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!
Better Call Saul is almost Breaking Bad in reverse. Basically, for fans of the latter, we already know ‘Saul Goodman’ as the unscrupulous, immoral shyster lawyer. This prequel/sequel of sorts is telling us the story of how bumbling, inept, down on his luck Jim McGill become Saul Goodman. The best part? There is no rush to get there! The show takes its time to tell Jim’s story first before rushing into Saul. So far, that has meant first class television for the three episodes we have had so far.
Any familiar faces, you ask? Well at the moment we have Jonathan Banks reprising his Breaking Bad role as Mike Ehrmantraut – who we find as a crusty parking attendant.Ehrmantraut is actually instrumental in helping McGill crack the case and save his own bacon. So suddenly our awkward attorney has his very first significant ‘win’ and how it moves from here is anyone’s guess but the show has all the makings of a humongous hit.
Remember that feeling you had when you watching one of the best TV series around? I am talking about Breaking Bad of course. Well, it’s hard not to get a sense of deja vu when watching Better Call Saul, a spin-off/prequel/sequel to that popular series. Well, Breaking Bad creator Vince Gilligan is still in the driving seat (together with Peter Gould) and it already looks like this series will be as memorable as Breaking Bad was. Excellent news!
Directed by Michaël R. Roskam. Written by Dennis Lehane. Starring Tom Hardy, Noomi Rapace, James Gandolfini.
The main strengths of this crime drama are two-fold. The performances are solid and the plot is well-constructed. Although, these plus points are almost undone by the snail-like pacing.
Prima facie, the film appears to be about former bartender Marv (the late Gandolfini is his last role in a feature) and his attempts to steal from his Chechen mafia overlords via the ‘drops’ that take place at the bar.
Directed by Scott Frank Starring Liam Neeson, Dan Stevens, Boyd Holbrook, Sebastian Roche
Actor Liam Neeson’s third act has been defined by his role in Taken – the invincible, grizzled man of action on a mission – which he duly reprised in other action movies like Unknown, The Grey and Non Stop to great effect. In this respect, this crime drama is no different.
If you have never watched Paul Verhoeven’s classic RoboCop (1987), then you might find this reboot to be entertaining fare. Nothing special but passable movie entertainment nonetheless. Whilst the original film came across as a visceral satire of the role that powerful corporations play in the USA and worldwide, Brazilian director Jose Padilha’s re-imagination renders any such social-political commentary inert and most of the time, his RoboCop comes across as safe, family-friendly entertainment.
TRUE DETECTIVE (Starring Woody Harrelson, Matthew McConaughey & Michelle Monahan)
From the epic surrealistic opening credits, it’s clear that HBO’s new series True Detective is going to be something different. However, the moment one sees the first murder victim, one’s mind is immediately cast to the first season of Hannibal! In addition, for some bizarre reason, McConaughey’s Rust reminds me of an Americanized Sherlock Holmes (i.e. Benedict Cumberbatch).