A true horror Masterpiece! 

Every now and again there is a film that easily takes us deep into a terrifying and psychologically challenging thrill ride. Stephen King has a tendency to do this with his novels so one could only hope the film adaptation of his classic horror novel It could be as terrifying as the over 1000 page novel. Expectations were set and then smashed upon viewing It. 

From the opening moment of the film it was gripping. As we come to understand the menace of Pennywise quite quickly it most definitely set a tone that the rest of the movie needed to live up to. My pulse was pounding within minutes as Bill Skarsgard began to speak. Immediately the film went to a great length to establish that this film was going to go more pyschological than jump scares and that meant even more to come from Bill Skarsgard aka Pennywise the Dancing Clown.

The film quickly transitions to a more calm and collected atmosphere switching to the children as summer approaches. There is an obvious somber mood as the town curfew is announced to be 7 and the boys discuss the missing town kids. However the dialogue between the kids was realistic and semi comedic which definitely helped ground the children as leads whos fate we actually cared about.

Of course from there we are taken on a ride that deals with many important themes. It is suprinsgly just as good at being a solid coming of age tale as it is at being a horror film. For a film of this nature to clock in at 2hrs15 mins it had a lot of ground to cover and it really did takes it time to make the characters and torture at hands of Pennywise even more terrifying and damaging. The fate of the children was always in danger and as Pennywise became a bigger threat the film so gracefully slides between quick witted dialogue and frightening dialogue.

Notably one of the hardest things to pull off was always going to be the many shapes and forms of It/Pennywise remaining terrifying while still keeping the clown form as the one that evokes the most emotion from the audience. My jaw dropped during most of the scenes that featured Bill Skarsgard. I want to call it here and hopefully it can gain enough traction but I strongly believe Skarsgard should be handed the Oscar for best supporting actor right now. It was not always his words, it was his lanky structure and his deep eyes that he used to convey a sense of pure terror. Right from the first scene we could see the lurking creepiness behind his eyes. Perhaps a minor spoiler but poor Georgie and every moment this is used to damage Bill through out the film. Spoilers over from here. 

Pennywise was a key part to the film but none of his scenes could have been as powerful if not for strong portrayals of the group of young people known as the Losers club. Beverley, Ritchie and of course Bill were strongly written characters. Bill providing the groups courage, Ritchie the groups humour and Beverley the groups diversity and romanticism. As I said early if you take away Pennywise there was still a strong coming of age element to this film that dealt with bullying, sexuality and standing up for ones self. It really was the complete film that could have came from the first half of Kings novel. Chapter 2 will be its own thing down the road but Chapter 1 was one of the most complete films classified as a horror that I have ever witnessed. R ratings do help and parents dont blame the producers if your 12 year old kids that came to the movie somehow have nightmares for nights because they thought the film was too violent.

This was a film meant for adults. There were a couple of scenes that were hard to handle that didnt even involve Pennywise. This film was much deeper on all levels than I anticpated and that has easily made it probably my best viewing experience of 2017 so far. With the box Office draw it had opening weekend Chapter 2 is going to happen and trust me, I cannot wait. If you are a fan of classic horror and physchologically frightening films than this is for you. You will not be disappointed.

 Debuting here will be a new scoring system for film reviews. It will score acting, writing, visuals and then an overall score for the film.

Acting- 9.5- Bill Skarsgard set the tone early and everyone kept it flowing through out.

Visuals- 9.5/10- Pennywise was as frightening as they come and any scene that required weird visuals had no real issue bringing to life and keeping it petrifying through out.

Writing- 9/10-  It is always hard to take a 1000 pages and shrink it down for a film. Good use of Pennywise but perhaps made him look a little too weak near the end. Still a solid script. 

Overall Score- 9.5/10- A thrilling horror story meant for the big screen. My jaw dropped during several scenes and I had chills during many others. Thanks for sharing that journey with me brother. More to come man and its gonna rock. 

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Swinging Home!

Homecoming is always usually bittersweet and filled with heavy emotions. Marvel finally gave long time fans a chance to see and feel the emotions they always deserved by brining a beloved character home where he always belonged.

We finally have the answers to all the burning questions. How will Spider-Man fair in the MCU? The answer is he will be just fine. The reason he will be just fine is thanks to Tom Holland. Holland is the definitive Peter Parker we needed for the next generation. Tobey who? Andrew what? Sorry guys, move on down the road because Tom Holland is here and it is not going anywhere for a while.

Homecoming was such a fun film for many different reasons. It was funny, charming, filled with action and had an amazing cast who all played their part extremely well. It is of course always a pleasure to see Robert Downey JR as Tony Stark in whatever capacity they want to provide him. It ws however Michael Keatons villainous Vulture that kept the film interesting. It was refreshing for the MCU to give us a villain that had never been done before and then go out and cast a big time actor who made it all worth the while. Keaton definitely becomes more chilling as the film goes on and there is a particular scene near the end of the film where he shares a one on one with Tom Holland with no superpowers or gadgets involved and it was the heaviest scene in the movie. There some fun characters included in this film including Aaron Davis aka The Prowler who happens to be the Uncle of one Miles Morales. Maybe one day Miles (One of my personal faves in the Spider-Man universe) will make his way to the big screen.

Bringing Spider-Man back to Marvel was a complete necessity and one that should result in an amazing series now that we have a general idea of where the story may be heading. This is a series that needs to grow darker in tone as it progresses. The need to have a fun light film to begin the franchise is understood but there is abosolutely no way the future films can carry the same tone and tell some of the grittier Spider-Man stories involving villains like Venom and Carnage or even the hinted at villain during the mid credit scene. There are a few villains that definitely could shake up the comfortable home life of Peter Parker depending on what route they take. I have always been an advocate for a darker tone within the MCU. Civil War tried it nicely and hopefully it becomes something worth investing in. Spider-Man is a character that has been loved since way before my childhood, he just happened to be rejuvenated in a time that I could learn to love him as a new generation. The adults who have loved Spider-Man for 20, 30 or more years definitely want to see Holland express the darker side of Parker as things progress and I think they deserve just that.

Now that Spider-Man is home there are limitless possibilities of who can appear and what story lines can be done. Maximum Carnage is one in particular that would be of interest to me. A major hint was dropped about who could the major villain for the next film and Holland himself has expressed that he does not want a repetition of the same villains that have been done before in previous Spidey films. Please Marvel listen to Holland and dont rehash Green Goblin for a third time. It is just not necessary.

This is the first great film of 2017 and I am entirely thankful for that. This is the Spider-Man movie that we all wanted and Marvel has definitely set themselves up well for Spider-Man to have a major part of their universe for years to come.

Tense and driven by internal character development, Orange is the New Black is back! 

Orange is the New Black was always a series that was enjoyable. It stayed a long of the line of a series worthy of watching and most definitely an enjoyable series but not a series that stood above the rest. With Season 5 it no longer stayed a long the line of just another series worthy of a watch and a few shout outs. It became the series I always wanted to see. It hit legendary status on my series viewing experience. A platform that has really only been hit by three series that felt complete in every sense of the word. Season five had all the fixings to get lost in the season and deliver the most bold and profound storyline the show has dared to explore while still keeping true to thing that matters most in the world of television; Characters.

While Piper Chapman is still techinically the lead character of this series the show has definitely learned where the strong actresses are and which characters need to be the central focus and when. This season it belonged to three characters. Taystee, Red and Daya. 

Daya will be the first one discussed as she was the first character who really had a major impact on the events that transpired over the course of season 5. Daya without her mother in prison with her wanted to feel heard and feel like she had a place within the prison. Daya makes a life altering decision for all the prisoners when she shoots the guard in the leg. It plays out through the narrative as Daya becomes the one in charge as she is the one with the weapon. Daya as most people would takes the reigns but instantly sees the pressure of the now escalating prison riot. Within her story was the acceptance of ones own choices and how you can only really hope for better for the ones you love. With her mother gone she tried to grab one moment of acceptance which took away a lifetime of experiences in the outside world away.

Red comes next. Kate Mulgrew has always been one of the highlights of the series thus far and Season 5 of course took her character in a new almost unexpected turn with the abuse of speed and the frantic searches to prove Piscatella had alterior motives. It allowed for emotional moments of role reverseal between Red and Nikki which were some of the best scenes they have shared together. Red was always strong for her girls and her family and this time it was there turn to show their solidarity with her and take down Piscatella when things escalated. While on the subject, the episode featuring flashbacks to Piscatella’s past was one of the best use of the flash backs to date. It added depth to a character who in order to feel like the seasons big bad needed more dynamic and purpose within the story.

Of course the guards and their lack of respect for the inmates gave way for the best performance of the season and definitely the biggest character progression and that is Danielle Brooks as Taystee. Poussey’s death and her subsequent rally for justic were Taystee’s driving anger to display emotions we have seen very seldomly in this series. It lead back to everything we constantly read every day about needless violence against black people all over the world. We get Taystees thirst for justice as it is time for change and for people to pay for their actions. This played out very heavily in two scenes. The first one a small brief scene where Taystee meets Poussey for the first time in the library. It was small, short but it was an absolutely beautiful and emotional scene from a writers stand point to show how deep and how far that connection grew. The second was the scene where Taystee is the voice who speaks instead of Judy King. It was brave and the message behind what she said was a message that holds true. People deserve rehabillitation, they deserve the right to be treated with respect and not like animals while in prison. Stop with the needless violence and stop forgetting that everyone should face justice for their actions. 

Orange is the New Black definitely took on a much darker tone for the new season and with the way it ended it is definitely up in the air about where the show will go next. Will the remaining inmates left in the pool all survive? Will the show decide to focus on the core group as they are relocated? Its some tough decisions to make as a show runner but if they continue to make smart and tension filled decisions like they did for season 5 then season 6 will be just as good. If they choose to bring in new blood to Litchfield it may end up taking a step back and becoming the slightly formulaic show that it once was.

It definitely makes sense to show perspectives as they begin to integrate back into normal life as it is a minmum security prison and their chances at Parole would be significantly higher. It has definitely elevated itself to legendary status for now. Whether it stays there falls primarily on the writing staff. With two seasons left on the current renewal deal with Netflix there is most definitely the question about considering the shows inevitable final season. It’s popular and that always has a major impact on situations moving forward but first and foremost it is a story and I hope it does not try and stay on for 10 seasons just to end on a mediocre final few seasons.

Netflix right now has an early candidate for drama of the year and with the ending we were given summer 2018 should prove to be just as eventful as summer 2017 for the inmates of Litchfield. Will it take the next step towards cementing a legacy or will step back towards familiar ground that tells a predictable and less intense story. Only time will tell and waiting is something fans of this series have grown accustomed to. 

 Love for Manchester

Manchester my heart breaks for you. I cannot even begin to fathom the pain and grief the people affected by this horrible tragedy are feeling. I cannot imagine how hard it must be to now feel unsafe buying concert tickets. Ariana Grande my heart also broke for you and the immense sadness you must be feeling, the shock, the anxiety of now never feeling 100 per cent comfortable on stage must be immensely overwhelming.  Ariana please dont blame yourself. Please dont feel like this is something you did wrong. This happened because of one reason: Hate.

When someone is driven by hate we have grown witness to the fact they will do atrocious things to be seen and heard. Ariana you did what you do best, allow your fans the show they deserved and its a horrid act of cowardice to use your safe haven for your fans as a means to destory such beautiful lives. As I have made clear Ariana Grande before this to me was an artist who made catchy pop songs that made me jam from time to time. Ariana you have now proven to the world and me you have one of the biggest hearts in the world for offering to help  cover the funeral costs for those who lost loved ones. You have shown dignity, class and respect for the situation. For everyone who is telling you that leaving Manchester was a cowards act I say they need to go feed under the bridge. You needed family and loved ones. Trust me, if that was me I would immediately just want to be able to hold my wife and child. There is nothing wrong with needing to be around the people who always have your back during one of the most horrific events you will ever experience. 

We live in a world where judgement is our first reaction. Revenge is the second. We immediately want to make people understand the pain we feel through experience. Thats a road of loneliness and despair. Our first question when responding to tragedy should be “How are people capable of such things” not “How can we make them feel what we feel or worse”.  All the people calling these attacks “fake” and “controlled” are the ones downplaying the grief being felt by people all over England and across the world right now. Personally the responses “It is coming from mainstream media, how can be it true?” Or “I’m not sure why people died if it was a controlled experiment gone wrong” are appaling and disgusting. It is one thing to feel like a couple times perhaps the government has been shady but it is another thing all together to believe that somehow the US and other governments are staging attacks all over the world just to maintain a war with ISIS. 

The mainstream media already 90 per cent of the time portrays Islam as the biggest danger to the US freedom and constitution. People have even told me that if I study Islam it will be a truly eye opening experience to their religion and everything they stand for. The same way not all Christians stand for the extreme view points of those who literally whip themselves if they sin, I am sure not all 2 billion or more Muslims believe that death to all infadels is the true word of Islam. Much like Christianity and all other religions Islam has been turned into a method of madness to spread fear and hate. It has been the easy target of the western civilization because it is the easy way out for us to place the blame on a religion that has many different cultural view points than the ones most practised within the safety of our own homes. Judgement based on religion or between religions is probably the most hypocritical form of judgement. Let me use Jesus to shame those who spread the word of Allah because “Allah is not Jesus and Jesus is the one true Holy being sent here to rid the world of our sins”. Well sorry to disappoint big guy in the sky but in the 2017 years since you came to earth to rid us of our sins most of the sinning and righteous indignation has come from your most loyal of Sunday followers against those who on a daily basis do a better job of practising your words out of common kindness to their fellow men and women than those who attend bible studies and weekly church services.

ISIS is to blame. Not Islam. Not Allah. Not the 2 billion practising Muslims who have no ill intent to anyone trying to live their lives in peace. Extremism is to blame. Extremism is not only a word associated with ISIS. Neither is radical. Western Culture again out of fear for the unknown has told us there is a direct correlation between the two. Some of my devout Christian friends stayed silent during the Manchester bombings or quickly used the tragedy to blame Muslims for the attack saying that by letting them into our beautiful nation we are giving ISIS a chance to grow. I love Canada because we are open armed and loving of the world. I dont like the idea of walls to keep people out or not feeling safe in public. Generally for the most part here in Canada I do feel safe. Hate gets us absolutely nowhere. Ariana Grande’s concert should have been a safe haven for fans to let loose. 22 people can never be held by their loved ones again. Many more will never feel safe in a crowded place ever again. Yet through the sadness and heartbreak we stand together when someone like Ariana Grande reminds us through selfless giving and honor that money and fame dont really mean all that much. Respect, love and dignity mean a whole lot more than those every could.  Ariana Grande has now become a beacon of sunshine in an otherwise horrible moment for all of Manchester and has made me realize that as long as I am here on this earth I never want to stop spreading peace and kindness to my fellow human beings. Not in the name of god or any religion in particular but merely out of common decency to those who cohabitate this insanely wonderous planet we all live on. Kindness should not be granted on the grounds that a book tells you “these are the right people to extend courtesy to” but only on the principal that until they disrespect you we are all born equally and exit this world as eqauls. 

May Peace and love always shine no matter how dark the day is. May artists like Ariana Grande and many others show us that music and art is greater than hate and violence. May we together hold hands and mourn the lives lost while still holding onto hope that one day we wont have to suffer through these events as a society. Love and respect your fellow humans. It can be life changing to extend your hand to someone you least expected. 

It’s Morphin time! 

Improvement is something we all strive for. We never want to stay at the same level. Progression, change, challenge are three keys to making something that was once viewed as dull and boring exciting again. Most 90’s kids know of the Power Rangers. As I kid I had action figures, posters, pyjamas and everything imaginable. However as every kid does I began to notice the extreme cliches and the downward spiral of a once beloved classic. Power Rangers has not been relevant since the late 90’s and it really is about time that we are once again talking about this series. 

Power Rangers has always been a well designed story about team building and communication. It at times was bogged down by the one dimensional dialogue and absolute cheesefest that were so called action scenes. It became a joke of sorts as the series progressed and it was a damn shame. At the core of the Power Rangers was a sincere message that should have been heard and deserved to be heard. 

Before news of this film entering production the most relevant thing to Power Rangers since 1998 was a fan made film starring Katee Sackhoff. The word relevant is only used because at first it was a Power Rangers related film and then it wasnt because it was not approved by the big wigs. Whatever the final decision was on that it was still for a brief moment something that was cool and refreshing that carried the name of something so nostalgic to many. Flash foward (Still mad ABC) to mid 2016 and we begin seeing casting photos and set pieces and hope rises again that the Power Rangers can once again be household names. 

That brings me to April 2nd, 2017. With a new Power Rangers film in cinemas I decided it would be a cool film to check out for old times sake. The film begins and immediately as the action tone is set and the experience is beginning there is an immediate connection to one element that definitely has been missing from the Power Rangers and that is dimensional and realistic characters. We can always suspend belief and go on a journey with the characters as long as we care about them. Billy Cranston was immediately that character in this film. It was the bold new take on a Power Rangers character, creating him to be openly autistic. That made it seem so much more down to earth and realistic. A kid like Billy Cranston would be the one to come across a 65 million year old alien war ship that allows him to be a superhero. It never felt like a stretch at all and the amounts of humour from Billy are what kept the film moving forward. Jason Scott and Kimberly Hart were the worst characterized of the new Rangers. The golden boy turned bad boy and the mean girl need to find their inner beautiful and redeeming qualities to save the small town they hate so much but obviously love to hate. Its typical teenage character stereotypes and it almost sets the movie back. 

Rita Repulsa was a good villain. I am not sure chomping down on a gold necklace is how I choose to spend my lunch breaks but then again I dont really want to unleash hell on the world either so that makes us different. All jokes aside Elizabeth Banks did a great job. She was menacing especially during the fight scenes and the one v one with Trini in her home. She was creepy enough but not gives the heeby geebies for life creepy and that was because of the campy scenarios of her eating gold. Bryan Cranston as Zordon was a limited role but definitely cool. Bill Hader as Alpha 5 was the obvious comic relief that helped create a light hearted training montage. After all their training it was a mere suplex that can save the world. Who knew?

With all due respect Power Rangers was a fun movie that knew how to balance the books so it featured a little bit of everything. Morphin Time looked dope, as did the Mechs before and during the fight. It started off well and ended well with minor characterization and dialogue issues as mentioned above. However this had an X-Men vibe to it in many ways and hopefully when there is more the writers capitalize on the small issues that may have caused older audience members like myself to be wary of viewing.

That being said there is no doubt in my mind that this film is worth recommending and worth seeing in theatres for any nostalgic 90’s nerd looking for new versions of their beloved Power Rangers. 

Iboy Review

Netflix has launched 2017 in a big way with two big releases of A series of Unfortunate Events and now their latest film iBoy. We all know the streaming film revolution is at an all time high and it is pretty awesome to be able to see a film on its release day without having to see red in your bank account.

iBoy is an interesting film with a very intriguing central premise. 16 year old Tom is given the power to control electronics after a shooting leaves pieces of his smart phone embedded in his head.

This film was just released on Jan 27th but it certainly caught my attention immediately with the premise. Stories are what always draw me when it comes to cinema and streaming from home will not change that. I became skepitcal about the future of Netflix original films when they partnered with Adam Sandler and Kevin James but this has definitely been a step up from any film made by those two in the past five years.

Lead by Bill Milner and Maisie Williams iBoy is a film made for this generation. It deals with a set of dark themes and very little of this film is light in tone. It creates a surreal world after Tom learns of his new abilities but it certainly brings real world issues into this ficitional fantasy ability. Maisie Williams is the real standout in this film showing her complete range of talent while adding layers to her character of Lucy. It is her character’s brutal rape and assault that puts Tom in the posistion to be shot. 

The ability that Tom recieves is the least important part of the film and moreso simply serves as the device that drives the film forward from a writers stand point. Had he merely learned absolute hacking skills the film could have been the exact same. That is why this entire film works so well. The feelings, the characters, the situations are all real world problems that often go unadressed. The writers added Toms ability for a neat touch on modern technology and it just elevated the film from mediocre to the first great film of 2017.

Netflix has proven once again that it is here to be the means for up and coming film makers to reach a wider audience quicker. If iBoy is a sign of things to come then I am most definitely intrigued with the possibilities of what may come next. It really seems like an exciting time to be a writer. Thanks Netflix. We needed to feel rejuvenation within the film industry and you are providing that. 

Star Wars: The Last Jedi. What does it all mean? 

A long time ago…. More like early this morning instead of feeling the doom and despair of yet another work week film fans everywhere were treated to a reveal that has been hotly anticipated. We have the title for the new Star Wars film and boy it sure does come with some major implications.

Episode 8 will officially dawn the title Star Wars: The Last Jedi. We are still over 300 days away from release so at this point the only real plot point we have is now this name. It was the same way with The Force Awakens. I mean the original trilogy had names that were pretty straight forward and after the Phantom Menace we all stopped caring anyway so the newest two name reveals have generated a lot of buzz. Most the buzz is layer one at best, just fan theory and photo edits, but this is the first big drop from the studio and it comes fresh off of numerous uncertainties for the franchise. 

The Last Jedi has a lot of implications. Is Rey set to become the last Jedi after Luke dies? Are Rey and Luke combining to be the last resisting force known as the Jedi. It seems bold to kill Luke but it seems the recent aim of the Star Wars franchise is to be bolder and darker all around. The shift in tone was much more apparent in Rogue One but certainly evident in The Force Awakens. 

A lot of people have said Force Awakens was too much of a scene for scene reenactment of A New Hope and there was one very valid reason for it appearing this way. Nostalgia. The Last Jedi does not carry the same weight as The Empire Strikes Back, The Force Awakens or even Revenge of the Sith if you need to hold onto hope that prequels didnt almost destroy the franchise. The Last Jedi almost seems like a mute plot point being raised. Almost reminding everyone of something we already know that the Jedi are a scarce bunch now. 

Overall I am still excited for the film. It comes with a heavy heart and anticipating a film almost seems hard knowing Carrie Fisher is gone. Its never an easy time when the world loses a generational icon as passionate and friendly as Carrie was. As a writer this film brings some intriguing story lines that now will need to be readdressed. Can we even consider a recast? That seems unlikely. Can we use CGI like they did in Rogue One? Sure of course, but clearly last time they tried to CGI Fishers face whoever did it failed miserably and should consider taking employment elswhere.

It is hard to say where the Star Wars saga will go in the next few years but I really hope that we get a respectable dose of Carrie Fisher with all of her cast mates, including her on screen brother Mark Hamill who shared a scene with Daisy Ridley last time out and that was it. I believe this was intended to be Mark Hamills last Star Wars film and quite possibly still could be. The Last Jedi if taken in the literal sense means final one so that has huge implications on a series that now has many more answers to give the fans.