You can contact Scene ‘N Nerd on Twitter or at SceneNNerd@gmail.com to have your questions or comments read on the show. On today’s episode the gang (minus Matt) is joined by Andy B of The Flash podcast to discuss The Flash, Arrow, Grandfathered, and Heroes Reborn. First, Pete gives us new movies and DVDs coming out, then Casey frolics merrily through the entertainment news (Rick Moranis, The Martian, Cartoon Network) while Sarah attempts to control her rage. Make sure to check out Scene ‘N Nerd’s posts on GeeksWithWives.com. WHO GOES THERE? Oh, it’s Scene ‘N Nerd. Neat.
Welcome to an all new season! Scene ‘N Nerd is now proudly partnered with GWW Radio. Today, Pete, Matt, Sarah, and Casey are joined by Everett Harn, editor for Geeks With Wives. The gang also interviews creative director Fede Ponce on his upcoming crowdfunded, scifi/fantasy tale “SEBASTIAN: The Slumberland Odyssey.” But first, the gang tries the intro live, Pete gives us new movies coming out in theaters and on DVD, Matt redacts our mistakes, Casey sleeps through the weekly entertainment news, and Sarah does her homework. Then in TV Talk, the gang reviews Limitless, Blindspot, Heroes Reborn, and Agents of Shield. Season three of SNN promises more interviews, new shows and movies reviews, same old crew. Tis’ the season to be nerdy, it’s an all new Scene ‘N Nerd!
The back of Elliott’s head is front and center on the screen, as men walk from behind Tyrell and take their seat at the conference table. The image forebodes revelations that will be made about the way Elliott’s mind works, later in the season. As, various men appear to be multiplying from one another around him (Matrix anyone?). From this initial perspective, Elliott is literally the head of the table. Once, all the men have taken their seat on the round table, there is a cut to a wide shot. This image shows Elliott on one end of the table and Tyrell on the other. There is a pillar that cuts the screen in such a way that Elliott’s seat at Tyrell’s table is being blocked. So, is there space for Elliott at the table, or does an immovable force separate them from one another?
During this opening Tyrell provides us with a lot of exposition as he offers Elliott a job at E-Corp. We learn that since Terrance Colby took the fall for an E-Corp hack (performed by fsociety), Tyrell has been named interim CTO. “In a way it’s kinda…what’s the word in English? Serendipitous?” describes Tyrell. He also divulges that E-Corp will be soon ending their partnership with AllSafe, Elliott’s employer, which would be detrimental to the small cyber security company. Normally, exposition dumps bore viewers because it feels excessive. In this case the information is very necessary considering that the pilot episode ended with Elliott being abducted by Tyrell’s men. Now we know why Elliott was hand delivered to Tyrell and more about the plot. After Elliott declines Tyrell’s offer, orchestra music plays as Tyrell turns and walks away. In the midst of rejection, Tyrell takes a god like position and retreats back to the conference room’s windows. He looks down at the New York City streets, some thirty, or so floors separating him from the people below. Meanwhile, Elliott retreats back through the darken hallway from which he came.
“Didn’t I say if you walked away you were no longer apart of this?” -Mr Robot
In the second episode, Elliott not only walks away from Tyrell, but he turns his back on fsociety too. Elliott learns that Mr Robot’s big plans involve killing a lot of innocent people, which crosses a moral line for Elliott. During the closing sequence, he returns to Coney Island to find Mr Robot sitting alone on the railing of a pier. Elliott makes his way towards Mr Robot, as he walks through a group of skaters. There is no immovable object separating Elliott from Mr Robot as he makes his way to reclaim his spot in fsociety. He literally jumps up and sits right alongside his friend on the pier’s railing. Both seated high above the sandy beach below.
In an effort to make amends, Elliott tells Mr Robot about his father’s death. How he broke his promise that he would keep his father’s illness a secret from his mother. Sharing this story is a very vulnerable moment for Elliott, whom usually keeps to himself. Note, Elliott keeps his hood on during this entire scene, while in the opening he had it off. Hoods are often used to obscure your face from the public, a defense against being seen by people. We see just how defenseless he is at the pier, as Mr Robot pushes Elliott off the ledge. Cut to a wide shot and there is one lone, dark figure sitting on the railing. Where does Elliott belong? Are we even by his side anymore?
By Sarah Belmont
The screen remains black, we hear Elliott Alderson (Rami Malek) both greet and immediately inform us of our role. We are his imaginary friend. His companion on this journey. Then we are introduced to another “invisible force” in this world. Only, these people are not friends, but foes. We are shown out of focus business men (they almost appear faceless), yelling at one another, in a conference room on the top floor of a skyscraper, “The guys who play God, without permission,” explains Elliott. Our real introduction to Elliott is when we witness him take down a business owner (Ron), with a fondness for child pornography. The primary purpose of this scene is to show Elliott as a hero. He is a good guy, who uses illegal measures to take down the bad men in our society. We should always trust the hero in the story, right?
By destroying this man’s life, isn’t Elliott playing God? In the virtual world he breaks and enters the personal lives of complete strangers without permission. Consider his take down of Michael Hanson, shown in the very same episode. Elliott decrypts Michael Hanson’s life and complies the information necessary to delete him from existence. In comparison to his take down of Ron, there is a different outcome for Michael Hanson. Elliott decides that the punishment should fit the crime, and insists that Michael cut ties with Krista (Elliott’s therapist). Once you begin playing judge, jury, and executioner, it’s a slippery slop. But Elliott is our hero, who is just trying to protect Krista from heartache. Unfortunately, the disillusionment of being confronted by the truth is still very painful. “The reality of the naive, that’s how I justify this, to keep their optimism in check, to protect them…”explains Elliott. He hides behind this self justification of his actions. Elliott feels powerless in his own life and finds comfort in the illusion of control, while hacking a life. There is a fine line between Elliott and the business men shown at the beginning of the episode. Elliott doesn’t care for money, he’s just trying to save the world.
“You’re hiding again, when you hide, your delusions come back, it’s a slippery slop.” -Krista
The pilot episode by design is circular. Elliott feels that he has been caught by the men in the suits, after taking down Colby. The final shot tracks Elliott making his way into the conference room, with the out of focus business men shown in the opening. Then, Tyrell Wellick’s face snaps into focus and greets Elliott, remember how Elliott greeted us in the beginning of the episode? “Bonsoir Elliott,” this suggests that Tyrell (Martin Wallstrom) will be the face we attribute to “the invisible force in the world”, that Elliott wants to take down. Note, these two characters will serve as foils for one another too.
Elliott is a creator and destroyer of the virtual world, who is attempting to take down a creator and destroyer of the real world. He also created us too, as we are his imaginary friend. So will he delete us in the end?
By Sarah Belmont
Send comments or questions to SceneNNerd@gmail.com to have them read on the show! On today’s show Pete, Sarah and Matt welcome back Amy and Lauren from The Flash Podcast and Assembly of Geeks and Jon G from Friday Night Fandom. Pete makes HUGE announcement then runs down what’s new in theaters and on Blu ray. Lauren does her best Casey impression for the “Entertainment Whatever” and the gang tackles RETURNING fall shows. It’s crazy, a bit laggy, but still somewhat entertaining. It’s Scene N Nerd!
“Guess what my favorite book is?”-Allison
“No Peter Pan…”-Allison
“All children grow up except one”-Noah
The Showtime series, The Affair, is set to return for season two on October 4th, 2015. Based on the trailer, we will pick up right where season one ended, with Noah Solloway (Dominic West) being arrested for the murder of Scotty Lockhart (Colin Donnell). While, Noah is being handcuffed, his now wife, Alison Bailey (Ruth Wilson), promises that she will get him out of this. How did we get here?
Ironically, even those who watched season one don’t know how Noah and Allison made their way back to one another, during the fallout of their own respective marriages. Throughout season one, both Noah and Allison are recalling their summer affair in Montauk while being interrogated by Detective Jeffries in the present. As the season progresses the viewers pick up on small clues that some time has passed between the past affair and the present murder investigation. Still, the amount of time between these two events is never given. The story is told through flashbacks and each episode has two parts; one tells the events from Noah’s perspective, the other from Allison’s. This employs the Rashomon effect on the plot revolving around a choice two characters make together, it takes two to cheat. Now in preparation for season two lets reflect on Mr. Pan’s (Noah) affair with Mrs. Karenina (Allison).
The failed writer turned teacher, Noah Solloway, is contently married to Helen Solloway (Maura Tierney), raising their four children in New York City. The pilot opens with Noah turning down a young woman’s sexual advances at a swimming pool. Excited by the advance he attempts satisfaction with his wife until the youngest child interrupts. Noah, frustrated, but, faithful he crosses paths with Allison Bailey. “She was in a very dark place and she came at me very hard,” protests Noah in episode seven. Noah’s narration reveals his loneliness and frustration with his marriage. We see that he is nearing a mid-life crisis as he finds himself envious of his children’s youth, “You’ll never have this opportunity to read for pleasure again…seize this opportunity” (episode one). He begins to resent Helen, feeling like he settled for their life, not built a life that he wanted. As the season progresses, we see Noah deal with his own guilt for having an affair as he comforts his daughter for making a mistake. By cheating on Helen
he is not only being a bad husband, but a bad father too. Noah Salloway, the boy who married Helen in an attempt to grow up. He wanted to become a man through the act of marriage, but his action never fulfilled his desire. Based on season one, Allison awakens a latent desire to be a knight and rescue the damsel in distress. Allison is his opportunity to become the man he wanted to be and now is the time for him to “seize this opportunity.”
“She seemed like the loneliest person in the world.” –Noah (Episode 2)
Alison Bailey is somewhat of an enigma for both Noah Salloway and the viewers. That could be a result of presenting her perspective as part two in the pilot. During Noah’s narration, Alison is portrayed as a small town seductress, who actively pursues him. Then during Allison’s narration, she is depicted more elegantly, unsure, and apprehensive about her attraction to Noah. These contradicting perspectives spark an alarm to go off in the viewer’s mind, as we begin to suspect that one of the two is a liar. Then again employing the Rashomon effect on a story only proves that our memory is an unreliable resource. Two years prior to the series’ events, Alison’s only son died after drowning in the ocean. Without her son she feels alone in her marriage to Cole Lockhart (Joshua Jackson). They drifted apart through their grief. In comparison to the Solloway marriage, Allison’s affair with Noah is a repercussion to a detrimental event that destroyed her marriage to Cole. Noah’s infidelity tears the Solloway household apart. “I don’t know how to fix what broke between us Cole…it’s unfixable,” cries Allison in episode ten. Allison mentally left Cole the day their son died, she perceived Noah as a way out of her hometown, not her marriage. Throughout the season we witness Allison reclaim her independence with her interactions with Noah. For example in the pilot episode, during her narration, we watch her save Sally Salloway from choking on a marble, at the Lobster Roll diner. During their first encounter, Allison is able to show an act of strength. Meanwhile, she is reduced to a closed-mouth housewife whenever in Cole’s presence. Allison Bailey’s story is a modern day, American version of Leo Tolstoy’s Anna Karenia; she pursues an affair with a married writer, because her love for her husband has become dormant.
The affair takes place in Montauk, a place where people from New York City go to escape their real lives for the summer. Noah Salloway, finds this summer place as his own version of Neverland; a place where he can make a mistake and pursue his boyhood desires. For Allison Bailey, Montauk, her home, is a constant reminder of her son’s death. She discovers her own Neverland later in the season when she leaves Cole, and creates a home for herself in New York City. Noah Salloway is her ticket to the life she has always wanted. Now as we head into season 2 the question becomes, is Neverland a real place, or a fleeting summer mirage? Stay tuned.
To watch The Affair season 2 trailer click here
By Sarah Belmont
Based on Jesse Andrews’ best-selling novel, this film follows Greg (Thomas Mann), his “co-worker” Earl (RJ Cyler), and a dying girl, named Rachel (Olivia Cooke). The film opens with Greg’s voiceover narration about how he has survived high school; a friend to everyone, but a friend to no one. Yes, this is another film about high school seniors, with that introductory high school sequence, that we have all seen before. This is the part in the review where I tell you, you’re wrong. Director Aldonso Gomez-Rejon uses subtle camera tricks in this sequence, instead of the flashy freeze frames paired with snappy sound effects technique, that we have seen in films that came before it. Throughout this entire movie the camera is an active mind’s eye that brings a sense of urgency to the screen. Gomez-Rejon is able to project the scene’s emotional action through the camera’s movement, like a cinematic waltz. Me, Earl, & the Dying Girl is a small, independent film, but at times it feels larger than life.
This is the part in the review where I tell you that this is a high school based romantic comedy, where the popular guy falls for the nerdy girl; but this is not that type of film. There is some romantic tension brooding beneath Greg’s “doomed from the beginning friendship,” with Rachel; but it’s more about a genuine connection than romance. Greg and Rachel form an unlikely, quirky friendship, similar to Andrew and Sam’s connection in the movie Garden State. During their first encounter, Greg describes to Rachel about how she can pretend to enter a sub-human state, when someone really annoying tries to talk to her. This is reminiscent to the Garden State scene, where Sam talks about how she invents random noises when she stresses out about life. Gomez-Rejon is able to tether these teenage character’s innocent wonder about life under the weight of maturity throughout the story. He captures the same authentic, adolescent spirit as John Hughes did in The Breakfast Club. After watching this film, I can only expect more great films from Gomez-Rejon are in our future.
Again, this is a coming of age film about Greg grappling with the end of his adolescence during his senior year in high school. Simultaneously Gomez-Rejon frames a poetic love letter to filmmaking. Greg and Earl spend their time making classic movie parodies, that Rachel watches as she undergoes treatment for leukemia. This is the part in the review where I tell you, that as the story unfolds it was truly “the best of times and worst of times,” for these three friends. Now go watch the winner of the Grand Jury Prize and the Audience Award at the 2015 Sundance Film Festival.
By Sarah Belmont
Bradley Cooper returns to the kitchen in his latest film, Burnt, about the redemption of talented Chef Adam Jones. A man once on top of his game, loses everything due to his drug addiction, now he fights for both redemption and that elusive third Michelin star. This film reunites Cooper with his American Sniper co-star Sienna Miller, who plays Helene, his sous chef in the movie. Both Cooper and Miller have to share their screen time with all of the food porn shots, that the trailer promises will be included in the film.
Cooper has been nominated for an Academy Award for the past three years and in 2015 he may receive his fourth nomination. If not, for Burnt, then maybe for his performance alongside Jennifer Lawrence in David O. Russell’s latest film titled Joy. The film chronicles Joy’s (Lawrence) rise to become the founder and matriarch of a business dynasty. Cooper plays an executive at the home shopping network who helps Joy sell her products. At least, this year, Cooper has doubled his chances to receive his fourth consecutive nomination. Burnt will hit theaters on October 23rd, 2015, while Joy is set to be released on December 25th, 2015.
Director Brian Helegland depicts the glamorous, but at times ultra violent London underground scene in the 1960s. Tom Hardy stars as two of the most notorious criminals in British history, identical twins Reggie and Ronnie Kray. Yes, we get twice the Tom Hardy for the price of one admission ticket. Emily Browning (Sucker Punch) co-stars as Reggie Kray’s wife, Frances “Frankie” Shea, and narrates the entire film. The love affair between Frankie and Reggie is used as a device to contrast the twins from one another. Audience members should sympathize with Reggie as he deals with his brother’s insanity, even though by doing so the film treads more towards fiction than fact.
Based on the trailer, the movie seems to reference American gangster films such as Goodfellas and Mean Streets, under the guise of a cockney accent. In addition the film possesses a quirky, offbeat, dark comedy tonal feel as seen in the cult-classic Snatch. Now the real question is if Tom Hardy will receive critical acclaim and recognition for both roles come award season. We have seen him as the charming, gentleman, con-artist Eames in Inception; and recently as the psychotic, offbeat, Jewish gangster, Alfie Solomons, on Netflix’s Peaky Blinders season two. Now we are able to see him play both character types simultaneously, with the cockney accents, this could be legendary.
In limited release on November 20th, 2015
To watch the trailer click here
Revenant refers to someone who has returned from the dead. Hugh Glass (Leonardo Dicaprio) is a 19th century frontiersman; left for dead, by fellow hunters and fur trappers, after a brutal bear attack. Just, when we thought we had seen Leonardo Dicaprio play everything, he brings us his portrayal as Hugh Glass; a fighter, survivor, but most importantly a quieter man in comparison to Dicaprio’s previous roles. The film follows Glass’ three hundred mile trek for vengeance across Perkins County (now South Dakota). Throughout his journey Glass deals with the grief of being betrayed by his best friend, John Fitzgerald (Tom Hardy). Glass’ thirst for revenge fuels his will to survive against all odds.
The is Academy Award winning director Alejandro G. Inarritu’s follow up to last year’s best picture winner, Birdman. Inarritu’s determination to truly capture the harsh reality of Glass’ survival story, lead his cast and crew to some of the most remote places to shoot in the Canadian interior. In the trailer we begin to understand Inarritu’s vision to tell an epic adventure story through the perspective of one man’s isolation. There is a magnetic mixture between quiet tension and abrupt action in the trailer. I don’t want to jinx it, but I really hope that all Leo needed to do was return from the dead, to finally receive an oscar.
In theaters on December 25th, 2015
To watch the trailer click here
By Sarah Belmont
In Mexico “Sicario” means hitman. In America, during awards season, Sicario could mean awards for Denis Villenueve (director), Emily Blunt, and Bencio Del Toro. Kate Macer (Blunt) is a naïve FBI agent assigned to a government task force to aid in America’s war on drugs across the Mexican border. She finds herself to be a pawn in game being played between her fellow agent Alejandro (Del Toro) and Matt (Josh Brolin), her superior officer. The longer Kate Macer stays across the boarder fighting against the Mexican cartels, the more her idealism fades into a distant mirage of her homeland.
Denis Villenueve is a director on the rise. In 2013 both his film Prisoners and Enemy were released. Both are very different films and meant to be seen by very different audiences. Sicario could be the perfect mix between Villenueve’s dark accessibility illustrated in Prisoners, and his ability to retain tension in every scene as shown in Enemy. According to early reviews from critics such as The ConCourse’s Tom Ley, “Honestly, the film might be a horror movie.” Sicario may just be the first horror film masked as a sprawling crime drama that any of us has ever seen.
In theaters on October 2nd, 2016
To Watch the trailer click here
Meet Ma (Brie Larson), a young woman kidnaped and then impregnated by her captor. Meet Jack (Jacob Tremblay), Ma’s son, he knows nothing of the world beyond four walls. Ma desperately wants to escape the room that she and Jack have been imprisoned in for the past seven years. But, have these four walls protected Jack’s innocence from being perturbed by the outside world? “Room”, is a small film with two emotionally complex performances, by Larson and Tremblay that are preserved by the four walls of the screen.
Two years ago, a small independent film titled Short Term 12 was released and Brie Larson suddenly appeared on film critic’s radar as an actress to watch. Larson did nab a few smaller critic awards for her performance in Short Term 12, and was even viewed as a dark horse to receive an Oscar nomination. If Larson’s performance surpasses her work in Short Term 12, then, hopefully, she will not be overlooked a second time. Based on the trailer director Lenny Abrahamson (Frank) may also receive some recognition for his work, as he uses various camera angels to allow audiences to view the room through Jack’s perspective.
In theaters on October 16th, 2015
To watch the trailer click here
By Sarah Belmont
Emmy winner Cary Fukunaga follows up his True Detective (season one) run with this new Netflix original movie. Based Uzodinma Iweala’s 2005 novel, the story follows a young West African boy named Agu (Abraham Attah). After mercenaries kill his family, Agu finds himself under the tutelage of the African warlord, known as the Commandant, played by Idris Elba. The brutality of Agu’s circumstance mirrors Hushpuppy’s trials in the 2012 film Beasts of the Southern Wild. While Hushpuppy retained her sense of wonder about the world, viewers will observe the deterioration of Agu’s innocence.
Beasts of No Nation will certainly be making headlines even before award season begins. On October 6th, 2015 Netflix will release the film simultaneously on their streaming service and in select theaters. Hopefully, this unprecedented release schedule will not overshadow Fukunaga, Attah, or Elba’s critically acclaimed work in the film. Attah has already won the Venice Film Festival award for best young actor. Time will tell if this young actor from Ghana will be in attendance at the next Oscars ceremony.
To watch the trailer click here
Academy Award winning director Tom Hopper (The King’s Speech) brings to life another period piece about one of the first known recipients of gender reassignment surgery. Set in Copenhagen during the 1920s the film stars Academy Award winner Eddie Redmayne as Lili Elbe, and Alicia Vikander (Ex Machina) as Gerda Wegener. The film focuses on the marriage between Gerda and Einar, before, during, and after Einar transforms into Lili. Based on the trailer it appears that Hopper tells this remarkable love story through a feminine gaze lens, with a captivating transgender nuance.
Critics have already screened the film at the Venice Film Festival and Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF). Many predict that Redmayne could be the first performer since Tom Hanks to win two consecutive Oscars for acting. More notably though has been the critics’ reaction to Vikander’s performance in the film. Collider’s Adam Chitwood explains, “Redmayne is excellent, but this is Vikander’s movie.” Overall the film was received at TIFF similarly to Redmayne’s previous film, The Theory of Everything, praised primarily for its actors.
In theaters on November 27th, 2015
To watch the trailer click here
Remember, Bryan Cranston is, “the one who knocks,” and he is knocking on the Adademy’s door with his turn as blacklisted Hollywood screenwriter, Dalton Trumbo. The film tells the true story about how he became a ghostwriter for various movies after testifying in front of the House of Un-American Activities Committee in 1947. Dalton Trumbo would later be publicly credited for writing such films as Spartacus, Exodus, and Roman Holiday. Based on the trailer, it appears that director Jay Roach splashes comedic color across this period piece, set during the black and white era of McCarthyism. Cranston’s performance is supported by a great ensemble cast that includes Helen Mirren, Louis C.K., Elle Fanning, John Goodman, and Diane Lane.
Anyone else thinking award season déjà vu? Last year, Michael Keaton (Birdman) ran a close race against Eddie Redmayne, who ultimately walked away with the golden statue. Will Redmayne be able to beat out possible contender Bryan Cranston this year? Like I said earlier, Cranston is the “one who knocks.”
By Sarah Belmont