Category Archives: Movies & TV Shows

Riverdale: The Old Gang [Archie Comics] Fits In Unexpectedly Well On-Screen

When I first saw the trailer for the show, the first two things that crossed my mind was, “The music’s really good…” and “I am not watching this!”

The latest crop of Archie Comics in the last couple of years left much to be desired in my book. And I didn’t enjoy their “realistic makeover” ones either (except the art being different and more detailed, I didn’t find the stories very realistic; and I missed the old style).

So I was sure the show, Riverdale, would only break my heart even more and leave me utterly dissatisfied with a comic series that I used to pour over when I was in school and had a hefty personal collection of.

However, come one weekend (this just-over weekend actually), where I was reunited with the TV set in our house after a loooong time (and thus, reluctant to surrender the remote), Riverdale showed up. And I figured that just checking out the first episode certainly couldn’t hurt…

And it didn’t hurt. Not one bit. In fact, it. Was. Amazing! I was so utterly and irrevocably hooked! And I fell in love with the characters all over again!

Now, obviously this TV series is much more adult and modernized (and far darker) than the comic book characters we grew up with. But the show still fits them all incredibly well.
In fact, I loved how they made these characters much more rounded. And if you’ve ever been inclined to look deeper into your old Archie comic characters, you’ve probably already realized that, personality-wise and psychologically speaking, these characters would have more or less been exactly how they’re portrayed on the show – had the comic series been more adult, modernized, and dark themselves, that is.

(Well, um, I hold this opinion for everyone I’ve seen so far on the show, except Ms. Grundy. ‘Cause that’s one transformation, portrayal, and angle I could have never seen coming for her character! o_o)

In any case, I’m happily hooked! 🙂

Riverdale - The gang - Casting Illustration

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Once Upon A Time, S6E4, “Strange Case”: Come Again, Regina?

Emma: You okay?

Regina: I have to die.

Emma: …What?

My response was squarely with Emma on that one.

Why does everyone on this show think that their “light” and “dark” sides are two separable beings? Besides, if their “light” sides have the “capacity for evil”, doesn’t it stand to reason that their “dark” sides have the “capacity for good” as well?

 

Oh, for heaven’s sake! I appreciated the psychological and emotional aspect of it in the beginning. But it’s getting really annoying that everyone on this show thinks that you can throw off your “dark” side like a rotten tooth and be done with it. That side is part of one’s personality because the experiences that gave birth to those elements are part of one’s life. So unless they lose the memories that brought it out in the first place, of course those “sides” are not going to disappear. And if they do lose those memories, they’ll lose who they [currently] are too.

Sheesh.

Balancing both would be healthier in the long run; instead of just giving in completely to rage or hatred or greed, or just shutting off negative emotions and repressing them as a whole until they burst out unexpectedly. Besides, if their “light” sides have the “capacity for evil”, it only stands to reason that their “dark” sides have the “capacity for good” as well. (In a previous season, Regina, when she was “good”, had dreamt of the Evil Queen with regards to Robin. And she’d even described it then that it had felt like the Evil Queen was actually protecting Robin; so the “capacity for good” in evil isn’t a foreign concept  on this show either.)

In fact, (and I can’t believe I’m saying this, but…) this season, Rumplestiltskin’s attitude to this situation is actually healthier than the other characters’. (And while that’s obviously because he has had previous experience with this particular issue and has already learned that separating the two sides won’t work, Gold handling something in a much healthier manner than the rest is still a frightful concept!)

    Once Upon A Time - Season 6, Episode 4, Strange Case - Emma Swan and Regina Mills - Regina says she has to die

*This post was first published here. For more posts solely related to (and often scrutinizing) TV shows and movies (and stories and characters, in general), check out Written By A Moody Channel Surfing.

Struck By Lightning: Borderline Whiny yet Startlingly Emotive

My Take:

For a good majority of the show, Carson Phillips (the lead character) comes off as irritatingly obnoxious, arrogant, and cynical. But the moments when he (almost ruthlessly) tries to force the other characters into acknowledging their own individualism and not settle for second best – that’s when you realize that he’s not standing alone because he wants to, but that he rather prefers it to merely conforming to the crowd and discarding the dreams he believes he should strive for.

The movie can seem grating on the nerves at first, but it reels you in anyway. And while the warm and fuzzies are definitely not on the menu with this one, it lightly touches you in ways that you can’t entirely name.

Final Verdict: Worth a watch.

 

Chris Colfer (as Carson Phillips) indisputably leads this movie. And while the rest of the cast gave strong performances, the script left little leeway for anyone else to be as properly noticed – well, unless you watch the movie more than once.

For a good long portion of the movie, Carson Phillips is so irritatingly obnoxious and cynical (despite his individualism and determination) that he makes you sympathise with those who have to deal with him rather than with the main character in question. However, he also contradictingly endears himself with those same characteristics; for, one can’t help being attracted to how determined he is not to quiet his voice or his dreams in the face of overwhelming naysayers.

He is unpleasant and unlikeable. But he wins your respect in the points of the movie where he also deliberately forces the other characters to acknowledge their own lack of motivation and demands why they’re giving in to settle for second best just because the crowd says so. And that gives us a keen look into a deeper part of his personality – the part that achingly would like to belong too but knows that even those who are “in” are not necessarily happy with themselves because they gave up on their own individualism too.

Frankly, despite his ruthless methods, he is not doing this just for himself. He badly wants the others to acknowledge that there’s more out there and more to themselves too. Sure, he thinks little of them in the beginning. But in coming to know them [through the movie], he has a personality that is easily able to relate to and even sympathise with the others’ own private fears and inhibitions. In fact, if anything, here he does appear above his peers: For he is never worried about being usurped or overshadowed; he simply will not agree with something just because it’s easy, trendy, or what everyone else is doing. And he demands that people pay attention to both what he does as well as what they [themselves] do.

So yeah, it’s impressive. And you can’t help managing to relate as well as react to the emotions the story and the characters subtly evoke.

Now personally, I usually dislike movies where you know the death of a pivotal character is inevitable – especially when the movie makes it obvious right within the first five minutes! -_-

But, despite my desire to abandon it immediately at this point of discovery, the narration, the voice, and the frazzled energy of the movie drew me inexplicably in . . . until I had finished watching it till the end. And Carson’s message after his death rung even more keenly: He had no regrets. He would fight and strive and argue just as hard even if he got to do it all over again.

So, in a nutshell, “Struck By Lightning” is not a thriller, or a mystery, or a family drama. I don’t even know if  it can be dubbed a “coming of age” film as the character in question dies before that full “coming of age” happens.

In fact, at the outset, it might seem like nothing more than a drama with lots of teen angst. But it was still so much more than that. And definitely worth the watch.

Continue reading Struck By Lightning: Borderline Whiny yet Startlingly Emotive

The Flash: Could Zoom be a Dissociated Identity?

Working Theory:

Could Zoom be a split personality of Jay’s – like Trajectory was of Eliza’s? Could that be a possible side-effect of the Velocity drug?

Continue reading The Flash: Could Zoom be a Dissociated Identity?

Legends of Tomorrow, Night of the Hawk: Horror-Worthy Hawks, Erratic Pacing, and a Rain of Clichés

My take thus far:

Uh…Bleh. 

There is just so much potential for this to be a great show. It’s just there. But it’s not being tapped into at all.

And…I’m just not impressed.

*Pssst! Spoiler warning!*

Missed a couple of episodes since my last review. And, watching the recap, I am not happy about finding out Heatwave is no longer on the team. Not to mention that I have no idea whether he’s dead or not. But enough about that. On with the show.

So. First up, serial killings in an old town. And with sexism and racism paraded around like lawn furniture, we’re reminded why it’s actually much more fun to live in the 21st century.
Anyway, here are Rip Hunter’s designations: Roy and Kendra play house, Stein and Sarah act as doctor and nurse in a mental asylum, Jax is the “new kid on the block”, and Snart joins Rip Hunter to play cop (okay, the irony of Snart playing cop and being pretty good at is is a little fun here, I admit; except we’re too swiftly reminded of Heatwave being iced to actually enjoy it).

Aaaaaaand, in comes Savage and his wife-for-the-era with a dinner invitation for Roy and Kendra. And a tuna casserole.

And Roy eats it. And they attend the dinner party.

While Sarah “liberates” a nurse who isn’t sure of her sexual identity. (Tho, I give her that the news of how things will be better in the future would always be welcome.)

But then the nurse makes the first move and Sarah is the one who suddenly freaks out (which is strangely honest and endearing, and we consequently forgive Sarah for flirting with a woman that she will leave behind eventually).

And then Jax goes on an undercover date with the “cheerleAder whose boyfriend went AWOL”, and that promptly turns nasty. And here’s the clincher: The worst bit of the night is not when some unidentifiable hawk-like creatures carry off two high school boys trying to rough up Jax and the cheerleader, or even when one of the mutant crazy bird-beasts (who cheerleader recognizes as “Tommy”) come back and slice up the girl’s throat. It’s the part where Jax, with some impressive car maneuvering, manages to get her and himself away and is in the process of racing towards Gideon to save her, and a cop pulls him over and refuses let him go even after getting a peek at the girl bleeding out in the front seat. And when Jax refuses and tries to get back inside the car, the cop knocks him out.

And the fact that this is a dirty cop who works for Savage is only a bit better. And predictable.

On a brighter note though, as it all comes to a head and the entire team is working towards the episode’s usual climax, and once Kendra’s exposed, she beats up on Savage in a suitably impressive manner before he throws her against a table. And then Roy makes it in time to save her and blast Savage through a window.

Sarah is impeccable in a fight as usual and is possibly the best (and perhaps only) highlight of this episode. She takes down a beast-hawk going after the nurse (the one who attempted to kiss her). Just like the total badass she is.

Then Captain Cold and Stein shows up to find Jax with his mutated teeth and new/crazy bloodthirsty personality. And despite Cold’s threats, he never takes Jax out as he promises. Still, Sarah knocks him out long enough for Stein to make an antidote. And all the kids and Jax are returned to normal, with Tommy finally getting back together with the cheerleader (never quite caught her name, if it was mentioned at all). And Jax parts with her after gifting her a new, souped-up car to make up for the old one, and with the advice that the both of them would be better off in another town.

Sarah meets with the nurse she saved and kisses her, while she thanks her. And the nurse, in all respects, seems quite happy for the experience in general.

Meanwhile, Roy and Kendra pack up to leave and they both apologize for their own preconceptions: Kendra for insisting she could kill Savage on her own, and Roy for getting too into the role of protecting her and semi-forgetting that Savage is who they were there for. 

A little clichéd, this bit. And not very heartwarming But then, Legends of Tomorrow seems to be a row of never-ending cliched plot lines, so…what can can you do.

Anyway, the ending was a bit more interesting, even if it was expected maybe two minutes before it actually happened. For, as usual, Chronos shows up again, but actually manages to get inside the ship this time, and is blasting away like he’s at a Carnival shoot-out game (and Chronos also plays like most of the players at these shows, by missing each shot).

So then, Sarah, Kendra, and Roy are still not on the ship yet. And Rip decides they have to time-jump. Now, I understand why the situation called for such a decision, but I don’t understand what they hope to accomplish by time-jumping with Chronos still in the ship.
However, considering how disorienting it is for the regular passengers to time-jump, maybe they thought the journey would defeat Chronos? Although, considering he’s been chasing them at the end of practically every adventure/episode, I hardly think that’s a feasible solution; for all we know, the suit might very well protect him from it.

Now, I half-thought the last three would run in at the last minute, considering how the show usually runs. So I was a bit surprised when they were left behind, but not by much. However, I don’t understand how they could misunderstand being left behind. After all, Chronos has been after them relentlessly. So it can’t be hard to imagine that something must have come up. And besides, what happened to their comm devices? Do they just hand it in at the end of an adventure even before they’ve all returned to the ship? That’s strange and very careless, if it is the case.

Anyways…So that’s the status: Roy, Kendra, and Sarah left behind in 1958, while Stein, Jax, Leonard, and Rip are time-jumping with a trigger-happy Chronos in their midst.

What fun. -_-

Well, this episode aside, let’s recap the episodes so far: Hawkman gets killed right in the second episode and they leave his body behind like idiots. And, when they all come from a time where DNA, genes, and mutations are par for the course and with them also having ample experience with it themselves, how they could make such a blunder is beyond me.

Then, while the next episode was about getting his body back, I still wonder at the idea of burying him there and holding a funeral. Sure, the funeral might have been necessary, but why didn’t they bury him in his rightful time period?!! I mean, considering these two are reincarnated constantly, and that their appearance in various eras might very well have already caused some kind of a ripple effect, isn’t it a little odd to bury him in a place where a previous reincarnation might or might not still exist? And either way, what does this mean for his next reincarnation exactly???

Then next, Captain Cold ices Heatwave. I have a problem with that on a bunch of levels, though I also understand the reasoning. But again, they leave him in a different time period? Instead of taking him with them and keeping him in cold storage or something? Besides, the way he refused to leave Roy behind after what he did for him easily points at better story arcs and redeeming traits. But instead, he acts just like people expect him to and he’s iced? I understand Cold’s stance on protecting the team. But he more than anyone else should have been able to understand his motivations. And, if nothing else, again, why not dump him as a lost cause back in his rightful time? Heck, freeze him and let him thaw in prison even. At least, in their regular time, the authorities will have an idea of how to deal with them. But instead, someone from the 21st century is left behind in another time period again?!

And now, Roy, Sarah, and Kendra have been left behind in a different time. A time that is racist and sexist and generally small-minded as a given rule. And, in a time period where Savage still exists and knows where they live and who they are.

Is anyone else curbing the urge to bang their heads against something hard?

In any case, the prognosis from my end based on these facts is thus: Roy is the only one who can have a somewhat decent experience out of the three in that era (since he is “white and male and straight” as White Canary helpfully stated earlier in the episode). But, considering his automatic stance on saving the underdog – and generally trying to save everyone – it is doubtful he’ll inspire much community popularity there.

On a brighter note though, the nurse might be able to help them. But that possibility could go either way, and that is if it is even considered.

All in all, I am not in the least bit impressed with how the series has progressed. Maybe the endings of the episodes have gotten more interesting, leading us to watch the next episode just to find out what might happen after that point. But fifteen minutes (or fewer) in, the plot of the episodes continue to be uninspiring, clichéd, and just plain annoying. There are interesting points, yes. But those minutes can (quite literally) be counted on one hand. Worse, the plots are already gaining the kind of self-righteous, unimaginative momentum that finally made me give up superhero comics and move on from them in the first place.

And to be honest, it is only because I like the characters so much that I’m still watching at all. I like Roy and Stein and Jax and Sarah and even Snart from what I already knew of them in Arrow and Flash. And they’re still interesting here, even if it’s no way near the level they were at in Flash and Arrow.

But, they’re also not enough to make up for the weaker parts of the show.

So if the scripts don’t improve regarding their repetitive plotlines, and if there isn’t more common sense and imagination drilled into the episodes than there is formula, this show might very well fall off my “watching list” for good.

Continue reading Legends of Tomorrow, Night of the Hawk: Horror-Worthy Hawks, Erratic Pacing, and a Rain of Clichés

Legends of Tomorrow: Characters Easily Trump Plot

My Take Thus Far:

A team of versatile superheroes (and pseudo-villains?) that make for interesting character dynamics. Relationships are (realistically) rough around the edges, making the show at times irritating and at times satisfying in equal measure. However, episode plots often seem rushed and don’t do much for the intrigue of the storyline.

The characters, though? They’re very much worth watching this series for. 🙂

[Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fdoi9uyEFPM]

I must admit, when I first saw the trailer for Legends of Tomorrow, I was excited and eager to get into the show: The Arrow and Flash shows have done an incredible job of keeping me interested, especially in their latest seasons. So I was definitely looking forward to getting a closer look at these other characters whom I already know (from aforementioned shows) but don’t quite know enough about yet.

The pilot episode started off great – Rip Hunter’s dramatic speech of being “Legends” to our unwitting characters aside. And the later twist of finding out it was all a lie and that Hunter had a much more personal reason for wanting to stop Savage was great.

However, the episode plots were a bit meh. Because, the episodes that came next (so far) more or less followed the same vein: Trying to stop Vandal Savage, not succeeding, making the future worse by way of actions taken to stop the future from becoming as bad as it already was (read that last bit again slowly), then spending the rest of the episode trying to fix those actions, and then succeeding at the second task and starting again from square one.

Of course, this isn’t to say that the storyline has no redeeming points; it does. But they’re kind of minor and underwhelming so far.

So yeah, it can get a bit annoying.

The relationships between the characters can also get a bit trying sometimes. ‘Cause they’re a lot like a jigsaw pieces someone is trying very hard to fit together (hint: his initials are RH). However, taking a minute to think of it logically, that’s probably the best bit about this show: These are a bunch of people with very different personalities and motivations in life, who have been suddenly thrown together to work with each other. And, in real life too, that’s a tricky mess to navigate. (After all, it’s not like they can all go back to their own homes at the end of the day to gain some distance from the situation.)

So, considering it from that point of view, it makes perfect sense that they’re going to take some time to figure each other out. In fact, how much some of them sync together already (in their own ways) is intriguing to see. Because it’s so minor, so easy, that it seems absolutely right.

But then again, it’s probably because the dynamics shift from smooth to rough so jerkily throughout each episode that it seems irritating.

Overall, I do like the series. However, I am also looking for more from it. And hopefully, it’ll deliver as the series progresses further.

On an aside note, though, the ending of episode 5 was the most attention-grabbing yet! 😀

Continue reading Legends of Tomorrow: Characters Easily Trump Plot