Double Feature: The Little Death (2014) & Bang Gang (A Modern Love Story) (2015)

Double Feature

I’m really going on quite the theme in this and the last double feature. We are exploring the world of love and lust and sex. I go through phases like this where I like to dive into this world every once in a while. Netflix has been quite dry in this sense and I just took random choices as usual.

Let’s check out The Little Death and Bang Gang (A Modern Love Story).

The Little Death (2014)
(other title: A Funny Kind of Love)

the little death

Director (and writer): Josh Lawson

Cast: Josh Lawson, Bojana Novakovic, Damon Herriman, Kate Mulvany, Kate Box, Patrick Brammall, Alan Dukes, Lisa McCune, Erin James, T.J. Power, Kim Gyngell

The secret lives of five suburban couples living in Sydney reveal both the fetishes and the repercussions that come with sharing them. – IMDB

Movies with intertwining stories just get me. In many ways, its because of the variety of characters we get and the different stories that have a life of their own. There are sometimes fails in finding the proper balance especially with the topic (I’m looking at you New Year’s Eve). However, there are some that create some really nice parallels. The Little Death is the little Australian film that could in this sense. There are some odd moments here and there however, the different fetishes showcased here are incredibly interesting if not a little suitably over the top.

These five couples take a look at their different fetishes that one person in their relationship has and what has caused it to change no matter the initial discovery was for. The crazy part is that it creates these tensions in each of their relationship and as the audience, we can see it more than the characters themselves do especially when it comes to their choice to pursue it. While the five stories don’t overlap until the very end, we get the awkward moments with this new neighbor who was a sex offender giving the idea of the proximity of these couples and how each of them have their own struggles.

The Little Death is a fun dramedy of sorts. There are some outrageous moments and some stories that work better than others or at least presented better than others. As a debut, Josh Lawson offers up quite some depth in lust and seduction and relationships with these stories.

Bang Gang (A Modern Love Story) (2015)

bang gang

Director (and screenplay): Eva Husson

Cast: Finnegan Oldfield, Marilyn Lima, Lorenzo Lefebvre, Daisy Broom, Fred Hotier

In the well-to-do suburbs of a small town, a group of pretty average, well-adjusted sixteen and seventeen year olds are ordinary adolescents who take a singular path. – IMDB

This French movie takes on a ride through the lives of these five teens as their lives go out of control. Everything starts with the bored and lonely guy who has this fascination with sex and discovery and he ends up having sex with this girl who actually believes there was something more to discover that he had tossed her aside and moved on to someone else. With that discovery, she goes all out and creates this game during a party which is a truth or dare game except there are only dares and its mostly in the sexual nature and they called the whole thing Bang Gang and the chaos starts from there. As George gets more removed from the conflicts with them and throws herself into the party, she also meets Gabriel who is removed from her rowdy group but seems to hide a lot away.

This movie works because we see the different family situations and the ordinary in each of their lives and how they are very normal teenagers that just got caught up in friends, drugs and sex. This excitement is their little world to escape and have fun until things go horribly wrong and then if you are a parent watching this, perhaps its one of those nightmare moments. However, it also shows the lack of knowledge and naivety of these kids who have made decisions without actually thinking about the possible consequences.

For this young cast, its works really well. The outstanding performance is to Marilyn Lima who plays George. She is one of the key characters and we spend a lot of time looking at the choices she makes. At the same time, we also see Gabriel who doesn’t have as much of screen time but manages to deliver a character that we can care for in a more introverted trapped situation. There are a few pacing issues and some of the characters here aren’t really worth cheering for and it seems a stretch to think at the end that they did learn something from the whole debacle that went down, however the deeper message here makes us think a little about everything that happens.

That’s it for this double feature!
Something of a double theme on the theme and the fact that both are directed and written by one person.
Have you seen either of these movies?

TV Binge: House of Lies [Season 4, 2015]

I’m finally writing up this TV Binge! Actually, this was way before I even saw the Season 1 of Zoo! You can see that post HERE!

I saw the Season 4 of House of Lies possibly about almost two months ago. However, I still remember what I want to talk about. A quick recap on the series: Season 1 was fantastic, Season 2 was charming enough, Season 3 lost a bit of steam but end kind of strong, and now we’re at Season 4. At this point, it can go both ways, right?

Let’s check it out!

House of Lies [Season 4, 2015]

house of lies s4

Creator: Matthew Carnahan

Cast: Don Cheadle, Kristen Bell, Ben Schwartz, Josh Lawson, Donis Leonard Jr., Glynn Turman, Dawn Olivieri, Valorie Curry, Demetri Martin

Season 4 starts a few months after what happens in Season 3. Here is the spoilers so if you haven’t seen previous seasons and plan to watch this, don’t read it.

Marty Kaan is not out of jail and with his old team, they have to go for the smallest cases to try to rebuild Kaan & Associates after Jeannie’s rushed decisions caused him to go to jail and plummeted the image of the company. Jeannie is now pregnant with the hidden fact that it is Marty’s baby (but it isn’t hidden for long). The office has to share space with some digital company that has a skateboarding ramp and these cool kids which lead by Kelsey, end up teaming up with Clyde and Doug and starting this weird relationship. On top of that, Roscoe has gone off the rails after Marty went to jail. Finally, while in jail, Marty conjures up a plan to connect with a rich technological tycoon in order to do business for him when they both get out.

House of Lies S4

I can’t say I’m a huge fan of Season 4. This was by far the one that was far from being a binge. I might have watched one episode or two a day and in multiple sittings. Point is, the story has kind of lost its focus. It still has some witty moments and the characters we’ve grown to know is still around and doing their thing but its a little frustrating to watch also. Especially when its watching Marty in his stupidity when dealing with Jeannie. I guess it makes sense however, it feels like everything is so awkward now. There lacks a flow that used to make the series work. The main issue is not only that the logic of decisions isn’t there but what bothers me more was Roscoe who used to be a good character, now is just an emo teen dealing with stuff that seems to be way over what he should be doing and really not seeing it. His character goes through immense change. I can see how his father going to jail would cause that but him flipping out doesn’t seem to make the situation better and goes against the character we’ve seen in the past three seasons. That is where we can say, House of Lies in this season was all about change.

House of Lies Season 4

In this season, the side characters pose a much more fun time. The best is the awkward situation between Clyde, Doug and Kelsey. Doug’s coping mechanism of being the guy that seems to be dispensable and his insecurities turns him into a really crappy person with just horrible mindsets. Except he can’t really live up to what he does sometimes and turns right back to who he was. That creates humor for sure. It is however nice for once to see that Clyde’s character is shining through because while he likes to sleep around, there’s a whole new level of learning about him in this season that should have been done much earlier. That was possibly the best parts in all its awkwardness. Kelsey is a good character.

House of Lies

To be honest, the whole business aspect of things seemed to be the more interesting turn of events. The desperate situations that occurred and the retaliations and everything in between all worked for the better as it neared the season finale. I have a soft spot for Kristen Bell so I stand up for her character Jeannie a lot. It also comes to the point that she was also a strong point in this. A single mom pregnant and being kicked out of a company she worked hard for also because of things that she regrets doing a lot and still putting up a strong face while trying to figure out her future all lumped together. When her breaking point hits, just don’t mess with her.

Overall, House of Lies Season 4 was a tad lackluster. It seemed to lose a bit of its way however keeping the tone around in forms of sarcastic humor of sorts. There are some decent new characters, some funny and awkward moments but yet, nothing enough to feel like it was binge-worthy. It gets better and better as the dramatic things seem to sort themselves out. It begs to ask how they will wrap up everything in the final season.

Netflix doesn’t have it yet so I’ll be checking it out and reporting back when it shows up.

Are you a fan of House of Lies?

TV Binge: House of Lies [Season 3, 2014]

I’m burning through House of Lies at a remarkable speed, if I must say so myself. This time, it was deliberate since I’m still working on the Netflix A-Z and there are a few little things to take care of. House of Lies sounds like a good, fun and easy option. Did I ever tell you how I love these 25-30 minutes episodes? Its twelve episodes a season which in reality is like watching six, and that is absolutely doable and bingeable (if thats even a word).

House of Lies
[Season 3, 2014]

House of Lies

Creator: Matthew Carnahan

Cast: Don Cheadle, Kristen Bell, Ben Schwartz, Josh Lawson, Donis Leonard Jr., Glynn Turman, Dawn Olivieri, Jenny Slate, Ryan Gaul, Genevieve Angelson, Mekhi Phifer, T.I., Bex Taylor-Klaus, Alice Hunter

Season Three picks up hot off the heels of the Season 2. Marty has left and working with a new team to get business wherever he can and build a name and get some good business. His team is unsure about where Kaan and Associates stand but they stay around because of his legendary name and what they can learn from him. Jeannie and Doug stayed at Galweather until circumstances change and they end up leaving eventually but not before Jeannie offers the condition to be a 50/50 partner. Clyde betrayed Marty and ended up working for Monica, Marty’s ex-wife who is evil and ruthless and finally breaks down before finding a way to win his place back at Kaan and Associates.

House of Lies

I can’t say that this was my favorite season.  There was a change of pace here. That isn’t exactly a bad thing but then there seemed to be much more friction because of the Pod separating and now reuniting. Marty and Jeannie are always opposing each other’s ideas now that they are partners.  Deep down, it seems that there’s something more, probably due to the previous season and that Jeannie wants to prove that she is the “boss lady”. Clyde is dealing with his own self-worth and the value of himself at the office and for the most part, he has the hardest part whereas, Doug is still dorky but he also makes certain personal decisions to change the course of his life. Monica, Marty’s ex-wife, plays a much bigger role and its not a bad thing either because her character lacks morals but its exactly for that reason that its fun to watch. Thing is, there are a lot of petty problems and while this seems to dig a little deeper into the four’s life, it also highlights their flaws as an endgame.

House of Lies

The highlight of the series goes to almost the entire series focused on their new client and their conflict, Dollahyde and the two partners, Lukas (played by T.I.) and Dre (played by Mekhi Phifer).  I’ve seen these two guys before in other series or movies. Its hard to pinpoint exactly where but they are convincing. Their conflict and the stuff they pull really carries the show to be more fun to watch. It also puts Marty and Jeannie in even more opposing ends. To be honest, Lukas was the most colorful character in this season. I wish he did have a larger part.

House of Lies

On the other hand, possibly the most disposable plot is the one involving Marty’s son, Roscoe (played by Donis Leonard Jr.).  I know I talk about liking the show being more personal but it seems they are trying to push Roscoe to be a main player of the show which changes the direction of what House of Lies is but rather, it turns into a show about Marty Kaan and not about the business consultant company itself. However, I think that Bex Taylor-Klaus, who plays Lex, as an actress has quite a bit of potential. She’s in Scream TV series and also one of the best parts of it.  Talking about that, Season 2 just landed on Netflix so I’m going to be watching that soon. Back to this side plot. On one hand, I like that Roscoe is growing but the family plot, at a certain point, feels a little forced.

Overall, Season three of House of Lies is a little below par to the first two seasons. It lacks a bit of good pacing. I still felt inclined to binge it and it was still fun to watch. However, I’m not sure how happy I was with it having too many side plots and never taking the time to let us care. At the end of this season, I can’t say I cared more for Doug or Clyde even if they had more personal bits or even that I was rooting for either Jeannie or Marty even if they are still one of the best parts of House of Lies.

Have you seen House of Lies?

TV Binge: House of Lies [Season 2, 2013]

Earlier this week, I wrote about the first season of House of Lies.  If you missed it, you can check it out HERE!

Due to not enough backlog and just real life being busy, I decided to bump this post up a little. It also means I can continue watching House of Lies Season 3. Yay! House of Lies seriously took me by surprise and it just is really funny to watch despite all the business stuff in it.  Let’s hope that Season 2 holds up the greatness of the first season! 🙂

House of Lies
[Season 2, 2013]

House of Lies

Creator: Matthew Carnahan

Cast: Don Cheadle, Kristen Bell, Ben Schwartz, Josh Lawson, Donis Leonard Jr., Glynn Turman, Dawn Olivieri, Jenny Slate, Larenz Tate, Bess Armstrong

The second season of House of Lies picks up a (few?) week(s) after the incident that destroyed the deal that was going have MetroCapital take over Galweather, the business consultant company that Marty and The Pod works for.  However, danger is still close.  The incident caused the company to be taken over by a very reputable business woman, Julianna Hofschrager, played by Bess Armstrong. Julianne has an agenda to turn the business around and with a new management comes its own worries.  Marty and The Pod get sent out to take care of a huge client in Las Vegas and the difference of the first season and this one is that the second season focuses around landing this casino deal and working it out throughout most of the season.

House of Lies

 Having one case along with a few other little ones on the side is a good decision.  It adds a little different pacing to the story. Now, we can actually see the characters develop more. On one hand, we get a closer look at Marty and his family especially as he patches up things with his son and deals with his brother that crashes at his place.  On the other hand, not so much him but Jeannie is dealing with the memories of how things left off in Season 1 and wondering about the feelings she might have.  However, this time around, we get a much deeper look into Doug’s character and something like how he becomes more independent along with Clyde.  A new member is added onto their team. The new member is part of Marty’s past. Also, Jenny Slate joins the show as Doug’s girlfriend and her character is rather complex as well but one I like a lot! We need some more ladies on the show with depth.  Although, in a quirky and sly way, Bess Armstrong is also fantastic as Julianne Hofschrager.

House of Lies

One of the most unpredictable bits of Season 2 is really in not truly knowing who to trust or how much we do know the characters.  Everyone seems to have their own story and at this point, we only have skimmed the surface so when things happen out of the ordinary, it becomes a surprise. Its also the series where the characters are more independent.  They have more outside influence and each are trying to embrace whatever suppressed feelings they have to secure their future.  The Pod is more and more dangerous because both Marty and Jeannie seem to have their dangers and it seems like a time bomb waiting to explode.  The feeling of uneasiness is always present however House of Lies is quite masterful at keeping a certain humor constantly in the forefront.  That is the part I enjoy and appreciate the most.

Plus, Season 2 ended with a guest role for Adam Brody and well, this was before blogging days but my high school days was very much being in love with The O.C. so his small part here was the cherry on top.  However, we can’t discount some of the other guest roles that occurred and maybe even some of them I suspect might reappear in future seasons.

House of Lies

Overall, Season 2 of House of Lies was a lot better than the first season.  It develops each of the characters better and gets more personal.  The story has a continuity and danger.  The new characters add some complexity but maintains the humor it had in the first season.  Don Cheadle is still incredibly charismatic even in his very flawed character while Kristen Bell is absolutely fantastic.  Jenny Slate is one of my favorite additions to the show and I can’t wait to see how her character develops. Its a lot of fun to watch and Season 3 is heading into a completely different direction and I’m excited to start it up!

Are you a fan of House of Lies? How about Don Cheadle and/or Kristen Bell?

Time for Season 3! I’ll be back with the next TV Binge soon! 🙂

TV Binge: House of Lies [Season 1, 2012]

Wow! Now, this TV Binge has been sitting in backlog for a little while but I’ve been holding back watching Season 2 because I haven’t been able to find a spot to schedule this in. Still, its time to get this done so that I can continue with this series! I know its an older-ish series but I need a dose of Kristen Bell and this one is rated rather well.

Let’s check it out! 🙂

House of Lies [Season 1, 2012]

House of Lies

Creator: Matthew Carnahan

Cast: Don Cheadle, Kristen Bell, Ben Schwartz, Josh Lawson, Dawn Olivieri, Donis Leonard Jr., Glynn Turman, Griffin Dunne, Richard Schiff, Greg Germann, Michael Rady

A subversive, scathing look at a self-loathing management consultant from a top-tier firm. Marty, a highly successful, cutthroat consultant is never above using any means (or anyone) necessary to get his clients the information they want.-IMDB

 Its taken me a long time to get to writing up this TV Binge.  I actually have finished Season 2 at this point because I just couldn’t resist and I guess I needed some extra ideas on what to write.  Thing is, I love House of Lies. I started this series up because of Kristen Bell and I’m sticking with it because its fun and quirky and hilarious.  Its unforgiving and smart.  The characters, especially the entire team jives well together while staying incredibly competitive. In the world of business consultants, its a game of survival and how well you can sell your ideas (that are pretty much the better way of saying BS) and only the best get out alive and thriving.

house of lies

Season one builds a nice foundation for the series.  Every episode is a new case that the four person team consisting of Marty (Don Cheadle), Jeannie (Kristen Bell), Clyde (Ben Schwartz) and Doug (Josh Lawson). Marty is technically the leader of the team and our host to figuring out what business consultants are all about. Marty talks to the audience a lot.  This is one factor that I like a lot about this.  It helps me feel involved with the show and the story and maybe even with the extremely flawed and controversial character like Marty.  The deal with seeing the full cast here mostly in the work environment and always interacting with each other but not exactly knowing each other outside of the job is that it causes some questions about the characters.  It makes someone like Marty, who is the male main character to be much more complex. The same applies for Jeannie, played by Kristen Bell.  I love Kristen Bell, especially because of her role as Veronica Mars but I like Jeannie a lot because she is also a very flawed person.  She’s ambitious and does what she needs to make things happen but she also has certain part of her nature that she can’t ignore.  It feels a little like Jeannie has a hard time embracing who she is deep down.

house of lies

The other two guys in Marty’s team is Clyde and Doug.  Clyde is kind of like the asshole of the group.  He talks trash and makes fun of Doug a lot.  He likes to woo women a lot also and his character, while not exactly having a lot, adds a tad of fun and BS.  On the other hand, Doug is the brain of the group.  He analyzes the numbers and he’s really good at what he does except he isn’t so good at the social part of the job.  He is more behind the scenes and a buffer.  Many times, his awkwardness is what makes him entertaining to watch.

House of Lies

The best part of the series is not only getting to know these characters but also the background story.  While business consultants are on the road a lot, there are few tangents going on here.  One is the family tangent which is the limited behind the scenes for everyone else but we get a good view of Marty and his relationship with his ex-wife and his son and his father. There are things he can do better but also other things that he is dealing with.  When his work intertwines with his personal after an encounter unexpectedly at the beginning of the season that triggers a little later into a relationship, this is when he actually offends the client/company management played by Greg Germann and ends up having this bank MetroCapital want to acquire the current consultant company that he works at to kick him out. The whole scenario and the encounters of Greg (same first name in the series) is absolutely hilarious because he absolutely has an issue and it just makes for a lot of funny and awkward moments.

Overall, the first season of House of Lies is a lot of fun and a really good foundation.  We learn a lot about the characters as they develop.  Although Clyde and Doug sit in the background a lot in The Pod (what they call their team), Marty and Jeannie do get a good look at their stories as their character develops.  The situation with MetroCapital adds danger to the scene and gives the show continuity.  At the end of Season One, I was itching to watch season 2 which I have already as I’m writing this now. I just couldn’t resist. That post is coming up really soon! 🙂

Have you seen House of Lies? What do you think of it?