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Feb 282015
 

Nimoy

I grew up in the 60s and thus Star Trek was a massive influence on my love for science fiction and space opera. Leonard Nimoy in his role as Mr. Spock was instrumental in making Star Trek the iconic series it has become almost 50 years later. Nimoy passed away on 27th February at the age of 83. One of his final memorable roles was as Dr William Bell in Fringe, where even in his latter years, he was an imposing presence. He will never be forgotten.

Found this moving tribute at Youtube from The New York Times.

Live long and prosper, Mr Nimoy…

Feb 262015
 

Well, it’s been slim pickings regarding the Fantastic Four reboot even after the release of the teaser trailer. But Empire has first pictures and here they are!

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It’s Reed Richards (Miles Teller) in some kind of astronaut suit with Tim Blake Nelson (who is playing the Mole Man) in the background.

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Susan Storm (Kate Mara) in a black outfit with bodies on the floor.

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Feb 252015
 

Walking Dead 511 - 1

Possibly one of the best Walking Dead episodes in recent memory and it was achieved without having to kill a major character! All it did was examine the question of trust in the post-apocalyptic world of The Walking Dead. After having suffered at the hands of the Governor and the cannibals of Terminus, it’s easy to understand Rick’s reluctance to trust anybody. But what if someone comes along and tells Rick and group that there is a relative paradise waiting for them? Too good to be true? When does playing safe become dangerous? For Michonne, that time to trust a stranger like Aaron is now, and finally Rick has to decide whether he can do so and put his children potentially at risk.

It’s as simple as that but of course, it isn’t simple at all and the tension and drama flows from the audience asking the same question that Rick does – can we trust these people? Well, can we?

Feb 232015
 

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Definitely the most intense season 2 episode thus far as Amy ramps up her plans to get away from Brother Michael and the island. One cannot blame her considering the outrageous revelations made concerning the relationship between Brother Michael and herself. The most unlikely villainess but kudos to the writers for making it so. The CDC team is not in good shape either as the mistrust bred amongst them threatens to destroy them, even as Alan Farragate plays his role as agent provocateur to perfection.

On Julia’s side, the writers chose to tell her story not from the ’30 years later’ perspective but a background tale on what happened after Julia joined the Ilaria Corporation. Disorientating to say the least. Not sure why the writers decided to make that jump as it does not seem to add anything to the ‘present day’ narrative whatsoever. Am just wondering how long it will take for Brother Michael and/or the CDC team to figure out that Amy is behind everything.

Feb 212015
 

Marvel_Studios

10 films that have changed the face of the movie industry. 10 films that exist within an unprecedented shared universe. 10 films that have collectively grossed over US$7 billion worldwide. Yes, there’s no doubt that commercially, the MCU films have done fantastically well but what about creatively? Can the films stand up to critical scrutiny or is their popularity a product of marketing hype and nothing more? Let’s investigate.

IRON MAN (2008)

IronMan-1

You know the story. Grossing over $500 million worldwide, Iron Man was an unexpected mega-hit for Marvel Studios’ first venture, marking the comeback of Robert Downey Jr and making the movie industry sit up and take notice. The post-credits scene was used for the first time, to introduce the concept of the MCU to movie audiences as Nick Fury said the words “Avengers Initiative” as a promise of things to come. Putting aside the milestones, it’s worthy to remember that this Jon Favreau-helmed film was very well made with strong performances from Jeff Bridges (Obadiah Stane), Gwyneth Paltrow (Pepper Potts) and Terence Howard (James Rhodes). The age of Marvel (films) had begun. (9/10)

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Feb 212015
 

AgentCarter107-2

Things are looking grim for Peggy and the SSR. She has been captured and accused of high treason whilst Dr Ivchenko is free to work his manipulative hypnotism and instruct fellow Leviathan agent Dottie in his evil schemes. Jarvis tries his best to assist but ends up making things worse. Thompson and Souza have mixed emotions about Peggy as the evidence conflicts with their experience of Peggy himself. Chief Dooley has no such qualms and falls prey easily to Ivchenko’s machinations.

Slowly but surely, Thompson and Souza come to their senses and realize that Peggy is telling the truth but it is too late for poor Chief Dooley and pays the ultimate price for trusting Ivchenko. This episode also reveals what Ivchenko’s plans are and it is surprisingly similar to that of Richmond Valentine’s in Kingsman: The Secret Service. Great minds think alike? Or is there a paucity of ideas in the ‘genre’?

Either way, it sets up brilliantly for the final episode. Considering how long it took Agents of SHIELD not to suck, I say give Agent Carter more episodes!

Feb 202015
 

Arrow 314-1

Like Thea, viewers of Arrow might be getting a little exasperated at the little twists and turns the CW series needs to take, in order to tell its stories. The last few episodes have been tough on Oliver’s little sister as she has had to deal with an almighty info dump and this latest episode was probably the worst, when she discovered that she was responsible for Sara Lance’s murder. The episode was a bit of a stopgap, serving as an incredulous training lesson meted out by Malcolm Merlyn (why do the Queen siblings continue to trust him when he has proven time and again to be untrustworthy?) but at least brought back Wilson Slade/Deathstroke for more unnecessary violent fun.

In the flashback narrative, Oliver finds himself back in Starling five years ago with Maseo (who is one of the brighter cast additions) which leads to Oliver acquiring his fathers guilty list notebook (remember?). Naturally, the show could not resist throwing in familiar faces into this mix – 2010’s version Tommy, Laurel, John, Felicity, Thea and a drunk Det. Lance all featured in mostly character-revealing moments with the introduction of Lt. Matthew Shrieve (Marc Singer!) at the conclusion spicing things up once again.

But in the present day, things need to move forward with the Ra’s Al Ghul plot line and soon. C’mon!

Feb 182015
 

The-Walking-Dead-S05E10-1

After the traumatic episodes on both sides of the mid-season break, this episode caught up with our merry band of survivors to find them struggling with a crisis of faith. Season 5 has seen more death, more disaster, more peril than ever before. Inevitably, the question must be broached – what’s the point of going on? Why not just give up? For Maggie, Sasha and Daryl, it seems as if their will to live has gone, even as Beth and Tyreese have gone. The pain is difficult to take and it does not help that the group is exhausted running out of food and water as they make the long trek to Washington D.C.

Quite like episode 9, there is a lyrical, poetic quality to “Them” as the group’s grapples with their biggest challenge – not walkers and not evildoers but themselves. After all, if you cannot convince yourself to keep living, then the battle is already over. This is encapsulated by Rick when he says – “… we are the walking dead” even as the group shelters from the storm. However, moments later when the will to survive is given the ultimate test, the group collectively brave the storm and live to fight another day. Kudos to the writers for giving us yet another deep episode without compromising on zombie kills.

One of the best series on TV now. But you knew that.

Feb 172015
 

JupiterJones

Written and directed by Lana and Andy Wachowskis.
Starring Channing Tatum, Mila Kunis, Sean Bean & Eddie Redmayne.

Where do I begin? The fact that Jupiter Ascending had two previous release dates in 2014 before settling on February 2015 was already cause of concern. Add to that the dodgy trailer hinted of a ridiculously fantastical plot, lame dialogue and over the top epic sequences did not help comfort the unease.

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Feb 162015
 

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Peggy is in big trouble and so is the SSR. The agents of Leviathan have the upper hand and SSR is not even aware of this. SSR wrongfully accuse Peggy of being a spy and most of the episode is spent demonstrating Peggy evades capture until the end where she is subdued in unique fashion, to say the least.

With only two episodes left, it will be intriguing to see how Peggy and the SSR get out of this mess.

Feb 152015
 

Firestorm

The secret origin of Firestorm! It took some time but finally The Flash revealed to us how Martin Stein and Ronnie Raymond merged to become the Nuclear Man. In the meantime, Joe West recruits Cisco Ramon to investigate further the death of Barry Allen’s mother, with Dr Harrison Wells being the prime suspect.

Well written overall, with emotional resonance but somehow Firestorm’s lack of a costume made him look terribly lame. But Cisco’s investigation turns out some shocking results and the cliff-hanger ending kept the interest high. And.. where is Grodd?

Feb 132015
 

kingsman

Directed by Matthew Vaughn
Written by Jane Goldman and Matthew Vaughn
Starring Colin Firth, Samuel L. Jackson, Mark Strong, Taron Egerton, Michael Caine.

This movie adaptation of the Mark Millar – Dave Gibbons comic (co-plotted by Vaughn) has a lot going for it. Strong cast, comic timing and fantastical settings. Underpinned by Millar’s stock in trade themes of the unlikely hero being thrust into an unimaginable new world (previously explored in Kick Ass and Wanted).

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Feb 062015
 

The_Flash_Grant_Gustin-29

Disappointingly, no development of the Reverse-Flash story line but instead we are pushed into the direction of Firestorm as Hartley Rathaway reveals the mystery of the disappearance of Ronnie Raymond and Martin Stein.

On the side, Barry Allen has some down time with Caitlin Snow, which provides the show’s lighter moments. At the centre of attention – Peekaboo, a teleporter whom Flash and the team have to overcome.

A typically good episode for The Flash, with different plot strands being examined in the coming weeks.

Jan 302015
 

Vice_poster

VICE
Directed by Brian A. Miller
Starring Thomas Jane and Bruce Willis.

B-grade scifi of the worst kind. Nothing even makes any sense whatsoever.
Premise – VICE is the ultimate paradise, where patrons can commit any crime they want without fear – as the offenses are perpetuated on androids (or “artificials” as they are called in the movie).

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Jan 272015
 

Screen shot 2015-01-27 at PM 10.43.23

Finally, the first teaser trailer for the new Fantastic Four movie arrives and frankly, it’s looks fine to me. After all the trepidation of the supposedly ‘un-superheroic’ approach of the reboot, the movie comes across like a Warren Ellis comic book, specifically Ultimate Fantastic Four!

Of course, the movie could still suck but at this point of time, I am looking forward to see what Josh Trank has come up with. Check it out!

Jan 182015
 

man-in-the-high-castle

Directed by David Semel.
Starring Alexa Davalos, Rupert Evans, Luke Kleintank.

Now, this was unexpected. A TV adaptation of Philip K Dick’s classic scifi novel of the same name, The Man in the High Castle has been produced (by Ridley Scott!) with its pilot just been released (FREE) and is definitely worth watching!

For those unfamiliar with the novel, in The Man in the High Castle, Dick imagines an alternative reality where the Axis powers won WWII and split the USA between them viz. Japanese Pacific States (West Coast) and Greater Nazi Reich (East Coast). The plot revolves around the daily life of the inhabitants of this reality in 1962.

Overall, the pilot is rather slow paced but it builds the world imagined by Dick brilliantly. One is kept guessing throughout this episode but it lays down sufficient groundwork to keep interest high. Especially with the twist at the very end, I can’t wait to watch the rest of this ambitious series.

Jan 132015
 

Screen shot 2015-01-13 at AM 10.20.44

The 2nd trailer for the much anticipated Avengers: Age of Ultron is out now. Although Ultron is set up to the villain of the piece, it does appear – based on this trailer – that internal strife within the Avengers ranks is the real enemy. If so, this plot point would lead us nicely into Captain America: Civil War.

Date of release: 30th April (Singapore)

Jan 072015
 

Ant-Man-poster-1

Our first proper look at the Ant-Man movie is a teaser trailer that comes with a Hank Pym (Michael Douglas) voice-over, as Pym attempts to convince the convicted felon Scott Lang (Paul Rudd) to become the Ant-Man (or ‘Ent-Man’ as Douglas pronounces it!).

After the speech, Lang responds with typically Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) light humor and whilst the action montage does not seem that exciting (the special effects of Ant-Man and trademark flying ant was underwhelming), it’s too early to draw any conclusions.

Evangeline Lilly looks hot as Hope Van Dyne (Pym’s daughter with Janet Van Dyne) but everything else is a blur. No clue as yet how they are going to handle this idea of Pym being a elder gentleman and how the MCU history will handle the original Ant-Man and even Wasp. All to be revealed on 17th July.

Jan 062015
 

Peanuts_GoogleP_Cover copy

Now, here’s one that I am looking forward to! As a kid, I loved Charles M Schulz’s timeless comic strip although at the time, I thought it was named after it’s main character, Charlie Brown. I remember all the animated movies when I was younger as well – all good fun. Finally, a proper 3D movie adaptation will be released in November this year and based on the trailer, it looks pretty much faithful to what has gone before. Produced by Blue Sky Studios, the folks behind Ice Age and Rio, the Peanuts Movie promises to be excellent fare for all ages!

Jan 042015
 

WhiteChristmas

Directed by Carl Tibbets. Written by Charlie Brooker.
Starring Jon Hamm, Oona Chaplin, Rafe Spall, Natalia Tena. 

Black Mirror is one of the smartest sci-fi horror TV anthology series ever produced – “a Twilight Zone for the Twitter age” as a reviewer aptly put it. The series debuted in 2011 on BBC and thus far six episodes (three in each season) have been made covering issues relating to the impact of technology on modern life. Without wanting to spoil anything, let’s say that these six episodes are essential viewing for geeks everywhere.

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GEEK OUT! ANT-MAN TEASER

 FILM  Comments Off
Jan 042015
 

Ant-Man-poster

Fans will recall how Marvel released an ant-sized teaser trailer a couple of days ago? Well, enough of the PR gimmicks, here’s the full-sized teaser, with the proper trailer coming out on 7th January.

Ant-Man stars Paul Rudd, Evangeline Lilly & Michael Douglas and will be in Singapore cinemas on 16th July 2015.

… still there’s more … 

 

Jan 012015
 

Seventh_Son_Poster

Directed by Sergei Bodrov
Starring Jeff Bridges, Ben Barnes, Julianne Moore. 

Generally speaking, fantasy movie adaptations do not perform well at the box office, the Lord of the Rings/Hobbit and Harry Potter films, notwithstanding. Ironically, the very elements that made the original books popular are usually the first things to be changed in a movie adaptation, leaving the film an empty husk, full of cliches and tropes.

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