Locke & Key (S1) | Beautiful & Creepy

Adapted from the supernatural horror graphic novels of the same name by Joe Hill (Horns) and Gabriel Rodriguez, Locke & Key is brought to the small screen by Netflix and stars Emilia Jones (Brimstone, High Rise), Connor Jessup (American Crime), Jackson Robert Scott (It, It Chapter 2), and Darby Stanchfield (Scandal, Mad Men).

Premise: Three siblings who move into their ancestral estate after their father’s gruesome murder discover their new home’s magical keys, which must be used in their stand against an evil creature who wants the keys and their powers.

Review: The beginning of the show is very suspenseful, and somewhat whimsical, but at the same time you can feel the darkness creeping in the edges. Then when that first piece of darkness comes it’s a bit jarring – I’m talking about the dad’s storyline. I love how it unfolds, the mystery is peeled layer after layer masterfully. And the effect that storyline has on each character involved is well written and portrayed.

The comedic aspects of the show is smartly sprinkled throughout the story and counterbalances what could have been a heavy depressing series. Speaking of heavy stuff, it was weird how everyone seems to revel in the Lockes’ trauma.

As for individual characters, Bode (Jackson Robert Scott), the youngest of the Locke’s kids is too old and too smart not to have blabled about Dodge – the scary well lady – and stressed on how dangerous she was. Kinsey (Emilia Jones) keeps putting herself in situations that would trigger traumatic memories, and her broey brother, Tyler (Jessup) is just acting stupid. The older two are too nonchalant about the keys or the lady when they hear about her. It’s all the more jarring when you know they’ve been through some serious stuff so they should have been on high alert the minute they found out about the keys or the “scary well lady.”

By the way I’m taking about my feelings towards the characters’ actions is a testament to the writing and the acting. Take kinsey for example, Jones, the actress, was so convincing has the shy introvert girl that the shift into a fearless version of herself is palpable. Tyler turns out to have more depth than the first episodes suggested. Stanchfield and Jackson Robert Scott are just damn good and make their characters

The cinematography is crisped and beautiful, it melds the grounded and whimsical aspects of the series very well. The directors they picked for the show complemented each other and subtlety sectioned the show in two hour chunks.

Locke & Key is very easy and pleasant to watch. It’s a fantasy thriller with a perfect amount of horror and drama.

Rating: 8 out of 10.

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You (S3) | Exploring The Lies We All Tell To The World

Netflix’s psychological drama with the adorkable serial killer Joe Goldberg played by Penn Badgley (Gossip Girl) is back for a third season. The series see the return of Saffron Burrows (Agent of Shields) and Victoria Pedretti (The Haunting of Hill House, Bly Manor) from season two, joining newly cast Travis Van Winkle (Instinct, The Last Ship), Shalita Grant (NCIS: New Orleans, Special), Tati Gabrielle (CAOS) and Dylan Arnold (After We Collided, After).

Last seasons: After first meeting Joe Goldberg in New York, where he developed an extreme, toxic, and delusional obsession with Guinevere Beck, a customer from the bookstore where he worked. When the relationship with Beck sours – to put it mildly – and old demons comes back to haunt him, Joe moves to Los Angeles, changes his name to Will, and falls in Love with local heiress Love Quinn. His tumultuous time in L.A. came with a ton of surprises, pone of which the fact that Joe and Love have more in common than Joe first thought.

Premise: How do a couple of sociopaths like Joe and Love feel about being expectant parents and other conventional norms – especially when they have an exponentially messy series of murders to cover up ?

Review: The end of season two could have a happy ending for Joe, who now lives in the suburbs, he’s married to Love – who knows about his dark past and has one of her own – and they are also expecting their first child together. It could have been a series finale, if one is ok with Joe getting away with what he’s done but in the last seconds of the episodes it becomes apparent that Joe will never change. At first, I did not know how this move into suburbia was going to impact the show but F**k! it made it very interesting. It was nerve-racking, hot, sad and exciting at the same time.

Their new location brought a slew of new and interesting characters, like Joe and Love they have a darker side to them. They might not be as twisted as the Quinn-Goldberg couple but they all have their secrets and present a different persona to the rest of the world. I guess the tag line “Living their best lies” has more meaning than I first thought. Throughout the season, old and new characters have quite the interesting arc. The series focus on different types of relationships, how they work, and makes a good case for working on what you have t make it as good as you’d like it to be instead of constantly looking for better and more elsewhere.

For a moment things even looked like they were going to follow the same pattern with Joe’s newest obsession but they didn’t, it was worse. Having similar personalities didn’t seem to make Love and Joe the best dynamic duo that I thought they would be but a good team. Seeing a couple of sociopaths trying to act normal despite their dark impulses slipping through was fun. I also enjoyed seeing Joe explore new things and loved seeing him struggle through them. The moments with the therapist were gold, filled with dark humor like a lot of the season.

However when it comes to Love, the show kind of leaned toward a “Bitches be crazy” trend that I didn’t like, it was even highlighted by Joe’s – hypocritical – inner monologue when it came to Love and his relationship with her. She was the only one working the relationship while Joe was looking for a shiny new thing. Ultimately I don’t think that they were a great match even with their similar past and personalities because they wanted different things.

You S3 was thrilling but there is a formula to the series that is starting to get old. The writers have been good about managing Joe’s impulses, which probably won’t change, but within those parameters there’s still ways to switch it up.

Rating: 8.5 out of 10.

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One of Us Is Lying (Premiere) | I hope they keep this up

Review: I had no idea this was in the works but when I found out I went ahead and read the book – that was sitting on a virtual shelf for four years. So going in I didn’t know anything about the casting or the production, so I’m not going to wine about actors not looking like fictional characters unless they’re sh!t at their job.

What I immediately liked in the first minutes of the show was the preview of Simon’s next four posts as we were first introduced to the main suspects, I mean characters. The “subtle” John Hughes reference was also appreciated, and the way they streamlined some storylines – I’m not going to go into specifics but it the makes show a little more exciting.

As for the cast they are pretty spot on with the stereotypes that their characters represent. I’m pleasantly surprised by the premiere and I hope the show will keep it up it’ll continue.

Rating: 8 out of 10.

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What If…? (S1) | The Multiverse Saga in All Its Glory

Review: What If was an interesting ride with each episode posing their own question with surprising results. The pilot set the tone very well even if for the fans that re-watch The Infinity Saga on the regular it might have seem a bit repetitive. Just like the saga it’s mirror after some episodes held more interest and excitement for me than others, in fact each episode ended up being like the movies with the finale acting as the first Avengers (2012) movie, making this season of the show a Multiverse Saga.

Looking at each episode as a “movie” in the Multiverse Saga I do have my favorites, ones that I’d watch again. The Captain Carter episode, the T’Challa Star-Lord one, the Killmonger episode, and of course the finale are my favorites. However what’s interesting about all of them – more than the story, than the question that episode answered – is the display of powers and abilities. Throughout the season there were amazing action sequences, some more impressive – and of course easier to do in animation – than the movies. We’ve seen characters we know using their abilities and team up in a way we have yet to see in the movies, and that alone is exciting. It opens up some many possibilities for future action sequences in live action.

Another thing that What If smoothly does this season and more so in the Finale, is setting up future threat and heroes to join the live action timeline. I know a Black Widow, a Steve Rogers, or a Killmonger to name a few that would be interesting to bring into live action. In fact, if what I heard about Doctor Strange and the Multiverse of Madness is true that pocket dimension won’t be guarded for long.

What If is enjoyable and fun, visually exciting, sometimes emotionally rough and gives us a different look at the characters we know.

Rating: 8 out of 10.

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The Wheel of Time | Trailer

  • Writer: Robert Jordan (Novels), Rafe Judkins (Showrunner),
  • Directors: Uta Briesewitz, Salli Richardson-Whitfield, Wayne Yip
  • Stars: Rosamund Pike, Josha Stradowski, Marcus Rutherford, Zoë Robins, Barney Harris, Madeleine Madden, Daniel Henney

The Wheel Of Time premieres on the 19 November 2021.

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What If…? (Pilot) | Review

A.C. Bradley (Head writer) Bryan Andrews (Director)

CAST
Hayley Atwell
Josh Keaton
Dominic Cooper

Sebastian Stan
Jeffrey Wright

Review: When I first saw images of this show, I wasn’t impressed by the animation style at all, but enough time has passed since then for me to get used to that What If look and this first episode is so strong that it doesn’t matter. Captain America: The First Avengers (2011) is one of the Marvel Cinematic Universe movies that I’ve only seen once in fact it’s my least favorite of the films. However, it didn’t stop me from enjoying this entire episode. I bet that if the 2011 movie was fresher in my mind, it would have enhanced the experience a bit.

The pilot episode does shift the MCU in a new direction by smoothly introducing this what if scenarios. There’s a lot of story in this 30 min episode and it’s not just about the gender bending of captain America but the creation of an alternate universe with a captain that acts and moves in its own way. Captain Carter is a total brawler and yet graceful, it makes for amazing looking fight scenes that have a

Rating: 8 out of 10.

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Loki (S1) | A Somewhat Complex Talkathon

I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again, out of all the Marvel Cinematic Universe Television Series that were announced Loki was the one that I was the most excited for. Not because I am a Loki or Tom Hiddleston mega stan – Hiddleston can get it I’ll admit that – but the look, the feel of the show and the time element sold me on it. The head writer Michael Waldron was not known to me but I’ve seen and enjoyed Ricky and Morty; same thing for the director Kate Herron (Daybreak, Sex Education). However, I had to admit that the rest of the cast was both known to me and surprised the heck out of me. I mean we have Owen Wilson (Marley & Me, Inherent Vice), Gugu Mbatha-Raw (Come Away, Concussion, Belle, Miss Sloane), Sophia Di Martino (Yesterday, Into the Badlands), Richard E. Grant (Star Wars IX, The Nutcracker, Logan, GoT), and Wunmi Mosaku (Lovecraft Country, The End of the F***ing World, Philomena).

Premise: In Avengers: Endgame – where an alternate version of Loki created a new timeline when he stole the Tesseract – the TVA (Time Variance Authority), a bureaucratic organization that exists outside of time and space who monitors the timeline. They give that alternate Loki a choice: face being erased from existence due to being a “time variant”, or help fix the timeline to stop a greater threat. Loki ends up trapped in his own crime thriller, traveling through time and altering human history.

Review: Not sure what I expected the series to be but this ain’t it, and I’m glad about it. The show is a bit more complex and smarter than I would have guessed. It’s designed for a specific type of fan, one that knows the MCU like the back of his hand, who loves to speculate about it, and would pick up on the many implications the series has.

By putting the 2014 Avengers’ Loki in this situations, being outside of the MCU we know and protecting it from anything that might disturb it. From a character’s perspective, it gets a bit fascinating because we know the growth Loki’s capable of, he can become a somewhat nice guy. However the one in the show is still angry and bitter, just like ours was back in 2014. So the process of getting him where we know he could be starts anew and that is, when I think about it, the redundant part of the show. As great as it was to see the old Loki back in the beginning of the season, it kind of gets old because regressions aren’t very fun to watch. I think it’s why Mobius is a lifeline at the start, and when he wasn’t there, he was missed.

Since this Loki has a different experience during the series, the road to get him where we know he can be wasn’t very exciting for me. For a good chunk of it the show seemed a bit slow, not much was happening, there was a lot of talking, but it was necessary. We needed the time to redefine the 2014 Loki. The quips, the memorable lines, and the visuals in the series were a good distraction but the show wasn’t as exciting as WandaVision or Falcon and The Winter Soldier got by the second half of the season.

Despite amazing action scenes, the story is cerebral throughout, like a chess game. The main vilain being a bit abstract, a vague entity that they’re up against and that we don’t really know, the action scenes have a different impact. To me Loki is best when he has a clear concrete foe, someone we know, which is why I think season two will be even better. We’ve met that vilain, a variant at least, and by the time next season rolls out we will have learn more about that enemy.

Pacing and story aside the cast does a great job, casting is key here. They are one of the reasons why I was so engaged. When the pace was a bit slow, the story not developing fast enough, they kept me entertained. The visuals were also amazing, hands down more impressive than all the shows so far. It helped getting immerse in the story but also with the scope. It very much felt like what was happening in this show will have repercussions not only on the main characters but on the cinematic universe at large.

So season 1 of Loki is visually striking, fun, very well acted and a great primer for the following MCU films and the upcoming season 2.

Rating: 7 out of 10.

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