REVIEW: GOTHAM – SEASON 5

Donal Logue, Morena Baccarin, Cameron Monaghan, Erin Richards, David Mazouz, Camren Bicondova, Cory Michael Smith, and Michelle Veintimilla in Gotham (2014)

 

Starring

Ben McKenzie (Batman: Year One)
Donal Logue (Shark Night)
David Mazouz (Incarnate)
Morena Baccarin (Deadpool)
Sean Pertwee (Dog Soldiers)
Robin Lord Taylor (John Wick 3)
Erin Richards (The Quiet Ones)
Camren Bicondova (Girl House)
Corey Michael Smith (Utopia)
Jessica Lucas (Clvoerfield)
Chris Chalk (Homeland)

Gotham (2014)

Recurring / Notable Guest Cast

Jaime Murray (Castlevania)
Francesca Root-Dodson (Free Spirit)
Cameron Monaghan (Amityville: The Awakening)
Shane West (Nikita)
Peyton List (The Tomorrow People)
Anthony Carrigan (The Flash)
BD Wong (Jurassic World)
Benedict Samuel (The Walk)
Richard Kind (Young Sheldon)
Lili Simmons (The Purge TV)

Donal Logue, Ben McKenzie, and Erin Richards in Gotham (2014)Certain aspects of the Batman story seem reasonably immutable and set in stone, no matter how many iterations there are over the years. However, the gap which exists between boy and (Bat)man seems pretty much up for grabs, as there hasn’t really been a definitive account of what young Bruce Wayne did in the wilderness. All we know for certain is that he watched his parents get murdered, fell into a cave filled with bats, and the legend was born.David Mazouz and Camren Bicondova in Gotham (2014)A recent attempt to chronicle this part of Bruce’s life came with DC’s ‘The New 52’, and part of the ‘Zero Year’ storyline was used in the arc for Season 5 of Gotham. In fact, Gotham has probably been the most detailed attempt to cover the journey that takes Bruce from victim to vigilante, over half a decade, while also showing how his Rogues’ Gallery came into being. It seems to have started a trend for prequel origin tales, with SyFy’s Krypton which just finished its second term, and Pennyworth from Epix which goes even further back and show us a younger (and Bruce-less) Alfred.John Martineau, Ben McKenzie, and Robin Lord Taylor in Gotham (2014)With such fertile ground, Gotham could easily have run for longer, but the plug was pulled and a drastically curtailed last outing was planned to wrap up the story. Despite having run for half the length of Smallville, the end goal was always the same – give the audience the payoff after loyally following the show, by building up to the big reveal, where the hero dons his cape (and, in this case, cowl), signifying the end of one chapter, and the start of a new one, where we get into more familiar territory. And then exeunt, Gotham.BD Wong and Cory Michael Smith in Gotham (2014)It was always going to be interesting to see how the makers of Gotham would address the elephant (or, maybe, bat) in the room, as there seems to have been an aversion on the part of DC to allow there to be any more than one Batman – and, even then, only to allow him on the big screen. Animated series aside, the only time we’ve seen Batman on TV is in the 1960s Adam West series; even Titans in its first season only showed him briefly (and then only played by a stuntman), but Season 2 has cast Iain Glen as an older Bruce Wayne, so things may have turned a corner as far as television depictions are concerned.Cameron Monaghan in Gotham (2014)Having only a dozen episodes in which to try and wrap up the four previous years of storylines is no mean feat, and by doing so, Season 5 of Gotham has managed to simultaneously feel both too short and too long; not enough time to breathe, and yet somehow drawn out at the same time. It’s actually quite an achievement when you think about it. The storytelling’s suffered as a result, as you have to cram so much in, but some continuing strands haven’t been handled especially well, and some of the plotting has felt circuitous or circular at times.That’s not to say this last hurrah has been a failure, or there hasn’t been anything to shout about, as it’s still hugely enjoyable. One thing that’s become painfully clear, however, is that things seem to sag when Jeremiah Valeska (Cameron Monaghan) isn’t on screen – he’s come close to being one of the definitive versions of the Joker, and been a welcome breath of fresh air, after the appalling Jared Leto in Suicide Squad. However, he’s so good that when he isn’t around, you’re waiting for him to turn up again, so he’s actually made the show a victim of his own success.Peyton List in Gotham (2014)The next best villain on the show, Edward Nygma (Cory Michael Smith), has been a joy to watch, with his manic, calculating glee, and his combative and – sometimes – homoerotic relationship with Penguin, a.k.a. Oswald Cobblepot (Robin Lord Taylor), has lifted and carried the series through some weaker patches. However, he’s mostly wasted here, spending much of his time investigating the blackouts he’s been having, and then discovering that he’s been turned into a mind-controlled puppet. Riddle me this: why on Earth did they choose to squander Nygma, and wait until the finale to let him find form once again?Shane West in Gotham (2014)Considering the tale’s been told through the eyes of Jim Gordon (Ben McKenzie), he’s hardly been the most compelling or sympathetic of characters, making some truly questionable moral decisions, and a lot of effort is put into positioning him to become the Commissioner Gordon who we all know; one of these dodgy choices comes with him having a torrid one-night stand with his ex – and gangland crime boss – Barbara Kean (Erin Richards), just so she can get pregnant and give us the future Batgirl, Barbara Gordon. I really won’t miss McKenzie’s irritating growling voice, nor his jutting jaw, all of which he seems to think passes for actual acting.Donal Logue and Ben McKenzie in Gotham (2014)Through it all, the natural core of Gotham has understandably been the pairing of Alfred Pennyworth (the inimitable Sean Pertwee) and young Bruce Wayne (David Mazouz). It’s actually turned out to be an incredibly intelligent piece of casting by picking Mazouz, as you’d have to have a lot of confidence that he could actually play Bruce on his trajectory from boy to young man, and then credibly setting up his transformation into Batman; Mazouz has managed to grow beyond the rather wet and feeble Bruce who we first met, turning into the proto-Dark Knight who started to emerge in Season 4.David Mazouz in Gotham (2014)Gotham has certainly done a creditable job in working in so much of the whole Batman mythos, setting up the genesis of so many adversaries, including – in this latest season – Bane (Shane West), who thankfully erred more toward Tom Hardy in The Dark Knight Rises, rather than the embarrassing cartoon henchman we saw in Batman & Robin. However, the money shot we’ve all been waiting for comes at the end of the final episode, bringing us our newest Batman. The fact it leaves us wanting more means it really is mission accomplished, and is pretty much the best ending they could have aimed for.

REVIEW: THE LEAGUE OF EXTRAORDINARY GENTLEMAN

CAST

Sean Connery (Highlander)
Naseeruddin Shah (Bombay Boys)
Peta Wilson (La Femme Nikita)
Tony Curran (Blade II)
Stuart Townsend (Queen of The Damned)
Shane West (Red Sands)
Jason Flemyng (From Hell)
Richard Roxburgh (Mission: Impossible II)
Max Ryan (Rage)
David Hemmings (Barbarella)

In 1899, a terrorist group led by the Fantom cause international tension, breaking into the Bank of England to steal Leonardo da Vinci’s blueprints of Venice’s foundations, and then kidnap German scientists. The British Empire sends Sanderson Reed to Kenya to recruit adventurer and hunter Allan Quartermain. Quartermain, retired following the death of his son, at first refuses until a group of assassins are sent to kill him. In London, Quartermain meets “M”, who is forming the latest generation of the League of Extraordinary Gentlemen. He reveals the Fantom plans to start a world war by bombing a secret meeting of world leaders in Venice. The new League consists of Quartermain, Captain Nemo, vampiric chemist Mina Harker, and invisible thief Rodney Skinner.The League travel to the London docks to recruit Dorian Gray, Mina’s former lover who is kept immortal thanks to a missing portrait. The Fantom’s assassins attack, but the League fend them off, aided by U.S. Secret Service Agent Tom Sawyer. Dorian and Sawyer join the League. They then capture Edward Hyde in Paris and he joins the League after being offered amnesty, transforming back into his alter ego Dr. Jekyll. The League travel for Venice in Nemo’s submarine, the Nautilus, but it soon becomes clear there may be a mole on board, a camera’s flash powder being found in the wheelhouse, and one of Jekyll’s transformation formulas disappears. Suspicion falls on the missing Skinner.The Nautilus arrives in Venice just as the bombs go off, causing the city to start collapsing in a domino effect. Sawyer uses Nemo’s automobile to stop the destruction, while Quartermain confronts the Fantom, who is unmasked as M. Dorian is also revealed to be the traitor, murdering Nemo’s first mate Ishmael, and steals the Nautilus’ exploration pod. M and Dorian leave a phonograph recording for the League, revealing their true goal is to ignite the world war and Dorian has been collecting physical elements of the League to create superhuman formulas and sell them off to the highest bidder. The Nautilus is damaged by bombs hidden on board, but Hyde saves it by draining the flooded engine rooms. Skinner sends a message to the League, revealing he has snuck aboard the exploration pod and to follow his heading.The League reach northern Mongolia, reuniting with Skinner, where they plot to destroy M’s factory with explosives. Nemo and Hyde rescue the scientists, Skinner sets the explosive charges, while Mina battles Dorian, killing him by exposing him to his portrait. Quartermain and Sawyer confront M, identifying him as Professor James Moriarty, taking on a new alias after his alleged death at Reichenbach Falls. Sawyer is taken hostage by an invisible Reed, Quartermain shooting the latter, only for Moriarty to fatally stab him. Moriarty flees outside but Sawyer successfully shoots him, the formulas sinking into the icy water. Quartermain is buried beside his son in Kenya. The surviving League members recall how a witch doctor had blessed Quartermain for saving his village, promising that Africa would never let him die. The remaining League members depart, and said witch doctor arrives, performing a ritual that summons an unnatural storm, with a bolt of lightning ambiguously striking Quartermain’s grave.Quite unfairly drubbed by the critics upon its release and ignored by film audiences for the likes of X2. Matrix 2 and HULK. It was an entertaining comic book movie that slipped in and out of theaters almost unnoticed in the summer of 2003. What this movie does provide is some great action scenes, an ingenious premise and Sean Connery. It’s not as bad as some would have you believe, but it’s also not as good as it should have been.

REVIEW: RED SANDS

CAST

Shane West (Nikita)
Leonard Roberts (Heroes)
Aldis Hodge (Leverage)
Callum Blue (Smallville)
Brendan Miller (Project X)
Theo Rossi (Luke Cage)
Noel Gugliemi (Training Day)
Mercedes Mason (The Finder)
J.K. Simmons (Spider-Man)

In 2002, Jeff Keller, who mysteriously survived the slaughter of his troops during a mission, is debriefed by an officer. The facts gathered indicate that he and his soldiers had been ambushed by al-Qaeda fighters who killed them all, leaving Keller for dead. Two weeks before, in September 2002, Keller’s crew gets a mission assignment and is set out to an isolated farmhouse where a family had been slaughtered days before. Their mission is to monitor a road as a sting to catch militants using it to transfer supplies. However, after an unintended stop at a mysterious shrine, a bored member of their group, Chard Davies, fires a few rounds at a stone idol, causing it to shatter. The squad’s interpreter Wilcox believes that it was a shrine to a Djinn, a powerful deity made from a smokeless flame, which in mythology matched the legend of a genie.
They return to their convoy and go to the farmhouse. While there, a series of bizarre events unfold. A sandstorm comes up and the group catches an unnamed Afghan woman running in, seeking shelter. Unable to speak her language they are unable to understand what she is saying, though dubious to her arrival, they keep her in case there are more. During the following days, tension begins to mount in the group. Staff Sergeant Howston is unable to reach any of their allies by radio; when Wilcox attempts to, he hears a strange distress call stating that their sergeant has gone AWOL which Howston cannot hear. Paranoia begins to get the better of them when Howston receives word that they missed a car on the road which they cannot see, and their truck’s ignition system is destroyed one night. Meanwhile, Howston and Wilcox are being haunted by gruesome images of people they had killed in the past.
Toys-that-made-us-season-3-10Wilcox goes missing, and the only witness seems to be team member Tino Hull, who sees another member, Jorge Wardell, giving off a terrifying roar before him. That night, Wilcox’s dead body is found with his eyes removed and his face in a frozen expression of terror, and after a series of vivid and bizarre dreams Hull grabs another member Trevor Anderson and holds him at gunpoint as he accuses Wardell of killing Wilcox. Hull opens fire on Wardell and Davies is forced to retaliate, killing Hull. Howston orders them to take the bodies outside, and the next morning, the group is shocked to find that they are missing. Howston, slowly losing his grip on his sanity, orders Keller and Anderson to keep guard outside while he himself watches to make sure nothing else goes missing. While they are gone, Davies attempts to rape the Afghan girl, and in a heated moment calls Howston a “fucking nigger”, prompting Howston to hit him. In anger, Davies attempts to attack Howston, and Howston finally cracks, killing Davies and ordering Anderson and Keller to stash his body outside.
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Afterwards, Howston goes missing, as does the girl as the remaining two attempt to make radio contact, Keller realizes that the voice he heard on the radio was that of Anderson when he makes the same radio call he had heard days prior. The pair plan to make a break for the rest of their group, but the girl appears briefly in the house and Keller goes to find her. Meanwhile, Anderson is confronted by the dead Wilcox who reveals himself to be a hideous creature. Before Anderson can react, however, he is killed by a shot to the head from the stalking Howston. Howston prowls the farm looking for Keller and is shocked when he comes across the same creature that Anderson had seen. His defenses lowered after running, Keller manages to gain the upper hand and slits the Sergeant’s throat. Keller then encounters the Afghan girl, who turns out to be the Djinn, and manages to escape by throwing a grenade into the ammo-filled farmhouse. The following morning, Keller is grabbed by something from underneath the sand and pulled down, disappearing under the desert. The first scene then recaps, and after the commanding officer tells him that he will be returned to the United States, he leaves. Keller then looks toward the camera, his eyes turning black revealing he is in fact the Djinn. As the screen pans out to the desert again it is revealed to the audience that Keller is dead, half buried in the sand, his eyes removed and his mouth open wide in terror. The screen then goes dark, and the credits roll.
Red Sands is a claustrophobic and tense psychological horror movie, with a great surrealistic story that can be interpreted as a madness process of a group of soldiers stranded in a place that they do not understand the culture and the language. Worth Watching for Smallvile’s Callum Blue.

REVIEW: GET OVER IT

 

 

CAST

Kirsten Dunst (Spider-Man)
Ben Foster (The Punisher)
Melissa Sagemiller (Soul Survivors)
Sisqo (Snow Dogs)
Shane West (A Walk To Remember)
Colin Hanks (Roswell)
Zoe Saldana (Avatar)
Mila Kunis (Ted)
Swoosie Kurtz (Mike & Molly)
Ed Begley Jr. (Veronica Mars)
Martin Short (Mars Attacks)
Carmen Electra (Scary Movie)
Vitiman C (Sabrina: TTW)
Coolio (Daredevil)
Christopher Jacot (Mutant X)
Megan Fahlenbock (Resident Evil: Apocalypse)
Shawn Roberts (Resident Evil: The Final Chapter)
Rukiya Bernard (Van Helsing)

MV5BMjExMjcwMzkxOV5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTYwMDExNDA3._V1_Berke Landers (Ben Foster) and his girlfriend Allison (Melissa Sagemiller) were the quintessential high-school couple who grew up together and eventually fell in love, but she breaks up with him immediately after the film begins. This leads to an opening musical number of “Love Will Keep Us Together” by Vitamin C, imagined by Berke. He seeks advice from his embarrassing parents Frank (Ed Begley Jr.) and Beverly Landers (Swoosie Kurtz), who are hosts of a relationship advice show called Love Matters, but they don’t help with the situation and constantly focus on his sex life and sexuality throughout the film. Allison then starts a relationship with Striker (Shane West), a ‘foreign’ student who was once the lead singer of a boy band called “The Swingtown Lads”. When Allison and Striker audition for the school’s upcoming musical, Berke desperately tries to win Allison back by also auditioning for the play, despite having no theatrical talent and having a busy schedule as a member of the basketball team. Meanwhile, Berke’s friends Felix (Colin Hanks) and Dennis (Sisqó) try to find a new girlfriend for him.With the help of Felix’s younger sister, Kelly (Kirsten Dunst), a talented songwriter and singer, Berke wins a minor role in the play, a modern musical version of Shakespeare’s comedy A Midsummer Night’s Dream called A Midsummer Night’s Rockin’ Eve, written and directed by the school’s domineering drama teacher, Dr. Desmond Oates (Martin Short). Striker plays Demetrius, Allison plays Hermia, Kelly plays Helena, and Lysander is to be played by the school’s star actor, Peter Wong (Christopher Jacot). But after Peter is injured in a freak accident, Striker nominates Berke to take over the role of Lysander, and, still intent on winning Allison back, Berke accepts. He gradually improves with continuing assistance from Kelly, but remains unaware of the growing attraction between the two of them. While searching through props backstage, Kelly accidentally shoots Berke in the arm with an arrow gun, thinking it’s a prop. Meanwhile, Oates blames Kelly’s singing for his own poorly written song and rejects her suggestions to improve it.Felix and Dennis set Berke up on a date with Dora (Kylie Bax) a very attractive but accident-prone woman. The date ends horribly when Dora inadvertently causes a fire in the restaurant. They try again by taking him to a strip club. However their attempts fail when Burke is locked into a harness and whipped by a dominatrix named Mistress Moira (Carmen Electra). The night ends with the club being raided by the police, Felix and Dennis abandoning Berke who is then picked up by his parents who, to Berke’s shock, congratulate him.Kirsten Dunst and Ben Foster in Get Over It (2001)At a party at Berke’s house, Kelly kisses Berke, but he insists that a relationship between them could not work because she is Felix’s sister. She leaves him, annoyed at his unwillingness to move on with his life, and Felix, coming across the two, punches Berke. At the same party, Berke and Allison catch Striker cheating on Allison with her best friend Maggie (Zoe Saldana), and so Allison breaks up with Striker. Meanwhile, Frank and Beverly return home to the party and once again congratulate Berke. Berke lampoons them for constantly embarrassing him and not acting like normal parents would to these types of situations. On the play’s opening night, the first half of the performance goes smoothly except for some onstage scuffling between Berke and Striker. During the intermission, Allison confides to Berke that she wants to get back together with him, leaving him with a difficult choice between her and Kelly. Meanwhile, Striker bribes two of the theater technicians to try and blow up Berke using stage pyrotechnics. Before the play resumes, Felix gives the orchestra sheet music for a love ballad written by Kelly to replace Oates’ unpopular tune.Kirsten Dunst in Get Over It (2001)After the curtain rises, Kelly sings her song so beautifully that Berke is reminded of their time together and finally realizes he loves her. As the fourth act begins, he abandons his lines from the script and makes up his own verse professing his character’s love for Kelly’s character Helena. The audience applauds as Berke and Kelly kiss. Striker protests this change, but unwittingly signals the technicians to set off the explosion, blowing him offstage. Felix saves Dora’s life and they become a couple. Dennis kisses Kelly’s friend and his dancing partner Basin (Mila Kunis), who kisses him back, suggesting that they also begin a relationship. Kelly and Berke leave the theater after the show, looking forward to their future together as they discuss the next night’s performance. The film ends with Sisqó and singer Vitamin C singing and dancing along with the cast to the song “September” as the credits roll.Kirsten Dunst and Mila Kunis in Get Over It (2001)
Although Get Over It! is not quite as saccharine sweet as others, there’s something a little more endearing about its different approach. Dunst is very good and stops the show when she sings “Dream of Me”; the songs and dances aren’t half bad and full of color and energy; Sagemiller is beautiful and very appealing. director O’Haver has a real flair for directing dance & music numbers.