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QUICK REVIEW: House of Cards Season 1

Howdy ladies and gents, time for a TV review again, YAY! Today I’ll be talking about the first season of House of Cards. I recently gave my quick thoughts in a recent blog post, but this post will be a little more expansive.

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Story-wise the show can be summed up as the following:

“A Congressman works with his equally conniving wife to exact revenge on the people who betrayed him.”

At first things unfold in an interesting way. You’re basically being introduced to this world through Frank Underwood’s eyes, you learn about the world of politics and government, and then there’s the journalism side of things as well. And you see how these two things operate separately but also how they intersect and have positive and negative effects for the people on either side. But what you learn quickly is that this is Frank’s story, everything is about him, and even when he isn’t the primary focus, in some way things will tie back to him, and there lies the show’s biggest strength and flaw. Frank’s a character with ambition and aspirations, but in order for him to get from A to B, he has plot and plan ahead and this involves everyone around him whether they are his wife, friends, enemies, other colleagues or people he doesn’t know, as they serve a purpose in the grand scheme of things. It is really smart and creative to see how these stories pan out and how the characters do things that intentionally and unintentionally relate back to Frank’s main plan. Of course there are parts of the story that don’t directly involve Frank like the smaller stories involving Claire, Zoe, Peter or Doug that have varying levels of significance. I will say Peter Russo’s arc is one of the most intriguing and dramatic and Claire’s story certainly gets more dramatic towards the latter half of the season. In terms of negatives HOS takes a little while to get into, the pace is slower than most shows I normally watch, I wasn’t completely sold on the first few episodes and a lot of the time I forgot the names of many characters and sometimes couldn’t follow certain conversations because of the political jargon. And finally certain stories set up some interesting possibilities, however they don’t all pan out the way you’d want them to (or at least the way I wanted them to).

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As the cast there are all pretty good. Kevin Spacey just kills it as U.S. Congressman Francis “Frank” J. Underwood. Frank’s a thinker, he’s proactive and is always a few steps ahead, and if something isn’t going his way he knows how to flip it and make the situation work for him. In some ways Frank reminds me of Cersei Lannister from Game of Thrones in the sense that they are smart, cunning and confident. They know the game when it comes to politics and power, they know how to manipulate and persuade people, they’re stubborn and know no defeat. Rarely are they on the side of failure. So when they do trip up or make a mistake it is worse because they’ve been right for so long. I’ve always liked Spacey as an actor and this show really displays his acting talents in full force as he is charming, aggressive, relatable and just fun to watch. Robin Wright is just as important as Claire Underwood, at first she does come across as Frank’s wife and rock who supports him in all that he does, but as things progress you start to see that she’s a very strong individual who’s just as smart and cunning as her husband. Plus there is moments dedicated to her backstory and seeing how she develops as a person. Wright is an actress I haven’t seen that much of in recent years so it’s nice to see her in such a great role here. Kate Mara as Zoe Barnes is really good, Zoe is a young, gorgeous, intuitive and forward-thinking kind of woman who wants to further her work in journalism and will do so whether the means are morally or ethically correct or not. I love the working relationship that she obtains with Franks and how they help each other but also how the relationship changes when they really start to need things from each other. Mara plays this character pretty well with style, grace and beauty.

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Corey Stoll may be the season-stealer as Peter Russo, Russo is a good man with a troubled background, he’s involved with a lot of bad stuff and that in turn leaves him in dangerous situations which he eventually gets out of thanks to Frank. So Peter, through manipulation actually gets his act together and tries to do good, and I’d like to say more but it would be ruining things. Peter’s story arc is one of the best aspects of the season and Stoll is brilliant and I really like what he brought to the role. Michael Kelly as Douglas “Doug” Stamper is great, I’ve seen Kelly in a few TV shows and films here and there, but this is the most substantial role I’ve seen from him and he’s really good as Frank’s Chief of Staff. Kristen Connolly is great as Christina Gallagher and I also liked Sakina Jaffrey as Linda Vasquez. Sandrine Holt as Gillian Cole was quite good too, at first she’s a nice and respectable lady, but then she really grows some balls and goes into some aggressive places. Constance Zimmer is good as Janine Skorsky, at first I found Janine quite mean and frustrating but she eventually cooled down and showed  more resourceful and nicer side later on. Michel Gill does well as President Garrett Walker, even though his character seems a little plain at times, at other points he’s shown to be smart and cunning too. Mahershala Ali is also great as Remy Danton, I like how he and Frank have history and sometimes are opposed but other times need each other for mutual purposes. Ben Daniels as Adam Galloway was good, however I felt like his character could have been delved into a little more or just been taken out altogether. Reg E. Cathey is good as Freddy Hayes, even though he’s only around every so often, I love his interactions with Frank and how relaxed and friendly he is. And finally Rachel Brosnahan as Rachel Posner is good as well and I found her character interesting considering her line of work and how she progresses.

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Oh by the way the presentation is great. The show is shot really well, everything looks so clean, the lighting is nice and the cinematography in general looks pretty. The soundtrack is also very good as it is very dramatic, haunting and disturbing, most times it feels unsettling and it works with the action on-screen. Oh and that opening, at first I really didn’t care for it as it came across as a bit plain with the music and just a time-lapse of different locations in DC, but I started to get into it and I will say that both the music and imagery gets more interesting after the sun goes down.

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In conclusion season 1 of House of Cards is pretty damn good. It introduces you to the world of politics and journalism, and how they intertwine. There is tension, drama and chaos, and it is just intriguing to see how these key characters interact and develop. I will say that certain story aspects didn’t pan out the way I would have liked and some of the political jargon lost me, but overall a good start to an interesting show.

Rating: 8/10

So have you seen the first season of House of Cards and if so what do you think of it? Please be sure to comment below and I’ll see ya on the next review, laters! 😀

 
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Posted by on September 9, 2015 in Films, Media, Reviews, TV Reviews

 

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Ant-Man Review

Howdy people of the internet, today I return to give you a new film review and this is for Marvel Studios’ latest film, Ant-Man. Now, this film has had quite the history with the directors behind it, script rewrites and a less than stellar hype from fans and the general public about there being an Ant-Man film. But now the film is out and the early response has been pretty positive, so it is good? Well I can’t hide my excitement for this film as I thought it was awesome and I’m going to tell you why in this review!

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I am going to keep this review as clean and simple as possible.

When it comes to the story it goes a little like this:

“Armed with a super-suit with the astonishing ability to shrink in scale but increase in strength, con-man Scott Lang must embrace his inner hero and help his mentor, Dr. Hank Pym, plan and pull off a heist that will save the world.”

The story in this film is actually really good. The film’s also bizarre and self-aware and it makes the experience more enjoyable. What makes this film work so well is that is that it isn’t like a typical superhero film, much like last year’s Captain America: The Winter Solider and Guardians of the Galaxy, this film adopts a style puts that first and then incorporates the superhero elements later. Ant-Man is a heist film and it has all of those quirky, smart and inventive aspects that makes films of this genre so fun to watch and speaking of fun, the film is also hilarious. I know that is to be expected in a Marvel film and some have gotten sick of it, but here it really works. There is a constant sense of fun, quirkiness and just randomness that makes the film great to watch. But beyond the humour there is heart, like the best of the Marvel films there’s genuine emotion and drama to draw you in and make you root for the good guys. I have to commend not only Peyton Reed for directing this film in such a great way, but also for the script done by Edgar Wright, Joe Cornish, Adam McKay and Paul Rudd as it is very witty and unique. If I had any negatives it’s that some of the plot elements do fall into that “I’ve seen it before” department, but beyond that the film’s very good. There are also some nice references to the comics and other MCU films from the past and future and they’re great, make sure you stay for the post-credit scenes! Don’t be a donut and leave early! 😀

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When it comes to the cast they’re all pretty good. Paul Rudd as Scott Lang/Ant-Man. What I liked about Scott is that he’s a great guy who wants to do good but has ends up in bad situations and doesn’t commit to doing good deeds, and it’s interesting to see him go on this journey and change for the better. Rudd, he’s just great in this film. Rudd naturally excels in comedy and he uses that to his advantage as he’s really funny and has great timing with his jokes, but in addition to that he brings a lot of charm and depth to his character with the more dramatic moments. Michael Douglas as Dr. Hank Pym. I knew that Douglas would be important in the film but I didn’t expect him to have such a significant presence because this film felt like a passing of the torch, but Douglas had so many great lines and he continues to show why he’s such a great actor as he’s emotionally versatile and just kills it in every scene he’s in. Oh and his relationship with Rudd is great too. Evangeline Lilly as Hope Van Dyne was really good too. She’s strong, confident, but also defensive and complicated emotionally because of her father and I love what Lily did with this role. Her and Douglas have a great dynamic because of their family based relationship, and Lily and Rudd also had pretty good chemistry and their banter was lovely.

Corey Stoll was really good as Darren Cross/Yellowjacket. Darren is a man with class, style and charm at face value, but he’s also sneaky, dangerous and obsessed with power and success. Stoll plays this character with just the right amount of villainy and craziness. You could argue that his character was a bit clichĂ© and stereotypical, but I thought he was one of the stronger and more memorable villains of the MCU. Then there’s Lang’s heist team consisting of Michael Pena as Luis, Tip “T.I.” Harris as Dave and David Dastmalchian as Kurt. The strongest of the three is Pena as Luis, this guy is seriously one of the most strange and funny people ever. The guy’s so energetic and jokes and Pena just oozes charm and humour. T.I. and Dastmalchian are also pretty good and have their individual moments to shine. Bobby Cannavale did well as Paxton and it was good to see Wood Harris as Gale too and finally Judy Greer was good as Maggie and Abby Ryder Fortson is just one of the most adorable and hilarious child actors ever as Cassie.

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As for the presentation is pretty damn good. Visually the film is really cool, the cinematography is well-done and the use of special effects used to craft the action sequences, suits and the miniaturised world that Ant-Man and Yellowjacket inhabit is so unique and interesting. The creativity behind the shrinking and growing of the Pym particles was great and there’s some really interesting, unexpected and hilarious uses of the powers. The soundtrack crafted by Christophe Beck is also very nice too, it has a great sense of charisma, sass and style, it had the perfect sound for a heist film but also for a 1960’s spy film.

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In conclusion Ant-Man was pretty badass. I had hoped it would be good and that the early reviews were a good sign, but the film exceeded my expectations so much. It was full of all the regular great superhero codes and conventions but beyond that it had heart, style and stood alone perfectly from the rest of the MCU films while also existing within the same world. Marvel continue to prove that they are far still incredibly creative and versatile and I would highly recommend this film as it is SO much fun and really entertaining.

Rating: 8.5/10 (Very impressive)

So what do you think of Ant-Man? Did you love it, hate it or think it was okay? And how do you think it compares to the previous Marvel films? Do you think it’s the best solo film since Iron Man like some claim or do think differently? Sound off your thoughts in the comments below and I’ll see ya on the next review. Laters! 😀

 
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Posted by on July 17, 2015 in Film Reviews, Films, Media, Reviews

 

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QUICK REVIEW: Ant-Man Trailer #2

Howdy people of the internet, today I return to give you a new trailer review for the next Marvel film, no not Avengers: Age of Ultron, but the other one coming out later on in July and that’s Ant-Man. Now, the first trailer for this film didn’t exactly set the world on fire, but I’ve still been interested in seeing how this turned out. So today the second trailer’s dropped today and I’ve seen some positive feedback lurking around online, so is it good or not? Well read on and find out!

Check out the trailer below:

So my first thoughts after seeing this trailer? Well this is certainly better than the last one for sure, and the hype level has definitely gone up for sure.

I am going to keep this trailer review as simple as possible. Basically, this trailer expands upon what we saw in the previous trailer by giving us more details on the story, characters and action. We see more Paul Rudd, Evangeline Lilly and A LOT more of Corey Stoll.

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When it comes to the story it looks like we have a better understanding about what the technology behind what the Ant-Man suit can do and what its original purpose was for (being used for the military and being super stealthy), and it seems like Darren Cross (Corey Stoll) is the main man behind the technology and is looking to sell it to everyone. While on the other side of things you have Dr. Hank Pym and Hope Van Dyne (Michael Douglas and Evangeline Lilly) who see Cross as bad man who has to be taken out, so Pym finds Scott Lang (Paul Rudd) and recruits him to steal tech away from Cross (I assume) and become a hero. I like how Hope is integral to the story and understands the technology behind the Ant-Man suit and trains scott to fight and understand how his powers work when he’s small. I also appreciate how we get to see more of Stoll as the bad guy, he clearly looks like he has an aggressive villain who will give our hero a lot of trouble.

What it interests me the most about this film again is the action sequences. I know that it’s mainly CGI, green screen and motion capture, but man it looks SO good, the level of detail is so sharp and beautiful, loving the colours and the way things seem a little slower and stylized in the smaller world. Seeing Ant-Man running with the heard of ants or taking out dude with his miniature super strength, it all looks pretty slick and intriguing as a form of combat. But the best stuff for me is seeing Ant-Man and Yellowjacket fighting, all of the jumping, flying, lasers and explosions is badass.

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Oh  there’s a fair amount of humour in the trailer, like most Marvel films, whether it is joking about the ‘Ant-Man’ name or talking about breaking into a place to steal something or seeing Paul Rudd get punched in the face by Evangeline Lilly, it looks humourous, and that final moment of the trailer when Yellowjacket was about to get hit by the Thomas the Tank Engine train and you just see the train just hit and fall over, that was funny, best funny moment in the trailer.

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This is perfect, really random, but funny too. Any person who knows about Thomas will get a kick out of this.

In conclusion the second trailer for Ant-Man is pretty good. This is looking like it will be a very different kind of adventure like Guardians of the Galaxy last summer. I’m just curious to see how this all pans out, the costumes are looking hella good and the action seems better and better with each trailer. I’m not stupidly over the moon about this film yet, but I definitely want to see it more than before.

So what do you think of the second trailer for Ant-Man? Are you more or less excited for the film than before? Whatever your thoughts are be sure to drop them in the comments below and I’ll see ya on the next review. Laters! 😀

 
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Posted by on April 13, 2015 in Films, Media, Reviews

 

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Ant-Man Targets Corey Stoll for Mystery Role

Good day to you ladies and gents, time for some film news and it seems like another actor has been added to the cast of Marvel’s upcoming Ant-Man film. The following information comes from superherohype:

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(Photo Credit: Ivan Nikolov / WENN.com)

“Edgar Wright’s Ant-Man has targeted “House of Cards” star Corey Stoll for a mystery role in the upcoming Marvel Studios film, Variety reports. He’ll join Paul Rudd and Michael Douglas for the July 17, 2015 release with Evangeline Lilly, Michael Pena and Patrick Wilson also still in talks to form the cast.

Set to begin production shortly in Georgia, Ant-Man will be directed by Wright, who co-wrote the script with Joe Cornish (Attack the Block).

Stoll is also well known for big screen roles in projects like The Bourne Legacy, Salt and Midnight in Paris.

The film, which is supposed to launch “Phase Three” of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, will follow Avengers: Age of Ultron’s May 1, 2015 release.”

Okay, cool, so we have another cast member for this film, unfortunately I don’t really remember him from anything. I just looked up his filmography and have found that he’s been a few films I’ve seen including The Number 23, Push, the last Bourne film and more recently Non-Stop, and that’s when I realised where I’d seen his face before. He’s one of the passengers on the plan that has a fair bit of interaction with Liam Neeson’s character. I can’t tell how good of an actor he is because I’ve not seen him in a leading role or a massive supporting role, I’ve yet to see House of Cards so I dunno if he’s good in that or not, but hey if he’s been cast in this film he must have some talent right? As for the mystery role he’s got I’ve got no clue. I don’t read any of the Ant-Man comics, however fans online have speculated Stroll could be Egghead just because he’s the only bald villain in that universe. I’m curious to see what happens in the future when the mystery of Stroll’s role becomes apparent.

 
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Posted by on March 25, 2014 in Films, Media

 

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Non-Stop Review

Howdy ladies and gentlemen, today I return with my second film review of the day in the form of Non-Stop. Now like Ride Along, I had no intention of watching this film initially because I saw trailers and all I saw was Liam Neeson doing Taken again in an airplane. But then I started hearing that the film wasn’t actually all that bad and some people really liked it, so I decided to check it out to see what the deal was.

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The plot in the film goes as the following:

“An air marshal springs into action during a transatlantic flight after receiving a series of text messages that put his fellow passengers at risk unless the airline transfers $150 million into an off-shore account.”

Thriller films are always good so long as there is a good story in place with all the good codes and conventions that come with films of this genre, I honestly thought that this was gonna be just another by-the-numbers action thriller film and while the story wasn’t the best, it really surprised me how investigated I got in it. Straight from the start you know something’s up and the film does a clever job at making everyone a suspect, you’re practically as lost as the air marshal is and that was great. Also the film was very suspenseful and full of tension and my god when shit gets real things get pretty heated, add to that the genuine mystery surrounding the anonymous texting passenger and you have a pretty good hunt for the person responsible as there are good twists and turns that keep you on your toes. That being said, for all of the good points, there are some bad. Toward the third act is where the film starts to become a little implausible and absurd. As the situation starts to get even more dangerous it causes people to do the most random and ridiculous of things without any proper logic which is just baffling at times.

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When it comes to the cast they do a pretty good job with some standing out more than others. Liam Neeson as Bill Marks is just a s cool and badass as you’d expect. If you’ve seen him in either of the Taken films or Unknown you know what to expect. The film just feels like an excuse for Neeson to show off how hardcore he can be and this film definitely shows that off. But besides hat Marks is a man on his own, he seems like he wants to save everyone, but the odds are against him pretty much the whole time and you do start to question whether he capable of saving everyone or if he’s just extremely paranoid. Also one other thing to add is that Marks is very quick to judge and has some very rough interrogation methods which were pretty unnecessary and crazy. And then there’s Julianne Moore as Jen Summers, I thought she was good in her role, she played a very nice and supportive character who crosses paths with Bill and becomes involved in the conspiracy. Also for some reason I thought Moore was pretty hot in this film, I’ve always considered her attractive but in this film for some reason I liked her a lot. 😛

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Michelle Dockery is great as Nancy Hoffman, Nancy is just the innocent party in all of this and has to adjust and adapt to these crazy situations while helped Marks out. Also my man Scoot McNairy from Monsters is great as Tom Bowen, I really liked his role in the film. Nate Parker as Zack White was good too as he had some interesting and funny scenes, and I think I was the only one who saw this character and thought of Zack from Might Morphin Power Rangers haha. I also found a nice surprise seeing Lupita Nyong’o as Gwen Lloyd, I had to check very closely just to see whether it was her and I was happy to see her here. And finally Corey Stoll as Austin Reilly is pretty good too, he’s a concerned attendant that gets a decent amount of screen time too.

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In conclusion Non-Stop was a pleasant surprise as it was action-packed, full of suspense and had good twists and turns. It does get a bit ridiculous at times especially towards the end, but if you can get over those nitpicks then you’ll find a decent bit of entertainment in this film.

Rating: 7.5/10 (A fun bit of chaos in an airplane… With Liam Neeson!)

So what did you think of Non-Stop? Have you seen it or are you’re gonna watch it? Whatever your thoughts are leave them in the comment section below and I’ll see you on then ext film review. Laters. 😀

 
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Posted by on March 5, 2014 in Film Reviews, Films, Media, Reviews

 

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