Saturday, June 25, 2016

Batman Beyond - Episodes 29-32 Reviews

A slew of episodes with no baddie returns but a couple of new ones and an episode premise that works a lot better than expected.

Episode 29: The Last Resort

A rehab clinic for wayward teenagers is the order of the day for this episode. First we see typical troubled kids like Sean sent there before Chelsea herself too is shipped off for simply challenging the antics of the place. Of course, Terry ended up being captured and having to brave it in the place when his attempts of uncovering Dr Wheeler's cruel treatment of the kids backfired. I did like the teams up Terry had with Sean and Jamal in this episode as Wheeler's reign of terror came to a brief end. 8/10

Episode 30: Armory

Not one of the best episodes to be honest. We met Jared briefly in another episode and this one somewhat expanded on his family a bit. Namely, his stepfather who ended up being fired from Paxton Powers, so he becomes a criminal named Armory. Of course, Armony's career is pretty shortlived as his father and Terry end up catching up to him pretty fast within the episode. More interesting is Maxine's shifting attitude towards Jared as the episode progressed. 6/10

Episode 31: Sneak Peek

I really liked this one. We haven't had too much media related stuff in this version of the Batman universe and Ian Peek is someone who could give Jack Ryder a run for his money by being a right bane for people's privacy. Ian's MO involved going invisible in order to bag his scoop and things certainly intensified when he managed to figure out that Terry was Batman and Bruce is his mentor as well. Of course before Ian could actually divulge the information to the general public, he had to face the consequences of his invisibility and they were pretty shocking. 8/10

Episode 32: The Eggbaby

The premise of this episode did not wow me. I wasn't eggxactly eggxcited for an episode where Terry had to spend most of his time having to watch an egg baby while fighting against a criminal family (a fearsome matriarch and her dogged sons) but bloody hell, this was seriously entertaining. From Blade's insistence on not pulling her weight to look after the egg to Terry's exasperation and bonding with the eggbaby itself. There's a cute moment in the episode where he actually sticks out his tongue to coax the baby and that along with Bruce's bemusement certainly made the episode for me. Then there was Ma Mayhem and her sons, Carl and Slim, who were also great characters to watch. A definite must see episode. 9/10

Next blog I'll look at Zeta, Plague, April Moon and Sentries Of The Last Cosmos.

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Batman Beyond - Episodes 25-28 Reviews

I'm about halfway through my whole series watch and the four episodes here were some of the strongest we've seen.

Episode 25: Babel

The animals of Neo Gotham are losing the plot. Ace attacks Bruce, Max's cat is brave enough to try and maul a pitbull and even the elephant at the zoo is going wild. Of course, it's a problem that soon escalates as Shriek resurfaces and make it clear that he can cause a lot of damage to the city and it's residents sanity if Batman isn't handed over to him. As plans go, it's one of Shriek's more dastardly of ones with some of the citizens more than happy to see Batman handed over before the latter is able to stop Shriek yet again. A very inventive episode. 8/10

Episode 26: Terry's Friend Dates A Robot

Can we talk about the opening sequence for this one? Terry fighting robotic versions of Riddler, Two Face and Killer Croc was absolutely brilliant. It's easily one of the best things the series has produced so far. As for the rest of the episode - the trope of a nerdy bloke dating a homicidal robot named Cynthia isn't the greatest of storylines and it played out rather predictably as well. Terry's friend, Howard is also pretty unlikeable as a character from start to finish that it makes the episode even harder to enjoy though I did like Max's attempts of taking down Cynthia before Terry did though. 7/10

Episode 27: Eyewitness

This one was bloody intense. Mad Stan has been one of those characters that has popped up in various episodes but hasn't done much to make an impression, so when it looked like Batman might have actually killed him, suddenly I found myself a little interested in the character. Of course it soon transpired that Stan wasn't actually dead but more that Spellbinder had returned and nearly succeeded in turning Barbara against both Batman and Bruce for good. Speaking of Barbara, we do need to get an episode where she moves past her unresolved issues with Bruce at some point, right? 8/10

Episode 28: Final Cut

Curare is one of my favourite villains we've had in this series and her second episode is every bit as good as the first. Last time we saw Curare, she was on the run for failing to kill Sam and this time, she's bumping off the people trying to kill her. One of them uses blackmail/bombing Neo Gotham to get Batman to help with Max also getting caught in the middle and saving the city from a bomb. While I did miss Bruce's absence in this one, I did like seeing Terry and Max getting closer though. 8/10

Next blog I'll look into The Last Resort, Armory, Sneak Peek and The Eggbaby.

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Recap/Review: Penny Dreadful's 3x08 & 3x09: Perpetual Night & The Blessed Dark

It's a double bill series finale and it's a singular review as I look into the final two episodes of the show ever.

Written by John Logan
Directed by Damon Thomas and Paco Cabezas

The End: The last two episodes of this season and the show in general has always been the battle for Vanessa's soul but oddly enough for this series finale, the character only appears in two scenes altogether. The first scene where it looked like she completely embraced her darkness and succumbed totally to Dracula while the second one was more emotionally charged. It was a scene where Vanessa and Ethan were reunited after a season apart from each other, only for Ethan to kill Vanessa in order to 'save' her. I can see why many fans were disappointed by this and while I kind of was too, this show was never going to end in Vanessa remaining alive. I wish it had but kudos to both Eva Green and Josh Hartnett in those moments as Vanessa's storyline came to as dramatic end as it had begun. I did have a little tear during her burial scene, especially as Caliban watched from afar. One of the most compelling heroines on television. It's been a pleasure knowing you, little Scorpion.

The Count Lives On: Another extraordinary thing about this episode was that Dracula actually survived the whole thing. Aside from making London into a ghost town and baiting both Ethan and Malcolm over Vanessa and Mina, we actually saw a lot less of Dracula than expected. He had only one scene with Vanessa and when he realised that Ethan had killed her, he just left, which makes him an ongoing problem than we'll never see taken care of. This of course is something of a theme within the last two episodes as a series of not resolved plotlines linger about.

To Lose Yourself Or Die: Last time we left her, Lily was stuck in Bedlam and about to conditioned into being the perfect woman for Victor. Of course, seeing as no-one wanted this to actually happen, Lily was able to get Victor to change his mind but it took some doing. Actually it took telling Victor about her infant daughter dying while she was out whoring one night for him to feel for Lily and ultimately change his mind, which actually enraged Henry more than it should've done Dorian. Speaking of Henry, his father finally died and now he's Lord Hyde but that's it really. On the other hand, Dorian kicked out Lily's feminist allies, killed Justine (after breaking her spirit) but then got somewhat dumped by Lily who decided to make her own way after all.

We Merry Few: While there was a lot of unresolved stuff in these last two episodes, I did like seeing people coming together to save Vanessa. Seeing Dr Seward outwit Renfield (the least intimidating would be vampire ever) and then banding together with Malcolm and Catriona was absolutely glorious. It was even more glorious when she literally said 'Fuck him' about Dracula while Catriona played off Malcolm extremely well and certainly knew how to handle Renfield as well while both Malcolm and Ethan later bonded some more over their loss of Vanessa while Victor stepped in to help the gang once more during their confrontation with Dracula. I'm really going to miss this band of misfits.

History Not Repeating Itself: Breaking up the bigger plots of the last two episodes, it seems that John Clare's hope for a happy family came to a miserable end. His son unfortunately died and his wife made it abundantly clear not to return unless Caliban got Victor to bring back their son from the dead. Caliban on the other hand, did the wiser thing by not turning to Victor but instead laying his son to rest in the waters instead. While the other plots were more commanding, this was a nice enough subplot and I did feel bad for Caliban both here and when he hid from afar to mourn Vanessa as well.

Oh and did everyone notice the new title sequence for the second hour of this double bill series finale along with 'The End' title card. Goodbye show, it's been an interesting three seasons.

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

My Review of Scream 2 (1997)

Written by Kevin Williamson
Directed by Wes Craven

Debbie: "Oh! Mickey was a good boy, but my God! That whole "Blame-the-movies" motive? Did you buy that for one second? The poor boy was completely out of his mind."
Sydney: "And you're not?"
Debbie: "No. I'm very sane. My motive isn't as 90's as Mickey's. Mine is just good, old-fashioned revenge. You killed my son! And now I kill you, and I can't think of anything more rational!"

The inevitable sequel. They're often not quite as good as the original but if they're lucky, they're at least a satisfying follow up to what came before and this one certainly managed that as two years from the events of the Woodsboro murders, Ghostface has resurfaced to get back at Sidney Prescott and her friends once again.

From the imaginative opening sequence where an unfortunate couple (Jada Pinkett Smith and Omar Epps) ended up getting slaughtered at the cinema showing of Stab (that movie within a movie thing that the next sequels will play around with as well) to Randy Meeks unfortunate demise in the back of a camera van to the final shoot out between Sidney, glory seeking Cotton Weary and the killers in question, this movie certainly packs a punch or two.

What other movie has shown Buffy Summers (Sarah Michelle Gellar making an amusing cameo) getting thrown out of a window by Ghostface or Sidney being attacked herself during a rehearsal of Cassandra while also providing one hell of a meta commentary on the nature of sequel along with a very cringey rendition of I Think I Love You. This movie isn't lacking in memorable moments now is it?

As for the killers, finding decent motives is always hard. Timothy Olymphant is perfectly charming as murderous film student Mickey but Laurie Metcalfe is the one who shines as the vengeful Debbie Salt. The mother of Billy Loomis, Metcalfe spent most of the movie coming across as an annoying foil to Gale Weathers before her real identify was revealed during an electrifying confrontation with Sidney made all the better when Cotton, desperate for more fame also stepped into the fray.

Debbie's motive of revenge might have been old fashioned but it worked pretty well and she's actually one of my favourite killers to take on the Ghostface mantle along with her son and Sidney's cousin in a later movie. Mickey's amusing but the movies thing, it really was so 90's even by the time the movie was released.

However while the villains of this sequel are great, the new friends/love interests somewhat lag by comparison. Jerry O'Connell is pretty bland as Sidney's frat boy boyfriend, Derek and even Hailie (Elise Neal) wasn't quite as memorable or engaging as Tatum was from the first movie. On the other hand, the continued dynamic with Gale and Dewey continued to be a highlight in this franchise and Sidney has plenty of great moments herself.

- The Stab movie bits managed to boast appearances from Heather Graham (as Casey Becker), Tori Spelling (Sidney) and Luke Wilson (Billy).
- Titles for this movie originally included Scream Again and Scream Louder. Think we fared well with Scream 2 if I'm being honest.
- Hailie and Derek were originally meant to be the killer but this movie suffered some serious online leaks and script delays.
- This is the first of the movies not set in Woodsboro. The third one also won't be set there.

Sequels are tricky to pull off but Scream 2 is impressive. It's self aware to the hilt, but back when this was released this was something new-ish rather than being an overused trope. The killers are great, there's memorable moments aplenty and the change of location certainly helped things as well.

Rating: 8 out of 10

Saturday, June 18, 2016

Batman Beyond - Episodes 21-24 Reviews

And in this batch of episode we've got superpowered kids, the latest addiction, giant rats and a menacing presence that isn't quite as ghostly as everyone believes.

Episode 21: Hooked Up

Getting back to returning villains, it was Spellbinder's turn to reappear and cause chaos in Gotham by getting kids hooked to a virtual reality scenario where their biggest fantasies could come true but the bigger focus was on Maxine. In this episode, she wanted to help Batman and Bruce even more than she already was and she soon ended up as one of Spellbinder's victims as we learned a bit more about her family. She was also the one to undo Spellbinder's antics in this episode as well, so overall, this was a strong one for Maxine. 7/10

Episode 22: Rats

I have to admit that as a character, I'm finding it hard to even like Dana sometimes, let alone feel sorry. I know we're meant to feel slightly bad that Terry keeps blowing off their dates and is generally distant with her but in this episode, a part of me was hoping that Terry would actually dump her. Instead as Batman, he has to rescue her from a former student named Patrick who looks like a rat and has made other people into them as well for good measure. Overall I found this episode pretty boring in parts. 5/10

Episode 23: Mind Games

A step up from the previous one. Terry in this one had to go up a couple of dangerous foes in order to save a young girl named Tamara with psychic abilities. I really liked some of the fight sequences Terry had when it came to going up against some of the members of the Brain Trust. I also liked the way Tamara was able to communicate with Terry throughout the episode before she was also reunited with her parents. Definitely one of the strongest episodes we've had. 8/10

Episode 24: Revenant

A ghostly episode but not really. Strange goings on have been happening at the high school and it's enough to inspire Dana, Chelsea and two other girls to take part in a seance, that Nelson rudely interrupted before a sinister presence tried to kill him and Batman had to step in to save him. The episode soon revealed that it wasn't a ghost terrorising the high school but actually a more powered up Willie Watt, who bulked up and managed to cause more carnage before eventually being taken down again. It's a great return episode for the character. 7/10

Next blog will look at Babel, Terry's Friend Dates A Robot, Eyewitness and Final Cut.

Friday, June 17, 2016

Batman Beyond - Episodes 17-20 Reviews

In this batch of episodes we get a futuristic tale, a new ally for Terry, a game hunter and the return of a certain gang for seconds.

Episode 17: Lost Souls

For a show set in the future, it's actually been a great thing that they haven't gone overboard with the futuristic episodes as such but this one dipped into that side of things than previous ones had done. Having Terry's Batman suit hijacked by the long deceased Vance, who also had sinister plans for his grandson did make for a few interesting scenes, including one where Terry had to do battle with his suit while also wearing a different disguise as well. It's not the strongest of episodes but the idea is solid enough though. 6/10

Episode 18: Hidden Agenda

It had to happen. Someone close enough to terry had to learn that he was actually his brother and instead of it being his mother, brother or Dana, the honour went to Maxine, though at first she was more convinced that he was a member of the Jokerz than the new Dark Knight. I like Maxine as a character. Unlike Dana, Maxine actually has a character to her and the way she figured out Terry's secret identity was done pretty well. I even loved the Robin/Alfred exchange with them at the end and in between the use of the Jokerz and a valedictorian within the school setting, this was a pretty strong episode. 8/10

Episode 19: Blood Sport

A game hunter episode. Not one of the most enticing of premises but the Stalker (who has an established history of crime) has rocked up in Neo Gotham with the desire to hunt the Bat demon, which also included snatching Terry's little brother for bait. I did like the flashbacks for the Stalker and the fight scenes between him and Batman were decent enough. That being said though, the episode wasn't as engaging as it could've been though. 6/10

Episode 20: Once Burned

I really liked the Royal Flush Gang's last appearance so having them return for an encore was more than fine by me. This time, it was Melanie Ten robbing from a rival gang and spinning Batman a line about her family being held captive by the Jokerz. Of course they weren't and once again, she was put in the position of choosing between love and family yet before the latter and the rival gang ended up being arrested. I do like that the show is attempting a Bruce/Selina rapport with Terry/Melanie and for the most part, it does work though. 8/10

Next blog will focus on Hooked Up, Rats, Mind Games and Revenant.

Thursday, June 16, 2016

A Girl Is Someone

And here's another look at some of the shows I've been watching lately.

Arrow: I'm not gonna lie, the fourth season finale was probably the weakest we've had from the series so far but it did have it's moments. Damien finally being taken out for starters was great to see and it was nice to see Oliver somewhat inspire a bit of confidence within the city but with just him and Felicity left (Thea's gotta mopey and Diggle's reenlisted), next season really will need to bring the gang back together as well as address the void left behind with Laurel's exit. Oh and tone down Olicity too would help things a little.

Daredevil: I've been a little catching up on this but given that I had so many other shows to watch and summer is a bit of a television wasteland, holding this off paid off though. I've seen the first five episodes of this show's second season and it's every bit as enjoyable as the first. While I'm not too fussed on the Matt/Karen romance, the latter continues to get great development, character wise, Foggy is fun and the references to both Jessica and Luke are nice to have onscreen. Even better though has been the Punisher arc and the beginnings of the Elektra one too. Feels like we're being spoiled here.

Game Of Thrones: This season has been pretty strong but aside from the episode where we finally got Hodor's backstory in great detail along with his death and several returns (the Hound, Benjen, Brotherhood Without Banners and so on), it does feel like the pace has slowed down to deliberately build to the last two episodes. Cersei's trial is imminent, Margaery is playing the long game with the Faith, Sansa and Jon have different ideas to get their home back, Dany took the long route to return to Meereen and Arya finally decided that being someone was better than the alternative. Now, let's just move things that little further shall we and kill off some important characters this time around?

Marvel's Agents Of SHIELD: With the only Marvel show left on ABC, the third season finale did us a solid and killed off both Lincoln (didn't hate him but he was a tad bland at times) and finally Hive/Ward as well while teasing the ambiguity of the new director and having Daisy on the run as some vigilante type before she's inevitably swayed back to the group properly next season. The final few episodes were solid enough but not entirely spectacular. It'll be interesting to see where things go from here though.

Once Upon A Time: This season might not have been the show at it's most impressive, though the second half certainly was a step up from the first half though. The two part finale though certainly had it's moments, namely the introduction of both Jekyll and Hyde, the land of untold stories and of course, the return of the Evil Queen in the oddest of ways. All of these things however still didn't cancel out Henry's irrevocable stupidity by nearly banishing magic or the fact that yet again, Rumple never truly pays for any of his betrayals. That being said, enough happened here to make me want to watch the sixth season though.

The Flash: Barry- what the hell, man? Did you learn nothing from Rose Tyler or other similar situations? Yeah, we lost Henry but not John Wesley Shipp who turned out to be Earth 2's Jay Garrick and Barry saved his mother, so that's going to blow up in his face next season. Other stuff that happened included Zoom getting his just desserts, Harrison and Jessie taking their leave, more WestAllen foreshadowing and of course for a brief moment, the arrival of Black Siren who may pop up again next season. Strong final batch of episodes though.

- Nick Zano has been cast as Dr. Nate Haywood/Commander Steel for Legends Of Tomorrow's second season. The show will also be adding an earlier version of Vixen as a regular too.
- Rick Gonzalez has been cast as Wild Dog for Arrow's fifth season. Josh Segerra however will be playing the role of Adrian Chase/Vigilante, the main antagonist for the upcoming season.
- Supergirl will be adding Lena Luthor, Maggie Sawyer, Nick Farrow, the Doctor and Snapper Carr. Superman will also be appearing in the first two episodes of the show's second season. Tyler Hoechlin will be playing the man of steel.
- CMT and Hulu have stepped in and Nashville has been renewed for a fifth season of 22 episodes.
- Lesley Jordan will be returning to American Horror Story for it's sixth season, due to begin filming in July.
- Outlander has been renewed for both a third and fourth season by Starz.
- Orlando Jones and Gillian Anderson have joined American Gods as Mr Nancy and Media alike.
- Gotham will be recasting the role of Ivy Pepper as Clare Foley will not be returning for Season 3.
- John Stamos has joined Scream Queens second season as a regular. He'll be playing the role of Dr Brock Holt.
- Orphan Black has been renewed for a fifth and final season by BBCAmerica.