REVIEW: JESSICA JONES – SEASON 3

Krysten Ritter in Jessica Jones (2015)

Starring

Krysten Ritter (Breaking Bad)
Rachael Taylor (transformers)
Eka Darville (Power Rangers)
Carrie-Anne Moss (The Matrix)
Jeremy Bobb (The Knick)
Benjamin Walker (Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter)
Sarita Choudhury (A Hologram For A
Tiffany Mack (Hap and Leonard)

Krysten Ritter in Jessica Jones (2015)

Recurring / Notable Guest Cast

Rebecca De Mornay (Mother’s Day)
Aneesh Sheth (New Amsterdam)
Mike Colter (Luke Cage)
J. R. Ramirez (Arrow)
David Tennant (Mary Queen of Scots)

The Netflix Marvel Universe, starting last year with yellow-belt step-child Iron Fist and continuing on to the cancellations of Luke Cage, Daredevil, and The Punisher. Unfortunately, the bummer that comes with an ending does hang over Jessica Jones‘ third chapter, but in an oddly fortuitous way that dour tone actually works. This season—which was set to be showrunner Melissa Rosenberg‘s final season anyway—is a dark story, probably the least comic book-y of Netflix’s already grounded and gritty pocket of the MCU. It doesn’t always work and does suffer from the same pacing issues that have plagued, well, pretty much all of these shows. But when it hits, it hits just like its main heroine; violent, flawed, and willing to go where her more moral superhuman peers wouldn’t dare.Rachael Taylor in Jessica Jones (2015)Season 3 opens with its two leading ladies at a crossroads. Jessica is doing her darndest to get her act together and, overall, just be less of an asshole and more of a functioning private investigation. But Trish Walker (Rachael Taylor) has dived into the life of a fledgling vigilante after Dr. Karl Malus’ season 2 experiments gave her special abilities. (She’s not quite rocking her Hellcat get-up from the comics, but there are some very clever touches of yellow and purple along with some cats-eye sunglasses courtesy of costume designer Elisabeth Vastola). Jessica and Trish are estranged, but a chance encounter turned violent with a superpowered man named Erik (Benjamin Walker) leads Jessica to the case of serial killer Gregory Salinger (Jeremy Bobb). Salinger, who is absolutely bananagrams out of his goddamn mind, soon makes things very, very personal with Jessica, Erik, and Trish.Benjamin Walker and Krysten Ritter in Jessica Jones (2015)Ritter is still pretty much pitch-perfect in the title role, one of the best casting jobs in the current comic book era. But the nature of Jessica Jones as a character so reluctant to get in on the action means the quality of her stories is almost defined by the strength of her villain. Season 1 was sensational in large part thanks to David Tennant‘s Kilgrave, with the actor’s charisma drawing you to the character—much like everyone was supernaturally drawn to the character—even as the script revealed him as an irredeemable monster. In comparison, season 2 developed into a bit of a slog Jessica’s team-up with her mass murderer mother Alisa (Janet McTeer) turned the back-half of the story into a largely antagonist-less road trip to nowhere.Jessica Jones (2015)Luckily, season 3’s serial killer Salinger flips the switch by completely stripping away the pretense of a supervillain. He might by Jessica’s most dynamic villain because of how terrifyingly un-dynamic he is. In the comics, Salinger is the second person to take on the title of Foolkiller, a brilliant murderer with a penchant for killing anyone he deems, well, a fool. But Rosenberg and the writing staff have tweaked that background into an extremely recognizable 2019 threat; here, Salinger is basically an internet troll, a man with an inflated sense of ego and rage built from the fact that he’s painfully ordinary. He’s Hannibal Lecter chewing on redpills instead of fava beans. He’s Ted Bundy with a Reddit account and egg-avatar Twitter page. He’s an incel but for having superpowers instead of sex—I guess that would make him an “inhuman”—who hates vigilantes for gaining abilities they didn’t “earn.” At one point, he points the spotlight back on to Jessica by playing the victim. “Perhaps I’m an easy target,” he tells news cameras, “a single white male, and she’s this feminist vindicator.”Krysten Ritter in Jessica Jones (2015)It all gets borderline on-the-nose, but honestly “on the nose” works when you’re dealing with a character who deserves to get whacked in the fucking face this hard. Bobb—who also impressed earlier this year in another Netflix series, Russian Doll—makes a chilling meal of the role. He does great psychopath, with an ability to say menacing lines with absolutely nothing going on behind the eyes. This story isn’t exactly adding anything new to the serial killer genre—we’re talking chopped up body parts, creepy photo sessions, even a very Red Dragon-esque “Do you see?“—but it is playing with the tropes at a high-quality level.Krysten Ritter in Jessica Jones (2015)It’s an intensely satisfying story when it’s laser-focused on that simple premise, a cat-and-mouse noir tale peppered with the personal dynamic between Jessica and Trish. (A world-weary Jessica trying to rein in an increasingly-enthusiastic Trish results in some of the best quiet work between Ritter and Taylor over all three seasons.) Unfortunately—and this has been the bugaboo for pretty much every Netflix MCU show, other than perhaps the near-perfect Daredevil season 3—it’s such a tight story that it can’t pad out the episode count. I’ve seen eight episodes and the story doesn’t quite click into place until episode 3 or 4. There’s a lot of gear-spinning in those first few episodes; a slew of legal subplots do come into play later, but early on they feel like they’re just giving massive talents like Carrie-Ann Moss and Eka Darville something to do while everyone gets into place. And even then, there are a few wonky leaps that seem a bit first draft-y; a sequence later on that more or less amounts to Jessica and Salinger sending threatening Snapchats back and forth definitely played more menacing on the page than it does on-screen.Benjamin Walker and Krysten Ritter in Jessica Jones (2015)But still, as an ending, not only to a series but an entire universe, Jessica Jones season 3 feels right in its low-keyness. A significant part of that is down to the fact it doesn’t feel like an ending at all. (Not surprising, considering the fact production was well underway before Netflix started canceling these shows.) It’s not an epic culmination on the level of, say, Avengers: Endgame, but these street-level heroes were never about the bombast, anyway. Jessica Jones season 3 isn’t exactly going out with a bang, but it is bright enough to illuminate the darkest corners of the MCU just one more time.

REVIEW: GOOD OMENS

Michael Sheen and David Tennant in Good Omens (2019)

Starring

David Tennant (Mary Queen of Scots)
Michael Sheen (Passengers)
Anna Maxwell Martin (Motherland)
Jon Hamm (Baby Driver)
Josie Lawrence (Humans)
Lourdes Faberes (Knightfall)
Adria Arjona (Life of The Party)
Michael McKean (This Is Spinal Tap)
Jack Whitehall (Bad Education)
Miranda Richardson (Sleepy Hollow)
Mireille Enos (Hanna TV)
Yusuf Gatewood (The Originals)
Brian Cox (Rise of TPOA)
Reece Shearsmith (Stag)
Nina Sosanya (Marcella)
Ned Dennehy (Peaky Blinders)
Ariyon Bakare (Rogue One)
Frances McDormand (Fargo)
Derek Jacobi (Gladiator)
Benedict Cumberbatch (The Grinch)
Steve Pemberton (Psychoville)
Mark Gatiss (Game of Thrones)
Nick Offerman (The Lego Movie 2)
Daniel Mays (The Bank Job)
Sian Brooke (Sherlock)
Simon Merrells (Legends of Tomorrow)
Susan Brown (Game of Thrones)
Paul Kaye (Anna and the Apocalypse)
David Morrissey (The Walking Dead)

Michael Sheen and David Tennant in Good Omens (2019)Once upon a time, Good Omens was considered unadaptable. Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett’s sprawling, 400-page fantasy novel was notorious within the film and TV industries. Screenwriters turned their noses up at the project, and various attempts over the years to bring page to screen ended in disappointment. However, an adaptation of the unadaptable proved to be Pratchett’s last request to his co-author before he died in 2015, and Gaiman set about writing the screenplay for what would become an epic six-part BBC/Amazon co-production.Michael Sheen and David Tennant in Good Omens (2019)So first things first: was the unadaptable, well, adaptable, after all? The short answer is, yes. Gaiman — also showrunner on the series — has pulled off a colourful, quirky, funny, poignant (although not entirely flawless) feat. One might even suspect there’s been a spot of divine (or devilish) intervention… The true triumph is the casting. Michael Sheen shines (quite literally, in some scenes) as the angel Aziraphale, a celestial field agent who teams up with his opposite number, the stylish demon Crowley — played with a Bill Nighy-esque swagger by David Tennant — in order to prevent Armageddon.Michael Sheen and David Tennant in Good Omens (2019)It’s this pairing that proves to be the beating heart of the series. Crowley and Aziraphale have been on Earth since the very beginning, and in their own ways they’ve both “gone native”. Aziraphale owns a Soho bookshop, and likes gravlax salmon with dill sauce. Crowley drives a pristine 1926 Bentley and listens to Queen. They’ve formed a professional agreement not to meddle in each other’s affairs, and in their spare time they’ve enjoyed a series of rather nice clandestine lunches. Every time either actor appears onscreen, you can almost hear the costume department’s (and fandom’s) squeals of joy. David Tennant in snakeskin boots! Michael Sheen with artfully tousled bleached hair! A tartan bow tie! Tennant also sports appropriately flame-red hair (not in the books, but worth it for Doctor Who fans’ realisation that the Tenth Doctor finally got his wish) that frequently changes style. In one particularly memorable moment during episode one, Crowley disguises himself as a bobbed-haired nanny, a Satanic crossover between Nanny McPhee and Mrs Doubtfire.good-omensHe and Aziraphale have a teasing, love/hate relationship that fans of the book have shipped for almost two decades. Gaiman has since promised that “the TV series gets deeper into Crowley and Aziraphale’s relationship,” and some viewers will be hoping that that will translate into a burgeoning romance. Certainly in episode one, Aziraphale seems rather overexcited at the prospect of he and Crowley becoming joint “godfathers” to the infant Antichrist, whose arrival on Earth threatens to catalyse the apocalypse. Gabriel has bright purple irises in the series, a nod to Elizabeth Taylor’s legendary lilac eyes according to the show’s companion book, The Nice and Accurate Good Omens TV Companion. However, as anyone who’s worn thick coloured lenses for Halloween and lived to tell the tale will know, the effect is rather distracting and painful to look at, as are Crowley’s reptilian yellow eyes (thankfully hidden away under trendy shades for much of the show). Gabriel barely appears in the book, and he’s a welcome and much-needed addition to the series: someone to put the proverbial heat on Aziraphale.Michael Sheen and David Tennant in Good Omens (2019)Various sets are also new for the TV show: Heaven is now a vast corporate headquarters, while Hell resembles an overcrowded basement office. A rather gloomier version of The IT Crowd, if you will. Some of the show’s special effects can feel a bit hammy (think Russell T Davies-era Doctor Who with a couple of rubber frogs thrown in), but the scene depicting the entrances to both Heaven and Hell features a pretty cool bit of cinematography, including a mirror effect and an upside-down Tennant. However, despite the addition of characters like Gabriel, much of the show remains doggedly faithful to the books. Reams of dialogue are almost word-for-word during episode one, to the extent that there are certain moments and scenes where one feels that the show’s pace has been sacrificed in favour of preserving the ‘voice’ of the book. Of course, it’s understandable given the circumstances — Gaiman has spoken about the pressure to protect Pratchett’s narrative creations in his absence. For example, he made sure that one of Pratchett’s characters, the 17th century witch Agnes Nutter, remained in the show despite calls to replace her (and an expensive, explosive period shoot) with a series of woodcuts.good-omens-key-art-600x314In Agnes’s case, it makes sense to preserve her: her spookily accurate prophecies drive much of the plot and predict the present-day apocalypse. But there are chunks of God’s narration (voiced by Oscar-winner Frances McDormand) that feel a bit laboured. Some sections, like the bit about demons’ talents for “lurking” around graveyards, must have read well on the page in that distinctive Terry/Neil voice, but in reality they fall rather flat — much like a certain angel’s misguided attempts to pull a rabbit out of a top hat at a children’s birthday party. At the end of the day, however (and according to Agnes Nutter, there aren’t many more days left), the series is a love letter to the book, combining Gaiman and Pratchett’s brilliant characterisation and quippy jokes with vivid, gorgeous sets and memorable costumes.

 

 

REVIEW: MARY QUEEN OF SCOTS

Starring

Saoirse Ronan (The Lovely Bnes)
Margot Robbie (Suicide Squad)
Guy Pearce (Prometheus)
David Tennant (Jessica Jones)
Jack Lowden (’71)
Joe Alwyn (The Favourite)
Gemma Chan (Captain Marvel)
Martin Compston (The Aftermath)
Ismael Cruz Córdova (Exposed)
Brendan Coyle (Me Before Before You)
Ian Hart (God’s Own Country)
Adrian Lester (Doomsday)

Saoirse Ronan in Mary Queen of Scots (2018)In 1561, nineteen-year-old Mary, Catholic Queen of Scotland, returns to her home country from France following the death of her husband, Francis II of France, to take up her throne, where she is received by her half brother, the Earl of Moray. In neighbouring England, her cousin, twenty-eight-year-old Elizabeth is Protestant Queen of England — unmarried, childless, and threatened by Mary’s potential claim to her throne. Mary soon clashes with the cleric John Knox and dismisses him from her court. Knox is a protestant and leader of the Scottish Reformation and perceives Mary to be a danger to the kingdom’s Protestant supremacy.Margot Robbie, Grace Molony, and Georgia Burnell in Mary Queen of Scots (2018)In an attempt to weaken her cousin’s threat to her sovereignty, Elizabeth arranges for Mary, whom the English Catholics recognize as their rightful Queen, to be married to an Englishman. She chooses Robert Dudley, whom she secretly loves, to propose to Mary. Both are unwilling to be married to each other, but the news of Elizabeth’s smallpox convinces Mary to take the offer provided that Mary is named Elizabeth’s heir apparent. Reluctant to let go of Dudley, Elizabeth secretly sends Lord Darnley to Scotland under the pretence of living under their religious freedom. Despite initially sensing an ulterior motive on Darnley’s part, Mary gradually grows fond of Darnley and eventually accepts his marriage proposal.Saoirse Ronan, Jack Lowden, and James McArdle in Mary Queen of Scots (2018)Mary’s impending marriage to Darnley causes a constitutional crisis within both realms: In England, Elizabeth is advised by her court to oppose the marriage for fear that Darnley, an English noble, will elevate Mary’s claim to the Crown. In Scotland, Mary’s council is suspicious of Darnley as they fear an English takeover. Both kingdoms demand his return to England, but Mary refuses, thus enraging Moray to furiously leave her court and mount a rebellion against her. Darnley marries Mary, only for her to discover him in bed with her friend and private secretary, David Rizzio, the following morning. Faced with insurgency and infidelity, Mary decides to quash the rebel forces but spares both Rizzio and Moray. She demands Darnley give her a child. When a child is conceived, Mary declares that the child is the “heir to Scotland and England” — which deeply offends the English.Saoirse Ronan in Mary Queen of Scots (2018)Moray colludes with Darnley’s father Matthew Stewart, 4th Earl of Lennox, to undermine Mary, spreading rumours about Mary’s adultery and that her child was illegitimately fathered by Rizzio. Hearing the rumours, John Knox vehemently preaches to his parish that Mary is an adulteress. Fearing the accusations against Mary and the possible discovery of his homosexuality, Darnley is coerced by the under-miners to join them in murdering Rizzio and reluctantly delivers the final blow. Mary discovers the plot and agrees to pardon the men involved provided that she is presented with the evidence that Darnley had taken part. She ultimately forgives Moray and asks Elizabeth to be her child’s godmother. Together, they agree that the child is heir presumptive, much to the chagrin of the English court. Mary banishes Darnley but refuses to divorce him despite the appeals of her council, which then approaches her adviser and protector, the Earl of Bothwell, to have him killed. In the ensuing melee after Darnley’s death, Mary is forced to flee and leave her child behind. The following morning, Bothwell advises that her council have decided that she marry a Scotsman immediately, which she hesitantly agrees to. This induces Knox to preach to the Scots that Mary is a “harlot” who had her husband killed, leading Moray and the rest of her court to demand her abdication. Despite furiously objecting to it, Mary eventually abdicates her throne and flees to England.Margot Robbie in Mary Queen of Scots (2018)Learning of Mary’s arrival in England, Elizabeth arranges for a clandestine meeting with her. Mary asks for Elizabeth’s help to take back her throne. Elizabeth is reluctant to go to war on behalf of a Catholic, but instead promises a safe exile in England as long as Mary does not aid her enemies. Mary indignantly responds that if she does, it will only be because Elizabeth forced her to do so, and threatens that should Elizabeth murder her, she should remember that she “murdered her own sister and queen”. Elizabeth orders that Mary is placed under house arrest in England and eventually receives compelling evidence that Mary had conspired with her enemies to have her assassinated. Pressured, and with no other choice, Elizabeth ultimately orders Mary’s execution. As Mary is walked to the scaffold, a remorseful Elizabeth cries for Mary, who reveals a bright red dress, implying herself a martyr. In her final thoughts, Mary wishes her son James well and hopes for peace upon his reign.Saoirse Ronan in Mary Queen of Scots (2018)The post-script reveals that upon Elizabeth’s death in 1603, James became the first monarch to rule both Scotland and England.While the story of Mary and Elizabeth has been made before; I was fascinated by this story because of the leads. Saorsie Ronan and Margot Robbie are just terrific in the roles. The story moved along intercutting between the two queens. Ms. Ronan has the bigger role as Mary and is every inch the queen. Ms. Robbie as Elizabeth is very good, and becomes a hideous caricature of that queen as she ages. The machinations of the queens’ courts and political intrigue that lead to Mary’s end are fascinating. The costumes, makeup, cinematography and direction are all first rate.

REVIEW: FRIGHT NIGHT (2011)

CAST

Anton Yelchin (Star Trek)
Colin Farrell (Intermission)
Christopher Mintz-Plasse (Kick-Ass)
David Tennant (Jessica Jones)
Imogen Poots (That Awkard Moment)
Toni Collette (Krampus)
Dave Franco (The Lego Ninjago Movie)
Reid Ewing (The Truth Below)
Will Denton as Adam Johnson
Sandra Vergara (The Post)
Lisa Loeb (Hot Tub Time Machine)
Brian Huskey (Ant-Man and The Wasp)
Grace Phipps (The Vampire Diaries)
Dee Bradley Baker (American Dad)
Chris Sarandon (Child’s Play)
Bonnie Morgan (Rings)

Colin Farrell and Christopher Mintz-Plasse in Fright Night (2011)Charley Brewster is a teenager living in a suburb of Las Vegas, Nevada, who discovers that a new neighbor has moved in next door. Charley’s old best friend, Edward “Evil Ed” Lee, informs him that many students have gone missing, including their other childhood friend, Adam Johnson. When Charley goes home after school, his mother, Jane, introduces him to Jerry Dandrige, their new neighbor. Fed-up and angry with Ed after he claims that Jerry is a vampire, Charley tells him that he’s crazy and that he doesn’t want to be friends anymore.Imogen Poots in Fright Night (2011)On his way home, Ed is confronted by Jerry, who claims that he has been watching Ed and has been aware of Ed watching him. Jerry soon chases Ed into a nearby pool and convinces him into believing that his life would be much better if he was a vampire. Ed succumbs and willingly allows Jerry to bite him. The next day, Charley realizes that Ed is missing and decides to investigate, starting to believe Ed’s claims when he discovers video recordings of objects moving on their own, with Ed’s voiceover revealing that he is recording Jerry to prove that his reflection doesn’t show up in recordings. As Jerry begins to attack more people throughout the neighborhood, Charley sneaks into Jerry’s house and finds out that he keeps his victims in secret rooms. Charley goes to Las Vegas magician Peter Vincent, a supposed expert on vampires. Peter, however, doesn’t take him seriously and kicks him out.Anton Yelchin and Imogen Poots in Fright Night (2011)Jerry comes to Charley’s house and sets fire to it. Charley, Jane, and his girlfriend, Amy Peterson, flee through the desert in their minivan. Jerry catches up with them, but is wounded by Jane with a real estate sign stake. Jane is admitted to a hospital, where Charley is summoned by Peter. Upon arriving at Peter’s penthouse and is informed on the species of vampire when Ed turns up. By now Ed has been fully transformed into a vampire and he aids Jerry in attacking Charley, Amy, and Peter. As they fight, Ed lets all of his anger out on his opponent and Charley reluctantly kills Ed. Meanwhile, Amy shoots Jerry with silver bullets which are rather ineffective but still do something , but then injures Jerry with holy water. They then run into a club, where they get separated in the crowd. Amy is kissed, bitten, and possessed by Jerry, who proceeds to take her.David Tennant and Anton Yelchin in Fright Night (2011)Peter refuses to help Charley and reveals that both of his parents were killed by a vampire (later revealed to be Jerry himself). He does, however, give Charley a stake blessed by Saint Michael that will kill Jerry and turn all of his victims back into humans. Charley goes to Jerry’s house where Peter decides to join him after all.David Tennant in Fright Night (2011)They are led into Jerry’s basement, where they are attacked by many of Jerry’s victims, including Amy. Charley confronts Amy and she explains how they can be with each other forever. Just as she is about to bite Charley he stabs her, intentionally missing her heart, and then escaping. Meanwhile, Peter is ambushed by Jerry and many of his victims. Peter is able to kill a few before his weapon backfires. Charley returns to the basement only to see Peter being fed on by the remaining vampires. He decides to shoot holes in the roof, from which sunlight shines in and kills them. The patch of sunlight guards both Charley and Peter from the vampires who had not been destroyed. Jerry appears, explaining that Charley’s quest is in fact over. Toni Collette, Anton Yelchin, and Imogen Poots in Fright Night (2011)Charley, having outfitted himself in a flame-retardant suit, has Peter light him on fire and tackles Jerry just as Amy is feeding off him. A struggle between the two ensues while the other vampires watch. Peter assists him by shooting another hole in the floor above to allow more sunlight in. This burns Jerry, and Peter tosses Charley the stake he had dropped. Charley quickly stabs Jerry in the heart, killing him and returning his victims to their human form. Afterwards, Charley’s mother recovers from the hospital and goes to shop for a new house as Charley and Amy have sex in Peter’s penthouse. Overall, Fright Night is enjoyable. Maybe the biggest mistake they made is the jump scares since Fright Night isn’t really fond to that trend. Well, this is definitely better than all the unnecessary horror remakes we usually get every year. Colin Farrel made a lot of things better. Vampires are evil again. It has plenty of joys and thrills. Fright Night is recommendable by bringing back the true elements of the genre

REVIEW: JESSICA JONES – SEASON 2

JessicaJonesS2_Horizontal-KeyArt_US-1-600x256

MAIN CAST

Krysten Ritter (Veronica Mars)
Rachael Taylor (Transformers)
Eka Darville (Power Rangers RPM)
J.R. Ramirez (Arrow)
Terry Chen (Bates Motel)
Leah Gibson (Rise of The Planet of The Apes)
Carrie-Anne Moss (The Matrix)
Janet McTeer (The White Queen)
Callum Keith Rennie (Battlestar Galactica)

Krysten Ritter in Jessica Jones (2015)

RECURRING / NOTABLE GUEST CAST

Hal Ozsan (Redline)
Maury Ginsberg (Two Guys and a Girl)
Angel Desai (Black Knight)
Rebecca De Mornay (Risky Business)
Elden Henson (Daredevil)
Wil Traval (Once Upon a Time)
David Tennant (Doctor Who)
John Ventimiglia (The Sopranos)
Lisa Tharps (Law & Order: SUV)
Rob Morgan (Daredevil)

The first season of Marvel’s Jessica Jones was a kind of miracle, combining a taut and entertaining superhero narrative with one of the most nuanced explorations of domestic abuse and sexual violence ever put on screen. Krysten Ritter’s prickly, guarded, hard-drinking Jessica is a female superhero with unique significance. Her very existence—a woman with literal super-strength who still fell prey to a male predator—skewers accepted narratives about victimhood, while her determined independence cuts through expectations of how women are “supposed” to act after assault.Krysten Ritter in Jessica Jones (2015)Ritter’s performance in the second season is a few degrees more emotional, as Jessica—prompted by her best friend Trish (Rachael Taylor)—finally begins to set in the trauma of her past. That trauma encapsulates not only Kilgrave’s abuse, but the car accident that killed her family and landed her in a hospital where mysterious, horrific, superpower-inducing experiments were conducted on her. And she’s not sad or scared about what was done to her; she’s furious. In an anger management support group she reluctantly attends, participants bounce a ball against the wall to relieve stress while they share their stories. Jessica bounces it so hard she smashes a hole in the wall, before confirming: “Still angry.” Female anger is often stigmatized; women put on a calm face for fear of being labelled crazy or hysterical or a bitch. To see it expressed so openly and so often in a Netflix comic-book adaptation feels faintly revolutionary.Rachael Taylor and Eka Darville in Jessica Jones (2015)That’s also true of the new season’s handling of Jessica’s sex life. When a midtown douche notices Jessica in a bar and leers—“Nice ass”—she wheels around and snaps, “What did you say?” Surely she’s about to kick his ass, you think. Smash-cut to: Jessica having joyless sex with this loser in a bathroom stall, her face a mask, her detachment painfully clear. It’s a stark contrast to her passionate clinches last season with Luke Cage (Mike Colter), which served to show that being raped did not define her. Then, sex was a way in which she reclaimed her body and her selfhood; now, it’s a way for her to dissociate. This coping mechanism is explored in greater depth following the introduction of her new love interest Oscar (JR Ramirez), a big-hearted family man who’s bewildered by Jessica’s resistance to intimacy.Krysten Ritter in Jessica Jones (2015)The plot thread driving the new season is Jessica and Trish trying to uncover the truth about 20 missing days from Jessica’s past: 20 days during which she went into hospital almost dead, and emerged with superpowers. Though she has total amnesia about this time, it gradually becomes clear that her origin story is similar to that of this season’s Big Bad (played by Janet McTeer), a mysterious, preternaturally strong young woman who was subjected to the same experiments as Jessica, and came out a “monster.” The presence of a super-powered villain terrorizing New York yet again only heightens the public backlash against “supers,” although the bigotry faced by Jessica and others like her is the one place where the show’s allegories feel clumsy, particularly in a scene where someone pointedly refers to “you people.”While the new season—at least for its first five episodes—lacks a threat as propulsive and engaging as Kilgrave, its ensemble also feels better served. Carrie Anne Moss’s steely, high-powered lawyer Jeri Hogarth, by now a mainstay of the Marvel TV universe, is propelled in a rich, moving new direction by some unexpectedly brutal news. And Trish’s history as a child star takes on new complexity when she’s forced by necessity to seek out a producer who assaulted her when she was a teenager. The moment in which Jessica confronts this particular creep, and denounces “pricks like you who think you can take whatever, or whoever, you want” would have been a thrill no matter the context, but in this Time’s Up moment in Hollywood it’s a particularly cathartic standout. As a female superhero whose anger makes her powerful, and whose trauma has no impact on her strength, Jessica Jones has never felt more essential.

REVIEW: POSTMAN PAT: THE MOVIE

CAST (VOICES)

Stephen Mangan (Rush)
Susan Duerden (Flushed Away)
Mike Disa (Hoodwinked Too)
Jim Broadbent (Game of Thrones)
Rupert Grint (Harry Potter)
David Tennant (Jessica Jones)
Ronan Keating (Goddess)
TJ Ramini (Spivs)
Peter Woodward (Crusade)
Robin Atkin Downes (Babylon 5)
Brian George (The Big Bang Theory)
Parminder Nagra (Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.)
Jo Wyatt (Tales of The Night)
Dee Bradley Baker (American Dad)
Enn Reitel (Prey)
Jean Gilpin (The Stud)
Jacob Witkin (Hail, Caesar)
Anastasia Griffith (Shadow of The Sword)
Craig Ferguson (Brave)
Lucy Davis (Shaun of The Dead)

Patrick “Pat” Clifton also known as “Postman Pat” (voiced by Stephen Mangan), is a friendly postman who has been delivering letters in the village of Greendale in the north of England for years. He wants to take his wife, Sara (voiced by Susan Duerden), on a late honeymoon to Italy. He plans to afford it through a bonus from his employer, the Special Delivery Service (SDS), but their new boss, Edwin Carbunkle (voiced by Peter Woodward), has cancelled all bonuses. He plans to make SDS more efficient by replacing its human workers with robots, thinking that being friendly is a waste of time.When Pat gets home and tries to tell Sara about the fact that the honeymoon is cancelled because the new boss has cancelled all bonuses, his son Julian (voiced by Sandra Teles) shows Pat a TV talent show, You’re the One, hosted by Simon Cowbell (voiced by Robin Atkin Downes in typical Simon Cowell voice), which states the next auditions are coming to Greendale. Cowbell also confirms that the person who wins the contest will be awarded a holiday to Italy and a recording contract. Pat decides to take part in the contest and his unexpected singing voice (played by Ronan Keating) wins the contest. Pat is to sing again in the finale, in a head-to-head contest with the winner of another heat, Josh (voiced by Rupert Grint). His manager, Wilf (voiced by David Tennant), however, is very keen to make sure it is his client who wins at all costs.The Chief Executive Officer of the SDS, Mr. Brown (voiced by Jim Broadbent), and Edwin Carbunkle had been watching the contest on TV. They say that they would like to use Pat in a publicity campaign including his own television series. Carbunkle also confirms that because Pat will be away participating in the contest, a robot replica of him called the “Patbot 3000” will be taking over his postal duties, along with another robot replica of Jess called the “Jessbot” as well. After Pat has gone, the Patbot delivers the rounds like Pat normally does, but it behaves oddly and the people of Greendale are starting to complain about Pat behaving in such a way. Sara and Julian are starting to worry about Pat too.Meanwhile, Ben Taylor (voiced by TJ Ramini), the manager at the SDS, is fired by Carbunkle and is convinced that Pat doesn’t want him anymore, not realising that Pat is a robot. Meanwhile, Wilf tries his schemes to stop Pat, not realising that Pat going around Greendale is in fact a robot. The more Pat’s family and friends become concerned, the more Pat feels guilty about coming on the contest in the first place. But, after a while, Sara and everyone else in Greendale discovers that Pat has been replaced by a robot, and find out Edwin Carbunkle’s true intent. It turns out that Carbunkle is in fact making these robots to try and take over the world. Sara and Julian now know the terrible truth about what Mr Carbunkle’s plan is. Moments before Pat leaves for London, Sara tells Pat that she forgives him and is fully aware of the Patbot 3000. She reassures Pat that she knows that Pat only entered You’re The One to win their honeymoon that she and Julian will be there for him and they both share an optimistic goodbye as Pat leaves for London.big_1473912748_imageNow fully aware of Mr Carbunkle’s plan, Sara decides it’s time to stick up for Pat and she takes everyone else in Greendale to see the You’re The One finals. Meanwhile, Jess, who had been stowing away on one of the SDS helicopter replicas that one of the Patbot 3000s used, manages to make his way to where Pat’s performance, and he helps Pat escape after he is almost locked away in a dressing room by a Patbot and Mr Carbunkle, who reveals that Pat’s publicity was just to make people like him, so Mr Carbunkle could replace him with Patbots. They are then pursued by the Patbots. Meanwhile, in the performance, a Patbot performs instead of Pat, unbeknown to the audience. Wilf, knowing it to be a robot (and not realising there is the real Pat too), tries to unmask the Patbot. Then, the real Pat interrupts the performance. As Carbunkle releases the first few Patbots to kill off Pat, Simon Cowbell and Mr Brown, revealing that he has had enough of them hindering his plans, Pat’s wife, Sara along with everyone else from Greendale enter the auditorium within seconds. They manage to switch off the Patbots and stop Mr. Carbunkle’s evil schemes, revealing that they all forgive Pat for turning a blind eye when the Patbot was first put into action.BaseketballFeatAs soon as Carbunkle is arrested on suspicion of attempted murder, everything is back to normal. Sara gives Pat a great, big hug and claims that she can more than happily forgive him. Now fully aware that Sara has forgiven him, Pat decides to do his act, but decides to change the act slightly. Sara also takes part in the act. They both win the holiday to Italy, but pass the recording contract to Josh, so Wilf is happy too, and all is forgiven. baseketball4-620x349It’s entertaining and simple enough for the kids to follow that their interest will be captured enough not to annoy you for an hour and half!

REVIEW: THE PIRATES! IN AN ADVENTURE WITH SCIENTISTS!

CAST

Hugh Grant (Two Weeks Notice)
Martin Freeman (The Hobbit)
Imelda Staunton (Maleficent)
David Tennant (Jessica Jones)
Jeremy Piven (The Kingdom)
Salma Hayek (Dogma)
Lenny Henry (Postman Pat: The Movie)
Brian Blessed (Flash Gordon)
Russell Tovey (Quantico)
Brendan Gleeson (Troy)
Ashley Jensen (Ugly Betty)
Ben Whitehead (Wallace & Gromit)
David Schneider (A Knights Tale)

In 1837, the Pirate Captain (Hugh Grant), inexpert in the ways of pirates, leads a close-knit, rag-tag group of amateur pirates who are trying to make a name for themselves on the high seas. To prove himself and his crew, the Pirate Captain enters the Pirate of the Year competition, with the winner being whoever can plunder the most. After several failed attempts to plunder mundane ships, they come across the Beagle and capture its passenger Charles Darwin (David Tennant). Darwin recognises the crew’s pet Polly as the last living dodo, and recommends they enter it in the Scientist of the Year competition at the Royal Society of London for a valuable prize. Secretly, Darwin plans on stealing Polly himself with the help of his trained chimpanzee, Mr. Bobo, as to impress Queen Victoria (Imelda Staunton) whom he has a crush on; the Pirate with a Scarf (Martin Freeman) becomes suspicious of Darwin’s motive after one failed attempt to steal Polly.The pirates disguise themselves as scientists to enter the competition, and the dodo display wins the top prize, which turns out to be minuscule trinkets and a meeting with the Queen. The Pirate Captain hides Polly before the meeting. There, the Queen requests that the Pirate Captain donate Polly for her petting zoo. The Pirate Captain refuses and accidentally reveals his true self, but Darwin steps in to spare the Captain’s life, secretly telling the Queen that only the Captain knows where Polly is kept. The Queen lets the Pirate Captain go and orders Darwin to find Polly by any means necessary. Darwin takes the Pirate Captain to a tavern and coaxes out of him that Polly is stashed in his beard. Darwin and Mr. Bobo are able to steal the bird, leading on a chase into the Tower of London where the Queen is waiting. She dismisses Darwin, and instead offers the Pirate Captain a large sum of money in exchange for Polly, which for the Pirate Captain would be enough to assure his win as Pirate of the Year. He accepts the offer and returns to his crew, assuring them Polly is still safe in his beard, though the Pirate with a Scarf is suspicious of his newfound wealth.At the Pirate of the Year ceremony, the Pirate Captain wins the grand prize from the Pirate King (Brian Blessed), but rival pirate Black Bellamy (Jeremy Piven) makes the Queen’s pardon known to all and explains that if the Pirate Captain has been pardoned, then technically, he is no longer a pirate and, as such, can’t be Pirate of the Year. The Captain is stripped of the prize, treasure, pirate attire, and his pirating license and is banished from Blood Island by the Pirate King, and admits his loss of Polly to his crew who abandon him. The Captain returns to London, intent on rescuing Polly. He reunites with Darwin, learning that the Queen is a member of an exclusive dining society of world leaders that feast on endangered creatures, and that Polly is likely on her flagship, the QV1 to be served at the next meal. The Pirate Captain and Darwin work together to steal an airship to travel to the QV1. Mr. Bobo, meanwhile, goes to find the rest of the Captain’s crew to enlist their help.Aboard the QV1, the Queen locates the Pirate Captain and Darwin and attempts to kill both of them, but together they best her. In the battle, they accidentally mix the ship’s store of baking soda with vinegar, causing a violent reaction that rends the ship in two. The Pirate Captain rescues Polly and they escape safely, leaving behind a furious Queen. With his reputation among pirates restored because of the large bounty now on his head, the Pirate Captain is reinstated as a Pirate, and he and his crew continue to explore the high seas in search of adventure.In a few post-credits scenes, they leave Darwin on the Galapagos Islands, Mr. Bobo joins the Pirate Captain’s crew, the Queen is left at the mercy of some of the rare animals she had planned on eating, Black Bellamy is forcefully stripped of his trophy by the Pirate King because of the Pirate Captain’s new infamy, and the crew present the Pirate Captain with their own homemade Pirate of the Year trophy.The cast itself was one of the film’s main attractions and the voice work is first rate. Hugh Grant shows impeccable comic timing, and Salma Hayak voices Cutlass Liz with lots of sass. Jeremy Piven shows that he can do wonderfully with a character that is strongly-written and provides a good contrast to Grant’s Pirate Captain. Brendan Gleeson and Brian Blessed give rousing turns, David Tennant’s Charles Darwin charms and Imelda Staunton voices Queen Victoria as if she were born to do it. A wonderful family film that anybody could enjoy