The Cleaner, episodes 4, 5 and 6

I’m finally back from holidays and I managed to watch episodes 4, 5 and 6 of The Cleaner – “Chaos Theory”, “Here Comes the Boom” and “To Catch a Fed” – this week. I thought I could share some thoughts about these episodes.

Chaos Theory

A mathematics professor uses cocaine to help him publish his research in time. His girlfriend and colleague asks for William’s help. William tries to stop the professor before he loses everything – his career, personal life, and even his immigrant parents’ diner. Meanwhile, William’s son discovers a used needle in their house after a dinner party. William realizes that the needle belongs to his former sponsor and must decide whether to cut his sponsor and friend from prison (Quinn) out of his life.

BTW, in mathematics, “Chaos Theory” describes systems whose state evolves with time and that appear to be disordered, and it is really about finding the underlying order in apparently random areas or actions.

Here Comes the Boom

A teenage boy needs William’s help with his father, who once went to prison because of William’s past efforts. The man is back on the streets and using meth again.William and his team go undercover in a biker gang and discover that their mark is part of a heavy-duty meth ring. As he deals with this fractured father-son relationship, William must cope with the reality that his own son is pulling away from him.

To Catch a Fed

An FBI agent strong-arms (the FBI has a file on Akani) William into searching for her former partner, who developed a drug addiction while undercover on a case. William and his crew infiltrate a tent city of meth manufacturers to find the man, who is delusional and dangerous. Only then does William realize that the FBI agent lied to him about the real reason why the she is looking for her old partner: the man is not only her ex-partner, but the father of her unborn child – and a pawn in a larger power struggle within the FBI.

As the series progresses, I think it is becoming increasingly clear how William is a man caught between an unwavering commitment to his work, deep love for his family, and the ghosts of his own addictions.

In a sense, William Banks is the one person you would want by your side in your darkest hour, someone who – in the face of tragedy and addiction – will risk everything to be “The Cleaner” and – together with his eclectic team – do his best to bring addicts of all kinds to the point where they are ready and willing to get help and begin the difficult process of recovery.

However, as a recovering addict, father of two, and husband to a family that has seen him the lowest of lows, Banks has a lot to pray about and deal with. One of the several conversations William has with God hit me harder than the rest… “The thing that doesn’t kill us makes us stronger… I don’t know about that ’cause, on the  other hand, if it doesn’t make us stronger, doesn’t it just kill us? So are you trying to make me stronger or are you trying to kill me?”

Benjamin Bratt on Live with Regis and Kelly

Benjamin is due to be interviewed on “Live with Regis and Kelly” – a syndicated morning show on broadcast television in USA – on Monday, September 1, 2008. Benjamin seems to like to interact with them, as he’s been Regis and Kelly’s guest several times in the past 10 years.

Check out

http://bventertainment.go.com/tv/buenavista/regisandkelly/local_listings.html

to find out the time and station “Live with Regis and Kelly” airs in your area.

Thanks, Teresa, for the heads-up.

You never know…

… where running a web site can take you.

I thought to share this because I find it kind of nice. Earlier today, I was in a park with my laptop, selecting pics to upload to the E-Ring album in the gallery, when I was approached by a young hearing-impaired lady who started telling me she used to watch E-Ring and she liked the series and Benjamin’s performance in it. I felt lucky I took time to learn sign language.

Benjamin Bratt Interview on PBS’s Tavis Smiley

Thanks to Teresa, those who missed Tavis Smiley’s interview with Benjamin when it aired on PBS on August 4, 2008, check out

Benjamin Bratt on Tavis Smiley

to watch the interview or

Benjamin Bratt on Tavis Smiley 2

to read it.

As soon as I’m home from holidays I’ll capture the interview to include in the multimedia section. Bear with me?

I finally completed my BB movie collection

I finally found and bought my copy of Thumbsucker and now I guess I can return the copy that I loaned from an American friend months ago ;) . I don’t know what it is with the French and movies, but it is in Paris that I’ve always been able to get my hands on small independent films.

Hopefully, I can come up with my personal review and some screen caps soon.

So now my BB movie collection is complete, considered the movie that I can easily rent at my local library or rent at video rental stores and not considering movies not released yet.

The Cleaner

I only half kept my promise to wait until the first 3 episodes had aired before telling if I liked this show because I’ve already shared some thoughts on the Pilot episode.

However, here are my thoughts about the premiere, episode 2 (Rag Dolls) and episode 3 (Meet the Joneses).

Pilot episodes are usually not the best indicator of what a show can develop into, as the theyt are built up to make the show stand out .

However, I liked how they depicted William Banks as someone who is dynamic and well-meaning but doesn’t always do the right thing, makes mistakes and doesn”t always learn from his mistakes. This is very evident in the scenes with his family, whose responses to what he does or doesn’t do are very real. Akani was a bit too flirty and sexual and Swenton a bit too comical, but they were interesting enough to want to know more.

“Rag Dolls” (slang for female surfer) tells of Jackie, an 18-year-old surfing enthusiast whose sudden erratic behavior made her mother afraid that she was using drug despite the fact that her drug tests are negative. William Banks discovers that the young woman is involved in the dangerous work of a drug mule.

The episode was stong and emotional; it gave the recurring cast the chance to show their talents, while continuing to interweave the story of William Bank’s mission an two worlds by interweaving the story of his mission with that of his family. Banks’ team action is mostly savvy, but they do make mistakes; some are serious, others makes you smile.

The third episode of The Cleaner, “Meet the Joneses”, tells of a suburban husband who comes to William Banks, seeking help for his wife – a hot-shot lawyer who gave it all up to become a full-time wife and mother -, who is still taking pain medication long after she healed from a skiing injury. William and his team discover that the woman is not only using pain medications, but also that she is part of an elaborate suburban drug ring.

Meanwhile, his wife gives William Banks more responsibilities at home, which he tries to fulfill, but when duty calls, he’s out the door. And there’s something seriously brewing between William and his son.

So what I am trying to say? That I like the show and am happy that it is getting viewers who seem to like it, too.

Finally, don’t forget to watch “Chaos Theory” – The Cleaner fourth episode – this week.

The Andromeda Strain

Yesterday, while on my way to Paris, I managed to watch part 2 of The Andromeda Strain (the miniseries with Benjamin released earlier this year); I watched part 1 last Thursday.

Though it was not perfect, I liked this movie and I found it suspenseful and well-done. At first i was disappointed by its ending with an interview Dr. Jeremy Stone to Eric McCormack because it suggested that all the work done was for nothing, but then I thought that that I like the idea of the series not having a happy or a sad ending but rather have it closing on dilemmas. Sometimes there can’t be either a happy or a sad ending, but just There And worst of all, it gave the impression that all the work done was for naught. It is clear that you make allowances for the fact that a screen adaptation of a novel can’t be a ‘literal translation’ and that you’re seeing the story through the eyes of the director and I admit I haven’t seen the 1971 movie (BTW, I think it is dangerous to different adaptations of the same story, especially if you liked the first one that was made, as you cannot avoid comparing).

If I had to mention a downside, I’d say that it is slow at times: perhaps, it would have been better if they produced a 2-hour-long movie rather than a 3-hour-long (w/o commercials).