Sunday, October 30, 2016

BBC Sherlock Season 4 air date revealed!

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Dear Readers,

The premiere dates for Season 4 have been revealed: Jan 01 2017. The season will air simultaneously in both the UK and the US on the same day.

Here is the latest trailer for Season 4:

I prefer this trailer to the previous one. This one actually contains some substance, compared to the first trailer which was all too serious and full of poses and reaction shots.

The trailer strongly indicates the return of Jim Moriarty, given the reactions displayed by Sherlock. Another antagonist is Culverton Smith, played by Toby Jones. As readers of the Canon will be aware, Culverton Smith appears in the original story: The Adventure of the Dying Detective.

As for Moriarty's return from being dead, I am reminded me of the following lines spoken by Sherlock Holmes in The Adventure of the Sussex VampireThis agency stands flat-footed upon the ground, and there it must remain. The world is big enough for us. No ghosts need apply.

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Let us see if Moriarty does return and if so, how will Gatiss and Moffat explain the same.

My favorite lines in the trailer were: You Reptile” (spoken by Mrs Hudson to Mycroft). The final exchange between Sherlock and Mycroft was good too: Keep me Informed. of what? Absolutely no idea...”. Of course, these lines might have been taken from different scenes. We will know when the episode airs.

But right now, the trailer has succeeded in arousing my interest in the series that is just two months away.

Click here to read all my posts about BBC Sherlock.

Image Sources: Hartswood Films, BBC Wales, Masterpiece Theatre

Saturday, October 22, 2016

Logan (2017) Trailer # 1 - Review and Reaction

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The first trailer for the (supposedly) final Wolverine movie, Logan is here.

After directing The Wolverine, James Mangold returns to the director's chair. In addition to the series regulars (Hugh Jackman, Patrick Stewart), we have a few newcomers: Richard E. Grant as Dr. Zander Rice a.k.a Mister Sinister, Boyd Holbrook as Donald Pierce and Stephen Merchant as Caliban (a younger version was played by Tómas Lemarquis in X-Men: Apocalypse).

Check out the trailer below:

The trailer comes as self-serious. Gone is the humor and wit that Hugh Jackman displayed in the X-Men movie: X-Men: Days of Future Past. Appropriately, the trailer is set to the song “Hurt” covered by Johnny Cash in 2002.

Patrick Stewart appears as an aged Charles Xavier. This is what I have understood so far about the movie: It is an apocalypse-type scenario and mutants are being hunted down. Logan has advanced in terms of age and there is a female clone (X-23) in the fray.

As usual, it is upto Logan to save the world of mutants. This time, the bad guy is Mister Sinister. I am not an expert on X-Men mythology. I have not read the comics and my only exposure is via the two animated series: X-Men and X-Men Evolution apart from the movies.

From what I have seen so far, Mister Sinister would make an interesting villain, given his skill sets. Plus, hopefully we won't get Magneto lifting bridges, cars etc...

Another good thing about the movie's trailer: At least there is no Jennifer Lawrence. It would be nice if Rebecca Romijn makes at least a cameo appearance as an aged Mystique.

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Image Sources: Donners' Company, Marvel Entertainment, TSG Entertainment, Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

BBC Sherlock Season 4 Episodes # 1 and 2 Titles revealed!

bbc sherlock season 4 image poster picture wallpaper screensaver gallery

Dear Readers,

The titles for the first two episodes of Season 4 have been revealed: “The Six Thatchers and The Lying Detective.

“The Six Thatchers” is a reference to The Adventure of the Six Napoleons, one of the 56 stories written by Arthur Conan Doyle. The original story has Holmes solving the mystery behind the seemingly mindless thefts and subsequent destruction of Napoleon busts.

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The second episode's title (“The Lying Detective”) is based on The Adventure of the Dying Detective, another ACD original featuring the Bohemian detective. As the title indicates, Holmes seems to be on the verge of death and asks Dr Watson to seek the help of one Dr Culverton Smith. But there is more to what meets the eye when it comes to Sherlock Holmes.

Mark Gatiss and Steven Moffat are known for giving modern updates to the Victorian era based stories and novels. The second episode has the popular character actor Toby Jones playing Culverton Smith. I am more interested about “The Six Thatchers” and how it will stand vis-a-vis it's inspiration.

In case you missed, here is the trailer for Season 4:

Click here to read all my posts about BBC Sherlock.

Image Sources: Hartswood Films, BBC Wales, Masterpiece Theatre

Monday, March 28, 2016

Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice (2016) - Review/Reaction

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The long awaited movie has finally been released. There will be spoilers throughout and the readers who are yet to watch the episode are recommended to skip this post.

Directed by Zack Snyder (Man of SteelWatchmen), the movie stars Henry Cavill as Kal-El/Clark Kent/Superman, Ben Affleck as Bruce Wayne/Batman and Gal Gadot as Diana Prince/Wonder Woman.

Supporting cast includes Jesse Eisenberg as Lex Luthor, Amy Adams as Lois Lane, Jeremy Irons as Alfred Pennyworth, Diane Lane as Martha Kent and Laurence Fishburne as Perry White.

The movie starts off with a funeral procession of Thomas Wayne (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) and Martha Wayne (Lauren Cohan). A traumatized Bruce Wayne (Brandon Spink) is seen running wildly and falls into a cave full of .... bats (what else can one expect?).

Flash forward to the climactic battle of Man of Steel. Bruce is rushing through the Metropolis streets to save his employees/friends working in the Wayne building. He manages to save an injured employee, Wallace Keefe (Scoot McNairy) and an unnamed girl from the rubble.

But instead of spending a few minutes with Bruce, we again jump to an underwater excavation under progress in the Indian Ocean. The object being retrieved is a considerable chunk of Kryptonite.

Senator Finch (Holly Hunter) wants Superman to be held accountable for his actions. She is being cleverly manipulated by Lex Luthor, who wants to get his hands on all things Kyrptonian, including the corpse of Zod (Michael Shannon).

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But Finch is the not the only one, Lex is toying with. He is also setting up both the Man of Steel and Batman to a no-holds barred brawl.

In the midst of all these developments, Diana Prince is hanging around the same social gatherings as Clark Kent and specifically Bruce Wayne do. Bruce can sense that she is up to something.

The movie meanders around till it gets to the much-hyped battle of the superheroes. Like The Dark Knight Returns, the graphic novel on which the movie is partially based on, Batman ends up defeating Superman with the help of Kryptonite.

He is about to kill the Man of Steel, when Clark mentions a name: Martha. This triggers an emotional trip down the memory lane for Bruce. Lois stops by and informs Batman that Martha is the first name of Superman's mother.

Yes, that is how stupid Ben Affleck's Batman is. He does not even bother to check out these details of his enemy before he goes to fight him. For a character supposed to be the “World's Greatest Detective, he is mindbogglingly dumb. That is probably good, as only Sherlock Holmes can rightfully claim that title.

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The movie finally comes to a conclusion with the DC's Trinity facing off against Doomsday, the monster created by Lex from Zod's corpse. This confrontation is pure CGI and is boring as hell. Except for Wonder Woman, neither of the other three combatants make no impression.

Superman and Doomday kill each other, again echoing the story-line of the 1992 series: The Death of Superman. The movie ends with yet another funeral scene, this time for Clark/Superman. In the comic book universe, no one stays dead for long and neither will Superman.

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This was a major disappointment. The movie fails on almost all possible levels: acting, action, direction, music.... The saving grace is Gal Gadot's performance as Wonder Woman and her theme music. In the final fight, she is the only one who actually fights back against the villain. Batman is busy jumping around desperately trying to save himself. Superman gets pummeled around like a toy.

The only other enjoyable scene in the movie is at Luthor's party, which also features her. Diana and Bruce eye each other warily as they attempt to steal Lex's secrets.

This is a movie that is not about the DC Universe and characters like Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman. This is a movie about Warner Bros. and how the studio is desperate to create an inter-connected universe to rival the massively successful one owned by Walt Disney/Marvel Studios.

Superman is as bland as he was in Man of Steel. In this movie, he saves Lois Lane more than any other human being. It is as if he was sent from Krypton only to the guardian angel for Lois and not humanity itself.

As emotionless as Cavill is throughout the movie, the standout is his reaction after the explosion during the hearing that leaves everyone around him dead. Cavill just looks around as if nothing happened. At least that is the impression that I got from his acting. In the history of worst casting decisions in superhero movies, this has got to be near the top of the heap.

Ben Affleck is either angry or snobbish. Batman's action scenes are heavily inspired by The Arkham series of Batman games and it shows. The actions look quite cartoonish both in their content and the way they are executed. Both Kevin Tsujihara (current CEO of Warner Bros.) and Zack Snyder have a strong background in video games and this works against the movie's best interests.

Except for the Batman vs gang of thugs fight sequence, both the Batman v Superman and the climactic sequence are as generic as possible. There is no element of fun behind the way these scenes have been designed. A fight scene showcasing each character's unique skills/fighting styles would have been so much fun. But this is a studio mandated product that has no time for imagination or fun.

Hopefully Suicide Squad will be much more fun than this self-serious piece of nonsense that pretends to about some of the world's most iconic superheroes.

This movie solely exists for the reason of setting up the DC Extended Universe. The best proof of this would be the cameos for The Flash, Aquaman and Cyborg. These have to be the most shoehorned in scenes in the history of Hollywood or any other cinema for that fact.

I had hoped that at least with the critical drubbing this movie has received would make Warner Bros. reconsider their decision to retain Zack Snyder's directorial talents (?) for Justice League Part One and Two due in 2017 and 2019 respectively. Now that the movie has grossed 424 million USD worldwide, it looks increasingly possible that Snyder would continue to taint the DC Universe with his vision.

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Image Sources: DC Entertainment, Dune Entertainment, Syncopy, Warner Bros.

Friday, March 18, 2016

X-Men: Apocalypse Trailer # 2 - Review and Reaction

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The second trailer for the X-Men: Apocalypse is here.

After helming X-Men: Days of Future Past, Bryan Singer returns to the director's chair. In addition to the  regulars (James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender, Jennifer Lawrence, Nicholas Hoult), we have a few newcomers: Oscar Isaac as the titular antagonist En Sabah Nur/Apocalypse, Tye Sheridan as  Scott Summers/Cyclops, Sophie Turner as Jean Grey, Alexandra Shipp as Ororo Munroe/Storm, Ben Hardy as Warren Worthington III/Angel, Lana Condor as Jubilation Lee/Jubilee, Olivia Munn as Betsy Braddock/Psylocke, Kodi Smit-McPhee as Kurt Wagner/Nightcrawler and Tómas Lemarquis as Caliban.

Check out the trailer below:

The trailer seems to take a leaf out of the recent trailers/TV spots for Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice and is very action packed. The special effects in this movie definitely look better than what we have been seeing in the Zack Snyder directed one.

Unfortunately, the comparisons do not end there. Just as the trailers have been mostly soulless and joyless, this trailer also gives off similar vibes. Plus, it does not help that Jennifer Lawrence's Mystique is given way too much screen-time.

This obviously comes at the expense of other more important characters like Prof X and Magneto. The only one to survive the Jennifer Lawrence onslaught and come out relatively unscathed is Oscar Isaac's Apocalypse.

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The trailer starts off with Erik and Charles repeating a famous exchange between Ian McKellen's Magneto and Patrick Stewart's Prof X in the chess scene in the climax of the 1999 X-Men movie.

The focus then shifts to Apocalypse. We briefly see his origins and cut to the present where he is recruiting his four horsemen: Storm, Magneto, Archangel and Psylocke. These scenes are adequate.

The trailer goes downhill from here as the YA theme kicks in with the song and Jennifer Lawrence in full Katniss Everdeen mode spouting motivational speeches like: Let's go to war”, “You are not students any more. You are X-Men!

The action scenes look adequate, but somehow the trailer failed to capture my imagination. The movie looks to have been made by a committee that has provided a checklist to be followed: A movie with YA credentials (to capitalize on the Twilight, Hunger Games, The Divergent series fans). This is obvious in the way presenting Jennifer Lawrence in full-on Katniss Everdeen avatar and a cast full of young faces.

All this has been achieved at the cost of delivering a proper X-Men movie. When stalwart characters like Charles Xavier and Magneto are given a couple of token lines (at the beginning) only to give way to a Mystique who leads the X-Men now, it is clear that the studio's priorities lie elsewhere: making profits at the expense of making an actual X-Men movie.

Bryan Singer has been a reliable director on his X-Men movies and other ones like The Usual Suspects and Valkyrie. His X-Men movies are my favorites in the comic book movie genre, right along with Christopher Nolan's Batman movies, Sam Raimi's Spiderman Trilogy and Richard Donner's Superman.

As a fan of most of the X-Men movies, I hope this one too will be good. But my instincts indicate otherwise. Looks like Bryan Singer has bent to the studio system and has delivered a mass product rather than one borne out of his passion and imagination.

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Hopefully, one of my favorite mutants shown above would at least get some money shots showcasing his awesome powers, if not proper character development. Cyclops is the best!

Click here to read all my posts related to Marvel Comics.

Image Sources: Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation, Marvel Entertainment, TSG Entertainment, Bad Hat Harry Productions, Donners' Company, Mel's Cite du Cinema

Thursday, February 25, 2016

The Flash Season 2 Episode 15 "King Shark" - Recap and Review

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After returning from Earth-2, Dr Harrison Wells (Tom Cavanagh) advises Barry Allen (Grant Gustin) and Cisco Ramon (Carlos Valdes) not to discuss with Caitlin Snow (Danielle Panabaker) or Iris West (Candice Patton) or Detective Joe West (Jesse L. Martin) about what happened to their doppelgangers.

Torn between his desire to be honest with the Wests and his guilt over the murder of Jay Garrick (Teddy Searsat the hands of Zoom (voiced by Tony Todd), Barry yearns for a meta-human to vent out his anger upon.

Barry's wishes come true when King Shark (voiced by David Hayter) escapes from his holding cell at the A.R.G.U.S. Lyla Michaels (Audrey Marie Anderson) is  the new head of A.R.G.U.S. and witnesses this escape along with her husband, John Diggle (David Ramsey).

Diggle warns Barry about the impending danger. Barry learns from Dr Wells that on Earth-2, King Shark was actually Shay Lamden, a marine biologist before he mutated into the half human-half shark monster. Dr Wells advises Cisco and Caitlin to approach Dr. Tanya Lamden (Haley Beauchamp), wife of the deceased doppelganger on our Earth. Tanya also happens to be studying sharks.

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A secondary plot involves Barry trying to make amends with Wally West (Keiynan Lonsdale). Wally is insecure about his place in the family vis-a-vis the well-established Barry, whom both Joe and Iris dote on.

After the superior two parter episode set around Earth-2, it was a tough task for any episode to maintain the status quo. To the credit of all the talents involved, they succeed for the most part.

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King Shark has been executed very well. Though we know that the meta human is a walking talking group of computer generated pixels, still the villain was enjoyable. His encounters with the Flash were entertaining. It is interesting that a TV show made at a fraction of the budget that Warner Bros. and Zack Snyder, can give us such engrossing villains like Reverse Flash, Zoom and King Shark.

This only goes to shows what great difference people with passion for the source material can make. It is quite obvious that both Warner Bros. and Zack Snyder have absolutely no respect or passion for the comic books on which they are basing their DC Extended Universe upon. The special effects for Man of Steel and the upcoming Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice pale in comparison. I highly doubt that Doomsday and/or whatever other villains we will be seeing in the upcoming movie can have 1% of the impact that Zoom or King Shark have been able to produce.

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Cisco acting afraid around Caitlin and her retaliatory prank was hilarious. Cisco again proved his geek credentials by wearing a Godzilla themed T-Shirt this time around.

In the previous episode, Cisco made a reference to the crime thriller movie: Heat. This one contains a ton of references to (drumroll please).... Jaws:

1. The aquarium employee referring to King Shark as “Bruce”.

2. Cisco's response to the fact that King Shark is coming to Central City to seek revenge against The Flash: We are gonna need a bigger Flash”.

3. Cisco's comment: Cue the Jaws Soundtrack”.

4. Cisco and Caitlin arguing who should be Quint

5. Cisco's comment: Just when you thought it was go back in the suburb, King Shark shows up at your house”.

6. Wally West explicitly refers to Jaws after the King Shark attack.

Joe West also refers to Sharknado” attack.

The final and crucial aspect was the revelation regarding Zoom. In the final scene, we see that Zoom is in fact Jay Garrick himself. Now it makes sense that the masked hostage was trying to communicate the name “JAY” to Barry on Earth-2.

This is an interesting plot development and promises more interesting episodes in the future.

Recommended watch to fans of The Flash/DC Comics.

Click here to read all my posts related to DC Comics.

Image Sources: Berlanti Productions, DC Entertainment, Warner Bros. Television, The CW Television Network

Monday, February 22, 2016

The Flash Season 2 Episode 14 "Escape from Earth-2" - Recap and Review

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In the previous episode, Zoom (voiced by Tony Todd) had taken Barry Allen/Flash (Grant Gustin) as his hostage. Zoom had also killed his minions, Deathstorm (Robbie Amell) and Reverb (Carlos Valdes).

Zoom now goes after his next target: Harrison Wells (Tom Cavanagh). Harrison, Cisco Ramon (Carlos Valdes) and Bartholomew Allen (Grant Gustin) just about make their escape from the unstoppable villain.

Explaining how things stand to Bartholomew and subsequently to Detective Iris West-Allen (Candice Patton), they decide to track down Killer Frost (Danielle Panabaker). The team hopes to use the death of her lover to turn her against Zoom.

Bartholomew zeroes in on Frost's location using his algorithm. Interesting thing was the passing mention of Patty Spivot, the CSI Tech who worked on Killer Frost's cases and is supposed to be thorough.

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Frost is not co-operative initially, but the team overpower her and convince” her to take them to Zoom's lair.

Back on our Earth, Adam Wells/Geomancer (Adam Stafford) is back after his first round of confrontation with Jay Garrick (Teddy Sears). He challenges the newer version of Flash by putting people in peril.

Jay manages to save the people, but trouble is not yet over. Geomancer turns up at STAR Labs. Jay is exhausted and is dozing, oblivious to the danger right next to him. It is up to Caitlin and Iris to confront the villain. Caitlin subdues him using a weapon. Joe West (Jesse L. Martin) has him arrested and taken to Iron Heights Penitentiary.

A secondary plot on Earth-2 involves Flash trying to decode what the as-yet unidentified masked hostage is trying to convey by tapping his fingers on the cage door. With the help of Jesse Wells (Violett Beane), Barry deduces that the man is trying to pronounce the word JAY”.

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Help arrives shortly as Frost leads Dr Wells, Cisco, Iris and Bartholomew to the place where he is being hostage. So does Zoom. It is revealed that Frost deliberately led them there as part of Zoom's plans.

Cisco again reminds Frost about the fact that Zoom killed Deathstorm and that Frost knows better than to just follow Zoom blindly. Frost finally sees the wisdom and turns against her boss.

This gives the team just enough time to make their way back to our Earth. But Zoom has the last laugh, as he whisks Jay back to Earth 2 with him before the portal can be closed.

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This was a good episode - not on the level of the first parter, but nonetheless better than most others. Once again, the humor is one of the main aspects.

Everyone from Grant Gustin to Candice Patton get to flex their acting chops. Grant is hilarious as the nerdy Bartholomew and works well in the scenes with Wells and Cisco, as he threatens to have a word with Barry's Flash. He also proved his geek credentials with his talk about the sci fi series: Commander Carl, Space Marshal of the Galaxy.

Cisco gets his share of the laughs with Zoom's Lair”.

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Danielle Panabaker gets the best bits in this episode. As Frost on Earth-2, she is the one who helps our team escape from a certain death at the hands of Zoom. As Caitlin Snow, she not only puts Geomancer out of commission (temporarily), but also devises a solution to cure Jay's illness via Velocity-9. In the end, she becomes the tragic figure (again) as she loses her loved ones on both Earths.

There are a number of references to DC Universe. Some of the easter eggs I caught are:

1. Cisco asking Frost to give up by warning her that she would not be able to make another icicle - Icicle is the name of a supervillain who also has the abilities of cold manipulation and generation.

2. Iris West-Allen mentions having friends in Atlantis with whom she can stay to maintain a low profile - In the DC Universe, Atlantis is the kingdom ruled by Aquaman.

3. The message written by Zoom out of fire on the side of a building: Bring Me Wells” - This reminded me of the similar message sent out by Batman by burning the Bat signal in fire on a building in the movie: The Dark Knight Rises.

Finally, we come to Zoom, the clear cut winner and stand out in this episode. The look he gives the security guards when they order him not to move was just chilling and masterful. All the scenes featuring him were just electric like the villain himself.

Hats off to the producers for creating such an amazing and heart-stopping character and making all the right decisions, including the character design, the special effects and the casting of Tony Todd to voice him.

Recommended watch to fans of The Flash/DC Comics.

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Image Sources: Berlanti Productions, DC Entertainment, Warner Bros. Television, The CW Television Network