Thursday, November 26, 2015

Beasts of No Nation - Netflix Review

BEASTS OF NO NATION (R) Starring Abraham Attah and Idris Elba.
Written & directed by Cary Joji Fukunaka.


The country may be fictitious, but you can tell it borrows heavily from the quagmire of war-torn Congo. The story centers on Agu (Abraham Attah), a 12-year-old boy who sees his family slaughtered by government guards. He flees into the jungle, barely escaping his own execution, before he runs into Commandante (Idris Elba), a rebel leader with an army of young killers.

At first, Agu and his new brothers seem like they're fighting for a just cause, overthrowing the corrupt and murderous government. But soon enough, Commandante's true nature is revealed, and the boys are whipped into frenzies to commit worse and worse atrocities. There are no heroes; there are no good guys.

We witness the horrors of civil war through the eyes of Agu, and innocence is lost on a devastating scale. Newcomer Attah does an amazing job, which is significant since he has to share the screen with Elba, who might be doing his own career-best work.

This is all directed masterfully by Cary Joji Fukunaka (True Detective), and his camera work is on par with anything from Apocalypse Now or Full Metal Jacket. There's almost a poetry to the carnage.

This movie manages to sink into the bones of its audience. It makes the mentality of mass murder comprehensible, and therefore all the more disturbing. It goes to some dark, dark places; I don't think I can exaggerate how dark it gets.

Monday, November 23, 2015

The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2 is #1 at box-office

For the weekend of November 20-22, 2015, The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2 had the fifth-highest opening of the year. It's the lowest opening of the series, but if your lowest opening is still $100 million, you've had a good franchise.

The Night Before was a disappointment for Seth Rogen and crew, but they kept the budget relatively low. Secret in Their Eyes bombed, surprisingly. This movie should have opened in March or September, and even if he has the biggest part, I would not have top-billed Chiwetel Ejiofor over Julia Roberts and Nicole Kidman. But the reviews are bad, so maybe marketing did the best they could.

Spectre has passed $675 million worldwide. If I was Daniel Craig, I'd make sure to get in a fifth Bond movie to pass Brosnan. Maybe even a sixth to tie Connery. Roger Moore has the most at seven, but keep in mind those seven films came out in a 12-year span. Craig now has four Bond films down in a 9-year span.

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Spectre - Movie Review

SPECTRE (PG-13) Starring Daniel Craig, Christoph Waltz, Lea Seydoux, Ralph Fiennes, Ben Whishaw, Naomie Harris, Dave Bautista, Monica Bellucci, Andrew Scott and Rory Kinnear.
Written by John Logan & Neal Purvis & Robert Wade & Jez Butterworth.
Directed by Sam Mendes.
It’s not quite Quantum of Solace bad, but it’s not Skyfallgood either. Here’s where I first thought we might be in trouble. The movie opens with an impression opening scene in Mexico City during the Day of the Dead. A giant parade of thousands going down the street. James Bond (Daniel Craig) sees his target and shoots. Somehow the building blows up. I couldn’t tell if Bond had some sort of mini-rocket or if some villains blew up the building. Anyway, after the explosion, he sees his main target still alive and he chases him.
About two blocks later, the parade is still going as if no one heard that building explode. The celebration continues. The movie seems to forget that it just blew up a building. When Bond catches his guy trying to escape by helicopter, the shots of the city somehow don’t include a burning pile of rubble. “You just blew up a building two blocks away. How comes no one’s noticed?”
Spectre feels like an assembly of cool set pieces and stunts, but they never really strung them together with a compelling plot. I think that’s why it feels empty when we get to our showdown between Bond and Franz (Christoph Waltz). What is Franz’s ultimate goal? Why is he doing what he’s doing? Why doesn’t he just kill Bond?
Don’t get me wrong. The set pieces, the stunt-work, the locations, etc., are all top-notch. I also liked how Bond’s supporting characters are given more to do than be in the office and the beginning and end of the story. M (Ralph Fiennes), Q (Ben Whishaw), and Moneypenny (Naomie Harris) all actually go on the road to help Bond with his latest, off-the-books mission.
Really, a few of the Bond films have suffered over the years from not having villains with clear motives. So this seems to follow in that tradition.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

2014 Fall TV Preview


Once Upon A Time

Madam Secretary
The Good Wife

The Simpsons
Brooklyn Nine-Nine
Family Guy

Sunday Night Football


I like the move of Brooklyn Nine-Nine to Sundays, a quality show hammocked between two ratings-getters. ABC and CBS have some nice counter-programming offerings for those who don't watch football or just watched six hours and could watch something else.

Do people still watch live TV that isn't a sporting event or awards show?

New Shows:

MADAM SECRETARY - Tea Leoni gets to play the Secretary of State, the powerful Cabinet post more often held by women than men as of late. It's getting good reviews and it has a plumb spot between Emmy magnets 60 Minutes and The Good Wife. Co-stars Tim Daly, Zeljko Ivanec and Bebe Neuwirth.

MULANEY - Comedian John Mulaney tries the Seinfeld thing, playing a thinly-veiled version of himself, with wacky co-stars like Martin Short, Nasim Pedrad and Elliott Gould. My prediction is it loses too big a percentage of the Family Guy audience and doesn't get a season 2.


Dancing with the Stars

The Big Bang Theory
NCIS: Los Angeles

Sleepy Hollow

The Voice
The Blacklist
State of Affairs

The Originals
Jane the Virgin


Big Bang Theory moves back to Mondays to reanchor things there. Interesting that BBT and Mom are the only CBS sitcoms on the schedule in September, but 2 Broke Girls, The Millers, and Mike & Molly will premiere down the road, as will new show The McCarthys.

Gotham has its work cut out for it, but then, no one thought Sleepy Hollow could succeed here last year.

New Shows:

SCORPION - Based on the life of Walter O'Brien, the child genius who hacked into NASA and grew up to help the FBI catch the Boston bombers, this series features a rag-tag group of prodigies and whiz-kids whose brains solve crimes that regular agents can't figure out. Robert Patrick presides as their handler. Decent premise.

GOTHAM - This Batman prequel has set itself up for the long-haul, since Bruce Wayne's a young boy. Ben McKenzie (The O.C.) stars as Jim Gordon, young detective working with the more corrupt Harvey Bullock (Donal Logue). The show promises to show Gotham City's slow descent into madness and villainy that eventually requires a Caped Crusader to come clean things up, and in the first season we see younger versions of the people who will eventually become the Penguin, the Riddler, Catwoman and Poison Ivy.

STATE OF AFFAIRS - Katherine Heigl returns to TV as a CIA analyst for the first female US president (Alfre Woodard). I hear it's a watered-down version of Homeland and that it's terrible.

JANE THE VIRGIN - Based on a Venezuelan hit, this is about a young woman accidentally inseminated during an ob-gyn check-up. Hijinks ensue.  It'll be a hit (by CW standards).


Manhattan Love Story
Marvel's Agents of SHIELD

NCIS: New Orleans
Person of Interest

New Girl
The Mindy Project

The Voice (results)
Marry Me
About A Boy
Chicago Fire

The Flash


More new shows are debuting on Tuesday than any other night, so everything's up in the air. I think CBS will continue to rule the total viwers, while 18-49 demo is anyone's game.

New Shows:

SELFIE - Karen Gillan and John Cho come together for this My Fair Lady-like update. (Her name is Eliza Dooley and his name is Henry, if the plot's not obvious enough.) Henry tries to help Eliza remake herself and rebrand her image. I like Gillan, but not sure about the premise.

MANHATTAN LOVE STORY - Boy meets girl, audience hears everything boy and girl are thinking. Sounds like it'd get old really fast.

FOREVER - Ioan Gruffudd (Fantastic Four) plays a detective who happens to be 200-years-old and cannot die.

NCIS: NEW ORLEANS - Guaranteed hit. Scott Bakula's the lead, and the most dependable franchise on TV until Walking Dead: West Coast debuts.

UTOPIA - Reality show with a cross-section of people building their own civilization. Ratings are already low. This experiment won't get a second season.

MARRY ME - Casey Wilson (Happy Endings) and Ken Marino (Party Down) do the Mike & Molly thing.

THE FLASH - Based on the DC hero.


The Middle
The Goldbergs
Modern Family

Criminal Minds

Hell's Kitchen
Red Band Society

The Mysteries of Laura
Law & Order: SVU
Chicago P.D.

The 100


I think Survivor will appreciate the lack of good competition.

New Shows:

BLACK-ISH - Anthony Anderson, king of the one-season series, gets another chance as the head of an affluent African-American family who's worried the rest of his clan aren't in touch enough with their roots. It gets the coveted post-Modern Family slot, but that doesn't always guarantee ratings.

STALKER - Dylan McDermott would like us to forget Hostages and focus onthis new series, about stalkers and the police who try to stop them before they do something really dangerous. Maggie Q (Nikita) co-stars. I don't have much faith in it, but maybe Criminal Minds fans will give it a shot.

THE MYSTERIES OF LAURA - Debra Messing (Will & Grace) balances motherhood and her job as a police detective, and reviews have been atrocious.


Grey's Anatomy
How to Get Away with Murder

Thursday Night Football


The Biggest Loser
Bad Judge
A to Z

The Vampire Diaries


Football will rule, but then what? Either Big Bang moves back here, or CBS puts some of its other sitcoms that are on hold here. (Mike & Molly, 2 Broke Girls, the new McCarthys etc.) I like ABC's lineup as the most solid counter-programming.

New Shows:

HOW TO GET AWAY WITH MURDER - Viola Davis (The Help) is a criminalogy professor, where she and her students get involved in a murder mystery. Sounds like the perfect soapy whodunit show to follow Scandal.

GRACEPOINT - This remake of Broadchurch makes David Tennant use an American accent, and it's supposed to follow the UK version closely, although producers have hinted that the killer is going to be someone different. Anna Gunn (Breaking Bad) co-stars.

BAD JUDGE - Bad Teacher flopped so now they're trying Bad Judge. Kate Walsh (Fargo) stars.

A TO Z - Rom-com.


Last Man Standing
Shark Tank

The Amazing Race
Hawaii Five-0
Blue Bloods

MasterChef Junior
Gotham (reruns)

Dateline NBC

New Shows:

CRISTELA - Sitcom centered around a Latino family. It follows Tim Allen's Last Man Standing, and how many people are aware that's still on the air? Or that it ever happened?

CONSTANTINE - Based on the comic book (you might remember a Keanu Reeves movie). It should do a little better than Dracula, but not much.

Last year, there were 25 new shows. 10 of them are back for a second season.
This year, there are 23 new shows. I'm going to say 9 of them get a season two. (Gotham, Jane the Virgin, The Flash, Madame Secretary, Cristela, Gracepoint, How to Get Away with Murder, Red Band Society, NCIS: New Orleans).

Sunday, June 1, 2014

Maleficent - Movie Review

My review at FlickSided.

The Amazing Spider-Man 2 - Movie Review

My review from FlickSided.

Neighbors - Movie Review

My review at Flicksided.

Godzilla - Movie Review

Starring Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Ken Watanabe, Elisabeth Olsen, Bryan Cranston, Sally Hawkins, Juliette Binoche, David Straithairn, Richard T. Jones and Victor Rasuk.
Directed by Gareth Edwards.


Tone is an important element in a movie that introduces fantastical elements. This film wisely eschews the campy dumb fun the 1998 movie tried to have and plays it straight and serious. I liked that, and if anything it would have helped this movie to have a moment or two of levity.

Normally I wouldn't mind that it takes a while for Godzilla to show up. It gives us a chance to get to know the human characters and raise the stakes when people start dying and cities start getting destroyed. Unfortunately I didn't care about most of the characters.

The marketing campaign makes it look like Bryan Cranston is going to be one of the central characters, so I don't think I'm giving away too much by saying the movies should have focussed more on him and less on his soldier son played by Aaron Taylor-Johnson (Anna Karenina, Kick-Ass).  Johnson's a blank slate, and it just felt like another big-budget action movie putting Generic Young Guy as the hero. Was Taylor Kitsch too busy?

I know. You don't go to a Godzilla movie for good acting. But you do hope it'll be there.

You also go to a Godzilla movie for thrilling visuals, and on that front, the movie delivers. I felt that little-kid surge of excitement when halfway through the movie, we see that first sign of a giant monster on the loose. ("Mayhem's about to start!")  Godzilla isn't in the movie as much as you'd think, but I liked his design, I liked the effects, I just liked the character. If a sequel is greenlit, I'll be excited for him to return, even if (or especially if) a whole different cast is assembled to watch stuff get smashed.

Don't get me wrong. All of these actors have been excellent in something else, but Watanabe spends the whole movie slack-jawed, Straithairn carries the air of authority while the script makes him a woefully inept leader, and Olsen is there to be the wife that Taylor-Johnson calls from time to time.

It's much better than the 1998 film. The ride of the second half is quite fun.

Saturday, May 3, 2014

Rio 2 - Movie Review

My FlickSided review.

Captain America: The Winter Soldier - Movie Review

Starring Chris Evans, Scarlett Johansson, Robert Redford, Samuel L. Jackson, Anthony Mackie, Sebastian Stan, Cobie Smulders, Frank Grillo, Hayley Atwell and Toby Jones.
Directed by Joe & Anthony Russo.
I'm continually impressed with the Marvel universe and how they're able to get it right, at least for those characters owned by Disney. I long for the Spider-Man and X-Men rights to eventually join their comrades under one studio banner. Even then, most of those movies were good too.
I'm particularly enjoying what they're doing with Captain America. He's a potentially boring goody two-shoes character, but thanks to Chris Evans and the writers, they're getting him exactly right. They are managing to pull off what Superman hasn't been able to do since Christopher Reeve's heyday.
Cap is still in present day, and the after-effects of The Avengers still ripples through his story. He's getting more and more concerned with Nick Fury and SHIELD, and how they operate. SHIELD has unlimited resources and weapons to battle terrorism, but are they getting too big?
He uncovers a conspiracy within SHIELD, but that makes him a fugitive from them. He gets some help from Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson) and new friend the Falcon (Anthony Mackie), but he also has to face a new enemy - the Winter Soldier, who looks like he went through the same transformation Steve Rogers did.
You veteran-actor villain is Sen. Alexander Pierce, played by Robert Redford. He was actually the weakest part of the movie, and if Redford's the weakest part of your movie, you're doing something right.
Disney's positioned Captain America 3 to open the first weekend of May in 2016, opposite Batman v. Superman. One of them has to blink, but based the reception of Man of Steel, and the fact that Zack Snyder's directing again, I think the DC crew should be the ones who find a new date.

Inside Llewyn Davis - DVD Review

Starring Oscar Isaac, Carey Mulligan, Justin Timberlake, John Goodman, Garrett Hedlund, F. Murray Abraham, Adam Driver, Ethan Phillips, Robin Bartlett and Max Casella.
Directed by Joel & Ethan Coen.


The Coen brothers can go big or small, farcical or serious, Oscar-winning or Ladykillers, but every movie they've made has had that distinct Coen flavor, one of my favorites. This one reminded me most of A Serious Man.

Oscar Isaac plays Llewyn Davis, a folk singer in the early 60's who keeps barely missing success. He's not really a nice man or a sympathetic man. Whatever talent he has can't seem to overcome his ego. It has an addicting soundtrack. There was a lot to admire about the movie, I respect the movie, I could recommend it to others, but I can't say I liked it. Most Coen flicks I can watch every few years and be happy. (Arizona, Miller's, Fargo, O Brother, No Country, etc.) But this one won't enter that eschelon.

It's most notable now for containing two future cast-members of Star Wars Episode VII.

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Summer 2014 Box-Office Predictions

This summer will be a test on how many superheroes one season can handle. (First posted this here.)

1. HOW TO TRAIN YOUR DRAGON 2 (6/13) - $310 million - The sequel to one of DreamWorks Animation's best movies should be the runaway hit of summer. It's also the only major animated release, as Disney moved its live-action Maleficent to summer after The Good Dinosaur was delayed.

2. X-MEN: DAYS OF FUTURE PAST (5/23) - $285 million - Marvel's all the rage, and the chance to see Hugh Jackman walk between the old and new generations looks irresistible. Jennifer Lawrence and Michael Fassbender have since had their stars shine brighter.

3. THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN 2 (5/2) - $275 million - I don't think this will be the unstoppable juggernaut Iron Man 3 was in this slot last year. Early word's been mostly positive, but it looks awfully crowded with three villains.

4. TRANSFORMERS: AGE OF EXTINCTION (6/27) - $250 million - Out: Shia LaBeouf. In: Mark Wahlberg. Wise choice by Michael Bay.

5. GODZILLA (5/16) - $220 million - This reboot looks like it takes it seriously, and it's in prime release position to make a big splash upon arrival.

6. DAWN OF THE PLANET OF THE APES (7/11) - $205 million - The quality looks like it'll still be there, and Caesar (Andy Serkis) is still the main character. This is a good thing.

7. MALEFICENT (5/30) - $195 million - These reboot/reimaginings have been fairly successful, and I don't think this'll be much different.

8. GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY (8/1) - $180 million - Really hope the movie is as fun as the trailer hints. It's the biggest gamble Marvel's taken since the original Iron Man.

9. 22 JUMP STREET (6/13) - $145 million - Two-time Academy-Award nominee Jonah Hill lets Channing Tatum tag along for another go-around. If they can just be as funny as the first one, then this should be a hit.

10. TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES (8/8) - $135 million - I think this'll be the last blockbuster opening of summer, and then it'll coast while lesser titles open throughout the month.

11. HERCULES (7/25) - $130 million - I could just as easily see this bombing, but it does have the slot where The Wolverine found success last year.

12. NEIGHBORS (5/9) - $128 million - The Seth Rogen/Zac Efron banter looks funny, and early word-of-mouth has been positive.

13. TAMMY (7/2) - $115 million - Melissa McCarthy finally gets top billing after delivering hits with co-stars like Kristen Wiig, Sandra Bullock and Jason Bateman. Susan Sarandon's been aged up to play her grandmother. I'm going to assume marketing doesn't screw this up.

14. A MILLION WAYS TO DIE IN THE WEST (5/30) - $105 million - Ted was a big hit, but now let's see if people can stand Seth MacFarland's face for a whole movie. It helps that he's recruited actors like Charlize Theron and Liam Neeson to be around.

15. THINK LIKE A MAN TOO (6/20) - $100 million - Kevin Hart is now a star, so he should boost this ensemble comedy.

16. EDGE OF TOMORROW (6/6) - $95 million - Tom Cruise's star is fading, and the final trailer didn't quite have that hook that will launch it to a smash, but it's really made more for the overseas audiences.

17. GET ON UP (8/1) - $90 million - Chadwick Boseman (42) in another bio-pic, this one of music icon James Brown, and I think this'll be the long-legged success story of August.

18. THE FAULT IN OUR STARS (6/6) - $85 million - Based on the best-selling book, buzz seems to be growing for this as it gets closer. It'll be a test if Shailene Woodley can parlay her Divergent success into legitimate stardom.

19. BLENDED (8/15) - $84 million - Adam Sandler made Grown Ups 2 a hit, so as long as it's not rated R (looking at you, That's My Boy), it'll crack the top 20 of summer, even if it sucks.

20. JUPITER ASCENDING (7/18) - $82 million - I love the risks the Wachowskis took with Cloud Atlas, but it bombed. Here comes another wholly original-looking tale, but I don't know how much of a chance audiences are willing to give it. Channing Tatum's been made up to look like Dominic Monaghan, so this could be a John Carter-sized bomb.

The next ten, probably in the $50-$80 million range:

LUCY (8/8)
THE GIVER (8/15)

Other wide releases:

SEX TAPE (7/25)
LET'S BE COPS (8/15)
IF I STAY (8/22)
THE LOFT (8/29)

Notable limited releases:

BELLE (5/2)
CHEF (5/9)
LULLABY (6/13)
THE ROVER (6/13)

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Noah - Movie Review

Starring Russell Crowe, Jennifer Connelly, Emma Watson, Anthony Hopkins, Ray Winstone, Logan Lerman and Douglas Booth. Directed by Darren Aronofsky.


My first impressions were what they were, but I was inspired to do a little more research into the story of Noah. I've always known the Bible's version, but I also read the Torah and Midrash, which has subtle differences and theories.

Noah is a hybrid tale. It has some adventure and some thrills and some psychosexual drama that you'd expect from the director of Black Swan.

Did he take artistic liberties? Sure. Which ones are the most egregious?

I don't have a problem with the rock monsters. The Bible refers to "giants" walking the land in those days, and the Torah and Midrash refer to the Nephilim - fallen angels - and combine these two, so sure, now the Nephilim are giants, encased in rock bodies unable to return to heaven. I'll give it that.

I don't have a problem with Noah's environmentalism, which he takes a weird extreme. But I can also see why there would be confusion. In this story, mankind's only been on the Earth a handful of generations, and after the fall of Adam and Eve, and the expulsion from the Garden of Eden, man's figuring out how to make it on his own in this dreary world. Noah still sees tending the Earth, respecting the plants and animals, as part of his righteous duty.

God (almost always referred to as The Creator here) doesn't speak to Noah so much as send him visions. Noah then interprets these visions as to what he must do. And the visions aren't vague. Noah sees the evil of mankind in the way they... eat animals and mine for minerals.  (Not so much the robbery, rape and murder.) In this respect, the Creator/Noah motives reminded me too much of Keanu Reeves in that lame Day the Earth Stood Still remake.

I didn't even mind the villainous Tubal-cain secretly stowing away on the ark.

My biggest problem was Noah's insistance that Ham and Japeth don't get wives. The Bible's pretty clear that all three sons had wives. When the rains started coming, and only Shem has a wife, and Noah's not collecting any women for his other two sons... um, wait a minute. It's a pretty big part of the story that Earth was populated through the generations of Noah's three sons.

Noah believes part of The Creator's plan is for mankind to go extinct. He thinks the Creator called him to save the plants and animals, and then he, his wife, Shem and his wife, and Ham and Japeth will be the last humans on Earth.

Now in the Midrash it says that Noah and his sons entered separately from Noah's wife and his sons' wives, and there's a theory that the animals were separated by gender, and there was therefore no sex by anyone/anything on the ark until after the flood.

In the end, the very very end, Noah does the right thing, and it's implied the Earth will get repopulated when Shem's daughters are old enough for Ham and Japeth to marry, but that whole second half of the movie, I just couldn't get past that change.  Rock monsters? Fine. Stowaway? Fine. Noah wants to make mankind go extinct? No.

Side-notes of praise: The entire flood sequence was great. Aronofsky has proven he can handle a budget. And the acting is great. Crowe, Connelly, Watson, Hopkins, Winstone, even Lerman as Ham. Poor lonely horny Ham.

Monday, March 31, 2014

My Flicksided Updates

Walking Dead's Norman Reedus has joined the cast of Triple Nine, the new movie from John Hillcoat, who also directed the post-apocalyptic drama The Road. I'm saying Reedus and Hillcoat will have notes to compare.

My weekend box-office report is here.

My review of Sabotage is here.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Mr. Peabody & Sherman - Movie Review

Starring the voices of Ty Burrell, Max Charles, Ariel Winter, Stephen Colbert, Leslie Mann, Stanley Tucci, Allison Janney and Patrick Warburton.
Directed by Rob Minkoff.


I watched Rocky & Bullwinkle as a kid, so I remember the other Jay Ward characters that would parade through - Dudley Do-Right, Commander McBragg, Aesop & Son, and of course Mr. Peabody & Sherman.

This update didn't quite hit the mark for me. For one thing, there was a distracting amount of potty humor. When your main character is a very intelligent dog with a weakness for puns, it just seems like potty humor would be beneath him. But this is DreamWorks, and because Shrek was a hit, I guess they figure they have to have potty humor in everything. In fact, the poster's slogan is "He's leaving his mark on history." How do dogs mark things? See what I mean?

Also, as someone who's about to adopt kids, it gives an alarming protrayal of just how easily kids can be ripped from their home. When Sherman gets in trouble at school, a social worker who is a cross between Dolores Umbridge and the Queen of Hearts arrives, ready to find the slightest excuse to yank him away from Peabody.

The animation is quality, and it's not the worst movie from DreamWorks Animation, but there's a reason they don't have the reputation of Pixar to be consistently good.

The Good Wife - TV Review

Sometimes a show will advertise something shocking will happen. I get numb to those ads. I'm glad I do. For instance, the season 4 finale of Dexter they kept advertising something shocking at the end, so well before it happened, I could guess what it was. (Still impactful, but I wish I didn't have that pounded in my head leading up to it.)  This episode, I'd seen a couple ads mention but I didn't really anticipate just how shocking the event would be that happens. Not only did I not see it coming, but it's one of those twists that will send reverberations through the rest of the series run, in a way bigger than when Alicia and Cary decided to leave Lockhart/Gardner and start their own firm.

The series kept its track record alive for the Best Guest Stars on television. It never feels stunty, and you know no matter how big or small the name, they'll fit right into this universe. Not only are we treated to Eric Bogosian in a recurring role as an investigator trying to nail Gov. Peter Florick for election fraud, but this week we got Matthew Goode (Watchmen, Stoker) as the prosecutor combatting against Will Gardner.

Part of the genius of The Good Wife is that each episode has ongoing plotlines, but there's also usually a case-of-the-week that tends to get introduced and wrap up. Occasionally that case-of-the-week by come back, but by and large, they're contained.

What keeps me hooked on The Good Wife is the ongoing stories. I am well past being able to watch a show where every episode is self-contained.