Zach’s Zany TV Binge Watchin’ Reviews: BOSCH SEASON 6 (Amazon Prime & kind of a review of the series as a whole)

I’m not sure if I’ve ever reviewed BOSCH on my blog, I might’ve done Season 4 and 5 really quickly as quick blurbs on a Facebook status update (don’t think I ever even mentioned 1-3), but never a review such as this, so since I watched all 10 new episodes in a matter of 5 days, and there isn’t much to review anymore, let me talk about SEASON 6! Already renewed for one last season after this one (providing that this cocksucking buzz kill of a virus ever goes away and they can go into production), I’m happy to say that Season 6 does not just feel like a bridge season to its final go around. It is its own thing, tying up loose ends that were introduced late the previous season while bringing up some new mini cases/disputs that are solved in a couple of episodes and some threads introduced in the last couple of episodes that will mold themselves into the next and final season. All wrapped around giant and satisfying character arcs. That’s BOSCH in a nut shell. Every season has been this way. This isn’t like the Marvel Universe where they just plant stuff for a big endgame. No season has been better than the last and I can’t for the life of me think of my least favorite season. It’s like a company that pays its credit off in 30 days, never early, never late. Always constant and steady. Though I’d have to say if I were to go back and rank all the seasons (basically I’d have to watch them all again to determine any type of comparison) I would probably rank this one high up there as I probably watched Season 6 the fastest out of any other season (though because I’ve had time on my hands with quarantine more than my “gotta watch the next one now” vast enjoyment of the season). Basically…if you’ve never watched the show but my review piqued your interest, and you have a shit ton of time on your hands because of bitch ass COVID-19, I highly recommend that you watch these very tight and entertaining 60 episodes all together (10 a season).

Bosch is based off of Michael Connolly’s fantastic novels that feature the L.A.P.D. homicide detective named Harry (Hieronymus, named after the painter) Bosch (if you have some time to kill, read all of those novels starting with The Black Echo, they are fantastic police procedurals, the most realistic ones I’ve read). The tv series is more like companion pieces to the novels than actual page by page adaptations, so you can both read and watch and no really be spoiled by too many similarities (although there are definitely some). Season 7 takes its cues from an older Bosch novel, ‘The Overlook’ and a much more recent one, ‘Dark Sacred Night.” Harry has two main pursuits of justice this season: he’s trying to track down the killer of a woman’s daughter that he met last season when he was going undercover as a drug mule, and also trying to find 32 missing pieces of cesium that were stolen from a Los Angeles hospital that they are afraid might be used in a dirty bomb. If you are worried that that just sounds like typical old episodes of Jack Bauer and 24, don’t be. Bosch is probably the realist police procedural show I have ever seen on television. The whole force takes its time and detectives do (and you see them) do actual detective/police work to mount enough evidence to get the criminals justly behind bars. There isn’t some random person doing work ‘behind the scenes’ like in NCIS, Castle, what have you that just comes out of the background to deliver a startling piece of evidence/revelation at the last minute that changes the entire case outlook. So while you think that the police work might be slow, to me, all of its taking time just makes it feel that more rich, believable, and authentic.

Kind of like Michael Connolly’s books that I’ve obsessed over ever since my father introduced me to them. And not just his Bosch series, all of them. Connolly creates fantastic attention to detail in detective work, where you didn’t know filling out a police report in the mind of one of the characters could be so damn entertaining! At first it was hard for me to adjust to Titus Welliver playing Bosch (as I had a different image of him in my head when reading the novels), but man, after the first season or two, he’s all I see when reading the books now. He’s got the character nailed to a T. In fact, everyone is good here. This show isn’t just about Bosch, it’s about several different characters, sometimes with their own little stories completely separate from him. Bosch’s daughter, police chief, direct lieutenant, his partner, etc. etc. all get little stories within the season that just bulk up their character development arcs and make the show just have that much more impact as a whole. If there was a weak link to all these stories, would definitely be Bosch’s partner’s (named Jerry Edgar, whose character is much more mature in this than he is in the books). Not to say it is bad, it was just his story dealing with people who killed his confidential informant just wasn’t as interesting as the others, and sometimes it was a bit difficult to follow with all the moving pieces in play. Still decent though.

If I had any complaint about the filming of it is that some scenes linger a couple of seconds longer than they should, sometimes with weird character expressions, reacting to a situation. That’s just a nit pick really, my own personal bullshit complaint, as I realize it is probably to make all their performances more realistic and grounded in the long run. The biggest strength of the series is that it doesn’t get too…well 24ish or Homelandish (even though both are still two of my favorite series of all time). Nothing is bombastic, nothing with an actual countdown clock to signal impending doom for the city and/or characters. It just feels…real. It feels like the books, and isn’t that the best compliment in the end, where you can say that both the novels and the medium they are based on compliment each other very well and that you don’t at all even close to hate the adaptation? But in fact, almost love it just as much? You can tell that Bosch is produced on the cheap end, there aren’t that many, if at all, explosions or fancy gun shooting with unique camera angles…but in the end…you don’t want Michael Bay bullshit in stuff like this anyway. You want it simple, tight, concise, and realistic. Bosch Season 6, and the entire series as a whole, has exactly that. And you just feel criminal if you even ask for just the slightest bit more.


Zach’s Zany Movie Reviews: BEIRUT & YOU WERE NEVER REALLY HERE (2 reviews, No spoilers)

I am writing two quick reviews of two movies, BEIRUT and YOU WERE NEVER REALLY HERE for two reasons. First off, I just saw them this past Sunday, they have been in theĀ  theater for a bit but I just now got to check them out. Secondly, they are about to leave the theater tomorrow or next week. Whoops, guess there is a third as I wanted to recommend both of them if you ever get a chance to watch them.

BEIRUT stars Jon Hamm, Rosamund Pike and a unrecognizable Dean Norris, about a former U.S. diplomat in 1982, returning to Beirut after ten years to save a colleague from a terrorist group responsible for murdering his family. The movie works mainly because of Jon Hamm’s performance. I don’t know if I like him as a person all that much because of what I’ve seen in interviews and heard about his private life, but like Tom Cruise, he can act the pants off anything and always brings his A-game.

The movie almost falters because of the very predictable plot. No doubt the film is entertaining and it is actually a unique in the beginning but then when several twists and turns are revealed it turns into a lame conspiracy mess. You can basically keep up with each beat and plot point and if you don’t, don’t worry, some characters spells it all out for the viewer (you know, in case we were that stupid). The film is light on action but the dialogue is nice and hefty, thanks to screenwriter Tony Gilroy (if you don’t know who he is apparently he saved Rogue One from being a complete disaster and even wrote that awesome Darth Vader scene at the end).

The finale is a little white knuckle even if it is predictable, but I didn’t regret seeing the film. It probably in the end won’t be very memorable but if you are bored and happen to see it on Netflix, you could make much worse choices…like any Netflix Adam Sandler film. By the way, Rosamund Pike is good in this movie but isn’t given that much to do.

Speaking of a conspiracy mess, it’s funny how YOU WERE NEVER REALLY HERE also contains one, and the conspiracy is almost as outlandish as it was in Beirut. Out of the two movies though I recommend this one more, in all essence because of Joaquin Phoenix’s performance alone. He stars as a hired post traumatic stress depressed war veteran that is hired tracking down missing and trafficked girls. And….that is all you need to know really. One of the girls he is trying to track leads to a big conspiracy. And while it was cool trying to figure out what was going on, the end result, at least for me, was a little ho-hum. I thought the conspiracy was too outlandish for the people involved to never have been caught until now.

The movie is supposed to be dark, gritty, and hyper realistic, and it is, but the conspiracy kind of takes that jolt and almost brings it to an absurd crossing the line ludicrous kind of affair. I did like a minor twist with the ending, and the movie is a tight 90 minutes to recommend anyone that finds this on a streaming service when it eventually comes to video. The movie is worth watching for Joaquin Phoenix alone, who turns in probably his best performance to date. If this movie was released later in the year, he could’ve been up for an Oscar but it just being released and being extremely limited, I am very doubtful unless every Oscar prospect sucks at the end of the year.

And be for warned, the movie is pretty violent and has some disturbing content for those with a faint of heart. But yeah, worth seeing for the performance and the gritty realism, but it almost loses itself with the out of whack conspiracy.

Anyway, if your interest is piqued I believe these are still playing at Cinemark Legacy and Cinemark West Plano, but if you don’t have the time, definitely give them a Netflix view.

Zach’s Zany Movie Reviews: BLACK PANTHER (spoiler free!!!)

Let’s get this out of the way: BLACK PANTHER is already the best film of 2018, one of the MCU’s best films to date, and really proves that Warner Bros. and DC need to get their shit together and fast. Believe the hype, this movie is pretty fantastic. What I really love most about the MCU right now is that while they slowly have tried to reinvent themselves from their same old schtick and formula, starting with Guardians Vol. 1, they are gradually progressing with Vol. 2, Thor: Ragnarok, and now seem to be kicking it into high gear with this. While some of the same threads of the MCU formula are still in there, co-writer and director Ryan Coogler makes Black Panther is own animal, bringing in new cultural and ethical elements into the franchise oh and uh, maybe finally solving the MCU villain problem.

If you don’t think MCU (hell even DC right now) has a villain problem, you are up dumb shit creek. What villain do you truly love in the MCU other than Loki and Vulture? Yes, Black Panther has the best MCU villain thus far with Erik Killmonger. That’s right, even better than Loki and Vulture for me. While Loki has that charm that Tom Hiddleston swoons both males and females with, and while the Vulture was played with some balls and class by Michael Keaton, neither of the two had a very legitimate reason for being villains or any true emotional wait. Loki just wanted to rule, and Vulture wanted to make money. Erik Killmonger has the best reason for doing what he is doing, and you actually feel for this villain, and Michael B. Jordan’s fantastic performance brings everything together. Don’t worry, I know I put spoil free at the top, so I won’t reveal his motivations, just to say that they have worked the best out of all the MCU films.

To make this spoil free, let’s write a short two sentence abstract statement about the plot. Black Panther takes place about a week after the events of Civil War. T’Challa (Chadwick Boseman) has to adjust to being the new king in Wakanda with enemies old and new surrounding him. That’s all I will say. The plot slowly builds around all of these fantastic non-one dimensional characters and then once true revelations are revealed, goes into all out hyper mode. My one criticism with this film, let’s just get it out of the way, are some of the special effects in the climax. All the effects building to the climax are top notch and amazing, but let’s say that the climax has a few CGI shaky moments the film could’ve used maybe just a couple of more days of touch up on. Mainly having to due with the Panther suits and how the characters heads sort of wobble, knowing that they are actually probably wearing green screen suits.

But that is a minor quibble, because everything else is astonishingly good. While Chadwick Boseman is already a fantastic actor, and is probably going to be this generations Denzel, it is really the ladies of Wakanda that steal the show and the entire movie out from under the men, other than Michael B. Jordan of course. Danai Gurira, who you may know as Michonne on The Walking Dead, plays Okoye, one of T’Challa’s royal guards, and her fierceness and determination makes a lot of scenes more believable and well rounded. Lupita Nyong’o plays T’Challa’s love interest, and she has a couple of scenes to shine, and so does Angela Bassett as T’Challa’s mother. But the real scene stealer is T’Challa’s sister, played by Leticia Wright. If this were a Bond film, you could say that she is the Q of Black Panther, designing and making all the cool tech you see throughout the film. But it is her jokes and one-liners that make her the star, and hopefully she is in every Black Panther film as much as this one.

You have other characters to, like Martin Freeman as the one token white guy throughout this film that just gets dragged along for the ride. He’s there as a story/plot representation of the audience, seeing everything for the first time in wonder. You also have Forest Whitaker, who is there in just a couple of scenes to provide plot information. And Andy Serkis is in this, who is so fantastic with his very small role that you wish he was in the film a little bit more, where you could say he really solves the Marvel villain problem. Also, you have recent Oscar nominee Daniel Kaluuya (Get Out) who plays a Wakandian that is on a different tribe. His role is small too, however everyone does have an important part to play at some point or another and even though some of the roles are very small, all of the character progression and growth is so well rounded, it makes the characterization of Baron Zemo (the main villain in Civil War) look outright childish.

This movie does a whole boat load of things right. It not only brings a solid story with it, it also combines cultural significance and heritage of a people and uses it in the best way I have ever seen out of a comic book film. It is really hard to talk about it without getting into spoilers, but lets just say you’ll know what I mean when you see and hear it . This film is gorgeous. Wakanda is a place where I would want to live myself. The city with it’s technology is the best mini world I have seen in the MCU thus far, and I can’t wait to see more of it, because you know this film is going to do well by all the ticket tracking that Fandango has done thus far (it is expected to hit possibly $180 million this weekend in the U.S. alone.)

Do I need to mention to stay after the credits? If I do then you are kind of…well…stupid. I mean seriously, does anybody need to tell you this anymore? I snicker when I see people leave right after the credits, because by now you know that there will at least be two, one mid way and one at the very end. I do like though that these final two after credit sequences lead to more story progression with Black Panther and Wakanda other than just trying to nod and wink at future films. Anyway, if you don’t see this movie as fast as you can, you are either and idiot, or just don’t have the time, the latter of which is okay. Seriously, this film rocks, Wakanda forever!!!