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Monthly Archives: October 2016

London MCM Expo October 2016 Review

Howdy ladies and gents, how’s it going? Today I am back on my blog to talk about the London MCM Expo, I missed the convention back in May but decided to give the October one a go and after my session on Saturday I just wanted to share my experience with you all. ๐Ÿ™‚

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So for those not in the know, the London MCM Expo is pretty much the most notable UK convention for anime and manga, comic books, filmsย  and video games held two times a year in May and October. And just like last year I attended just for the one day (mainly because I dunno if I could handle all three days), and for the most part it was a good time. And while I’m no longer wowed by a lot what happens at this convention because I’ve been attending this madness since 2008, there’s no denying that MCM is still a good time.

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Now like last year’s review I’m going to talk about what I got up to and separate this review into two halves; what and I liked and what I didn’t.

What I liked

This year’s Expo experience was a little different as I was technically like a tour guide for my mates who had never gone before so it felt weird to have to explain certain things and show off my knowledge haha. But it was nice to be with a group of people who were taking in the energy and had that surprise about seeing all this stuff for the first time like me and my friends had a good few years ago. As usual I enjoyed just being in the Expo hall, walking around, seeing what was new, what was the same and checking out the clothes, artists, toys and games. And there’s the cosplayers, while a lot of them were the usual suspects, but at the same time there was a lot to love with a good people dressed as Rey from The Force Awakens, Spider-Man was in full effect (especially ones from Civil War) and the amount of cool-looking dudes I saw dressed as Deadpool and the BvS Batman was pretty impressive too. As for the games I didn’t dabble in much this year, however, me and my best mate from uni had a few rounds of Dragon Ball Z: Xenoverse 2, and it was surprisingly fun. While I don’t think it’ll ever replace my love for the Tenkaichi series, it is definitely more fun then than a lot of the recent DBZ games I’ve played.

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This man was the best cosplayer I saw all day, I’ve not seen many people dress up as Hagrid at the Expo, but this guy was the best one ever, so accurate! ๐Ÿ˜€

I also ended up buying some really lovely art, got to talk to some cool artists and got my picture taken with Danny John-Jules who plays Cat from Red Dwarf which was awesome as he’s my favourite character next to Lister and Kryten. And then the night ended with this crazy winner stays on style of lightsaber battles just outside of the Excel Center, it was pretty cool and funny to see different people stepping up and having these fun little duels.

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Meeting Danny John-Jules was great, I was very delighted.

What I disliked

Organisation, or should I say the lack of was fairly evident this year. Now I know this convention gets bigger every year and so it can be hard to accommodate so many people, but considering how many years this convention has been going down you’d think the basics would have been covered and yet there were a few issues when it came to:

  • Lines to get in: Even though there was still organised lines for the people who had general and priority tickets, they got rid of the barriers that helped keep people structured and streamlined. So when me and my friends got to the Excel it took ages to get inside because there was a swarm of people rushing to through the barriers, plus I was very surprised by how little staff there were to check tickets and give out wristbands.
  • Lines for Photo shoots: While it was a little better than last year, this year’s Expo still had problems with lines in terms of placing people and getting the photo shoots with specific celebrities to happen on time.

The only other things that I wanted to note was that this Expo felt a little lacking when compared to previous sessions with the types of guests, the amount of good games and unique stuff to buy.

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In conclusion the MCM Expo in London was a good time. It is great to know after all these years that the Expo is still going strong with so many events, cosplayers, games and so on. While this year’s Expo will probably go down as my least favourite of my convention experiences, there were plenty of unique and memorable elements that made it worth attending. ๐Ÿ™‚

So did you go to the recent MCM Expo and if so what did you think? Please be sure to share your thoughts in the comments below and I’ll see ya on the next blog post. Laters! ๐Ÿ˜€

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Posted by on October 31, 2016 in Anime, Films, Life, Media, Reviews, Television, Video Games

 

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QUICK REVIEW: Doctor Strange

Howdy ladies and gents, its been a while right? I was meant to review Jack Reacher: Never Go Back last week, but since Doctor Strange just came out I thought I’d skip ahead and review the latest Marvel film instead because it’s one of my most anticipated films of 2016.

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So the story can be described as the following:

Steven Strange is a brilliant yet arrogant neurosurgeon, but after his hands get horribly damaged in a car accident he seeks out help and on his journey he gets drawn into world of the mystic arts. And so Strange has to put aside his ego and open his mind to become a hero and save the world from dark forces.

Firstly I think everyone who worked on this film deserve a pat on the back, they took what is arguably the hardest sell yet from Marvel Studios and made a solid, fun and entertaining film. Now this film isn’t without its flaws, but for what it was able to do with adapting its source material while also keeping in line with Marvel’s current style of comic book films is impressive. Doctor Strange‘s story is an origin story and certainly has familiar elements that we’ve seen in other superhero films, however, it has its own presence, sense of style and unique elements which make it feel completely different from what’s come in the genre before. This adventure was filled with excitement, mystery, drama and humour with some really interesting themes about life and death, the corruption of power, trust and betrayal, and changing for the better. This film did well to incorporate magic into the real world by diving in early in on, explaining how it worked and then dug even deeper as the film progressed and for the most part it worked. The only nitpicks I had with the film was that I thought the humour was a little hit or miss sometimes, and even though this film introduced magic in the MCU in an effective way, I feel like there were a few points where a bit more an explanation about the way magic works wouldn’t have gone a miss.

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When it comes to the cast they were all really solid. Firstly there’s Benedict Cumberbatch who killed it as Doctor Stephen Strange, this man was smart and great at his craft yet arrogant, self-centered and not very likeable, however his transformation was quite significant and he later became someone you could root for. This film continues to show the brilliance of Cumberbatch’s acting skills as he showed a great deal of range and committed 100% to this character so you could understand him, love him, hate him and love him again over the course of the film. The next strongest performance came from Tilda Swinton as The Ancient One, I knew she’d be good in this role but I didn’t expect to love as much as I did. The Ancient One was wise, calm and collected, but was also tough, badass and quite witty too and I really liked what Swinton brought to the role. I also loved Chiwetel Ejiofor as Baron Mordo, Mondo was clearly a strong-willed individual with charm, wisdom but also some minor issues of his own and Ejiofor added such a good level of energy, charisma and intensity to this character. Rachel McAdams as Christine Palmer was also quite good, while I would have liked more screen time and information about her beyond her interactions with Strange, she worked well in the film as she had good chemistry with Strange and had some pretty humourous moments too. As for Mads Mikkelsen as Kaecilius I thought he was good, his villain character went the way of Nero from Star Trek (2009) as he was relevant but took a backseat to Strange’s hero-based journey, so overall I thought Mikkelsen brought a great screen presence and charisma to the character, but he wasn’t a MCU villain to write home about. Also Benedict Wong as Wong was quite good, he was a no-nonsense, stern and knowledgeable character and I liked Wong’s performance. And finally Michael Stuhlbarg, Benjamin Bratt and Scott Adkins had minor yet notable roles to play in this film and did well too.

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Ad then there’s the presentation which was lovely. Visually the film was amazing and beyond what I could have imagined, before this film came out there was a lot of talk from Kevin Feige and Scott Derrickson about the use of visual effects and how they’d not only honour the Steve Ditko artwork but also expand upon the crazy visual material in last year’s Ant-Man, and boy do they deliver. Visually the film’s very colourful and has some good cinematography, but it was the use of GCI that was truly impressive. Whether it was other dimensions, magical symbols, shape-shifting buildings or astral forms, there were some really cool and unexplainable imagery, and some super trippy sequences in particular were just insane, plus the action scenes were really cool with an “Inception times 1000, on drugs” kind of vibe and a fair amount of it was incredibly inventive, fun, frantic and made good use of hand-to-hand combat and magic. And the film score by Michael Giacchino is really good, I’ve made it no secret on this blog that Giacchino is one of my favourite film composers and his work in this film was familiar yet quirky, beautiful, harrowing and heroic and while it’s not overly memorable when compared to some of Marvel’s other films, it certainly has some standout moments especially with the two songs playing in credits, they were gorgeous and should have been incorporated into the main film.

In conclusion Doctor Strange was a lot of fun and continues to show the diversity of Marvel Studios’ work with their comic book properties. This was film was a pretty big risk which for the most part paid off with a solid origin story, solid performances from the cast, awesome visuals and a lovely soundtrack. Now while this film doesn’t correct a lot of the issues that the MCU films have accumulated over the last few years and some might not understand or like what this film has to offer, overall I do believe it is worth a watch. Oh and if you get the chance to see it in IMAX do it! ๐Ÿ˜€

So are you going to see Doctor Strange or if you have seen it what do you think of the film? Whatever your thoughts are be sure to drop them in the comments section and I’ll see ya on the next review! Laters!:)

 
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Posted by on October 31, 2016 in Film Reviews, Reviews

 

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What I’m Currently Watching #28

Howdy ladies and gents, and welcome to What I’m Currently Watching where I give you a tiny update on what TV-based stuff I’m watching and give mini reviews/impressions on them. This is the 28th week and since my week’s not proceeded as expected and I’ve lost a lot of time, I’m only going to be reviewing Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., Arrow and Lucifer. With that out of the way let’s talk about some TV! ๐Ÿ˜€ Oh and careful for spoilers…

Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. (Season 4) “Let Me Stand Next to Your Fire”

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I like how with this week’s episode of AoS the storylines that were presented at the start of season 4 are starting to converge and some of the mystery is finally being unveiled. Firstly I continue to like how the Watchdogs are a constant threat with means of tracking Inhumans in every conceivable way including hacking into SHIELD monitoring devices and making deals with questionable individuals like JT James (who returns from last season). And can I just say it was nice to see James again, see how life has changed and learn that he’s still just untrustworthy as he was before and I was glad to see him and Ghost Rider duke it out as he was the only fire guy on this show until Robbie showed up. Seeing Coulson and Mac interact with Robbie this week was great too, there was some fun back and forth between them, but it was even cooler for them work together to not only discover more about Robbie’s uncle and the incident that got him incarcerated, but also have Robbie work with SHIELD to help save the day. It was also nice to see Daisy and Simmons hook up as we got to see them not only go off on their own little adventure with varying results of success, but it was just nice to see them interact after so much time and see their different viewpoints on.current events. Then there was some wonderful moments between Radcliffe, AIDA, May and Fitz, May’s reaction to finding out about her brief death was hilarious (and Coulson’s later comment about starting a club for people who have died was great too), Fitz’s constant worry about AIDA’s existence was funny yet warranted and I also liked how AIDA was smart, more humanised and even liked by May, but also questioned why Fitz lied about her heritage and Radcliffe explaining the pros and cons of lying. That kind of artificial intelligence material is delightfully thought-provoking. And finally I loved that car chase between Robbie, Coulson and Mac, it was wonderfully choreographed with parts reminded me of Terminator 2 and it in an unexpectedly cool way with Robbie crashing into an invisible Quinjet. Nice. ๐Ÿ™‚

Arrow (Season 5) “A Matter of Trust”

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Arrow‘s was another decent episode. Again I wasn’t overly keen on Diggle’s little predicament, but it was great to see Deadshot again as his cellmate.What I did like was how Oliver’s got a lot on his hands both as Arrow and as mayor with 1) More trust issues between Oliver and his team and the creation of a new bad guy and 2) The media coverage on Quentin Lance being made deputy mayor and Thea’s work to try and make things better only to make the situation worse. I appreciate how this show is still building up the team and creating this new team dynamic which is shaping up nicely, plus each of the characters had more moments to shine, but it was Curtis that stole the show for me with his humour and especially with his specific lines about “Returning to the scene of the crimes” and saying “Suit up!” ๐Ÿ˜› I was also glad that the show didn’t drag out the story with Felicity’s guilt about her involvement in Havenrock and told Rory about it which makes me curious about how this will affect not only their involvement together but the whole Team Arrow dynamic.

Lucifer (Season 2) “Lady Parts”

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This week’s Lucifer was a solid episode with a decent main story, but it mainly worked because of the character interaction and humour which was on-point. Firstly I adored how much fun this episode was with all of the characters having great lines of dialogue, banter and individual moments to shine. Lucifer was as fun and charismatic as ever, but this was also a great episode for Chloe and minor characters like Ella and Dr. Martin that got some spotlight too. Seeing Maze, Dr. Martin, Ella and Chloe on a makeshift girls night out was so delightful, it was cute and fun to see them share life experiences, form a bond and then start a bar fight was hilarious and badass especially with Maze beating everyone up. ๐Ÿ™‚ But the men also had an unexpected fun session with Lucifer, Dan and Amenadiel infiltrating the sex party and getting up to all sorts of fun situations, it felt so random for those guys to be together but it worked because of their different personalities, Amenadiel’s hilarious drunk shenanigans and the brothers making jokes about Dan looking like anything but a cop. But wow, I did not expect that revelation at the end about Lucifer making a deal with God with him sending his mum back to hell exchange for Chloe’s life. That not only makes Chloe much more important than before, but it also means that Lucifer’s put her life in severe danger as seen by that last scene of her in that car crash (poor Chloe I really like her). I find it insane that Lucifer’s never had a phone before, and yes it was primarily used as a means to keep him busy from his personal issues but it led to some funny moments with him playing games or doing face time with Maze. And though Lucifer’s mum wasn’t the focus of the recent episode she still had some fun scenes dealing with human life and still having some tension with Maze too.

Well that’s what I’ve been watching. So have you seen or plan to watch any of these shows? If you have any thoughts be sure to drop a comment below and let me know what TV shows you’re currently watchingย  too. Until next time, laters! ๐Ÿ˜€

 
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Posted by on October 22, 2016 in Reviews, TV Reviews

 

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What I’m Currently Watching #27

Howdy ladies and gents, and welcome to What I’m Currently Watching where I give you a tiny update on what TV-based stuff I’m watching and give mini reviews/impressions on them. This is the 27th week and I’ve got a good few shows to cover,ย  but since I’m feeling a little tired this week I’ll be focusing on Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., Theย  Flash, Arrow, South Park and Star Wars Rebels. With that out of the way let’s talk about some TV! ๐Ÿ˜€ Oh and careful for minor spoilers…

Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. (Season 4) “Uprising”

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This episode was pretty intense, for the first time in a while this show presented a threat that had a some stakes, danger and potential no-win scenarios for everyone involved. This revolved around the Watchdogs attempt to create chaos and control by posing as Inhumans, creating blackouts and taking over several key locations across the world in a short space of time. For the first time in a while the Watchdogs felt like a threat, for a while now we’ve known they’ve existed, but they’re primarily a faceless enemy that felt was all talk and no action, but this episode did well to illustrate how formidable, strategic and dangerous they can be when required. I also loved how the blackout created several interesting scenarios like: 1) Yo-Yo being at her friend’s party and being forced to use her powers. 2) Coulson, Mac and Fitz attempting to stop the Watchdogs without their convention electronic equipment. 3) Having Simmons and Radcliffe attempt to save May without electricity to power the defibrillator. All of these situations were pretty handled well and required the characters to make think on-the-spot and make tough decisions. I really enjoyed how this episode addressed the prejudice towards Inhumans, how it was still very fresh in the minds of many humans and how some just weren’t ready to trust those who were different, and this created some create/uncomfortable moments between Yo-Yo and her friend and Daisy and Gabe. The action in this episode was also pretty good with two especially fun sequences involving Mac, Coulson and Yo-Yo taking out the bad guys. But my favourite sequence was when they went into that one room, Yo-Yo took all the weapons and everyone just wrecked shop on those Watchdogs dudes, it was wonderfully choreographed and the lights going on and off in between the action scenes was great. Finally it was also great to see Radcliffe and Simmons bring May back to normal (though I thought that AIDA may have been discovered by Simmons) and seeing SHIELD finally back in an official capacity makes me happy and intrigued for what comes next for the organisation especially considering the reveal Senator Parminder Nagra been in cahoots with the Watchdogs (she’s gonna be someone to look out for).

The Flash (Season 3) “Paradox”

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This week The Flash kept its momentum going, and this whole tampering with the timeline stuff created some really interesting changes for what both Barry and us as the viewers know to be reality, all this crazy stuff with Cisco mourning the loss of his brother, Iris being at odds with Joe because the situation with her mother and other minor/notable characters either being alive or totally new altogether makes me say “Huh?” in the best and most curious of ways. And I liked how things started with Barry talking to Felicity about what he did in the timeline and what’s changed for him in this variation of his normal reality, that was fun and quirky and just highlights how important their connection still is. And I couldn’t help but shake my head at Barry’s poor attempts at understanding what’s changed in his life and how he interacted with those close to him with the worst kind of responses. That conversation Barry had with Earth-2 Flash was very important and beautifully worded as it not only gave a good account about what happens when you tamper with time travel but also how in life certain things happen that can’t/shouldn’t be changed and one can only learn from the experience rather than trying to go back and fix them. I also enjoyed seeing Tom Felton as Julian Albert, this guy is a bit of a snobby douche, but in some ways I like his attitude and distrust of Barry, feels like he’ll discover Barry’s secrets if he gets too sloppy. And while it was nice how Barry’s close friends and family forgave him, at the same time I felt like some of the issues in this world were resolved in too much a happy-go-lucky neat bow. But hell it doesn’t matter as the action was solid with the return of Clarence, plus Alchemy seems to be setting up some interesting events for the future which I’m down for.

Arrow (Season 5) “The Recruits”

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Arrow was. As the title of this episode suggested it was all about Oliver getting his new crew together and having a new threat in Star City which causes some trouble for Oliver not only as the mayor but also as Arrow too. The episode wasn’t even 10 minutes in and Oliver as his alter-ego was schooling the new recruits, beating them up as they tried to ring the bell behind him. I can see how some would view his methods as harsh/unfair, but this is classic training 101; train your newbies by dishing out the pain in the most brutal way without killing them to toughen them up for the road ahead. But it was interesting to see Felicity and Oliver butt heads over his training methods, and it really came to a head when Curt gave that tough yet truth about Oliver’s trust and leadership skills, it was a good scene, and then it led to another great scene about why Oliver acts like he does, because of his training in Russia and the losses he’s had over the last few seasons of the show. I love this retrospective/personal material, it really hammers home how difficult it can be to be hero, to build a crew and have trust, and have them follow you with death being a possibility at any point. But I was happy that Oliver revealed himself to the team and that we’re getting the origins of the new team Arrow! And there’s a few other things of note like: 1) I also liked how the flashbacks were relevant to what was happening in the present. 2) While Diggle’s side mission got interest towards the end, I wasn’t overly engaged since he’s not longer part of the Arrow crew, so whatever’s going on with him felt irrelevant. 3) The introduction of the dark archer known as Prometheus attacking Church was cool and I’m curious to see how close he gets to killing Arrow himself.

South Park (Season 20) “Wieners Out”

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This week’s episode was decent one, nothing overly hilarious, but it certainly had its moments. So this episode was all about the uprising of Butters and his campaign to make boys to pride in their manhood, while Gerald felt the pressure and paranoia of his online trolling as he was contacted by a fellow troll about the upcoming plans coming from the Danish to take out trolls permanently. I liked how this episode focus on gender equality, the complications/loopholes in modern political correctness and trolling and internet anonymity. Can I just say that I love how this episode opened with the narration, wonderful cinematic visuals and the Danish views on traditional trolls and how they basically became questionable human beings behind computer screens. I also loved seeing the progression of Cartman and Heidi, how they’re going out and show all the horribly cheesy elements of a modern PC relationship and I didn’t expect to see Butters start a revolution in school but that was pretty funny/amazing. Oh and seeing the mess Gerald had to go through trying to distance himself from the troll stocking him, then trying to stay away from electronics and then lying to his wife about porn that lead him to get peed on, that was some bizarre/funny stuff too. I think my only major gripe with this episode was the lack of super funny jokes, I don’t mind smiling or chuckling at stuff in South Park, but I do miss laughing my ass off on a consistent basis or at least having one major LOL moment.

Star Wars Rebels (Season 3) “Hera’s Heroes”

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So this episode dealt with Hera teaming up with her father and the Ghost team to go back to her home world to save her family heirloom. I like how this episode started out with an action scene, it was pretty cool to see the Stormtroopers chasing after Cham Syndulla and his companion across the lovely desert scenery. Just like with season 2 it was nice to have another character-driven episode where the Jedi and Sith weren’t the primary storyline. And then bloody Grand Admiral Thrawn comes into play and that’s when things got really interesting. I liked how in this episode was got to see much more of him in terms of his overall demeanour and learning about how dangerous a man like him can be to the Rebel Alliance. Thrawn was calculated, classy and chilled out, but how he was also was a good few steps ahead of our heroes and knew who Hera was and the significance of her family heirloom too. You don’t mess around with this guy. I also enjoyed how he let the heroes escape saying that he found the overall experience enlightening, so this clearly shows that 1) He learns from the people he encounters. And more importantly 2) He’s playing the long game so he’ll probably come back a lot harder down the road. Now I will admit that I though more would have been done on this mission, there could have been more than Hera and crew could have taken maybe with supplies or maybe take down a calculated amount of the Empire’s forces on the planet, but alas that wasn’t the case. Even though in the grand scheme of things the episode felt a little inconsequential by the end, the episode had some good character moments and Thrawn’s appearance definitely made this episode more a highlight than I expected.

Well that’s what I’ve been watching. So have you seen or plan to watch any of these shows? If you have any thoughts be sure to drop a comment below and let me know what TV shows you’re currently watchingย  too. Until next time, laters! ๐Ÿ˜€

 
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Posted by on October 16, 2016 in Reviews, TV Reviews

 

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Blog Update (October)

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Howdy people of the internet and thank you for dropping by, I just thought I’d give you lot an update on what’s happening with the state of this blog and what I’ll be providing for the loyal few of my followers or anyone still interested in my material.

Films

First and foremost this blog was started as a place for film reviews, however, after I left uni in 2014 I lost a lot of the free time I had to go to the cinema and watch anything and everything whenever I wanted. And since 2015 the length of my reviews and the number of them in general diminished by a great deal. These days my reviews tend to fall under the “QUICK REVIEW” or “ONE PARAGRAPH” category with just a few films getting the full-length reviews with over 1000 words in it, and that’s just because I am short for time and it helps to condense my thoughts into smaller reviews. And so these type of reviews will probably be the standard going forward so long as I have the time to write about them.

As for the film reviews as you can tell the amount of film reviews I’ve done since the summer has been incredibly low and that’s for two reasons: 1) Because of work, on my days off I rarely leave the house and choose to spend my time inside. And 2) Since TV season started up at the start of September I’ve dedicated a lot more of my time to that over going to the cinema.

In terms of films I’ve watched in the cinema (besides my recent review of Kubo and the Two Strings) that I haven’t reviewed on this blog there’s only two major films and they are The Magnificent Seven and Deepwater Horizon. When it comes to The Magnificent Seven remake I thought it was pretty solid and better than I expected, there was a decent amount of references to the old film, but had enough differences to make it stand out on its own. If I were to compare it to the original I will admit that there was something timely about the old film, some of the scenes and quotes worked better and the main reason for the protagonists being brought together was much weaker in this film as opposed to the original. I really liked the action, explosions and chaos as it’s not something I normally associate with westerns and the cast was really fun especially Denzel Washington, Chris Pratt, Ethan Hawke and Vincent D’Onofrio. And then there’s Deepwater Horizon and man, that film was a hell of a lot better than I expected. I mean I had hope for this film because it was coming from Peter Berg and I loved Lone Survivor, but the trailers for this film looked so generic and not very engaging. But Deepwater Horizon was a really good film, I was surprised that I got invested in the characters, story and spectacle of the oil-based incident. I will admit that the early half of the film was a little slow and I was wondering when the story would grip me, but once the danger kicked off and oil started gushing everywhere good god this film had me. From there this film just became a disaster film in the best possible way with so much madness going on with the flames, explosions, debris and all of the people caught in the crossfire as well, several times I was like “Damn, this is some intense stuff!” I felt fear, claustrophobia and tenseness on a level was equal to a horror film to a degree and Berg once again did well at bringing a real life event to the big screen in a captivating, dramatic and informative manner and got some great performances from Mark Wahlberg, Kurt Russell, John Malkovich, Gina Rodriguez, Dylan O’Brien (my man) and Kate Hudson.

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TV

So as I said above TV season is in full swing and anyone who knows me know that I LOVE me some TV. Since I was at uni, I got into the binging lifestyle with several shows and these days I get so deep into the world of TV that it takes over the film stuff. Right now I’m watching a good deal of stuff at the moment, I have my returning shows in the form of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., Blindspot, Lucifer, The Flash, Arrow, Regular Show, South Park and Star Wars Rebels. But then I’ve also been watching Atlanta, Outcast and catching up on Supergirl season 1 before watching season 2. So I’m spending a lot of hours at home with my TV shows but I’m loving it so far, just be on the look out for “What I’m Currently Watching” which will be out on a weekly basis, though as the number of shows have increased recently I may break the reviews in half so that I can get the reviews out as quickly as possible, and to also cut the word count for each post.

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Well that’s it for now, hopefully you’ll look forward to my TV reviews and some more film reviews from the cinema when they come, until next time, laters! ๐Ÿ˜€

 
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Posted by on October 15, 2016 in Films, Life, Media, Television

 

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LATE QUICK REVIEW: Kubo and the Two Strings

Good day to you ladies and gents, time for another review I should have reviewed a while ago, I am of course talking about the latest Laika film; Kubo and the Two Strings. Annoyingly I saw this film opening day but didn’t have time to do the review because I had to go to a pre-wedding party and then the actual wedding in Leicester, and after a while work caught up with me and my fresh thought were lost. So I didn’t want to review this film without having seen it a second time, and so that’s why this review’s a month late. ๐Ÿ˜ฆ But with that out of the way I’m now ready to pass judgement!

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So the story can be described as the following:

“The film tells the story about Kubo, who has magical powers and whose left eye was stolen. Accompanied by Monkey and Beetle, they must subdue the Sisters, Raiden the Moon King and his army of evil spirits.”

This film tells a wonderful story that felt classic and familiar, yet unique and captivating especially for older audiences and those who are into Japanese mythology. There’s a sense of magic, fun and wonderment, but it was also mixed in with some darker/serious elements which gave this film an edge and a classic Disney kind of tone which made me happy. There’s also deep respect and admiration for the Japanese culture in the way in which the story, visuals and music come together. And as a fan of Japanese mythology and classic tales of grand adventures involving young heroes discovering their destiny this film spoke to me on every level. I also adored how this film had such a great deal of emotional moments whether they were dramatic, sad or funny. The only thing I would say that I was a little iffy on was the ending, while I understood the approach I would have preferred something a little different.

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The cast was really good and did well to bring life to their characters with some of the actors feeling like they brought some of their mannerisms to their roles. Firstly there’s Art Parkinson who did really well as Kubo, this kid is a little delight as he was cocky, yet sweet, imaginative, resourceful and charming. Charlize Theron as Monkey was awesome, she was a no-nonsense, straight-to-the-point badass who while tough kind have a soft side as well. I also loved Matthew McConaughey as Beetle/Hanzo, this guy was really funny because of his dim-witted, charismatic and courageous personality. Rooney Mara was unrecognisable as the Sisters, but I loved her performance as she was able to add such a level of intimidation and aggressiveness to these creepy/scary characters. Ralph Fiennes as Raiden the Moon King was very good too, the first time I really thought I could hear a bit of James Woods, but upon closer listening I could hear Fiennes in there and he was really good offering us a villain who was perceptive and dangerous. I also liked Brenda Vaccaro as Kameyo, Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa as Hashi, and the lovely George Takei as Hosato who I recognised the moment I heard his character speak.

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When it comes to the presentation it was fantastic, Laika always bring their A-game to their films and with each film they produce they go that one step beyond and produce the most insane material in the current stop motion landscape. Visually the film did well to blend the practical side of things with what I could only assume could only be clever uses of CGI. There was such large sense of scope, really great lighting and a diverse colour palette, add on top of that the brilliant art direction and some wonderfully creative imagery especially with the animated origami. Plus as a fan of action sequences involving sword fighting and other Japanese weaponry this film had some kick ass moments and didn’t shy away from the violence which I also loved. Oh and the film score from Dario Marianelli was fantastic capturing the sense of adventure, drama, tension and generally allowing to feel immersed and emotionally invested in what was happening on-screen, and this might be a soundtrack I have to buy too. ๐Ÿ™‚

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In conclusion Kubo and the Two Strings is damn good film, one of the best of 2016 and I think it might be favourite Laika film (though I still LOVE Coraline). It pains me that more people haven’t checked this film out just because of its visual aesthetic and lack of the typical 3D CGI stuff that a lot of people have become conditioned to. Kubo is an incredible film and while the story is set in the realm of fantasy, at the same time the film felt very grounded and relatable because of the themes, characters and story elements.

Rating: 8.5/10 (Highly recommended for sure!)

So have you seen Kubo and the Two Strings and if so what did you think of it? Be sure to leave your thoughts in the comments section below and I’ll see ya on the next review, laters! ๐Ÿ˜€

 
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Posted by on October 10, 2016 in Film Reviews, Reviews

 

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What I’m Currently Watching #26.5

Howdy ladies and gents, and welcome to What I’m Currently Watching where I give you a tiny update on what TV-based stuff I’m watching and give mini reviews/impressions on them. It is week 26.5 and I’ve decided to do another TV post this week because of the extra shows that have started and some of the episodes of current Tv that’s gone down this week too. So today I’ll be talking about Blindspot, The Flash, Arrow, Star Wars Rebels and South Park. With that out of the way let’s talk about some TV! ๐Ÿ˜€ Oh and careful for minor spoilers…

Blindspot (Season 2) “If Beth”

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Seems like a lot has happened in this episode with Roman trying to help Jane fight for Sandstorm’s cause, Reade trying to process his repressed memories, the animosity between Weller and Nas continued. The main story surrounding the ex-CIA agent was pretty interesting, though not as engaging as last week’s episode, the material surrounding the main characters’ personal struggles was much better. One thing I really liked was when the team went undercover to that fancy charity event, I love when a team have to infiltrate an event by dressing up, but covertly looking for a dangerous suspect in various locations of the location. There was some nice moments of humour, tension and action especially with Patterson, Jane, Weller and Nas. Oh and by the way everyone looked so smart and beautiful especially Jane, Zapata and Patterson. ๐Ÿ™‚ We also learnt two major things about Sandstorm this week, 1) Shepard and Roman really wanted Jane emotionally invested to the point where they revealed history not only about themselves but also their ties to Jane. And 2) The revelation that Sandstorm have been watching Weller for over 20 years (even having his old cadet ceremony video), that was creepy and surprising and it makes me wonder just how much does he factor into Sandstorm’s plans.

The Flash (Season 3) “Flashpoint”

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Yay The Flash is back with the first episode of season 3 and so far I’m liking it. I’ve never read the comics or seen the animated versions of the Flashpoint Paradox but this episode seemed to deliver on what I’ve heard about the source material online. So this episode basically dealt with Barry living in this new version of reality where both of his parents are alive, Wally is The Flash, Cisco is a billionaire, Joe is a drunk and a good few other things have changed too. It was intriguing and fun to see Barry interact with this world which was familiar and yet different, but as Eobard Thawne stated time was gonna catch up with Barry and soon it did. Seeing a rich Cisco, a super confident Kid Flash and drunk/lazy Joe was interesting, but it was the Barry and Iris stuff that worked the most for me, I’ve never loved Iris, but I never liked her that much either, but here she was the most likeable she’s ever been for me and I’m not sure why. I loved how there were consequences for time travel for Barry, living in the new timeline was all and well, but because of his speed and new interactions with the people he knew, he was erasing his original memories which made me have to team up with Thawne to correct the original timeline, only problem now is that Iris is no longer part of the picture, so one can only wonder what the hell happened in this version of the prime universe.

Arrow (Season 5) “Legacy”

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After an up and down 4th season, Arrow‘s back again with its 5TH SEASON! Just thinking about how far this show’s come since its inception is crazy. I said after I finished the last season that was done with this show, but I knew I wouldn’t stay away for too long and this first episode wasn’t half bad. It was nice to see how things had changed from last season with Oliver being mayor, but still being the Arrow by night, except now he’s back to killing and brutally hurting his enemies again. ๐Ÿ˜› I also liked seeing how tough life’s been for Quentin after Laurel’s death and how Thea didn’t want to go back to the vigilante lifestyle after leaving that part of herself in the past. Straight from the beginning the episode started with the action and it was on-point, it was filmed well, nicely choreographed and was solid throughout the episode. Some of the CGI was a little blurry and didn’t blend too well with the live-action stuff, but it was decent enough. I liked seeingย Chad L. Coleman as Tobias Church, he was fun and cheesy (in a good way) and I’ll be curious to see what he brings as the main villain in future episodes. It did feel weird that Team Arrow only consisted of Oliver and Felicity, but its nice how by the end of the episode Oliver was persuaded to assemble a new crew. Even the flashbacks weren’t that offense and might offer up something I may actually be interested in, but we’ll see if I’m still feeling that way halfway through the season haha.

Star Wars Rebels (Season 3) “The Antilles Extraction”

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This week’s episode of Rebels was another enjoyable episode with the focus being on Sabine as she infiltrated Empire to help recruit some of the pilots that wanted to defect to the Rebel Alliance. Firstly I wanted to say that it was great to see Sabine front and center, getting to go on a tough mission and show off her skills. As for Wedge he’s been one of those minor character characters who I’ve always liked seeing in the main films, so seeing him at an earlier point before A New Hope was cool, though not as exciting for me because I’m not overly invested in him as hardcore fans are. I liked how Sabine’s mission wasn’t easy whether it be her questioning the orders given during the training simulation, to her escape with Wedge and the others being sabotaged which lead to them being captured or how Sabine had to fight Governor Pryce in hand-to-hand combat. And speaking of Pryce, it was great to see more of her personality and get directly involved with the Rebels (seeing her fight was awesome), but it was Agent Kallus who surprised me, once again he showed a lot of development and more so than before he definitely seems conflicted, helping Sabine escape and seeming dissatisfied with his treatment in the Empire at the moment (at least that’s how I saw it). And once again I had to comment on how great this show looks with the art direction, use of colour and lighting, on the planet where the Empire were based, it looked gorgeous.

Well that’s what I’ve been watching. So have you seen or plan to watch any of these shows? If you have any thoughts be sure to drop a comment below and let me know what TV shows you’re currently watchingย  too. Until next time, laters! ๐Ÿ˜€

 
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Posted by on October 9, 2016 in Reviews, TV Reviews

 

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What I’m Currently Watching #26

Howdy ladies and gents, and welcome to What I’m Currently Watching where I give you a tiny update on what TV-based stuff I’m watching and give mini reviews/impressions on them. This is the 26th week and I’m a little late with some of these reviews due to my bnge session with Luke Cage over the weeked (review available here), but with that out of the way I can finally get back to some of these TV episodes from last week. Today I’ll be talking about Blindspot, Regular Show, Lucifer, Star Wars Rebels and South Park. With that out of the way let’s talk about some TV! ๐Ÿ˜€ Oh and careful for minor spoilers…

Blindspot (Season 2) Episodes 2 & 3

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I’ve been a little behind with Blindspot, but I’ve been catching up on my days off. There’s been a lot going on with this show over the last few episodes. In “Heave Fiery Knot” there was trust issues going on being Weller’s team, Jane and the NSA, more revelations leant about Jane’s history and crazy action scenes with firefights and a missile that almost hit a plane! That was some intense shit! I’m enjoying the ties to last season when it came to Reade following up his case from last season and Weller dealing with the memory of his father, but there were a lot of new and interesting elements Sandstorm and the tension between Shepard and Roman. As for “Hero Fears Imminent Rot“, bloody hell, that episode had one heck of an opening, I’m never gonna trust a random bag in cab ever again. It looks like Jane’s had the worst of luck with Sandstorm clearly aware about Jane’s lies in relation to her captivity, then they sent her on a mission to an innocent man just to see if she was still loyal to the cause, which she couldn’t do and then after going out on field operation almost got herself killed and lost the guy she was originally following. As for the main case of the week with the bomb guys that stuff was crazy, I hate it when there’s insane people wanting to kill innocent people because of a personal loss because it’s emotionally fueled, and it makes me feel incredibly uncomfortable because one wrong move during a diffusion or saying the wrong thing to a bomber while he’s got a trigger in his hand can spell game over, luckily our protagonists got out of it okay. Some other things I wanted to cover briefly were: 1) Looks like Patterson and Dr. Borden are a thing now, after being initially hesitant, Patterson went in for that kiss and I’m curious to see where that relationship goes. 2) Reade telling Zapata about him potentially being molested by his former coach was pretty significant and I’m curious if we’ll see him unlock those memories. And 3) I was surprised Roman covered for Jane which shows that he really cares for her, but knowing that he can’t cover for her again means Jane will have to get with the program or risk further danger in the future.

Lucifer (Season 2) “Liar, Liar, Slutty Dress on Fire”

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After a week off Lucifer came back with its second episode and this one was more entertaining than the last with better jokes, more character development and new character/story elements which will probably arc across the season. I liked the introduction of Lucifer’s mother, how she hoped from dead body to dead body to find her son and finally settled on woman who just happened to be part of the key investigation for this episode. Tricia Helfer is awesome as Lucifer’s mother, she’s complicated, sassy, fun and not fully aware of human customs, plus her and Tom Welling have great banter. It was interesting to see Lucifer angry at his mother for abandoning him and trying to figure out what his mother was up to, when in fact there was a lot more to the story with his mum explaining the situation and history surrounding his and her events. And while they made up at the end of the episode, that smile she gave to the sky indicates that she’s up to something for sure.

South Park (Season 20) “The Damned”

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So here we are with se. I once again adored this show’s approach to social media, and how obsessed the world can be with technology and the use of Twitter. I love how everyone treated Twitter like the be all and end all of life, whether it was the police officers talking about Twitter suicide or homicide or all of the boys freaking out about the police looking into Cartman’s disappearance because of what they did, that material fabulous. I haven’t found too much of Mr. Garrison’s material too entertaining so far, but this episode was solid because it highlighted the real life madness going on with Donald Trump’s campaign where the man spouts nonsense and everyone’s down with it because he speaks his mind and doesn’t say the same usual political material. But that ending was what got me. Having Cartman and Heidi hanging out as two lost souls left to hang out in the real world was strange/cute enough, but that part when Heidi asks Cartman if he’d like to see her vagina took me by surprise, but it was Cartman’s “Holy shit” line that killed me. BEST. REACTION. EVER!

Regular Show (Show Season 8) Episodes 1-4

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When I found out about Regular Show‘s return last week I freaked out, I knew it’d be back for another season but I just didn’t know when. So firstly there’s “One Space Day at a Time” this episode basically dealt with the Park crew and Eileen adjusting to their new situation in space, while “Cool Bro Bots” introduced our heroes to a new set of helpful robots that came across as friendly individuals that Mordecai and Rigby were skeptical of. With the crazy/unexpected ending of season 7, RS had a lot of places it could go with the new setting and larger-than-life possibilities of space, and these two episode did some interesting things with the Park crew trying to get a phone signal, checking food supplies and almost getting sucked into space, and then having to deal with robots that secretly harvested plants for money andย  getting into a laser gun battle alongside hardcore human resistant fighters. “Welcome to Space” expanded the mythology behind the park being in a dome and gave reasoning for the dome coming into play in the past, it was a bizarre yet interesting/funny way to propel this show into new situations and I loved the concept of the Spark Initiative and the fact that all of the Park crew were on board besides Benson, and speaking of Benson, while I understood his pessimistic attitude at the same time he was be being a right party pooper and he started to annoy me. Bt it was awesome that he had a hilariously horrible life on earth, decided he’d made a mistake and came back around on the idea of living in space, even if it was due to being a hologram room haha. And finally “Space Creds” felt like a normal episode of the show with Mordecai and Rigby wanting something dangerous/cool and needing to do something ridiculous to get it, in this case it was hover boots. I loved the random nature of the relationship between the doctor and her husband, their backstory and their interaction with Mordecai and Rigby. There was so much over-the-top foolishness, humour and random material, but it came together well.

Star Wars Rebels (Season 3) “The Holocrons of Fate”

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So how do you follow-up a great season premiere? You bring in Darth Maul that’s how! ๐Ÿ˜€ Now I know there are previews of upcoming episodes, but I never watch them so I didn’t know the guy would be showing up so soon in season 3 and man this episode was awesome because of it. I love how Maul was able to capture the Ghost team and force Kanan and Ezra to give both the Sith and Jedi Holocrons. And even after getting what he wanted he was willing to kill Kanan and try to influence Ezra. It was interesting to see Kanan and Ezra not only interact with the Bendu, but also how to work together inside that cave to obtain the Holocron, that was good character development for those two. But what was my favourite aspects of the episode was when the Holocrons combined, I assumed the locations that Ezra saw must be tied to various places in the Star Wars films, but the “two moons” comment must have been in relation to Tatooine because when Maul left in his ship and was frazzled/angry saying “he” was still alive he must have been talking about Obi-Wan Kenobi which just makes me all the more excited to see those two have rematch.

Well that’s what I’ve been watching. So have you seen or plan to watch any of these shows? If you have any thoughts be sure to drop a comment below and let me know what TV shows you’re currently watchingย  too. Until next time, laters! ๐Ÿ˜€

 
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Posted by on October 7, 2016 in Reviews, TV Reviews

 

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Marvel’s Luke Cage Season 1 Review (NO SPOILERS)

Howdy ladies and gents, time for another one of those beastly reviews and today I’m reviewing something I’ve waited ages to see, I am of course talking about the first season of Marvel’s Luke Cage. The funny thing is, even though Mike Colter’s Luke Cage was one of the best aspects of Jessica Jones, I wasn’t too hyped about him getting his own show initially. However, over time when I watched and read interviews with the cast, producers and showrunner, my interest increased, but it was after the Comic-Con trailer dropped in July that I was down for this show. So now that I’ve seen it all, how is it? Well read on and find out!

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So what’s the story for this show? Well our protagonist, Luke Cage is an ex-convict who was experimented on in prison and given super strength and durability, however he escapes and now resides in Harlem hiding in plain sight. However when problems arise in the city, Luke has to stepย  up and confront issues past and present in order to keep everyone safe.

What I appreciated the most about this show immediately its sense of identity, Luke Cage is totally different from Daredevil and Jessica Jones in style, tone and story, however, it shares enough similarities that in certain elements that it fits into the same universe as the previous shows. Straight from the beginning you notice the show’s sense of presence, charisma and sophistication that you don’t see with a lot superhero TV, and as someone who has been following this show long before the marketing started, it was fascinating and rewarding to see how showrunner, Cheo Hodari Coker’s vision come to life in such a vivid manner after reading and watching all of those interviews. The show also does a really good job of telling its story slowly and methodically, having a lot of the key superhero story plot points, but also telling a story which felt smart, realistic and relevant to social and racial issues that are happening in the world today.

I would also like to note that Luke Cage might be the most consistent of all the Marvel Netflix shows so far, Jessica Jones‘ episodes tended to fluctuate in terms of enjoyment and relevance and the same can be said for this year’s Daredevil season 2, and even Daredevil season 1 there was a dip in quality in the final three episodes (not so much the finale though). As I was binging Luke Cage every episode had content that was felt compelling, fun, interesting, dramatic and most importantly relevant, none of it felt like filler, though I have heard some say that the final two episodes felt weaker than what came before and while I can see that point of view, at the same time they didn’t detract from my overall enjoyment of the show. I also liked how the show took some chances and made some surprising turns with the overall story and use of certain characters. Oh and the references to the Marvel Cinematic Universe might be my favourites so far with ties to specific characters, events and technology from a few of the films and previous Netflix shows being used to great effect in verbal and visual ways. With all that being said the show wasn’t perfect, firstly there was a misuse of certain characters over the course of the season. Secondly there were some plot points that were brought up but never got properly concluded or didn’t have as much of a satisfying pay off as one would expect. And for all the references that were put into the show, I felt like some of them were teasing certain things that never came to pass unfortunately.

Episode highlights include:

  • Moment of Truth
  • Code of the Streets (personal favourite)
  • Who’s Gonna Take the Weight?
  • Step in the Arena (personal favourite)
  • Just to Get a Rep
  • Manifest (personal favourite)
  • Blowin’ Up the Spot
  • DWYCK
  • Take It Personal (personal favourite)
  • Now You’re Mine

When it comes to the cast they were all really good, and I found it intriguing how a lot of them had surface level personas, but as the season went on you discovered their real selves, though some stood out more than others. Firstly there’s Mike Colter as Luke Cage, damn this guy is good! Colter bring such a sense of fun, charisma, subtlety, magnetism and depth to this character who’s already endured a lot in his life and has more personal struggles ahead of him with the villains and scenarios he gets into. I also adored how grounded and relatable Luke was, he was an every man, like he belonged among non-superpowered people unlike Jessica Jones and Matt Murdock who feel anything but normal and have questionable personality traits. Mahershala Ali was beyond great as Cornell “Cottonmouth” Stokes, here we had a character who is your standard villain but in all the right ways, he’s charming, intimidating, smart and has some really compelling personal history that enriches him as a character, and every time he was on-screen you wanted him to come back. Simone Missick as Misty Knight was also very good, at first I really appreciated her no-nonsense/cocky attitude, but it did take me a while to feel connected to her and thankfully due to the use of the character in the story and some terrific acting from Missick she ascended into my favourites department. Theo Rossi as Shades was someone I thought would be a throwaway character, but he quickly became one of my favourites due to his totally chilled out demeanour, sense of style and character motivations, plus Rossi’s acting made him so likeable.

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Alfre Woodard was fabulous as Mariah Dillard, this lady was driven, committed and proactive, though the actions of Luke and Cottonmouth created some issues morally and personally for her as time went on. There was a lot more to this character than I expected, and the reason I liked her so much was because of Woodard’s acting, bloody hell I forgot how good she was and she has some really great material at certain points. Rosario Dawson did well as Claire Temple and had a fair amount to do, far more than I expected when it came to learning more about her and see how she fits into main story, and Dawson just brings that passion, charm and beauty that she’s known for in full effect. Then there’s Erik LaRay Harvey (who I remembered from Boardwalk Empire) as Diamondback and he was pretty good too, while his character wasn’t nearly compellng or fleshed out as the rest of the cast, at the same time he was pretty scary, perceptive and ruthless and it really helped that Harvey excels in these kind of roles. A powerful arms dealer who is Cage’s half-brother, and framed him for the crime that sent him to Seagate Prison. You also have Frank Whaley as Rafael Scarfe and Ron Cephas Jones as Bobby Fish, both characters have ties to the main characters (Scarfe with Misty and Fish with Luke), and they have some really cool, hilarious and notable moments in this show. And finally there are some wonderful cameos from characters who first appeared in Daredevil and Jessica Jones and they are used to wonderful effect, especially one key character who you’ll know when you see him. ๐Ÿ˜€

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As for the presentation, it fabulous. Visually the show looks very nice and consistent with the previous shows, but I feel like there was a lot more attention to detail when it came to the framing of certain shots and general cinematography. I also loved the way the filmmakers captured Harlem in all of its areas, it makes you feel like you know the area and you get in on the ground level from the fancy areas to the dark back alleys. And I have to talk about the action scenes, while not as impressive as Daredevil (obviously because Luke’s no martial arts expert) I really enjoyed the way the show depicted Luke’s strength and durability, but also how he fought in his action sequences which were frantic, hard-hitting and sometimes hilarious. Oh and that intro with the visual imagery and song, fabulous! As for the soundtrack, composers Adrian Younge and Ali Shaheed Muhammad made something damn special, their score for this TV show has such a beautiful sound that feels intricate to the show and has a variety in its sound, but calls a lot a 1970’s funk/disco sound with some hip-hop vibes. Oh and that the choices of music from real life musicians whether they were life performances or just placed within an episode were fantastic and captured the mood and style of the show so well.

In conclusion season 1 of Marvel’s Luke Cage is a damn good show and I would say it’s miles better than Jessica Jones, but not quite as solid Daredevil‘s first season, though it’s damn close! This show has a lot to say over with its themes, issues and story aspects which were explored in such a thoughtful, emotional and engaging manner, and with such fabulous performances and an incredible soundtrack it is impossible to deny this show’s quality. It does have some issues with the use of characters and unanswered story elements, and some may not enjoy the slower pace, but overall it’s some damn good TV which I highly recommend.

Rating: 8.5/10

So have you seen season 1 of Marvel’s Luke Cage and is so what do you think of it? And how would you compare it to Daredevil and Jessica Jones? Please leave your comments below and I’ll see ya on the next review, laters. ๐Ÿ™‚

 
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Posted by on October 4, 2016 in Media, Reviews, Television, TV Reviews

 

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