Sunday, April 04, 2021

Life Is A Caberet

I'm using a new tablet to write this so bear with me, lol but here goes.

Batwoman: Things have certainly taken an interesting turn now that we know Kate Kane is alive and that Black Mask and Enigma currently have her prisoner. Already it's a step up from the underwhelming plot with Safiyah that's currently on pause while Alice broods over her lost sister, Ryan cemented herself as Batwoman and Sophie finally questions the way of the Crows.

Schitts Creek: Five seasons down and with one more to go, I'm glad I got into this series. The fifth season had fun with Moira doing a certain horror franchise as well as the soap convention circuit, while David and Patrick got engaged, Alexis was willing to to the Galapagos with Ted, Stevie took on an iconic acting gig as well as a brief romance with Amir while Johnny had fun with a roast at Roland's expense.

Supergirl: With the CW doing the bare minimum in terms of promotion and as a consequence of Superman And Lois having to take an early break, the final season of the Girl of Steel opened on a decent note. Lena is back in the fold with the main team, Lex has been rendered mortal again and Kara herself has wound up in the Phantom Zone but at least this last season is off to a good enough start.

The Falcon And The Winter Soldier: Following the success of their previous MCU effort, it seems that Disney+ are on a roll with another hit here. Three episodes in and this show has reunited Bucky and Sam as a right Odd Couple, added a new Captain America with John Walker, shown the duality of the Flag Smashers along with welcomed returns of Sharon Carter and Zemo along with a new potential mainstay in Torres. The action sequences have been impressive along with the chemistry of the leads.

The Flash: With the Mirror Monarch story dealt with, Iris out of the Mirrorverse, it actually feels like the season has actually started properly. Both Abra Kadabra and Psych were good guest baddies, Barry and Iris dealing with their traumas handled well, along with both Caitlin and Frost being split in half with the latter gaining a new threat of her own. It's still not the show at its best but does feel like an improvement over last season.

  • American Gods has been cancelled after three seasons, though Starz are considering a movie to wrap up potential loose ends.
  • Annie Murphy has joined the second season of Russian Doll.
  • The Right Stuff has been cancelled by Disney+.
  • Rege Jean Page will not be returning for the second season of Bridgerton.
  • Nicholas Podany and Donald Faison have joined the cast of Powerpuff Girls.
  • Young Sheldon has been renewed for an extra three seasons.
  • Daniel Zovatto and Lori Petty will star in upcoming HBO Max series Station Eleven.
  • Dan Stevens has joined Starz series Gaslit.
  • Law And Order: Organized Crime has added Nicky Torchia, Michael Rivera and Ibrahim Renno to the cast.
  • Rose McIver will star in the US version of Ghosts which will air on CBS.

Tuesday, March 30, 2021

DCEU News: Castings for The Flash, Zatanna Movie In The Works And More

It's that time of month and with DC, there's some interesting developments on the horizon.

The Flash: It's been confirmed that Kiersey Clemons will reprise her role as Iris West while Ron Livingston will replace Billy Crudup as Henry Allen. Meanwhile Maribel Verdu will play Nora Allen, Ian Loh a younger Barry Allen while Saoirse Monica-Jackson and Rudy Mancuso have been cast in undisclosed roles. Filming will begin next month in the UK with a November 4th 2022 release date in mind.

Emerald Fennell will also be penning the upcoming Zatanna movie which will be produced by JJ Abrams and linked to the upcoming HBO Max projects involving Constantine and Justice League Dark. The movie will also get a theatrical release.

Static Shock movie will be written by Randy McKinnon and produced by Michael B. Jordan and Reginald Hudlin.

An Hourman movie is also in development with a script co-written by Gavin James and Neil Widener.

Black Adam will now be released on July 29th 2022 and Pierce Brosnan has been cast as Doctor Fate. Filming begins in May in Atlanta.

Shazam!: Fury Of The Gods has cast Helen Mirren as Hespera, who will be the main villain for the movie. Filming begins in May with a June 2nd 2023 release scheduled.

The trailer for The Suicide Squad, due for release in theatres and on HBO Max from August 6th 2021 confirmed that Starro as the main villain and Sylvester Stallone as the voice of King Shark. Spin off series, Peacemaker has also gotten an early second season renewal, although it's first is currently filming and won't debut on HBO Max until January 2022.

Following the release of Zack Snyder's Justice League, Warner Media CEO Ann Sarnoff has confirmed there are no plans to work with the director on any other upcoming DC projects and has also confirmed there are no plans to release the David Ayer Cut of Suicide Squad. Needless to say, this has not gone down well with certain fans. Oh well.

Wallis Day has been cast as an altered version of Kate Kane for the second half of Batwoman's second season. Whether she remains beyond an initial arc remains to be seen.

Jordan Fisher as been cast as Bart Allen for the seventh season of The Flash. However in this version, he will be the son of Barry and Iris and will debut in the 150th episode.

Kaci Walfall has been cast as Naomi for the upcoming CW series. There's also rumours of a Ghostmaker series in the works as well.

So, we've got some interesting times ahead in the DC Universe.

Wednesday, March 24, 2021

My Review of Superman And Lois 1x05: "The Best Of Smallville"


Written by Nadria Tucker And Brent Fletcher
Directed by Rachel Talalay

Captain Luthor: "One thing I know for sure about this world. Wherever Lois Lane goes, Superman follows."

I knew we had to get to the point where Captain Luthor would have to start hiding in plain sight and with this fifth episode, he made his presence known to Lois by posing as a fellow reporter and former employee of Lex Luthor.

Of course Lois seemed skeptical of her new friend August wanting to help her expose Morgan Edge but gave him her number nonetheless. Then we found out that on Captain Luthor's world, he was actually married to Lois and needless to say, he's pretty miffed when learning that she's married to Superman on this one.

It's a nice reveal and further adds to the intense hatred that this Luthor has for Superman while at the sane time, he came close again to taking out his love rival when the latter was battling an erratically powered up Derek Powell this week.

The Derek Powell returning with an unstable power set was exactly what we got with Tag last week but unlike the latter, Derek combusted here, but only after Chrissy was able to uncover Derek's link to Leslie Larr and Morgan Edge. It begs the question - is Leslie a full blooded Kryptonian because she doesn't seem to be experiencing any power problems so far?

As for Tag, I did assume we'd see him later on in the season and not at the last scene where he beat Jordan to a pulp. Other than that, Jordan was having the better week as his friendship with Sarah was blossoming while Jonathan took being dumped by his girlfriend badly and made a fool out of himself at the Harvest Festival.

The Harvest Family was the community element of the episode and it gave Clark a nice chance to reflect on his own teenage angst and dealing with Jonathan's rebellion this week. I also thought it was a lovely gesture of the town through Lana to have a bench for Martha Kent outside the Smallville Gazette. I still wish Martha was actually alive but this was a nice way to factor her into this week's adventure.

- It's not me. Kyle is clearly suffering from kind of depression and I get the feeling his story is going to tale a very dark turn as the series progresses.
-  I loved the flashbacks with Clark and Martha a year after Jonathan's death but I wish we had seen the younger Lana and Kyle as well.
- No General Sam Lane or Morgan Edge this week, though the latter did donate money for the fire that destroyed many items.
- Chronology: It's Fall time in Smallville.

The Best Of Smallville certainly delivered with that connection between Captain Luthor and Lois, had great town spirit scenes, excellent flashbacks and a strong cliff hanger with Jordan and Tag. It's going to be a long eight weeks until the show returns.

Rating: 8 out of 10

Thursday, March 18, 2021

My Review of Zack Snyder's Justice League (2021) - SPOILERS INCLUDED


Written by Chris Terrio And Zack Snyder And Will Beall
Directed by Zack Snyder

Batman (re Steppenwolf): "I don't care how many demons he's fought in how many hells. He's never fought us together. Not us united."

This movie has created a lot of division over the years. For years, many were sceptical of it's existence, then sceptical of it ever getting a release but now that it's finally here, courtesy of HBO Max,  two questions need to be asked. Was it worth it and just how different is it to the 2017 theatrical version that was released instead?

The answer to the first question is a resounding yes. This definitely was worth the wait and the release is more than justified. As for the second question, well the core mechanics are the same here. Both Batman (Ben Affleck) and Wonder Woman (Gal Gadot) recruit Aquaman (Jason Momoa), the Flash (Ezra Miller) and Cyborg (Ray Fisher), form a certain group, revive Superman (Henry Cavill) and try to stop Steppenwolf (Ciaran Hinds) from joining the Mother Boxes in order to take over the world for his tyrant of a nephew, also known as Darkseid (Ray Porter). Some beats are very familiar but a lot are different.

Steppenwolf in particular is better served by this movie. He's actually far more menacing and brutal in his ongoing mission to atone for a previous slight he had done to Darkseid while chief torturer DeSaad (Peter Guiness) seems to take a bit too much pleasure in the conflict between nephew and uncle. Steppenwolf's fight scenes alone with the League look better, his defeat is far more humiliating and while Darkseid only appears in a handful of scenes, he's an excellent looming threat for the newly formed Justice League. Add a tantalising history lesson featuring various groups working together, including one Green Lantern, the Anti Life Equation set up and a CGI Granny Goodness and everything related to Apokolips is promising.

Then there's our heroes themselves. The best for me was of course the Flash and if you had doubts about whether Ezra Miller can carry a solo movie, this will put you at ease. Again he's trying to help his father, Henry Allen (Billy Crudup) get out of prison but he also has a brief encounter with future love interest, Iris West (Kiersey Clemons) and his humour feels more organic here. Not to mention his powers are showcased in one of my favourite scenes in the whole movie.

Then there's Cyborg. A lot of fans felt he was short changed in the theatrical movie and after seeing this movie, I definitely get why. A lot of his emotional scenes were needlessly cut and watching the heart breaking losses he suffers with losing both Elinore (Karen Bryson) and Silas Stone (Joe Morton) does make you realise how fantastic this character can be. The idea of Cyborg as a digital god is too interesting not to run with and it's a pity that we might not see more of him in the DCEU. I do hope something can be sorted behind the scenes.

Wonder Woman on the other hand is also someone better served here than in the theatrical version as well. Here we get to see a certain robbery play out far differently while her stance on reviving Superman is vastly different as well. She's also the one to deliver the killer blow to Steppenwolf and there's a poignant scene where she mourns the loss of her sisters. For those who prefer the warrior aspect of the character, this movie has you covered.

As for the Batman segment of the movie, it's also strong stuff. For me, this is easily Ben Affleck's best performance in the role and it's great seeing this Batman step up throughout the entire movie in order to connect with his new friends and take out Steppenwolf with them. As for the big hero cameo, it's none other than Martian Manhunter (Harry Lennix) and he's here to warn that Darkseid is on the way and that he'll be there to help. I think most would've already guessed the cameo before watching this but it's a great way to end the movie. Alfred (Jeremy Irons) also gets some nice moments to shine here too.

As for Superman - well, I'm glad he's back, but it takes a long time within the movie in prder tp get him back in the game. A certain fight scene is played somewhat differently but there are some beautiful and emotional moments between the newly revived Kryptonian as well as with Lois Lane (Amy Adams) and Martha Kent (Diane Lane), the use of the Black Suit and a nice second flight scene. I do have one other question: is Lois pregnant? Will an upcoming movie shed any light on that?

Arguably the weakest of the main hero stuff would be the Aquaman bits. There's nothing inherently bad, except for Amber Heard's diabolical take on a British accent for Mera but it's more that his scenes somewhat contradict the continuity to Arthur's own movie. Vulko (Willem Dafoe) doesn't really add much to proceedings either but it's a minor quibble though.

I do imagine that the highlight for a lot of people watching this movie would be the infamous Knightmare sequence and I gotta admit, as someone who didn't particularly care for Jared Leto's Joker, he does an excellent job when forced to team with a few certain survivors in Bruce's dream. There's also a better written version of the boat scene between Lex Luthor (Jesse Eisenberg) and Deathstroke (Joe Manganiello) to enjoy here as well.

- The movie is dedicated to Autumn Snyder, who passed away during production of this movie. Zack Snyder talks about the fan campaign for AFSP at the start of the movie.
- For those who might find a four hour movie hard to sit through, breaking it into six chapters and an epilogue was a smart move.
- Ryan Choi (Ryan Zheng) taking over STAR Labs should set him up for a return in another upcoming movie.
- A physical release is due in summer for those who don't get to see it on streaming as well as black and white version later in the year.
- Standout music: Junkie XL's score was exceptional along with a stunning version of Hallelujah by Allison Crowe at the end credits.
- Chronology: Several months since the events of Batman V. Superman.

Zack Snyder's Justice League is a triumph. Yes, I had my doubts but I was genuinely surprised with how incredible this movie really is. Every main hero gets their moment to shine, Steppenwolf is a better realised baddie with Darkseid nicely set up for hopefully a future outing. Tonally, it hits all the right spots in all the right places. This is far superior to the theatrical version and while I don't know if Snyder's vision can be continued in the DCEU going forward, there's a lot to admire here.

Rating: 9 out of 10

Wednesday, March 17, 2021

My Review of Superman And Lois 1x04: "Haywire"


Written by Michael Narducci
Directed by James Bamford

General Lane (re Clark): "I don't like his priorities changing."
Lois: "It's called being a father."

Oh boy. It really did not take long for General Sam Lane to go the direction I expected him to go but also hoped that the show would avoid for a little longer. I saw it coming but again, it happened quicker than expected.

Sam has not been shy in his disapproval of Lois and Clark moving to Smallville. He was less pleased about the boys finding out their dad is Superman and now he's not so thrilled with the idea of Jordan having powers and joining the football team.

On top of that, he's also worried about Clark's shifting priorities and this episode almost justified his fears when it took Superman longer to respond to radicalized criminal, Thaddeus R Killgrave (Brendan Fletcher), due to another storyline involving Jonathan and Jordan's football friend, Tag.

I'll have to admit there was probably potential in Killgrave but he was a wasted guest villain and seemed to serve more to make a point about Clark being pulled in different directions more than posing an actual threat, in spite of his neat sonic gun. Saying that though, he'll probably resurface again.

As for Tag - his story reminded me of Smallville and the freak of the week episodes they would often do. It was the weakest element of the episode but it was nice to see Jonathan and Jordan try to solve the problem first and also nice that Jordan wasn't entirely responsible for Tag's predicament. Actually the episode noticeably was less angsty for Jordan though we did see Jonathan struggle a little.

As for Lois - Morgan Edge got the better of her twice this episode. He managed to use the threat of legal action to prevent her writing another damning article on him for now and the town meeting went in his favour. That now means both him and Leslie Larr have a lot of Krypronite at their disposal to make an army for themselves.

- Morgan seemed to take a fancy to Lana, she was rightly annoyed by him and Kyle remains an insensitive prat, though he did make pancakes for the family.
- Brendan Fletcher who played Killgrave also played the Star City Slayer in the seventh season of Arrow.
- I'm gonna keep saying this but the Smallville Gazette could do with more staff, other than Lois and Chrissy and why didn't they include the latter on the girls night out with Lana?
- Chronology: We took a trip six years ago for some Morgan Edge backstory but other than that, not a lot of time has passed since the previous episode.

Haywire is probably the weakest episode so far but there's enough to keep it going. I do love the family drama but it's a shame that guest villain like Killgrave was wasted in the mix between Lois, Clark and General Lane but other than that, the show is still delivering on the right moments.

Rating: 7 out of 10

Saturday, March 13, 2021

My Review of Captain Marvel (2019)


Written by Anna Boden And Ryan Fleck And Geneva Robertson-Dworet And Nicole Perlman And Meg LeFauve 
Directed by Anna Boden And Ryan Fleck

Captain Marvel: "I've been fighting with one hand tied behind my back but what happens when I'm finally set free?"

It's been two years since this movie was released and it's amazing that in some respects that it seems to be quite a controversial film within the MCU with extreme groups either declaring it the best or worst of this particular franchise.

I say that because after finally sitting down to watch it, there isn't anything remotely controversial to behold here. I will say however that it took the MCU far too long for a female led property but overall this movie itself is a delight.

Brie Larson is wonderful as pilot turned super powered force of nature Carol Danvers/Vers/Captain Marvel, though she's never called the latter in this movie. Carol's origins are nicely set up, going from her discovery that her mentor Lawson (Annette Bening) was a Kree scientist named Mar-Vell  to being forced into working for the Kree, as somewhat led to an extent by Yon-Rogg (Jude Law), along with some fellow teammates who don't especially care for Carol.

However it's an encounter with the Skrulls in which Carol finds herself questioning the last six years of her life and crash landing back on Earth with Skrull leader, Talos (Ben Mendelsohn) in hot pursuit along with a teaming up with a rather younger Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) is definitely where things get more interesting and Carol finds herself learning a lot more about her past self.

The reunion with her friend and fellow pilot, Maria Rambeau (Lashana Lynch) and the latter's daughter, Monica (Akira Akbar) adds a nice touch of domesticity to proceedings along with the nice twist of Talos being more friend than foe.  Mendelsohn does some brilliant work through this movie as Talos and I really enjoyed his scenes with everyone here.

Also the more said about the Flerkin known as Goose, the better because that character more than justified the character poster it was given for this movie. Goose had some brilliant moments, especially with Fury and how it handled the Tesserect to boot.

Anyways this motley crew make for a good team against Yon-Rogg and the fight between the latter and Carol are especially well done. Of course the movie also ends with there being the plot threads of Carol wanting to end the war, Ronan the Accuser (Lee Pace) also wanting Carol as a weapon and of course, whatever the Supreme Intelligence also has planned next.

- Gemma Chan who played Minn-Erva will also play Sersei for Eternals. Clark Gregg's younger Agent Coulson popped up here as well.
- The opening credits were a massive tribute to Stan Lee and he was a train commuter in this movie for his cameo.
- Standout music: Too many 90s goodness but the highlights were Garbage's Only Happy When It Rains, No Doubt's Just A Girl and Hole's Celebrity Skin.
- Chronology: Carol went missing in 1989, most of this movie took place in 1995 and the post credit scene with Natasha, Steve, Bruce and Rhodes was in the present day to set up Avengers: Endgame.

Captain Marvel is an interesting movie to watch. In terms of MCU movies, I'm not sure if it's a Top 10 for me but there's a lot to enjoy here. I loved the 90s and that in a lot of a ways, it's essentially a prequel for a lot of the MCU we know along with being a strong origin movie for Carol Danvers.

Rating: 8 out of 10

Thursday, March 11, 2021

Long Live The Scarlet Witch

It's time for another brief look at some of the shows I've been watching over the last while.

Batwoman: Season 2 continues to be rather solid but not spectacular so far with the latest episodes. Here we briefly get to meet Amygdala, learn or basically be drip fed Alice and Ocean's connection to one another as well as Safiyah doing nothing of note in the background and there's also Ryan losing her girlfriend again, suffering from Kryptonite poisoning and getting closer to Luke and Mary while Sophie and Jacob look for a purpose. It's okay stuff but it's largely treading water.

Schitt's Creek: I watched the fourth season over the course of three days and I think it might be my favourite season yet. It's amazing that for a show I was hesitant to watch that I cannot get enough of it and now I'm doing my best to savour the last two seasons because I don't want it to end at all. This season had the brilliance of David and Patrick as a couple, Stevie and Johnny running the motel, Moira helping Jocelyn to give birth, Roland still be an amusing thorn for Johnny and some genuinely affecting character growth for Alexis and Ted. Then to top it all, the finale is now one of the best Christmas episodes I've ever seen in my life. 

The Flash: The first two episodes of the show's seventh season and it's definitely off to an okay start. There's still the need to finish off the Eva/Iris/Mirrorverse plot, along with original Wells return and figuring out what to do with everyone else this season. The Thinker style version of Barry in the second episode was a highlight but other than that, not too much has stood put so far.

WandaVision: The moment has come and it was certainly prepared for. After nine episodes, Wanda embraced her destiny, became the Scarlet Witch, found an appropriate way to punish Agatha Harkness, let go of Vision, her kids and Westview and it was satisfying. As was the continued presence of  Jimmy Woo and Darcy Lewis and Monica getting her own origin story for something else along with the mid and post credit scenes. The only less satisfying bits were Hayward being a one dimensional character and the Quicksilver thing but other than that, this series is easily a Top 5 MCU property for me.

  • Michelle Gomez will be a regular in the third season of Doom Patrol, taking on the role of Madame Rouge.
  • Grey's Anatomy may be ending with it's seventeenth season.
  • Chloe Bennett, Dove Cameron and Yana Perrault will be the live action Powerpuff Girls for the upcoming CW series.
  • Aya Cash, Ben Cook and Jake Picking have also signed up for Showtime anthology series, The First Lady along with Viola Davis, Michelle Pfeiffer and Gillian Anderson.
  • Special's upcoming second season on Netflix will also be it's final season.
  • Annie Murphy has joined the cast of Russian Doll for it's second season.
  • Supergirl will return for it's sixth season from March 30th while Superman And Lois goes on a break until May 18th.
  • Josh Holloway will reunite with JJ Abrams for the upcoming HBO Max series, Duster.
  • Katrina Law has bagged a recurring role on the current season of NCIS.
  • America Ferrera will return for the series finale of Superstore.