Wednesday, October 31, 2018

My Review of Halloween (2018)

Written by Jeff Fradley & Danny McBride & David Gordon Green
Directed by David Gordon Green

Laurie: "I always knew he'd come back. In this town, Michael Myers is a myth. He's the Boogeyman. A ghost story to scare kids. But this Boogeyman is real. An evil like his never stops, it just grows older. Darker. More determined. Forty years ago, he came to my home to kill. He killed my friends, and now he's back to finish what he started, with me. The one person who's ready to stop him."

I waited nearly a week since this movie's release to see it in the cinema and then nearly another week to review on this particular day. Since it's announcement last year, I've anticipated this movie quite a lot. After the disastrous reboots at the behest of Rob Zombie, could David Gordon Green, Danny McBride and Jeff Fradley fix what was previously broken within the franchise?

After thinking about it long and hard and trying not to get swept up in personal bias and hyperbole, the answer is a resounding yes, yes they can. I'm not going to pretend that this movie isn't without some flaws but they're relatively minor ones compared to other sequels but the main thing is this - this movie feels like it's paid attention to what made the original so impacting and while it doesn't always successfully replicate that, it certainly evokes the same  spirit nonetheless.

It's been forty years since the events of the first movie (and the sequels are ignored) and Michael Myers (Nick Castle/James Jude Courtney) has been locked up for that amount of time and is about to be transferred to a maximum prison to live out the rest of his days. Before that happens though, two documentary makers, Aaron Korey (Jefferson Hall) and Dana Haines (Rhian Rees) decide to rake up the past and in doing so, inadvertently spur Michael back into action.

Before the inevitable escape and sequel to his infamous killing spree, Aaron and Dana also happen to stop and catch up with Laurie Strode (Jamie Lee Curtis) who in the space of four decades has become a paranoid recluse, obsessed with killing Michael while struggling to mend her broken relationship with daughter, Karen Nelson (Judy Greer) and tolerating the latter's husband, Ray (Toby Huss).

Laurie's relationship with her granddaughter, Allyson (Andi Matichak) is somewhat better as the latter seems to share some similarities with her grandmother, having to witness an escape Michael Myers bumps off her friends, one by one. Friends including babysitter, Vicky (Virginia Gardner), boyfriend Dave (Miles Robbins) and Oscar (Drew Scheid). Allyson's own boyfriend, Cameron (Dylan Arnold) manages to be the only other teenager apart from Allyson to survive Michael Myers but he also does one better by not having to interact with him in the first place.

The kills in this movie aren't too inventive but neither are they too gory either. There's an attempt to echo some moments from the first movie when Michael escapes the bus and makes his way back to Haddonfield in his pursuit of Laurie and they're effectively done. The actual reunion between Michael and Laurie is beautifully tense with the former experiencing a fate that he's endured in two previous movies while also setting up the soon to be announced sequel following the movie's deserved box office success..

The biggest strength of the movie is of course Jamie Lee Curtis. Laurie Strode is her iconic role and movie wise, she's best served here since her debut in the role back in 1978. There's also a wonderful chemistry with Laurie, Karen and Allyson, so the fact that all three of them survive the movie is a blessing. Ray is less served as a character but I did like Will Patton and Haluk Bilginer's performances as local Sheriff Frank Hawkins and Michael's obsessive therapist, Dr. Ranbir Sartain while the teenager characters (Vicky mostly) were entertaining enough before Michael picked them off.

Michael himself was also a strong point of this movie, certainly showing focus and determination to get back to Laurie while the relationship with the two of them was nicely commented on throughout the movie. I liked Laurie's essential breakdown of Michael to both Aaron and Dana and how she had prepared for their reunion.

- The movie had a pumpkin style opening credits and orange wording end credits with Michael breathing heavily.
- There were nods to several other movies, even if this sequel abolished the previous canon of Michael and Laurie being related to one another.
- This film was also released on Michael Myers's birthday as well, considering that in the movie's canon he was born on October 19th.
- PJ Soles who played Lynda in the first movie was briefly seen as a teacher in this one while Cameron is the son of Lonnie from the first movie as well. Samuel Loomis got a voice cameo, courtesy of Colin Mahan.
- John Carpenter and his son did the score music for this movie.
- Chronology: Forty years since the events of the first movie.

Halloween (that's now three movies in this franchise with the same title) certainly felt like a return to form. It won't surpass the original movie and it's probably on a par with the fourth movie in terms of sequel goodness, though it could've done with a little trimming, length wise. Saying that, this felt like the right way to modernise both Laurie Strode and Michael Myers for the current horror generation while at the same time taking pride in the original and sequels that came before it. A triumph overall.

Rating: 8 out of 10

My Review of Legends Of Tomorrow's 4x02: "Witch Hunt"

Written by Keto Shimizu & Matthew Maala
Directed by Kevin Mock

Fairy Godmother: "I know you're on the run and I know who's coming for you and believe me, I'd rather face hell than piss him off."
Constantine: "Well, I am happy to oblige."

Last week we got unicorns and almost as though the CW knew this would be airing in the week of Halloween, we get the merging of a malicious fairy godmother and some Witch Trials in Salem to boot. It's a foolproof winning combination and it's one that's exploited to perfection here.

The serious stuff first - poor Jane Hawthorne came close to losing her life after being falsely accused of witchcraft that her distressed daughter Prudence relied on the main threat of the week to try and help her mother before the Legends tried to save the day, only for the hitch being that technically Jane's death was supposed to be set in stone.

Not that this stopped Zari from trying to change history. This isn't the first time Zari has done this but the episode once again demonstrated how brilliant Tala Ashe has been for the series as Zari tried to save Jane and almost ended up being killed herself before Prudence realised that she couldn't rely on a Fairy Godmother to save the day. Last week we got a lovely scene with Zari and Ray which gave more insight into the former. This week, it was her and Sara who got to share a lovely moment this episode.

As for the Fairy Godmother herself - Disney hell, anyone? Jane Carr was absolutely fabulous in this guest role, being all whimsical and sing song one minute and then the next, having John Constantine gagged and Ray and Mick changed into pigs. Fairy Godmother's animosity with Constantine was pretty amusing to watch and I found it interesting that being sent to hell was more appealing than pissing off the fellow that's after John Constantine.

Speaking of Constantine, I've noticed that not everyone has been happy to see him in an expanded role. Some fans fear that he's at risk of overpowering the main characters while in the show, Mick couldn't make his hatred of John more obvious. To be fair, much as I love the bisexual exorcist, I can see why Mick might not be so keen on him. Eventually they might get along with each other. On the other hand, maybe not.

As for Nate - he was largely separated from the main event this week, with the writers opting to focus on Nate's relationship with his father and effectively leaving the Waverider for the Time Bureau. It might be odd not having Nate on the ship for the time being but his scenes with Ava, Gary and Hank this week were fantastic, along with his ability to easily spot Ray and Mick in their pig forms. Ray also seemed a little disappointed that his friend was staying with the Time Bureau as well, which was a nice character bit.

- When he's not carrying feet around him, Constantine also has a spell book made of human skin. I don't think "yuck" covers it really but it's close enough though.
- Was there a reason why Zari chose to wear red when they were undercover in Salem? I think this was also the first episode where Sara and Ava didn't share a scene together.
- Nice little cameo of Beebo there when Prudence saw him on a tablet.
- Chronology: 1692 Salem for most of this episode. 2018 with the Time Bureau stuff.

Witch Hunt was magical, whimsical, lyrical and a little bit menacing to boot. A part of me is hoping that Fairy Godmother breaks out of hell to cause more trouble for the gang later in the series while at the same time, I am curious to learn who exactly is after Constantine now. Someone from his own canon undoubtedly, but who though?

Rating: 8 out of 10

Tuesday, October 30, 2018

My Review of How To Get Away With Murder's 5x05: "It Was The Worst Day Of My Life"

Written by Michael Russo
Directed by Laura Innes

Annalise (re Ronald): "We don't even if he can handle this."
Bonnie: "I'll call you as soon as I'm done. I promise"

An episode by some halves in a way. On one hand, it seems like we're moving forward with Bonnie trying to get some answers about her missing son from her sister but on the other hand, we still don't know if for certain said son is actually Gabriel.

This week we saw Gabriel and Laurel bonding over absentee parental figures while working the face case together and despite the blatant flirting with the pair of them, at least Laurel was quick to realise that something was up with Gabriel and promptly confronted Frank about his own interest in Gabriel's past. Not that I think it won't stop the show from eventually going there with Laurel and Gabriel though.

As for Bonnie - I liked that even though she had her moments of broodiness and confronted Nate over what he did, she didn't entirely wallow in self pity. She confided in Ronald about her past and even let him accompany her when she went to confront her sister. I knew Bonnie's past was dark but this episode highlighted just how dark it really was. Her parents really were evil personified.

Moving away from the Bonnie plot this week, the other main focus was largely on Nate Sr's trial and I did think that things were going to go south with this storyline. We had Annalise getting her class to try and point out where things went wrong while also dealing with a heated scene with Connor and Gabriel to boot.

Things however did turn out for the best though for Nate Sr and there was a nice scene where he forgave Nate for their past. Of course the biggest thing to come out of this episode is that Annalise has now attracted the attention of a governor (Laura Innes) who wants to see if the former has the balls to call her out to her face. Now this has some potential for excellent drama in the next few episodes.

In terms of the wedding flashback, Oliver is still a no show but we know that Asher is safe. Saying that, given that Connor had the misfortune to catch his friend in a compromising position with his mother, I'm not sure if Asher will be safe for much longer. Seriously, Asher? Isn't there a bro code for this sort of thing?

- Asher and Michaela are also having sex on the side when they weren't pretending to be organising a double stag do for Connor and Oliver. Connor also didn't seem happy with Oliver inviting their mothers to visit before the wedding.
- No Tegan or Emmett this week and while I enjoy the former, I really didn't miss the latter. Laura Innes who played the governor in this episode also directed this one.
- Standout music: YK's Osiris during that awkward scene with Asher and Michaela.
- Chronology: A month before the big event.

It Was The Worst Day Of My Life did feel a little treading water but was also a bit of an improvement on last week. I'm guessing we'll see Oliver alive in the next two episodes, so I'm not worried about his fate for now. Still think it'll be Ronald or possibly Julie who will be dead person, given that Bonnie seems to be the focal point of these flashforwards though.

Rating: 7 out of 10

My Review of Doctor Who's 11x04: "Arachnids In The UK"

Written by Chris Chibnall
Directed by Sallie Aprahamian

Najia (to Robertson): "Do you know the worst thing? Bits of this is leaking out above here. It's in my kitchen. My husband's right. It's a conspiracy. Do you have any idea how annoying it is when my husband's right?"

I have to admit, it's not that I'm an arachnophobia sufferer but episodes involving spiders and bugs usually never tend to be a favourite of mine in these types of shows. This isn't the first time we've had to deal with giant spiders in the Doctor Who universe either. We've already had the residents from Metebelis 3 in Planet Of The Spiders and the Empress of Racnoss in The Runaway Bride. Here, it's regular spiders but mutated.

Taking Yasmin back to catch up with her family always meant that we were going to get another present day adventure but first though her family. There's clearly a rivalry of sorts with Yasmin and her sister, Sonya (Bhavnisha Parmar) while her father Hakim (Ravin J Ganatra) is something of a conspiracy theorist, but overall seems likeable enough.

The main family member to get the focus however is Yasmin's mother, Najia (Shobna Gulati) - a hotel cleaner who manages to get fired before even starting her job by US hotel chain owner, Jack Robertson. Played by Mr Big himself, Chris Noth, Robertson is somewhat our human villain of the piece as his callous attitude and irresponsibility with dumping toxic waste played it's part in the current giant spider problem within Sheffield.

Getting back to Najia though, she's one of the more successful mother figures written on the show. Not quite on the level of Jackie Tyler but somewhat more likeable than Francine Jones or Sylvia Noble and has more of a character than any of the mothers briefly shown in Moffat's era with his companions. She's also pretty engaging and helpful during the main threat of this episode as well when she's not expressing a curiosity about her daughter's love life in parts.

The spiders themselves - I will give props to the FX department, they looked stunning and pretty scary in parts, so the fact that they were mostly benign and dying anyways was a bit of a surprise. It did feel like that despite some great characters bits here with the main players, Najia, Robertson and scientist, Jade McIntyre (Tanya Fear), the main threat itself was a little clumsily resolved, which is where the episode loses points for me.

The strength of the episode though are the character moments. Yasmin's family life is nicely fleshed out, Jade is the type of guest character you'd hope the show features again while Robertson's loathing of Trump (something which the episode was a little too pointed about) is a bit hypocritical given how much the episode seemed to be drawing similarities with the two of them. No doubt Robertson is someone who will reappear again though.

As for Ryan and Graham, it was nice to see them getting a little closer in this episode as well. Ryan in particular seems more attached to Graham than his own father and angered over a letter from the latter while Graham was also seeing visions of Grace when he wasn't around the rest of the gang this week. The episode did end with our TARDIS Team going off for another adventure as the Doctor properly welcomed them all on board this time around. I'm guessing they'll be getting keys next week, am I right?

- The Doctor talked about having sisters and being a former nurse or was it a nun? There was also hints of a previous incarnation in there too during her exchanges with Yasmin's family.
- I'm liking the new time vortex as well. Only took four episodes to give audiences a proper look at it though.
- People referenced this week include Ed Sheeran (which Robertson did not like being mistook for one bit), Amelia Earhart and Edith Wharton.
- Standout music: Who would've thought that using Stomrzy's Know Me From would be a great way to attract giant spiders?
- International zoologist Dr Niall Doran was consulted for this episode. There's still a giant spider in Anna's flat they might want to get back to at some point.
- Chronology: 2018 Sheffield. It's only been a few hours since The Woman Who Fell To Earth.

Arachnids In The UK makes for a fun, slightly horror themed episode. It loses points for being a little too on the nose with the US politics in parts but between the excellent guest characters and interactions, bouts of horror and those spiders genuinely looking great, it's also a rather enjoyable episode.

Rating: 7 out of 10

Friday, October 26, 2018

Batman 66 - Episodes 77-80 Reviews

And with this batch of episodes, we've got the team up making more than movies and a familiar baddie with a different actor in the role.

2x43: Penguin Sets A Trend

Last week we saw the Dynamic Duo, they were being catapulted into the air but with the timing of the Batmobile, that cliff hanger moment is resolved pretty sharpish. I did like that Batman faked a thirst for the spotlight even if the Penguin saw through it rather fast and the episode ended up with both Batman and Robin about to be crushed. There wasn't so much for Marsha or Hilda to really do in this episode other than catch frogs, so it loses points for that I'm afraid. 7/10

2x44: Penguin's Disastrous End

Seeing Marsha performing the Seven Veils on a bunch of security men might have done nothing for me but it certainly pleased. This final part of the trilogy had our main baddies trapped in a vault at one point for three days as Penguin didn't seem pleased with Aunt Hilda cooking more frogs for dinner while at the same getting to wreck a tiny bit of havoc with a golden tank before being stopped by the Dynamic Duo. Overall, this was a stronger trilogy than the previous Penguin one. 7/10

2x45: Batman's Anniversary

This season has been lacking a certain baddie and given that Frank Gorshin was something of a no show, it was up to John Astin to assume the role of the Riddler for one two parter and while I prefer Gorshin in the role, I do think Astin is decent enough, though lacking the former's eccentricity in the part. This episode did centre on an anniversary for the Dynamic Duo, so having them nearly drown in a cake seem rather appropriate. 7/10

2x46: A Riddling Controversy

The second half of the two part story upped the threat with the Riddler wanting to use Professor Charm Demolecularizer to shrink most of the city, though it's mostly seen used on a statue more than anything else. Astin does a decent enough in the second half of this story and we did get to see Riddler putting a dictator into a rather elaborate trap before being stopped by Batman and Robin.  Overall, it's a solid enough only run around for Astin in the role. 7/10

Next blog I'll delve into The Joker's Last Laugh/The Joker's Epitaph and Catwoman Goes To College/Batman Displays His Knowledge.

My Review of American Horror Story: Apocalypse - Traitor

Written by Adam Penn
Directed by Jennifer Lynch

Cordelia (to Ariel): "My powers are waning? Say it again!"

Ariel and Baldwin probably would've said that multiple times over had they not been gagged and burnt at the stake along with Miriam Meade by the witches. Bye lads, you were mostly misogynists and your attempts to take out the witches was pretty reckless on your part. As for Meade, I think she's going to find out the hard way that Satan might not have much time for her.

This episode to it's credit continued from Madison and Behold's discovery of Michael being the Antichrist by having Cordelia try and spur a plan into action. This included consulting with new Voodoo queen, Dinah Stevens and getting a sit down with Papa Legba and Nan, the latter of whom seems to be having fun causing hell but it ended with Cordelia having the sense not to embark on Legba's request for more souls, something which both Cordelia and Dinah seem to share in common.

Of course with Legba out of the question, it was up to Madison and Myrtle to persuade ageing actress and mind reader witch, Bubble McGee to help out as well with the Coven. I quite liked Evie at the start of the season but she was too quickly killed off to really care about, so I'm hoping Joan Collins fares a little better with this role.

Bubbles seems to be a lot of fun as a character and it's nice to have another older witch in the coven along with Myrtle. There was also something slightly amusing in seeing Madison having to play the sensible one among the three of them as well during a scene where they were having drinks. However, it just wasn't Bubbles who came in handy this week.

Coco played her part in trapping Meade and seeing the former taking pride in her powers growing was a nice moment as well. I think this episode and the one from two weeks ago have done a lot to better Coco as a character that I'm hoping we see this side of her when we get to the present problem in the bunker again.

As for Mallory, the fact that she's now being touted as the next Supreme, following her saving of both Coco and resurrecting John Henry Moore almost makes me wonder if it's that straightforward. Perhaps her powers are more heavenly (I've seen that theory bandied about, and I wouldn't put it past the series). Either way, at least this episode showed that Cordelia is taking all things into consideration and mounting her own army against Michael's machinations.

- Michael sat this episode out by being in the Wilderness, so him and Mallory have not met. I'm also hoping that Misty will be back for the finale as well.
- Bubbles McGee's movie at the start of this episode was a take on Joan Collins's Tales From The Crypt.
- Unlike Marie Leveau who was at least referenced here, Dinah doesn't want immortality and refuses to bring infants to Papa Legba. That does tie in with her desire not to get involved with all the present day chaos as well.
- Chronology: There was a two before the apocalypse flashback which showed Cordelia resurrecting Myrtle as well.

Traitor certainly brought about an ending to three of Michael's biggest allies without actually featuring but if we're going by next week, he'll be adding more to his collection nonetheless. I did like the returns of Papa Legba and Nan, it was nice to see Dinah in action and Bubbles was pretty entertaining to watch as well.

Rating: 8 out of 10

Wednesday, October 24, 2018

My Review of Halloween II (2009)

Written & Directed by Rob Zombie

Deborah: "We're done waiting. Only a river of blood can bring us back together. It's up to you. It's always been up to you, Michael."

If there was something the world didn't need, it was a remake of Halloween courtesy of Rob Zombie and to top it off, the world also wasn't asking for a sequel to said remake. Okay, think nice thoughts - I guess I'm grateful that this is an original sequel that's not a remake of the original sequel, so I guess there's that and I have to give the movie attempted props for trying to deal with trauma as well.

Following the slaughter fest of the first, both survivors Laurie Strode (Scout Taylor-Compton) and Annie Brackett (Danielle Harris) are handling nearly being killed by Michael Myers (Tyler Mane) in different but reasonably believable ways. Annie's mainly seems to be getting on with things while also balancing the act of trying to distance herself from Laurie while also being there for her friends now that Laurie is also living with her and her father, Sheriff Brackett (Brad Douf).

Like I said in my review for the first movie, I'm pleased that Rob Zombie actually allowed Annie to survive as it's arguably the best thing he did in that movie. Annie is also arguably the best thing about the second movie, so I appreciate that when Michael actually does kill her off, it's not until towards the end of the movie but Zombie's penchant for Annie being nude every time Michael tries (and this time succeeds) to kill her is somewhat tedious.

Speaking of Michael, he spent some down time trying to recover while also continuing his hunt for his estranged younger sister. This time around, both Michael and Laurie are haunted by cryptic dreams/nightmares of their mother Deborah as Zombie shamelessly has to shoehorn his wife into this sequel despite her death in the previous movie.

I don't mind Deborah's inclusion as such but it's completely unnecessary to the whole movie and like the first movie, there's a lot of padding here, courtesy of unwarranted flashbacks to a younger Michael (Chase Wright Vanek) and the various meandering dream stuff with Deborah wanting her children to come home and be together.

Speaking of which, the way in which Laurie finds out that she's Michael Myers half-sister in this movie is certainly unpleasant as she reads this vital bit of family information in Dr Loomis (Malcolm McDowell) tell all book about Michael. In this movie, Laurie is a pretty ineffectual final girl, shrieking her way through the entire movie at everyone around until her final reunion with her murderous brother takes a rather dark turn for the character.

As for Loomis, well not since The Revenge Of Michael Myers has a movie managed to make him even more unsympathetic. He profits off Michael's murderous rampage, is a jerk to his publicist and not particularly concerned when Lynda's father publicly castigates. He also spends a great deal of the movie being angered over the idea of Michael being alive before he gets a rather rushed 'redemptive arc' resulting in a rather predictable outcome.

- Nice appearance from Margot Kidder (whose had her own horror history with The Amityville Horror and Black Christmas) as Laurie's therapist. There's also appearances from Chris Hardwick and Weird Al Yankovic here.
- Laurie's real name here is Angel Myers, which seems somewhat on the nose. She's also dressed as Magenta from Rocky Horror Picture Show during her final scenes with Michael.
- The opening sequence (which was an overextended nightmare of Laurie's) did feel like a homage to Halloween 2.
- Chronology: Two years from the events of the previous movie.

Halloween II marks the end of Rob Zombie's largely misguided reboot series and I would say it ends on a high note, but I'd be lying. I'll admit some of Zombie's crasser excesses are somewhat toned down for the movie and there's some nice visuals but there's also a lot of padding and general pacing issues. Overall, Zombie's take on the franchise should serve as a "what not to do" guide for any other film maker who gets to reboot a popular or flagging horror franchise in the near future.

Rating: 4 out of 10

My Review of Halloween (2007)

Written & Directed by Rob Zombie

Dr. Loomis: "The darkest souls are not those which choose to exist within the hell of the abyss, but those which choose to move silently among us."

My journey into the world of Michael Myers was always going to lead me into the abyss and after the daftness of reality television fodder, it was to go back to the actual beginning with a remake of the first ever movie. Of all the people the studios could've picked to bring Michael's original story to the 21st century, Rob Zombie clearly wasn't the person they should've gone for but unfortunately for us all, he's the one they put a punt on to revitalise Michael.

This seems to be a movie of two halves. The first half being a needlessly long expansion of Michael's (Daeg Faerch) childhood, only this time, it's less of a suburban setting and more of a trashier one as his stripper mother Deborah (Sheri Moon Zombie) tolerates abuse from her useless partner Ronnie (William Forsythe) while older daughter Judith (Hanna R. Hall) is more interested in copping off with her boyfriend than actually taking her younger brother trick or treating.

On one fatal Halloween, Michael finally snaps and begins the day by murdering his bully (Darryl Sabara) before killing Judith, her boyfriend and Ronnie and then spending the next decade and a bit locked up under the care of Dr Samuel Loomis (Malcolm McDowell) while Deborah upon realising her middle child is beyond help kills herself while the adult Michael (Tyler Mane) breaks free and goes on a new killing spree.

The first hour of this movie really could've been condensed by half the time it took to get to Michael breaking loose and killing and it would've been one of many things that could've actually improved this movie as there a few of Michael's victims here that illicit any sympathy at all if we're being honest here.

As for the second half of the movie - it feels like a half remembered version of the original movie as Laurie Strode (Scout Taylor Compton) and her friends Annie Brackett (Danielle Harris) and Lynda Van Der Klok (Kristina Klebe) find themselves menaced by the heavy breathing and in some moments actually speaking menace.

I will grudgingly give Zombie some credit here for one thing - Annie survives this movie and it's a good thing because while the acting is mostly okay in parts for this pointless remake, Danielle Harris is by far the best performer in this entire dreck fest. Scout Taylor Compton is serviceable enough as Laurie and any actress would've been unfairly compared to Jamie Lee Curtis but she's let down by some shoddy writing and Zombie's insistence in trying to make Laurie a little more abrasive than she was in the original movie. Even the boogeyman bit gets ruined here.

- Originally Zombie wanted to do an origin movie for Michael Myers, which explains the first half of this saga.
- Tyler Mane is the tallest actor to play Michael Myers so far and one of three to have played the role twice following George P. Wilbur but preceding Nick Castle.
- Danielle Harris previously played Jamie Lloyd in the fourth and fifth movies.
- Chronology: Late 1990s at the start of the movie before moving into 2007 for the main event.

Yup, Halloween is not a great remake. There are a few fleeing moments that aren't entirely awful (Zombie does have a good ear for music for certain scenes) but it completely misses the point of what made the original movie such an enduring classic and in parts is needlessly crass for it's own good. I'm amazed it did so well as I do think had this been released in 2018 it would've royally tanked and deservedly so. Mostly an awful remake.

Rating: 4 out of 10

My Review of Legends Of Tomorrow's 4x01: "The Virgin Gary"

Written by Phil Klemmer & Grainne Godfree
Directed by Gregory Smith

Gary: "I don't want to die a virgin."

Well as soon as that line got uttered, I knew what quote I was going to use for the review of this particular episode. Gary's lack of sex life might not be much of a shock and you could argue that it's played for cheap laughs but at the same time - Adam Tsekhman's flair for physical comedy and making Gary sympathetic enough does help the character a lot.

In this episode, Gary played the role of bait, so that a heart eating unicorn that sneezes out rainbow snot that will get you high as a kite before killing you. On any other show that sentence would sound ridiculous. Four seasons in and on this one, it's par for the course with the main action being placed at Woodstock.

The era of free love became the place for mass slaughter, until our Legends and Gary and Constantine actually stepped into save the day and for one of them, also lose a nipple. Of course, this wasn't enough to motivate John into joining the Waverider so an unpleasant night call after Sara has probably got him changing his mind going by next week.

When killers unicorns weren't the course of the day, you had the gang fixing one last anachronism before having the Time Bureau throwing the Legends a party in their honour and for the AvaLance shippers, some nice moments of domestic-ish bliss (when John wasn't paying them a house call). For that particular ship, this episode was certainly an angst free zone though I can't see that being maintained all season long.

Outside of the domestic bliss, the episode had Nate and Mick embark on a little bit of a robbing spree of the former's parents - Hank and Dorothy Heywood as played by Tom "Biff" Wilson and Susan Hogan respectively. Nothing about Nate's family issues seem too original but I am interested enough to see more of him and his father, which this season seems to be intent on exploring and both Nate and Mick's trippy moments in this episode were highly amusing.

As for Ray - he spent this episode pining for Nora and being chastised by Zari for it while at the same time, seemingly relieved when the killings at Woodstock were also not caused by Nora as well. I'm really liking the banter with Ray and Zari and the latter had a beautiful moment in this episode when she took a little trip into her own past as well. This episode certainly wasn't short of lovely little character beats for everyone concerned.

- Matt Ryan has the Special Appearance credit and it's implied that while Gary might be a virgin, both him and John have done other stuff off screen.
- Gideon did the recap at the start of the episode. I'm hoping we get another physical appearance from her this season.
- This episode had the Legends briefly protecting the Beatles as well as the gang stealing stuff from Jerry Garcis, Jimmi Hendrix and Janis Joplin for Constantine's spell against the killer unicorn.
- Chronology: 1969 Woodstock and 2018 DC as well as well as five months since The Good, The Bad And The Cuddly.

The Virgin Gary certainly had it's trippy moments as an episode. A killer unicorn is the sort of thing that later seasons of Charmed would've done and not particularly well but here it actually worked a treat. However, it's the attack that Constantine suffers at the end of this episode that hinted at some darker material due to come to the surface as the season progresses. Meanwhile next week's episode seems rather apt for Halloween.

Rating: 8 out of 10

Monday, October 22, 2018

My Review of Halloween: Resurrection (2002)

Written by Larry Brand & Sean Hood
Directed by Rick Rosenthal

Laurie: "You failed, Michael. Want to know why? Because I'm not afraid of you. But what about you? Are you afraid of me? Are you afraid to die, Michael?"

Prior to 2018, this would've been seen as the final instalment of the series and prior to 2007, probably as the final insult to the franchise as well. There's no denying that this is a bad movie but what's so sad about it, is that it starts off rather well.

The first 15 minutes of this movie are absolutely sublime, following the events of Halloween H20: Twenty Years Later where Laurie Strode (Jamie Lee Curtis) unwittingly killed an innocent man instead of her murderous brother, Michael Myers (Brad Loree) and ends up committed to an asylum where she's been waiting three years for her brother to show up yet again.

Needless to say, Michael wastes no time in making an appearance, killing a few security guards but sparing a serial killer obsessed fellow patient before getting to Laurie. Except Laurie took a few precautions this time and the two of them have a rather volatile encounter on the rooftop, resulting in the death of Laurie Strode. It might have taken the franchise eight movies to actually kill Laurie off but it did it and it felt like a rather suitable exit for her character.

Had the movie ended there, this probably would've been one of the most loved sequels going. Except it began there and following Laurie's death, things were taken back to the Myers residence where a group of kids in an attempt of recreating the success of The Blair Witch Project decide to spend Halloween in the place that gave birth to evil itself.

The group are made up of sensible Sarah (Bianca Kajlich), party girl Jen (Katee Sackhoff), psych major Donna (Daisy McCrackin), chef Rudy (Sean Patrick Thomas) and two other blokes Bill (Thomas Ian Nicholas) and Jim (Luke Kirby) in a series called Dangertainment led by Freddie (Busta Rhymes) and Nora (Tyra Banks) respectively and yeah, they're not the most memorable of characters. There's also Ryan Merriman's nerdy character, Myles who has a crush on Sarah but is overall an ineffectual character.

Granted they're marginally better than the lot we were saddled with in the fifth movie and Sarah certainly is sympathetic enough as a final girl type while the rest of her friends and Nora are glorified fodder which Michael takes his time in picking off one by one but it's Rhymes's Freddie who stands out the most from this cast and not for the right reasons but he does stand out.

Michael has probably had to suffer a lot of indignities in his movie saga but getting his backside handed to him by Freddie and the latter's terrible punning might be the worst he's had to endure and that's not escaping the fact that this is another where Michael is set alight as well. However by the end of this movie, things were being set up for a continuation that was later scuppered by the need to reboot the entire series.

- Rick Rosenthal who directed this movie also helmed Halloween 2 and made an appearance here as Professor Mixter for a brief scene.
- This movie gave us Michael's birthday as October 19th 1957.
- An original title for this movie did include Halloween: The Homecoming.
- Chronology: Halloween 2001 and 2002. This movie was meant to be released on the former date but was delayed by nine months.

Halloween: Resurrection is a mess of a movie and the very reason the movie franchise would sink, garner an awful (but fortunately shortlived) reboot series before getting back on track in 2018. There's very little I can actually recommend about this movie outside the first fifteen minutes. After that, the rest is worth ignoring.

Rating: 4 out of 10

My Review of Doctor Who's 11x03: "Rosa"

Written by Malorie Blackman And Chris Chibnall
Directed by Mark Tonderai

Graham: "I don't want to be a part of this."
The Doctor (re Rosa): "We have to, I'm sorry. We have to not help her."

I had my concerns about this episode before it aired and to be fair, I think a lot of fans did as well. This is an episode that even with the best of intentions had the potential to maybe go wrong and while there are certainly moments that will feel preachy to people, it's also the first episode in this new era that is likely to go down as a classic.

We start with a moment in 1943 Alabama, where seamstress Rosa Parks (Vinette Robinson) is chastised for not getting on the bus in the way that she was told to by a rather horrible bus driver. Twelve years later our current TARDIS arrive in Montgomery and they're delighted to meet Rosa, even though Ryan himself is less familiar on her history compared to everyone else.

The joy soon disappears though when it becomes apparent that there's Artron energy surrounding Rosa and that someone else is also in 1955 and their presence is a less than friendly one. Introducing Krasko - a possible rogue Time Agent and a most definite mass murderer and all round racist, he's popped up in order to nudge history the opposite way around and prevent Rosa from making the profound impact she's made on history for his own pleasure.

As villains go, I don't think this episode actually needed one and I was appreciating the lack of aliens in this episode but I guess Chibnall and Blackman felt another humanoid baddie was essential. I get the feeling that Krasko is potentially being set up as an ongoing threat in Jodie's era and he's suitably nasty enough as Joshua Bowman does his best to give the guy enough menace in his scenes with both the Doctor and Ryan before the latter is outsmarted by Ryan in a rather abrupt way.

As I said, I don't think this episode needed Krasko in it and if he's going to be an ongoing threat, they probably should've picked another one to feature him in. The episode itself had plenty of human monsters as we saw the TARDIS team not only unable to change Rosa's outcome but also forced to witness it first hand in a rather harrowing scene beautifully played by all.

In terms of performances, there isn't a single actor who doesn't put a foot out of place. Three episodes in and Jodie Whittaker just is the Doctor. It's not even up for debate anymore, she just is. Then there are Bradley Walsh, Tosin Cole and Mandip Gill - all three of them were exceptional this episode as both Yasmin and Ryan talked about the racism they've suffered themselves while Graham was reminded about Grace and horrified by having to witness Rosa being manhandled off the bus by James Blake (Trevor White) as the episode ended with the Doctor showing the gang the legacy Rosa has left on the universe. Asteroid 284996, anyone?

As for Vinette Robinson - she did an incredible job as Rosa Parks. Perfectly getting her nuances down to a tee and delivering an emotive performance throughout the entire episode. The guest cast have been strong this series and even though there's eight more episodes to go (including Christmas of course), Robinson is easily the standout guest actor this series. Rosa is not an easy role to get right but Vinette did so with aplomb and definitely deserves all the praise for this performance.

- Vinette Robinson previously played the role of Abi Lerner in the episode 42. Morgan Deare who played Arthur in this episode also appeared in Delta And The Bannerman as Hawk.
- References this week were made about Frank Sinatra, Elvis, Banksy and Steve Jobs. The Doctor and Graham even pretended to be inventors of a smartphone at one point in this episode.
- Krasko is from the 79th Century and was a prisoner in Stormcage until a neural restrictor was implanted in his head. He must have met River at some point, yeah?
- I didn't expect the cameo appearance from Martin Luther King (Ray Sesay) but I loved Ryan's reaction to meeting him as well as the mention of Emmett Till as well.
- Standout music: Andra Day's Rise Up, which was an incredible way to end the episode.
- Chronology: December 1st 1955 Alabama. Next week, though back to 2018 Sheffield.

Considering two major news items in the media this week, the timing for Rosa as an episode couldn't have been more spot on. I did worry about this episode potentially but my fears were alleviated. This was an incredible tour de force in terms of writing and acting from everyone concerned. This will undoubtedly go down as a classic episode and it's an honour that's deservedly so. Incredible.

Rating: 10 out of 10

Saturday, October 20, 2018

My Review of Halloween H20: Twenty Year Later (1998)

Written by Robert Zappia & Matt Greenberg
Directed by Steve Miner

Norma Watson: "Oh. Miss Tate. I didn't mean to make you jump. It's Halloween. I guess everyone's entitled to one good scare."
Laurie Strode: "I've had my share."

With an absence of four movies, having Jamie Lee Curtis reprise her iconic role of Laurie Strode for the seventh edition of the franchise along with the celebration of it being twenty years since the original always felt right. This movie has not exactly aged as brilliantly as it could've done but as a sequel, it's a step up from the misguided previous two we've had.

In the two decades since her terrifying first encounter with Michael Myers (Chris Durand), Laurie has left Haddonfield, faked her death and now has become a headmistress at a posh school in California under the name of Keri Tate, while also having a fractured relationship with her son, John (Josh Hartnett). Forget about Jamie because this movie effectively decides to ignore everything from movies 3-6 as Laurie stresses over her brother coming back to haunt her on a certain day.

It's interesting to see that Laurie has struggled to cope with her encounter with Michael to the point where even her son begins to rebel against her hold while boyfriend Will Brennan (Adam Arkin) is drawn to her "bullshit", so it doesn't serve as much of a shocker when he's one of a few people in this movie to end up a casualty of Michael's latest reign of terror.

We've moved on from creepy cults to Michael simply tracking down nurse Marion (Nancy Stephens) and killing her along with two teenage lads in his pursuit of his sister while John, his girlfriend Molly (Michelle Williams) and their friends Charlie (Adam Hann-Byrd) and Sarah (Jodi Lyn O'Keefe) find themselves under threat by the knife wielding, heavy breathing maniac along with LL Cool J's affable, erotica writing security guard, Ronnie.

The kills in this movie aren't quite spectacular as we've had even in the most divisive of sequels and the main highlight of course is the reunion between Michael and Laurie, which we do have to wait nearly towards the end of the movie to properly see but it's certainly worth seeing the two of them square off each other again. As for the ending, well, given what happens in the next movie, Laurie really should learn to take a proper look before swinging the axe.

As for the cast - they're a solid bunch, with both Hartnett and Williams making sure that John and Molly are rootable as characters while LL Cool J's Ronnie is a delight in the movie. I even like the use of Marion at the start of the movie to further tie things back to the first movie as she serves as a proxy for the deceased Dr Loomis (Donald Pleasence). Will is probably the weakest character of the bunch but is also relatively inoffensive.

- Loved the use of Jamie Lee Curtis's real life mother, Janet Leigh as secretary Norma Watson. The use of music from Psycho was also a nice little touch.
- Both Molly and Sarah are watching Scream 2. Kevin Williamson contributed to this movie, though he's not credited for it.
- Nice use of Mr Sandman in this movie. Just one more movie will tap into that song for it's potential.
- This was the first of four movies not released during the month of October. Luckily the new movie bucks that particular trend.

Halloween H20: Twenty Years Later is one of the stronger sequels we've had in the franchise. It's not perfect and a part of me wishes that things had been put on hold here, so we would've been spared the next three movies but for a return of Laurie Strode, it's pretty solid nonetheless and feels rather stripped back compared to what will come after it.

Rating: 7 out of 10

My Review of Titans 1x02: "Hawk & Dove"

Written by Akiva Goldsmith
Directed by Brad Anderson

Dawn (to Dick): "You weren't kidding about having changed. I've never seen you like that before."

Without sounding like a prude, but two episodes in and this show has a serious problem with it's violence. I thought it may be was the first episode trying to show off a little by making sure people didn't confuse it for a certain cartoon but with the absences of two members this week and the introduction of two others, this one went overboard.

First of all - Hank Hall has a potty mouth on him so big that he'd fill several swear jars in one night. I get from the character descriptions that Alan Ritchson is playing the guy otherwise known as Hawk as a bit of a brawler but surely a little bit of charm wouldn't go a miss either. Costume wise, Hawk looks great. As a hero, he's absolutely terrible.

In this episode alone, he gets the crap kicked out of him, he's strung up, shot at, choked, knocked out and nearly castrated twice in the episode before he's rescued by his more sympathetic significant other Dawn Grainger/Dove (Minka Kelly) and Robin towards the end of this episode before things go to shit yet again for everyone else involved.

I could've done without the love triangle between Dick, Dawn and Hank in this episode and the macho posturing of both male characters but I will admit that at least Dawn was the better developed and engaging of the duo, so I'm hoping that this episode didn't needlessly kill her off for no good reason as Rachel got captured yet again. I swear if that keeps happening, it's going to get tedious pretty fast.

Speaking of Rachel - she worked well with Dick, Dawn and Hank and the exploration into her powers is interesting enough as she's struggling to come to grips with them. Saying that though, it would've been nice had her powers come into actual use when that creepy family of cult members/assassins kidnapped her at the end of this episode.

I do wonder if every week it's going to be some other weirdo/es coming after Rachel while at the same time we're drip fed hints as to how Dick has changed and what exactly fractured his relationship with Bruce. There was a nice shout out to Alfred in this episode, which sadly didn't lead to an actual episode appearance but I'll take what I can get there.

- Aside from Dawn, I do hope that bunch of weirdos also didn't kill off Amy this week. The morgue guy Charlie was pretty amusing. I hope we see him again.
- There was a picture of Dick, Hank and Dawn with Donna Troy. We'll be meeting the latter in a later episode this season. I also found Rachel watching Game Of Thrones pretty funny.
- No Beast Boy or Starfire in this episode, which somewhat surprised me.
- Chronology: From where the opening episode left off. Hank and Dawn have also been together for at least four years, possibly longer.

Hawk & Dove went overboard on the violence and swearing (I did not need to see Robin gouge someone's eye out) and it's title guest characters certainly need work, especially if there are plans to give them a spin-off in the near future. In general though, the show needs to lighten itself up by a lot as it's not pulling off the grittiness it thinks it can do.

Rating: 6 out of 10

Friday, October 19, 2018

My Review of Halloween: The Curse Of Michael Myers (1995)

Written by Daniel Farrands
Directed by Joe Chappelle

Tommy (re Michael Myers): "If there's one thing I know, you can't control evil. You can lock it up, burn it, and bury it, and pray that it dies, but it never will. It just... rests awhile. You can lock your doors, and say your prayers, but the evil is out there... waiting. And maybe, just maybe... it's closer than you think!"

If ever there was a movie in this franchise so marred by everything, it would be this. It went through so many rewrites and behind the scenes disaster, it's actually a miracle the bloody thing ever saw the light of day to begin with. Saying that, there are probably some fans who wished it never did. I am not one of them, though that doesn't mean I don't have my own issues with this film.

Before going any further, I am reviewing what was released in cinemas and not the producer's cut and now that I have that bit out of the way, let's proceed, shall we? It's been six years since the event of the fifth film and both Michael Myers (George P. Wilbur) and Jamie Lloyd (JC Brandy) have been missing. Except they haven't really as we quickly learn that the Creepy Cult of Thorn have been keeping both prisoner for that amount of time.

The movie begins with a captive Jamie giving birth to Michael's baby, who later will be called Stephen as the Cult want to maintain Michael's killer bloodline while a compassionate nurse helps Jamie to escape only for the latter to get a grisly death from her uncle but not before managing to hide baby Stephen away from his father/grand uncle and that freaking awful Cult.

The baby however is found by a grown up Tommy Doyle, now with brown hair, played by Paul Rudd and exhibiting a similar fixation on Michael akin to Dr Loomis (Donald Pleasence), who more or less does his best to protect the kid from both Michael and the Thorn with Loomis's help while also getting involved with the other Strode family of the movie.

Nicely trying to tie things back to the original movie in a way, the other Strodes have moved into the Myers family and they're comprised of abusive father John (Bradford English), put upon wife Debra (Kim Darby), college student, Tim (Keith Bogarth) and estranged daughter, Kara (Marianne Hagan) and her son, Danny (Devin Gardner). There's an entire story with Danny in this movie that is completely abandoned as it's implied that he too might be a future mass murderer in the making, which leads to a big problem with this movie.

Choppy editing and a rushed ending, the biggest problem is that there are too many elements here to deal with. Danny's story is abandoned while the cult focus on kidnapping our main players as Michael goes around killing Wynn's (Mitchell Ryan) acolytes off one by one while things end on the note that Loomis himself, in a far more subdued role compared to previous outings might also be tied into the Thorn cult whether he likes it or not.

Still though, in spite of the many problems this movie evidently has, it's still watchable in most parts. Tommy and Kara are charming enough protagonists and most of the supporting characters, including Tim's girlfriend Beth and a radio host named Barry are better utilised compared to any of the characters the previous movie had and Michael gets in at least one or two rather gruesome kills, so there's that at least working in it's favour.

- This movie dropped the numbering as well as the pumpkin style openings. I miss those to be honest from the later movies as well.
- George P. Wilbur along with Nick Castle and Tyler Mane are now in the exclusive club of being the only actors to have played Michael Myers in two movies each.
- Other titles for the movie included The Origin Of Michael Myers but the one they went with was a nice commentary on the chaos they had making this one.
- Donald Pleasence passed away shortly after this film was made.

I don't hate The Curse Of Michael Myers and within the review, I did point out the positives I found with it but it's so easy to see why so many other fans loathed this one. It's undeniably a mess to watch and the cult stuff (along with that awful pronunciation of Samhain) simply doesn't work but there are three worse movies on the horizon, so I'm willing to cut this one some slack.

Rating: 6 out of 10

My Review of How To Get Away With Murder's 5x04: "It's Her Kid"

Written by Maisha Closson
Directed by Cherie Nowlan

Annalise (to Nate, re Bonnie): "She had the baby when she was fifteen. Her father said it was dead."

Except, it's not and now it seems like there's two possible outcomes for who Bonnie's kid might. That kid shooting up heroin that Julie was castigating while Nate was spying on her and of course, Gabriel who finally seems to have Bonnie in his crosshairs. Either way, it's time to get on with it and let us know for certain who Bonnie's son actually is.

Right now, I'm still convinced it's Gabriel and that the other guy we briefly saw in this episode is just a red herring but knowing this show, it could be the exact opposite of what I'm thinking. On the plus side, at least Bonnie is now aware that Nate has been digging into her past, due to Annalise being honest with her former right hand woman and of course, going by the trailer for next week, it looks like Bonnie might not take that so well.

This episode also cemented her relationship with Roland as the latter has now officially become her boss as well as her boyfriend. I like Roland enough as a character and the show is shaping him up to be a decent man, but at the same time, I still think he's the dead body in spite of this week potentially hinting at some danger for Nate during the wedding. Why does Bonnie have his phone in the flash forwards and where is Oliver as well?

Speaking of Oliver, it was interesting seeing him and Frank come to blows (not physical ones though) over hacking Gabriel but I wasn't surprised in the slightest that Frank got Otis to hack Oliver too and to be honest, Oliver shouldn't have been either. However the hacking of Gabriel also managed to bring out the worst in Connor too this week.

I can see why Connor might have been curious as to why Annalise picked him and I can almost understand him blowing up at her too but whatever it was, they clearly are going to make up before the former's wedding though. Hopefully by next week, we also get an insight as to why Annalise chose Connor to be in her inner circle as well.

As for the main case of the week - I totally did not blame Annalise for losing her temper when that woman touched her hair but I also loved Tegan taking control of the case and forcing Michaela to do some grunt work as well. While Michaela does need to dial her fixation on Tegan down a bit, at least the latter seems to be disliking her just that tiny bit less.

As for Asher - this season really is struggling with him a lot as a character. He can get some great moments where he talks about his loneliness to Bonnie or organising Connor and Oliver's wedding but then there are tedious scenes where he's sniping at Michaela, Gabriel and Annalise. I really hope the rest of the season sorts this out with the character. Also, Asher is still missing in the flash forwards.

- Does the show plan to go anywhere romantically with either Laurel/Gabriel or Annalise/Tegan? I don't care about the former but the latter definitely seems more interesting.
- We did learn that Michaela used to work in a burger joint where she was a manager for a time.
- Nate's father will now go to a mental institution if Annalise's insanity plea is a success.
- Chronology: A month and a half before the big day.

It's Her Kid felt like it was treading water, episode. No big reveals in the flash forwards beyond Bonnie having Nate's phone and Annalise crying in her apartment but to me, those feel like a red herring. I do feel they need to get the identity of Bonnie's kid out of the way and hopefully soon now.

Rating: 6 out of 10

Thursday, October 18, 2018

My Review of American Horror Story: Apocalypse - Return To Murder House

Written by Crystal Liu
Directed by Sarah Paulson

Constance (to Madison): "I'm Constance Langdon and this is my fucking house."

For the last three episodes, it's been all about the Coven side of the crossover but it's time for the Murder House to come back out to play in an episode where a fair chunk of favourites from the first season return as Madison and Behold go looking for answers in relation to Michael Langdon and what they find out, we already knew but they're certainly shocked themselves to learn.

I'm going to be controversial here and point out that Constance Langdon isn't strictly a favourite character of mine but having Jessica Lange back after a four year absence from the show and in her original role actually worked a treat as Constance was her usual chain smoking, whiskey drinking self, reluctant to share any information with Madison and Behold until Moira was finally gone from the house altogether.

This episode wrapped up Moira's arc in an interesting way as her bones were dug and buried in the graveyard with her mother. It was a nice ending for the character, though I will miss the rivalry between herself and Constance. Still, at least by getting rid of the help, Constance finally opened up about being a (bad) mother and raising her grandson.

Nothing in Michael's childhood flashbacks were really that shocking. In fact, they were all pretty textbook garden variety serial killer bit except for when he aged a decade and his malevolence was enough to make Constance commit suicide in the murder house to get away from him, once and for all.

What was interesting was the influence other first season characters had on him. Violet had no relationship with him while Tate seemed disgusted by Michael's dark side. Ben tried his hardest to be a surrogate father to Michael but couldn't quell the latter's bloodlust or ability to send people's souls to hell while Vivian's later attempts to kill him failed but even then she waited too late as Michael fell under the influence of a Satanist group.

Michael being the antichrist is hardly shocking, we've known this for a long time but Madison and Behold's reaction was pretty great to see. As a team, both Emma Roberts and Billy Porter played off each other rather well and I liked the episode's attempt of humanising Madison a lot more even if I'm a little iffy on her role in reuniting both Tate and Violet but the shippers for that particular pairing are probably doing a victory dance right now.

- As well as directing the episode, Sarah Paulson also reprised her role as Billie Dean Howard and looked more like the character than her appearance in Hotel for certain. We also got to see Constance's other children and the Black Dahlia to boot.
- A lot of absences this episode even though technically the only regulars missing were Leslie Grossman, Cheyenne Jackson, Billie Lourd and Adina Porter. Naomi Grossman (Pepper) also played a Satanist in this one.
- The longest episode we've had so far this season, which seemed apt considering the previous episode was the shortest one.
- Chronology: From where the previous episode left off as Madison and Behold posed as a married couple to buy the murder house.

Return To Murder House is definitely a season highlight. One of the best episodes going, it gave further closure on storylines from the first season while at the same time, getting some of our current players up to speed on how big a problem Michael actually is. Sarah Paulson did a fantastic job directing, the returns were brilliant and the double act with Madison and Behold was an unexpected delight.

Rating: 10 out of 10

Wednesday, October 17, 2018

My Review of Halloween 5: The Revenge Of Michael Myers (1989)

Written by Michael Jacobs & Dominique Othenin-Girard & Shem Bitterman
Directed by Dominique Othenin-Girard

Loomis: "Michael, it will destroy you, too. One day, Michael, this rage which drives you... You think if you kill them all it will go away. It won't. You have to fight it in the place where it's strongest. Where it all began! If you want to get rid of this rage, Michael, go home. Go home! Go to your house, I shall be there waiting for you. You'll find her waiting for you."

With Halloween 4: The Return Of Michael Myers giving the franchise the shot in the arm it needed, you can see why the writers might have felt like they were riding the wave of invigorating the franchise but with this movie, the spiral downwards started to form and with arguably worse movies on the horizon, there's still no denying this is where things were beginning to go south.

Somewhat retconning the ending of the previous movie, it seems that Jamie Lloyd (Danielle Harris) didn't kill her adoptive mother in the first place but that the latter survived and was largely offscreen while the former was now a mute in a hospital being screamed at by Dr Loomis (Donald Pleasence) while also having a psychic connection with her murderous uncle (Don Shanks), who has spent the last year recuperating before resuming his murderous spree.

Of all the movies to feature Loomis, this one is by far the worst of the bunch with his incessant berating and recklessness regarding Michael Myers ramped up to several annoying notches as he endangers more people than he actually saves this time, as well as including a brazen desire to actually use Jamie as bait in order to stop (well, fail to) Michael once and for all by bringing everything back to the Myers house for another bloody showdown between uncle and niece.

It's a shame that this movie seemingly abandoned the idea of a darker Jamie Lloyd but the character is still sympathetic enough in her second outing with Harris putting in another solid performance. Another big shame is the quick disposal of big sister, Rachel (Ellie Cornell), who I definitely liked in the previous movie.

It's a shame because we're left with Rachel's best friend, Tina (Wendy Kaplan), who is one of the worst and poorly acted final girls we've seen in this franchise and is ultimately pretty useless and insipid to watch along with her just as vacuous and easily dispatched of friends/boyfriend to boot. I'm not even going to bother with their names because they're genuinely that unengaging as characters to watch.

This movie frustratingly doesn't know how to utilise it's mostly new cast. A little boy named Billy (Jeffrey Landman) is randomly forgotten about at one point and then there's Michael himself. After three previous appearances of being a homicidal maniac, this movie sets him up with a mystery tattoo that is then weirdly explored in the next movie but other than that, he feels like he's on autopilot at times. There's a nice moment where it seems like Jamie gets through to him and the final shot is suitably bleak but other than that, it's not his most memorable of movies.

- This was the last sequel movie to feature the exact numbering, a pumpkin in the opening credits and was overall the lowest grossing movie of the franchise.
- Don Shanks had to have a new mask made for him for this movie as the one from the previous movie didn't fit.
- The original script was going to have Jamie as a dual antagonist and I would've loved to have seen that.
- Chronology: Exactly a year after the events of the previous movie.

Halloween 5: The Revenge Of Michael Myers is largely a mess of a movie that squanders the reboot that the fourth movie had previous given fans of the franchise. The new cast are either dreadful or wasted, Loomis is annoying as fuck, Jamie while engaging might have been more fun as a baddie and Myers is on autopilot. Saying that, it's still better than at least three other future movies, on a par with the next movie and somewhat behind on the one after that. Frustrating though.

Rating: 6 out of 10

Monday, October 15, 2018

My Review of Doctor Who's 11x02: "The Ghost Monument"

Written by Chris Chibnall
Directed by Mark Tonderai

The Doctor (to the TARDIS): "You've redecorated. I really like it."

Ah, the difficult second episode. After reeling viewers in (including the ones like myself who were hesitant about such a big change) with a strong opening episode, does the second one fall at the first hurtle or is it another astonishing victory? Hard to say really.

It's the episode which does see our current Doctor and friends embarked on their first space adventure as the Doctor and Yasmin end up in the ship of surly so and so Epzo (Shaun Dooley) while Ryan and Graham then end up on the ship on the more welcoming Angstrom (Susan Lynch), who in particular finds Ryan rather amusing.

Our guest characters of the week are taking part in some space race for survival (and enough credits to live a comfortable life by) courtesy of Ilin (Art Malik) on a rather desolate planet appropriately named Desolation. Being the last two competitors in the race because I assumed everyone else died off ages ago, they now have to work together with the Doctor and her friends tagging along for company.

If the previous episode looked a little sparse in terms of settings, I assume it was because the money clearly went towards this episode instead. Desolation is a sunny (three of them in fact) planet, that manages to be toxic on every level, which means even drinking the water is a big no no here.

Of course, the race itself isn't really that interesting. It's more the destination and the fact that the title refers to the TARDIS, which just about every viewer would've deduced before it was spelled out. Seeing the Doctor, Ryan, Yasmin and Graham work together with Epzo and Angstrom to get to the TARDIS was diverting enough especially as the latter two actually put their rivalry to one side and even managed to become joint winners, much to Ilin's chagrin.

Getting back to the main team though, it's nice to see things move along nicely. The Doctor has a moment of self doubt over the TARDIS not being there and Ryan, Yasmin and Graham are supportive while also their handiness in a crisis as well during the episode. We do get a moment where the Doctor lectures Ryan on guns being bad but thankfully it's a moment that's not too drawn out though.

The monsters themselves though is where the episode loses points. Two episodes in and none of the new monsters have felt really threatening here. Ilin is mostly a pompous hologram, the SniperBots which even I mistook for potential Judoon are barely intimidating and the cloth like Remnants are taken out by a cigar of all things. On the monster front, Chibnall is going to have to up his game big time here.

As for the TARDIS itself - it looked ghastly in the set pics that were leaked months ago but it translated somewhat better on screen. We've had better looking interiors but it's decent enough, plus the reactions from our current cast did help to sell it a bit more. As for the biscuit thing, I'd want more than a custard cream if I'm being honest. Fig roll anyone?

- We got the opening credits and they look great
- The order of the titles are Jodie Whittaker, Bradley Walsh, Mandip Gill and Tosin Cole.
- Character bits: Yasmin's dad drives her bananas and her sister wants her to move out to get her room, Epzo's mother let him fall out of a tree without catching him as a child and Angstrom had a wife. Oh and the Doctor showed us she hasn't forgotten her Venusian Aikido either.
- Looks like both the Stenza (main baddies from last week) and the Timeless Child are our series arc this time around.
- This episode has so far pulled in 7.1 million, so not a massive drop from last week then.
- Nice references to both Audrey Hepburn and Pythagoras in this episode. I wouldn't mind seeing either in a future one.
- Chronology: From where The Woman Who Fell To Earth left off.

The Ghost Monument might have lacked some strong monsters but it utilised it's guest cast well enough while also giving our main players enough to do as well. While I would've preferred seeing the opening credits and new TARDIS in the previous episode, at least this episode gave us both and did it well. This episode ain't a classic and was pretty talky in parts but it's a solid enough romp.

Rating: 7 out of 10

Saturday, October 13, 2018

My Review of Titans 1x01: "Titans"

Written by Akiva Goldsman & Geoff Johns & Greg Berlanti
Directed by Brad Anderson

Rachel: "My mom says there's no such thing as monsters. I think she was wrong."

And here we are. A month since their launch, the main selling point of DC Universe was going to be their own original content and with four live action shows in various stages of production, it was time to see if the first one could cut the mustard. Enter Titans.

This opening episode introduces us to a young goth girl named Rachel Roth (Teagan Croft) whom her mother seems to be afraid of and for good reason as Rachel might have a bit of a demon working with her. There's also the fact that Rachel's mother isn't actually her mother, is killed off a little too quickly and Rachel is forced to head to Detroit in order to avoid a creepy man that seemingly needs her dark powers for his own reasons.

Taking the action to Detroit also means the addition of Dick Grayson (Brenton Thwaites) into the mix where he's attempting to forget his past and do his job as detective, which also manages to annoy his new partner, Amy (Lindsay Gort) for good measure, though they do seem to come to an understanding as the episode progresses.

What's interesting is that while Dick seems to want to get away from his past, he also has no problem donning the Robin costume and beating the shit out of some nasty blokes. The "Fuck Batman" lines which has been made into an excessive meme is surprisingly less jarring on screen than it was in the trailer but the episode in itself does seem to go overboard with the swearing at times in some misguided attempt to appear gritty.

The opening episode is certainly dark in places, mainly with the implications of Rachel's demonic powers and the various people trying to get to her as well. Another person we can add into the mix is Starfire herself (Anna Diop) or simply Kory Anders, who has been looking for Rachel and wasted no time in incinerating some more generic looking and sounding baddies as she grew close to her search for the girl.

The main focus of the episode is Dick and Rachel as the former did initially seem reluctant to help the latter (who also had visions of the Grayson family deaths) but by the end of this episode, it seemed apparent that Dick was willing to look out for Rachel while also being a little perturbed by her abilities.

As for Beast Boy (Ryan Potter) - his appearance came towards the end of the episode but it was a rather amusing one as he morphed into a tiger in order to steal a video game. Given the dark tone of this episode, it was a nice little note to end the episode on but hopefully it won't take too long for both him and Kory to catch up with Dick and Rachel.

- The logo for the show managed to show all four of our main characters. DC Universe are releasing the episodes weekly, while UK viewers will get the series on Netflix.
- Kory was in Vienna while Gar was in Ohio. They should be in Detroit by next episode.
- Standout music: Heaven Must Be Missing An Angel certainly got put to good use in this episode.
- Chronology: I'm going to assume it's 2018. Dick has been in Detroit for over a year.

Titans isn't the strongest pilot episode we've had and it definitely did feel like it was trying too hard to be too dark in parts. On the other hand, the cast are solid and engaging, the fight scenes look great as does the cinematography. Overall, the series has potential.

Rating: 7 out of 10

My Review of How To Get Away With Murder's 5x03: "The Baby Was Never Dead"

Written by Erika Harrison
Directed by Valerie Weiss

Connor (to everyone): "Anyone seen my husband?"

And we can cross Connor off the list right, just leaving the seemingly missing Oliver, Asher, Tegan and Gabriel to be accounted. Given Michaela's gloomy look at Bonnie, she clearly seems to think the latter might have done something to Oliver. Of course that's not the only thing that we have to worry about with Bonnie this week.

Now we know she's got an older sister and I get the sneaking suspicion that fired nurse that Nate conversed with in this episode will probably be her. It does seem a little cliched but it'll be interesting to see how Bonnie interacts with another family member, considering the flash forwards and her current ongoing relationship with Roland, which nearly came undone this week as well.

Asher's meddling this week was somewhat annoying. When he wasn't trying to sabotage Annalise's case of the week, he also told Roland about his previous relationship with Bonnie, which did put the break on things momentarily before Roland showed his own acceptance of Bonnie and her murky past. I like that the show is making him a genuinely sympathetic character, even if I don't predict things ending well for him.

Speaking of the case of the week - it was another interesting one with an obnoxious CEO going to prison for the death of his former business partner because he loved his wife enough to not let her get sent down for the crime. The case certainly seemed to thaw the hostility with Annalise and Tegan and there was a hint of misconduct from Emmett when he was in London, which I'm intrigued enough to learn about I guess.

As for the rest of the episode - Frank upped his stalking of Gabriel as the latter got more integrated with the Keating 4. I got the sense that the writers were potentially setting up a future hook up with Gabriel and Laurel while thankfully also avoiding a potential one with Frank and Michaela as the two briefly bonded towards the end of this episode.

- Any guesses on who attacked Connor? He did seem rather shifty during that brief scene.
- How long will it be before Gabriel moves in with the Keating 4? I'm also guessing that nurse is his "mom". I like that Christopher also laughs for Annalise all the time. Maybe Laurel just isn't funny after all.
- I could see a potential hook up with Annalise and Tegan, unless they plan to go there with the latter and Michaela, who really does seem too fixated on Tegan.
- Chronology: Two months until the wedding night from hell.

The Baby Was Never Dead is a strong enough episode, helped by an interesting case of the week but I do feel they need to get on with telling us what Gabriel is up and do it fast. Other than that, I am liking the build up towards Connor and Oliver's wedding though.

Rating: 7 out of 10

Thursday, October 11, 2018

My Review of American Horror Story: Apocalypse - Boy Wonder

Written by John J. Gray
Directed by Gwyneth Horder-Payton

Cordelia (re Michael): "That boy will never be Supreme."

You could say that along with the misogyny with the warlocks, the misandry with the witches is just as bad and perhaps this whole battle of the sexes for supremacy between both groups is probably what will push the apocalypse onto things. It's also very likely to be true.

In this episode, both groups seem to up their hostility with one another as Cordelia reluctantly agrees to allow Michael to perform the seven wonders in order to ascend to a level no other Warlock has ever managed to do before. The Seven Wonders are easy for Michael to do, so Cordelia added the extra caveat of having Michael get Misty out of hell, which he also managed to do with relative ease, forcing Cordelia to accept him as her eventual successor.

Of course, while Misty was perceptive enough to spot the evil within Michael and instinctively fear it, Cordelia also revealed that she's using Michael for her own ends as well. Determined not to allow hubris to best her, Cordelia's long game plan seems to involve keeping Michael as close to her as possible and it doesn't seem to be much of a shocker that he might have figured that out himself.

I did like that by the end of the episode, Cordelia managed to get both Madison and Behold on board to take a trip to a certain house for next week's episode. This pairing is interesting, given that Madison did feel excluded from the Coven and that Behold had previously tried to stop John from seeking out Cordelia.

It does seem to be a splinter with the Warlocks in regards to Michael. Ariel seems blinded by the idea of Michael succeeding Cordelia that he aligned with Ms Meade in order to stop John from causing trouble and while Behold accused John of jealousy, it didn't stop him from wanting to work with Cordelia and Madison at the end of this episode. I guess it'll be interesting to see where Baldwin stands by the end of this one in relation to Michael.

As for the rest of the episode, we got our Stevie Nicks appearances and sing song moment to celebrate Misty's return, Myrtle tried to advise Cordelia against letting Michael perform the seven wonders, Queenie and Zoe were just kind of there while Mallory was clearly growing in her powers and Coco didn't really believe that she had any. That said, while I'm loving the witches vs. warlock stuff, we are going to have to get back to the present day at some point though. 

- No Venable, Gallant, Dinah, Andre, Timothy or Emily this week. Next week though, a few people from the first season are back though.
- When the Blood Moon got mentioned, I did think maybe we were going to see something or someone from Roanoke in this episode.
- Standout music was Stevie Nicks Gypsy. Loved the performance in the bunker of that song.
- Chronology: From where Could It Be Satan left off.  

Though not as strong as the incredible previous episode and partly annoying for the quick way of disposing of John, whom I was liking as a character, Boy Wonder did do a great job of upping the game with Cordelia and Michael while also adding Misty back into the mix. 

Rating: 8 out of 10

Monday, October 08, 2018

My Review of Doctor Who's 11x01: "The Woman Who Fell To Earth"

Written by Chris Chibnall
Directed by Jamie Childs

The Doctor (to Tim Shaw): "We're all capable of the most incredible change. We can evolve, whilst staying true to who we are. We can honour who we've been and choose who we want to be next."

With that line, I think the show found a more succinct way of acknowledge the change in gender of the Doctor than the It's About Time tagline that's made up the marketing in the last few months. It's not a line that will win points for subtlety but it's a good way of telling audience that change isn't bad and that it's still the same show we've all loved for the last 55 years.

There was a lot riding on this debut episode for Jodie Whittaker to make her mark and to make it a good one. It's not an episode without it's flaws and it's not going to be my overall favourite debut story for a Doctor but everything it needed to do, it succeeded in doing pretty damn well if I'm being candid.

The Doctor herself - Jodie Whittaker is the Doctor. There's no denying it after this episode. She gets the role and honours the fine men who have come before her as the mischievous Time Lord of Gallifrey while at the same time, very much making the role her own as well. It's not an easy feat and there's 10 episodes left to go (including this year's Christmas special) but she's off to a flying start.

Stranded without a TARDIS in the middle of Sheffield, the Doctor doesn't overextend her post regeneration crisis but the effects are still felt as she's on the hunt for an alien menace named Tim Shaw or Tzim-Sha (Samuel Oatley), who has come to Earth for a hunt of his own with unfortunate crane operator Karl (Johnny Dixon) being the target in question.

Monster wise, we've had better looking/more menacing ones but Tzim-Sha did serve as an adequate enough opening menace, even if parts of his story are clearly Predator influenced along with a sinister take on the Tooth Fairy for good measure. His methods of kills are surprisingly gritty in parts and the use of DNA bombs was pretty clever, even when the Doctor managed to turn it on him along with Karl making his own decision to deal with the baddie after the Doctor neutralised the threat.

As for the companions - well, we've got three of them and they're pretty well defined in this opening episode. The focus is primarily on warehouse worker, Ryan Sinclair (Tosin Cole), a dyspraxia sufferer who along with his grandmother Grace (Sharon D. Clarke), her second husband/retired bus driver, Graham O'Brien (Bradley Walsh) and police officer, Yasmin Khan (Mandip Gill) are the ones to get caught up in the Doctor's crazy world.

The lot of them are thoroughly engaging characters with a natural rapport with one another and with the Doctor. It's easy to see how this lot work as a team and when Grace tragically dies during the defeat of the main baddie, it's an actual gut punch. I genuinely thought she was going to be a recurring this series and was surprised to see bumped off so early as well. I also loved that this Doctor also went to Grace's funeral as well as Ryan, Yasmin and Graham not holding her responsible for what happened to Grace.

As for the costume bit - you really can't beat a good charity shop. It was a good way to see Whittaker gets her outfit and the end scene where all our regulars wound up in deep space during a botched attempt to locate the TARDIS was a nice cliffhanger moment. I know the format for this series is going to be standalone with no two parters but I do wonder if every episode might have a cliffhanger leading into the next one. It could be a fun thing to do. As for the TARDIS, I really do hope it's located next episode. I don't want to wait that long to see what it looks like.

- We didn't see the opening credits but the closing ones were stunning with new composer Segun Akinola evoking some 60's theme music for good measure.
- The next time trailer gave us an impressive list of upcoming guests to look forward to over the next nine weeks as well as a trailer for The Ghost Monument.
- 8.2 million overnights so far, proving that audiences are clearly fine with a female Doctor and that moving the show to a Sunday night was the right thing to do.
- Character bits: Ryan wants to be mechanic, can't ride a bike and is a vlogger, Graham had cancer/is in remission and was married to Grace for three years. We didn't learn anything about Yasmin's family but I assume we will pretty soon. Not to mention poor Rahul (Amit Shah) whose attempts to save his sister resulted in a brutal death by Tzim-Sha.
- Like The Day Of The Doctor, this episode was also a simulcast event. The new cinematic look really highlights certain scenes, more so the day time ones.
- Chronology: September 2018. There was a moment where a drunk guy when he wasn't flinging his salad at the main baddie mentioned that Halloween was a month away.

The Woman Who Fell To Earth is a rather strong opening episode for the Thirteenth Doctor. Is it the best opening episode for a Doctor? Maybe not, but it's certainly one of the most important and while the monster could've been a little better, it doesn't detract from the fact that the episode succeeded in doing everything it needed to do while also captivating casual viewers. I'd say we're off to a good start, am I right?

Rating: 8 out of 10