‘Shut Eye’ The Tower – Reversed: Hooking Up (Recap/Review)

KaDee Strickland, Jeffrey Donovan in Shut Eye

In episode four of Shut Eye “The Tower – Reversed” Charlie’s pigeon is ripe for plucking and he swoops in to set up the kill.  Nick almost hooks up with Emma, the girl he drank the love potion for, and Linda has a visit from Gina.  Drugs play a part in a tragic turn of events and Fonzo is interested in the new car that Charlie’s “patron” drops off.

Charlie’s daughter comes up with the information he needs to set Nadine up for a huge score. One of the things he finds out is that his target has well over a million dollars in an untouched account.

Gina drops off a sample of the scopolamine she told Linda about in the previous episode. She tries to talk Linda into having sex in the bedroom while Charlie is with Nadine but the answer is no. After warning her lover about using too much Scopolamine “too much is not good,” Linda takes the packet of the drug and hides it.

Nick smashes up some vitamin C tablets and tells his mother that the crushed tablets are his adderall. This is to increase his supply to Emma who is selling it to other students.  Linda sees through the scam immediately and tells Nick they will talk later.

Eduardo, Charlie’s new patron, stops by to give him his BMW. Linda is shocked and pleased. Eduardo tells her not to be stopped by the police as the car’s title and deed might not be “kosher.”

Linda goes to lay down after Nick arrives home with Emma. She asks that they be quiet and not disturb Charlie’s session. The two agree to keep it down.

Emma tells Nick that they can hook up “if you want.” She then asks the boy if he “has something.” “Just the adderall,” says Nick. Emma then explains that she meant something for “protection.” The embarrassed teen then leaves to get condoms.

As Charlie continues his reading with Nadine, Emma investigates the house. She drinks some vodka and rummages for other things.

She finds the scopolamine.

Thinking it is coke, Emma snorts some. The effect is immediate. She walks out of Nick’s room with her earphone cord dragging her mobile phone. The teenager collapses.

Linda hears the noise and investigates. She find the girl laying on the floor with blood tinged froth bubbling out of her mouth. She starts to drag the semiconscious girl across the floor when the doorbell rings.

It is Fonzo and he wants to speak with Charlie. He notices the car in the drive and Linda says it belongs to a client. In the background, Emma is obviously thrashing about as thuds can be heard at the front door. Again Linda lies to Fonzo and says that someone is fixing the kitchen cabinets.

After Gary drops off a rose bush and Fonzo leaves, Linda uses the new BMW to remove Emma from the house. It is not overly clear, but the teenager might just be dead.

Linda does not mention the overdosed girl but she does tell Charlie that Fonzo dropped by and the BMW lie.

Charlie is still having those visions, he has one while with Nadine. The crackling sound has increased to include phantom smoke as well.  Clearly his new precognitive powers are trying to tell him something, but Charlie has not yet worked out what.

Fonzo looks to be far too interested in Charlie at the moment and it looks like Linda will be keeping the fate of Emma a secret, just like her affair with Gina.

“The Tower – Reversed” proves once again that Linda is the “tough one” in the relationship. She literally does not bat an eye when dealing with Emma.

(Speaking of batting an eye, kudos to Mel Harris for that “involuntary” eye twitch when Donovan’s character is delving into the death of her adopted son. Splendidly done and it felt so spontaneous, just like any real “tell.”)

Shut Eye is looking to be a brilliant little show.  The characters feel as though they will all converge for a huge “showdown” of some sort. The homicidal Eduardo, cruel Fonzo and the slightly gullible millionaire, Nadine must be heading for an outstanding convergence.

According to the visions that Charlie keeps having, it looks like someone is going to get burned when it happens.

Shut Eye is on Hulu and all the episodes can be watched. Head on over and see what you think of this psychic drama.


Guest starring Roan Curtis as Emma and Nicholas Carella as Gary Shapiro

Shut Eye: The Fool – It Could Have Been Worse (Review)

KaDee Strickland, Jeffrey Donovan in Shut Eye

Shut Eye continues the mystery of just what is going on with the false soothsayer Charlie Haverford. Of course the gadje fortune teller cannot control what he sees or hears, but at least now Charlie is really getting visions of the immediate future.

In “The Fool” the former wannabe magician relates to Linda just what Eduardo did to the lying donut maker and he goes to see Dr. White about his mental state. The doctor recommends a controlled dose of Psilocybin, aka magic mushrooms.

Initially Haverford turns Nora down and leaves after saying he will be looking for another opinion. Meanwhile, Linda is continuing her affair with Gina and we learn how she and Charlie met.

Linda also reveals that she used to pole dancer.

Fonzo and his two daughters attend a Romanian cultural symposium and at the buffet afterward he speaks with White Tony. Later, when Fonzo is in the men’s room, another man insults his daughters. Fonzo’s reprisal is immediate, bloody and final.

Charlie is being plagued with crackling sounds. At first he believes the noise to be mice in the walls. Later, he rips up part of the flooring looking for the origin of the sound.

Eduardo’s man comes by to fix the bullet damaged house and Charlie asks if he can do the flooring as well.  He goes back to Dr. White and eats all the mushrooms she sets out.

Listening to Mozart, Haverford trips out and sets off the hospital fire alarm. He then goes out into the grounds and as part of his trip, speaks with a gardiner while putting out mulch.

The scam on Nadine continues.  After the tree and the rooster invade her home, Charlie and Linda visit the scene. He talks her into paying twice the amount asked for by the Bujo group. Charlie also learns a lot more about their mark.

Nadine has no children but visits an open day at their son’s school and buys a toy. She also leaves the toy at a kids sports field.

One odd occurance has Charlie having a coffee in a waffle house. He speaks with Carrie, a waitress, and he leaves after getting a refill and leaving a substantial tip. He returns and relays to the friendly woman that her father tells her she will always be alone.

It is a strange interlude between the waitress and the fortune teller. She is, understandibly, upset. “I’m only 34,” she tearfully protests and turns away. Charlie takes another drink of coffee and shows no emotion at all.

Shut Eye is quite interesting as it shows us the underbelly of the “gypsy” fortune telling world. We are privy to the mechanations of the scams perpetrated by the nefarious world of the Romany con artists who bilk the gullible out of their money.

Show creator Leslie Bohem has given the viewer an odd assortment of players. Even Charlie and Linda’s son has bought into the bujo myth. The girl he offered adderall to in the previous episode shows some interest in the prescription drugs this week. 

The kid is smitten and goes to see Fonzo for a spell to make her like him. While this is touching, to a degree, it is easy to see that the leader will use this against Charlie and Linda later on.

It is unclear just how far Eduardo will indoctrinate Charlie into his world after the donut murder.  Gina still has more permanent designs on Linda and Fonzo has emerged as one dangerous, psychotic, individual.

Jeffrey Donovan is slightly un-nerving as Charlie Haverford. Still sporting the scar and facial discoloration from his run-in from the disgruntled husband of a client, the psychic stares with the glass eyes of a bemused, yet disinterested, doll while he adjusts to his new reality.

KaDee Strickland rocks as the sexual ambiguous and hard as nails partner in both her relationships. Angus Sampson is truly unlikable as the violence prone Romany leader.

Shut Eye is streaming in its entirety on Hulu. Tune in and check this one out. It is clever, interesting and not a little disturbing.


Guest starring Lorne Cardinal as the gardiner, Erica Piccininni as Carrie,  Zak Santiago as White Tony and Luke Camilleri as Terry.

Shut Eye: The Hanged Man – Donuts (Review)

KaDee Strickland, Jeffrey Donovan in Shut Eye

After the drive-by shooting in the previous episode, the police briefly intensify their questioning of Charlie and Linda. Fonso and his mother Rita have the couple followed and the affair that Linda is having with Gina is discovered. Charlie goes with Eduardo to question a suspect in the shooting and once there, he discovers the reason for all those “boiling” donut visions.

Charlie is concerned enough about his dizzy spells and those new precognitive flashes that he has tests run. Dr. White keeps him in and runs some tests. Linda shows a tinge of jealousy when she meets the attractive doctor. White learns that the blow to Charlie’s head left no obvious brain damage.

Nick says he will score drugs for some schoolmates but fails abysmally when they learn he only brought adderall and not “real” drugs as promised. Nick’s attempt at impressing his friends fails.

This episode spends a bit more time on Linda and Gina’s trists and also shows just how tough Charlie’s wife is. She is not the least bit intimidated by Fonzo when he shows up uninvited at their house.  In this relationship, it is Linda who has the cojones, not Charlie.

The visions continue although this time there are not a large amount of the precognitive sightings to choose from.  Charlie sees boiling donuts twice. Later when he accompanies Eduardo to the donut shop, he sees Mario shoved headfirst into the donut fat fryer.

The gangster picks up a fresh donut from the floor and takes a bite. He is unperturbed by his act of murder. Charlie is shaken but struggles to hide it.

Linda’s mark, Nadine Davies is passed over to Fonzo for bilking and at the end of the episode, she wakes to find a crown wearing rooster in her bed and a tree crashes through the ceiling shortly after. Davies screams in fear.

This second episode of Shut Eye is a tad darker than the first episode. Charlie’s sister may have had the letter “M” carved into her cheek but she is not alone. The henchman sent to watch Linda also has a huge “M” on his cheek.

Gina, Linda’s lesbian lover asks “Am I your first trip down lesbo lane?” Linda responds with a cool “You are not my first anything.”  In this side relationship, Linda is in charge, just as she is in her marriage to Charlie.

It is not yet clear just how Davies will be relieved of her money but the angle of her “cursed” money may have a lot to do with the Fonzo orchestrated events at the end of the episode.

Jeffrey Donovan has slipped right into Charlie Haverford’s shoes.  While he is still recognizable as Michael Weston in Burn Notice (2007 – 2013) his character is different. Haversford may well be boxing clever but in the end, it is Linda (Strickland) who has the brass to fight the odds.

Angus Sampson is downright dislikeable as Fonzo.  Rossellini is adequate as the mother but it is a part that cries out for Grace Zabriskie the brilliant character actress who played Mrs. Minassian in Ray Donovan. Zabriskie was scary as the head of the Armenian family, Isabella is just…odd.

The shape of this first season is such that it will not be suprising at all if Charlie uses Eduardo against Fonzo sometime soon.  If this does happen it will be an interesting event.

Shut Eye is on Hulu at the moment and all the episodes can be viewed right now. Check this one out. It is, in our humble opinion, worth the trip.



Shut Eye: Death – Bujo vs Gadje (Review)

KaDee Strickland, Jeffrey Donovan in Shut Eye

Shut Eye, on Hulu, is a clever little number that starts off with one premise only to shift gears partway through and turn into something else entirely. The first episode “Death” begins with the idea that “bujo” is allowing the non-romany gadje to fleece believers in Los Angeles.

The Haverford’s moved from Las Vegas to work their scams. Donovan is Charlie; the one who obey’s the rules set by Rita and Fonzo. When Charlie first met mother and son Romany gypsies who control LA, they beat him severely. Now, Haverford does as he is told.

At first glance, Shut Eye is not anything special.  The cast, however, is impressive. Strickland as Mrs. Haverford, Zayas as the gangster type that Charlie is leading on, Rossellini as the matriarchal head of the Romany family Chriqui as the hypnotist love interest of Linda.

The first part of the show has Charlie fleecing customers and Linda performing tricks at an afternoon party.  She tells her potential mark, Nadine Davies,  that Charlie develops tricks for magicians.

Haverford’s sister Sylvia tries to scam one of Rita and Fonzo’s members and not only gets a black eye for her trouble but ends up with the letter M carved on her cheek.

Charlie also gets a black eye and a concussion from one customer’s boyfriend whom he accuses of cheating.  Right after he is punched and kicked in the head, Charlie is hypnotized by Gina, the lover of Linda.

Things get a little convoluted at this point but after Gina is forced to release Charlie he begins to experience precognition. Nothing too spectacular, but the scam artist “hears” things that will happen within the next few seconds.

He experiences it at the hospital, where his head is checked out, and later, when he elaborates on the Bernal scam.  He “hears” gunshots and warns his gangster customer in time to save the man from being shot.

Immediately after the drive by he tells Eduardo that his son does not have asperges but an ear problem. (Charlie hears this at the hospital, twice. Once as a precognitive “vision” and the second time when the event actually plays out.)

This new direction changes what started as an underwhelming tale of psychic scam artists into something entirely different. The characters of the series are not overly deep, Fonzo feels like a villainous caricature versus the real deal and the affair between Linda and Gina feels forced.

Even Charlie felt a tad two dimensional until the attack leaving him with new powers and a hairline fracture. It will be interesting to see just how this twist will help Haverford to put one, or more, over on his keepers.

Shut Eye is enjoying the freedom of being on a streaming platform vs a regular network. The language is very rough, with the “C” word being used rather freely and the violence is quite impressive. The cutting of Sylvia’s cheek looked very real, the blood welling rather realistically when Rita carves up Charlie’s sister’s cheek.

The first episode, after the game changing inclusion of second sight, has set things up nicely.  It will be fun to see how a matter of a second, or two, will enable the Haverford’s to outfox their keepers.

Shut Eye is on Hulu right now and all 10 episodes are available for viewing.


Sicario: Taut, Tense and Tortured (Review)

Thrumming, strident and evocative of the “train” sound emitted by the surrounding native contingent in the 1964 film Zulu, or a rhythmic overbalanced bass emanating from a woofer one step from shaking itself to death, Sicario begins with a soundtrack guaranteed to elevate the viewer’s adrenaline levels.

Emily Blunt as Kate Macer

Thrumming, strident and evocative of the “train” sound emitted by the surrounding native contingent  in the 1964 film Zuluor a rhythmic overbalanced bass emanating from a woofer one step from shaking itself to death, Sicario begins with a soundtrack guaranteed to elevate the viewer’s adrenaline levels.  This foreboding score begins the film as two definitions of the title appear onscreen. One; being a zealot (a killer who hunted down invaders of their homeland), the other;  meaning hitman. The Denis Villeneuve film is, fittingly enough, about both.

The film’s score, by Icelandic composer Jóhann Jóhannsson (Foxcatcher, Prisoners) sets the tone and the pace of the feature from frame one. It manages to dictate the action, the feelings of impending doom and confusion (felt by the movie’s protagonist FBI agent Kate Macer, played brilliantly by Brit actress Emily Blunt) as well as the feeling that everything is one half-step away from stampeding out of control.

Sicario stars Blunt, Benicio Del Toro and Josh Brolin.  Playing Macer’s professional partner Reggie Wayne is another Brit actor Daniel Kaluuya. Jeffrey Donovan (Burn Notice, Fargo) and Victor Garber (The Flash, Power) have impressive cameos in this film about drug cartels and the struggle to control them. The Walking Dead actorJon Bernthal has tiny cameo as a crooked cop.

The film, written by Taylor Sheridan (His first project as author versus actor.)  begins with a raid on a house in the suburban setting of Chandler, Arizona.  Macer is a kidnap specialist who, with her partner and a team of agents, invades a tract house. Entering, by the device of ramming a vehicle through a wall, the team discover a multitude of dead bodies secreted in the sheetrock walls.

Other agents are going through a storage shed behind the house when they discover it has been rigged to explode. Macer, Wayne and their boss David Jennings (Garber) are injured by the blast and flying debris. After the raid and the discovery of all those bodies, Macer is recruited by “DoD advisor Matt Graver (Brolin) and his shadowy colleague Alejandro (Del Toro). Wayne is not wanted, but tags along anyway to keep an eye on his partner.

Macer is talked into volunteering for a dangerous and vague mission to get the men responsible for the explosion in Chandler and the house of dead bodies.  Sicario follows her descent into the madness of a CIA operation and a father and husband bent on revenge.

The film is harsh, unrelenting and visceral in its depiction of cartel activity and the task force’s foray into “enemy territory.”  The viewer feels as helplessly caught up in events as the two FBI agents Kate and Reggie. The audience share her feelings of being overwhelmed, frustrated and enraged by the events and Reggie’s concern.

Director Denis Villeneuve (Prisoners, Enemy) delivers on a level that feels almost guttural in its texture and his use of Jóhannsson to blend and escalate his story is pure genius.  Between the soundtrack and the events unfolding on screen the tension is almost palpable as is the threat.  The tone of the movie is one of a tautness  that nearly screams with a tortured cry of  rage  and confusion from its beleaguered heroine.

Emily Blunt has proven yet again, that a slender and fragile looking English rose can convince as a tough as nails FBI warrior woman who gives as good as she gets.  (Blunt showed off considerable talents in the arena of being a tough customer in both Loopers; “I will cut you the F**k in half” and Edge of Tomorrow; “Bloody hell, it’s the Full Metal Bitch!” and Sicario brings her “action” skills full circle as the American FBI agent in over her head.)

Josh Brolin plays the type of character he specializes in; a real-feeling protagonist who is sitting square in the middle of the fence. A man who is not afraid to create chaos if the end result is order.

Benicio Del Toro is brilliant as the taciturn and scary agent  of Graver’s (Brolin) chaos.  A disturbing mixture of thinly covered pathos tinged with a  deadly air that permeates every scene he is in.  His interactions with Blunt’s character are full of regret and sadness, she reminds him, he says,  of his daughter, which speaks volumes of the FBI agent’s naivety in this new world of cartels and the death they deliver.

Sicario is a powerhouse film that does not have a satisfactory or even clear cut ending. Ambiguity and a sense of confusion are present even after the end credits roll.  The final result is that we the audience have stepped fully into the shoes of Macer and identify with her completely.

This is a full 5 out of 5 stars film.  Tight to the point of screaming;  the plot, the performances and the action all follow that thrumming driving score.  Watch this film and prepare to be wound up like a Swiss precision watch.  Cracking entertainment that should not be missed.


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