Author Archives: ArmanM
Wizard of Lies gives us a look into the lives of the Madoff family, leading up to, during, and after the revelation of the greatest ponzi scheme in history. The film tries to portray Madoff, not necessarily as a sympathetic character, but one whose own successes are not too far off from his fault. Perhaps the system is to blame, or maybe all the blame should fairly fall on the shoulders of Madoff. But regardless of what you think, Wizard of Lies paints an interesting picture that is worth a look.
Season 3, Episode 17- Empire‘s finale has begun and boy is it a mess. But that doesn’t mean it’s not thoroughly entertaining. Alliances and destroyed, while some are made. Cookie tries to make her moves against Guisi, Lucious allies himself with his brother Tariq, Hakeem pulls himself from everything, and Andre finds himself in a bit of a relationship with Charlotte.
Season 3, Episode 16 – Empire introduces it’s penultimate episode until it’s two-part season finale. We begin to answer the question as to who took Bella, while also pushing a number of season-long plots forward. Andre seems to have a mental breakdown, Jamal reconciles with his father, Hakeem tries to be a good father and Cookie attempts to hold it all together.
Season 3, Episode 15 – Empire picks up from where it left off last episode, with the DuBois family posing as the main threat to the Lyons. Lucious and Cookie are forced to navigate through the DuBois’ “revenge” tactics, and might have to rely on the help of their sons to get through this. Andre decides to enact his plan with Shyne and Hakeem feels that it’s finally time he becomes the father to his daughter that he always should’ve been.
Season 3, Episode 14 – Empire decides to hit the reset button this episode and change course for the season. Major plotlines will unceremoniously end as old allies become dangerous villains. Lucious finds himself juggling a number of different major life changes as the business is making the moves towards Vegas and Cookie is making her moves towards Angelo. But not everything is as it seems.
Season 3, Episode 13 – Empire delivers one of the best scenes I can remember in TV. And although we need to have Lucious become a bedridden insane person in order to get there, I think it’s worth it. After a couple of duds, this episode shows that the wheels really seem to be turning at Empire as plots are being pushed forward and decisions are beginning to be made.
Season 3, Episode 12 – Empire has it’s first miss of the season, deciding to focus on Hakeem’s birthday and Jamal’s lovelife over the growing legal problems and Anika’s disappearance. The one breakout of the episode has been Nia Long as Giusa, a character who seems to be of an old Mafioso era giving Andre Lyon a real run for his money.
Season 3, Episode 11 – Empire hits this week’s episode with a shotgun spray’s worth of plot. Everything is covered this week and it’s hard to follow with what feels like major details. Not only does it seem like Anika is about to bring Empire down, but we’re also introduced to a guy named Danger. Any other show, Danger would’ve received the A Plot, this week, I’m not even sure if Danger is in the alphabet.
Season 3, Episode 10 – Empire is back after it’s midseason hiatus and it’s ready to continue right where it left off. It’s hard to see how any reconciliation between the two groups will go down, especially after Cookie brings the fight to Lucious in a way we have yet to see.
Season 1, Episode 12 – The season finale makes a strong case for Jahil being the actual protagonist of the series and Star, Simone and Alex being nothing more than a means to his story. Also a lot of death and arrests in this episode. Really, a lot.
Season 1, Episode 11 – Star delivers its penultimate episode and although it lacks overall themes, it does a good job focusing on individual plots and characters. We do so plenty of the same trappings though, and it’s hard to say if Star will ever fully resolve a conflict or simply continue replacing it with a different conflict.
Season 1, Episode 10 – This week’s episode of Star is all about the misdirection. Since the pilot I’ve been begging for an episode about the music, and when I finally thought we were getting it – I was thrown off by the craziest last act to date. There are a lot of changes in this week’s episode, but it’s hard to say if any of it is meaningful or if we’re just on a road to nowhere.
Season 1, Episode 9 – Star delivers an episode better than most, but still falls into the same trappings. Instead of having an episode that deals with the fallout between Star and new group member Eva, we instead focus on police, homicide detectives and CPS storming the salon and holding Carlotta and Simone for the murder of Otis.
Season 1, Episode 8 – Star delivers it’s best episode yet and it’s worst transition/musical number of yet as well. In a frustrating mix, Star managed to both realize its mistakes, call them out, and then commit all new sins. What you can expect from this episode is a very interesting mix of plot, theme, character development and appropriate tone.
Season 1, Episode 7 – Star delivers it’s worst episode yet, believing itself to be equipped to talk about BLM. The problem with this show is that it doesn’t allow itself to ever address the original conceit and it often takes on topics that are not in its tone. This is not a show about a girl group. This is a show about nothing with singing. Star should apologize to Black Lives Matter for this one.
Season 1, Episode 6 – Star delivers one of its more interesting episodes of the season yet. If this episode was a sandwich, it would have horrible bread. Because the middle of the episode delivered, and for the first time since the pilot we were able to focus on the dynamics within the girl group and each character as an individual. Unfortunately, the plot takes this goodwill to a dark place.
Season 1, Episode 5 – Star delivers ones of its worst episodes yet, that also manages to sum it the entire season to this point. There is a complete lack of reality between the real world and the world of Star and it’s causing some serious problems. When Simone finds a VHS tape of their mother singing, Miss Carlotta flips out for no apparent reason. Meanwhile Alex thinks they should use the song and play it off as one of their own, while Star is against this idea, but for the wrong reasons.
Season 1, Episode 4 – Star thinks it’s Enough in this week’s episode, but it honestly hasn’t earned that level. Otis, Simone’s foster father has come back unexpectedly early, and he’s ready to cause problems. No one’s sure how he gets there or how’s he’s so good at tracking foster kid’s down, but here he is. Star, Simone, Miss Carlotta, Cotton and Jahil, all agree that Otis must die. Hopefully he doesn’t come back a third time.
Season 1, Episode 3 – After a meeting with her angelic mother, Simone has to choose whether she wants to depart this world, or stay in it with her sister. As for Star, Alex and everyone else, they’re dealing with more worldly problems, hoping to get their music off the ground and dealing with their self-imposed “mother” Carlotta.
Season 1, Episode 2 – Star takes the major step backward that I a lot of people thought it started with during the first episode. Alexandra comes face to face with her parents, Star tries to have sex with Alexandra’s father and Simone continues taking pills.
Season 1, Episode 1 – Star is not what you think it is. For all the camp and skimp the show delivers some truly dark moments that are played very real. Star follows Star’s journey to find her sister, team up with a girl she met on Instagram and create the best girl group the world has ever seen.
Season 3, Episode 9 – Empire’s midseason finale delivers one of the best episodes yet. When Cookie begins helping Angelo with his campaign, Diana is surprised to find her connecting so well to the people – and the polls are up. Jamal is determined to perform at the “Captain’s Ball,” now deemed, “People’s Ball.”
Season 3, Episode 8 – Empire struggles to deal with a mix of business and family drama. Andre feels like he has to reconcile with his mom, but that doesn’t mean he can’t also help Nessa further her career. Lucious is determined to take down Tariq, but can he trust his mother to do the same?
Season 3, Episode 7 – Empire delivers one of its campiest episodes yet. After rekindling their relationship, Cookie has to impress Angelo’s mother and throw a big dinner with family. But the Lyons boys are a mess. Andre is swooned by Nessa, Jamal is struggling with his drug addiction and Hakeem is… Hakeem.
Season 3, Episode 6 – Empire delivers one of the best episodes of the season. When the entire Empire gets brought down from a twisted hacker, the Lyon family struggle to figure out what to do. Lucious is determined to find the hacker and deliver some street justice, but Cookie is too concerned in the growing threats this hacking could cause on Angelo’s mayoral campaign.
Season 3, Episode 5 – This week’s episode of Empire focuses on the relationship within the Lyon family. Lucious views himself as the patriarch, but is he taking this role too far? It’s looking like the brothers are all about to fight, and Cookie is having a hard time adjusting to life with such a straight edge boyfriend like Angelo. And then there’s that whole “war” with Shyne Johnson.
Season 3, Episode 4 – Empire delivers one of it’s craziest episodes yet. But no matter how crazy, after every week I have the same not: it’s great to see a show have so much fun with itself. Featuring a healthy dose of Shyne Johnson, Andre and Lucious’ plot twists.
Season 3, Episode 3 – Empire delivers an interesting episode that focuses on the relationship between Lucious and his sons.
Season 3, Episode 2 – Lucious tries to get Cookie back with a partridge and a Biz Markie.
Season 3, Episode 1 – Empire knows exactly what it is. It’s a crazy show about crazy people that do crazy things. They’re hyper-aware of this fact and do a good job of grounding everything in real emotion. But let’s not get too ahead of ourselves.