CHRISTMAS 2017 REVIEW: ARROW – Irreconcilable Differences

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MAIN CAST

Stephen Amell (The Vampire Diaries)
David Ramsey (Con Air)
Willa Holland (Legion)
Emily Bett Rickards (Brooklyn)
Echo Kellum (Ben and Kate)
Rick Gonzalez (Mr. Robot)
Juliana Harkavy (The Walking Dead)
Paul Blackthorne (A Christmas Carol)
Katie Cassidy (Black Xmas)

RECURRING / NOTABLE GUEST CAST

Kirk Acevedo (Dawn of The Planet of The Apes)
Charlotte Ross (Drive Angry)
David Nykl (Stargate Atlantis)
Tom Amandes (The Magicians)
Tobias Jelinek (American Woman)
Johann Urb (Resident Evil: Retribution)
Michael Emerson (Lost)

Oliver is his own worst enemy  in the mid-season finale of Arrow. This episode follows an unusual pattern for one containing a wedding – it’s dispensed with early on so that the real business of the episode can get underway, rather than being the moment of celebration and reflection at the end. The wedding is mostly useful for allowing characters to point out how weird it was for Ollie and Felicity to get married in the way. Thea and Felicity’s mother are deservedly upset, which is a reminder of the fact that only.The wedding is also a nice time to check in on what a mess everyone’s personal life is, and how many of them have had pasts with one another. Curtis gets drunk on champagne and memories of his marriage to Paul, Rene talks about his dead wife, they both learn that Dinah has been engaged multiple times, Thea misses Roy and I’m sad he is once again absent during a time that he would obviously be there for her. And of course Felicity’s criminal father is in attendance and flirting with her mother, who briefly reunites with Lance. I’d like to point out that while Oliver seems to have jumped to the conclusion that the witness is a current member of the team other than his best friend or his wife, there are many more contenders. The witness could theoretically be Roy, Ragman, vigilante, the Russians, Quentin, Lyla, or anyone named al-Ghul.   Of course Rene soon fesses up, but not before Oliver reveals that the original 3 have been spying on the new kids. With every new member of the team there has been some sort of transition period, but with this group (as well as the two members they have since lost) that seems to be a rougher and longer transition. Evelyn’s betrayal, mentioned frequently here, certainly contributed to that. But there’s also more distance between the original team and this crop of newbies because Roy, Thea, Sara, and Laurel all came and went. That makes them two generations removed, a gap Oliver has never fully closed, nor does he seem to want to.Oliver’s poor judgment, aided and abetted by Felicity and Diggle respectively, drives Dinah to quit the team and reunite with Vince. Rene is gone, and Curtis’s departure seems to hit hardest. That may be because he’s been with them the longest, but it could also be due to the level-headed way he notifies them. The original team can pretend they’re right with the other two, but there’s no justifying how they drove Curtis away. I can’t help but feel happy for Rene and Curtis, in particular. Curtis clearly needs some time to think over his priorities in life, and spending less time with Felicity might help him gain some perspective and stick up for himself more when she walks all over him. And Rene has a good job and his daughter back, and as we’ve seen with Dig and Ollie, having a kid makes a person question their place in the vigilante business.I doubt this break-up of the team is for long, but it honestly seems like a healthy choice for everyone except Dinah, who is spending time with her murderous ex. Watching Dinah and Oliver go toe to toe is some of the best chemistry this season, since they’re so similar in temperament. But it’s Diggle who usually spends time with her and therefore truly betrayed her, and that relationship won’t be easily repaired. I’m eagerly awaiting Lyla’s reaction when she finds out what her husband did, as well as the continued relationship between Quentin and Black Siren. Her dad was killed by a drunk driver (perhaps that world’s Quentin Lance?) on her 13th birthday, and Quentin forged just enough of a relationship with her to make her defy Cayden James’s orders to kill Lance. Those relationships are complicated, and will only become moreso in the New Year.This episode ends on a tough note. Oliver is without most of his team through his own actions, as Cayden James pointed out. And of course that happens when pretty much every living member of Oliver and the Green Arrow’s rogues gallery assembles to creepily watch Oliver in the lair via a hidden camera. It’s particularly frustrating to see Oliver regress after spending this season so far showing emotional maturity in a way that is really new for the character. He at least acknowledged that he would have (and has in the past) done the same thing as Rene, and I’m hoping he has the good sense to keep following Thea’s advice. If he doesn’t,  Team Arrow is going to have a hard time keeping their enemies in check, never mind taking them down.

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REVIEW: MY SUPER EX-GIRLFRIEND

CAST

Uma Thurman (Kill Bill)
Luke Wilson (Old School)
Anna Faris (Mom)
Rain Wilson (Super)
Eddie Izzard (Hannibal)
Stelio Savante (Ugly Betty)
Wanda Sykes (Clerks II)
Juliana Harkavy (Arrow)

After foiling a purse snatcher who tries to steal Jenny Johnson’s (Uma Thurman) purse on the subway, Matthew Saunders (Luke Wilson) becomes Jenny’s “hero” and starts dating this shy stranger. After several dates, Jenny displays increasingly neurotic and aggressive behavior, becoming more demanding and ultimately injuring Matt and destroying his bed the first time they have sex. Soon after, Jenny reveals to him that she is in fact the voluptuous blonde superheroine, G-Girl, who accidentally received powers such as flight, superhuman strength, speed, and senses, invulnerability, super breath, and heat vision after she was exposed to radiation from a crashed meteorite as a teenager. Jenny starts to become more controlling after she reveals her powers and Matt starts to lose his mind.annah Lewis (Anna Faris), Matt’s co-worker, has a crush on him despite the fact that she is going out with a handsome but shallow underwear model. As Matt and Hannah’s friendship develops further, and after becoming aggravated with Jenny’s escalating jealousy, Matt ends the relationship. An enraged Jenny vows to make Matt regret the decision, using her superpowers to publicly embarrass him, throwing his car into space and eventually causing him to lose his job as an architect when she strips him naked during an important meeting. Professor Bedlam (Eddie Izzard), Jenny’s former friend, and now G-Girl’s nemesis, contacts Matt in order to enlist his aid in defeating her. Matt refuses and makes plans to leave the city. As he does so he is contacted by Hannah who has broken up with her cheating boyfriend, and after confessing their feelings to one another, they end up in bedJenny (as G-Girl) discovers them in bed the next day. Enraged and jealous, she attacks the pair with a great white shark. Angered, Matt contacts Professor Bedlam and agrees to help him defeat her, as long as Bedlam retires from being a supervillain. He instructs Matt to lure Jenny to a meeting where she can be exposed to another meteorite that will draw away her powers, leaving her a mere mortal. Matt agrees and meets Jenny for a candlelit dinner at his apartment, under the pretense of wanting to resume their relationship. Hannah arrives to see Jenny sitting on Matt’s lap. The two women fight, and in the struggle Jenny’s superhero identity is revealed to Hannah. Bedlam’s trap is sprung, and the energy that gave Jenny her powers is drained back into the meteorite, incapacitating JennyProfessor Bedlam appears, but reveals that he has no intention of keeping his promise to retire from villainy and in fact plans to take the powers for himself. While he and Matt fight, Jenny crawls to the charged meteorite attempting to regain her powers. Hannah intervenes just as Jenny grabs the meteorite, which explodes in a burst of power. Both Hannah and Jenny are catapulted off the roof, apparently to their deaths; Jenny appears within seconds, powers restored, threatening even more mayhem. Only the unexpected reappearance of Hannah, who was also exposed to the meteorite’s energies, and now possesses the same powers as G-Girl, saves Matt. The second fight between Hannah and Jenny is a full-on super-brawl, destroying part of the neighboring properties. Finally, Matt reasons with them both and they cease fighting. He tells Jenny that Professor Bedlam is her true love. Jenny agrees and she embraces her former nemesis.
The next morning, Matt and Hannah meet up with Professor Bedlam (now just “Barry”) and Jenny. As cries for help are heard from afar, Jenny and Hannah, who have become partners in crime-fighting, take off to tackle the emergency. Matt and Barry are left holding their girlfriends’ purses and clothes, and leave to have a beer together.It’s a delightful premise, hell hath no fury like a super-heroine scorned, and those involved don’t altogether carry it off, but it has its moments.

 

 

REVIEW: CONSTANTINE (2014) THE TV SERIES

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CAST

Matt Ryan (Layer Cake)
Angelica Celaya (Dallas)
Charles Halford (Agents of SHIELD)
Harold Perrineau (Lost)

RECURRING / NOTABLE GUEST STARS

Michael James Shaw (Limitless TV)
Jeremy Davies (Hannibal TV)
Jonjo O’Neill (Dragonheart 3)
Charles Parnell (Pariah)
Emmett J. Scanlan (The Clinic)
Mark Margolis (Scarface)
Lucy Griffiths (Winter’s Tale)
Skyler Day (Redemption MAddie)
Claire Van Der Boom (The Pacific)
Juliana Harkavy (Arrow)

 

DC/Vertigo’s John Constantine leapt from the sordid, scary pages of his Hellblazer comics thanks to EPs David Goyer (The Dark Knight, Man of Steel) and Daniel Cerone (Dexter, Charmed). Matt Ryan, as the titular hero, was really effective in bringing Constantine to life on screen. Flippant when called for. Vulnerable when need be. All the while – whether casting out a demon from some poor body or battling one within himself – creating a very commanding, likable presence on screen. John Constantine was a the sort of hero you had to get right immediately and Ryan excelled.John’s back up proved reliable from a charismatic standpoint. Chas and Zed were great characters and as the serious progressed we got to see their back story’s and what made them the way they are.I really liked that Newcastle was used as the show’s jumping off point, and that throughout the season John would have to atone in various ways with scattered members of that ill-fated team, but his own team often suffered. Even though we’re only talking about 13 episodes here, the show still made good use of a seasonal arc format. Even using the “Rising Darkness” to both inform and be the cause of a procedural “case of the week” structure . The “Scry Map” gave John demons and ghosts to chase, all under the umbrella that hell was slowly encroaching upon the world of the living. And while not every “case of the week” landed, a couple of stories ripped from the comics came alive in (remixed) cool ways (“A Feast of Friends,” “The Saint of Last Resorts: Part 1” and “Waiting for the Man”). Along with some DC notables like Felix Faust, Eclipso’s Black Diamond, and Jim Corrigan.I liked that Manny turned out to be the villain right at the end of the finale. Mostly because the “Rising Darkness” needed a face. The Brujeria were mentioned quite a bit, but never shown. Was the twist worth sitting through a handful of episodes where I wondered why Manny was even there at all? Maybe, maybe not. But the show needed a “big bad,” and whether or not Manny turns out to be Satan himself or just an evil angel, he still fits the bill nicely.Constantine had a cool look, an awesome lead, and a confidence that you don’t see in most fledgling series. As the series went on it became an intriguing show with many dimensions that would of been worth exploring in later seasons, this is a show that was cancelled too soon and now with a unresolved cliffhanger we may never know where it will lead. On the plus side  Matt Ryan’s Constantine is coming too Arrow, so we at least get to see him at least one more time.