I really liked the relationship between Seth MacFarlane's acerbic sheep farmer and Charlize Theron's gunslinging outlaw, which develops plausibly from friendship to romance. In particular, Theron's a joy to watch as a sexy tomboy who starts to fall for MacFarlane's cynical, cowardly character.
There were also some sight gags and comic ideas that worked (like how nobody in the Old West would smile in photographs because it's insane), but A MILLION WAYS TO DIE IN THE WEST couldn't overcome some substantial flaws: the story's too simplistic for an epic TWO-HOUR+ runtime, Liam Neeson was completely wasted as the black-hat villain, and MacFarlane's direction was pedestrian at best.
There were moments that worked and made me giggle (mainly when the script felt like a live-action FAMILY GUY skit), but after the success of TED this has probably set MacFarlane's big-screen career back a few pegs. It's a FUNNY OR DIE viral that got out of hand.
There are two key problems with SIN CITY: A DAME TO KILL FOR: Robert Rodriguez and Frank Miller waited too long to produce a sequel to their 2005 hit, which means the appetite for more tales from the titular city has long since evaporated; and the collection of stories featured in A DAME TO KILL FOR are all substandard compared to anything from before.
But that's not to say SIN CITY 2's a complete washout. If you're a fan of the first film, it guarantees more of the same. Some feel the lack of noticeable evolution with the technology's a problem, but I don't agree. This universe has a particular look (a largely monochrome appearance with dashes of vibrant colour, and a tendency to snap into stark silhouettes to ape the graphic novel source material), and to alter that too much would be wrong. There are sequences that are moderately more ambitious than anything seen in SIN CITY, but for the most part A DAME TO KILL FOR could have been made in 2005. Is that a flaw? For me, no—but clearly opinions will vary.
Despite adhering to an overused setup (two lovers cope with an unwanted pregnancy), Channel 4 comedy CATASTROPHE overcame its hoariness because, frankly, it was funny and well-performed by writer-stars Sharon Horgan and Rob Delaney. They played, um, Sharon and Rob—middle-aged, transatlantic lovers who become expectant parents following a crazy week of passionate sex after meeting in a London bar.
It's the first trailer for Netflix's new sitcom THE UNBREAKABLE KIMMY SCHMIDT, created by Tina Fey (30 Rock). It concerns the eponymous woman (Ellie Kemper) who's rescued from a doomsday cult, after spending 15-years in an underground bunker. Adjusting to the modern world, Kimmy gets a job as a nanny for an Upper East Side socialite (Jane Krakowski), and laughs ensue.
Sadly delayed from its usual spring return to summer, here's the first trailer for season 3 of NBC's stupendous HANNIBAL. It's a juicy tease that doesn't reveal too much, but neither does it skimp on actual footage from the new episodes. Interesting to see that Lady Murasaki (Tao Okamoto), Dr Lecter's "aunt", is in scenes with Will Graham (Hugh Dancy), no? I'm interested to see how the show explains Hannibal's (Mads Mikkelsen) ability to abscond overseas and somehow create a new life for himself without arousing suspicion...
FX's vampire horror drama THE STRAIN returns this summer, and the teaser suggests it'll be larger in scope and more action-packed... although I have serious doubts this video's an accurate representation of what they'll achieve on a cable budget! On the plus side, they've cast Joaquín Cosío (Quantum of Solace) as Angel Guzman Hurtado (a.k.a 'The Silver Angel'), a popular vampire hunter from the source novels. Even better, they're replacing the child actor who played Corey Stoll's son with Max Charles from American Sniper.
It's Amazon pilot time... again. From the lows (axing The After before production began) to the highs (Transparent winning two Golden Globes), I think we've all adjusted our expectations of Amazon's pilots. A few will be very good, most will be decent but forgettable, and some will be just plain awful. I've seen all of the latest batch for winter 2015, so below are my capsule reviews of each...