REVIEW: GOTHAM – SEASON 1

CAST

Ben McKenzie (Batman: Year One)
Donal Logue (Ghost Rider)
David Mazouz (Touch)
Zabryna Guevara (All Good Things)
Sean Pertwee (Dog Soldiers)
Robin Lord Taylor (Another Earth)
Erin Richards (The Quiet Ones)
Camren Bicondova (Girl House)
Corey Michael Smith (Carol)
Jada Pinkett Smith (Collateral)
John Doman (The Wire)
Victoria Cartagena (Salt)
Andrew Stewart -Jones (Beauty and The Beast)
Drew Powell (Straw Dogs)

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RECURRING / NOTABLE GUEST CAST

Richard Kind (Stargate)
Grayson McCouch (Armageddon)
Brette Taylor (Rescue Me)
Clare Foley (Win Win)
Lili Taylor (The Conjuring)
Jeremy Bobb (The Kitchen)
Carol Kane (The Princess Bride)
David Zayas (Dexter)
Frank Whaley (Luke Cage)
Jeremy Davidson (Roswell)
Margaret Colin (Independence Day)
Susan Misner (The Forgotten)
Kim Director (Blair Witch 2)
Leslie Odom Jr. (Red Tails)
Christopher James Baker (Sanctum)
Todd Stashwick (The Originals)
Nicholas D’Agasto (Final Destination 5)
Makenzie Leigh (The Slap)
Lesley-Ann Brandt (Spartacus: Blood and Sand)
Morena Baccarin (Firefly)
Christopher Heyerdahl (Sanctuary)
Peter Scolari (The Polar Express)
Dash Mihok (Silver Linings Playbook)
Anthony Carrigan (The Flash)
Julian Sands (Smallville)
Maria Thayer (Hitch)
Chelsea Spack (Dead To Me)
Cameron Monaghan (The Giver)
Jeffrey Combs (Star Trek: DS9)
Colm Feore (Thor)
Milo Ventimiglia (Heroes)
Willa Fitzgerald (Scream: The Series)
Chris Chalk (12 Years a Slave)
John Clarence Stewart (Luke Cage)

MV5BNTQ4MDU3NDQ5Nl5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTgwNjc0OTM3MjE@._V1_SY1000_CR0,0,1445,1000_AL_Gotham City has an old, relatively vague history independent of when Thomas and Martha Wayne were shot down in an alleyway, usually the first and primary thing that comes to mind about the motivation that drives Batman: the crime that got so bad that it took his good-natured parents away from him. The surroundings responsible for the billionaires’ murder weren’t created overnight, though, and intensified in response to their death, a time period that often goes unaddressed unless a detail about Bruce Wayne’s transformation into the brooding hero needs mentioning. As a response to the character’s unrelenting popularity the folks at DC aim to use that largely unexplored space to provide an origin story for the city’s violence and corruption, an attempt to recapture the magic of Smallville in a darker environment. The result is Gotham, a blend of crime-case procedure and mobster politics that also fills in the gaps between the orphaning of Bruce Wayne to where Batman begins.Taking pages out of the playbook of the comic-book series “Gotham Central”, the show largely focuses on the interworking parts of the Gotham City Police Department, notably the arrival of rookie detective Jim Gordon in the midst of rampant corruption. The OC star Ben McKenzie brings initiative and fire to the character, a war veteran and straight-laced servant of the law who’s thrown together with a dirty partner in Harvey Bullock, whose sympathetic flaws are marvelously embodied by Donal Logue. Their first case together? The murder of Thomas and Martha Wayne, later revealed to be connected to the city’s organized crime activity. In their investigation, Gordon quickly gets introduced to key players pulling the strings in Gotham, notably a swanky nightclub operator in Fish Mooney (Jada Pinkett Smith) and her aging, rational boss, Carmine Falcone (John Doman). Then, there’s Oswald Cobblepott (Robin Lord Taylor), an attendant to Fish whose wavering allegiances also come to the surface in response to Gordon and Bullock’s investigation, working him into a position of persistent danger and upward mobility if he plays his cards right.Against the backdrop of a Gotham City that combines Tim Burton’s gothic vision with Christopher Nolan’s stark approach into a relatively timeless metro area, Gotham comes in hard and fast with its nods to the DC universe, eliminating any early concerns about how much of the mythology it’ll incorporate. In fact, the show actually suffers from an oversaturation of these references, especially in how many of the classic villains have benign links to the GCPD in their pasts and, quite simply, how many have already shown up and taken shape into their well-known personalities. There’s nothing inherently wrong with that, nor with tweaking what’s known about the universe into its own continuity, but it does detract from the production succeeding as a credible prequel to the age of Batman — touted early on as a selling point for the show.It’s fascinating to see the riddlesome Edward Nygma (Cory Michael Smith) as an awkward, morbid Dexter-like puzzle-solver working in the precinct, and to see a young Catwoman giving prowler pointers to a young Batman not long after she witnessed the infamous Wayne murder.The areas where Gotham works are within the politics of the GCPD and the evolving criminal element, and, by association, the origin stories of Jim Gordon’s fight against the department and The Penguin’s ascent up the crime ladder. Elevated by Gordon’s furious diligence against the powers-that-be who keep him from properly doing his job. Gotham is in a comfort zone while exploring maneuverings of Robin Lord Taylor’s brilliantly grimy performance as Oswald Cobblepott. Combining the knowledge that he’ll eventually become a massive player in Gotham with the unpredictable, volatile nature of his younger self exemplifies what a prequel can accomplish.1066711-0-q80Gotham really exposes the crux of its issues in the origin story of Bruce Wayne, built around the young orphaned billionaire developing the gumption and skill to investigate his parents’ murder, planting the seeds for his growth into the Caped Crusader. As Gotham grows in it’s first season it becomes fascinating show dealing with the city before Batman came along and as it heads into it’s second season who can truly see the show has found it’s footing and will hopefully be around for sometime to come.

25 DAYS OF CHRISTMAS REVIEW: MR. POPPERS PENGUINS

CAST

Jim Carrey (Bruce Almighty)
Carla Gugino (Watchmen)
Angela Lansbury (Murder, She Wrote)
Ophelia Lovibond (Guardians of The Galaxy)
Madeline Carroll (Flipped)
Clark Gregg (Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.)
Jeffrey Tambor (The Hangover)
David Krumholtz (Sausage Party)
Phillip Baker Hall (The Insider)
Andrew Stewart-Jones (Gotham)
Frank Welker (Transformers)

Thomas Popper (Jim Carrey), is a divorced real estate entrepreneur whose father traveled around the world during his childhood in the 1970s. He learns that his father has died during an adventure to Antarctica. The following week, a crate containing a gentoo penguin, named Captain, shows up at his door as a souvenir from his father’s last adventure. A few days later, five more penguins arrive. Popper intends to give them away but changes his idea when his children, Janie (Madeline Carroll) and Billy (Maxwell Perry Cotton), think that the animals are Billy’s birthday present. At work, Popper is given the task of buying Tavern on the Green, the only privately owned real estate in Central Park that is an old restaurant where he used to eat with his father when he was a child. However, its elderly owner, Selma Van Gundy, will only sell it to a person of true value. Popper has unsuccessful meetings with her, and she refuses to sell the restaurant to him. Having the penguins around helps Popper become closer to his children. He also begins dating their mother, Amanda Popper again. The penguins lay three eggs. Two eggs hatch, and one doesn’t. Popper becomes obsessed with seeing the last egg hatch, losing his job. Popper realizes that the egg can’t be hatched so he decides to donate the penguins to the New York Zoo. Then, he is re-employed but his children and ex-wife are disappointed by his decision. Popper finds a lost letter from his father telling him to hold his children close and love them. Popper asks his children and ex-wife to help him get the penguins back from the zoo. They find the penguins, free them and they get away and flee to the tavern. Upon seeing how Popper had reunited his family and saved the penguins, Van Gundy sells him the restaurant. Popper decides to renovate and reopen the restaurant. Popper and his family travel to Antarctica with the penguins, allowing them to live with their own kind. Popper’s first penguin, Captain, reveals to have laid another egg. Popper tells his children that they’ll visit them when the baby is born.Mr. Popper’s Penguins is a great family time movie.  You will have a lot of fun watching Jim Carrey in this relaxed, gentle and positive comedy. You will be left with a feeling of warmth, confidence and the feeling that everything has a silver lining. My opinion is, the funnier, the better.

 

REVIEW: BEAUTY AND THE BEAST (2012) – SEASON 4

MAIN CAST

Kristin Kreuk (Smallville)
Jay Ryan (Mary Kills people)
Austin Basis (J. Edgar)
Nina Lisandrello (The Devil Wears Prada)
Nicole Gale Anderson (Mean Girls 2)
Michael Roark (Sleepy Hollow)

Kristin Kreuk and Jay Ryan in Beauty and the Beast (2012)

RECURRING / NOTABLE GUEST CAST

Peter Wingfield (Highlander: The Series)
Andrew Stewart-Jones (Gotham)
Amanda Setton (The Crazy Ones)
Ted Whittall (Smallville)
Tahmoh Penikett (Battlestar Galactica)
Karen Cliche (M<utant X)
Marc Singer (V)
Jay Ali (The Purge TV)
AnnaLynne McCord (Excision)
Anastasia Barzee (Seven Seconds)
Fulvio Cecere (Dark Angel)
Carlo Rota (Saw V)
Jess Salgueiro (The Boys)

Beauty and the Beast (2012)Back in the eighties a TV series took viewers by surprise, the story of a young woman, an assistant DA, who by chance met a part man, part beast member of an underground network of people named Vincent. This paring was known as BEAUTY AND THE BEAST and introduced the world to Linda Hamilton and Ron Perlman who had both been in other films but found themselves more well-known after this series. The way things are today it was only a matter of time before that series was recreated.Kristin Kreuk, Nina Lisandrello, Jay Ryan, and Amanda Setton in Beauty and the Beast (2012)This time around Kristin Kreuk stars as Catherine Chandler, a determined police detective who encounters an ex-GI and doctor named Vincent who has a secret to hide. When a child Catherine’s mother was killed in front of her by a group of men who were never identified. She was saved that night by a mysterious stranger, a manically violent man-beast who she never really quite saw.Jay Ryan in Beauty and the Beast (2012)Of course that mysterious stranger was Vincent and he’s made it his job to watch over and protect Catherine from the shadows. The reason he does so is that he knows who was behind the death of her mother. Vincent was part of a secret government project that turned its volunteers into what he has become and her mother was involved in that project. Now he’s on the run from this secret government organization, in hiding with the help of one friend. That friend base increases when he finally meets Catherine face to face.Jay Ryan in Beauty and the Beast (2012)Now in on what was going on, Catherine continues her day job while still looking into the death of her mother. She and Vincent become closer as he helps her when he can, even after telling her to stay away. This inevitably results in that organization finding Vincent and the ensuing problems that follow. And that’s just in the first season! The series ran for 4 years to popular acclaim, winning more than its share of awards. Not an easy feat since it appeared on the CW Network. That worked in its favor and also added a needed boost to CW as well. The changing story found the couple meeting and eventually the romance soon followed which only added to the popularity of the show. It was the same formula used in the initial series but this time felt a bit more normal as Vincent no longer had the constant appearance of the beast.Kristin Kreuk and Jay Ryan in Beauty and the Beast (2012)The series works on a number of levels, as a police procedural first off. Shows like this need their own twist to separate them from the pack and the aid of a super powered ally was handy. It also works as a conspiracy styled thriller with a hidden organization with its own agenda at play. And it worked as a romance. If not the show wouldn’t have lasted as long as it did nor would it have drawn in the female viewers that helped push it over the top.

 

REVIEW: DEAD MAN DOWN

CAST

Colin Farrell (Minority report)
Noomi Rapace (Prometheus)
Dominic Cooper (Agent Carter)
Terence Howard (Iron Man)
Isabelle Huppert (Elle)
Armand Assante (Judge Dredd)
F. Murray Abraham (Last Action Hero)
Andrew Stewart-Jones (Gotham)

Victor (Colin Farrell) has infiltrated a criminal empire run by ruthless kingpin Alphonse Hoyt (Terrence Howard). His objective is to make Alphonse pay for the murder of his wife and young daughter (Accalia Quintana) two years earlier. Victor intends to exact revenge on Alphonse through physical and psychological torture before finally killing him.Victor watches and is watched by Beatrice (Noomi Rapace), a mysterious young woman who lives in the apartment across from his. Beatrice begins to contact Victor and show interest in him. On their first date, Beatrice reveals her true motivation: she has a video of Victor killing a man, and will go to the police unless Victor kills the drunk driver who disfigured her face.Meanwhile, Alphonse is receiving threats against his life by Victor. During a shoot-out with Jamaicans whom he believes responsible for the threats, Victor saves his life and thus gains his trust. As the threats intensify, a man within Alphonse’s crew and a friend of Victor’s, Darcy (Dominic Cooper), investigates their source. Victor has also kidnapped the brother of Albanian kingpin Ilir Brozi (James Biberi), who was involved in helping Alphonse dispose of Victor’s family. Victor plans to pool the Albanians and Alphonse’s men together so he can eliminate them all at once.Victor stages a deliberately failed sniper attack on Alphonse from a rooftop in continuing his plans of torture. However, he nearly is caught in the process and manages to escape thanks to Beatrice, who has been following Victor. Ilir’s brother, who was kidnapped by Victor, has been held tied up and blindfolded in an abandoned ship (the S.S. United States, which, although the film is set in New York City, was, during production, and of late 2014 still is, docked in Philadelphia). Victor makes a video in which Ilir’s brother claims that he is being held in the basement of Alphonse’s warehouse, in an effort to frame Alphonse, which would lure the Albanians to the warehouse in retaliation, thereby having them all rounded up in one place. He then kills Ilir’s brother. Beatrice is given the memory card with the video to mail to Ilir in order to make it seem like Alphonse’s crew was responsible for his brother’s kidnapping. Alphonse, now knowing the threats are coming from someone within his crew, becomes suspicious but reluctant to believe that Victor is the traitor due to him previously saving his life. Victor later notifies Beatrice that he didn’t kill the drunk driver so that they can spend more time together, knowing the psychological effect that the murder would have had on her. Victor sets up a trap for the Albanians and Alphonse, but Beatrice reveals through a call that she didn’t mail the memory card because she didn’t want to see Victor die. At that moment, Darcy, who has found Victor’s true intentions while investigating his apartment, subdues Beatrice and informs Victor she is being held captive at Alphonse’s house.As Alphonse and the Albanians gather in the house, Victor crashes into the house with his truck. Victor spares Darcy’s life in the ensuing gunfight and makes his way to the top floor where Beatrice is held by Alphonse and Ilir. Beatrice escapes their watch while they are distracted by Victor’s successful advance, and she begins to play the video on a computer. As Ilir hears the video, he turns his gun on Alphonse who he believes has betrayed him. They both end up shooting each other dead. As Victor escapes with Beatrice, Darcy confronts them with his gun raised. When asked if he spared Darcy because he has a wife and child (“Did you not kill me because I’ve got a wife and a kid?”), Victor replies, “No, because they’ve got you” before dropping his gun. Darcy also lowers his gun and allows the two to leave. Victor and Beatrice travel home on a subway and share a kiss.This is far more about the set up than the act itself. There are action moments of course, especially the final climax, but the focus is more on building up subtle tension rather than plenty of shooting. It’s nicely shot too, not to glamorous not bleak and the story plods at a nice steady pace. Definitely worth a watch and something different to the usual revenge films.

REVIEW: MINORITY REPORT: THE SERIES

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MAIN CAST
Stark Sands (Chasing Liberty)
Meagan Good (The Love Guru)
Nick Zano (2 Broke Girls)
Daniel London (Gotham)
Laura Regan (My Little Eye)
Li Jun Li (Damages)
Wilmer Valderrama (That 70s Show)
RECURRING / NOTABLE GUEST CAST
Michael Copeman (The Fly)
Tina Lifford (Catch and Release)
Alex Paxton-Beesley (Alphas)
Jessica Camacho (Veronica Mars)
William Mapother (Lost)
David Nykl (Stargate: Atlantis)
Sheila Vand (Argo)
Jennifer Cheon Garcia (Van Helsing)
Azura Skye (28 Days)
Reed Diamond (Dollhouse)
Audrey Marie Anderson (Arrow)
Christopher Heyerdahl (Sanctuary)
Tom Butler (Blade: The Series)
Steven Williams (Jason Goes To Hell)
Andrew Stewart-Jones (Gotham)
Darius McCrary (Anger Management)
Derek Webster (Staragte)
Rizwan Manji (Charlie Wilson’s War)
Colin Lawrence (Staragte SG.1)
Peter Macon (The Orville)
Kenneth Mitchell (Odyssey 5)
Peter Bryant (Legends of Tomorrow)

Compared to recent surge of sci-fi series, Minority Report is looking more refined with clearly better production. However, this doesn’t have the same thrilling spirit from Tom Cruise’s action thriller. The precognition concept has been reduced to typical paranormal investigation.


If you’re not familiar with the source, or understandably forget the story, the show opens with brief narrative about the movie. In near future authority used precog system by plugging three siblings into a machine, a mix between psychic and technology to determine crime before it happened. Unfortunately, Tom Cruise proved that it had flaws and the project was scratched.

One of the siblings, Dash (Stark Sands) now leads a normal witness protection life, but he still has the clairvoyance gift. With the help of a female police officer Lara Vega (Meagan Good) he helps solve crime in a rather timid sci-fi crime drama. The cast is leaning towards light comedy than thriller, which is perhaps intentionally made to suit the series.

The problem is the two leads don’t mesh together well. Stark Sands has the quirky savant look, but he doesn’t possess the on-screen presence for a capable lead.  Meagan Good is attractive for the lead female, but she’s an odd choice for tough female role. While she does look fit, it doesn’t translate to serious femme fatale personality. Its change to more humorous tone is different from the futuristic noir of the movie, it’s not bad and probably better to accommodate TV series. It does rely too much on casual cop spectacle, yet doesn’t really have the draw or chemistry. Not to mention the use of psychics is getting old, the foreshadowing gimmick feels like a puzzle played too many times.

The presentation is impeccable though. It’s obvious that the show invests a lot on making the world looks brightly inviting. The details for gadgetry, environment and investigation are splendid. This world definitely could work for foundation for TV series, although the narrative and characters are not as intriguing. It was originally given 13 episodes but shortened to 10 now that all 10 have aired it looks like this show was put to sleep.