Breaking Bad

Better Call Saul, Ep. 1.04: “Hero” lightens the tone and broadens the scope

It should be no surprise at this point that Better Call Saul is building a pretty impressive following from its AMC audience. The shows quality has been shining like a beacon from the opening moments of its very first episode. What is surprising, though, is how it continues to reveal so many layers to a character who, while always entertaining in his original iteration, never really seemed all that complex.

Better Call Saul, Ep. 1.02: “Mijo” continues a strong trajectory after a solid premiere

After a solid opening hour, Better Call Saul continues to up the ante with an even more promising follow-up.The beginning section, one of the episodes strong points, features a decidedly downplayed Tuco Salamanca (at least compared to the Scarface-like caricature that we’re used to from Breaking Bad). Strangely, the quieter, more subdued Tuco is actually far more menacing than the psycho drugged-up version. His intense close-ups and lean-ins add a brutal new dimension to this character, while his rage-fueled response to a trespass against his grandmother is strongly reminiscent of a certain key S3 scene from BB, in which Tuco’s uncle firmly intones that “family is all!”

‘Need for Speed’ fairly lifeless when its characters aren’t racing for their lives

The new film Need for Speed does not deserve its lead actor, as he proves in a number of the dramatic moments. Even those audience members not familiar with Aaron Paul’s outstanding work on the AMC drama Breaking Bad would likely notice the straining-at-the-seams emotional style he brings to his character here, which is somewhat unexpected in a movie that essentially wants to kickstart its own The Fast and the Furious-esque franchise. Those movies, like Need for Speed, boast plenty of pedal-to-the-metal street racing, outrageous stunts, beautiful women, more racing, more stunts, and so on. Need for Speed, however, tries too hard to be a real, grounded story of revenge and hate, too often tippling over into melodrama.

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