Series Review: The Handmaid’s Tale – Season 1 (2017)

Shit. I thought tv was a form of escapism, not a look at how the world was, is, and will be at its most shit states.

Ladies and gentlemen… “The Handmaid’s Tale” season 1.

America has turned its back on human decency… oh sorry, I’m reading the news, not the show’s plot synopsis. *Gets slapped*. Okay fine, I’ll do it properly! Topical jokes aside, in the not too distant future, America has become a society where women are considered lesser creatures and then get forced into sexual slavery under high ranking commanders. Through the show we follow a young woman named June (Elisabeth Moss) as she on a day to day basis lives as a handmaid. So now we have our dystopian drama. And I must say that the plot here is incredibly compelling. We get good looks into both the show’s present time as well as flashbacks to what June’s life was like prior to everything going to shit. The drama is harrowing and disturbing, but there’s always also a sense of hope throughout, making it all a bit more watchable than if everything was just bleak and sad. That said, it’s not exactly a happy show. The plot is dramatic, compelling, well paced, and endlessly interesting.

The characters here are layered, compelling, and just overall very interesting. First up we have Elisabeth Moss as June (also known as Offred). She’s a determined a clever woman who falls in line with this horrible reality that she’s part of so she can survive. But we do also see her get some really solid character development throughout, and that’s where I’m leaving it as I don’t wanna ruin most of it for you. And Moss is fantastic in the role. Next up we have Joseph Fiennes as Fred Waterford, the commander that June slaves under. He’s quite the interesting figure, as he clearly is all in favor of this horrible world, but he also shows respect towards anyone under him. He’s a really intriguing character. And Fiennes is great in the role. Next we have Yvonne Strahovski as Serena, the wife of commander Waterford. She’s quite an ice cold bitch, but does show a more vulnerable side at times which makes her quite an interesting character. And Strahovski is great in the role. The final one I’ll go into some detail with is Nick, who’s played by Max Minghella. He’s basically a driver and such under Waterford, and becomes a bit of an ally of June’s over the show. He is quite the interesting guy. And Minghella is really good in the role. Through the show we also get supporting performances from people like Ann Dowd, Alexis Bledel, O-T Fagbenle, Amanda Brugel, Samira Wiley, Nina Kiri, and many more, all doing very well in their respective roles.

The score for the season was composed by Adam Taylor who I think did a great job. His music has a very eerie feel to it, highlighting just how disturbing and fucked up this world is. But it’s also emotional, suspenseful, and overall just well composed. There’s also a good amount of licensed tracks used throughout, and they all work quite well within their respective scenes.

Based on a novel by Margaret Atwood, the show was created by Bruce Miller, and written/directed by a whole bunch of people. And all this comes together to make one suspenseful and tightly directed show. And the cinematography by Colin Watkinson is absolutely stunning, some of the best I’ve ever seen in a tv show. What is also great about it is that none of the shots feel out of place. A lot of times pretty shots are added to a movie or show just to have a pretty shot with no actual purpose, but here all the gorgeous shots have a reason to be there.

This show/season has been very well received. On Rotten Tomatoes it has a 95% positive rating and a “Fresh” certification. On Metacritic it has a score of 92/100. And on imdb.com it has a score of 8,6/10 and is ranked #148 on the “Top 250 TV” list.

“The Handmaid’s Tale” is a harrowing but also beautiful show. It has a great plot, really good characters, great performances, great music, and great directing/cinematography. Time for my final score. *Ahem*. My final score for “The Handmaid’s Tale” season 1 is a 9,80/10. So it gets the “SEAL OF APPROVAL!”.

My review of “The Handmaid’s Tale” season 1 is now completed.

I got nothing clever to put here. I used up my topical joke at the beginning.

Movie Review: Risen (2016)

Religion. A touchy subject that I’m not gonna get into in this post. This is meant as a lighthearted review of a movie that includes religious themes. So if you’re a religious individual, any possible criticisms I might have about this movie isn’t about your religion, it’s about this movie as a movie. So here we go.

Ladies and gentlemen, he has… “Risen”.

The story follows Clavius (Joseph Fiennes), a Roman who is pretty much the right hand man of Pontius Pilate (Peter Firth). And he has been tasked of finding the body of Jesus (Cliff Curtis), because it has disappeared from the tomb that it has been placed in. So we follow Clavius as he, together with his new assistant Lucius (Tom Felton), investigates what happened to Jesus Corpse. And I actually liked the story here… for the most part. The stuff with Clavius investigating the disappearance of Jesus is quite interesting as it gives us a different angle to look at this really old story. I was honestly hooked by the plot of the movie up to a certain point a little after the halfway point. Because then something happens that changes the movie from one thing to something else. I’m not gonna say exactly what it is, but you can probably figure out what it is. And while the second half of the movie isn’t bad, I wasn’t as interested in it as I was with the first half. First half, really good stuff. Second half, meh.

The characters in this are for the most part pretty interesting. Clavius is a skeptic, at least when he hears about Jesus’ disappearance. The followers of Jesus of course thinks he’s risen (roll credits) to once again walk the earth, spreading love and the word of god. But Clavius is a bit more “That doesn’t make sense, I have to get to the bottom of this mystery”. And Joseph Fiennes did a great job in the role. Tom Felton was good as Lucius (“Harry Potter” prequel, anyone?), playing him as the young and slightly naïve guy who follows Clavius no matter what. Peter Firth was great as Pontius Pilate, playing him as a bit of a dick. Really, it’s overall a well acted movie.

The score for the movie was composed by Roque Baños, and while it’s nothing terribly original, it’s still quite good. It perfectly fits the setting and just overall works very well for the movie.

This movie was directed by Kevin Reynolds, the man who brought us “Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves” and “Waterworld”. And I think he did a good job with this movie. The shots look good and everything just flows nicely. There is a little bit of action too, and it’s okay. Surprisingly violent for PG-13. I’ll also give it this, the sets here look pretty great.

This movie has not been the most well received. On Rotten Tomatoes it has a 51% positive rating. On Metacritic it has a score of 51/100. And on imdb.com it has a score of 6,3/10.

“Risen” presents an interesting spin on the Jesus story, even if it isn’t perfect. It has a pretty good plot, pretty good characters, really good performances, really good music, and really good directing. As previously stated, my problem with the movie comes from the second half not being as interesting as the first one. Time for my final score. *Amen*. My final score for “Risen” is an 8,76/10. While flawed, I do think it’s worth buying.

My review of “Risen” is now completed.

Joseph Fiennes stars in… CSI: Jesus.

Series Review: Flashforward (2009 – 2010)

1280x720_flashforward-726_51b10d114bc58

What would happen if we saw our own future? Would we try to change it or would we embrace it even more? I honestly would panic and wonder what the images all meant and what tiny factors in my life could change/keep it. This is something interesting that I’ve been thinking about a lot in my life. Maybe you have as well… who knows?

Ladies and gentlemen, prepare to get a… “Flashforward”.

“On October 6th, the world blacked out for 2 minutes and 17 seconds. The whole world saw the future”. That is the phrase uttered at the beginning of basically every episode. If you didn’t catch what it meant, the plot is that on october 6th 2009, every person in the world blacked out and got a vision of their future. When everyone wakes up, they have no idea what the hell is going on and what happened. So the FBI sets up a special taskforce to find out what happened, why it happened, how it happened and if it might happen again. At the forefront of this is seasoned FBI agent Mark Benford (Joseph Fiennes) and his partner Demetri Noh (John Cho). And from this we get a really cool concept… but is it only good on paper? No, it’s actually great in execution as well. This show is very addicting in the way that it makes you want to know who/what is behind this terrible event and if it’s able to stop him/her/it for good. And thanks to constant suspense, interesting revelations and genuinely good twists it really entertains and shows itself as a really good story. What is sad about it though is that the show ended after 1 season and I feel like that is a shame since there was so much potential for even more interesting plotlines and situations. But I can at least say that what we got was pretty damn good.

What I love about the characters in the show is that we get so many different types of them. First up we have Mark Benford, the seasoned FBI agent who is both determined to find out everything about this whole blackout thing while at the same time not losing his family. And Joseph Fiennes was pretty damn great in the role. John Cho was great as Benford’s younger yet still skilled partner who has his problems. And I would say that all characters are great in the show since I can’t sit here and talk about them all because this is a pretty damn big ensemble cast. But all characters are interesting/great and all actors do a really great job.

The score for the show was composed by Ramin Djawadi who you might know from shows like “Prison Break” and “Game of Thrones”, or from movies such as “Pacific Rim”. And like in those things, it’s great. This show doesn’t rely that much on being as grandiose as some of those scores, but it still holds up really well. A lot of it is based in ambient sounds, but there are of course some orchestral tracks for some of the bigger scenes and it is all great. It all fits the show terrifically. And the licensed tracks they use for a good amount of the show work really well too.

This show looks terrific. I mean, it is really well directed and the camera work is great. Sure, some of the CGI at times don’t look that great, but overall I wouldn’t complain too much about it since it’s not distractingly bad. I do however like the action scenes in the show. Not because they’re huge and extravagant (because they’re not), but because they handled perfectly. When they happen you do notice them, but they never feel like going full Michael Bay which is something I really appreciate. And I do have to say that there are some genuinely suspenseful moments/scenes. One of them (without spoiling it) is a part of episode 17 where I seriously sat and curled myself into a ball, slightly squealing because I was like “Come on… please”. Seriously, that level of suspense rarely happens to me. Fun fact: this show is loosely based on the book of the same name by Robert J. Sawyer. I haven’t read the book yet, but I feel right now like I should at some point in the near future. *blacks out*… *Wakes up minutes later*. I just had a flashforward where I saw myself reading it.

This show, despite only getting one season was well received. On Rotten Tomatoes it has an 89% positive rating and a “Fresh” certification. On Metacritic it has a score of 71/100. And on imdb.com it has a score of 7,6/10.

“Flashforward” is one of those shows that was just too shortlived. It had a great story, great characters & acting, great music, great directing and great action & suspense. Time for my final score. *Blacks out*. My final score for “Flashforward” is a 9,89/10. It most definitely gets the “SEAL OF APPROVAL!”.
Seal of Approval

Review of “Flashforward” is now completed.

Who knew William Shakespeare was such a badass?
1x01_Hero

 

 

Movie Review: Goodbye Bafana (2007)

goodbye-bafana-2007-05-g

Nelson Mandela (R.I.P) was a great man. He fought for equal rights of black and white people in South Africa. He was imprisoned for 27 years (Damn) and was released in 1990. Unfortunately we lost him in December of 2013. He inspired a lot of people. There have also been a lot of movies and books about his life. One of the books, written by the prison guard who watched him during all these years(ish) got popular enough to get a movie. A movie that got released a few years back. But did this reviewer like it? Let’s find out!

Ladies and Gentlemen…”Goodbye Bafana”.

Like I said, this movie follows the book which told the story of the real life prison guard James Gregory (Joesph Fiennes). This movie like I said is an adaptation. It follows Gregory as he is stationed on Robben Island with his wife (Diane Kruger), his son (played by 2 different actors through out, so I’m not mentioning them because I’m lazy) and his daughter (like the son, too lazy). Gregory gets the mission on the prison to watch over the recently captured Nelson Mandela (Dennis Haysbert). And the story follows these two men’s relationship from “prisoner and guard” to “friends”. Yep, I just spoiled it. But that is because this is a biography which you can look up anywhere. This is truth that you will find out anyway. It’s not like a fictional work which you haven’t seen before. But I found the story and the evolution of the story to be extremely intriguing and gripping. It even made me tear up at one point. Not gonna spoil which moment, don’t worry.

The characters…incredibly realistic (No shit). Not just because they are based on real people, but also because the actors felt so real. They did a fantastic job. And the writing was really solid as well. I was really impressed on the character part.

On the music…it was really good. Not that I wass surprised…just sayin’ it was good. It really set the mood, not jsut for the movie itself but also fit the scenes fantastically well! Loved it!

The camera work in this movie was…great. Sure, it was not the most original and visually stunning that I have ever seen…but it certainly holds its own. The times where you got to see some landscapes in the movie…fantastic. Also, this movie is not always easy to watch…believe me on that. Not saying that it is as disturbing as maybe “Requiem for A Dream”, but it is not always the most fun to watch. Did I also mention that it made me tear up at one point? What? I did? Damn.

Reception for “Goodbye Bafana” is something that is not easy to find, becuase not many people saw this film. But I’ll try my best. There is none of the “Critic scores” which I usually post here for Rotten Tomatoes, but there is at least the “Audience score”. Audiences like it and it has an 82% rating on RT. Next thing is imdb.com which (based on less than 9000 votes) a score of 7,1/10. That is really all I could find for “Goodbye Bafana” when it comes to reception. I’m sorry…I have failed you.

“Goodbye Bafana” is a gripping, deep, thought provoking, incredibly well-acted movie with a great soundtrack and Dennis Haysbert playing Mandela (Seriously, he was born for this role). So…time for my final score on this short review. My final score for “Goodbye Bafana” is a 9,67/10 which gives it the rights to the “SEAL OF APPROVAL!”.
49920178

“Goodbye Bafana” is now reviewed.

Shame on you people! More people should have seen this amazing thing!