REEL TO REAL: FAST AND FURIOUS 7 – TRANSFORMERS WITH CARS

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Never watched any of the previous instalments of this lucrative franchise but not knowing anything about what happened in six previous chapters was an advantage. Yes, I know there was some back story as to why Jason Statham’s character (Deckard Shaw) had a bone to pick with Vin Diesel and his crew but it really did not matter.

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THE BOOB TUBE: THE BLACKLIST S02E10 – IT’S ALL A COCK TEASE!

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As predicted last time out, the suggestion that Agent Keen would be spilling the beans about her childhood trauma and the location of the Fulcrum was really a cock tease. It was very much back to the status quo after the events of this Luther Braxton two-parter. And is anyone else getting annoyed by the Illuminati characters that are lurking ubiquitously in the background? Although, to be fair, the ending was intriguing enough to keep things boiling nicely in The Blacklist till the end of the season.

REEL TO REAL: BEFORE I GO TO SLEEP – AN INTERESTING PREMISE THAT FAILS IN EXECUTION

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Written & Directed by Rowan Joffe
Starring Nicole Kidman, Colin Firth & Mark Strong.

When the film begins, you might be forgiven to think that Before I Go To Sleep is a rip-off of Christopher Nolan’s ground-breaking Memento. After all, the protagonist Christine Lucas (Nicole Kidman) is an amnesiac and wakes up every morning with no memory of her life from her early twenties onwards.

However, whereas Memento starts at the end and the story is presented backwards, the story telling in Before I Go To Sleep – barring the odd flashback – is mostly linear. Expect numerous twists and turns along the way as Christine attempts to piece together the truth from her shattered memories.

As much as the premise is interesting (based on the novel of the same name), there is something missing in the execution of this adaptation. Colin Firth is somewhat unconvincing and Kidman herself seems to be in a constant haze. Presumably that is what the script called for but it is difficult to empathize with her character as played.

The plot – without spoiling it for you, dear reader – has quite a few gaps: with the main one being the illogical manner in which the antagonist is allowed to manipulate Christine’s life for such a long time, without anyone being the wiser. But if one is able to ignore these holes, then Before I Go To Sleep is a passable thriller – especially if you are a fan of Ms Kidman.

GONE GIRL: STYLISH BUT ULTIMATELY HOLLOW

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GONE GIRL
Directed by David Fincher. 
Starring Ben Affleck, Rosamund Pike, Neil Patrick Harris & Tyler Perry

When you are watching a movie, you want to like it – after all, you are spending time and money to watch the movie so… wouldn’t you want to like it? I find that increasingly, the more visual eye candy the movie throws my way, the more amenable I am to accept the story flaws that inevitably crop up. But in the case of Gone Girl – director David Fincher’s adaptation of Gillian Flynn’s best selling novel, there are no special effects to distract from the plotline and thus, one would think that it would be easier to determine how successful the story-telling was.

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GEEK OUT! LOVING THE SERIAL KILLER

You might say it began with Dexter.

Remember how it felt all those years ago when you first watched Dexter? You mean, the hero of the show is a serial killer? Mind-blowing, wasn’t it?

Considering how unique and groundbreaking Dexter was, it’s rather amazing that it’s taken almost seven years for more tv series involving serial killers to show up. In 2013, we’ve had The Following, Bates Motel and Hannibal take up Dexter’s challenge. Truth be told, it’s been a mixed bag so far from these three offerings.

The Following actually presents us with an entire cult of serial killers led by the charismatic Joe Carroll (James Purejoy) and pursued by the FBI and former agent Ryan Hardy (Kevin Bacon). The series started out promisingly enough but since then has degenerated into a totally implausible tale, where the FBI is constantly represented as incompetent and helpless whilst Carroll, is somewhat portrayed as an infallible super-villain! Utterly preposterous – the inherent flaw in the plot requires that Carroll never be caught which results in ridiculously unrealistic stories. What is truly amazing is that the series has been renewed for a second season already! Now that is a crime…

Bates Motel is obviously based on elements taken from Alfred Hitchcock’s seminal Psycho movie. A prequel of sorts but set in modern times (the movie was, of course, filmed in the early 60s), Bates Motel is a strange beast and so far rather mystifying. There is a general creepiness about the town in which the Bates (mother Norma and young son Norman – not forgetting older son, Dylan) reside in and there is a sense of a dark underbelly to the town in question. The leads (Vera Famiga and Freddie Highmore) do credible jobs with their respective roles and there is enough brand awareness to keep viewers interested (as evidenced by the series being renewed for a second season) but overall, I am waiting for the series to deliver a more than average impact.

Although only the premiere has aired thus far, Bryan Fuller’s re-imagining of Thomas Harris’ Red Dragon holds the greatest promise of the trio. Focusing on the relationship between special FBI investigator Will Graham (Hugh Dancy) and psychiatrist Hannibal Lector (Mads Mikkelsen), there is much to admire in Hannibal. The genuine attempt made to connect the audience with Graham’s fraught psycho-analytical experiences and Mikkelsen’s deliciously dark portrayal of the sinister Lecter, makes Hannibal one of the more surprisingly successful TV series revolving around a serial killer.

With Dexter on its last legs, I am betting on Hannibal to deliver the thrills, spills and yes, the kills, in the weeks to come.