Series Review: Seis Manos – Season 1 (2019)

Is it time to talk about animation? I believe it’s time to talk about some animation. Hell, I’d say it definitely is time to do that. That’s the perk of running your own blog. No editor who can say “No, you can’t talk about animation now”.

Dames y hombres… “Seis Manos” season 1.

1970s Mexico. When a vicious gangster (Danny Trejo) starts unleashing hell upon the world, a group of varying people get brought together to try to stop him. This motley crew includes some martial artists (Aislinn Derbez and Johnny Cruz), a local cop (Angélica Vale), and an American DEA agent (Mike Colter). “Seis Manos” is fascinating in the sense that it’s a pretty eclectic mix of ideas, inspirations, and styles. On the surface it seems be a mix of crime-drama and martial arts action, but then you also start mixing in stuff like grindhouse, comedy, fantasy, body horror, eastern philosophy, and even elements of Blaxploitation. And then you of course also take the Mexican setting into account, which means a lot of that culture gets mixed into proceedings. So you’d think the storytelling of this show would be an absolute clusterfuck… but no, the crazy songs of bitches pulled it off. While it does lose a little bit of focus towards the end, I do still feel that there’s some really solid storytelling going on here. Yes, it’s eclectic, but that also adds a lot of personality to it, while still being a generally entertaining narrative to follow. It does have a fair bit of emotionally resonant drama, but it also generally serves as a fun and unusual tale that is just plain fun to follow.

The characters in this are of course based on tropes and archetypes we’ve seen before, but we do also see them played around with to a decent extent, making for some enjoyable development. Like the three martial artists Isabela, Jesus, and Silencio. One a tough but loving woman, one a big, lovable goof, and one a dark and quiet man. All three start out with that one detail and get some enjoyable development throughout. Then there’s Garcia, the local police officer who gets tangled up in this insanity. A tough but fair cop trying to prove herself while still staying true to herself. And she’s very interesting too. Then there’s Brister, a fridge of a man working for the DEA, working to take down bad guys. He’s a smart-aleck with a lot of colorful lines and a very “I don’t have time for this shit” kind of attitude, which gets tested at every turn for not only great comedy, but some genuinely interesting character development. And the villain, El Balde, is one vicious motherfucker, making for one hell of an intimidating presence. And the voice cast, containing people like Aislinn Derbez, Jonny Cruz, Mike Colter, Danny Trejo, Angélica Vale, Vic Chao, and more, all do very well in their respective roles.

The score for the show was composed by Carl Thiel, and I think he did a really good job with it. Much like with the narrative it complements, the score takes inspiration from many sources. Of course it has some familiar use of strings, keys, and brass for action stuff. But there’s also some traditional Mexican stuff throughout, a little bit of 70s noir-inspired funk, and probably some other specific styles I currently forget. Either way, it’s an interesting mix of sounds that pays off in making for giving the show an interesting soundscape.

“Seis Manos” was created for Netflix by Brad Graeber and Álvaro Rodríguez, with Willis Bulliner handling the directing. It’s also animated by Powerhouse Animation, a studio that I’ve talked about a few times before on this blog (*Shameless* and *Plug*). So as to be expected, I was excited to see how this show would end up looking. And it looks really good. Character designs are charming and fight scenes are kinetic and exciting. While it isn’t Powerhouse’s overall strongest piece of animation, it’s still really well handled, giving us some terrifically directed animation/action to enjoy. Plus, we don’t get much in terms of martial arts animation here in the west, so this show delivering on that was an absolute treat for me.

This show/season has been pretty well received. On Rotten Tomatoes it has a 100% positive rating. And on imdb.com it has a score of 7.2/10.

While the final act of the story is a little bit lacking in focus, season 1 of “Seis Manos” is still a highly entertaining and refreshingly unique bit of animation. It has a good story, good characters, great performances, great music, and great directing/animation/action. Time for my final score. *Ahem*. My final score for “Seis Manos” season 1 is an 8.87/10. So while flawed, it’s still definitely worth watching!

My review of “Seis Manos” season 1 is now completed.

I hope we get a season 2. Or should I say… SEISON!?

Series Review: The Defenders – Season 1 (2017)

At long last, it is here. The culmination of all the Marvel/Netflix shows. It’s a really exciting time to be alive. Four characters from four different shows (three great, one meh), coming together for one big event. Let’s get into it.

Ladies and gentlemen… “The Defenders” season 1!

When something threatens to destroy New York City, Matt Murdock (Charlie Cox), Jessica Jones (Krysten Ritter), Luke Cage (Mike Colter), and Danny Rand (Finn Jones) have to team up to try to stop this great threat. And from that we get a superhero plot filled with twists, turns, and drama. And I’d say that it’s quite the enjoyable plot. Sure, at times in certain episodes the pacing can drag a little bit, but for the most part it moves at a good pace and it’s just a fun plot to follow. Seeing these heroes we’ve come to know and (mostly) love band together to fight a common threat is just really exciting. And overall it is a solid plot, with a couple of (minor) pacing issues.

The characters here are fun, cool, interesting, and quite entertaining. And most of the characters get some really solid development throughout. Charlie Cox once again plays Matt Murdock/Daredevil, and once again he’s great in the role, giving us the blind(ish) catholic badass that we’ve gotten to know. Krysten Ritter once again plays Jessica Jones, the drunken, cynical bitch who has a heart hidden somewhere behind all the whiskey and trauma. And once again she’s great in the role. Mike Colter once again plays Luke Cage, the bulletproof badass with a heart of gold. He’s charming, he’s likable, and Colter is once again great in the role. Finn Jones once again plays Danny Rand/Iron Fist, and I wasn’t the biggest fan of him in his solo show. As a matter of fact, he kind of annoyed me. But here something happened… he’s fun, he’s interesting, and he’s not the worst thing ever. Sure, at times he has some of those whiny moments that can get on one’s nerves, but he’s much more likable/tolerable here than in his own show. And Jones is good in the role. Rosario Dawson once again plays Claire Temple, the Nick Fury of the Netflix shows. And once again she’s fun and cool. And Dawson is great in the role… she’s Rosario Awesome. Jessica Henwick from “Iron Fist” reprises her role as Colleen Wing in this, the interesting and badass love interest of Danny Rand. And once again she’s really good in the role. Elden Henson and Deborah Ann Woll reprises their roles as Foggy Nelson and Karen Page from “Daredevil” here, and while they don’t have the biggest roles in the show, they’re present, and they’re good in their roles. Simone Missick once again plays Misty Knight, her tough cop character from “Luke Cage”, and once again she’s really good in the role. Rachael Taylor once again plays Trish, Jessica’s best friend, and once again she’s great in the role. Wai Ching Ho once again plays Madame Gao, the mysterious lady from “Daredevil” and “Iron Fist”, and once again she’s great. Also, spoiler for “Daredevil” season 2 coming up here, but this is a character important to this show, so I have to mention her… sorry. Elodie Yung plays Elektra, the dead ex-girlfriend of Matt Murdock. But she’s back here, and she’s tough and interesting (more so than in “Daredevil”) and Yung is great in the role. Now, for the newcomer. We get Sigourney Weaver (oh hell yes!) here as Alexandra, the primary antagonist of this show. She’s interesting and I found myself caring about her. And as expected, Weaver is great in the role. Then we get plenty of supporting characters/performances throughout, and they all range from good to great.

The score for the show was composed by John Paesano, the man who handled the music for “Daredevil”. And once again he has succeeded in a score that works very well for the show. It’s big, epic, cool, dramatic, and even at times beautiful. It’s just overall great. There were also a couple of licensed tracks throughout and they were used well. This show has good music.

The show was created by Douglas Petrie & Marco Ramirez, and written/directed by a whole bunch of different people (and don’t get me started on all the producers). And overall this show is quite well crafted in terms of directing and such. The show looks good and feels tight in it’s directing. The action scenes too are quite fun. They’re well choreographed, and you get a clear sense of what is going on in each action scene. It’s just fun seeing all of these guys kick some ass… even Iron Fist. One little detail that I too liked that was noticeable in transitions and the opening credits is that each character gets a specific color to represent them in those situations. I won’t go through each of them as you’ll quickly pick up on them yourself. Just thought I’d quickly mention it.

This show just came out but has so far been well received. On Rotten Tomatoes it has a 79% positive rating and a “Fresh” certification. On Metacritic it has a score of 63/100. And on imdb.com it has a score of 9,0/10. (Keep in mind, these scores can and will change over time, but I will not edit this damn post for that, all these scores are at the time of writing).

Season 1 of “The Defenders” is one hell of an entertaining show. It has a really good plot, great characters, great performances, great music, and great directing. The only flaw I have with it is that in a couple moments throughout the pacing drags a little, but it’s not too deal-breaking for me. Time for my final score. *Ahem*. My final score for “The Defenders” season 1 is a 9,32/10. While mildly flawed, you should definitely watch it!

My review of “The Defenders” season 1 is now completed.

It looks unclear right now, but let’s face it… there will be a season 2 at some point.

“Defenders” trailer!!!

What the fuck is this, trailer day? *Checks to see if Comic Con is going on* Nope, no comic con… there’s jsut a bunch of trailer being released today… sweet.

So we have our first real trailer for “The Defenders”, the next Marvel/Netflix show. We’ve had two teasers before this, but none of them showing any actual footage. But here we have a good look at what’s to come. So what’s this all about then? Well, it’s about Daredevil (Charlie Cox), Jessica Jones (Krysten Ritter), Luke Cage (Mike Colter), and Iron Fist (Finn Jones) teaming up to fight some bad dudes. And it seems like the main bad guys will be Elektra (Elodie Yung) and a mysterious woman named Alexandra (Sigourney Weaver). All set to Nirvana’s “Come As You Are”. So what do I think about this? Holy shit, I am fucking excited! This looks like so much fun. Seeing these characters team up to kick some ass… YEAH! Also, it’s quite refreshing to get a fun/good trailer like this after that disappointingly bad “Dark Tower” trailer. So yeah, I am really excited about this show. All 8 episodes of “The Defenders” is set to be released on August 18th, only on Netflix.

What are your thoughts on this? Are you excited about “The Defenders”? And what’s your favorite of the four Marvel/Netflix shows that came before it? Leave any and all answers in the comments!
Have a good one and enjoy the trailer!

Movie Review: Million Dollar Baby (2004)

Boxing. Two people standing in a small arena, trying to punch the shit out of each other. Yeah, I don’t understand the point of it. That said, I don’t know what the point of any sport’s existence is. Feel free to hate on me for not understanding the appeal/purpose of sports… I don’t care.

Ladies and gentlemen… “Million Dollar Baby”.

Maggie Fitzgerald (Hilary Swank) is a woman determined on becoming a great boxer, so she starts training at a gym owned by old and hardened boxing trainer Frankie Dunn (Clint Eastwood). And soon Frankie takes Maggie under his wing to help her become a great boxer. The story follows them as their relationship evolves while they also go through stuff. While the ideas presented at first glance are very basic and familiar from other boxing movies, the execution of said ideas is much better than a lot of other movies in the genre. Seeing their relationship evolve over the two hour runtime is quite fascinating and it makes for a really solid plot that actually delivers a few devastatingly emotional punches (pun intended) at the right times. So yeah, the plot here is pretty great.

The characters in this movie are all fleshed out and quite interesting. Hilary Swank is terrific as Maggie, perfectly playing this determined woman. She wsa believable in the role and I really cared about her. Clint Eastwood is great as Frankie, giving us the perfect blend of classic Eastwood gruffness and relatable vulnerability. Morgan Freeman (AKA god) plays an employee at Frankie’s gym (while also providing the movie’s narration) and he is absolutely terrific in the role. We also get a bunch of great supporting performances from people like Anthony Mackie, Jay Baruchel, Mike Colter, Brían F. O’Byrne, Michael Peña, and Margo Martindale. So this is a pretty stellar cast.

The score for the movie was composed by… Clint Eastwood? Really? *Does more research*. Yeah, Clint Eastwood composed the music for this movie… surprise. Jokes aside, he did a pretty great job with the music. It’s dramatic, it’s emotional, and it just fits the movie perfectly. Good job, Mr. Eastwood.

This movie was directed by Clint Eastwood and he did a great job. The shots look great and every shot is at the perfect length. Now, since this is a boxing movie we should talk about the boxing scenes. So how are the boxing scenes here? Yeah, they’re pretty great. They’re exciting, intense, and kind of brutal. It all feels quite realistic.

This movie has been very well received. On Rotten Tomatoes it has a 91% positive rating and a “Fresh” certification. On Metacritic it has a score of 86/100. Roger Ebert gave it 4/4 stars. And on imdb.com it has a score of 8,1/10 and is ranked #202 on the “Top 250” list. The movie won 4 Oscar in the categories of Best picture, Best Actress (Swank), Best supporting actor (Freeman), and Best director. It was also nominated for an additional 3 Oscars in the categories of Best actor (Eastwood), Best adapted screenplay, and Best film editing. 

“Million Dollar Baby” is an absolutely fantastic sports-drama. It has a great plot, great characters, great performances, great music, and great directing. Time for my final score. *Punch*. My final score for “Million Dollar Baby” is a 9,88/10. Which of course means that it gets the “SEAL OF APPROVAL!”.

My review of “Million Dollar Baby” is now completed.

Is this one of Eastwood’s best films? Hell yes.

Series Review: Luke Cage – Season 1 (2016)

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Netflix, Marvel. Marvel, Netflix… the combination of the two is something that has gone over really well with people all over the world. So when a new show by those two comes out… people get excited. So, let’s talk about their newest effort.

Ladies and gents, let me introduce you to… “Luke Cage”.

After having survived an experiment that went to shit and gave him super powers, Luke Cage (Mike Colter) finds himself hiding out in Harlem, New York City, trying to just lead a peaceful life. However he finds himself getting dragged into trouble with a local crime boss called Cottonmouth (Mahershala Ali). And that’s about as much as I’m gonna say because there are a lot of things going on throughout the show, and I don’t wanna ruin it. And I was actually surprised by that. Sure, I am aware by now that the Marvel/Netflix shows tend to be pretty layered, but I for some reason expected this show to be a bit more straight forward. But no, this is a layered show that brings up a lot of relevant social issues and handles them pretty damn well. It also features a good amount of twists and intrigue throughout it’s 13 episode run. I also appreciate that the show wasn’t a straight up origin story, but instead just follows Luke in his life, set after “Jessica Jones” and it’s first season. Yes, we get some flashbacks to how he got his powers, but we don’t spend the entire season on that setup. And that is something I really appreciate. I really liked the plot of it all, it was really good.

The characters in the show have a good amount of layers to them and they all work really well within this show. Mike Colter had already been established in “Jessica Jones” to be great as Luke Cage, but it’s here that he truly gets to shine as the character and really come into his own. He’s charismatic, he’s confident, and he’s just perfect in the role. Simone Missick as Detective Misty Knight was great in her role, because she was tough but she wasn’t flawless, she felt like she could be a real human being. Mahershala Ali as Cornell “Cottonmouth” Stokes was also great, playing a cunning but troubled crime boss/club owner. Theo Rossi is one actor that I was really excited for in this show, because I loved him in “Sons of Anarchy” and I wanted to see what he’d do with a role after that show. And he was really good in his role as Shades Alvarez. It was easy to tell that he had a lot of fun with this role. We also get a lot of other great supporting characters/performances throughout that are too numerous to mention. But I am telling you that they’re all great.

The music in the show was composed by Adrian Younge and Ali Shaheed Muhammad and it has a very hip hop feeling to it. And this really works for the show, perfectly playing into the Harlem environment and the overall vibe of the show. There were also some other licensed hip hop tracks throughout that fit really well. There was also a hip hop songs created in collaboration with musician Method Man for the show… and it’s really good. I’m not always a hip hop fan, but I really liked that song.

This is a very well directed show, featuring some great examples of how you frame and shoot certain scenes. I wasn’t as impressed as I was with some of the scenes from “Daredevil”, but I still thought it was really well done. The slower scenes are very well done and the action scenes are really badass. And I was also kind of surprised at teh amount of tension built throughout the show. I think some people could agree that tension would be difficult to build with a bulletproof main character, but the sons of bitches did it… terrifically. Especially towards the latter half of the season, then shit gets really tense. There were also a decent amount of Marvel easter eggs that I picked up on throughout. I am sure I missed a lot of them, but I snatched up a few and that was pretty fun.

This show so far 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 79/100. And on imdb.com it has a score of 9,1/10. Keep in mind that any of these scores can change at any time. I just report on what the sites say at the time of writing this review.

Guys, I’m gonna say it… “Luke Cage” is awesome. It has an engaging and socially relevant plot, great characters and acting, great music, great directing, and great action. Time for my final score. Ahem. My final score for “Luke Cage” is a 9,91/10. That of course means that it gets the “SEAL OF APPROVAL!”.
Seal of Approval

My review of “Luke Cage” season 1 is now completed.

Sweet Christmas…

“The Defenders” – SDCC Teaser Trailer

Howdy, guys and gals of the internets! Why am I seeming a lot dumber than usual? Well that is because I am super excited about this little thing we very recently got. And if you didn’t read the title, we got, straight out of San Diego Comic Con, a teaser trailer for the upcoming Marvel/Netflix show “The Defenders”. So let’s talk about it.

Before we talk about the teaser itself, let’s quickly talk about what “The Defenders” is… for those who don’t already know. “The Defenders” is a team comprising of Daredevil (Charlie Cox), Jessica Jones (Krysten Ritter), Luke Cage (Mike Colter), and Iron Fist (Finn Jones), all of whom already have, or will have their own Netflix shows. You good, all caught up? Nice, let’s talk teasers! So this doesn’t really tell us anything about the plot itself or who the villain might be… but it is still some exciting stuff. Basically we have a sort of wall covered in bits of newspapers and notes, all of which covers an aspect of this team. And in the end we see all of it spelling out the word “defend”. At the end we also get a voice chastizing the team, the voice soundling like the character of Stick (Scott Glenn) who popped up in both seasons of “Daredevil”. All of this set to Nirvana’s “Come As You Are” (Sidenote: Awesome song). Yes, there isn’t much plot revealed here, but maybe that’s for the better. Besides, it’s just a teaser, not a straigh up trailer. Anyhow, I am super excited to see “The Defenders”.

What are your thoughts? Are you looking forward to this show? Are you a fan of the previous two Netflix/Marvel shows? Leave any and all thoughts in the comments.
Have a good one and enjoy the teaser!

Series Review: Jessica Jones – Season 1 (2015)

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With Netflix releasing new shows from Marvel every now and then, I feel like I will lose parts of my week/weekend to those clever bastards. So I guess it’s time to review their second collaboration which came out this friday and got finished by me saturday evening… help me.

Ladies and gentlemen, I’d like you to meet… “Jessica Jones”.

So this show follows former super-heroine, current P.I. Jessica Jones (Krysten Ritter). She’s been struck with PTSD after something that happened to her in the past, which is the reason why she stopped doing the whole superhero thing and became an alcoholic P.I. But everything is not as easy as it may seem since a man named Kilgrave (David Tennant) who did her wrong in the past resurfaces. Jessica also meets Luke Cage (Mike Colter) and they begin a bit of a romance. So Jessica’s got quite a bit on her plate, having to deal with life as a P.I. and finding/stopping Kilgrave. And is the plot presented well? God damn motherfucking hell yeah it is! It is all presented in a very noir way that not only has style, but also works in a very dramatic and actually engaging way.

The characters in this show are about as broken as a vase that’s been dropped from a twenty story building… and they are all the more interesting for it. As previously stated, Jessica is an alcoholic P.I. with PTSD… if that doesn’t sound interesting, then I dodn’t know what does. What makes it interesting is that it makes her a pretty unpredictable character who never really catches a break. And Krysten Ritter does a fantastic job as her. Mike Colter who plays Luke Cage in the show is also great. You really sympathize with him and you wish you could be his friend… mainly because you want a buff guy with indestructible skin on your side. And I gotta talk about David Tennant as Kilgrave because it is David Tennant as the show’s main antagonist. Holy hell, he is great. He is both a charming and threatening villain for the show and he perfectly suits the shows. But seriously, David Tennant does a great job with his performance and I am so happy to se him in such a great role because I really like him as an actor. And I honestly think every other actor in the show were great as well.

The score for the show was composed by Sean Callery who apparently also did the score for shows like “24” and “Homeland”, none of which I have seen. But I won’t let that cloud my judgement and say my basic thoughts on the score for the show. So how did his score hold up? Pretty damn well I would say. It’s cool and great, that’s all I’m gonna say.

This show was brought to us by Melissa Rosenberg who served as a writer, for, the… “Twilight” movies… it seems like we are in great fucking hands (sarcasm overload). But to be serious, while those movies are poorly written, she also wrote for this show and it is actually very well-written so I’ll let her go for now. But what she didn’t do for the show is direct, and maybe that is for the better. What I am trying to say is that the show is very well directed and looks fantastic. It perfectly matches the tone and style of “Daredevil” while still feeling like it’s own thing. And when there is action in the show, it’s pretty great.

I know the show just recently came out, so maybe not that many have seen it yet but I will still see how it’s been received so far. On Rotten Tomatoes it has a 91% positive rating and a “Fresh” certification. On Metacritic it has a score of 81/100. And on imdb.com it has a score of 9,0/10 and is ranked #62 on the “Top 250 TV” list.

“Jessica Jones” is another welcome entry into the Marvel/Netflix catalogue. The show has a great plot, great characters & acting, great music, great writing and great directing. Time for my final score. *Smashes wall*. My final score for “Jessica Jones” is a 9,87/10. It definitely gets the “SEAL OF APPROVAL!”.
Seal of Approval

My review of “Jessica Jones” is now completed.

*Insert clever outro here*.