miserables”
Joaquin Phoenix, “The Master”
Denzel Washington, “Flight”

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A no brainer. Daniel Day Lewis has had this in the bag since Lincoln released. A terrific performance. (1/4)

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS

Jacki Weaver, “Silver Linings Playbook”
Amy Adams, “The Master”
Sally Field, “Lincoln”
Anne Hathaway, “Les Miserables”
Helen Hunt, “The Sessions”

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Another easy prediction. Anne Hathway was astounding in Les Mis. Her brief performance sold the whole movie. (2/5)

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR

Alan Arkin, “Argo”
Robert DeNiro, “Silver Linings Playbook”
Philip Seymour Hoffman, “The Master”
Tommy Lee Jones, “Lincoln”
Christoph Waltz, “Django Unchained”

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I was SO pleasantly amazed to see my prediction come true! I thought Christoph Waltz deserved this award, but feared a win from Tommy Lee Jones, who was just as good in Lincoln. (3/5)

BEST ANIMATED FEATURE

“Brave”
“Frankenweenie”
“ParaNorman”
“The Pirates! Band of Misfits”
“Wreck-It Ralph”

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I think the entire world got this one wrong. I figured Wreck it Ralph was the clear winner, Brave proved me wrong. (3/6)

BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY

Seamus McGarvey, “Anna Karenina”
Robert Richardson, “Django Unchained”
Claudio Miranda, “Life of Pi”
Janusz Kaminski, “Lincoln”
Roger Deakins, “Skyfall”

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I was sure Deakins would take the gold for Skyfall. I was sure that if he lost, it would go to Richardson’s Django. Life of Pi proved me wrong again. (3/7)

COSTUME DESIGN

Jacqueline Durran, “Anna Karenina”
Paco Delgado, “Les Miserables”
Joanna Johnston, “Lincoln”
Eiko Ishioka, “Mirror Mirror”
Colleen Atwood, “Snow White and the Huntsman”

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I picked Les Mis, winner was Anna Karenina. (3/8)

BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY

Mark Boal, “Zero Dark Thirty”
Quentin Tarantino, “Django Unchained”
Wes Anderson and Roman Coppola, “Moonrise Kingdom”
Michael Haneke, “Amour”
John Gatins, “Flight”

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I got this one, and feared it would not be. Tarantino gets another Oscar. woo! (4/9)

BEST ADAPTED SCREENPLAY

Tony Kushner, “Lincoln”
David O. Russell, “Silver Linings Playbook”
Chris Terrio, “Argo”
David Magee, “Life of Pi”
Lucy Alibar and Benh Zeitlin, “Beasts of the Southern Wild”

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As I did not see, or despised, the other 4 choices, I went with the one I had seen, and liked- Lincoln. Winner was Argo. I gotta see this movie. lol (4/10)

BEST FOREIGN FEATURE

“Amour”
“A Royal Affair”
“Kon-Tiki”
“No”
“War Witch”

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I knew Amour was gonna win, but I chose Kon Tiki anyway. I LOVE the story of Thor Heyerdal. One of the coolest men of the last century. (4/11)

ORIGINAL SCORE

Dario Marianelli, “Anna Karenina”
Alexandre Desplat, “Argo”
Mychael Danna, “Life of Pi”
John Williams, “Lincoln”
Thomas Newman, “Skyfall”

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I did not feel strongly about any of these, and chose Lincoln because its John Williams, and he is a god. Winner was Life of Pi. (4/12)

ORIGINAL SONG

“Before My Time,” J. Ralph; “Chasing Ice”
“Pi’s Lullaby,” Mychael Danna & Bombay Jayashri; “Life of Pi”
“Suddenly,” Claude-Michel Schanberg, Herbert Kretzmer and Alain Boulil; “Les Miserables”
“Everybody Needs a Best Friend,” Walter Murphy & Seth McFarlane; “Ted”
“Skyfall,” Adele Adkins & Paul Epworth; “Skyfall”

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My pick, Adele, took the Gold, and deservedly so. I was pleasantly surprised by Scarlett Johanssen’s singing voice on Chasing Ice though. (5/13)

PRODUCTION DIRECTION

“Anna Karenina”
“The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey”
“Les Miserables”
“Life of Pi”
“Lincoln”

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I chose Les Miserable for this one, and Lincoln won. Can’t complain though, bother were well made, and designed. (5/14)

BEST DOCUMENTARY FEATURE

“5 Broken Cameras”
“The Gatekeepers”
“How to Survive a Plague”
“The Invisible War”
“Searching for a Sugar Man”

Did not see any of these sadly Searching for a Sugar Man won. (5/15)

BEST DOCUMENTARY SHORT SUBJECT

“Inocente”
“Kings Point”
“Mondays at Racine”
“Open Heart”
“Redemption”

Same as above. Inocente won.  (5/16)

FILM EDITING

“Argo”
“Life of Pi”
“Lincoln”
“Silver Linings Playbook”
“Zero Dark Thirty”

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I chose Zero Dark thirty, winner was Argo. (5/17)

MAKEUP AND HAIRSTYLING

“Hitchcock”
“The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey”
“Les Miserables”

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I chose winner- Les Mis. (6/18)

BEST ANIMATED SHORT FILM

“Adam and Dog”
“Fresh Guacamole”
“Head Over Heels”
“Maggie Simpson in ‘The Longest Daycare'”
“Paperman”

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My pick won, the superb Paperman. (7/19)

BEST LIVE-ACTION SHORT FILM

“Asad”
“Buzkashi Boys”
“Curfew”
“Death of a Shadow”
“Henry”

Saw none. Winner Curfew (7/20)

SOUND EDITING

“Argo”
“Django Unchained”
“Life of Pi”
“Skyfall”
“Zero Dark Thirty”

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I chose Skyfall. I was right! Sort of. This one ended in a tie with Zero Dark Thirty. (8/21)

SOUND MIXING

“Argo”
“Les Miserables”
“Life of Pi”
“Lincoln”
“Skyfall”

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I chose Les Miserables for the amazing job they did of mixing the sound of the live performances into the film seamlessly. I was right. (9/22)

VISUAL EFFECTS

“The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey”
“Life of Pi”
“The Avengers”
“Prometheus”
“Snow White and the Huntsman”

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Based on word of mouth, I chose Life of Pi. I was right. (10/23)

All added up, I was 43.7% right. Not too bad.

Here is a breakdown by oscar/picture:

Life of Pi: 4 oscars

Argo: 3 Oscars

Les Miserables: 3 Oscars

Lincoln: 2 Oscars

Django Unchained: 2 Oscars

Skyfall: 2 Oscars

Amour: 1

Ana Karenina: 1

Silver Linings Playbook: 1

Zero Dark Thirty: 1

Every Best Picture nominee won something, except Beasts of the Southern Wild, which I found mediocre. I guess my tastes align somewhat with Academy voters.

Zero Dark Thirty

It means 12:30AM or 00.30. I was wondering too…

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The film that the government is investigating to see if secret info was leaked to the filmmakers. This gives me some hope that what we saw was fairly close to what actually went down.

I understand that this is a dramatization of events. Characters are merged, names changed, and a lot of things were simplified to get the story across in 2 1/2 hours. But a fantastic 2 1/2 hours they are. Director Katherine Bigelow has delivered another great film. It is unflinching in its portrayal of the US detainee program (i.e. torture), and creates a really gripping narrative, ending with the attack on Usama Bin Laden’s compound in Abbottabad.

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Let me make this clear: This movie was good, damn good. The cast is terrific, but lead actress Jessica Chastain has got this Oscar locked. A career defining performance, and a great way to become a household name.

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So, is it good enough to earn a place on my top ten list?

Yes, indeed it is.

2012 Movies (v6)

1: Skyfall

2: Django Unchained

3: Avengers

4: Les Miserables

5: Lincoln

6: Moonrise Kingdom

7: The Dark Knight Rises

8: Zero Dark Thirty

9: The Hunger Games

10: The Hobbit

It comes in at #8, just ahead of Hunger Games and after Dark Knight Rises. What appealed to me about these two films were their timeliness. They both had something strong to say about our society, the gap between rich and poor, and where we are headed. By taking an impartial stance, and showing a truthful representation of the events following 9/11 and the death of Bin Laden, Zero Dark Thirty strikes a similar chord, showing us a little bit about who we really are, as we look back, not ahead.

This is pretty much it for 2012. I am going to attempt to see Argo this week, but if I cannot sneak it in before the Academy Awards on Sunday, this will stand as my final list!

Beasts of the Southern Wild

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Gotta admit- this one did not do much for me. Certainly not in my top 10.

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The child actress, Quvenzhané Wallis, did not impress me. I know, I know- she’s just a kid and I should leave her alone. BUT, may I remind all 2 of my readers that she is nominated for an Oscar for Best Actress. There is no way in hell a performance from a 5 year old should qualify for an Oscar nom. Not a chance. Her range in this film consisted of “pretend you are angry”, and “frown”. She did shed a tear near the end of the film, so I suppose that counts.

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Not nominated was the actor that played her ailing father- Dwight Henry. Now this guy had a good role. I cannot see his performance being nominated for an Oscar, but he was pretty good.

The story is about a community that lives on the “bad side” of a levee down south. The bad side would be the side that floods. These people are poor, dirt poor, but they do alright. They catch their dinner and booze away the troubles. The star of the film is Hushpuppy, the little girl. The film follows her as her father gets sick, a Hurricane hits the area, and they deal with it. Dealing with it consists of getting shitfaced drunk with the other fools who ignored the flood warnings and then blowing a small hole in the levee to drain the water out of their land. Because that’s what happens when Levees break, they drain the ocean.

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Actually, that’s not how levees work. The sea levels rise up and flood everything on the “beach side” of the levee. If the levee fails, water pours into the protected areas, but the water levels in the already flooded areas would not change. It would still be flooded until the ocean recedes. Anyway, after this short break in stupid-ville, they return to their destroyed homes and are then evacuated by authorities and taken to a shelter for food and medical attention. Of course, once there they go batshit crazy and break out of the place that’s trying to keep them alive. They escape back to their squalor, including that father who is deathly ill at this point. The girl next finds herself on a floating whorehouse, has a strange run in with a hooker, and then returns home to care for her dad as he dies.

Not entirely sure what this movie wanted to “say”, but I kept waiting for Social Services to take this poor little girl away from these drunken maniacs. Seriously, these people are clueless.

When the Feds say “Flood coming! You are gonna die” please be intelligent and LEAVE! Don’t stay!

Now this next part is tricky, but do your best to follow:

If they want to give you medical attention after an evacuation STAY! Don’t leave! Medicine= good! Death=bad!

Oh well. I am not from the south. I can only assume there is some crucial bit of culture I am missing to appreciate the endangerment of this child by a pack of loonies. Oh, she also hallucinated several aurochs which are extinct cows. Maybe she’s a bit nuts after all.

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A Movie A day!

Hello there everyone!

a great website called aintitcool.com had a feature several years ago called “A Movie a Day” written by Eric Vespe (better known as Quint on the site). In it, he watched one movie a day, for months, and reviewed them. I tried to follow along as best I can and hung in there for quite a few.

He restarted it this past week and I encourage all with netflix, or amazon prime, or whatever, to watch a few of these. They are quite good.

2012 Films Revisited

In my “Movies 2012” Posting on New Year’s Day, I mentioned that due to the high number of quality 2012 movies released when I was low on funds, there was a probability of a series of revisions as I saw these films. Well, that has been happening with each new film viewed it seems. I am just stopping by to give all 3 of you readers an update of the list. After some reconsideration, I have decided that one of my choices must be struck from the list, and another must move higher.

The Artist was released in America, nationally, in January of 2012. Therefore, I saw it in 2012. Because it had a limited release in 2011 for Oscar contention, it is technically a 2011 film. This puts me in a pickle as I have spent the last month catching up on 2012 movies for the list. In a case of fairness, The Artist must be struck from 2012. 😦

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Calm down! You still won the Oscar last year!

What also happens when one sees a film is an initial placement, and then after we’ve let the film settle in our minds, we reassess it. Les Miserables has benefited from this effect. I found my self humming “I dreamed a dream” yesterday in the car. This morning, as I was getting MY TEETH DRILLED, I was humming “Look Down”, which brought me no small measure of amusement. It all adds up to one revelation: Les Miserables is a movie that is gonna stick with me a long time. That moves it up. This also causes a revisiting of the other films on the list, and there was some movement.

2012 Movies (v5)

1: Skyfall

2: Django Unchained

3: Avengers

4: Les Miserables

5: Lincoln

6: Moonrise Kingdom

7: The Dark Knight Rises

8: The Hunger Games

9: The Hobbit

10: Prometheus

 

In rethinking these films, I cannot dispute Skyfall as the best of the year. I am sad that it was not nominated for an Oscar. Django still leads the pack of Oscar contenders and holds the #2 spot on my list. Avengers still holds sway as the King of the Comic Book films and sticks at 3. The middle section is where some changes happened. Moonrise Kingdom (which I adore) moves from 4 to 6. This is due to Les Miserables and Lincoln. I still prefer Les Mis to Honest Abe, but Spielberg has a damn good film here, and it needed to place higher than it was. This moves DKR down to 7th while Hobbit and Hunger Games hold on to 8 and 9.

I took a little heat for placing Hunger Games over Hobbit. While I feel Hobbit is a tremendous film, Hunger Games is a bit of a cultural touchstone. It is based on a GREAT book series, was well acted, well designed, and had some outstanding views on the world. As this is the successor to Twilight for the Teen girl set, I am so happy to see a film with some brains make such an impact with them.

In a bit more of a shake up, I needed a new #10. I almost did not put a 10th spot in this new list, as Argo, The Master, Zero Dark Thirty, and a couple of the other Best Picture nominees are to be viewed over the next month. But, what if they all, amazingly, stink?  I needed a 10. I examined the 3 films booted off the list previously- Get The Gringo, Prometheus, and Dredd. I ranked Dredd higher than Prometheus initially, but once you start picking them off, one by one, you feel twinges of regret. Prometheus gave me that when I booted it, Dredd did not. So, the Sci Fi Drama holds on for a little bit longer.

I am going to try to see at least one film in the theater next week, and possiblly a 2nd as well. I should have some DVD’s coming in so who knows what else will change!

Movie 43…a change of pace

The 361st movie I have seen in theaters

Star studded cast, what could go wrong….

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Almost everything it seems. Where to begin?

This film is about an aspiring screenwriter (Dennis Quaid) who gets a meeting with a studio exec (Greg Kinnear) to pitch his idea for a movie. In reality it is a series of shorts in one film. As he tells the idea, we get to see it acted out by famous performers such as Kate Winslet and Richard Gere.

The result is a steaming pile of monkey poop.

To be fair, there were a few laughs. By a few I mean 7 or 8.

The Catch

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The opening skit with Hugh Jackman is unfortunately one of the best of the bunch, and that is just Jackman walking around with a scrotum on his neck, while Academy Award Winner Kate Winslet reacts in horror. Thats it.

Homeschooled

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Up next is a terrifying bit where Liev Schrieber and Naomi Watts homeschool their son, and recreate the entire high school experience for him, including first kisses and gay encounters…with their son. Incest. yay.

The Proposition

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It just gets worse from there on as Anna Faris wants her boyfriend to poop on her to show his love. The semi filled theater had given up by this point.

Veronica

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Next was a charming segment where Keiran Culkin and Emma Stone profess their love to each other in a grocery store. Not a laugh in the sketch.

iBabe

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A send up of Apple with iBabe! An mp3 player that looks like a naked woman! At least there was nudity in this part.

Superhero Speed Dating

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Next we have speed dating with Robin, Batman, Superman, Supergirl, Wonder Woman, and The Penguin. How they got permission from DC comics is beyond me. This did give me 2 or 3 of the 7 or 8 laughs. Mostly centering on Supergirl’s incredibly hairy Bush… yeah. This is a great example of why DC can’t get their shit together for Justice League.

Middle school Date

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Adorable Chloe Moretz getting a period, and causing a panic.

Happy Birthday

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features Johnny Knoxville and Sean William Scott. Sean is mad at Johnny, and to make it better, he catches a Leprechaun for him. A foul mouthed Leprechaun played by Gerard (300) Butler. This might be the strongest of the segments and it was directed by Brett Ratner. What the hell kind of movie has it’s BEST part made by the bane of modern cinema??

Truth or Dare:

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This is followed by Truth or Dare with Stephen Merchant and Halle Berry. A couple of chuckles appear here. The photo shows her after inserting a turkey baster full of hot sauce into her vagina btw.

Victory’s Glory

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Then we get the Black Basketball Players versus White Basketball Player section. Not a laugh in the entire thing.

Beezel

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After some credits, we get Beezel, the psychopathic cartoon cat. Bizarre, but somewhat funny. Not funny enough to redeem this.

I honestly don’t know what to say. I have not seen a movie this bad since The Avengers. Not THAT Avengers, This one:

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Even Avengers might have the edge on this one. It might actually be on even keel with The worst movie of the 00’s!

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A Pathetic film. lets hope it is quickly forgotten. Also- 4% on Rotten Tomatoes. I have to agree.

After all these good, quality films I’ve been seeing, it was a nice change of pace to watch a shart that somehow came to life. Not a good start to 2013.

Dallas returns! Downton brings us down…

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Last night brought the 2nd season of the revival of Dallas, one of my favorite shows from the 80’s. It got off to a great start as we begin the last stories of J.R. Ewing, greatest villain in TV history. His son, John Ross, took center stage as he begins putting his father’s lessons into action and prepares to take his place as the heir of the vilest man in Texas. Julie Gonzalo stands revealed as Pamela Barnes, daughter of long time JR rival Cliff Barnes, as The Good Guys, Bobby, Elena, and Christopher try to expand the Clean Energies part of the business. Mitch Pileggi, Skinner on X-Files, finds himself promoted to series regular this season, Emma Bell (Walking Dead) joins the cast as his daughter,  and Judith Light, Angela on Who’s the Boss, appears as his mother. Tons of double crosses, backstabbing, and classic Ewing drama unfold in the premiere . Worth watching.

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In international news, this past weekend brought us the death of Lady Sybil Branson, nee Crawley, of Downton Abbey. The cause of death was Eclampsia during childbirth. You’d think a real person had died with all the news stories on the internet about it. I even read a medical story on the particular complication that took the character’s life. Crazy, but as I can attest, fandom knows few limits.

Entertainment Analysis by Superponte