REVIEW: BROOKLYN’S FINEST

CAST

Richard Gere (Pretty Woman)
Don Cheadle (Iron Man 2)
Ethan Hawke (The Purge)
Wesley Snipes (BLade)
Vincent D’Onofrio (Daredevil)
Brían F. O’Byrne (Flashforward)
Will Patton (Armageddon)
Michael K. Williams (Ghostbusters)
Lili Taylor (The Conjuring)
Shannon Kane (The Originals)
Ellen Barkin (Ocneas Twelve)
Raquel Castro (Jersey Girl)
Sarah Thompson (Angel)
Twany Cypress (Heroes)

Bobby “Carlo” Powers and Detective Salvatore “Sal” Procida are having a conversation in a car when Sal unexpectedly shoots Carlo, grabs a bag of money from Carlo’s lap and flees, then confesses to a priest, asking for help with his dire situation-his wife is pregnant with twins and they live in a house that’stoo small for their four children which has wood mold which jeopardizes his family’s health. Desperate to move, Sal has arranged to purchase a larger home through a woman who owes him a favor. The down payment is due the following Tuesday, and Sal is still short. Sal is a highly skilled and accomplished narcotics detective, but has begun to pocket drug money from raids.
Officer Edward “Eddie” Dugan is a week from retirement after 22 years of unremarkable service to the force. He is assigned to oversee rookies in the tough neighborhoods. His life in shambles; he swills whiskey in the morning to get out of bed and his only friend is Chantal, the prostitute he frequents. Detective Clarence “Tango” Butler is an undercover cop working the drug beat. After losing himself in his role as a drug dealer, he is tired of the kind of attention that a black man in a black car attracts. Having been promised a promotion and a desk job for years, he is finally offered a way out by betraying a close friend Casanova “Caz” Phillips, a known criminal recently released from federal prison. Federal Agent Smith instructs Tango to set up the drug deal that will ensure the arrest of Caz and his return to federal prison.
Eddie’s first rookie assignment is a former Marine, who becomes disgusted with Eddie’s lack of professionalism and cynical outlook, and asks to be reassigned only to be killed on his next assignment. Eddie takes a liking to his second rookie assignment, who then accidentally fires his gun near a teenager during a petty theft investigation causing him to go deaf, leaving the NYPD facing a public relations nightmare. During the investigation, Eddie is remorseful for what happened, but refuses to play along with his superiors’ attempts to imply that the teenager was a drug dealer. When Tango goes to warn Caz to abort their upcoming drug deal, they are ambushed and Caz is shot, under orders from Red, a gangster Tango had humiliated previously. After Agent Smith makes a racist remark and refuses to pursue Red, Tango lunges at her, but is restrained by fellow officers.
Sal’s latest raid on the complex was cancelled, but he decides to go to the location and rob the money he needs for his house. One of his team members, Detective Ronny Rosario, tries to stop him but fails. As he approaches the building, Sal passes Tango, who has come there to kill Red. Sal raids the apartment. After killing three drug dealers and discovering their stockpile of cash, Sal is shot and killed by a young man who became suspicious when he noticed Sal enter the building. Tango gets his vengeance on Red, but is mistaken for a gangster and is shot by Rosario. Only after shooting Tango does Rosario realize he has shot another law officer. Rosario, still determined to stop Sal, is forced to continue his search for him. He witnesses the young man who shot Sal running away from the crime scene and is devastated when he finds Sal’s body in the drug dealers’ apartment.
Eddie retires and visits Chantal, who declines his offer to move to Connecticut. On his way home, Eddie sees a woman, who was reported missing, being shoved into a van. He follows the van to the Van Dyke housing projects, where he locates a sex slave dungeon in the basement. Eddie apprehends one of the men and is confronted by a second one. Eddie tells the second man to get down, but is forced to shoot him in the chest, resulting in a violent fight that ends with Eddie strangling his opponent with a zip tie. Eddie finds redemption by rescuing the missing girls.A steady-paced, involving thriller definitely worth a gander.

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REVIEW: PRET-A-PORTER

CAST

Rupert Everett (My Best Friend’s Wedding)
Julia Roberts (Mirror Mirror)
Tim Robbins (Green Lantern)
Kim Basinger (Batman)
Stephen Rea (V For Vendetta)
Forest Whitaker (The Butler)
Richard E.Grant(Game of Thrones)
Lauren Bacall (How To Marry A Millonaire)
Lyle Lovett (The Bridge)
Lili Taylor (The COnjuring)
Teri Garr (Tootsie)
Danny Aiello(Ruby)
Sally Kellerman (Someone To Love)
Tracey Ullman (Into The Woods)
Linda Hunt (Kindergarten Cop)
Jean-Pierre Cassel(The Three Musketeers)
Alexandera Vandernoot (Highlander: The Series)
Sam Robards (American Beauty)
Marcello Mastroianni (USed People)
Sophia Loren (Atilla)
Anouk Aimée (Justine)

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This is an entertaining spoof built around a Paris fashion week, and was actually filmed during that event. It’s a typical Robert Altman film, with multiple story lines, fast cutting from one setup to another, and overlapping soundtracks, which all make it hard to follow at the cinema, and very suitable for rental so it can be replayed. It would take too long even to begin to summaries the subplots and characters, but in addition to a galactically stellar cast; there’s a host of guest celebrities, including lots of couturiers; and of course dozens of models on and off the catwalk, in and out of designer clothes, and in the climactic scene without clothes at all.zk85u
It is always healthyto laugh at powerful people who take themselves too seriously; and by poking fun at the fashion industry and its surrounding media circus, Altman is performing a social service, as well as being a true artist. But I don’t find his satire as cruelly biting as some people do. He treats some characters sympathetically or neutrally – eg the designer played by Anouk Aimée and Marcello Mastroianni’s mystery figure. And even the extreme characters – eg Richard E Grant’s screamingly gay designer or Kim Basinger’s gushing TV reporter – are only a little more exaggerated than some real-life equivalents.
pret-a-porter-film-images-239f4627-49e4-44fa-94fc-ff9ed16f963Apparently lots of critics stalked off in a huff, too. That’s too bad, since the film has lots of good qualities.

REVIEW: MYSTIC PIZZA

 

CAST

Annabeth Gish (Flashforward)
Julia roberts (Mirror Mirror)
Lili Taylor (The Conjuring)
Vincent D’Onorfrio (Daredevil)
William R. Moses (Falcon Crest)
Adam Storke (Death Becomes Her)
Conchata Ferrell (Krampus)
Joanna Merlin (City of Angels)
Suzanne Shepherd (Goodfellas)
Matt Damon (Jason Bourne)

The film is about the coming of age of two sisters and their friend through the romantic lives of the three main characters: Kat Arujo (Annabeth Gish), Daisy Arujo (Julia Roberts), and Jojo Barbosa (Lili Taylor), who are waitresses at Mystic Pizza in Mystic, Connecticut. In the film, Mystic is represented as a fishing town with a large Portuguese-American population. The film also touches on an Old World work ethic.Kat and Daisy are sisters and rivals: Kat studies astronomy, works at the planetarium in the famous Whaling Museum The Mystic Seaport , as well as the restaurant, and has been accepted to attend Yale University on a partial scholarship. Daisy just wants to find love through lust while trying to get out of Mystic. Kat is the apple of her Portuguese mother’s eye, while Daisy is not because her mother feels she is more wild and is not as goal-oriented as her younger sister.Daisy meets a handsome young man named Charles (Adam Storke) at a bar, and the two are immediately attracted to each other, and begin a relationship, much to her mother’s dismay, believing that the relationship will prevent her making something of herself like Kat. However, at a family dinner, his relatives unintentionally make insensitive comments about her ethnicity, and Charles overreacts. Daisy breaks up with him, believing that his family’s remarks were harmless and that he was simply using her to show up his parents.There is also chemistry between Kat and her Anglo-American employer, Tim (William R. Moses), a father who has hired her to look after his young daughter, Phoebe, while his wife is away. A relationship develops between them, and they eventually make love, but it results in heartache for Kat when the wife returns and her illusion of an actual relationship with Tim is shattered. Daisy and Kat bond when Kat is devastated after Tim’s and her evening together and Daisy comforts her baby sister.Jojo is trying to have sex with her boyfriend Bill (Vincent D’Onofrio), who she attempted marrying at the beginning of the movie, but fainted after deciding she couldn’t go through with it. However, Bill refuses to have sex with her until they are married, which is something she still isn’t ready for. Seeing how she tries to look for every chance to have sex with him, Bill believes that Jojo doesn’t love him like he does her, and is only after him for sex, and breaks up with her.After all those events, at work, a famous TV food critic, nicknamed “The Fireside Gourmet” (Louis Turenne), comes to the pizzeria to sample a pizza. Not showing any emotion towards the pizza that he eats, he leaves after eating only one bite, leaving the girls in suspense. However, a few days later, the critic gives the pizzeria his highest rating, calling it “superb.”In the end, Kat receives her last paycheck from Tim (which she tears up and throws away), and never sees him again. Jojo finally agrees to marry Bill, and at their wedding, Daisy and Charles reconcile. The film ends with the three girls together overlooking the water from the balcony of the restaurant, reminiscing about their time together.One of Julia Roberts’ first films and certainly not one to be missed. As the title of the film suggests, the film is about pizza and is set in ¨Mystic¨ a small town in America. You rapidly get to know all the characters and their many problems which adds to the charisma of this film.

REVIEW: THE CONJURING

 

CAST

Vera Farmiga (Bates Motel)
Patrick Wilson (Watchmen)
Lili Taylor (American Crime)
Ron Livingston (Swingers)
Shanley Caswell (Detention)
Joey King (The Dark Knight Rises)
Mackenzie Foy (Interstellar)

In 1971, Roger and Carolyn Perron move into a dilapidated farmhouse in Harrisville, Rhode Island with their five daughters Andrea, Nancy, Christine, Cindy, and April. During the first day, their move goes smoothly, though their dog Sadie refuses to enter the house and one of the daughters finds a boarded up entrance to a cellar.
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A few paranormal events happen within the first few nights, including all of the clocks stopping at exactly 3:07 AM and Sadie being found dead in the back yard. One night, while they are both in bed, Christine feels a tugging on her leg, which she first expects to be Nancy, but is a spirit only she can see. She begins to scream and tells her family that the spirit wants the family dead. Carolyn is folding laundry in the night when she hears clapping in the hallway. When she goes to investigate, all the picture frames along the wall fall and shatter on the floor. She goes downstairs following laughter and finds the basement door opening slowly. When she goes inside to investigate, she’s trapped there by the spirit who claps beside her as her matchstick flickers out. At the same moment, Andrea and Cindy are attacked by a spirit on top of the wardrobe.

Carolyn decides to contact noted paranormal investigators Ed and Lorraine Warren, who agree to take on the case. The Warrens conduct an initial investigation and conclude that the house may require an exorcism, but they need authorization from the Catholic Church and further evidence before they can proceed. While researching the history of the house, Ed and Lorraine discover that the house once belonged to an accused witch, Bathsheba (a relative of Mary Towne Eastey), who sacrificed her week-old child to the devil and killed herself in 1863 after cursing all who would take her land. The property was once more than 200 acres but has since been divided up into smaller parcels. They find reports of numerous murders and suicides in houses that have since been built upon parcels that were once part of the property.

Ed and Lorraine return to the house to gather evidence to receive authorization for the exorcism, placing cameras and bells around the house. A bell goes off near Cindy after they finish setting up. They catch a glimpse of Cindy sleep walking into Andrea’s room, and from the EVPs coming from the radio, they hear a spirit luring Cindy into the wardrobe, where she reveals a secret passage inside. Lorraine enters the passage and falls through the floorboards into the cellar, where she sees the spirit of a woman whom Bathsheba had long ago possessed and used to kill her child. Another of the Perron children, Nancy, is violently dragged by her hair along the floor by an unseen force.
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The Perron family decides to take refuge at a hotel while Ed and Lorraine take their evidence to the Church to arrange an exorcism. While the Warrens are on their way home, their daughter Judy is attacked in their own home by the spirit of Bathsheba, along with the haunted Annabelle doll from the Warrens’ previous case, though Ed arrives in time to prevent her from being harmed. Carolyn, now possessed by the spirit of Bathsheba, takes two of her daughters, Christine and April, and drives back to the house. Ed, Lorraine, Roger, their two assistants, and a police officer rush to the house where they find Carolyn in the cellar trying to stab Christine with scissors. After subduing Carolyn and tying her to a chair, Ed decides to perform the exorcism himself. Though Carolyn escapes and attempts to kill April, who is hiding under the floorboards, Lorraine is able to temporarily distract the possessed Carolyn from killing her daughter by reminding her of a special memory she shared with her family, allowing Ed to complete the exorcism, saving Carolyn and April and lifting Bathsheba’s curse forever.
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Returning home, Lorraine tells Ed that the priest whom they sought for the exorcism had called back and left a message, saying that he had gained approval from the Catholic Church to perform it. In addition to this, he also has another case for them to investigate on Long Island. When they leave, the music box that April had found opens and plays music as the camera lingers on it. Once it stops, the screen cuts to black.

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Based  on a haunting investigated by real-life paranormal investigators Ed & Lorraine Warren whose body of work also inspired the Amityville Horror. The Conjuring” is an exceptional piece of film that pulls all the right stops to frighten the audience, leaving a lasting impression on your mind as well the recently tired genre of horror.

 

REVIEW: THE HAUNTING (1999)

 

CAST

Liam Neeeson (Batman Begins)
Catherine Zeta Jones (Chicago)
Owen Wilson (Wedding Crashers)
Lili Taylor (The Conjuring)
Bruce Dern (Django Unchained)
Virginia Madsen (Highlander 2)
M.C. Gainey (Lost)

FEkT

Eleanor “Nell” Lance (Lili Taylor) has cared for her invalid mother for 11 years. After her mother dies, her sister Jane (Virginia Madsen) and Jane’s boyfriend Lou (Tom Irwin) eject her. Nell receives a phone call about an insomnia study, directed by Dr. David Marrow (Liam Neeson) at Hill House, a secluded manor in the Berkshires of western Massachusetts, and applies for it. At the house, she meets Mr. and Mrs. Dudley (Bruce Dern, Marian Seldes), a strange pair of caretakers. Two other participants arrive, Luke Sanderson (Owen Wilson) and Theodora (Catherine Zeta-Jones), along with Dr. Marrow and his two research assistants. Unknown to the participants, Dr. Marrow’s true purpose is to study the psychological response to fear, intending to expose his subjects to increasing amounts of terror. Each night, the caretakers chain the gate outside Hill House, preventing anyone from getting in or out until morning. During their first night, Dr. Marrow relates the story of Hill House. The house was built by Hugh Crain (Charles Gunning)—a 19th-century textile tycoon.
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Crain built the house for his wife, hoping to populate it with a large family of children; however, all of Crain’s children died during their birth. Crain’s wife Renee killed herself before the house was finished and Crain became a recluse. After the story, Marrow’s assistant’s face is slashed by a snapped clavichord wire. The freak accident causes Marrow’s research assistants to leave. Nell begins to suspect that it was no accident, as she notices that the wire was unwound by someone or something. Theo and Nell begin to experience unusual happenings within the house, such as a mysterious force trying to open the door, Nell starts seeing ghosts of children in curtains and sheets, Hugh Crain’s wood portrait morphs into a skeletal face and is vandalized with the words “Welcome Home Eleanor” written in blood. Theo and Luke try to establish their innocence, but Nell tells them that they don’t know her.
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Nell becomes determined to prove that the house is haunted by ghostly children who are only terrorized and killed by Crain’s cruelty. She learns that Crain kidnapped the children from his cotton mills and slaughtered them, then burned their bodies in the fireplace, trapping their ghosts and forcing them to remain with him, providing him with an ‘eternal family’. She also learns that Crain had a second wife named Carolyn, from whom she is descended. Dr. Marrow is skeptical of Eleanor’s claims, until he realizes he made a mistake by bringing them to Hill House when a statue tries to drown him in a pool of water in a greenhouse. After several more terrifying events, Nell insists that she cannot leave the ghosts of the kids to suffer for eternity at Crain’s hands. Trying to convince Eleanor to leave the house with them, Theo offers to let Nell move in with her, but Nell reveals her relation to Carolyn and claims she must help the children to “move on” to the afterlife.

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Hugh Crain’s ghost seals up the house, trapping them all inside. A frustrated Luke defaces a portrait of Hugh Crain. Crain’s enraged spirit drags Luke to the fireplace where he is decapitated. Nell is able to lead Crain’s spirit towards an iron door. The spirits pull Crain into the door, dragging him down to Hell. Nell is pulled with him, inflicting fatal trauma on her body, but the ghosts gently release her on the ground. Her ghost rises up to Heaven, accompanied by the children’s ghosts. After Nell’s death and when she moved on to Heaven along with the ghosts, Theo and Dr. Marrow wait by the gate outside until the Dudleys come in the morning.

The Dudleys approach as the sun rises. Mr. Dudley asks Dr. Marrow if he found what he wanted to know, but the traumatized psychiatrist does not give an answer, and neither does Theo. When the gate opens, the two silently walk out and down the road, leaving Hill House behind them.

Its not particularly scary, however it is a fabulous storyline. Has a great cast, Liam Neeson, Owen Wilson, Lily (can’t remember her name!) and Catherine Zeta Jones before she got really famous.

 

REVIEW: PUBLIC ENEMIES

CAST
Christian Bale (Batman Begins)
Johnny Depp (Dark Shadows)
Marion Cotillard (The Dark Knight Rises)
David Wenham (Van Helsing)
Jason Clarke (Dawn of The Planet of The Apes)
Christian Solte (Road To Perdition)
Stephen Dorff (Blade)
Channing Tatum (G.I. Joe)
Carey Mulligan (Wall Street 2)
Emilie De Ravin (Roswell)Giovanni Ribisi (Ted)
Billy Crudup (Watchmen)
Shawn Hatosy (Alpha Dog)
Lili Taylor (The Conjuring)
Leelee Sobieski (Roadkill)
After killing Charles Floyd (Channing Tatum), FBI agent Melvin Purvis (Bale) is promoted by J. Edgar Hoover (Crudup) to lead the hunt for bank robber John Dillinger (Depp). Purvis shares Hoover’s belief in using scientific methods to battle crime, ranging from cataloging fingerprints to tapping telephone lines.
In between a series of bank robberies, Dillinger meets Billie Frechette (Cotillard) at a restaurant and woos her by buying her a fur coat. Frechette falls for Dillinger even after he reveals his identity, and the two become inseparable.
Purvis leads a failed ambush at a hotel where he believes Dillinger is staying, and an agent is killed by Baby Face Nelson (Graham), who escapes with Tommy Caroll (Garrett). Purvis requests that Hoover bring in professional lawmen who know how to catch criminals dead or alive, including Texan Charles Winstead (Lang).
Police arrest Dillinger and his gang in Tucson, Arizona, after a fire breaks out at the Hotel Congress, where they are staying. Dillinger is extradited to Indiana, where Sheriff Lillian Holley (Taylor) has him locked up in the Lake County Jail in Crown Point. Dillinger and other inmates use a fake gun to escape. Dillinger is unable to see Frechette, who is under tight surveillance. Dillinger learns that Frank Nitti’s (Camp) associates are unwilling to help because his crimes are motivating the FBI to prosecute interstate crime, which imperils Nitti’s bookmaking racket, thus severing his connections with the Mafia.
Carroll goads Dillinger into robbing a bank in Sioux Falls with Baby Face Nelson. During their escape, both Dillinger and Carroll are shot, and they have to leave Carroll behind. The group retreats to the Little Bohemia Lodge in Manitowish Waters, Wisconsin and realize their haul is significantly less than Nelson said it would be. Dillinger hopes he can free the rest of his gang from prison, including Pierpont (Wenham) and Makley (Stolte), but Red Hamilton (Clarke) convinces him this is unlikely.
Purvis and his men apprehend Carroll and torture him to learn the gang’s location. Purvis organizes an ambush at Little Bohemia. Dillinger and Hamilton escape separately from the rest of the gang. Agents Winstead and Hurt (Frye) pursue Dillinger and Hamilton through the woods, engaging in a gunfight in which Hamilton is fatally wounded. Trying to escape, Nelson, Shouse, and Van Meter hijack a Bureau car, killing Purvis’ partner Carter Baum (Cochrane) in the process. After a car chase, Purvis and his men kill Nelson and the rest of the gang. Hamilton dies that night. Dillinger meets Frechette, telling her he plans to commit one more robbery that will pay enough for them to escape together. When Dillinger drops her off at a tavern he thinks is safe, she is arrested. Frechette is beaten during interrogation to learn Dillinger’s whereabouts, which she does not reveal; Purvis and Winstead eventually arrive and intervene. Dillinger agrees to participate in a train robbery with Alvin Karpis (Ribisi) and the Barker Gang, intending to flee the country the next day. He receives a note from Billie through her lawyer, Louis Piquett (Gerety), telling him not to try to break her out of jail.
Through Zarkovich, Purvis enlists the help of madam and Dillinger acquaintance Anna Sage (Katić), threatening her with deportation if she does not cooperate. She agrees to set up Dillinger, who she believes will come to hide out with her. Dillinger and Sage see Manhattan Melodrama at the Biograph Theater. After the film, Purvis signals other agents upon seeing them leave. Dillinger spots the police but is shot before he can draw his gun. Winstead listens to Dillinger’s last words. Purvis goes to inform Hoover of Dillinger’s death. Winstead tells Frechette, still incarcerated, that he thinks Dillinger’s dying words were, “Tell Billie for me, ‘Bye bye Blackbird'”. Billie sheds a tear – ‘Bye Bye Blackbird’ was the song the houseband was playing when Billie and Dillinger first met each other and danced together in a dinner-club. The closing text reveals that Melvin Purvis quit the FBI in 1935 and died by his own hand in 1960, and that Billie lived out the rest of her life in Wisconsin following her release in 1936.
 Depp at his best. Not too be underrated,  A really enjoyable film.

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 Dorman (The Wire)
Victoria Cartagena (Salt)
Andrew Stewart -Jones (Beauty and The Beast)
Drew Powell (Straw Dogs)

RECURRING / NOTABLE GUEST CAST

Richard Kind (Stargate)
Grayson McCouch (Armageddon)
Brette Taylor (Rescue Me)
Clare Foley (Win Win)
Lili Taylor (The Conjuring)
Carol Kane (The Princess Bride)
David Zayas (Dexter)
Jeremy Davidson (Roswell)
Margaret Colin (Independence Day)
Susan Misner (The Forgotten)
Kim Director (Blair Witch 2)
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)
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)

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.

Gotham 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.