Gotham (Selina Kyle review)

Selina Kyle played Camren bicondova

Selina Kyle played Camren Bicondova

Don’t piss off the Cat!

“Don’t piss off the Cat” is a phrase that accurately describes the temperament and vicious nature of Selina Kyle (who becomes Catwoman).  Catwoman of course is the signature anti-hero in the Batman Universe.  The episode “Selina Kyle”  on the surface is about the development of Selina Kyle into becoming seductive thief known as Catwoman.  The pilot underutilized Selina Kyle by showing her steal jewelry in the first minute of the show having her popping up for no reasons throughout the episode.  The second episode of Gotham gives her the spotlight.

Selina Kyle is a homeless teenage girl who lives on the street and steals items to survive.  A man and a woman drug her friends and shot an elderly homeless veteran who tried to protect the homeless children.  Jim Gordon and Harvey Bullock start to investigate the murder and find that homeless children are being abducted off the streets . Their investigation gets Gotham’s power players involved demanding action and justice for the children while Selina Kyle, the only witness, quietly slips away in the shadows.

The main positive about this episode is Selina Kyle.  Carmen Bicondova is the young teenage actress who plays Selina Kyle. The writers of Gotham teased us with the qualities of Selina Kyle in this episode that make Batman fans love the character.  She is sneaky, violent (crawling someone’s eyes out, (spoiler alert)), and has that sarcastic attitude throughout the episode.  She is very tentative around people and a good judge of character.  Her bond with James Gordon will get stronger throughout the series until she utterly disappears off the grid and starts to steal dressed in a cat outfit. She  also likes to be called “Cat” by people.

However, another big positive of the episode is Alfred.  Yes, Batman fans all love the kind gentle Alfred who snitches up Batman after his long nights of fighting crime. However, Alfred in this show has become Bruce Wayne’s surrogate father while Bruce has lost his faith in humanity.  The two should butt heads throughout the show so be on guard for this dynamic. The only character that has Bruce Wayne’s respect in this show is Jim Gordon but Alfred doesn’t yet.  Just a reminder, every major superhero has to earn and prove themselves to Bruce Wayne/Batman before they get the respect and acknowledgement  from the Bat.

This episode had more action, dynamic plot lines, and better dialogue. Ben Mckenzie and Donald Logue were great as Jim Gordon and Harvey Bullock. Robin Lord Taylor is delightful as the Penguin and has great charisma in every scene that he is in. Jada Pinkett-Smith actually showed some viciousness and anger in her performance as Fish Mooney. She was a big improvement from last week.  There is a Killer Croc reference for all you Batman fans in this episode.

Overall, “Selina Kyle” was a very strong episode.  Bruce and Alfred butted heads like they should at this point in their lives. Selina Kyle developed into a sneaky sarcastic character.  The visuals were great, the writing was good, and a well acted television episode. I give this episode 4/5 because the villains were kind of lame.

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Faux Paws (review)

Faux Paws Directed and Written by  Doug Bari Starring Doug Bari  Brain Wimer  Doug is on the left and Brian is on the right

Faux Paws
Directed and Written by
Doug Bari
Starring Doug Bari
Brian Wimer
Doug is on the left and Brian is on the right

Vampires, werewolves, and zombies are creatures of the night and meant to be scary. However, what if the werewolves were gay and the government knew about them.  Faux Paws is about two gay werewolves escape to freedom from government captivity.  Their destination is Maine because Maine is the freest state in the Union after all, at least historically.

Brian is held in government captivity because the government has found a use for werewolves. Their saliva has unique healing properties, and of course the government would exploit this.  Doug is Brian’s boyfriend and visits Doug on the weekend .  He’s old and doesn’t change into werewolf anymore. The couple plan their escape from this government facility and head to Maine to live free.

The film is written and directed by Doug Bari.  He’s a local cat from Charolettsville, VA.  He has other writing and directing credits to his name.  His character, Doug, is a laid back and chill kind of guy. He is most likely to roll up a joint and party with you and your friends.  Brian is an uptight ass most of the time but has a good dynamic with Doug. The two actors did tremendous amount of bickering like an old married couple. They were one of the most enjoyable parts of the film.

Faux Paws is a satire for homosexuals continuously being mistreated by contemporary society. The American public has made so many strides in the past decade in gay rights.  The film is very campy but they hit their jokes. A few jokes were too silly but the audience had a fun time watching this film. It is one of the better campy satirical movies that been has produced in a long time.

Faux Paws and it’s production should have had more financial backing from a studio. I could see this campy satirical film appeal to a wide audience and make good money at the box office. The filming locations were around Virginia. It should have more backing and maybe Netflix will pick it up for their online streaming.

Overall, Faux Paws is very funny. The acting is good and there is so much humor in it. The film would be better in quality if a studio backed it financially but it doesn’t mean that Faux Paws isn’t a good film. I give it a 4/5 because for an independent locally produced movie, this one is really good.

The Babadook (review)

Directed and written by Jennifer Kent Essie Davis as Amelia Noah Wieseman as Samuel

Directed and written by Jennifer Kent
Essie Davis as Amelia
Noah Wieseman as Samuel

Being terrified once was enough!

Horror movies are usually very lame and one dimensional.  Most horror films are cheap slasher films or stupid possession movies like the purge or the paranormal activity.  However, every once and awhile there is a great horror movie that does strike fear and nightmares in its audience.  The Exorcist, Poltergeist, Alien, and a few others are examples of these movies.  The Babadook will be the next great horror film.

The Babadook is about Amelia and Samuel, her son, coping with the loss of Samuel’s father. He died in a violent car accident six years ago, and mother and son can’t seem to move on.  Samuel is like any normal six year kid who is afraid of monsters and the dark. However, a book called Minster Babadook is read to Sam before bedtime and everything starts to change for the worst.  Is Mister Babadook real or part of Sam’s imagination?

This film does pull from several horror genres such as slashers, suspenseful horror, and the plain old run, hide, and don’t open your eyes.  Jennifer Kent wrote a horror masterpiece. The screenplay probably did have a Stephen King tone to it.  The film uses particular visuals, tones, and setting that give it a really frightening feel to the movie. These elements combined to make the best horror movie in a long time.

The Babadook has an underlying theme to it, parenting.  The film is about what it takes to be an understanding parent. Sam is a problem child and has several behavioral problems. It might explain why he has nightmares and sees monsters. His mother brushes him off most of the time because adults always believe its the kid’s imagination. The Babadook is sort of representation of the mother.  The movie nails what it takes to be a great parent in today’s society.

Overall, the Babadook is a great horror film. The acting, storytelling, and directing are exceptional. It has super intense moments and one scene that I wish that could have been cut from the movie. The Babadook gets a 4/5 and scheduled to be release in December.

Gotham (series premiere review)

Gotham  Created by  Bruno Heller

Gotham
Created by
Bruno Heller

It’s all about the Batman Villains

Gotham City is one of the most iconic fictional cities in pop culture. The world knows about  exceptionally insane characters that live and torment Gotham City such as: Batman, The Joker, Two Face, The Riddler, and some of the other major Batman villains.  However, this show has no Batman as the hero but Detective James Gordon as its hero.  Gotham is set to explore the origins of Bruce Wayne’s training to become Batman; James Gordon rising though the ranks to become Police Commissioner; and infamous Joker, Riddler, and Poison Ivy becoming those homicidal lunatic super villains that we all know and love.

James Gordon (Ben Mackenzie) is the new boy in the Gotham Police Department. He’s a war hero and very honorable. He is partnered with the slimy cowardly Detective Harvey Bullock (Donald Logue).  The two immediately have conflicts on how to enforce the law. However, they are forced to investigate Bruce Wayne’s parents murder.   Gordon makes a promise to Alfred (Sean Pertwee) and Bruce Wayne (David Mazouz) that he will find the murderer that killed Wayne s.  Along the way, the detectives go to Fish Mooney (Jada Pickett Smith) for information about the murder and start the powder keg for her to become Gotham’s leader of organize crime.

Honestly, the best part of the show were the visuals. Gotham is not a science fiction  show but Gotham had dark, misty, and corrupt feel to make a good crime show.  The setting combined Batman Begins with Tim Burton’s Batman to make the city look spectacular.  The other best part of the show was not James Gordon or Harvey Bullock but they were spectacular characters too. Oswald Cobblepot (Robin Lord Taylor) stole the show. He was the most charismatic character in the premiere and such a wonderful slimy little bastard.  Robin Lord Taylor had so much cunning, anger, and likeable in his performance of Cobblepot. He will become the Penguin and put a bullet through the head of Fish Mooney by season’s end (a prediction that I have).  Ben Mackenzie, Donald Logue, and Robin Lord Taylor did brilliant jobs on portraying their comic book characters.

For the negatives, the episode had really boring moments and felt flat.  The two big issues were the Fish Mooney character and Catwoman. The episode overall was entertaining but Fish Mooney didn’t feel threatening such as Mr. Freeze would be. Jada Pickett Smith had no energy in her performance and her character felt lackluster. She was one dimensional; however, there are chances for her to grow into homicidal maniac in future episodes. The really WTF moment is Catwoman. She serves no purpose in the first episode. She would climb on buildings and watch things. Can you say boring? The show runners could have introduced her more brilliantly and charismatically but they put her in to do nothing.  It was pathetic use of the iconic Catwoman; however, she will be the focus on next week’s episode.

Overall, Gotham was good but it wasn’t Batman Begins or Batman brilliant. James Gordon, Harvey Bullock, and Oswald Cobblepot were compelling characters. They made the episode worth watching combined with that dark visual tone of the show.  Catwoman was wasted and pathetically introduced as a character.  There is a big Joker reference (maybe a particular scene) in the episode. This show will develop its own version of the Joker and big props to the creators for taking on that beloved homicidal clown. Jada Pickett Smith was uninspiring but there are chances for her to develop.  Gotham gets a 3.5/5.

What did you do think about Gotham? Who do you want to see in Gotham in terms of Batman Villains? Comment below and let me know.

The Maze Runner (review)

Directed by Wes Ball  Dylan O'Brien Kaya Scodelario Thomas Brodie-Sangster Will Poulter Patricia Clarkson

Directed by Wes Ball
Dylan O’Brien
Kaya Scodelario
Thomas Brodie-Sangster
Will Poulter
Patricia Clarkson

Trapped in a Maze With No Where to Go!

Most people have fond memories as a kid going through corn mazes around Halloween.  Mazes are great hiding spots or places to get lost in that causes fear of the unknown. The Maze Runner expands on that idea.  What if you were trapped in a maze with no way out? The movie is adapted from the book by James Dashner.  The plot revolves around a group of young boys who have to find a way out of the maze so they can escape to their freedom.

A teenage kid named Thomas, Dylan O’Brien, is sent to live among other kids who are trapped in the middle of a maze. The maze constantly shifts and changes that makes it impossible for the children to find escape route. Thomas lives in the glade with the other teens, grassy place in the center of the Maze, where the children are protected at night from a creature called a Grievers. Grievers patrol the maze at night preventing the children from escaping.  The Maze starts to change more rapidly after Thomas is brought into the fold.

The Maze Runner is an entertaining movie with constant twists and turns.  Wes Ball’s direction of the younger actors  give the film a lot of emotion.  It will not make you cry but you will be sadden at certain moment.  The only spoiler is not all of the children get out of the maze. The story is very well crafted and it allows the audience to take a journey with the kids.

The grievers are a major force. They are good at blending in their surroundings and fast. The creatures are not controlled by an external force but have minds of their own.  Thomas and the kids have quite a few battles with them. The battle scenes between the grievers are very intense and the feeling of entrapment is in every scene.

Overall, the Maze Runner was a good movie not great. They’re making a sequel and the ending does create a buzz on what will happen next in their kid’s lives.  It was enjoyable and it gives off a lord of a flies feel. The Maze Runner gets a 3/5. It’s a fun movie and worth watching for two hours.

The Drop (review)

Tom Hardy  With Rocco the Dog Directed by Michael R. Roskam  Screenplay by Dennis Lehane  Released by Fox Searchlight

Tom Hardy
With Rocco the Dog
Directed by Michael R. Roskam
Screenplay by Dennis Lehane
Released by Fox Searchlight

It’s All About the Dog!

The Drop is a crime suspense thriller starring Tom Hardy, Noomi Rapace and James Gandolfini’s (his last film appearance.)  The film is based on Animal Rescue, a short short, written by Dennis Lehane.  It’s Michael R. Roskam’s second directorial film.  Right now, it is in limited release but it has a possibility of expanding on ticket sales and audience reception.  The small crowd of people in the theater really loved this movie.

Tom Hardy plays Bob Saginowski, a bartender, for his Cousin Marv’s bar, James Gandolfini.  Marv doesn’t own the bar but instead makes payments to the mob.  Bob is walking home when he finds a stray beaten bloody dog in a trash can.  Nadia, Noomi Rapace, lives in the house  where Bob found the little dog and helps him stitch up the dog’s wounds. They form a friendship and start to bond over Rocco, the dog.  One night the bar goes robbed and the mobsters threaten Bob’s and Marv ‘s life if they don’t find the people.  Nadia’s ex boyfriend, Matthias Schoenaerts, shows up and threatens to take Rocco away if Bob doesn’t give him money. The pressures of Bob’s life become intense and it will awaken something in him that he has kept buried for a long time.

The movie has an excellent narrative  that is suspenseful. The plot revolves around Bob struggling to deal with a stalker who is a known pyschopath. He demands compensation for Rocco, the dog.  The mob bears down on Cousin Marv and Bob to find the money. Lenane wrote scenes filled with intense moments in the script. Roskam directed these scenes with excellent.  The best part of the movie was the acting.

Tom Hardy is masterful as a silent nice guy in this Drop.  James Gandolfini is a complete dick and reminds me of his portrayal of Tony Soprano.  Noomi Rapace delivers a good emotional character. Hardy steals the show like he always does. We never know much about his character but he is seriously crazy.  His character is very protective and the wrong person to double cross.  Hardy has delivered two masterful performances this year.

Overall, this film is very spectacular and suspenseful.  It is well directed film and the acting is Oscar worthy.  The Drop is worth going out to see in theaters because it is a great movie. Hardy and Rocco, the dog, will melt your heart, and Gandolfini’s last performance on screen is worth watching.  I give the Drop 4.5 out 5.  It’s an Oscar worthy film.

Snowpiercer review

Snowpiercer starring Chris Evans John Hurt Jamie Bell Olivia Spencer Tilda Swinton Directed by  Bong Joon-ho

Snowpiercer starring
Chris Evans
John Hurt
Jamie Bell
Olivia Spencer
Tilda Swinton
Directed by
Bong Joon-ho

Snowpiercer reflects present day society

America politics frequently mentions the halves and the halves not. These two terms describe the wealth gap facing this nation.  Snowpiercer, directed by Bong Joon-ho, was a great take on contemporary society.  Chris Evans and John Hurt star in the film. Their characters are the leaders of a revolution on a train where the last remnants of humanity form a brutal cast system.

In 2014, human beings finally try to deal with climate change but end up releasing a chemical that causes the Earth to become an icy solid rock.  The last human survivors broad a train called Snowpiercer. The train has a perpetual-motion engine that super heats the train allowing it to continuously run in the extreme climate.  Humanity has developed a cast system where everybody has a role. Curtis Evertt, Chris Evans, is advised by Gilliam, John Hurt, lead a revolution for the tail passengers on the train.

The film’s plot divides humanity into two sections.  The rich have luxury sleeping quarters, eat fine meals, and have the comforts of life. They live in the front of the train. Everybody else lives in tail end where there is no education for children, their meals are protein bars, and guards patrol the section to maintain order. Snowpiercer has an  aristocratic society.  If the tail end passengers rebel then they either get beaten, killed, or have limps cut from the bodies.  The movie’s director made this film fantastic.

Bong-Joon Ho shot a beautiful action movie. The train cars are no bigger than 20 feet wide that house hundreds of humans in one car.   The train cars hold several hundred people who fight in the movie.  The fights were so grand in scale in a little train car that it wowed many people in the audience. Chris Evans does a beautiful job of playing a tormented soul. He doesn’t want to be leader a revolution. John Hurt’s character is the symbol of freedom. Hurt’s character is like George Washington being the great tactical general during the Revolutionary War.  All of the other actors were superb in the movie.

Overall, Snowpiercer is a great science fiction action and people walked out of the theater very entertained. It keeps you guessing and the audience seemed to enjoy it. Bong-Joon Ho could be getting several calls to start directing Hollywood blockbusters after the success of Snowpiercer.  People will love the political and historical references throughout the movie.  I give Snowpiercer 4.5/5.