Friday, January 19, 2018

My Review of How To Get Away With Murder's 4x09: "He's Dead"


Written by Abby Ajayi
Directed by Jet Wilkinson

Laurel: "Tell me you wouldn't be that stupid."
Frank (re Dominic): "He's dead."

Given the title of this episode, the he in question really could've been either Laurel's newborn baby or Simon and things certainly were looking bad for both in the last episode that aired in November but it turns out that the he in question actually turned out to be Dominic.

In the space of this episode, we barely learned that Dominic was to Jorge what Frank has been to Annalise all this time and it seemed oddly fitting that Frank ended up being the one to kill him as well after the latter goaded him about Laurel and turned out not to have the missing hard drive either. This was also the same Dominic that despite killing Wes last season also tried to warn Laurel about going through with her vendetta against her father.

I know the actor has commitments to another show but it's a pity that Dominic was bumped off, just as he was getting a bit more interesting as a character. The being in love with Laurel bit didn't surprise me but the fact that Wes actually called him and referred to himself as Christophe was something I didn't expect to happen on the show. If it means getting more Alfred Enoch for the remainder of this season, then I'm intrigued to see how that pans out as the gang are now aware of that last voice message.

As for Laurel, there was a lot of gas lighting being thrown her way this episode what with Jorge able to bribe an entire hospital into handing over a premature baby to him and even Annalise herself was pretty powerless to stop him as well. This episode kept throwing hints about Laurel's mental health, which I get will be better explored in the rest of the season but I am hoping we don't have to wait too long for her to get her baby back.

As for Simon - how the hell did he actually survive that gunshot? People have died for less on this show but dramatically, Simon being alive is going to cause more problems for the Keating 4.5 than him being dead ever will and I do find it interesting (if a little hypocritical) that Oliver seems determined to protect Simon from the rest of the gang as well. Besides, Connor was the one who told the gang that going through with Laurel's plan was a bad idea and none of them listened to him.

The rest of the episode then saw Bonnie managing to get Asher out on bail as both her and Annalise continued to be awkward around each other along with Isaac also getting the brunt of Annalise's temper. Her comment about his daughter's death was pretty uncalled for, even in the stress of the situation but I don't think Annalise is wrong about him being a terrible doctor though.

- I think we can safely assume given Tegan's scenes with Michaela in this one that the latter won't be working at Caplan & Gold any more. I do hope Tegan is kept around though.
- They didn't credit Alfred Enoch for his appearance as far as I could tell for this episode. Then again, it would've been a massive spoiler if they had.
- Given what the remaining episodes have to do, I'm intrigued to see how they're going to be able to fit in a crossover episode with Scandal as well.
- Chronology: From where Live.Live.Live. left off.

He's Dead wasted no time in things spectacularly going to pot for nearly all of the main characters here. In some ways, this did feel like it should've aired back in November as opposed to now but it cleared up all the remaining flashbacks pretty well and the set for more chaos to boot.

Rating: 8 out of 10

Thursday, January 18, 2018

My Review of The Assassination Of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story - The Man Who Would Be Vogue


Written by Tom Robb Smith
Directed by Ryan Murphy

Andrew (to a boyfriend): "I really do have a date with Gianni Versace."

American Crime Story is going to be like Feud for me in the sense that some seasons will pique my interest more than others and the ones that do will get bigger reviews. The first season of this show did a good job with the OJ Simpson trial with both Cuba Gooding Jr and Sarah Paulson on fine form but this is the season of this particular show I've been clamouring for the longest time.

Originally The Assassination Of Gianni Versace was meant to be the show's third season with the events of Katrina intended for the second year but things have been swapped around and we get this one earlier than expected as the episode starts with Gianni's brutal murder while ending with his killer, Andrew Cunanan looking a bit too pleased with himself.

I really don't want to jump ahead here but going by this episode alone, I actually do think Darren Criss could be onto some awards as his portrayal of Cunanan seems to be eerily on point. Through his interactions with his straight couple friends, a former boyfriend and Gianni himself, Andrew is presented as a fantasist whose homicidal tendencies are barely concealed.

Seeing Andrew constantly lie to everyone else around is pretty alarming, especially as his friends and Versace themselves seem to be reeled into his various backstories. I even had a hard time keeping up with them at times but the back and forth between killer and final victim certainly was compelling to watch nonetheless.

Then there's the title character himself. Edgar Ramirez does actually look similar enough even without the makeup and changed hair to Versace but he really seems to get the part pretty well so far. His past is touched upon nicely in a post opera scene with Cunanan and the depths of his relationship with Antonio D'Amico (Ricky Martin) are also looked into as well.

While both Ramirez and Criss are the best parts of the first episode, it's everyone else who are just kind of there. All the detective/police characters feel a little too generic so far, which I'm not too fussed about but I was kind of hoping that Penelope Cruz would stand out a bit more as Donatella Versace herself. So far she seems a bit subdued but given that there are eight episodes left to go in this particular season, I'm sure she'll get moments to really impress. The jury is out on Ricky Martin as D'Amico as well. He might surprise but I wasn't too taken with his portrayal just yet.

- Tom Robb Smith who will be writing nearly all the episodes this season previously worked on BBC drama, London Spy.
- The dove beside Versace actually did happen. That along with Miami Beach, the pawn shop tip, Donatella's arrival and Cunanan's constant were things the episode got completely right.
- Standout music: A few 90's hits playing as well as the overuse of Adagio for the first seven minutes of the episode. I have to admit that did jar things a little at the start.
- Chronology: July 15th 1997 for a good portion of the episode as well as 1990 to depict Versace and Cunanan's first meeting.

The Man Who Would Be Vogue is a good start to this season. It definitely feels like a big enough contrast to last season's OJ trial and certainly going for the glamour factor that appealed to those who would've enjoyed Bette And Joan last year as well. The time jumps that we're going to get for the remainder of the season could make or break things but this opening episode did more than enough to reel me in.

Rating: 7 out of 10

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Halloween 2018 Movie - More Casting Details

It's been a while since I've talked about this upcoming movie and this might be the last blog until a trailer is released for it but with filming for the latest Michael Myers now started, here's some bits to savour.


First of all, another picture of Jamie Lee Curtis as Laurie Strode with Michael Myers, the latter set to be played again by original actor Nick Castle. I know, it's just a picture but given the 40 year history with these two, it's hard not to be excited by this (and further delighted in Rob Zombie's awful remakes being further invalidated as well). Anyways onto casting though.


Not only will Laurie be encountering her murderous brother once again (or maybe he won't be if the writers really are determined to ignore every previous sequel) but so will her daughter, Karen, played by Arrested Development's Judy Greer and keeping it family a la Strode, Karen's own daughter, Allyson, who will be played by Andi Matichak, whose previous credits include appearances in Orange Is The New Black and Blue Bloods.


Also joining the cast for the yet to be titled eleventh Halloween movie are Virginia Gardner (Marvel’s Runaways), Miles Robbins (My Friend Dahmer), Dylan Arnold (Mudbound) and Drew Scheid (Stranger Things). No details who they're all playing so far but it's safe to assume they'll be friends of Allyson's and picked off one by one when Michael starts sniffing around after the Strodes. Co-writer Danny McBride has said about the upcoming movie's timeline ....

“We’re kind of ignoring all the films past the first one. It picks up after the first one, but it’s sort of an alternate reality. It’s as if the first Halloween ended in a slightly different way.”

Source:  http://comicbook.com/horror/2018/01/15/halloween-movie-sequel-cast-jamie-lee-curtis/

The movie is currently filming and will be released in cinemas from October 19th. I really cannot wait to see this one.

Monday, January 15, 2018

Batman 66 - Episodes 5-8 Reviews

For the second batch of episodes I'm looking at, we've got the Clown Prince Of Crime and a rather chilly customer making their debuts as the Caped Crusaders grapples with both them, the threat of their identities being public knowledge and saving a kidnapped sportsman.

1x05: The Joker Is Wild


I'm glad but not remotely surprised that it didn't take long for the Joker to pop up in the series and it should go without saying that outside of Mark Hamill's take on the role, Cesar Romero is one of the best versions we've had of the character. With this episode, the Joker audaciously breaks out of Gotham State Penitentiary and soon encounters both Batman and Robin during a robbery, until he's outsmarted by the Caped Crusader's utility. One thing I liked about this two parter (and I liked lots of stuff) was the Joker actually took the time to try and come up with his own utility belt and the cliffhanger where he nearly came close to revealing both Batman and Robin's secret identities to the whole country was rather clever. 8/10

1x06: Batman Is Riled


While the cliffhanger to the previous episode is resolved a little too quickly for my liking, this was another cracker of an episode though. Having failed to publicly expose the Caped Crusaders identity on live television, the Joker then decides to nab them during a christening of a boat in order to publicly execute them instead. It's just one extreme to another with the Clown Prince but while his plan was reasonably sound (for the Joker of course), Batman and Robin did manage to save themselves just in the nick of time. 7/10

1x07: Instant Freeze


This one is interesting but probably because it's one of three times we'd see the Dynamic Duo encounter Mr Freeze or Doctor Schievel as he was formerly known before conditions forced him to live in sub zero temperatures. Like another Rogues Gallery member, Freeze would be played by three different actors in the series, with this two parter featuring George Sanders as the chilly menace. This version looks closer to human than his later versions and there's a good cliffhanger here when he puts both Batman and Robin on ice. In the midst of that, there's also a plot to steal a diamond from the visiting Princess Sandra of Molino. 8/10

1x08: Rats Like Cheese


The second part of the first Freeze story, with again, a reasonably quick save for the frozen Dynamic Duo. If it sounds like I'm criticising, I'm not, it's just an observations. Anyways, this episode sees Freeze and his men kidnap baseball player Paul Diamante (Robert Hogan) before Batman trades himself in for the sportsman as part of Freeze's ultimate revenge plan. I have to point out here to liking the design of Freeze's chilly layer and the use of the red heat light during certain moments before Schieval is eventually apprehended. There's also an amusing last scene at a Wayne Manor party where Dick rejects the choice of Baked Alaska for dessert. 8/10

Next blog will delve into Zelda The Great/A Death Worse Than Fate and A Riddle A Day Keeps The Riddler Away/When the Rat's Away The Mice Will Play

Saturday, January 13, 2018

Celebrity Big Brother 2018 - Year Of The Woman

Ah, the start of January where some shows are either returning from a brief hiatus or going on them and also that time of year when Channel 5 dole out the first of two editions of Celebrity Big Brother as the civilian version continues to lose people.


And our 16 celebrities (now 15) this year are journalist Rachel Johnson, Kardashian friend Malika Haqq, Rochdale detective, Maggie Oliver, former Corrie actress Amanda Barrie, DJ Ashley James, former MP Ann Widdecomb, reality TV star Jess Impiazzi and trans journalist/TV presenter India Willoughby. For the first four days and keeping with the Year Of The Woman subtitle, it was a girls only house but by the fourth day the boys were also added into the mix. For the lads this included various reality people like Shane Jenek/Courtney Act, Andrew Brady, Dapper Laughs, Jonny Mitchell as well as 90s r'n'b singer, Ginuwine, former Boyzone star Shane Lynch, footballer John Barnes and ballet dancer, Wayne Sleep.


In recent months, the #MeToo campaign has been very prominent in the public eye, given the fallout of the recent Harvey Weinstein scandals and with gender based issues being more prominent in the media as well just of late, I wasn't entirely sure that it was a good idea as such to have this as a theme for the new series. Given that social media has become too conflated in the issue at times here, having this could've put some viewers off but it seems to have for the first fortnight generated some interesting debates among both male and female housemates as India vocally discussed her own issues as a transwoman while Courtney Act also provided some insightful commentary into gender issues as well for certain housemates. I have to admit there was also a good discussion among the lads over the likes of Weinstein and Trump earlier in the week as well.


Speaking of India though, she was the first housemate to leave in last night's eviction episode, which allowed Jonny Mitchell another week in the house and I have to admit to being genuinely surprised that she left. Given the show's overt love of conflict and the fact that India was providing it in spades, I genuinely thought that would've kept her in the house for a bit longer. When it comes to India, the only thing I can say is that she really was her own worst enemy in the house. While Courtney/Shane was a lot more patient and willing to explain things to other housemates, India always seemed to be in defense mode and in the end it became her own undoing. In a way, it's a shame because in her exit interview with Emma Willis, India was quite calm and reflective and had we seen that side of her in the house, she really could've gone far in the house.


As for the rest of the house, I have to admit there are a lot of people I really like in this current series. It should without saying how fantastic I think Courtney/Shane J is but there's also the likes of Shane Lynch (his discussion about former band member, Stephen Gately was lovely), as well as Ashley, Jess and Malika all being likeable. Amanda has endeared herself as well with her own frank discussions and being unafraid to call India out on things and I can't fault the likes of Rachel, Ginuwine, Wayne or John either. In terms of least favourites I guess it's going to be Ann Widdecombe (some of her comments are horrific, though Shane J is brilliant at cutting her down to size) or Dapper, whose laddish humour (and I don't generally mind laddish humour) is just a bit much at times. Andrew and Jonny are reasonably inoffensive although the latter needs to come out of his shell a bit more. I'm not particularly interested in the blatant showmance between Ashley and Ginuwine, though it's nowhere near as cloying as past ones we've had while the bromance between Andrew and Shane J/Courtney has been entertaining enough. Even some of the cliched gender based tasks have been surprisingly amusing at times. Of course there's another fortnight or so to go so whether or not this current series can maintain it's entertainment value is hard to tell.

Celebrity Big Brother airs Mondays-Sundays on Channel 5 from 9pm.

Friday, January 12, 2018

Batman 66 - Episodes 1-4 Reviews

On this day 52 years ago, ABC debuted the campest version of the Caped Crusader with Adam West in the title role of Batman and Burt Ward as the Boy Wonder, Robin himself and because of that, now seems the perfect time to kick off my episode reviews for the series that I rewatched properly a couple of weeks ago.

1x01: Hi Diddle Riddle



I'm a fan of the Riddler as a villain but I have to admit to being genuinely surprised that he was the first choice of antagonist for the Dynamic Duo to face off. I'm not saying that's a bad thing but it did surprise me a little. Anyways, Frank Gorshin is fantastic in the role from the off and the Riddler's scheme to have Batman brought to court to unveil his true identity is a stroke of genius. Keeping with some popular tropes, the cliffhanger to this first episode resulted in Robin being captured and nearly operated on by the Riddler and his henchmen while a surprising highlight was seeing some of Batman's dance moves in a nightclub. 7/10

1x02: Smack In The Middle



The second part to this opening two part story keeps the pace of the story going well. Having poor Molly (who will be in a long line of misguided female assistants for the villains of the week) disguise herself as Robin, only to die a quick death in the Batcave was actually pretty shocking. The show's violence has at best edged on the cartoon end of the scale but this was one of the rare times where someone actually died on the show and it's suitably grim as well. Of course, Robin is rescued himself and the Riddler is promptly defeated. The interesting thing about this opening story aside from the swift introductions to recurring characters Alfred Pennyworth (Alan Napier), Dick's aunt Harriet Cooper (Madge Blake), Commission Gordon (Neil Hamilton) and Chief O'Hara (Stafford Repp) is that Riddler like nearly every enemy that appears in the series already has a pre-existing history with the Dynamic Duo. 7/10

1x03: Fine Feathered Finks



For the second two parter, it was the turn of the Penguin (Burgess Meredith), who to be honest, was probably the villain that showed up the most in the show's three season run. For his first story, the Penguin has been released from prison and wants revenge, so he tries to get Batman to choose his crimes. This then led to Bruce Wayne (and not for the first time in the show) going undercover and visiting Penguin's KGBird store to try and ruffle his feathers, only to end up getting netted and left to nearly roast in a furnace. This show certainly knew how to do a cliffhanger. 7/10

1x04: The Penguin's A Jinx



The second part quickly resolved Bruce's fiery dilemma while at the same time moving the action towards the Penguin setting off his true goal - kidnapping movie starlet Dawn Robbins (Leslie Parrish) and this was certainly the episode where the Penguin's many umbrellas came into play in a big way. I do like the back and forth double crossing as the Dynamic Duo and Penguin tried to outsmart the other while the latter's plans came afoul at the last minute. There's also a nice little bit where Commisioner Gordon explains to the audience the reason behind Batman's costume. 7/10

Next blog will delve into The Joker Is Wild/Batman Is Riled and Instant Freeze/Rats Like Cheese.

Friday, January 05, 2018

DC TV Shows - Some Updates

My first blog of 2018 and it's a DC TV related one. Anyways, some news about the three newest DC shows that audiences can expect pretty soon.


First of all, Black Lightning is coming very soon. In fact, less than a fortnight away as it's first season will be paired with The Flash for Tuesday nights with Cress Williams playing the title role on the show. For now, there will be no connection to the Arrow universe but I wouldn't be too shocked if that changes sooner than later. The CW have now also released a photo of Nafessa Williams as Thunder/Anissa Pierce, the daughter of the show's title character, Jeff Pierce, showing that heroism will be a family trait on the show. The show's first season will run for 13 episodes and also stars  China Anne McClain, Christine Adams, James Remar, Damon Gupton, and Marvin "Krondon" Jones III. Also LGBT fans will be delighted to know that Anissa will have a love interest in fellow hero, Grace Choi, played by Chantal Thu while Jill Scott will guest star as Lady Eve in the series.


Elsewhere Krypton will ensure that along with Supergirl, that the Superman universe will have a television medium in the run up to the character's 80th anniversary. The series, due to air on SyFy in the Spring sees Cameron Cuffe as Seg El, the grandfather of Superman with Georgina Campbell as Lyta Zod. The series will have versions of Adam Strange and Brainiac/Vril as portrayed by Shaun Sipos and Blake Ritson respectively along with Seg's father Ter-El, Doomsday and Hawkgirl also appearing in the series. The pilot episode is written by David S. Goyer and Ian Goldberg and directed by Colm McCarthy.


Meanwhile Titans have also released their first official image of Alan Ritchson and Minka Kelly's Hawk and Dove last month. The costumes seem faithful enough to the comics and with the previous release of Brenton Thwaites as Robin, it's nice that we're getting more on the upcoming series from DC's streaming service. A release date has yet to be confirmed as the series is still currently filming but hopefully it won't be long before cast shots for Starfire, Raven, Beast Boy and Amy Rohrbach are released.

Black Lightning Trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z65EdJntX1U
Krypton Trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yE5prsMJAWc

Black Lightning will premiere on the CW from January 16th, with UK/Irish viewers getting to see the show on Netflix. Krypton will air on SyFy from March 21st and Titans release has yet to be confirmed.