Sunday, June 18, 2017

Orange Is the New Black Season Six

Orange Is the New Black just kicked off its sixth season after leaving a heart dropping cliffhanger that would change the environment of the show. Season five took a dark twist when Litchfield Prison became a privately-owned facility instead of a public. The guards tormented the inmates by abusing their power, living conditions became less than moderate with poor working conditions, and the inmates began to rebel for it. They protested and did what they could to make themselves heard to a deaf corporation. In the end, Poussey Washington was accidentally killed during a protest which lead to the uprising and season finale.
The inmates are still mourning the loss of beloved character Poussey, the guards are now the prisoners, and the prison has become an asylum. The season starts after revealing the fate of the guard who caused the cliffhanger last season and that’s when things start spiraling out of control. Upset by the response in regard to Poussey’s death, the inmates hold the warden and several others hostage until certain demands are met with the help of the media. Instead, the inmates see how society views people in prison, their worth as human beings and how that needs to change. This season is unique among its previous ones for several reasons.
In the first season, Piper Chapman was the focus of the show, but her exposure this season is minimal compared to the others. The focus of this season is on Poussey’s best friend, Tasha Jefferson or Taystee. Another reason is this season only happens during the time frame of a couple days instead of different times. The final reason is this season introduces the audience to the response of a riot inside the prison and it’s a bloody response. Warden Joe Caputo tries desperately to keep it from happening, even making a point by saying both inmates and hostages get killed in the process of retaking the prison.
This season is par compared to the others story wise, but Danielle Brooks (Taystee) did a fantastic job standing in the main spot. The show starts closing a lot of doors throughout the episodes and giving great backstories on several characters just like it always has. The downside to this season is it seem to go nowhere for a few episodes and some people may not like the outcome for certain characters this season. It only gets darker in Litchfield and there’s no sign of light at the end of the season. There will be more questions left at the end of this season and the main one is, “What now?”

Orange Is the New Black is the show that put Netflix on the map and it’s trying hard to meet that bar that was set back in the first season. The show exposes a lot to the audience who may not know what happens when the inmates take over the prison and what happens in response. The show was filled with powerful messages created by painful heartbreaks that will connect with the viewers who’ve been paying attention to current events. The bad news is they’ll be wanting answers they won’t get for another season; my advice is take your time watching this season. If you watch it all at once, then you’ll be just like me waiting for football season, you’ll feel like you’ve been waiting forever.     

Friday, June 9, 2017

Are You The Mummy?

I just couldn’t resist the pun and give a quick shout out to all my fellow whovians out there who read my blog. The latest remake of a classic horror movie was released last night with mixed reactions from skeptics reeling from the previous failed trilogy. The last Mummy trilogy started off strong, but slowly died a painful death in 2008 which lead to Universal taking a hiatus from continuing its monster movie ambitions. Now Universal is following the same trend with Marvel Studios and DC Comics expanding their characters into this “Universe Era.” Universal plans on remaking all their monsters and throwing them into their recently announced Dark Universe.

The Mummy, it’s one of the most iconic monster movies since its first release back in 1932 with the legendary Boris Karloff. Universal has released several sequels and reboots since; the latest started in 1999. It was a trilogy with Brendan Fraser, Rachel Weisz and was directed by Stephen Sommers that tried to follow the original story but with a twist here and there. The first one peeked interest with a decent story and good action but delivered little horror or terror. The same goes for the reboot which is a great action film, but it’s a bust as a horror film.

The film starts off strong with introducing the audience to Ahmanet, the new mummy, played by Sofia Boutella (Star Trek Beyond, Kingsman: The Secret Service). Universal decided to take a different direction with the mummy by introducing a femme fatale type character and it works to a degree. Tom Cruise does a decent job doing his action hero routine with great CGI and intense sequences of events. It was a surprise seeing Russell Crowe in his role as another iconic character but you only see his better half for a few minutes. There’s also great Easter eggs teasing the future releases of more monster flicks, if this film is successful financially.

It’s a much darker film than the previous films and the story is creative; but that’s where the praising ends. The film begins its downward spiral with unrealistic transitions, meaningless dialogue and the absence of horror. The comic relief was barely there with Jake Johnson (Jurassic World) and the chemistry is lacking realism between Tom Cruise and Annabelle Wallis. The new look of the mummy is attractive, but one of the key signatures is the four pupils in her eyes. Those pupils are obscure most of the time and virtually irrelevant; if this was a way of separating Ahmanet from Imhotep, then it wasn’t necessary.

The biggest complaint of The Mummy is the fact that there is nothing scary about it. The reason monster movies became so popular is because they were terrifying and gave us nightmares. There’s nothing terrifying about this film; all this film is about is action and that makes for a good film but not a monster movie. I give this film a 6 out of 10 because of its creativity in trying to take a new direction with a classic, but it forgot the key element needed for The Mummy. If Universal is going to continue with their Dark Universe, then they need to take a step back and realize why Dracula, The Mummy and Frankenstein were hits to begin with.

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Answer to a Friend's Blog.

"A rose is supposed to be the representation of love. If that's true then why does a rose have thorns that cut you and why does it have to die." Amber, a friend of mine once asked me that a long time ago and it took me a long time to finally answer this question. It takes a long time because love is a very powerful marvel. I believe a simply "I love you" answers a lot of complicated questions. When there is a great truth to be discovered, then you must first experience this before you can see the truth. Here is why a rose represents love, but also has thorns and must die.
A rose represents love, but has thorns because like being in love, it must be handled carefully. You need to treat it with respect and be careful not to mishandle it. You can't be careless handling the one you hold just because there may be roses with less thorns. If you do then eventually, you will be cut and when that happens, you’re scarred for life. You will have a scar that will take a lifetime to heal and never go away, that cut will always remind you of your loss. That is why the rose has its thorns.

Now why does a rose die? That's the hardest part of the question, but I remembered everyone I ever loved and it came to me. A rose must die because love must be cherished. If love was eternal and always around then the inevitable outcome is that it would be taken for granted. Love should never be taken for granted. Like with people, roses must be loved while we have them because everything that is born must die, so we must appreciate the time we have with them. A rose is the perfect representation of love and these are my reasons why I believe so.

Friday, June 2, 2017

Wonder Woman Unleashed!

DC Comics and Warner Bros didn’t have a good year with critics in 2016 with terrible reviews plaguing Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice and Suicide Squad. While both films made money and fan reactions were moderate at best, the future of the DC Cinematic Universe was in question. But last night was a revival for fans of the superhero genre and DC Comics with the release of Wonder Woman. The house was packed, the anticipation was high, and the only thing heard after the end of the film was thunderous applause. It’s a victory not only for DC comics, but for fans who want to see more film adaptions based on female comic book characters.  

The last time a film adaption based on a female comic book character was Elektra, played by Jennifer Garner in 2005. It was a film that received little praise and profit; much like another adaption, Catwoman, starring Halle Berry in 2004. With these failures looming over DC Comics and Marvel Studios, it was believed that there was no market for female characters. That all changed after the release of Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice when fans were introduced to Gal Gadot who was cast as the famous amazon. While the film itself was a critical disaster, interest in Gadot as Wonder Woman pushed plans forward for her own solo film.

The film takes place sometime after Suicide Squad and introduces the audience to Diana’s private life in the modern world until she receives a gift. Upon opening this gift, she’s has her flashback which is where her origin begins. Growing up on an island where the Amazons don’t age and constantly train to fight for a war they believe will never come. Then plans come crashing down with the arrival of Steve Trevor (Chris Pine), who fans know from his appearance in the comics and cartoons. He warns the Amazons of what’s been going on outside of their home and that’s what sends Diana down her path to become the hero she’s destined to be.

This film was two and a half hours but it really didn’t feel like that because of all the action. It starts off slow with the introductions for a few minutes but that’s it. There was plenty of comedy and the fighting choreography was excellent, as was the chemistry between Gal Gadot and Chris Pine. This Wonder Woman is far more violent than the one featuring the iconic Lynda Carter who unfortunately doesn’t make a cameo. The soundtrack was amazing, the cinematography was top notch, and Gal Gadot did justice to the character and her views about “Man’s World.”

The main antagonist in the film was adequate and it was good to see a small twist near the end. The film didn’t hold back when it came to showing the horrors of World War I and Chris Pine did a fantastic job as the famous spy and love interest. The only negative thing I could say about this film was the main antagonist, who near the end became overloaded with CGI. The main fight nearly crossed the line between acceptable boundaries and flat out ridiculousness. The way the fight ended was also sort of a letdown, it didn’t end in the best way possible in my opinion.

Overall, Wonder Woman has saved DC Comics and Warner Bros from a possible grim future. It was a gamble for DC after the harsh backlash from critics and mixed fan reactions last year, but if you’re a fan of Wonder Woman or superheroes in general, this film is for you. My only hope is that DC takes notes and continues to push forward in this direction if they hope to catch up with Marvel Studios and their success. This film gets a nine out of ten and that’s only because of the overload of CGI in the main fight, but overall this is the best film DC has released since The Dark Knight. It’s well worth the price of admission and if you go, there’s nothing after the film, enjoy.