April 28, 2013

TPG's Game Times - Season 3 - Episode 5 - Kissed By Fire (Game Of Thrones Recap)

Last year I declared "Game Of Thrones" to be an awesome pulp epic, but lacking in serious substance. While here today I declare that the show chopped that old moniker down with a flaming sword and has re-born anew with the power of the one of best dramas on television. We're approaching "Breaking Bad" levels here folks, and we all should be thankful. Tonight was a stupendous episode that worked on every single level. It was immensely entertaining, full of narrative momentum, and above all a fascinating discorse on duty and honor. So let's go ahead and answer the call, and get into this incredible episode titled "Kissed By Fire."

Direwolf Badassery & Joffrey Swag - None tonight.

1.  There is a reason why Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, the actor who plays Jaime Lannister, is popping up in big time Hollywood movies. That reason was on display during his epic monologue on duty, honor, and family where he sliced apart his own legend like one of his unfortunate opponents on the battlefield. It seems that the Jaime who cares about doing the right thing has finally triumphed over the bad part of him (you know the kind that throws kids out of windows and kills his own relatives to survive.) Him telling his side of destroying the mad King is an interested angle and presents the central question of the episode - How does a person preserve their own honor in the face of war? Last season Jaime Lannister was barely around, he spent the season in muddy prison cells. Tonight in a literal cleansing bath, he is re-born as something new.

2. But don't think I've gone all serious on you, uh, flaming sword battles combined with a juicy kill*, yes, more of that please.

3. So Jon Snow breaks his vows literally by having sex in the Wilding version in the Playboy Grotto, but he also provides intelligence to the Wildings about where the Night's Watch is stationed. Here again, we wonder, where is Jon Snow's sense of duty and honor? Are we supposed to be believe it's ok that he has betrayed his brothers because last week we saw how low they sunk? No, I believe that Jon Snow truly believes that his sense of duty is not to Wildlings or The Night's Watch, but only to himself. And for him, that means shedding the mantle of being "Ned's Stark Bastard" and becoming his own man.

4. Thrones is slowing proving to have a bit of obsession with kills by throat. In season one Khal Drogo ripped out a dude's tongue through the throat, last week Crastus got a blade through the throat, and now we have the Badass Ginger (BG) threatening to tear out Jon Snow's guts through his throat. Enough with the throat deaths!

5. Hope there is some sun-rays coming to Robb Stark because...whoah...that was pretty dark. Faced with either preserving his army or punishing the murderous insubordinates in his ranks he came to a real moral crossroads. Again like the many others he had to make a choice between his own moral code and the realm or all the people. And while I support his decision, I couldn't help but notice that he did it despite EVERYONE telling him of the consequences and advising him not to do it, which was something his father did as well...

6. MAGIC MAGIC MAGIC - That dude Beric Dondarrion got his sword and shoulder sliced almost clean in half (flames can't protect you from dudes named after animals) but still managed to come back to life! This is magic we haven't seen before, but it does come from the Lord of Light, who is proving to be quite popular (The night is dark of full of Thrones nerds broooo.) I loved seeing more about how this magic works, but want I really want to know is what is going on with Stannis's daughter. Does she have a skin infection or is there something magical about her? Considering how zonked out her parents are on that magic, her having a special gift wouldn't be that surprising.

7. Oh what a Knight, late on Game of Thrones with my girl Khaleeessi - ok I'll ditch the Franki Valli reference and just say that the showdown of Sir Barristan and Sir Jorah aka Khalesi's comedic grandpas is proving to be something to watch. Both have different reasons for joining with Jorah seeking some type of forgiveness and Barristan seeking to return glory. There's that theme again, how does a person reclaim their honor? For these old dudes, the clock is ticking.

8. Arya Stark asks "Could you bring back a man without a head" and it becomes clear that her more than anyone wants to avenge the death of Ned Stark, she wants to do it more than anyone. And you heard her saying the names by the fire...she has a long list of people to kill.

9. Man after Khaleesi's show stopping episode last week, I was worried how we were going to get the goods again this week, but this is Thrones so of course they deliver. The Unsullied had to choose a leader and they opt for some skater looking dude who look like he dated Madonna, and he drops a badass line about keeping his name "Grey Worm" which both defies Khaleesi and praises her glory at the same time. Epic, man, epic.

10. So Sansa is going to marry Tryion and Cersei is going to marry Loras. Man Tywin Lannister must be reading a lot of soaps on scrolls because this set-up is zany (but smart). Also the Lannisters are proving that they are indeed the least fun family in the world.

Amazing episode, hopefully the final 5 will be just as good. Have a great week!

April 21, 2013

TPG's Game Time - Season 3- Episode 4 - And Now His Watch Has Ended (Game of Thrones Recap)

Nooo one dispatches their enemies like Khalesi does. Oh, hey there, how are you, good to see you, had to get that out of the way. Now let's get into this recap which had a healthy balance of violence, intrigue, family scheming, Theon Greejoy getting punk'd thrones style, and a surprising lack of sex and/or nudity, 

Direwolf Badassery - Somewhere a direwolf is growling, but we didn't hear them tonight. We only got lip service of Grandma Tyrell saying direwolves are fierce creatures that look good on shields and flags. Yes, if the Queen of Schemes herself is down with the direwolves, than hopefully the writers of Thrones will follow her lead and get some more badassery down the line.

Joffrey Swag - If you consider parading around your smoking hot wife around your dope ass hosting room swag than Joffrey had swag for days tonight. He gets bonus points for keeping the bones of his enemies around but negative points for revealing himself to be a history nerd with a bizarre hand waving motion. Also negative swag points is his inability to recognize that he is on a fast train to being whipped is.... disappointing.

1. Man Kingslayer is in a bad place. His sword hand is gone, he can't fight, he's drinking horse piss and he clearly is falling deeply in love with She Man...actually that last one is probably a good thing. Keep in mind this is a dude was pretty much a smug Prince Charming who was having sex with his sister and threw a kid out of a window. Now we're feeling bad for him? That's good writing, good acting, and just an interesting character. However, I'm not so sold on his total conversion to good-guy, he still needs one or two more selfless acts.

2. MAGIC ALERT - Varys story of his castration was a long time coming, I feel like he often mentions it as joke, but to hear the whole thing shocking. The part regarding the blue flame and the sorcerer was particularly noteworthy because A) It broadens the magic in this show more which is great B)Indicates a new magical division beyond the Melisandre red camp magic. Who are these blue magic folks? Also that is nuts that he has that sorcerer in his possession. Is he going to torture him or use him for some reason first.

3. PAUSE FOR POLITICS - For such a huge show with so many characters of a variety of different ages, genders, and races Thrones is kind of lacking in positive gay characters. I should say that while she may fit some stereotypes, I don't think Lady Brienne is gay at all. In fact as far as I know the only gay character is Loras Tyrell and he's barely on the show. Renly was but he was soft and no one took him seriously. I understand this is the world that was created, but it's a little wild that every time it comes up on the show whether is Varys talking about what people are into or Margaery talking about Renly, homosexuals always come across as disgusting. Combine this with the ridiculously stereotypical slave merchant Khalesi dealt with, the show isn't that progressive at all.

4. Let's give it up for production designer Gemma Jackson, who just makes the whole show look fantastic! The sets and the whole look of tonight's episode was stellar!

5. Last week I wondered who Theon's rescuer was, and tonight we found out he was...just another torturer. What? So this guy was killing his own men just to bring Theon back for more. That's not important, what is important is Theon revealing he never killed and kids and he basically realized he screwed up royally sacking Winterfell. His journey towards redemption has officially begun.

5.5 Also on that path toward redemption is the The Hound. He showed some serious compassion last season to Sansa and his speech about not being a murderer was on point. Where his journey takes him, I guess we'll see, but I find it very intriguing.

6. Last week jokes about Podrick's prowess with the ladies were funny, this week they're plot. What?

7. A little word about the Night's Watch Super SmackDown tonight. It was great to see Crastus go, that guy was the 2nd biggest creep on the show, obviously the 1st being Walder Frey, IT SUCKS THAT LORD COMMANDER MORMONT IS DEAD. That dude was like your old badass Uncle and I'll miss his proclamations and wisdom.

8. That dagger kill up through the throat had to be the kill of the season right?

9. So Khalesi had her big moment and yeah, as I said before, it was incredible. Roasting her enemies, freeing slaves, and marching out to pounding drums....I mean she's living the dream. Two things though: 1) This entire plot at the city was spoiled for me by the previews for the season. 2) Sir Jorah's reaction shots to the whole thing were priceless.

10. No Jon Snow this week, I wonder if he's going to cross paths with Sam as they both make their way back to the wall. Also no Robb Stark this week, ehh, I find his story the least interesting of all them.

Thanks for reading and have a great week.!

April 14, 2013

TPG's Game Time - Season 3 - Episode 3 - Walk of Punishment (Game of Thrones Recap)

This guyyyyyyyy
Can you hear the laugh track playing in the background? No? That's surprising because this was easily the funniest episode of Game of Thrones yey. Sure in the past we've had some good laughs here and there, but tonight...tonight...was a welcome surprise...too bad Jaime Lannister won't be able to clap for it...zing!!!

Direwolf Badassery - .3 points. We saw some shots of Ghost pacing in the woods, probably because he knows some bad shit is going to go down at Craster's Keep, but generally pretty weak. We also got more folktales about about King Robb being able to turn into a direwolf and that he eats his enemies. Cool, but I'd rather see that in action than here some Lannister Little Rascal murmur about it.

Joffrey Swag - No Joffrey this week, he's probably busy playing with his crossbow and trying out new fashion. 

1. First hilarious part of the episode. It opened with grim serious ritual of an legend's body being sent down the river for a viking funeral. If you've ever seen the Richard Gere Camelot movie First Knight you know what I'm talking about (First Knight is dope btw), but once that dude lined up his shot...I was thinking...what if he can't hit this. Hilarity when he tries three times and fails. And then we get a true introduction to a new character Blackfish aka Ser Bryden Tully aka a dude so badass he shoots flaming arrows and walks away knowing he hit his target. That's the Game of Thrones version of a mic drop.

2. Good thing we got a silly introduction to Blackfish because in the next scene we see that he is a keen advisor to Robb Stark, who is showing that he has a daft mind for military strategy. We've seen his tactics work before, particularly with the capture of Jaime Lannister, but here we again we see him as a true warrior King. He clearly has his shit together and is plotting his next move, smart money is that it's going to be a brilliant one.

3. Thrones Comedy Part 2 - Hot Pie, aka the fat kid that hangs out with Arya, bakes a piece of wolf shaped bread for Arya as a parting gift. Considering it looked like a rhinoceros, the whole interaction with her and up and coming badass Gendry was real funny. Gendry had that look l like "how the hell did I not know you were called Fat Pie this whole time." His gentle pat on the arm goodbye was nice little coda as well.

4. So Mance is sending Snow and the BG (that's the badass Ginger Wilding) to take down the wall. Damn I'm really hoping we get a Blackwater style throw down at some point this season and double damn I really hope this is it.

5. MIND BONE - Did you hear that guy tell Theon that Winter is coming after he made quick work of those guards in the woods (the close range arrow to the head was a nice touch)? Interesting that Theon took his hand after hearing that. Does this mean Theon is back with the Starks? Is this dude a Wildling? A Stark?  

6. Damn Stannis, I love you bro, but you look like you've gone totally loopy. Chasing after your head strategist/lover/temptress/S&M partner and begging for her not to leave, like some puppy dog college kid. You're supposed to be the true king! But what was that about King's blood. What is Melisandre up to? She needs Baratheon blood? Who is she going after? Joffrey? Gendry?

7. Funniest Scene In Thrones History - Podrick Payne, Tyrion's squire get's his reward for saving Tyrion at the battle of Blackwater and naturally, since this is Thrones and we're talking Tyrion, it's a lot of sex with some whores. Keep in mind Tyrion also sent whores to the other young man he knew...Joffrey...so it seems Tyrion is not the guy who gives books with hand written notes when special occasions come up. Nevertheless when Podrick returns and tells Bronn and Tyrion they didn't take his money and he did "things", I thought I was watching...Game of Bros and they were about to drink some meads and swap bedroom stories. Hilarity.

8. Once again we're back with Khalesi and I have to say I'm just not that interested in this story. Like I know that she's going to roast this slaver dude alive, now way she lets someone as despicable as him live, so the whole promise of a dragon trade is kind of weak. Also this guy is so one-dimensional, he's starting to feel like a racist caricature of a middle eastern sleaze ball merchant and I'm not that comfortable with that.

9. The She-Man and Kingslayer relationship is one of the most complex and interesting on the show. It's clear that he finds her fascinating and is falling in love her, but how she feels about him...hard to say, at this point, but she has to be grateful. 

10.  Seeing a super babe like Khalesi walk around with two old ass dudes made me think how funny a sitcom about a fiercely independent emo-girl and her two zany grandpas would be. I'd call it The Grandragons...anybody...anybody?

See you next week!

April 9, 2013

Elysium Trailer Is Amazing

This is the follow up to District 9. This is my most anticipated movie of the year.

April 7, 2013

TPG's Game Time - Season 3 - Episode 2 - Dark Wings, Dark Words (Game of Thrones Recap)

Hey.....you ever heard of a metaphor...man? Apparently Vanessa Taylor has. Who is Vanessa Taylor? Well that would the the screenwriter of tonight's episode. But we can get to the metaphors in a moment, for now, let's just grab our swords and do this thing.

Direwolf Badassery - 1/2 points. What's the phrase? All bark and no bite. Yeah that's that's the one. Maybe it was the whitewalker kill by Ghost last week, but this week, with Bran's wolf Summer just growling at an enemy, I wasn't that impressed.

Joffrey Swag -  5 Points. I believe they call it swag on swag. Just lots of gems from MC Joffrey tonight. The first, he said the conversation with his mother was "the most boring conversation ever." The second he told his mother "Intelligent women do as they're told."The third was his general put down on flowery fashion and then constant preening in the mirror. He's gotta look good yo.

1. So we met this new character Jojen Reed tonight, and if you were wondering, YES that is the kid from Love Actually. I wish he was around in the past two series to explain to us that the three eyed raven Bran keeps seeing is actually him in spirit form. Definitely would have been convenient. But seriously, what's this dude and his sister's end game? I'm not totally buying the whole, I came to help you out story. Everyone has motive and I'm sure we will find out his soon enough.

2. Theon is getting tortured with the old screws in the hands/feet routine. Maybe if you weren't such a insufferable asshole last season Theon I would care more about you.

3. MILD MIND BONE WITH PAPRIKA - Seeing the Kingslayer just talk that bullshit with She-Man (aka Brienne The Beauty) made me realize that he is the anti-Joffrey. He may be his Daddy, but considering that he's super smooth and deadly with a sword, and that Joffrey is the opposite of smooth and a coward, these two, while of the same bloodline could not be more different.

4. No Stannis this week but who cares because we got a power-starved character: Olenna Tyrell. She comes across as just a ruthless as Stannis but also with a dash of Littlefinger as well. Besides being beautifully shot, her little sit down with her Grandaughter Margaery and Sansa was one of the high points of the episode. This old lady defines cunning and I'm sure we'll see her in action shortly.

5. PAUSE FOR GENDER EQUALITY - A common knock on Game of Thrones as a show is that it's got too much sex and nudity. And while that may be true, it also has more well written female characters that any show on TV that I know of. Khalesi, Sansa, Arya, Catelyn, Brienne, Cersei, Margaery, and Ygritte are all great, well written, interesting characters. I don't think any other show can match that.

6. There wasn't a lot of Jon Snow and Mance tonight, but in their one scene, did you catch that Mance has successfully united tons of different people...something that no one in the seven kingdoms has done. A true king beyond the wall indeed.

7. I promised you metaphors so here you are. Did you catch Margaery learning how to work Joffrey's wood, I mean, weapon, I mean thing that shoots stuff out of it. Please...a little heavy handed by the writers but I get it. The future queen is playing Joffrey perfectly from riding the innuendos to telling him she wants to kill with him. Well done. Also I'm not sure if's a metaphor, maybe some of the more scholarly readers can help out in the comments, but there was a deep sexual tension running through that fight with Kingslayer and She-Man. Let me say that with a little more cheese - the sparks from the swords clashing aren't the only ones sparkling between these two...zing!!!

8. Was this the first Thrones episode where no one was killed?

9. So happy to see Arya back but damn was that disappointing to see get worked by Thoros of Mir like that. Speaking of Thoros, I'm getting a real Robin Hood vibe from him and his posse of the Brotherhood Without Banners. Really interesting to see how they fit into all this.

10. More magic in Thrones this season and I and hopefully you are happy about it. This show has a gift for making magic appear "real" (well outside of shadow vagina assassins). The concept of the Warg, or being able to see out of animals eyes is interesting and we've seen Bran do it, but I wonder if any of the Starks who seem to be very connected with their dire-wolves, can do it as well?

Gotta love that line - "There's no story a good drink won't make better." Keep that in mind until next time, tell your friends about the recap. Have a great week

April 1, 2013

TPG's Game Time - Season 3 - Episode 1 - Valar Doeheris

Valar Doeheris! This is the traditional response to "Valar Morghulis" which many of you will remember was the title of last years season finale. Man it's good to have Thrones back on the air and this opener while not full of wild spectacle sure was exciting. So what do you say we protect our nips and get into it!

Direwolf Badassery - 4 points. What a strong opening. Ghost just ripping a white walker to pieces, that's exactly how you set the tone for the season!

Joffrey Swag- 3 Points. Man I love hating this kid and he was in fine form tonight. Being a little wuss hiding out in his box while his wife helps out the orphans gives him 2 points. But dropping a line that people who keep him in meetings should be tried for treason, that's a healthy one point. Strong start, keep it up.

1. Right out of the gate we get a new city on the credits map - Astapor - which is where Khalesi was hanging out scoping out a potential new slave army. Let's talk about that for a second, that dude was slicing off nipples. In addition to that, he is disrespecting everyone left and right, whether it's the aforementioned now nippleless man, his slave/translator, Khalesi herself or Sir Jorah this guy is #1 on the list of dudes who is going to get ROASTED by those dragons.

2. Speaking of Dragons that whole catch the fish, cook the fish, eat the fish routine was incredible. Never seen a dog do that.

3. I love how for the past two seasons we've had Osha & Nan both tell little Bran Stark about the giants beyond the wall. I always wrote these off as stories, but now we see one in all their Hagrid like glory. Yes the world of Game of Thrones just got a little more magical and that's a really good thing.

4. Mance Rayder! Finally we meet the guy we first hear mentioned in season 1 and often mentioned in season 2. Portrayed by Ciarin Hinds (you probably recognize him from "Munich" or "Harry Potter") I couldn't be happier about this character's introduction. He's a good mix of smart, scary, and icy cool and I can't wait to see what happens. I dig how they acknowledge his past as brother of the Nights Watch which right away establishes a kinship between him and Jon. Also is Ygritte his daughter?

5. Gentle Mind Bone Alert - Let's talk about visual metaphors here folks.
  • The Castle Getting Rebuilt At King's Landing - While they were damaged after the actions of last season, characters are re-building and re-positioning for their next move. All things crumble and all things must be rebuilt.
  • Sir Davos Alone On the Rock In The Ocean - Sir Davos has always been a steadfast seafarer, father, and friend to Stannis. Yet seeing him alone on that rock in the ocean let us know that his path this season will be one where he is surrounded by no one. A man is an Island indeed.
6. When Sir Jorah tells Khalesi that she needs to prove herself a brave and strong warrior to the people in her Khalesar, you know what he is really saying --- "First you get the dragon fire, then you get the power, then you get the respect!"

7. It's nice to see the Margaery Tyrell spending time with the orphans. She's a great Queen, remind me a lot of Kate Middleton, which would mean that Joffrey was Prince William. Yikes!

8. I love Stannis, but the dude is colder than White Walker's breath. I get the seductive power of Melisandre, but he's clearly in a bad place right now. Whatever his storyline this season is, I'm sure it's going to be interesting. 

9. We didn't get to see Theon Greyjoy, Arya, or the younger Stark boys this episode, but I'm sure we'll be seeing them soon. After all this show has lots of characters to juggle.

10. That double threat of the dark tongued girl and the insect assassin out of the bocce ball seemed like a lot to handle for Khalesi, but you think she would learn by now to watch her back in foreign cities.

11. Tywin's put down of Tyrion was cold and brutal. Since Tyrion is a fan favorite, I'm putting smart money on Tywin to find a axe buried in his head by the end of the season.