Saturday, November 30, 2019

My Review of Harley Quinn's 1x01: "Til Death Do Us Part"

Written by Dean Lorey & Justin Halpern & Patrick Schumacker
Directed by Juan Meza-Leon

Joker: "Just say the word and I'll call it off."
Harley: "Til death do us part."
Joker: "Fine, kill her."

I can't believe it's been an entire year since this actual show was announced but between two seasons of Titans and a season each of Doom Patrol and Swamp Thing (RIP), it's time for animated Harley Quinn to come up and seriously fuck up the place and I promise the swearing will not be a regular thing in these reviews.

However the swearing and cartoonish violence will absolutely be a thing with this 13 part series from DC Universe as our titular and aspiring criminal mastermind Harley Quinn (Kaley Cuoco) tired of being the Joker's (Alan Tudyk) sidepiece wants to join the Legion of Doom. Unfortunately for her, she just ends up getting arrested by Batman (Diedrich Bader), berated by Commissioner Gordon (Christopher Meloni) and sent to Arkham for a year.

Waiting for the Joker to break her out of the joint, it's up to both Poison Ivy (Lake Bell) and the Riddler (Jim Rash) to come up with a wonderfully OTT way of proving to Harley that the Joker doesn't love her and will always choose Batman over her to boot.

On the plus side, their plan is a massive success and Harley properly breaks up with her Puddin' by trashing his place, killing most of his lackeys and leaving him alive so he can be around to witness her taking over Gotham during the course of the series.

Now we've had deconstructions of the toxicity of the Joker/Harley pairing for years that it doesn't feel like you can really say anything new on the matter. It's usually come from Poison Ivy and while the show doesn't seem to be going down the romantic path with her and Harley just yet (maybe in Season 2 perhaps?), this episode did it in such a fun way along with the gentle reminder that Ivy really does care about her maniacal best friend/sometimes girlfriend to boot.

Cuoco is on great form as Harley Quinn throughout this episode as Harley slowly came to the realisation of having to get away from the Joker but I absolutely loved Lake Bell's portrayal of Poison Ivy. The sardonic, pithy comments from Ivy are going to be a delight to watch while the likes of Rash, Tudyk, Bader and Meloni all pulled in some decent performances as well.

With Harley aspiring to join the Legion of Doom, there's a solid story arc for the season and with the slew of characters we're going to be meeting over the next few weeks, her mission is definitely going to be highly amusing as the Joker severely underestimated her. He might wish he killed her after all by the end of this one.

- Love the change of music for the opening sequence with the usual DC Universe characters for this episode.
- Another noteworthy character was Frank the Plant (J.B. Smoove). We also saw the likes of Killer Croc, Man Bat and Calender Man in Arkham and was that newsguy meant to be Jack Ryder?
- Ivy mused about a former ex-boyfriend of her own in Arkham. The show has also confirmed that she'll be paired with Kite Man later on in the series.
- Chronology: Let's assume it's 2019, shall we? Unless the show later specifies a time date.

Til Death Do Us Part is a pretty fun opening episode. This show definitely seems to be drawing a lot from some of the recent Harley comics and with Birds Of Prey around the corner, fans of Miss Quinzel are definitely eating well at the moment. While the swearing and excess violence might not be for everyone (I could've done without Harley implying that Batman fucks bats), I'll be sticking with this show for the whole season.

Rating: 8 out of 10

My Review of Titans 2x13: "Nightwing"

Written by Richard Hatem & Greg Walker
Directed by Carol Banker

Dick: "What's next for us all, I don't know. It's a million dollar question. Anyway, to Donna Troy. Thanks for giving me a second chance at family and thanks to you guys for taking me back in."

Like I said in my previous review, I had not heard good things about this episode but I was expecting a lot worse than what I saw in this one. Still though, let's talk about the things that clearly generated a lot of disappointment from fans.

First of all, Deathstroke. He started off a brilliant villain with Esai Morales providing a great foil to the team themselves and then when the group split up, the character just petered a bit. Now that the team have reformed, Deathstroke decided to kill the lot of them, only for Dick, Rose and Jericho to team up and take him out in the least exciting way possible.

For a guy that was so instrumental in keeping our gang apart for too long in the season, he just got such a rubbish and rushed exit. As for Rose, she's now hosting her brother and has been taken in by the reformed again Titans, so it's somewhat worked out well for her.

Then there was the second problem of the episode - Donna Troy. The character lost her groove this season after being a fantastic recurring character last year and here she got electrocuted while saving Dawn. If the show was going to kill off Donna, couldn't they have found a more dramatically interesting way to do it? Then again, Rachel did leave with Donna's body back to Themyscira so there's a good chance that Donna might not remain dead next season.

As for the Cadmus end of things, well that also came to a brief ending. Clearly deciding to try (and not really succeed) in outdoing Shazam! the big-ish battle with Conner and Gar and the team took place at a funfair where both Rachel and Dick managed to undo Mercy's brainwashing on them while Bruce found a novel way to deal with some bidders for Conner.

Again, it wasn't the most satisfying way of resolving the Cadmus arc but at the same time, I guess Mercy could come back again next season. However she'll have some stiff competition as Blackfire has now made her way to Earth and seems a little keen on a reunion with her powerless sister, Kory. Given that Blackfire has her own planet to rule and Kory poses no threat to her, this seems a bit stupid on her part.

- Jason has abandoned the Titans and seemingly Bruce as well, but the actor will be back next season, so I'm sure him and Rose will patch things up then.
- Walter was the only other casualty of the episode where Mercy got Conner to kill him at the beginning.
- Really glad the show went with the blue bird look for Dick's Nightwing suit as opposed to the red one, which I've never really been too keen on.
- Chronology: From where Faux-Hawk left off.

For a finale, Nightwing wasn't that bad but it was undeniably a letdown in it's resolution of the main baddies and Donna's overall death. Now that the team have reformed for about the fourth time, it's time for some stability on that front and I do hope they can pull off Blackfire as an ongoing threat and that Koty gets her powers back earlier next season.

Rating: 7 out of 10

Thursday, November 28, 2019

My Review of Titans 2x12: "Faux Hawk"

Written by Tom Pabst
Directed by Larnell Stovall

Dick: "I'm sorry I burned your suit. I need your help, Stu. I need another one. Something different."
Stu: "Well, Master Wayne said you'd be coming."
Dick: "Of course he did."

It's the penultimate episode and still our main players have not all reached one another. I could go on about this show's serious lack of focus and massive cons of keeping our heroes apart and I will when I get to the finale but for now, let's concentrate on the main pointers from this episode.

The title itself derives from Hank when off his face decided to sell his Hawk costume to a moronic teenager (Drew Scheid) who completely seemed to miss the point of being a Titan. It's okay though as the show has done that itself too often in it's two season run. On the plus side, Hank managed to get his costume, develop some self awareness and the naff Fight Club esque stuff was largely relegated to one actual scene and another dream sequence. Still though, it was the weaker part of the episode but nowhere near as dreadful as I was expecting it to be.

As for Dawn - doesn't she work a lot better away from Hank? The answer to that would be a resounding yes as both her and Donna delivered sushi to Walter, used the lasso on him to get information about Gar (they're seemingly not that bothered about Conner) and because of this, Mercy decided to up the ante on her already deadly experiments with Gar, which has seen the poor guy mauling innocent people for her amusement.

I do like Mercy but I'm not entirely getting the point of this plot, unless it's to show how evil she's capable of being or whatever. Also, what the hell is going on with Conner because having him absent for several episodes in a row after only introducing him in the second half of the season seems a bit off, right?

As for Rachel and Kory, they briefly argued over what to do with Dick and Gar, kind of said some harsh things to one another before making up and deciding to look for Gar first. It's a good job that Dick did manage to free himself then given that no one seems to be bothered to actually seek him out. Like Donna and Dawn though, Rachel and Kory do make for a good team.

Getting to Dick though, he visited a guy named Stu, got his Nightwing costume (which we'll see in the finale but promo pics have shown the full article and it looks great) and had another confrontation with Jericho's mother, who just wants her son. Deathstroke on the other hand is aware that the Titans are (slowly) getting back together and we had Rose and Jason break up when the former confessed everything to the latter. Why do I get the feeling if we get Jericho back in the finale, we'll end up losing Rose instead?

- Given the heavy flashbacks for Rose in this episode, this one should've been called Ravager (she got her costume there) as the Faux Hawk in question had less screen time.
- Loved the opening sequence with Jericho and Slade in the latter's head. Please let Jericho make it out of alive of the season.
- Bruce knowing exactly the costume that Dick would want. We better get a good scene with them in the finale.
- Chronology: From where the previous one left off.

Faux Hawk is a pretty solid penultimate episode though the focus on everything else but Hank was what made the episode a lot better than I expected it to be. I've not heard good things about the finale but I am going to go into it with an open mind and hope it won't be that bad.

Rating: 7 out of 10

Tuesday, November 26, 2019

My Review of How To Get Away With Murder's 6x09: "Are You The Mole?"

Written by Maisha Closson
Directed by Stephen Cragg

Mourner: "And now we invite all those who would like to come up and share their own thoughts, memories and prayers for Annalise."

Oh boy. This was a doozy and a half, wasn't it? I have to admit that I have not been as focused on this mole stuff as I should've been because to be brutally honest, it should've been obvious that it was going to be Asher and this episode certainly revealed it all in glorious detail before Asher ended up being dead.

I'm not surprised that Connor and Michaela reacted the way they did and I'm not surprised that the FBI used Asher's family to get him to betray the gang but Oliver hitting him with a fire poker did throw me off. Oliver has been acting erratic all season long and this was a way to make him look guilty as we'd later discover that Asher would be murdered by someone else with a fire poker and left outside Gabriel's.

Right now, the obvious suspects are Frank and Bonnie and given that Asher essentially blamed Annalise for everything, it would make sense for either one of them to do the deed. Then there's also Nate, but he was mostly too mad at Annalise and even tried to attack before relenting and hoping that he would there when Annalise got sent down. There's six episodes left, so can we please get rid of him, show?

With Nate being a general pest this week and both Bonnie and Frank on damage control duties with the kids and Gabriel, this episode also saw Annalise making the tentative moves to get out of the mess that is her life, which included a nice emotional moment with her mother on the phone and a faculty party scene with Tegan before giving her students a rather on the nose speech about being better people.

Annalise might have left this episode on a plane but the damage is pretty big in her wake. Asher's dead, both Connor and Michaela are suspects, Oliver is feeling guilty, Gabriel could be framed for a crime he didn't commit by Frank and Bonnie and Nate's off being angry somewhere. Oh, what else happened then because surely the above mentioned isn't enough, yeah?

Let's see - we opened the episode with our mostly strung out Keating 4 getting some Facetime from Laurel, who managed to reveal that Tegan helped her escape and in flash forwards, we saw a mysterious man at Annalise's "funeral", played by Alfred Enoch. Either Wes didn't die, has a twin or clone or we're really ahead in the future and it's a grown up Christophe (the likeliest option) but we're going to waiting for the remaining six episodes before we get solid answers to that one.

- I kind of thought both Robert and Solomon would've factored into this episode but I guess both will likely reappear in the latter half of the season.
- Lot of interesting flashbacks to previous episodes during the final sequence this week. Also a pity we didn't get to see Ophelia on screen but the phone message was a nice moment nonetheless.
- Standout music: Les Friction's Dark Matter.
- Chronology: The night before Graduation for the Keating 4. The show will return for it's final six episodes in April 2020.

Are You The Mole is easily the strongest episode of the season and certainly upped the ante. I really do hope when the show returns in the Spring, it will end the series on a satisfying note. Asher's death certainly provides great drama for the remaining six episodes and I'm curious whether we're seeing an alive Wes (???) or an older Christophe.

Rating: 8 out of 10

Monday, November 25, 2019

Doctor Who - Series 12 Trailer & Spoilers/Speculation

Again, it's been a while since I've done anything Doctor Who related and working through my frustration with Chris Chibnall's overall approach to things, at least we finally have an actual trailer to the next series, due to air early next year.

Around October 31st, the BBC released a cryptic poster with the phrase "Watch This Space" and then in early November, fans were warned of a trailer for the twelfth series due to be released on the 23rd November to mark the show's anniversary. Days building towards that, we were given some casting announcements for guest actors as well as the above promo picture featuring the 13th Doctor (Jodie Whittaker) and her companions, Graham O'Brien (Bradley Walsh), Yasmin Khan (Mandip Gill) and Ryan Sinclair (Tosin Cole). After months of nothing, promotion was finally coming and to give some credit, some of the stuff we've gotten over the last few days have been interesting to see unfold.

So let's break things down a bit as to what people can expect to see in the next series.

The Monsters: Series 11 was shockingly bad on this front with very few of the new ones making any real impression, though the Dalek return in Resolution was a decent enough effort. Series 12 seems to have a few tricks up it's sleeve there with a rustic look for the Cybermen, the return of the Judoon, a race of Scorpion like monsters led by Queen Skithra (Anjli Mohindra), aliens with gas masks and strange guns. Oh and the Daleks themselves will be reappearing in the Christmas 2020 special, the last thing filmed for the current series. There's also been some rumblings that a certain renegade might be appearing yet again, albeit in a different form this time around.

The Guest Stars: Last series certainly boasted an impressive guest cast, even if some players were better utilised than others. This series will be no exception as both Stephen Fry and Lenny Henry will be appearing in the opening episode. Throughout the series though, audiences can expect the likes of Aurora Marion, Goran Višnjić, Robert Glenister, Anjli Mohindra, Maxim Baldry, James Buckley, Jo Martin, Neil Stuke, Nicholas Briggs, Michael Begley and Julia Harris to name but a few. Sacha Dhawan has also been rumoured for a prominent recurring role and it's one character I will be more than glad to see return as they haven't been on screen since 2017. A rumour has also emerged that Jemma Redgrave might be reprising her role of Kate Stewart for the opening episode but it's not been confirmed yet.

The Stories Themselves: Even now, not a great deal has been revealed on this front but the details that have slipped out are interesting enough. The opening episode will be something a spy thriller while episode 2 will be set in 1943 Paris. An episode will feature Noor Inayat Khan (Aurora Marion) and Nikola Tesla (Goran Višnjić). Other historical figures rumoured for the series include Florence Nightingale and Mary Shelley (her episode will factor in the new-ish Cybermen) with Maxim Baldry alleged to be playing writer John Polidari. There will also be visits to alien worlds, contemporary Earth and that Timeless Child mention from last series might actually be relevant this series as the Doctor cryptically mused about something coming for her in the trailer.

The Writers, Directors And The Future: Easy to break down here. On the writer front, Chris Chibnall will be writing four episodes of the new series. Returning from the previous series are Vinay Patel, Pete McTighe and Ed Hime and joining the series are Maxine Alderton, Charlene James and Nina Métivier. Alderton has also been confirmed as a core writer for the series after this one. In terms of directors we have Jamie Magnus Stone (episodes 1,5, 9 &10), Lee Haven Jones (episodes 2, 3 & Christmas 2020), Nida Manzoor (episodes 4 & 6) and Emma Sullivan (episodes 7 & 8). As for the show's future, a recent deal with HBO Max has ensured it's going nowhere but Chris Chibnall confirmed that both himself and Jodie Whittaker will be back for Series 13, which is being mapped out and will go into production next year. After months of nothing, it's nice to finally have some solid information to work with and hopefully this upcoming series will be a marked improvement on what we had in 2018.

Series 12 Trailer:

Series 12 of Doctor Who will air on BBC1 and BBCAmerica in early 2020.

Thursday, November 21, 2019

My Review of Titans 2x11: "E.L._.O."

Written by Bianca Sams
Directed by Millicent Shelton

Bruce (to the girls): "So glad you all could make it."

I'll be honest, this show's version of Bruce Wayne is an oddity for me. It's been eleven episodes and the character has appeared four times and while I like Iain Glen as an actor, I'm still not entirely convinced by his take on Bruce.

It also doesn't help that Bruce seems so unhelpful, even when he's actually trying to help as well. You could boil it down to him wanting Dick to help himself out, but even that doesn't entirely work either. This week he was mostly again in Dick's head, spurring the latter to get out of prison, even if it took Dick long enough to get the hint.

Now that we're really nearing the end of the season, the next episode really does need to bring this prison plot to a quick ending and fast. Despite Bruce's mediocre efforts, it was only Kory and Rachel who stepped up to try and help Dick while Donna and Dawn focused on finding Gar as the latter went through some rough stuff this week.

I could've done without seeing Gar having his brain opened up at Mercy's behest and the episode did seem to end with him clawing some scientist to death once again. Again, this is another plot that needs to be speedily dealt with as the Deathstroke storyline has to come to an end pretty soon.

Keeping with the Deathstroke plot, two unsurprising revelations came to pass this week. One was that Dick figured out that Jericho somehow managed to survive and two was the reveal of Rose actually working for her father all along.

Neither were shocking but neither were terrible, even if Rose's bitchy attitude at times towards Jason did grate before the two of them opened up a little more to each other. I hate to admit it, but I've not really warmed to Rose this season even if this episode was great in showing a more vulnerable side to Jason.

- Jason revealing himself to be a thespian nerd was a rather sweet moment with the character. Rachel also had dreams of Deathstroke attacking Dick at the latter's funeral a few times.
- Kory nearly copped off with a hot shrink before he tried to psycho analyse her.
- No Hank or Conner this week. It's actually interesting that this was the first episode to feature Dawn but not Hank, though he's the focus of next week's episode.
- Chronology: From where the previous episode more or less left off.

E.L._.O was an okay diversion I guess but we're two episode left from the finale and it's time to really ramp up the action. Enough with the brooding, enough with the main cast largely separated from each other. It's more than enough time to see everyone band together and finish this main arc.

Rating: 7 out of 10

Wednesday, November 20, 2019

My Review of How To Get Away With Murder's 6x08: "I Want To Be Free"

Written by Hadi Nicholas Deeb
Directed by Alrick Riley

Mystery Caller (to Annalise): "Once you arrive, we'll call you with further instructions."

And we have it or do we? Going by the flash forward, it actually did look like Annalise was finally done with everything and was about to fake her death and get the hell out of there. However going by the trailer for the mid season finale, something else could be happening as well.

As for present day stuff, we got the whole Nate vs. Birkhead trial with Bonnie quickly being taken out of the mix as the former's lawyer and Tegan stepping in with some shadowing from Annalise on the snarky front. Then the case resulted in Jorge being publicly outed as a murderer and Birkhead having to do some damage control.

Of course this happened after Bonnie had to suffer from making herself rather known and ended up in a car accident, resulting her in being rather mad with Frank and Annalise once she was aware that her boyfriend really was an innocent man after all. Bonnie certainly didn't catch a break in this episode.

Speaking of breaks, Asher thankfully did get one this week. Sure, things with him and Michaela are still on shaky-ish ground thanks to Gabriel being a dick but at least he was able to solve the Snow White case and bag himself a nice cheque to boot. By the way, I thought the use of that particular thought experiment was pretty clever and worked well in the overall episode.

As for the rest of the gang - the sooner both Nate and Gabriel are gone, the better. Why any of the others bother with them at this point beggars belief. Michaela certainly let Gabriel cloud her judgement a bit too much this episode but Tegan was on fine form yet again.

Then there was Connor and Oliver. Even though we didn't get follow up on last week's flash forward with the latter, I did like that the elephant in the room was addressed with Connor's confession. Both Connor and Oliver made some fair points about the situation at hand as well.

- Just realised that the Snow White case was a bit of a metaphor for what Annalise is clearly planning to do.
- Oliver with the puppy party. The obvious highlight of the episode of course.
- The first episode this season not to address Laurel in any way at all. I guess we've finally moved on from her.
- Chronology: A week before the events of the mid season finale.

I Want To Be Free is a solid if not spectacular lead in to the mid series finale. I did like the use of the Snow White case, more backstory for Tegan and it was nice to see Asher get a win as well this week. I just hope they pull off this final mystery satisfyingly though.

Rating: 7 out of 10

Friday, November 15, 2019

Vogue It Up Ladies

It's been a while but once again, a look at some of the recent programs that I have been watching.

Arrow: It's amazing that the absence of a certain ship this season has rapidly improved the quality in the show, even if there's a walking reminder who now thanks to the Monitor is in the present day. On one hand, that takes the flash forwards out of the equation for the time being but on the other hand - yeah, Mia is just awful but at least we get William and Connor in the present day, we've had reappearances from Thea, Talia and Curtis and Katie Cassidy-Rogers did a blinder with her directorial debut for the show.

Batwoman: This show still suffers from Ruby Rose being an incredibly wooden lead (any emotional scene and she struggles badly) but between Alice, the addition of Mouse and any scene that Mary has shared with Sophie and Luke has been rather fun. The show did a decent take on the Executioner but characters like Catherine and Jacob are pretty weak at times and even for a CW show, there can be some cringe worthy dialogue at times. Still, it's not as bad as I thought it would be but there's so much better out there.

His Dark Materials: Confession time: I've never read the source material and have no desire to. I've never watched the movie that came out a few years ago with Daniel Craig and Nicole Kidman and after watching the first two episodes of BBC and HBO's adaptation, I don't think I'll be going much further with this show. Aside from a sublime performance from Ruth Wilson (someone get her for Doctor Who), this star studded fantasy epic has left me largely unengaged. It's gonna be a pass for me.

Pose: For a moment I was worried and feared that BBC2 would drop this show after the ratings for the first season being rather underwhelming to put it mildly. The good news is that they've been airing the second season on Saturdays in double bills and it's been fantastic. The first season was great but this season has been even better. We've seen Angel and Ricky move on with their careers, Blanca and Pray Tell confront their illnesses, Elektra slaying with the quips and a poignant episode focusing on Candy's life/death/funeral was a series highlight. I'm so glad this show has been renewed for a third season. Sublime television.

Supergirl: Of all the CW DC shows on the air at the moment, this one remains the weakest but the most recent episode was a surprising series highlight. I still don't great care for William and Andrea as characters but the latter has become slightly more interesting now they're delving into the Acrata storyline with Leviathian. On the other hand though, Jimmy got a rubbish exit, Lena has crossed too many lines and everything else feels like it's treading water until a certain event in December.

The Flash: Eh, this season has also lost a lot of momentum and it's been building ever so much to that certain event but unlike another show, not quite as well. It also doesn't help that Bloodwork is one of the dullest villains and that I still don't massively care for the new Wells either. Cisco got a decent standalone episode I suppose and Barry/Iris had some offscreen fun but so far this season has been pretty lacklustre.

- The CW have added two future DC pilots - Green Arrow And The Canaries (with Katie Cassidy, Juliana Harkavy and Katherine McNamara) and Superman And Lois (with Tyler Hoechlin and Elizabeth Tulloch) for series orders.
- HBO Max will be doing shows for Green Lantern and Adam Strange within the next year.
- Ryan Murphy's Hollywood Netflix series will be released from May 1st 2020.
- Stranger Things has officially been renewed for a fourth season.
- Expect fan favourite actors for American Horror Story's tenth season, which might be it's final season.
- Brooklyn Nine-Nine has been renewed for an eighth season by NBC.
- Sarah Michelle Gellar will also be starring in the FOX miniseries Sometimes I Lie along with the upcoming series, Other People's Houses.
- The Gossip Girl reboot will be going ahead on HBO Max and will be more diverse than the original series was on the CW.
- Titans has been renewed for a third season with Blackfire being posed as the main antagonist for the next season.
-  Gemma Whelan, Predrag Bjelac,Steve Pemberton, Raj Bajaj,Turlough Convery, Camille Cottin and Evgenia Dodina have joined the cast for the third season of Killing Eve.

Thursday, November 14, 2019

My Review of American Horror Story: 1984 - Final Girl

Written by Crystal Liu
Directed by John J. Gray

Brooke (to Donna): "I guess we're both the final girl."

Gotta be honest - I knew that this show was somewhat going to subvert the infamous trope this episode was named after and having both Brooke and Donna make it out of Camp Redwood alive (even things were a bit touch and go) absolutely worked for me. Of course, we also got a Final Boy in the mix.

Having sat out the previous two seasons, Finn Wittrock came back for the finale as an adult version of Bobby Ritcher and naturally the handsome lad wanted a bit of insight into his father's history with the forgotten camp. Both Montana and Trevor were more than happy to fill him in on that while at the same time doing their best to protect him from Richard Ramirez.

Bobby managed to make it out of Redwood alive, even though Ramirez did get to stab but things didn't become totally clear for him until he met up with Donna and Brooke in the second half of the episode. Donna working in an asylum filled Bobby in on his father being a victim of Margaret's machinations while also pointing out how the latter eventually got her just desserts.

Of course there was also the mystery of who was giving Bobby money all the years throughout his childhood and that was resolved when it was revealed that Brooke was alive and had built a pretty nice life for herself, even though she had kept her distance from Donna. It was nice to see both women reunite and while the makeup department didn't convincingly age up either Emma Roberts or Angelica Ross that much, I'm just glad both of them survived.

As for Bobby - he went back to the camp again, nearly got killed by Margaret, was saved by his father and grandmother and told by Montana to live his life but not to forget the ghosts of the camp as they've formed their own peaceful-ish community to punish Margaret and Ramirez for the rest of time.

I wish we had gotten more scenes with Bobby, Benjamin and Lavinia but the material we did get was satisfying enough. I also forgotten how great Finn Wittrock can be on the show and I seriously hope he's back next season in whatever capacity that Ryan Murphy and company can get him for.

- Chet apparently swings both ways and he nearly copped with Chef Bertie while they were watching over Ramirez.
- Ray was the one to make sure Brooke didn't die in Redwood and Brooke herself made sure that Trevor died there after Margaret killed him outside the camp.
- Standout music: Mike + The Mechanics The Living Years for the final moments of this episode.
- Chronology: 2019 for the duration of this episode but also Halloween 1989 for the flashbacks.

Final Girl marks a very satisfying ending to what was a wonderfully fantastic season. While it would've been to have kept the whole in 1984, the second half of this season really ramped things up and this finale brought it all home. This season is definitely now a Top 3 favourite for me.

Rating: 9 out of 10

Wednesday, November 13, 2019

My Review of Titans 2x10: "Fallen"

Written by Jamie Gorenberg
Directed by Kevin Sullivan

Mercy (re Gar): "He says he wants to be a Titan, reunited with his team. I think it's an excellent idea."

Why do I get the impression that Mercy isn't coming from an altruistic place when she agreed to that idea at the very end of this episode? Also, can I say that without the Gar/Conner/Mercy subplot, this episode really would've been a write off as the main plots were not that compelling by comparison?

Conner tried to distance himself from Krypto and Gar with little success as neither one of them would let him wallow in his guilt and for that I'm pretty happy. Of course their reunion became shortlived when Cadmus closed in on them and Mercy managed to talk Conner into surrendering himself over while also taking an interest in Gar.

It's been three episodes and so far, out of the live action versions of Mercy Graves we've had in the last three years, this version has so far been the most successful of the bunch. Natalie Gumede is playing a blinder with the character so far and we even got a little glimpse into Mercy's home life before she put a game night on hold in order to catch up with Conner. The woman is certainly committed to her job but doesn't thankfully have an infatuation with Lex Luthor either.

As for the first main plot - Dick in prison. Yup, this reeks of filler as he mostly wants to be left alone, refused to do favours for a clearly corrupt prison officer while grudgingly stepping in to help some sympathetic prisoners from being deported.

Aside from the obvious allusions to a Nightwing origin, this is a subplot that needs to be quickly dealt and soon. At least Donna has managed to put her annoyance aside to try and reach out to the rest of the team though.

Then there was the Rachel segment of the episode. She headed to a homeless shelter, saved a nice girl from an abusive boyfriend and accidentally brought a gargoyle to life, which means that Donna has now mistakenly assuming that Rachel has succumbed to her dark side. Although a marginally better plot than Dick's prison one, it's also a storyline that needs to come an abrupt end by next week.

- The episode casually revealed that Mercy has a wife and children, making her the first LGBT character on the show, though Chella Man (Jericho) is the only LGBT actor on the series so far.
- Dick was held in the Kane Holding Correctional Facility while his cellmates were going to be transferred to Corto Maltese.
- Jason, Rose,Hank, Dawn and Kory were all absent from this episode. I only missed two of them.
- Chronology: More or less from where Atonement left off.

Fallen isn't a terrible episode but neither is it a terribly exciting episode. Both Dick and Rachel's storylines reek of filler material that might have worked a little better earlier in the season but now feel a bit too late in the day to be dedicating screentime. The Cadmus was fortunately more successful though.

Rating: 6 out of 10

Tuesday, November 12, 2019

My Review of God's Own Country (2017)

Written And Directed by Francis Lee

Johnny (to Gheorghe): "I want you to come back. With me. And I want us to be together. I don’t want to be a fuck up anymore. I want to be with you. And that’s what I need to say."

Ah, I'm a little late to the party with this one. Released over two years and put in a relatively late time slot on Film4 last night, I have heard this movie often being compared to Brokeback Mountain and while there are some justifiable comparisons, I feel it does this lovely movie something of a disservice. It's actually better than the infamous Oscar winning movie from over a decade ago.

Starring Josh O'Connor (The Durrells) as a lonely, closeted and general messed up young farmer named Johnny Saxby. In the first few minutes of the movie we see that Johnny struggles to win the approval of his own father, Martin (Ian Hart) while being treated slightly better by his grandmother Deirdre (Gemma Jones) as he manages the family farm and cops off with a stranger during a farmer's market.

Resentment does seem to play a role in Johnny's life. He harbours it towards his own father and even towards a former friend who has moved beyond the Yorkshire village he seems to resent being trapped in and then there's the arrival of Romanian farm hand Gheorghe (Alec Secareanu) who also bears the brunt of Johnny's anger before things heat up in a different way between the pair of them in the middle of a field.

The love story between Johnny and Gheorghe is beautifully played out for the rest of this movie. It's by no means perfect, especially as Johnny can't help but hit the self destruct button but before he does, he livens up with Gheorghe's influence and there's a lovely sense of domestic bliss between the two of them that even Johnny's family can't help but notice as well.

Speaking of Johnny's family, they're nicely realised as characters and when Martin becomes the victim of a stroke, there's a noticeable shift in how him and Johnny relate to one another and if it were not for Deirdre, we may not have gotten the fan pleasing ending that this movie bows out on.

Both Josh O'Connor and Alec Secareanu have effortlessly natural chemistry with one another and everything about their love story feels authentic from start to finish. Director Francis Lee added a lot of his own personal experiences into this movie and it certainly paid off as well with the sheer truthful nature of this movie and it's characters.

- Both actors were sent to live and work on a farm to prepare for their roles and those scenes didn't use body doubles either.
- The movie's title is a big reference to Yorkshire where the entire movie was shot.
- Standout music: The use of Patrick Wolf's The Days was a sublime choice to end this movie.
- Here's a link to Francis Lee's Twitter thread, giving a wonderful break down on his thought process for the whole movie ....

I watch more than enough LGBT cinema (and still there's lots I need to catch up on) and I have to honestly say that God's Own Country is one of the best gay male led movies I have ever watched in my life. Everything about the movie is completely on point - acting, characters, writing, cinematography, atmosphere, music, editing and so. It's such a beautiful piece of cinema that deserves to be seen by as many as possible. If you've not seen it, amend that now. I cannot recommend it highly enough.

Rating: 9 out of 10

My Review of How To Get Away With Murder's 6x07: "I'm The Murderer"

Written by Laurence Andries
Directed by Lily Mariye

Oliver: "I'm the murderer, arrest me!"

Well, I didn't expect that flashforward moment at all, no I did not. So is the mostly innocent Oliver Hampton a killer? According to his outburst that even Frank couldn't stifle at the police station, it would appear so but with two episodes left until the mid season finale, there's of course going to be some twist or simply Oliver's actions playing a role in the "death" rather than him having actual blood on his hands.

Yes, seven episodes in and I'm still skeptical as anything about Annalise actually dying. I still just don't believe it's actually going to happen and these flash forwards continue to convince me more and more that it's fake out but whether or not everyone else is in the dark or playing along with Annalise, I'm still not so sure on.

In the present day though, Oliver finally found out that Connor was the one to dismember Sam's body after Asher had brought up that there were things about that night he didn't know. We didn't really get to see Oliver react to that monumental bit of information due to the flash forward but I'm sure it's going to be an interesting one when we get to the next episode.

This episode to it's credit had a lot more going for it than the last few had. First of all, we saw Annalise reluctantly go on a date with Robert from three episodes ago and while it took her a while to get used to it, they had some nice scenes together.

Of course when Annalise wasn't getting her love life on track, she was also voicing disapproval over Frank's interest in Bonnie when she wasn't getting the latter to scare Tegan off helping Nate a little. Then there was the return of Governor Birkhead, who now has Bonnie in her sights, so that will probably wind up in disaster for the latter as well, despite being warned off by Frank.

Elsewhere in this episode, the main case revolved around a closeted gay man shooting a student and it was certainly one of the more complex cases the show has done this season. I did like the involvement of Asher and Gabriel (and that was miles better than their pettiness over Michaela), even if the result was still the teacher being sent to prison for 25 years.

- We got a rundown of some of more Connor's pre series sexual history during one scene in this episode.
- It was pretty obvious that the woman at the start of this episode was going to be a spy.
- We also saw Gabriel looking up a handgun. He did seem surprised when he learned that Annalise and Sam lost a baby.
- Chronology: A month from where the previous episode left off.

I'm The Murderer again is not a hugely plot advancing episode and with two left before the show takes it's winter break, we really do need to get on with things. The main case was great though and there were still plenty of lovely character bits but let's see how these flash forwards really play out without the misdirect now.

Rating: 7 out of 10

Thursday, November 07, 2019

My Review of American Horror Story: 1984 - Rest In Pieces

Written by Adam Penn
Directed by Gwyneth Horder-Payton

Brooke: "All I have is anger."
Donna: "You're wrong, you have me and together we have a purpose. One righteous motherfucking act of revenge and if we can do that without hurting another soul in the process, it'll wash away every shitty thing we ever did."

With the title of next week's finale revealed as Final Girl, it seemed the right time for Donna to give Brooke an education on the most infamous of horror tropes as the two of them made their way to Camp Redwood with a nosy journalist for good measure.

The journalist in question Stacy immediately recognised both ladies at a diner and wasted no time in letting them know that she knew who they were. To Stacy's credit, she was more interested in getting a juicy story more than turning both women into the authorities and agreed to take them to Redwood where Brooke had to be talked out of killing her by Donna. Can I just say this Brooke/Donna team up the last few episodes has been a joy to watch?

As for Stacy, she got her story but she didn't leave Redwood alive as Margaret, Bruce and Ramirez all made sure she was taken out of the equation pretty quickly. Speaking of which, while I admire Margaret's abilities to get two serial killers to work to her interests, Bruce feels like such an unnecessary addition this late in the game. I was disappointed that Richard didn't do us a solid and just kill Bruce but there's always next week though.

As for Benjamin, this was not an entirely great episode for him. He failed to get vengeance on Ramirez, got tortured by most of the counselors and has more or less endangered his son but on the plus side, he was also reunited with his mother and brother and even the former seems to have let go of her burning hatred for him. I guess as long as he stays with Lavinia and Bobby, it might keep the counselors at bay.

Then there was Montana and Trevor. Their love arc seemed a bit rushed and a part of me is surprised that Montana is now suddenly feeling bad that she played a role in the Night Stalker's infamy. Trevor's reasons for wanting to kill himself to be with Montana also seemed a little rushed too but guess death would be a preference for most people than being married to Margaret, who seemed unfazed by her husband shagging a dead woman.

- I should've mentioned them last week but Courtney had the task of getting rid of Kajagoogoo's bodies. It seems every other musician except Billy Idol is destined to be bound to Redwood forever if Margaret's plan is a success.
- Donna's comments on a certain trope, you just know the show is going to subvert this in some way. Maybe neither survive. Maybe it's a Final Boy with Finn Wittrock's character introduced next week.
- Standout music: Eye Of The Tiger and I Wanna Know What Love Is.
- Chronology: October 30th 1989, so Halloween has got to factor into the finale next week.

Rest In Pieces is a fantastic prelide to the finale. Now that we've got all our main players at Redwood, the scene is set for one hell of an ending. Will Brooke get her revenge? Who will be the last girl standing? Will the ghosts be able to move on? I can't wait to see how this season ends.

Rating: 8 out of 10

Wednesday, November 06, 2019

My Review of Titans 2x09: "Atonement"

Written by Jeffrey David Thomas
Directed by Boris Mojsovski

Gar: "Conner, how would you like to be a Titan?"
Conner: "I don't think I can, Gar. You guys, you're actual heroes, I'm not."

Alternatively, this episode could've gone with the title of Nearly Everyone Hates Dick Grayson But No One More Than Himself and you could see how this would all play out. Confession might be good for the soul but all it did for Dick was to have everyone except Gar abandon the Tower and get away from Dick as far as they could.

Before getting into that part of the story, let's look at Gar. He's been seriously underused all season long and when he finally gets a moment to do stuff, it's mostly in the weakest episode of the season and with everyone nearly gone. Even Dick leaves the Tower after telling Gar to keep the faith so the only company the latter has is Krypto and Conner and that's where things get messy.

Conner did eventually wake up and there was some nice bonding scenes with him and Gar but as soon as they stepped out in public, Conner misread a situation, cops got injured and Gar had no one to turn to help fix things. I have to admit I was disappointed that Rachel at least didn't stay with Gar or tried to give Dick the benefit of the doubt.

Speaking of Rachel, while she was mad at Dick, I did like that she also didn't let Donna off the hook and reminded the latter about her own role in the Jericho situation before abandoning her. Then there was Jason and Rose leaving together but we didn't really get to see what happened with them, post Tower.

As for Hank and Dawn - they flocked back to Wyoming and were doing okay until Ellis's sister had to wade in and spoil things for them. I hate to admit but even though I do like Minka and Alan as actors, it's becoming obvious that the characters simply don't work as regulars and the obvious break up and Hank sinking back to drugs were more eye rolling than saddening to watch.

As for Kory herself - at least she abandoned the Tower for reasons other than Dick's deception over Jericho's death. In one of the better parts of the episode (aside from the initial Gar/Conner/Krypto scenes), we finally got to meet Blackfire and it looks like the war between the sisters is going to heat up over the next few episodes. Too bad that Faddei became a casualty in their feud.

Last but not least, there was Dick himself. He got punched by Dick, abandoned by everyone, left the Tower, tried to make right with Adeline, got a brutal warning from Slade who considered their feud over and then deliberately attacked security men to get arrested. Overall, this episode was the worst one for Dick in the series so far.

- Even though I am definitely Team Kory, it does seem like she was really horrible to Blackfire as they were growing up. Not surprised the latter killed their parents though.
- Does Bruce actually give a toss about Dick or Jason at all? Gar couldn't reach him at all in this episode.
- Standout music: I guess Hank and Dawn's Ain't No Mountain High, proving they're better singers than heroes any day of the week.
- Chronology: From where the end of Bruce Wayne left off. It's also in the latter half of June as well.

Easily the weakest episode of the season. I get that Atonement was trying to salve Dick's conscience over Jericho (and he had some nice home truths even Slade couldn't avoid) but the show needs to sort itself out and actually have a proper team instead of the constant stopping and starting we've had for too long now.

Rating: 6 out of 10

Tuesday, November 05, 2019

My Review of How To Get Away With Murder's 6x06: "Family Sucks"

Written by Vanessa James Benton
Directed by Laura Innes

Asher (to Michaela): "You were right, families suck."

Well, Asher's certainly do and given the way things predictably soured in this episode, I take it this will be the last we'll be seeing of his sister and mother for a bit, yeah? It started moderately okay with some Irish dancing and Chloe dancing with Connor before ending with the reveal that Asher's mother still blames him for his father's death.

I can't say I'm surprised by the turn of events really and it did serve as enough of a plot device to get Asher and Michaela to reconnect and sleep together as well. I should be a tiny bit bothered that Michaela is cheating on Gabriel with Asher but that would imply that I care about Gabriel as a character and I really don't.

When Michaela wasn't sleeping with Asher, snarking about how Connor made his way into the K5 or briefly giving Chloe the benefit of the doubt she was mostly mad at her father and Annalise and pretty told Solomon to stay away from her but the chances of that actually happening seem to be very unlikely given that he's being set up as too prominent a character this season to quickly written out - unlike Vivian and Asher's family.

Then there's the Connor bit of the episode. Bonnie's reasons for picking him did make sense but it still surprised me given as we've not had that many nice scenes between Bonnie and Connor during the show's run. Bonnie also cooled things a little with Frank (who seems to be serious in his profession of love to her) and she was there to comfort a bloodied Asher during the last scene so that's another would be suspect to mull over until the mid season finale reveal.

As for the rest of the episode - hats off to Cora for outsmarting Nate and essentially choosing to help Tegan over him. I think Tegan had every right to be mad at Nate but the fact that she's willing to help him get justice for his dad in spite of his obsessively annoying towards her does show that Tegan is the better person.

- Did the show really have to go down the predictable route of having Annalise and Solomon go with a romantic past? Annalise now has the alias of Justine Brooks for when she flees the country.
- This episode was directed by Laura Innes, who should be returning to the series as Governor Birkhead.
- Oliver had little to do other than look after Frank for about a scene. Annalise also tried to file a restraining order against the Castilos.
- Chronology: From where the previous episode left off.

Family Sucks at least gave us closure on the mystery of why Connor was selected for the Keating 5 and threw another good but inevitably misleading flash forward moment. I guess I'm happy that Tegan managed to get one over on Nate and I do like Solomon but right now, it feels like we're treading water til the mid series finale.

Rating: 7 out of 10

Friday, November 01, 2019

The Batman - Thoughts On The First Bits Of Casting

It's been an exciting few months for this movie, hasn't it? Back in May we found out who would be donning the cape and cowl for Matt Reeves upcoming The Batman movie and last month, three significant bits of casting was revealed.

First of all, there's Batman himself. If you had told me a few years ago that the man best known for Edward Cullen would succeed Ben Affleck, I would've probably laughed but the more I think on it, the more it's a delightfully left field bit of casting. To be fair, Robert Pattinson has proven himself over the years with his post Twilight career (and has recently turned in a rather critically acclaimed performance in The Lighthouse) and some of his comments upon getting the biggest role in his career have definitely reassured me that he's going to bring something different but worthy to the role itself.

Along with a new Dark Knight, we've also got our Catwoman in the mix and this time around, it will be Big Little Lies Zoe Kravitz as the infamous cat burglar. This isn't Kravitz's first time as Catwoman as she previously voiced the role for the 2017 movie, The Lego Batman Movie, making her first actor to play the character in different continuities as well. Kravitz's isn't the first woman of colour to play the role as we had Eartha Kitt in Batman 66 and of course, Halle Berry in 2004's Catwoman and there's also the fact that her stepfather, Jason Momoa is of course Aquaman in the DCEU to boot. Welcome aboard, Zoe.

Keeping with the Rogue Gallery members (and there are going to be quite a bunch in this movie), casting for the Riddler certainly took an interesting turn. Originally we were going to get Jonah Hill in the role but he stepped out of the running and Prisoners actor, Paul Dano will now take on the role. This version of the character will also be called Edward Nashton, which should appeal to comic book fans as more recent onscreen iterations have stuck with the Nygma surname. Whether or not the Riddler is the main antagonist of the movie though has not been confirmed.

Our last bit of casting (for now) was the confirmation of Westworld's Jeffrey Wright as Commissioner Gordon. If you needed any further proof that Matt Reeves Batman universe was a separate entity to the one previously set up by Zack Snyder and Ben Affleck, then this is all the proof you need. Wright is definitely a strong choice for Gordon and it opens up the fact that when Jim's daughter, Barbara, it will be a woman of colour as well in the role. Speaking of Barbara, seeing as there doesn't seem to be any development on the movie front (writer Christina Hodson will be penning for a certain speedster, post Birds Of Prey), I'm guessing we'll see her briefly in this movie as well before she becomes Batgirl. In short though: Wright's casting works for me.

Casting Confirmations:

The Batman is in production with filming due to start in early 2020 for a June 25th 2021 release. I'll do more blogs as casting and filming progresses. So excited for this movie. 🦇