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. 

Patriots Day Review

Moments that define a painful point of time through out history usually become the next big screen movie with an American hero at the center. Mark Wahlberg is slowly becoming that man. Patriots Day is so far the best film where Wahlberg is starring in a film which has a core American moment at its center.

It’s not the type of film that shocks you. It’s not the type of film where what happens is full of plot twists and mind tricks. It is a film purely designed to make you feel things. It makes you think about the pain, shock and terror that the people of Boston felt while these two men were on the streets. Beyond how you feel about politics, Hollywood, actors and all of the media hoopla this film really displayed the tension and fear in a manner that made you feel like there has to be a way to end all this violence.

There has been violence and mass panic spread out in this world in alll locations way too much since I have started blogging. There are stories we don’t get to see about how much violence is a big part of certain parts of the world. This was the American perspective told through a medium that Americans love to pass their time engaging in. I’m taking a step back from looking at from a film perspective and looking at it from the perspective of a human being who wishes violence would end. I am sure we all wish this but as we have all laid witness to violence is all to close to home sometimes. The people of Boston felt this, the people of Brussels, Paris, Orlando and Aleppo have all also felt this pain and fear. I am not sure where the wheels fell off of Society and killing became something that we have become numb too. Violence is something we need to work on ending as a society and should never be something that we anticipate or wait for.

Films, television, books and music remind of us of the pain and they can also shed new light on a situation we may have known little about. However it is hard to spread a message with film that resonates world wide as already myself just by reading reviews of this film people even have a negative response to a film that has too much American heroism as the foundation. There are always going to be moments in time when nations come together and unify and usually it is after a moment like what happened in New York in 2001, Boston in 2013 and even now Orlando in 2016. American patrotism despite how you feel about the current state of politics in their country is a huge rallying point. The cities of Boston and New York banded together after moments of tragedy and showed the world how strong you can be together. All I am saying is that we need more of this but not just in moments of violence.

Peter Bergs film made us look at a moment in time and realize there was a lot going on during the near 100 hours it took to catch these two. The film had incredible pacing, character development and of course the acting was amazing. Wahlberg is the films top bill of course but it is the likes of JK Simmons, Kevin Bacon, John Goodman, Michael Beech and others that helped solidify this as more than just another film about America. What definitely made me feel the most and elevate this film above Bergs other American heroism films is the element of humour that was present. It made the film feel entirely more real and it made everything have that much more impact as a visual story.

One of the best scenes in the movie is the opening scene because it sets the tone for the entire fim and allows you to immediately connect with Tommy Saunders and Ed Davis as characters and integral parts of the film. The rest of the cast followed suit their own scenes of introduction and thus began a weaving narrative of how 100 hours changed everyones lives through out the city.

Patriots Day is most definitely a film worth seeing on the big screen. The films powerful message about love and unity is enough to give just about anyone the chills. A fine film. 

2017’s most anticiapted films

2017’s most anticiapted films

With the new year comes all the talk of what will be the next big thing in Cinema and what date we can expect it by. I get just as excited as everyone about what the 365 calendar days in 2017 can bring from the world of cinema. I am doing a top 10 most anticipated flicks list and then at the end of 2017 we will see how many of those made the list and how much the list changed.

10. King Arthur (May 12 release date)- Charlie Hunnam is due for a cinematic break through now that SoA is over. The dude has serious chops and this is his vehicle and his big chance. It would be nice to see him do it and gets the number 10 spot because I firmly believe Hunnam is a more than capable lead and this will no doubt prove it to anyone currently questioning it.

9. Pitch Perfect 3 (December 25th release date)- Yes I like Pitch Perfect one and two. The reason why is the cast is insanely talented and the movies are just straight up fun and easy to watch. This is probably setting up to become the final film in the franchise and with that comes closure to funny and dynamic characters. I see no issues with thia being a good film come December.

8. Murder on the Orient Express ( November 22nd release date) – A remake of the 1974 film of the same name, this film has a cast that looks phenomenal on paper and one can really only hope that translates well on the big screen. The star power involved includes Johnny Depp, Dame Judi Dench, Kenneth Branagh and Daisy Ridley. Factor in a good murder mystery plot line and this movie cannot find a way to derail (pun intented)

7. The Space Between Us ( February 3rd)- This should be the valentines day date movie, please dont spend your money on the piece of steaming garbage that will be 50 Shades Darker. That film has no plot and is only considered erotic because the male protagonist owns his company and lives in a penthouse. That being said Gary Oldman is in this movie and it has an interesting central premise about finding love and inner peace despite being born on another planet? Thoughtful and poetic right? Dont waste your money on a movie about meaningless sex and pick a movie with an actual plot.

 

6. Star Wars: Episode V III (December 15th release date) Rogue One was a great film as was the Force Awakens when it came out. We all crave more Star Wars but this comes with a heavy heart due to the passing of Carrie Fisher. It is going to be another fine entry into the saga and Carrie Fisher is probably going to be a large part of this film. It no doubt changes the future of Star Wars and leaves us feeling heart broken and lost. Star Wars still has a lot of questions the fans want answers to and this film is sure to raise and probably many more.

5.Patriots Day (January 13th release date)- Mark Wahlberg is the new big moment big movie guy. He is taking on movies with an epicentre grounded in American tragedy and based on American heroism. So far it has been successful for Wahlberg and this film also has Kevin Bacon and John Goodman as supporting cast and that peaks my interest. 

4. Spider-Man: Homecoming (July 7th release date)- It is the third time in 15 years we are going to be seeing a new Spidey on the big screen but it is the first time he will be apart of the MCU and makes it all the more delightful as a fan of Spiderman. Of course the cast list looks good on paper but so did the cast of Batman Vs Superman and look how big of a mess that became. This film still carries high hopes for me as 2017 is just beginning and I guess we should never judge a book by its cover and we should never let the past change the way we look at future entries into film series.

3. Wonder Woman (June 2nd release date)- DC has a big year ahead of them as well and this is going to head that for them. Gal Gadot was impressive in BVS, one of the films only delights and she has proven she is going to be a strong female lead actress and what better way to give her confidence than to cast her as the most iconic female character of all time. Suicide Squad was the best release yet for DC on screen and Wonder Woman should continue that upward trend for them as well.

2. Live by Night (January 13th release date)- Ben Affleck writing directing and starring in an adaptation of one of my favorite novels of the last decade. This movie has absolute high expectations. I want liquor, guns, drugs, shootouts and for the adapatation to follow the book closely. If there is one person out there who can handle this kind of film it most definitely is Ben Affleck.

1. Dunkirk (July 21st release date)- Christopher Nolan has proven over and over that he holds the title of Hollywoods most ambitious film maker and that should serve him well here. Based on a true story of a rescue that seemed all but impossible because the Germans had allie forces surrounded and cut off; Nolan has chosen to rely on some the regulars from his past films to help bring this amazing true story to the big screen. Nolan films usually do not make me worry at all about how good they will be and this one seems poised to be one of his best yet. 

Two worlds, Two comic book origins. Two very different paths taken.

Every show has to face at some point what their eventual endgame is going to become. From a writers stand point this should be something you already know right from day one. The conclusion is the most important of a three act story. It is understandable that basic premise of story telling becomes a little more difficult when dealing with a tv show as the three act story is done over the course of 22 episodes and not in 2 hours. However finales and final seasons matter in TV. A show that actually gets to end properly is a blessing as many shows are one season and done or are cancelled half way through season 3 when cancellation is announced. If a show says next season is final season and has 22 episodes to wrap up all the burning questions we all enjoy that. We all get behind that and go on one last emotional rollercoaster with our beloved characters. 

Sons of Anarchy did it. The Wire did it. Breaking Bad did it. Game Of Thrones has done it. Walking Dead it is time you did it too. Gotham, I think you should too. That is not to say anything bad about the production values of the show, the merchandising money, the network income or anything financially. This is coming from someone who just loves story. Figure out your end games please. Know that now is the time to go out and end huge. Announce even two more seasons each. Walking Dead ends at 9 and Gotham at 5. That leaves you 2 and a half seasons to figure out what you want to say and the stories you want to tell. 

Walking Dead would benefit the most from doing this. Let the comic book continue beyond the show. It started first, let it continue beyond the show. The show since season 4 has been on a steady decline in quality from a writers perspective. It has become a mess of people talking up the hype and the show simply just not delivering. I’m not one immersed in the hype of needing the show explained afterword or needing to have the cast talk about how the back half is unlike the rest of the series up to this point.

Yes viewership has declined throught out the first half of season 7 but the pacing was much different and actually allowed for character growth in some of the characters who have previously been seen as minor characters. Negans new world has brought feelings forth in all of the characters and it is good to see the writers show how that affects everyone and not just Rick, Daryl, Michonne and Maggie. It was good to see Aaron tag a long with Rick, it was good to see Father Gabriel thinking quickly on his feet and helping the group. It has been most impressive to see the charge toward all out war lead by Rosita who is a strong female presence in the comic series but has been almost forgotten in the show. It has been nice to see Christian Serratos explore her range a bit more as an actress. She is just as talented as the other actresses currently staffed by the Walking Dead and it is good to see them use her for a story arc and not just have her be another pretty face in the background. 

These are all reasons why Walking Dead needs to think about the end game. We now have a core set of characters who are heading towards the biggest fight of their lives. It is now or never in terms of survival and fighting so it should be all out go for broke with story telling. Throw all the emotion you can at us in the next two and a half seasons and end with phenomenal story telling that brings the show back to being one of the greats. Please writers and producers dont let the show become just another popular show that is all about the merchandise and not about story. We have been down this road before with both film and television studios that are willing to sacrifice quality for quantity which ensures profit longer.

Gotham needs to think of an end game because frankly it is creating a scenario in which Bruce Wayne will be a thirty year old Batman fighting villains that are in a nursing home. Gotham is not a show that needs the presence of Bruce Wayne in order to be successful and to tell a great story. It needs to be the story of Gothams rise to the seedy underworld that needs Batman’s light in the sky as a means to holding onto hope in a world that keeps growing darker and darker.

Gotham has plenty of potential story lines that it can explore but the longer Bruce continues to be a part of it the more Batman seems to grow less and less important for the end of the series. Jerome is slated to come back, announce a season 4 and 5 renewal. Have season 4 focus on a young Harleen Quinzel meeting the clown prince of crime but dont have that interact with the main story until the final season when Joker and Harley are the main villains and we see another go around with some of our favorite villains through out the series. 

We have all been told that the final image of Gotham will be some reference to Batman so we know that is inevitable final moments and a show like Gotham cannot sustain itself more than 5 seasons with the current narrative. Gotham has never really had much of a growing fanbase. It has kinda staggered a long at roughly 3.50 million per episode. That is decent numbers for Fox but not great numbers overall compared to shows like Empire, This is Us, NCIS and others.  Gotham does not have the numbers on its side every year when it comes to renewal and I am afraid one of these years Fox execs will merely just pull the plug on a show that they consider no one to be watching anyway. Gotham has never quite enjoyed the numbers Walking Dead has had over the years.

That being said no show has really grown from season to season the way the Walking Dead has. Were the producers and writers never fearful of this moment that people and fans obviously stopped caring about the show and ditch it. The season premiere had just over 17 million and seven episodes later episode 8 the mid season finale had 10.6 million viewers.  A lot of shows are happy averaging the numbers Walking Dead just lost but there must be someone over at AMC who has watched both the Walking Dead and Fear the Walking Dead struggle with numbers lately.

Let me just be straight for a minute more so regarding Walking Dead. I keep hearing these rumours the show will run forever, they have enough character progression for Rick to last 6 or 7 more seasons. The simple answer I can give right now is that if the show goes beyond season 10 I dont think my viewership will go with it. Yes I am just 1 person in huge fanbase of the show but clearly I am not the only one starting to feel that way about where the show is heading. The show simply does not have 6 seasons left in the creative writing aspect. The show cannot just have big bad after big bad for 6 more years. Walking Dead here me now. I am giving you the chance to figure out what show you want to be, what legacy you want to leave on the landscape of television. I am also warning you now that you have three seasons to figure it out because beyond that I cant take the predictable deaths of fan favorite characters and the non important deaths of side characters who finally get screen time just to die at the end of that episode. 

Shows must face their own inevitable ending but sometimes the hardest thing for a fan to do is give up on a show or shows that just cannot seem to admit that it is time to go which is looking to be the eventual thing I will have to do with Walking Dead a show that I would once not leave my house the next day for until I had seen the new episode. Please Walking Dead dont go down this road. There is still time to end on a high note. 

Top 10 Films of 2016

With the year winding down it is that time to debate who gave the best performance and which story generated the most powerful response. Each year making that list becomes more and more of an enjoyment. Here are my 10 best of this past year 2016.

10. 10 Cloverfield Lane- John Goodman is the man. What a captivating and chilling movie. Goodman had me cringing in fear and this movie steadily built to a climax that was both daring and respectable. John Gallager Jr and Mary Elizabeth Winstead added nice complimentary performances. This film was the “sequel” to Cloverfield we never really asked for but we secretly craved and it turned out to be a much better film than anyone could have possibly imagined.

9. Sausage Party- Ouff what a flick this turned out to be. I really had no doubts about the levels of raunchy that could be reached but somehow this trumped that and it was downright hilarious. The voice cast was the same usual suspects and it just created an insane world that was somehow very similar to previous works yet wildly different in its own right. 

8. Whiskey Tango Foxtrot- This film was never in doubt of being funny it was about mixing in a plot that fit the Tina Fey narrative. It was different in many ways thanks to Fey, Martin Short and Margot Robbie. It slowed down the narrative to allow character development which has kinda been a hinderance of Tina Fey characters. 

7. Free State of Jones- The only real complaint you can make about this film is that is long but that does not spell bad film. It will make people hesitant on viewing the film. McConaughey continues to be the best script chooser in Hollywood opting for scripts that draw on emotions and no longer opting to just be the pretty boy of Sunset boulevard. Free State of Jones is a fine film. A definite must see for fans of cinema and fans of McConaughey.

6. Rogue One: A Star Wars Story- After The Force Awakens this was the next big adventure in a world that has been looking for fresh new perspective. If you want to dimiss Rogue One as just a plot whole plug than please do yourself a favor and rewatch the film and see the depth that was added to characters we all knew the fate of before watching the film. Bosted by a talented cast including Forrest Whittaker and Mads Mikkelson this was a darker take for Star Wars, a tone that was attempted for The Force Awakens but was better executed here as this story fit it much better. There is unlimted potential within this universe and this was one of those stories. It would be nice to see the Star Wars world look at more of these types of stories instead of just stories about already established characters when they were younger. As a fan of the universe I guess I will take what Disney is willing to give us for now but that is my hope for the future. 

5. The Hollars- John Krasinski directed and starred in one of the most complete films I have seen in a while. An emotional moment at the forefront the film explored how each character was dealing with their own particular set of struggles only to be forced to rely on one another again. It eneded right where it needed to in order to capture the essense of how quickly things can change in how much one person can truly feel in a matter of moments.

4. Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them- Perhaps it was being immersed back in the Harry Potter world or it was the magic of any story by JK Rowling that really made this film just an absolute delight. Eddie Redmayne was perfectly cast as were Ezra Miller and Colin Farrell. It was a magical filmed featuring even cooler creatures. Harry Potter has always been one of my favorite universes and with another series in the works I am glad my daughter will still have this universe to grow into. Harry Potter lore is rich with potential prequels and sequels and it is such a magical world that I cant imagine any point in my life where I wont want to be at the cinema waiting with anticipation. 

3. Deadpool- A film that for the better part of the year had a great chance at being number one because of the R Rated nature of the film. Deadpool was a brilliant film and it was definitely a passion project. Ryan Reynolds poked fun at almost everything you could ever think of and his comedic timing and acting have never been more fun to watch. More please and thank you. Deadpool is going to replace Wolverine as the most wanted hero on the big screen and that is a perfect maneouvre by Marvel. 

2. Suicide Squad- Perhaps this was the year of Margot Robbie because two of her films made this list and this one was an easy choice. Robbie brought one of DC’s most iconic female characters to life and did so in a way that made the happy nerd in me smile profusely. Suicide Squad overall was a much better film than critics indicated and it is a step forward after the wreck that was Batman Vs Superman. My only real complaint of Suicide Squad was that the Joker was basically a secondary throw away character with little depth at all. All that was overshadowed by Robbie and the things the DCEU can do with her character in the future. 

1. Hell or High Water- Lead by Chris Pine and Ben Foster this film does a marvellous job of allowing the action to fit into the weaving narrative that may be a well travelled story but has never been executed with such emotion and nuance that still allow this film to be unique in its own right. At the heart of the story there are two brothers who are trying to right some wrongs done to their family in the name of Greed. The film allows this to be a subtle part of the story but it is the catalyst for the thrilling climax we all knew was coming. Hell or High Water had stiff competition in order to secure this spot but really at the end of the day as soon as the credits began to role I knew there was no other film that was going to get the spot. Low key story driven cinema will always resonate with me more than super explosions and unbelievable mid air sequences because at the end of the day film is a visual medium and we need to believe in the stories being told to us or the overall reason for cinema is lost entirely. 

Best of Television 2016

With the ever growing landscape of Television it becomes more of a challenge each year to create a list of the best. It creates a mad dash where each episode could make or break the chance at the list. This year was especially tough. We have such a great list of newcomers and perenial favorites jockeying for the coveted number. Without further ado lets countdown the years best from the small screen.

10- Pitch (Fox)- This show immediately earned itself a spot with the presentation of the Major League broadcasts. Despite the low numbers Pitch has an amazing cast.The praise for Kylie Bunbury has been high but it is the overall cast that really helps the show shine. Pitch is a show that really deserves a long run but that is looking more and more doubtful as the ratings have yet to raise.

9. Gotham (Fox)- This is a show that since day one has been really hit or miss but in early season three it really hit a stride thanks to Benedict Samuel as Jervis Tetch. Michael Chiklis also added some much needed refreshment even if these story lines concluded quickly. Gotham is a show rich with potential story lines and so far in season three the writers have done a fantastic job giving us some fresh thoughts and new adventures with some familiar foes. 

8. The Walking Dead (AMC)- This show has really taken a turn downhill and it has slowly seen the show drop on the list. The only real reason this show is making the list is because of Jeffrey Dean Morgan and his intro and follow up episodes. The rest of the season 6 finale set no expectation and ruined my anticipation. However Walking Dead still gets a place on this list this year and who knows what the future has in store so it very well could find itself on the list again next year.

7. The Path (Showtime)- Aaron Paul and Hugh Dancy are two of my favorite actors and to pair them together in this series was phenomenal. There was so much tension and emotion in this drama. It led to a thrilling season of building the showdown and revelations. Season 2 should be just as good so fingers crossed.

6. Suits (USA)- The story took a creative turn this year sending the lead to prison and making it one of the most compelling stories yet on the show. Plus the show lead up to the departure of Gina Torres who’s fiesty Jessica Pearson will always be missed. Here is to hoping she will return for a guest stint. 

5. Atlanta (FX)- Donald Glover aka Childish Gambino once again finds a unique way to show us he is a unique personality with a fresh perspective on social culture. His music continues to showcase his raw writing talent and TV allows him to display another part of him that means so much. His history.

4.The Flash (CW)- This show continued to do everything it has done right again. It slipped a little during the beginning of season three leaving out key components of the Flashpoint paradox and opting to be less daring and very predictable in the story telling. The acting is probably the series strongest point and Tom Felton has been a key contributor this season during the first half.

3. Daredevil (Netflix)- Season two was amazing for one major reason. Jon Bernthal. He has set the bar high for his own solo series as The Punisher but he is the main reason season two continued to push the envelope of character development and gritty storylines. His presence added a much needed sense of realism that was evidently lacking during most of the seasons second half. 

2. Empire (Fox)- This is one of the juiciest shows on television. The drama and the music are always sizzling hot. Taraji P. Henson and Terrence Howard are amazing on screen together. The chemisty is just off the charts. However this season the praise has to be given to Jussie Smollett for his wide display of emotions both through Jamals music and his expressions as a human being struggling to cope with what happened to him. Empire continues to be one of the highlights of my viewing experience. 

1. This is Us (NBC)- This may go down as the first and only time a rookie show will ever win this spot. No other new show has been as emotionally engaging as This is Us in my viewing experience. Everyone plays their role to perfection creating an ensemble of people who all have their own pain and past that still leaves them searching for answers. Lead by Mandy Moore and Sterling K. Brown This is Us thrives on the raw talent the cast has. One of the most realistic shows in all of TV. That mid season finale had me on the verge of tears all the way through and very few shows evoke that kind of response especially during this time of year. This is Us sure has found a weaving narrative that works. I see this show competing for this number one spot for quite a few years. An amazing show.