Monday, 1 September 2014

The Normal Heart Review: One of the Hardest Movies to Watch!

Let me start by saying that I'm possibly the queen when it comes to hard to watch movies. I watch all of them without a flinch or a hint of disgust, well except Cannibal Holocaust, that still is the top 1 on my list on account of the real animal abuse which I skipped watching (I hope they suffer horrible deaths for doing something like that). But, The Normal Heart just replaced A Serbian Film on my top 2. And if you know of the movies I just named, I'm sure you will be shocked to see that I am mentioning The Normal Heart in the same sentence with A Serbian Film and Cannibal Holocaust, but keep reading. I'll try to do my best to explain my reasons.

The disgust that these movies made me feel are of course different than the disgust I felt watching The Normal Heart. But to me it was one of the hardest movies to watch. I've wanted it to end and then at the same time I didn't want it to end. It's really difficult to explain.

This is NOT a bad thing by the way. I know what I said in the above paragraphs sound like I hated the movie and I thought it was horrible. But it's actually just the opposite. I LOVED the movie and I think it's one of the BEST movies I have ever watched (of all time)! The Normal Heart is definitely among the best acted, best written and best directed movies of all time!

Now, why the hell would I ever be mentioning The Normal Heart with those hardcore movies? How can this movie be disgusting? I am pretty sure you are asking these questions right now. Well, first let's talk a little bit about the plot of the movie. Then maybe and hopefully you will understand! I'm actually hoping for your sake that you will understand; cause if not, there might be something wrong with you.

The Normal Heart tells the story of Ned Weeks (Mark Ruffalo) who is a gay activist, fighting against any obstacles you can imagine in order to raise awareness for AIDS, a disease that has just started to emerge and rapidly became an epidemic affecting and killing a lot of people. The story takes place in the early 1980s, back when medicine had no idea what this disease was, how anyone could come into contact with it, or how anyone could get infected by the virus. They didn't even have tests to find out if someone was infected. They would only know from the lesions on the body.

The disease quickly becomes an epidemic among gay men and the majority of them starts dying. Losing friend after friend, Ned tries to do anything he can to make the government aware of the disease and get them to work on a possible cure. Disgusting thing number 1, the government doesn't care. They don't even address the issue. What's even more disgusting is that, as it is hinted in the movie, there are a lot of closeted gays within the government and they don't want their names exposed so everyone decides to be blind to this very serious issue. Can you believe in a government that would close its eyes to its very own people dying and not doing anything about it? Can you think of something more horrifying than that? Human lives shouldn't be that expendable...

But there is one person who is trying to help them. Dr. Brookner (Julia Roberts) is a specialist who is trying to diagnose and help these men to the best of her abilities. She applies to the government over and over again to get funding in order to research the disease further more and look for a possible cure. Her attempts, just like the attempts of gay activists, are completely ignored for 3 whole years during which A LOT of people already died as you can imagine, until the government decides to provide funding. But it's such a comical number that you can't even get anything done. Not to mention they refuse to collaborate with the French who actually designed an experimental drug to fight off the disease. This has to be disgusting thing number 2.


All these times, the infected men in quarantine wards do not receive their meals because the hospital staff is afraid of entering their rooms even with protective gears. Their TVs aren't working and the repairman also refuses to fix them. Their bodies don't even get examined, their death certificates remain blank because noone wants to lay a finger on them. They are taken out in trash bags, with the other trash. I wanna vomit just writing these things. Let's call this; disgusting thing number 3. 

Like all this treatment from other people is not enough, they don't even get support from their own families. In Ned's case, even his brother refuses to acknowledge that he and Ned are just the same. It can't get any worse than that! Ned's brother actually sees himself as the bigger and the better person because Ned is gay and he is straight. This HAS to frustrate you! Come on! Don't tell me you still don't feel anything after reading what I had to say up to this point.

The cast did a wonderful job in The Normal Heart. It is one of those rare movies you will NEVER feel disappointed by an actor's performance. I really loved Mark Rufallo as the lead. I think his performance was the best in his career and everytime he cried out for help, the desperation in his voice made me feel like I was being stabbed in the heart over and over again. Just like Mark Ruffalo, the whole cast from Julia Roberts to Taylor Kitsch have all been magnificent. But the real stand outs for me were Matt Bomer, Jim Parsons and Joe Mantello. If you are a fan of The Big Bang Theory, you will really enjoy Jim Parson's performance as he finally got a chance to show how versatile he really is as an actor. As for Joe Mantello, I really hate him right now! I hate him for making me cry. I hate him for making me feel this emotional which is something new to me when it comes to watching movies so I don't even know how to deal with it. If you don't feel anything by his stunning monologue about 2 hours into the movie, I suggest you to get your emotions checked. As for me? I tried to hold on until then, fighting back the tears. But when that scene hit me like a truck, I was like "Well f.ck it, there it goes" and just let the tears out which I  have been building up almost ever since the start of the movie.

But, Matt Bomer. Oh, Matt Bomer! It was one of the most raw performances you can ever see from an actor. I still can't get some of his scenes out of my mind and I'm sure they will stick with me for quite a long time. Oh how he was snubbed of an Emmy! I can't believe that I actually wished for Colin Hanks to win the Emmy. Wow, I'm eating my words right now. I wish my keyboard was broken at the time so it would have prevented me from writing that. But I have to explain this, these movies don't make it into my country on time before the award shows. So I don't see most of the movies by the time the award shows start. So I have to be subjective and root for the performance I saw because it's my safest bet as I didn't see the others. What's more, The Normal Heart is a TV movie which means none of the channels in my country actually air it, so I have to wait for DVDs and so on. Back to Matt Bomer now. I still can't believe he didn't get the award, I really can't. It was easily an Oscar worthy performance but sadly this movie is not eligible for an Oscar. Emmy committee has to be incredibly biased here! I can't believe Martin Freeman won over Matt Bomer. Just can't believe it. I think I repeated myself like 4-5 times here and I'll do it again. I still can't believe it! Well, Matt Bomer, you are the true winner here!


Another snub was Ryan Murphy. Watching this movie made me really see how many snubs there actually were at the Emmy Awards. The directing was impeccable and I still don't believe Ryan Murphy didn't win the Emmy. I must have used different variations of the expression "don't believe", "can't believe" probably like a dozen times now. This doesn't necessarily show my lack of vocabulary. It's just how I really feel about the whole situation. It is beyond belief (another variation here)!

I am sorry if this review was all over the place. I actually believe it was. I have a million more things to say and not enough blogs to express all of them in. I watched this movie yesterday and I am still having the emotional after-affects. I do want to say something though and while it may sound harsh, I truly mean it! You don't have to like the movie. Hell, you can even hate it. But; if you don't feel even just a tad of sadness/frustration/disappointment at the events being depicted, you are a homophobic so please do us the favour of killing yourself. We already have enough hate in this world, we don't need you. 

If I, as a straight female, felt this emotional in a movie like this, I can't imagine how homosexuals who are being treated as second class citizens still to this day must be feeling. Just let people love whomever they want, how hard can this really be? There is enough war/rape/murder going on in this world. It's already unlivable. Set love free as it's the only good thing that's left to mankind!

Saturday, 30 August 2014

Divergent Review: Is it possible to classify ourselves with just one virtue?

Divergent was a movie I've wanted to watch for quite some time but I admit I had prejudices beforehand so I kept putting it off. I can't explain why because I don't know the reasons myself but for "some" reason, I expected this movie to be way too cheesy. I usually hate when I am wrong, well who actually likes being wrong, right? But this is the first time I have ever been this happy to be completely wrong about something! Divergent was ANYTHING but what I initially expected it to be.

Divergent has a very unique story. I am sure many people out there have theories about alternate worlds. Not alternate universes as in Fringe but an alternate world where people lived a different life. A different reality from ours, well because the world is not exactly livable at the moment so I actually sometimes take the time to just sit and think about what it would be like to live in a different world free from terrorism/war/murder and so on. Divergent tells the story of one of those different worlds. A world with a unique governing system in an attempt to prevent future wars. A system that will let the leaders control the people in a more effective way. 

In Divergent, this world has a faction system based on certain characteristic features. This faction system was created in order to prevent another war which is something that happened in the past and created absolute chaos. People are born into their parents' factions and after reaching a certain age, they take a test to determine what factions they can fit into the best; however, if they desire they can still choose the faction they want; even if it is a faction that wasn't the result of the test. Once they choose a faction, there is no way for them to go back to their old factions or change factions in the future. Basically you become a member of that faction until the day you die or you become factionless.


There are 5 factions: Erudite is formed by intelligent people in the community who believe that ignorance caused the war. This faction includes scientists, researchers and doctors. Dauntless is formed by the bravest people and they are tasked with protecting the community. Candor is formed by honest and truthful people who control the law. Amity is formed by peaceful ad kind people who are completely against the war and they take the role of farmers. Last but not least, Abnegation is formed by selfless people who always put the needs of others before their own. They live their lives in the simplest way possible and they also control the government (which is disapproved by Erudite as they believe they should hold control over it). There are also factionless people who either couldn't pass the tests of their chosen factions so they were kicked or they chose to be factionless themselves. These people are homeless, hungry and only helped by Abnegation. 

And then there is the title of the movie: Divergent. Divergents are people who have more than just one virtue. They can be Dauntless, Erudite and Abnegation at the same time (or other factions) which is a very scary notion for Erudite because they believe that these people can't be controlled, so they can be the cause of another war in the future and possess a threat to peace. Ultimately, Erudite starts a hunt to find and capture these Divergents.


Our main character Tris (Shailene Woodley) is born into Abnegation faction; however, after she takes the test, the results determine that she is a Divergent. After choosing the faction she wants (not giving spoilers), she must do whatever she can to keep her real identity a secret and overcome the tough challenges set by her faction so she can become an official member. She can't afford to be kicked out because in this world, being factionless is considered to be worse than death.

Speaking of Shailene Woodley, I totally adored her in Divergent. I've never seen any of her movies before but I think she's got a very bright future ahead of her. I really hope to see more of her movies as I think she is a very strong actress. The thing with Hollywood though is that there are a lot of strong actresses but they don't make use of them as they give them roles of someone's wife/girlfriend/mistress who have like 0 impact on anything. So, even if they are talented actresses, they can't really shine because they aren't given the chance. It's just great to see female protagonists! We certainly need more of them! I really enjoyed Theo James' portrayal of the mysterious Four character as well. I think both Theo and Shailene were magnificent and I really loved their on-screen chemistry. Kate Winslet, as the leader of Erudite, was also incredible like she always is.


There are some surprising moments in the movie so I will not spoil anything for you by telling the whole story here. Divergent is one of those movies that you really shouldn't miss. It is a very entertaining and in my opinion the most enjoyable movie that was released in the year 2014.

Before I end my post, I am gonna ask the question I asked in the title again though. Do you really believe that a human can be classified with only one virtue? If it is very dominant it could be "partially" true, but we also have many other features. So according to the faction system, you can't be brave and honest at the same time which is absolutely ridiculous. If so, then you are a Divergent.

I don't get comments on my blog but if you do decide to drop a comment below, feel free to share your thoughts about this faction system and which faction you think would suit you the most/least. I personally favour Candor for myself. I am incredibly brave and I really wouldn't think twice if I had to jump from somewhere; but in the movie, Dauntless are much more than just brave and fearless. They have incredible stamina, strength and they seek fighters. I run for 10 seconds and I feel like my heart is coming out of my chest already and I don't even know how to effectively throw a punch, so by movie standards I'd never make it into Dauntless. As for Erudite, I do consider myself to be pretty logical and more intelligent than your average person but again by movie standards intelligent means math and science skills, neither of which I have. I don't even believe that intelligence should be determined by one's math skills. Math doesn't and shouldn't equal to smart; but anyway I wouldn't be able to make it into Erudite either. So the only reasonable faction for me would be Candor as I'm a pretty honest person.

Feel free to share which faction you'd see yourself clearly in.

Tuesday, 26 August 2014

2014 Primetime Emmy Award Winners! Breaking Bad, Modern Family and Sherlock are the Lead Winners of the Night!

The 66th Annual Primetime Emmy Award winners were announced in a ceremony last night (for me it was night) and unlike previous shows this Emmy was full of surprises and snubs, at least for me. Of course, most of the winners were our usual expected winners from Breaking Bad for Best Drama to Bryan Cranston for Lead Actor. However, as far as snubs go I've never seen a more disappointing award ceremony with the exception of Ralph Fiennes being snubbed of an Oscar despite his stunning performance in Schindler's List! That's how disappointed I was!


Among the biggest snubs lie in Hannibal and Dean Norris not being nominated at all. Hannibal's second season was breathtaking and it at least deserved a nod. As for Dean Norris, he has shown us a fantastic performance in Breaking Bad, especially in season 5, so I see no reason whatsoever for them not to be nominated.

These snubs were for nominations though. But what about winners? Billy Bob Thornton and Allison Tolman not winning? There can't be any bigger snubs than that! It was the biggest disappointment of the night! Josh Charles not winning his category was also a huge disappointment. Yes Aaron Paul was amazing, yes he also deserved it but he already won before. Yes Peter Dinklage was amazing and yes he also deserved it but he won before and he has a chance win in the future. Yes Jon Voight was amazing and yes he also deserves it but he won before and he has a chance to win in the future. Josh Charles was flawless throughout the entire The Good Wife and he has been absolutely impeccable in his last season and it was his LAST season, this was his time to win. I feel like they are really undermining him for some reason. I doubt that they even paid attention to his performance in The Good Wife as I'm pretty sure the committee already decided to give it to Aaron Paul long before. I also loved Julianna Margulies's acceptance speech when she asked Josh Charles "I miss you everyday. What were you thinking?". That sums up how I feel about the whole thing!

The biggest surprises for me were; Martin Freeman and Benedict Cumberbatch winning their respective categories in acting. Sherlock: His Last Vow is one of my most favourite Sherlock episodes (Andrew Scott was the scene stealer as always even in his 1-2 minute screen time), but I just don't understand how Benedict won over Fargo's Billy Bob Thornton or even his Sherlock co-star Martin Freeman. If Martin Freeman was to win, he should have won it with Fargo because that was THE performance that deserved to win! While I admit that Benedict's best Sherlock performance was in Sherlock: His Last Vow, I still don't see how it could have surpassed Billy Bob Thornton. It's just impossible! Please make me understand! I wonder if the Emmy committee was full of 15-16 year old teenager girls whose primary heartthrob is Benedict. That's the only rational explanation I can come up with.

I also can't see Martin Freeman winning over Matt Bomer. I wonder if the committee even watched his wonderful performance in The Normal Heart. I think they were very biased considering the nature of the movie. Same goes to The Normal Heart director Ryan Murphy. Matt Bomer and Ryan Murphy should have been clear winners in their categories!

Well, the good thing is, True Detective didn't win in a category they didn't even belong anyway. (I will get a lot of hate for this...). Don't get me wrong, the show was fantastic and the cast was fantastic. But it's a mini series so it doesn't belong in full-time drama category. So yea, I'm happy they didn't win! Think of it this way; if True Detective won Best Drama, we would be talking about Breaking Bad being snubbed. You shouldn't compare a full time drama series that took 5 whole years to develop with a 10 episode mini series that will keep changing story lines and actors each season. Come on!

Anyway, after my nagging about snubs and surprises, here is the full list of Emmy winners.

Best Drama Series
“Breaking Bad” (WINNER)
“Downton Abbey”
“Game of Thrones”
“House of Cards”
“Mad Men”
“True Detective”

Best Comedy Series
“Modern Family” (WINNER)
“The Big Bang Theory”
“Louie”
“Orange is the New Black”
“Silicon Valley”
“Veep”

Lead Actor in a Drama Series
Bryan Cranston, “Breaking Bad” (WINNER)
Jeff Daniels, “The Newsroom”
Jon Hamm, “Mad Men”
Woody Harrelson, “True Detective”
Matthew McConaughey, “True Detective”
Kevin Spacey, “House of Cards”

Lead Actress in a Drama Series
Julianna Margulies, “The Good Wife” (WINNER)
Lizzy Caplan, “Masters of Sex”
Claire Danes, “Homeland”
Michelle Dockery, “Downton Abbey”
Kerry Washington, “Scandal”
Robin Wright, “House of Cards”

Lead Actor, Comedy
Jim Parsons, “The Big Bang Theory” (WINNER)
Ricky Gervais, “Derek”
Matt LeBlanc, “Episodes”
Don Cheadle, “House of Lies”
Louis C.K., “Louie”
William H. Macy, “Shameless”

Lead Actress, Comedy
Julia Louis Dreyfus, “Veep” (WINNER)
Lena Dunham, “Girls”
Edie Falco, “Nurse Jackie”
Melissa McCarthy, “Mike & Molly”
Amy Poehler, “Parks & Recreation”
Taylor Schilling, “Orange Is the New Black”

Lead Actor in a Miniseries or a Movie
Benedict Cumberbatch, “Sherlock: His Last Vow” (WINNER)
Chiwetel Ejiofor, “Dancing on the Edge”
Martin Freeman, “Fargo”
Billy Bob Thornton, “Fargo”
Idris Elba, “Luther”
Mark Ruffalo, “The Normal Heart”

Lead Actress in a Miniseries or a Movie
Jessica Lange, “American Horror Story: Coven” (WINNER)
Helena Bonham Carter, “Burton and Taylor”
Minnie Driver, “Return to Zero”
Sarah Paulson, “American Horror Story: Coven”
Cicely Tyson, “The Trip to Beautiful”
Kristen Wiig, “The Spoils of Babylon”

Supporting Actor, Drama
Aaron Paul, “Breaking Bad” (WINNER)
Jim Carter, “Downton Abbey”
Peter Dinklage, “Game of Thrones”
Josh Charles, “The Good Wife”
Mandy Patinkin, “Homeland”
Jon Voight, “Ray Donovan”

Supporting Actress, Drama
Anna Gunn, “Breaking Bad” (WINNER)
Maggie Smith, “Downton Abbey”
Joanne Froggatt, “Downton Abbey”
Lena Headey, “Game of Thrones”
Christine Baranski, “The Good Wife”
Christina Hendricks, “Mad Men”

Supporting Actor, Comedy
Ty Burrell, “Modern Family” (WINNER)
Andre Braugher, “Brooklyn Nine-Nine”
Adam Driver, “Girls”
Jesse Tyler Ferguson, “Modern Family”
Fred Armisen, “Portlandia”

Supporting Actress, Comedy
Allison Janney, “Mom” (WINNER)
Mayim Bialik, “The Big Bang Theory”
Julie Bowen, “Modern Family”
Kate Mulgrew, “Orange Is the New Black”
Kate McKinnon, “Saturday Night Live”
Anna Chlumsky, “Veep”

Reality-Competition Series
“The Amazing Race” (WINNER)
“Dancing with the Stars”
“Project Runway”
“So You Think You Can Dance”
“Top Chef”
“The Voice”

Variety Series
“The Colbert Report” (WINNER)
“The Daily Show with Jon Stewart”
“Jimmy Kimmel Live”
“Real Time with Bill Maher”
“Saturday Night Live”
“The Tonight Show starring Jimmy Fallon”

Miniseries
“Fargo” (WINNER)
“American Horror Story: Coven”
“Bonnie & Clyde”
“Luther”
“Treme”
“The White Queen”

Television Movie
“The Normal Heart” (WINNER)
“Killing Kennedy”
“Muhammad Ali’s Greatest Fight”
“Sherlock: His Last Vow”
“The Trip to Bountiful”

Supporting Actor, Miniseries or Movie
Martin Freeman, “Sherlock: His Last Vow” (WINNER)
Colin Hanks, “Fargo”
Jim Parsons, “The Normal Heart”
Joe Mantello, “The Normal Heart”
Alfred Molina, “The Normal Heart”
Matt Bomer, “The Normal Heart”

Supporting Actress, Miniseries or Movie
Kathy Bates, “American Horror Story: Coven” (WINNER)
Frances Conroy, “American Horror Story: Coven”
Angela Bassett, “American Horror Story: Coven”
Allison Tolman, “Fargo”
Ellen Burstyn, “Flowers in the Attic”
Julia Roberts, “The Normal Heart”

Outstanding Writing for a Drama Series
“Breaking Bad” • Ozymandias • AMC • Sony Pictures Television (WINNER)
Moira Walley-Beckett, Written by

“Breaking Bad” • Felina • AMC • Sony Pictures Television
Vince Gilligan, Written by

“Game of Thrones” • The Children • HBO • HBO Entertainment in association with Bighead, Littlehead; Television 360; Startling Television and Generator Productions
Written by David Benioff, written by D.B. Weiss,

“House Of Cards” • Chapter 14 • Netflix • Donen/Fincher/Roth and Trigger Street Productions, Inc. in association with Media Rights Capital for Netflix
Beau Willimon, Written by

“True Detective” • The Secret Fate of all of Life • HBO,
Nic Pizzolatto, Written by

Directing for a Drama Series
True Detective • Who Goes There • HBO • HBO Entertainment in association with Neon Black, Anonymous Content, Parliament of Owls and Passenger (WINNER)
Cary Joji Fukunaga, Directed by

Boardwalk Empire • Farewell Daddy Blues • HBO • HBO Entertainment in association with Leverage, Closest to the Hole Productions, Sikelia Productions and Cold Front Productions
Tim Van Patten, Directed by

Breaking Bad • Felina • AMC • Sony Pictures Television
Vince Gilligan, Directed by

Downton Abbey • Episode 1 • PBS • A Carnival Films/Masterpiece Co-Production in association with NBC Universal
David Evans, Directed by

Game of Thrones • The Watchers On The Wall • HBO • HBO Entertainment in association with Bighead, Littlehead; Television 360; Startling Television and Generator Productions
Neil Marshall, Directed by

House of Cards • Chapter 14 • Netflix • Donen/Fincher/Roth and Trigger Street Productions, Inc. in association with Media Rights Capital for Netflix
Carl Franklin, Directed by

Directing for a Comedy Series
Modern Family • Vegas • ABC • Picador Productions and Steven Levitan Productions in association with 20th Century Fox Television (WINNER)
Gail Mancuso, Directed by

Episodes • Episode 309 • Showtime • Showtime Presents, Hat Trick Productions, Crane Klarik Productions
Iain B. MacDonald, Directed by

Glee • 100 • Fox • Ryan Murphy Television in association with 20th Century Fox Television
Paris Barclay, Directed by

Louie • Elevator, Part 6 • FX Networks • Pig Newton, Inc. and FX Productions
Louis C.K., Directed by

Orange Is The New Black • Lesbian Request Denied • Netflix • Lionsgate Television for Netflix
Jodie Foster, Directed by

Silicon Valley • Minimum Viable Product • HBO • HBO Entertainment in association with Judgemental Films, Alec Berg, Altschuler Krinsky works, and 3 Arts Entertainment
Mike Judge, Directed by

Writing for a Comedy Series
Louie • So Did The Fat Lady • FX Networks • Pig Newton, Inc. and FX Productions (WINNER)
Louis C.K., Written by

Episodes • Episode 305 • Showtime • Showtime Presents, Hat Trick Productions, Crane Klarik Productions
David Crane, Written by
Jeffrey Klarik, Written by

Orange Is the New Black • I Wasn’t Ready (Pilot) • Netflix • Lionsgate Television for Netflix
Liz Friedman, Written by Jenji Kohan, Written by

Silicon Valley • Optimal Tip-To-Tip Efficiency • HBO • HBO Entertainment in association with Judgemental Films, Alec Berg, Altschuler Krinsky works, and 3 Arts Entertainment
Alec Berg, Written by

Veep • Special Relationship • HBO • HBO Entertainment in association with Dundee Productions
Simon Blackwell, Story and Teleplay by Tony Roche, Story and Teleplay by Armando Iannucci, Story by

Writing for a Miniseries, Movie or a Dramatic Special
Sherlock: His Last Vow (Masterpiece) • PBS • Hartswood West for BBC/Cymru Wales in co-production with Masterpiece (WINNER)
Steven Moffat, Written by

American Horror Story: Coven • Bitchcraft • FX Networks • 20th Century Fox Television
Ryan Murphy, Written by Brad Falchuk, Written by

Fargo • The Crocodile’s Dilemma • FX Networks • MGM and FX Productions
Noah Hawley, Written by

Luther • BBC America • A BBC and BBC America co-production
Neil Cross, Written by

The Normal Heart • HBO • HBO Films in association with Plan B Entertainment, Blumhouse and Ryan Murphy Productions
Larry Kramer, Screenplay by

Treme • …To Miss New Orleans • HBO • HBO Entertainment in association with Blown Deadline Productions
David Simon, Written by Eric Overmyer, Written by

Directing for a Miniseries, Movie or a Dramatic Special
Fargo • Buridan’s Ass • FX Networks • MGM and FX Productions (WINNER)
Colin Bucksey, Directed by

American Horror Story: Coven • Bitchcraft • FX Networks • 20th Century Fox Television
Alfonso Gomez-Rejon, Directed by

Fargo • The Crocodile’s Dilemma • FX Networks • MGM and FX Productions
Adam Bernstein, Directed by

Muhammad Ali’s Greatest Fight • HBO • HBO Films in association with Rainmark Films and Sakura Films
Stephen Frears, Directed by

The Normal Heart • HBO • HBO Films in association with Plan B Entertainment, Blumhouse and Ryan Murphy Productions
Ryan Murphy, Directed by

Sherlock: His Last Vow (Masterpiece) • PBS • Hartswood West for BBC/Cymru Wales in co-production with Masterpiece
Nick Hurran, Directed by

Writing in a Variety Special
“Sarah Silverman: We Are Miracles” (WINNER)
“67th Annual Tony Awards”
“Billy Crystal: 700 Sundays”
“The 71st Annual Golden Globe Awards”
“The Beatles: The Night That Changed America”

Directing in a Variety Special
“67th Annual Tony Awards” (WINNER)
“Six By Sondheim”
“The Beatles: The Night That Changed America”
“The Kennedy Center Honors”
“The Oscars”
“The Sound Of Music Live!”

Sunday, 24 August 2014

Grand Piano Review, Suspense at its Best!

I know I haven't written any movie reviews lately. Well that's because most of my time was spent with either Hearthstone or some other game like Dungeon Keeper or Heroes of Might and Magic. I really didn't get a chance to watch anything at all for the past month which is actually a first for me as I am sort of addicted to watching movies.

Well, I finally got a chance to get back to watching some movies now and Grand Piano is the first movie I started out my exciting marathon with. I have nothing but absolute positive thoughts about this movie. From story line to acting, almost everything has been perfect for me.


Grand Piano revolves around a brilliant pianist Tom Selznick (Elijah Wood) who is making a comeback to stage performing after choking on a piece he tried to play 5 years ago. Tom has severe stage fright and from the moment he gets on the plane or the limo he wishes for there to be some sort of crash so he won't make it to his performance because he is extremely afraid of reliving the past where he was ridiculed after his failure.

But of course there isn't any crash and despite his disappointment he makes it to the stage in one piece. But things take a turn for the much worse when he realises notes written down on his sheet music just before he starts his performance. These notes indicate that if Tom plays a single note incorrectly, he and his actress wife, who organised his comeback performance, will get killed.

Acting was completely top notch in Grand Piano. John Cusack has very little screen time but we hear his voice throughout the entire movie and his voice acting is brilliant. Well John Cusack himself is brilliant, what else is there to say? He is one of my most favourite actors out there and even his voice is enough to make anyone feel his talent and presence without being actually present himself (did that make sense to you? because it makes perfect sense to me). 

As for Elijah Wood, he has been a force to be reckoned with these days. I'm sure many people out there see him as just Frodo which is quite upsetting. If you are one of those people I suggest you watch his other work like The Good Son, Wilfred, and of course Grand Piano among many others. I found him absolutely impeccable in Grand Piano and he is starting to be one of those actors whose work I follow wholeheartedly.


Grand Piano is the type of movie that will keep on building suspense until the very end. The experience I had with Grand Piano was like riding the biggest roller coaster in the world. But it also feels like it was cut short because the movie only has a run time of about 80 minutes. I really didn't want the movie to end. You see these movies that last for 2 or even 3 hours and nothing really happens in them except tons of special effects and absolutely 0 "decent" writing. Grand Piano has a lot going for it and yet it only lasts for 80 minutes. Very very disappointing!

The music that's been played by the orchestra in the movie was stunning. The movie is already great and we are also treated to some amazing music almost the entire time which is just amazing! Just like some incredibly tasty chocolate icing on an incredibly tasty chocolate cake! The story and the way it developed were more than thrilling enough to keep me at the edge of my seat the whole time while I watched Grand Piano.

If you check forums you will come across a lot of people complaining about plot holes or logic mistakes. Well if you want to enjoy a movie, don't ever nitpick it. All movies have some sort of "how is that even possible, that doesn't make any sense" moments. Just let those go, otherwise you will never be able to truly enjoy a movie. Don't think too hard on small things like the placement of the piano or plot holes in John Cusack's character's plan. Just watch and enjoy the movie without questioning everything. To me it was a truly great experience!

Saturday, 23 August 2014

Curse of Naxxramas Frostwyrm Lair: Kel'Thuzad Heroic Strategy and Guide for Priests

This post will mark the last guide regarding Hearthstone adventure mode Curse of Naxxramas as Kel'Thuzad is the very last boss of Frostwyrm Lair and thus Curse of Naxxramas. I really hope to see some more great adventures like this in the future of Hearthstone.

Kel'Thuzad is unique in that he is a two phase fight. In each phase Kel'Thuzad's hero power will change. On normal mode, Kel'Thuzad has 30 health but he also starts the fight with 10 armor. On first phase his hero power deals 2 damage to enemy hero and freezes it for 0 mana. On phase 2, his hero power will switch to taking control of a random enemy minion until the end of the turn for 8 mana. This newly mind controlled minion will be able to attack immediately. At the start of phase 2, Kel'Thuzad will also summon x2 3/3 Guardians with Taunt.

However on Heroic difficulty Kel'Thuzad has 45 health and 20 armor! His hero power deals 3 damage to enemy hero and freezes it for 0 mana on phase 1. On phase 2 he will PERMANENTLY take control of a random enemy minion for 8 mana. However, unlike on normal mode, these permanently mind controlled minions will attack one turn later. At the start of Phase 2, Kel'Thuzad will also summon x2 5/5 Guardians with Taunt! So yea, this does look pretty intimidating eh? Well with the Priest deck I am about to share with you, I defeated Kel'Thuzad on my very first try!

Phase 1


Phase 2


Kel'Thuzad will immediately switch phases when you wear down his armor. In this process he will end your turn even before you are able to do anything else, so if you are gonna play a minion, play that one first and then remove the armor. But if you take too long Kel'Thuzad will switch phases automatically by himself (some time after turn 10). The idea is to have a really good board presence before you end phase 1 so you will have a higher chance to exploit his hero power on his second phase by making him take control of weak token minions. You should also have a good board presence so you can deal with the freshly summoned 5/5 Guardians on phase 2. So if your board is weak and you have a chance to make him switch phases, don't do that just yet!

I used the usual gimmicky Priest deck I used for most Heroic Naxxramas bosses because Anduin really works great for almost all encounters. However I made some changes to the usual deck and I will talk about why I made those changes.

I am sure the first thing you realise will be the inclusion of Imp Master. Imp Master's purpose is crystal clear; to increase your chance of protecting a stronger minion from Kel'Thuzad's hero power on phase 2. If RNG is on your side Kel'Thuzad will use his 8 mana hero power to take control of a 1/1 token! In my case he took control of my Ragnaros but whatever, I still defeated him on my first attempt despite that "small" predicament which I could easily deal with by using Shadow Word Death. I included Temple Enforcer so he would give a greater buff to health so I could have stronger minions with Inner Fire and Divine Spirit combo.

Speaking of Ragnaros, I think Ragnaros is a great control minion for this encounter, which is why I included him. Kel'Thuzad will play some big minions like Spectral Knight so I thought he could be an asset and he really proved useful for me until he got mind controlled by KT's hero power. Especially at the start of phase 2 if your Ragnaros is trained like Amaz's, you might not even need to use some of your removals like Shadow Word Death or Holy Fire to deal with Guardians (which I don't recommend anyway). Because if you have Ragnaros alive on Phase 2, you should definitely have a Shadow Word Death ready just in case he gets stolen like mine did.

If you have a second Lightwell you should include that. You can replace Cabal Shadow Priest for your second Lightwell. I added Cabal Shadow Priest in case KT stole a token or my Imp Master so I'd be able to take it back but I actually never needed her. You can also replace one Temple Enforcer if you feel like it.

Mulligan: Lightwell, Northshire Cleric, Dark Cultist, Deathlord, Inner Fire! These cards are really useful for early game. Divine Spirit is also great so you can increase the longevity of such minions like Deathlord. In my case I drew Inner Fire towards turn 8 but I had my Deathlord up to about 18 Health so he actually never died in the entire fight. Lightwell is definitely the best card you can get in your starting hand though. 

Strategy: On phase 1, you try to take it as slow as possible and try to build up a very strong board by using Divine Spirit and Inner Fire on preferably Deathlords or Lightwells (don't take as long as turn 10-11 though...) and try not to use all your buffs on only one minion, otherwise if it gets stolen it will all be for nothing. Try to spread your buffs and create multiple strong minions. You will not use Imp Masters early game. You will only use them before you make KT switch phases so you will decrease his chance to mind control a strong minion. Try to keep your Deathlords alive as much as possible. Kel'Thuzad doesn't have any spells to deal direct damage to your hero except his hero power on first phase, so your priority is to keep those minions alive rather than healing yourself. Don't forget that as soon as you remove the armor, your turn will end automatically. So if you have minions to play or healing to be done, do all of them BEFORE you remove the armor.

On phase 2, always keep your Shadow Word Death in hand to deal with surprises; like if Kel'Thuzad steals your 16/16 Deathlord... I never used any removals on 5/5 Guardians of Icecrown, I handled them easily with the minions I already had and I suggest you do the same cause you never know; you might have x3 1/1 Imp tokens up and KT might steal your 10/10 Lightwell instead. You simply never know! Did I already tell you that he stole my Ragnaros when I had like 5 minions on my board? So, try not to resort to Shadow Word Death to handle with the Guardians. Holy Fire is a good spell to deal with one of them but always keep your Shadow Word Deaths.

Just like every single fight, Kel'Thuzad is also heavily relied on your RNG. Kel'Thuzad has hard removals like Twisting Nether. If you have a great board presence and KT happens to draw Twisting Nether, just concede as there is no point in trying to turn the game around cause you never will. KT will also use Blizzard but Blizzard is not as bad as Twisting Nether. In my case KT never used either of these spells so I only lost minions to his hero power.

If Kel'Thuzad doesn't draw his Twisting Nether (Blizzard won't prove very devastating as almost all your minions will be strong enough to stay alive), the chances of you losing this game are pretty slim. You must draw incredibly bad if you are to lose. 

This is another typical encounter for our typical gimmicky Priest deck, which is why I am not telling you what to do step by step as I am sure you already have a pretty good idea about what to do. You buff your minions and you build up a strong board, that is basically it. Then you hope Kel'Thuzad doesn't draw his Twisting Nether. If you look out for the things I said like using Imp Masters at the right time and not wasting Shadow Word Death on Guardians, you will be in a really good spot even if Kel'Thuzad steals one of your strong minions.

After you defeat Kel'Thuzad on Heroic mode, provided you also defeated all the other Curse of Naxxramas bosses on Heroic difficulty, enjoy your brand new stunning card back to show off to your opponents!

Friday, 22 August 2014

Curse of Naxxramas Frostwyrm Lair: Sapphiron Heroic Strategy and Guide for Mages

Hello again. Here I am with another guide. Frostwyrm Lair, that is the final and the last wing of Hearthstone adventure Curse of Naxxramas has been released on EU (I play on EU) on Tuesday. With this final release I'm afraid we have to say goodbye to Naxxramas once and for all. I honestly don't believe that most people will actually keep defeating these bosses over and over again as I think Curse of Naxxramas doesn't have high replay value due to relying too heavily on RNG. So I'm pretty sure when anyone is done with Heroic modes, they will NEVER look back on Naxxramas again maybe with the exception of Hunter challenge, it really was the best one in the bunch wasn't it?

Well so let's get right to it. Sapphiron is the first boss in Frostwyrm Lair and he is in fact one of the toughest ones to beat if not THE toughest! I tried to defeat him with a secret heavy Hunter deck but it didn't work for me because I was missing the second Eaglehorn Bow and Skeletal Smith kept destroying my only bow so I couldn't race damage wise. So the next best thing was to try out my incomplete wannabe Freeze Mage deck.

In normal mode Sapphiron has 30 health and his hero power destroys all enemy minions that aren't frozen for 0 mana. This hero power remains the same on heroic difficulty; however, like usual Sapphiron's health increases to 45.


On normal mode, you will have a Frozen Champion on your side of the board who will give immunity to the adjacent minions so they won't die to Sapphiron's Frost Breath. On Heroic mode such Frozen Champion will not exist, so no matter what minion you put on the board will die to Sapphiron's hero power before getting a chance to attack provided they don't have Charge. So a spell heavy deck makes the most sense in a situation like this.

On Heroic, Frozen Champion will not be there to assist you!
Like it wasn't bad enough already; on top of everything Sapphiron has this crazy spell that will deal 8 damage to your hero. The best counter to this spell is pretty obvious: The Mage secret Counterspell!


This is exactly where the secrets of the wonderful Mage class will aid us. Check out the deck I used to defeat Sapphiron on Heroic difficulty. Don't forget that I am missing a lot of cards, I will also talk about them too.

Sapphiron is an encounter that can spiral out of control very quickly. Secrets like Ice Barrier, Vaporize and Ice Block can really make the difference between life and death. You will realise that I don't have Vaporize and Ice Block in the deck, well because I really don't have them. If you have those secrets, add x2 each. Ice Block is especially really useful for this fight. If you have a second Pyroblast don't forget to include it too. It would actually cut the encounter much shorter and would increase your chance of success. Counterspell is an absolute must. Whatever it stops can really make a big difference. Sapphiron uses 3 spells; Frostbolt, Blizzard and Pure Cold. You might feel sore if it stops Frostbolt but if it stops Pure Cold, you will have a great advantage to turn the game around.

Mulligan: Arcane Missiles and Frost Nova would make a pretty good starting hand. Nerubian Egg/Novice Engineer/Mad Scientist as the 3rd card is pretty ideal. Nerubian Eggs are part of a wombo combo with Duplicate so it is important to keep at least 1 Egg for Duplicate otherwise your damage output might not be enough (if you are missing cards like me).

Strategy: You will be playing as a typical Freeze Mage. You will use your Arcane Missiles in early game to try taking out threats like Mana Wyrm or Shade of Naxxramas (pray that RNG will be on your side). By turn 3-4, depending on how intimidating Sapphiron's board looks like, you should start freezing the board if you have Frost Nova. By turn 6 hopefully you will have drawn your Blizzard so you can buy yourself some more time. When Sapphiron's board is completely full, use hard removal like Flamestrike. Anything Sapphiron plays will easily die to Blizzard and then Flamestrike combo so you just need to worry about staying alive as much as you can as there is nothing you can't kill with these AoE spells. It all comes down to using them at the right time.

Counterspell is the key card in this encounter and sadly it will involve a lot of RNG. It could stop a simple Frostbolt or it could stop that dreaded Pure Cold spell which would ultimately save your life and even maybe win the game. When I defeated Sapphiron, both of my Counterspell countered Pure Cold so I was incredibly lucky, thus skilled. Luck shows skill in this game don't forget that! If your Counterspell stops Frostbolt, then you are incredibly unskilled so stop playing this game (I hope you are sensing the sarcasm here)!

When you have enough mana for Duplicate + Nerubian Egg combo, use it. If there is a heavy threat on board, use your Nerubian to kill it instead of going face. In my case Sapphiron had a Spectral Knight with 4 health left, I had 5 cards left in my deck and my hero had 16 health so killing off that Spectral Knight was more important as I was afraid of Fatigue. Sapphiron might use Blizzard on the Nerubians you summoned. So you might wanna hold off on "putting all your eggs in one basket", what I am trying to say is that if you have like 3 Eggs on your hand use 1 or 2 but not all 3 at the same time cause if Sapphiron has Blizzard you can say goodbye to this encounter because that 4 damage might mean defeat or victory (that is only if you lack the second Pyroblast like me otherwise it wouldn't be a big issue). 

For extra damage, hold off on your Ice Lances so you can pair them up with Frostbolt. The idea is to NEVER use your spells like Fireball, Frostbolt, Ice Lance, Pyroblast on minions. All these spells must deal damage to Sapphiron himself. You have to rely on spells like Frost Nova, Blizzard, Cone of Cold and Flamestrike to deal with the minions. If you have to use a Fireball on a minion, just concede now cause you won't have enough damage to kill off Sapphiron.

I tried this encounter about 6 times with this Freeze Mage deck on Wednesday. There was this one time I got very close to killing him. He had 8 health left and I had 4 cards left in my deck. If I top decked a Pyroblast I could have killed him  but I didn't so I suck at this game, I'm incredibly unskilled. I sort of took a break from Naxxramas until I decided to try him again today and voila! First attempt and I kill him. RNG was on my side so I feel pretty skilled at the moment. 

The bottom line is, you might die a couple of times at first. Unfortunately Heroic Naxxramas encounters are broken and they require absolute best RNG on your side, they really don't require skill at all. Just keep trying. Believe me, sooner or later RNG will finally be on your side, the stars will align and you will defeat these bosses!

Good luck! 

PS, Kel'Thuzad Heroic guide will be uploaded later today if my computer allows me to. I'm having issues with bloody Intel Graphics Accelerator something so my display goes on and off. (If anyone knows a fix, let me know please!)

Tuesday, 19 August 2014

Plants vs Zombies Garden Warfare is Free to Play for 72 Hours on EA Origins!

EA's latest multi-player shooter game Plants vs Zombies Garden Warfare will be free to play for 72 hours on Origins. All you need to do is to download Origins on your PC, register and create an Origin account if you don't have one already and download the game to your PC.


This offer is for limited time only so you have to be fast and download the game now. When you log into the game your 72 hours of free play will become active and then you can start smashing zombies or harvesting some plants! After your Origin game time is over, you can continue playing by emptying your pockets.

I'm grateful to EA for doing something like this. Plants vs Zombies Garden Warfare is a game I have been looking forward to for quite some time; however, due to financial difficulties I can't afford it. So this free time provided to us just to test the game and get the feeling of it will be like god-given! Thank you EA!

You can download Origin here.

Have fun and don't miss out on this opportunity!