Thursday, January 24, 2019

The Flash Season 5 Episode 10 "The Flash & The Furious" - Recap and Review

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Barry Allen (Grant Gustin), Iris West (Candice Patton) and Nora West-Allen (Jessica Parker Kennedy) are in court involving the case against Joss Mardon/Weather Witch (Reina Hardesty). The DA Cecille Horton (Danielle Nicolet) feels that Joss is feeling repentant for her crimes.

In the meantime, cops are having a hard time catching a stolen Lambhorgini. Barry decides to intervene and Nora volunteers to testify on his behalf. Nora refuses to share Cecille's belief about Joss and asks that she be put away. 

The Flash is about to stop the car and get the driver out. But when he touches the car, he realizes that he cannot stop phasing through. With the help of XS and Cisco Ramon (Carlos Valdes), Barry is safely placed in a holding cell.

The person responsible for Flash's present condition is Raya Van Zandt (Gabrielle Walsh), better known as Silver Ghost. Raya with the help of the Dark Matter can control cars.

Raya helps the Weather Witch maker her escape as she is being transported by the cops.

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Joss is done with her life as a criminal and parts ways with Silver Ghost. She tries to work out things with XS, but the latter is so deadset in her refusal to accept that people can turn over a new leaf, that she immediately hands over Joss to the authorities.

Once again, Silver Ghost comes to the rescue and this time Joss gladly reclaims her Weather Witch persona. XS takes the help of Killer Frost (Danielle Panabaker) to counter the combined might of her opponents.

A secondary plot involves Cisco and Caitlin Snow debating the ethical implications of developing a cure for the meta-human gene. Cisco wants to enjoy the life of a normal human being but Caitlin wants to keep her superpowers. This kind of reminded me of the plot of X-Men: The Last Stand in which mutants were offered the choice of repressing their X-gene. Rogue (Anna Paquin) wanted to give up her powers by taking the so-called cure, while other mutants like Storm (Halle Berry) argued that there is nothing wrong with having such powers.

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Another interesting aspect of the episode was the character of Sherloque Wells, played by the excellent Tom Cavanagh. I have not watched the show since the end of Season 2 and this episode was my introduction to the character.

Right from the first scene, I could make out that the character was a tribute to Sherlock Holmes. Sherloque is physically modeled after RDJ Holmes (the hat and the hairdo), while sharing the snarky and irritable behavior of Dr Gregory House (Hugh Laurie). Plus, he is French - the Canonical Holmes' grandmother was the sister of Vernet, the French artist.

I also enjoyed the “Wayne Tech” reference.

This was a great episode, primarily because the titular superhero himself was absent for the most part. The way he spends his time was another source of humor (thanks to Sherloque).

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The acting was consistently good across the board. Especially from Carlos and Danielle as they discussed back and forth about the pros and cons of finding a cure.

The rest of the cast delivers as well. Jessica Parker Kennedy and Reina Hardesty are good as Nora and the Weather Witch respectively. Gabrielle Walsh is a bit one-dimensional as the Silver Ghost.

But overall, a recommended watch to fans of The Flash/DC Comics.

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

Tuesday, January 15, 2019

Spider-Man: Far From Home (2019) Trailer - Review/Reaction

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Marvel Entertainment has released the teaser trailer for the second standalone MCU movie starring Tom Holland as Spider-Man/Peter Parker.

The newcomer to the ensemble cast including Tom Holland, Marisa Tomei, Zendaya, Tony Revolori, Samuel L. Jackson and Jon Favreau is Jake Gyllenhaal as Quentin Beck/Mysterio.

Check out the trailer:

Peter Parker is going on a vacation to Europe in the hopes of finally getting some downtime from the the responsibilities of the wall crawling titular superhero.

Trouble follows him in the form of Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson). Reluctantly, Peter joins the fight against an as yet unnamed adversary who can seemingly grow in size by absorbing the matter around him.

Initially I thought it would be Sandman (played by Thomas Haden Church in the much maligned Spider-Man 3). But then he also took the help of water and knowing Sandman's vulnerabilities against water, Absorbing Man came to mind.

Given that Quentin Beck is in the movie and he is a master at creating illusions and special effects, it is quite possible that this villain himself could be his handiwork.

Speaking of Quentin, Jake Gyllenhaal joins Michael Keaton as the second Batman actor to play the villain in a MCU Spidey movie. Granted that Jake has not been officially cast as the The Dark Knight, he has been long been an favorite to star as the caped crusader in the movie to be directed by Matt Reeves (Cloverfield, War for the Planet of the Apes).

The other highlights of the trailer are Happy Hogan spying on Aunt May, and the growing romance between Peter and Michelle Jones.

The only minor gripe I have is that Marvel Studios is trying too hard to link these Spider-Man movies with the bigger MCU Universe. Characters compare Quentin to being a cross between Iron Man and Thor and Nick fury takes over the mentoring responsibilities from Tony Stark this time around. Perhaps the latter is because of the rumored departure of Tony from the MCU in Avengers: Endgame or may be RDJ demanded too big a paycheck.

I wish that Marvel Studios would make a stand-alone Spider-man Movie as just being a friendly neighborhood wallcrawler. Sure, there would be the inevitable cameos from one or two fellow MCU superheroes. But I would like to Peter Parker grow into his role as Spider-Man without the involvement of the Avengers/S.H.I.E.L.D. folks.

Something along the lines of Iron Man 3 or Thor: Ragnarok. Well, we can always dream...

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Image Sources: Sony Pictures Releasing, Columbia Pictures Corporation, Marvel Studios, Walt Disney Pictures

Thursday, January 10, 2019

Polar (2019) Trailer - Review/Reaction

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Just as the Liam Neeson movie Taken inspired a slew of movies (The Equalizer, Edge of Darkness and John Wick being notable examples), now it is the turn of John Wick to return the favor.

John Wick was the world's # 1 assassin-for-hire before he retired. Trouble follows when his dog is killed and John is out for revenge. By the end of the (inevitable) sequel, John had a price on his head and it was open season.

As the saying goes: Success begets success”.

The IMDB description for Polar reads: The world's top assassin, Duncan Vizla, is settling into retirement when his former employer marks him as a liability to the firm. Against his will, he finds himself back in the game going head to head with an army of younger killers. 

John Wick's dog has been replaced with Duncan's cute neighbor, Camille (Vanessa Hudgens).

In addition to the obvious similarities to the John Wick movies, astute readers will notice how the description could also apply to the Jason Bourne movies, in which the titular character faced off against younger and faster opponents.

I have enjoyed Mads' performances in Casino Royale and Doctor Strange. In both these movies, Mikkelsen displayed a blend of dry wit and bad guy antics. This movie seems to be a particularly good match for Mads' track record.

The action sequences look decent and the humor is ok. But there is a been there done that  feeling  that is unavoidable, given how well received the John Wick movies were.

I still prefer John Wick to this one. Keanu Reeves' world weariness and his acting style made him a natural casting choice for the a world weary assassin.

Let us see if Mads can do one better.

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Image Sources: Netflix, Constantin Film, Dark Horse Entertainment

Sunday, January 6, 2019

Sherlock Holmes Birthday and New Sherlock Holmes Coin

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Today marks the 165th birthday of Arthur Conan Doyle's fictional detective.

From dispatching hounds on Dartmoor to helping red headed clients with their vexing conundrums, Holmes has seen it all. He has had more than his share of cases involving saving step daughters from their money grubbing step fathers.

Holmes has survived a number of murder attempts - some at the behest of Professor Moriarty. In addition to physical attacks, Holmes has also been the target of being infected with rare tropical diseases. Plus, it does not help that Holmes himself took several life threatening risks himself, the most famous being when he exposed himself and Dr Watson to the experiment involving Devil's Foot.

sherlock holmes strand magazine illustration poster image wallpaper screensaver picture

All said and done, Holmes is immortal. People will continue to read ACD's original stories and perpetuate the myth of the greatest detective who never lived.

In addition, there are numerous pastiches and adaptations, many of which are enjoyable. Fans of the author have paid tribute by letting their imagination run wild - Holmes has battled the Loch Ness monster, has been reincarnated in the 22nd century, and not only has he been partnered with a female Watson and a female Moriarty, but even has had Irene Adler and Moriarty combined into the same person.

To commemorate ACD's 160th birth anniversary, the Royal Mint has designed 50 pence Sherlock Holmes coins listing some of the most popular stories and novels from the Canon.
sherlock holmes 50p coins royal mint 2019
Here's wishing the very best of fame and popularity to the world's most renowned fictional sleuth.

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Image Source: The Royal Mint

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