REVIEW: THE GREAT GATSBY

CAST

Leonardo DiCaprio (Catch Me if You Can)
Tobey Maguiree (Spider-man)
Carey Mulligan (Shame)
Joel Edgerton (Red Sparrow)
Elizabeth Debicki (Everest)
Isla Fisher (Bachelorette)
Jason Clarke (White House Down)
Amitabh Bachchan (Sholay)
Jack Thompson (Don’t Tell)
Adelaide Clemens (X-Men Origins: Wolverine)
Callan McAuliffe (I Am Number Four)
Barry Otto (The Punisher)

Leonardo DiCaprio and Tobey Maguire in The Great Gatsby (2013)In 1929, Nick Carraway, a World War I veteran, is receiving treatment for alcoholism at a psychiatric hospital. He talks about Jay Gatsby, the most hopeful man he had ever met. Nick’s doctor suggests that he writes his thoughts down, since writing is Nick’s passion. In the summer of 1922, Nick moves from the Midwest to New York after abandoning writing. He rents a small house in the North Shore village of West Egg, next to the mansion of Gatsby, a mysterious business magnate who often holds extravagant parties. One day, while Nick has dinner with his cousin, Daisy Buchanan, and her husband, Tom, he is introduced to Jordan Baker by Daisy, who hopes to make a match between them. When Nick returns home, he sees Gatsby standing on the dock, reaching towards the green light coming from the Buchanan dock.Leonardo DiCaprio, Tobey Maguire, and Carey Mulligan in The Great Gatsby (2013)Jordan tells Nick that Tom has a mistress who lives in the “valley of ashes”, an industrial dumping site between West Egg and The City. Nick and Tom visit the valley and stop at a garage owned by George Wilson and his wife, Myrtle, Tom’s mistress. Later, Nick receives an invitation to one of Gatsby’s parties. Upon arrival, Nick learns he is the only one to receive an invitation and none of the guests have ever met Gatsby. Nick encounters Jordan, and both meet Gatsby. Gatsby offers Nick a ride to town for lunch. On the way, Gatsby tells Nick he is an Oxford graduate and war hero from a wealthy Midwestern family. They go to a speakeasy, where Gatsby introduces Nick to his business partner, Meyer Wolfsheim.Carey Mulligan in The Great Gatsby (2013)Jordan tells Nick that Gatsby had a relationship with Daisy years ago and is still in love with her, and that Gatsby threw parties in the hopes that Daisy would attend. Gatsby asks Nick to invite Daisy to tea. After an awkward reunion, Gatsby and Daisy begin an affair. Gatsby is dismayed when Daisy wants to run away with him and wants her to get a divorce. He asks Nick and Jordan to accompany him to the Buchanan home, where he and Daisy plan to tell Tom that Daisy is leaving him. During the luncheon, Tom becomes suspicious of Gatsby and Daisy, but Daisy stops Gatsby from revealing anything to Tom and suggests they all go to the Plaza Hotel. Tom drives Nick and Jordan in Gatsby’s car, while Gatsby drives Daisy in Tom’s car. Tom stops for gas at George’s garage, where George tells him that he and Myrtle are moving and that he suspects Myrtle is unfaithful.Tobey Maguire and Elizabeth Debicki in The Great Gatsby (2013)At the Plaza, Gatsby tells Tom of his affair with Daisy. Tom accuses Gatsby of having never attended Oxford and having made his fortune through bootlegging with mobsters. Daisy says she loves Gatsby but cannot bring herself to say she never loved Tom. Eventually, both Gatsby and Daisy leave. After fighting with George over her infidelity, Myrtle runs into the street and is fatally struck by Gatsby’s car after mistaking it for Tom’s. After learning about Myrtle’s death, Tom tells George that the car belongs to Gatsby and that he suspects Gatsby was Myrtle’s lover. Nick deduces Daisy was the driver, though Gatsby intends to take the blame. Nick overhears Daisy accepting Tom’s promise to take care of everything, but he does not tell Gatsby. Gatsby admits to Nick that he was born penniless; his real name is James Gatz, and he had asked Daisy to wait for him until he had made something of himself.Leonardo DiCaprio and Carey Mulligan in The Great Gatsby (2013)The next day, Gatsby hears the phone ringing and thinks it’s Daisy. Before he can answer it, he is shot and killed by George, who then commits suicide. Nick is the only person other than reporters to attend Gatsby’s funeral, as Daisy and Tom are leaving New York. The media paints Gatsby as Myrtle’s lover and killer. Disgusted with both the city and its inhabitants, Nick leaves after taking a final walk through Gatsby’s deserted mansion and reflecting on Gatsby’s ability to hope. In the sanatorium, Nick finishes typing his memoir, titling it The Great Gatsby.Leonardo DiCaprio in The Great Gatsby (2013)Overall, The Great Gatsby is a fantastically entertaining and enthralling film. It is horribly underrated as it is filled with awards worthy visuals, sets, costumes, direction, and performances. It is a great time at the movies for anyone that enjoys the classic novel or who haven’t even heard of it. Not only is this film dramatically satisfying, but also quite humorous and a spectacle like no other.

REVIEW: AUSTRALIA

CAST

Nicole Kidman (Stoker)
Hugh Jackman (Chappie)
David Wenham (Van Helsing)
Bryan Brown (F/X)
Jack Thompson (Leatherheads)
Ben Mendelsohn (the Dark Knight Rises)
Essie Davis (Burning Man)
Barry Otto (The Punisher 1989)
John Jarrett (Wolf Creek)
Bruce Spence (Mad Max 2)
Nathin Butler (Black November)

In 1939, Lady Sarah Ashley travels from England to northern Australia to force her philandering husband to sell his faltering cattle station, Faraway Downs. Her husband sends an independent cattle drover, called “Drover”, to transport her to Faraway Downs. Lady Sarah’s husband is murdered shortly before she arrives, and the authorities tell her that the killer is an Aboriginal elder, “King George”. Meanwhile, cattle station manager Neil Fletcher is trying to gain control of Faraway Downs, so that Lesley ‘King’ Carney will have a complete cattle monopoly, giving him negotiating leverage with an Australian army officer, Captain Dutton, who wants to buy the cattle.

The childless Lady Sarah is captivated by the boy Nullah, who has an Aboriginal mother and a white father. Nullah tells her that he has seen her cattle being driven onto Carney’s land — in other words, stolen from her. Because of this Fletcher mistreats Nullah and threatens him and his mother, so Lady Sarah fires Fletcher and decides to try to run the cattle station herself. When Nullah and his mother hide from the authorities in a water tower, his mother drowns. Lady Sarah comforts Nullah by singing the song “Over the Rainbow” from the film The Wizard of Oz. Nullah tells her that “King George” is his grandfather, and that like the Wizard, he too is a “magic man”.
Lady Sarah persuades Drover to take the cattle to Darwin for sale. Drover is friendly with the Aborigines, and therefore shunned by many of the other whites in the territory. It is revealed that he was married to an Aboriginal woman, who died after being refused medical treatment in a hospital because of her race. Lady Sarah also reveals she is unable to have children. Drover leads a team of six other riders, including Lady Sarah, Drover’s Aboriginal brother-in-law Magarri, Nullah, and the station’s accountant Kipling Flynn, to drive the 1,500 cattle to Darwin. They encounter various obstacles along the way, including a fire set by Carney’s men that scares the cattle, resulting in the death of Flynn when the group tries to stop the cattle from stampeding over a cliff. Lady Sarah and Drover fall in love, and she gains a new appreciation for the Australian territory. The team drive the cattle through the dangerous Never Never desert. Then, when at last delivering the cattle in Darwin, the group has to race them onto the ship before Carney’s cattle are loaded.Afterwards, Lady Sarah, Nullah, and Drover live together happily at Faraway Downs for two years. Meanwhile, Fletcher kills Carney, marries his daughter Cath Carney, takes over Carney’s cattle empire, and continues to menace Lady Sarah. It is established that Fletcher was the actual murderer of Lady Sarah’s husband, and is also Nullah’s father. Nullah is drawn to go on a walkabout (a rite of passage) with his grandfather “King George”, but is instead taken by the authorities and sent to live on Mission Island (a fictitious island, but inspired by Bathurst Island) with the other half-Aboriginal children (dubbed the “Stolen Generations”). Lady Sarah, who has come to regard Nullah as her adopted son, vows to rescue him. Meanwhile, she works as a radio operator in Darwin during the escalation of World War II. When the Japanese attack the island and Darwin in 1942, Lady Sarah fears that Nullah has been killed. Drover, who had quarrelled with Lady Sarah and left, returns to Darwin and hears (mistakenly) that she has been killed in the bombing. Drover learns of Nullah’s abduction to Mission Island, and goes with Magarri and a young priest to rescue him and the other children. Meanwhile, Lady Sarah is about to be evacuated, but when Drover and the children sail back into port at Darwin, and Nullah plays “Over the Rainbow” on his harmonica, Lady Sarah hears the music and the three are reunited. Fletcher, distraught at the ruination of his plans and at the death of his wife killed during a Japanese air strike, attempts to shoot Nullah, but is speared by King George and falls dead. Lady Sarah, Drover, and Nullah return to the safety of remote Faraway Downs. There, King George calls for Nullah, who returns to the Outback with his grandfather.The reason this film got bad reviews was simple… people took it the wrong way. Some reviewers were saying that people were laughing in the cinema at the beginning, well so was I. Because it’s funny. It’s  intentionally  funny. Baz Luhrmann himself stated that he tried to put a bit of everything in this film including  comedy as well as drama. If you’ve seen Baz’s films before and loved them then you’ll love this. Like Moulin Rouge, it begins humorously before taking you through a roller coaster of emotions to moments of extreme sadness and tension. It looks beautiful and it’s played beautifully by all of the actors. Basically this is Baz Luhrmann’s nod to the old classics. If you think they don’t make films like they used to, this is highly recommended. Don’t take it as fact, just let yourself enjoy it and you’ll soon be swept along with the story.

REVIEW: HOWLING III: THE MARSUPIALS

CAST

Barry Otto (The Great Gatsby)
Imogen Annesley (Queen of The Damned)
Max Fairchild (Mad Max)
Barry Humphries (The Hobbit)

In this movie, Australian werewolves have evolved separate from the rest of the werewolf population. They are marsupials – the female werewolves give birth to partly developed young which then makes its way to a pouch for further development.Harry Beckmeyer (Barry Otto), an Australian anthropologist, has somehow obtained footage filmed in 1905 which appears to depict Australian Aborigines ceremonially sacrificing a wolf-like creature. Meanwhile, reports of a werewolf killing a man in Russia reach Beckmeyer and he seeks an audience with the U.S. President to try and warn him that there is a widespread case of lycanthropy afoot in the world. The President (Michael Pate) is dismissive.frankensteinreborn_13A young Australian werewolf named Jerboa (Imogen Annesley) runs away from the rest of her pack into the city to avoid her step-father Thylo (Max Fairchild) and his physical and sexual abuse, all of which her family condones. She ends up spending the night on a park bench in Sydney near the Opera House and in the morning is spotted by an American man named Donny Martin (Leigh Biolos). The young man is infatuated with her instantly and attempts to approach her. Jerboa runs away frightened and he chases her through the park before finally catching up and telling her that due to her beautiful and naturally wild looks, she would be perfect for the female lead in a horror film he is helping to make: Shape Shifters Part VIII. While filming in Sydney’s Hyde Park, Jack Citron (Frank Thring), the director of the film, hires her immediately due to her natural talent. Jerboa and Donny quickly fall in love and Donny takes Jerboa to see a movie (a fake werewolf film entitled: “It came from Uranus”) in which a “werewolf” transforms and Jerboa tells Donny that the transformation “doesn’t happen like that” which leaves Donny puzzled. Later, after making love, Donny is curious as to why Jerboa refused to take off her top while they were together and notices that Jerboa’s lower abdomen is covered in downy white fur and what appears to be a long scar, but he does not question her about it. It is shown that a full moon has risen outside.Image result for howling 3Later, while at the wrap party for the movie, Jerboa is exposed to strobe lights and the flashing lights cause her to start changing into a werewolf. She flees the party with Donny in short pursuit. Due to the stress of the changing, she runs into traffic and is hit by a car. The doctors at the hospital realize that there is something very strange about Jerboa; she has striped fur on her back (like on the thylacine), and a pouch. They also deduce that due to her high amount of hormones, Jerboa is pregnant from Donny.Image result for howling 3Meanwhile, Beckmeyer’s father has disappeared in the Outback shortly after recording a film of tribal villagers apparently killing a werewolf. His investigation is short lived as three of Jerboa’s sisters (disguised as nuns) show up in the city, track her down and murder anyone in the way to take her back to their pack’s hidden werewolf town, Flow ( being wolf spelled backward). Deprived of a werewolf, Beckmeyer and his colleague Professor Sharp (Ralph Cotterill) spend the evening watching a visiting ballet troupe practice. However, they get to see the prima ballerina, Russian Olga Gorki (Dasha Blahova) transform into a werewolf to the horror of her troupe. She is captured and researched but quickly runs away, somehow making her way to Flow where the pack have been chanting to call her to be Thylo’s mate (since Jerboa is pregnant). Jerboa soon gives birth to a baby werewolf.MV5BMDE5ZmEzY2UtYTllMy00MDc4LThhYWUtNjY5MzIyMjMzM2MxXkEyXkFqcGdeQXVyMTQxNzMzNDI@._V1_Donny informs Beckmeyer that his girlfriend was from Flow and he goes along with him to find her. Instead, Jerboa smells Donny nearby and goes to him at night, presenting their baby boy and informs him of the impending danger and the family flee into the hills.

Image result for howling 3The next morning a government task force captures the werewolf pack, but not before having several soldiers killed. Beckmeyer enlists the help of Olga, who he is attracted to, to allow her and Thylo to be researched. After many surveys and investigations (including an incident where Thylo was tortured with strobe lights to make him transform) Beckmeyer starts to fret over the injustice done to the werewolves, including the U.S. Army hunting them in 1889, and so he frees Olga and Thylo. The trio escape into the Outback and eventually find Kendi (Burnham Burnham), Donny, Jerboa, and the baby. They are pursued by hunters but Kendi calls on to the spirit of their legendary phantom wolf and massacres them to ensure the safety of the family. He is cremated in a makeshift ceremony but the smoke alerts some soldiers who are still pursuing them. They are attacked by Kendi’s skeleton who manages to hurt and scare them before being destroyed by one of the soldier’s machine guns. At night, Thylo also calls unto the spirit and is transformed into a huge wolf who attacks the remaining soldiers before being killed by a bazooka blast that destroys the rest of the encampment.Image result for howling 3At last, no longer being pursued by soldiers, Olga and Beckmeyer fall in love and together with Jerboa and Donny, hide and make a homestead at an idyllic riverside camp, avoiding human contact and raising their children in peace. After some time, Jerboa and Donny eventually move out, with the intentions of assuming different identities and the Beckmeyers remain behind raising their daughter and newborn son. Eventually, Harry is tracked down by Sharp and informed that all lycanthropes have been given papal amnesty due to the crimes committed against their kind and the Beckmeyers move back to the city. While teaching a class in Los Angeles and showing the reel seen at the beginning of the movie, Beckmeyer pauses to tell his class about Jerboa and how though he and Olga searched for her and Donny but never found them. At the end of the class he is approached by a young man who Beckmeyer notes looks familiar but cannot recognize. The young man introduces himself as Zack. He is Jerboa and Donny’s son. He informs Beckmeyer that him and his parents are now living in Los Angeles and his mother is now the famous actress “Loretta Carson” and his father is now the famous director “Sully Spellingberg”.Image result for howling 3That night, Olga and Beckmeyer are watching a television award show in which Jerboa has won the best actress award. Her sisters are seen living in a cave in their half transformed states celebrating her win. As Jerboa accepts her award and tries to give her speech, the flashing cameras and stage lights cause her to start changing into a werewolf. This also prompts Olga to start her change much to her husband’s dismay. Jerboa goes on the attack as her sisters howl in glee and Sharp is seen in his living room smiling deviously.The final shot shows a picture of a thylacine, or Tasmanian tiger, a marsupial carnivore which was hunted to extinction by Australian farmers to protect their sheep as it was the inspiration for the film.Image result for howling 3Overall this film has no pretensions it knows what it is and works well within its limitations producing an entertaining colourful werewolf romp.

REVIEW: THE CUSTODIAN

CAST

Anthony LaPaglia (Without A Trace)
Hugo Weaving (The Matrix)
Naomi watts (Birdman)
Barry Otto (The Great Gatsby)
Kelly Dingwall (Raw Nerve)
Essie Davis (The Babadook)
Wayne Pygram (Farscape)

Featuring some of Australia’s finest actors who weren’t so established when this film was released. Anthony LaPaglia (Without A Trace) puts in a powerful performance as the unwitting hero on the verge of a nervous breakdown, James Quinlan, who is hell bent on destruction following the breakdown of his marriage to an annoying and humiliating alcoholic.

Hugo Weaving (Matrix – Agent Smith) is cast as his unscrupulous partner for the local constabulary and apparent friend, Frank Church, but his luxurious life style, along with some of his colleagues, leads to an investigation into police corruption instigated by Quilan. LaPaglia’s wounded character is now determined on not being recognised as the fool and fully focused on bringing them all down; even if it means losing his only friendship and what little else he has remaining in his life in the process.

Barry Otto is superbly cast as internal affairs agent Ferguson, who’s about the only other straight cop on the force, and his venomous performance full of righteous justice compliments LaPaglia’s rage of hellfire when a twist of cruel fate pushes the two pillars of integrity together; but, each of them must fight in their own way to bring a new order to the upper echelons of the local law enforcement. The dialogue in this film is gripping and executed superbly from all the cast and is helped along the way by an understated and timeless score. Also, look out for a very young Naomi Watts who appears in a couple of scenesr. If you like finding under-appreciated gems then give this relatively unknown Australian adventure drenched in film noir a viewing.

REVIEW: AGENTS OF S.H.I.E.L.D. – SEASON 2

CAST

Clark Gregg (When A Stranger Calls)
Ming-Na Wen (Stargate Universe)
Brett Dalton (Killing Lincoln)
Chloe Bennet (Nashville)
Ian De Caestecker (Filth)
Elizabeth Henstridge (Reach Me)
Nick Blood (Identicals)
Adrianna Palicki (G.J. Joe: Retaliation)

RECURRING / NOTABLE GUEST STARS

Hayley Atwell (Cinderella)
B.J. Britt (Veronica Mars)
Neal McDonough (Arrow)
Reed Diamond (Dollhouse)
Henry Simons (No Good Deed)
Patton Oswalt (Blade: trinity)
Lucy Lawless (Ash Vs Evil Dead)
Adrian Pasdar (Heroes)
Kenneth Choi (Street Kings)
Simon Kassianides (Quantum of Solace)
Brian Patrick Wade (The Big Bang Theory)
Ruth Negga (World War Z)
Maya Stojan (Castle)
Dylan Minnette (Goosebumps)
Kyle MacLachlan (Dune)
Barry Otto (R.S.V.P.)
Brian Tee (Jurassic World)
Monique Gabriela Curnen (The Dark Knight)
Joel Gretsch (V)
Tim DeKay (Swordfish)
Dichen Lachman (Dollhouse)
Lou Ferrigno Jr. (The Young and The Restless)
Jamie Harris (Rise of The Planet of The Apes)
Blair Underwood (Gattaca)
Cornelius Smith Jr.(God Friended Me)
Christine Adams (Batman Begins)
Edward James Olmos (Green Hornet)
Luke Mitchell (Home and Away)
J. August Richards (Angel)
Cobie Smulders (How I Met Your Mother)
Jaimie Alexander (The Last Stand)
Eddie McClintock (Bones)
Kirk Acevedo (Arrow)

For many, Marvel’s Agents of SHIELD in its first season  became a forgotten and/or overlooked series, which was too bad, and yet understandable. This was Marvel’s first TV series, coming off of an amazing run of movies and it just didn’t deliver when it debuted. The initial episodes felt unfocused and badly paced,but many people people felt the show improved when SHIELD notably improving in the wake of Captain America: The Winter Soldier’s events.In season 2 the pacing was hugely improved, with storylines no longer taking forever to bubble up again and secrets no longer being kept both from the audience and the characters that no one on screen seemed in a hurry to deal with. Instead, there was payoff to big plot threads happening consistently, as both lingering questions from Season 1 and newly introduced plotlines were deftly dealt with and tied up, while paving the way for new mysteries. On the villain front, there was some nicely done twisting and turning regarding who the Big Bad would be in Season 2. We began with a focus on Hydra leader Whitehall and while Reed Diamond had fun in the role, Whitehall rarely had moments that made him feel like a truly credible threat. When he was killed in the midseason finale, it seemed Kyle MacLachlan’s Cal would take center stage as SHIELD’s main foe… but there was yet another swerve in store.The fact that Skye’s mother, Jiaying (Dichen Lachman), was alive at all was a surprise and we soon saw that she was the leader of the Inhumans and could be pretty strict and cold when it came to doing what she felt was right to protect her people… but that was all hiding just what a zealot she had become, convinced war with humanity was inevitable and willing to begin it herself (via a staged attack) to get all her people on her side. The fact that Jiaying was the true main villain of the season was a subtle, slow reveal and much appreciated for how it was pulled off. We understood the tragic events that had changed her, even as we came to see she, and not Cal, who was the most dangerous.Oh, and did I say Inhumans? This was also a huge part of the season, which was especially notable because it indicated that behind the scenes, Marvel had decided Agents of SHIELD could lead the way in a much more notable way than before, rather than being simply reactive to the events of the films. We know an Inhumans film is coming in a few years, but now this series has already introduced the concept into the MCU. Presumably the film will focus on the Royal Family and a very different group of Inhumans than the ones we met here, but this show was still allowed to be the first part of the MCU to give us Terrigen Mist, the Kree origins and all the major background elements of the Inhumans.
Hayley Atwell in Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. (2013)In general, SHIELD felt less restrained this season. The first couple of episodes utilized the notable Marvel villain Absorbing Man, while the reveals that Cal and Skye were, respectively, Mr. Hyde and Daisy Johnson/Quake, rooted this show much more into its Marvel Comics roots.While it began in the latter half of Season 1, SHIELD: Season 2 also benefited from much stronger characterization. While there were so many characters they all didn’t get as much time as might have been ideal, they still all felt much more distinct and specific than the show’s early days, and the fact that several members came and went and shifted allegiances kept things interesting. Ming-Na Wen was always a great presence on the show, but Melinda May was given a lot more depth, as we met her ex-husband, Andrew (Blair Underwood) and finally got the dark details of that incident in Bahrain that we kept hearing about in Season 1. The rift between Fitz and Simmons added a lot more textures to both of them, and was beautifully played by Iain De Caestecker and Elizabeth Henstridge, while Coulson, now the director of SHIELD, had to reevaluate his approach, making much harsher decisions that pained him, but felt more involving and believable than the overly sappy, often naive approach that he began the series with.As for Skye, the writers and producers certainly still were determined to make her the most important and revered character on the show, but this season, it actually felt like they were earning her that position. Sure, we had to accept that she’d apparently gotten one hell of a crash course in being a badass fighter from May between seasons, but it felt good to see her actually be such a formidable presence in the action scenes – and Chloe Bennet really rose to the challenge of her characters new dynamic. And by making Skye both an Inhuman and Daisy/Quake, we at least had tangible reasons she would be important to us as viewers, beyond Coulson simply saying she was awesome over and over again. Bennet and Kyle MacLachlan also were able to build a strong rapport together as the estranged father/daughter duo. Speaking of MacLachlan, what a job he did. While Dichen Lachman brought the perfect pained righteousness to Jiaying, who truly believed what she was doing was right, MacLachlan had the freedom to go absolutely crazy as the absolutely crazy Cal and wow, was he fun. He expertly conveyed his character’s wish to be a happy, doting husband and father intermixed with his violent rage and gave the season some of its best moments – goofy Mr. Hyde makeup/visuals in the season finale aside.The new additions to the SHIELD crew were also appreciated, with Nick Blood’s Lance Hunter, Henry Simmons’ Mack and Adrianne Palicki ‘s Bobbi Morse/Mockingbird all fitting in very well. With such a big group of agents, someone was bound to be overlooked, and unfortunately, that was Trip (B.J. Britt), who never really got a storyline of his own – except to be the big midseason death. Which wasn’t as impactful as it could have been because he felt like a character with potential that was never fully utilized in any capacity (Remember when he and Simmons were flirting?).The “Other SHIELD” storyline was an interesting inclusion, with Edward James Olmos bringing exactly the gravity you’d expect him to as Gonzales. I liked the idea of he and Coulson being so opposed and yet very respectful of one another, in their own ways. I just wish we’d gotten a bigger payoff to that, as Gonzales was killed by Jiaying before he and Coulson really came to any sort of conclusion in their own conflict except on the “very begrudging/wary allies” level.I went into Season 2 very concerned about Grant Ward’s continuing presence on the series. His betrayal was a shot of Adrenalin the bland SHIELD crew needed and his actions had been too extreme and lethal to be forgiven or excused – but this is TV, where it seems any character can be redeemed. And I really didn’t want to see Ward redeemed, especially since Brett Dalton really found the character when he was allowed to play him as a villain. Thankfully, Season 2 didn’t try to bring Ward back onto the SHIELD team – in fact, by the end, he was more delightfully despicable than ever, torturing Bobbi and setting a trap to kill any SHIELD agent that attempted to rescue her and shooting and killing May, point blank, the first chance he had.SHIELD: Season 2 benefited from a show now unafraid to shake up the dynamic. Perhaps having to completely change everything about the series two thirds into the first season served as an inspiration, but from Simmons’ double agent status, to Gonzales’ crew taking over, the show rarely felt stagnant. The show’s always been in a difficult scenario – people love the interconnectivity of the MCU, but because the movie’s have the big superheroics covered, SHIELD felt hindered by not being able to deal with a lot of the bigger name heroes, in a way a series like The Flash (which isn’t connected to DC’s movies at all) doesn’t have to deal with. The decision to have Coulson and Skye begin to form a team of superpowered members seems to indicate those involved have decided its time to bring some more ongoing flash  to the series, even if it won’t be with the biggest name characters. Things will no doubt change in a big way again as a result, but right now, it’s exciting to ponder what’s coming next.

REVIEW: THE PUNISHER (1989)

 

CAST

Dolph Lundgren (Universal Soldier)
Louis Gosset Jr. (Enemy Mine)
Jeroen Krabbe (The Fugitive)
Kim Miyori (The Grudge 2)
Bryan Marshall (Embassy)
Nancy Everhard (Deepstar Six)
Barry Otto (Strictly Ballroom)
Brian Rooney (Spellbinder)
Lani John Tupu (Farscape)

NEW-WORLD-Kamen-Rider-Cross-Z-Grease-Rogue

Frank Castle (Dolph Lundgren) has taken to living in the sewers following the murder of his family at the hands of the city’s criminal underworld. Now, he acts as an angel of vengeance – waging war on the mob bosses, punishing the guilty and protecting the innocent. Nicknamed ‘The Punisher’ Frank lives a solitary existence only surfacing to mow down bad guys in various acts of machine gun spewing violence. Between bouts of blowing people away, Frank is hunted by his ex-partner Jake Berkowitz (Louis Gossett, Jr) and between the two of them, they team up once more to take down the Japanese mob – led by Jeroen Krabbé and Kim Miyori as the very entertaining Lady Tanaka.

Celebrated action editor Mark Goldblatt (Commando, The Terminator) calls the shots and he keeps the movie brisk, allowing the action to take centre stage and not allowing such things as character development or emotion slow things down! Kudos also to cinematographer Ian Baker who embues the movie with a cold steel look that accentuates the isolation and clearly the mindset of the title character. The supporting cast do a great job but its Dolph’s show all the way as he combines macho with a distinct dislocation from the real world, giving you the impression that he’s clearly not all the ticket.