FX Legion: Time Travel Is Impressive

Dan Steven has been killing it as David Haller since Legion first premiered, and it’s a joyous thing to see he hasn’t lost his touch one bit. It’s even more pleasant when you realize the show is fully embracing time-travel in all its Glory. The season three premiere opens with it quickly establishing its own set of rules for one of the most popular topics in SciFi, and one of my personal favorite.

Its theory builds upon previously existing concepts of time travel we already know, like taking care to not array to close or far from event(s) intended to alter, but it’s the tease of a time demon that gets me really excited for all the many ways things could really go to shit for this season.

The season three premiere goes out of its way to give a little extra of everything this show’s come to be unanimously applauded for – mind altering cinematography, excellent performance from its cast, stunning visuals, even the impromptu musicals aren’t left out, making it more difficult to prepare to say goodbye.

Division 3 didn’t come to play – David’s got to die. It’d be fun if the bulk of the season will be about David manoeuvring a vindictive Sydney with equal amount of hate as she once loved him, as Farouk rightly pointed out, but I know that’s a bogus lead. The Shadow King is too good to keep playing ball for long, he’s definitely got a few sinister tricks up his sleeves especially since there’s a time-traveler on board. With Professor X slated to appear somewhere down the line, I’d like to see how all these pieces play out together.

Give me more Lenny, crazy David-Farouk moments, time-travel, and I’ll be your loyal bitch this season, Legion.

Rinzy Reviews ‘Brightburn’ (2019)

Release Date: May 24

Starring: Jackson A.Dunn, Elizabeth Banks, Matt L. Jones, Jennifer Holland, etc.

***

Ever wondered what if Superman never turned out to become the upstanding heroic boy-scout we know him to be, but instead a sociopath?

Brightburn sets out to answer this by giving us Clark Kent wannabe Brandon Breyer. ‘Take the world’ his mantra, hatred for his adopted parents propagation to get his plot running. All’s set for this movie to wow us with genres mash up between slasher horror and superhero. But it fails woefully.

Brightburn turns out to be an easily forgettable piece of work.

The idea’s good, execution’s poor. Jackson A. Dunn shines as Brandon, and that’s as far as the light at the end of the tunnel goes.

Though laden with jump scares from the very first scene, this movie tries too hard and fails flatly to justify its existence. It has gore, plenty of it, but even an ardent lover of horror movies like myself would find the characters too dumb, and almost unbearable. Something’s really off with the people of Brightburn; I mean, who texts her husband goodnight when the security alarming just buzzed repeatedly? Or, gifts a 12-year-old a shotgun as a birthday gift? And how does a drunkard playing snooker easily put two-and-two together much faster than the town’s sheriff? These characters are so badly written their motivations come off like a bad joke. They consistently make bad choices, and fail to portray any true sympathy like real humans would. And that makes them sadder to watch.

Brightburn tries to be different; a fast paced Superman-ish story. But in all the many ways the movie’s announcement and trailer sparked excitement, the finished product lays those efforts to waste.

Directed by: David Yarovesky

Rinzy’s Rating: 2/5

Rinzy Reviews ‘Detective Pikachu’ (2019)

Release Date: May 10

Starring: Justice Smith, Ryan Reynolds, Kathryn Newman, et al.

***

The Pokemon franchise is one of the most recognizable properties in anime. And, while I feared the curse that’d plagued movie adaptations of video games for some time now would also catch up with this one, it did pull off some surprises that ranks it a better movie ahead of most of its predecessors.

But… Detective Pikachu suffers from a lot of problems, most of which are brought on by its own self and the way it choose to tell its story.

I’ll just go out and state right here one of the two best thing about Detective Pikachu – Pikachu, and that’s rightly due to Ryan Reynold’s performance. Witty remarks and sharp one liners have become his trademarks, and even though it’s somewhat predictable, it’s only fitting he was the best bet to bring to life the character. The second is the awesome CGI world building; for a time I found myself believing a human-Pokemon universe could actually work.

Detective Pikachu starts slowly, picks up halfway once our buddy dynamic starts rolling, only to end up in a pudding as its final act approaches. A large part of this shortcoming is from its human part of its cast. Human lead Justice Smith does some good work here, but it’s very far from what I’ve seen him do in the past, and what I’m certain could’ve been his best. Yet, he still remains the best performer of the movie, after Reynolds, as the remainder of the cast are inherently terrible and near unbearable to watch. All the world building and beautiful sceneries isn’t enough to save the movie from this grave shortcoming. Cringy dialogues and tacky performances abound greatly; the producers of this movie have a lot to be thankful to Reynolds for.

Directed by: Rob Letterman

Rinzy’s Rating: 3/5

Rinzy Reviews ‘Jessica Jones’ Season 3 (2019)

Release Date: June 14

Network: Netflix

Starring: Krysten Ritter, Rachael Taylor, Eka Darville, Carrie-Ann Moss, Jeremy Bobb, Benjamin Walker, et al.

***

The popular saying, with great power comes great responsibility is often used in comic book movies to describe a hero’s moral compass, and their trajectory towards the dark, whilst trying to find their way back to the light.

The third and final season of Jessica Jones bares its soul, holding almost nothing back. And though it drags at first, in the show’s usual form takes the titular character on another adventure of twists, turns, and shocking heartbreaks.

Unsurprisingly, and long overdue, this season really shines light on Trish Walker, taking her to really dark places as she further embraces her comic book persona, eventually picking up the alter-ego of Hellcat…

Of course Karl’s near-fatal experiment worked, Jess!

There’d always been darkness in Trish; she’d always loathed being the ordinary sister, missing out of the main action and having to hide behind Jessica’s shadow. And like she endlessly reiterated throughout the season, she wanted this, unlike Jessica. That impulsive need to mostly prove herself Jess coupled with grief drives her over the edge. She’s able to recognize this fact at the point of her incarceration when she blurts I’m the bad guy. Hopefully, this signals some sort of redemption in her future. We’ll never know now, would we?

Although Trish closes the show, the season starts with some other villain, one not up to par with Jessica in terms of physical strength, but full of charisma. Gregory Salinger (the Foolkiller) and his brutal fetish for peeking into his victims’ truth steer the season in a direction that’s both climaxing as it’s thrilling.

The Foolkiller isn’t the first serial killer to be on the show. Kilgrave and Jessica’s mom weren’t big fans of life either, but there was something different in the way Gregory Salinger determined who deserved to live and die. He’s merely human -highly intelligent- yet, still boringly human. But he presented a threat Jessica just couldn’t punch her way through. Through him, we see a side to Jessica that takes a more rational and procedural approach to solving her problems. Seems like there’s hope for New York’s unlikeliest hero after all!

Ruefully, this entry suffers from the same malformation as most of its predecessors in the Netflix corner of the MCU – over-bloated, unnecessarily dragged, and sometimes exhausting to follow. A shortened episode would’ve told a tighter, better paced story, but I guess we should be done regurgitating on this contractual obligations of the show. Multiple episodes reiterate issues already tackled from a new PoV, and even though they shed more light on plot issues, they sometimes become painstaking to follow.

Supporting characters like Malcom, Jeri, and newly introduced characters like Erik, Jess’s new assistant get arcs of their own, and get ample time to shine. Malcom, veers into dark places of his own, but manages to find his way back to the light fast enough to attain redemption. Jeri is still Jeri, scheming, manipulating, and would probably die alone as her lover prophesied.

I’ve been a hardcore fan of Jessica Jones’ series, more than I was for any of the other Defender shows. It’s hard to say goodbye, but I couldn’t be more prouder of how things ended. We’ve watched Jessica grow much over the years into the more mature she’s in now, and can rest easy knowing NYC is in great hands.

PS: Did you catch that surprise cameo from Harlem?

Rinzy’s Rating: 3.5/5

Rinzy Reviews ‘Murder Mystery’ (2019)

Release Date: June 14

Network: Netflix

Starring: Adam Sandler, Jennifer Aniston, Luke Evans, et al.

***

Murder Mystery sounds a bit cheesy in the mouth. The name gives it away as a movie overflowing with detective works. And that’s exactly what it is. Add the fact that it’s also an adventurous comedy, and you’ve got yourself one entertaining movie.

Jennifer Aniston and Adam Sandler make the best pair. Their chemistry is effortless, and is easily the best part of this movie.

Nick and Audrey Spitz have been married for 15 years, and finally decide to go on their long overdue honeymoon. They find themselves thrown into the middle of a large, influential family’s drama when the partriach is murdered mid-sea. They’ve got to find a way to clear their names else try risk spending the rest of their lives in jail.

Let’s review the facts…

This mildly entertaining movie attempts to spoof old time murder mysteries. It’s like bringing Murder on an Orient Express and intensely stupifying it for the purpose of entertainment. For the most part it works simply because it doesn’t take itself serious in the slightest bit. The reveal of the murderer isn’t quite as intense as a murder plot should’ve been, but the movie never did take itself seriously to consider the importance or lack thereof.

Some of the scenes are cliche, but they got laughing, which I believe is what’s really important.

The movie boasts a lot of beautiful sceneries -the plane’s VIP lounge, the yacht, and streets of Spain- all of which keeps things bright and hopeful, working in its favor.

Directed by: Kyle Newacheck

Rinzy’s Rating: 3/5

Muna: Adesua-Etomi Wellington Is Ready To Kick Ass

The trailer for ‘Muna‘ starring Adesua-Etomi Wellington dropped a few days ago. Muna is sure to be a kick-ass movie, and it’s safe to say it’s one of Nollywood’s most anticipated movie of 2019.First teased by the star actress in Summer 2017, the beautiful wife of actor/musician/ political aspirant Banky-W is set to wow global audience with this collaboration between Hollywood and Nollywood. Judging by the trailer, there’s not going to be any dull moment in this movie. Or will there?

We’vecome a long way to continue to fall hook, line and sinker for this new Nollywood game. It’s relatively new, but still has been done so much time it’d be weird to not acknowledge what’s really happening. Nollywood has gotten very good at cutting trailers. A round of applause for the powerhouse industry.

Banana Island Ghost, Up North, The Wedding Party 2: Destination Dubai are some of the high-profile movies in recent years to follow this route. Awesome trailers which gets you nothing short of hopeful and willing to dole out those Naira notes you hold dear. Unfortunately, none of these movies ever lived up to the hype. And I fear Muna might follow suit.

Yet, it still wouldn’t be far-fetched to fan the flames of optimism. Who knows, Muna might just surprise us, and break the curse?

Rinzy Reviews ‘The Hot Zone’ (2019)

Network: National Geographic

Release Date: May 27

Starring: Juliana Margulies, Liam Cunningham, Topher Grace, et al.

***

The Ebola virus is one of the deadliest viruses to hit the human population in recent years. Every new appearance is always more devastating than the previous one.
In 1989, the Ebola virus appears in chimpanzees in a research lab in the suburbs of Washington, D.C., and there is no known cure; a U.S. Army scientist puts her life on the line to head off an outbreak before it spreads to the human population.

The show is a true life story based on the 1994 best seller of the same name by Richard Preston, and is one of three shows based on real events to hit viewers’ screen this season – enter Chernobyl and When They See Us.
Julianna Margulies stars as Dr. Nancy Jaax, a military infectious disease expert who becomes concerned about a mysterious outbreak at a primate research facility in Reston, Va. Her husband, Jerry Jaax (Noah Emmerich), also works for the United States Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases, but is less concerned about the possible virus and more concerned about his wife.

The show juggles between two timelines – present day 1989, where Dr. Jaax has her hands full, and 1976, where her colleague and teacher, Wade Carter (Liam Cunningham), first encountered the deadly virus. Throw in politics and some family drama, and you get yourself an explosive TV drama to binge. But The Hot Zone isn’t just a TV show.

Some elements of realism is lost along the aisle of production, and it’s heavily reflected in some parts feeling cheeky and riddled with unnecessarily accentuated dialogues even when it makes little to no sense. Almost every scene between Carter and Trevor Rhodes (James D’Acry) really fall into this category in the present timeline. And the explanation provided in the sixth episode for this acrimony didn’t cut it for me, thereby making everything that came before it fall flat.

In time of great crisis there’ll always arise a few willing to put their lives on the line for the multitude; Dr. Jaax stands to fill that gap for the people of the United States during the events of this film. We’ve seen this happen multiple times over the years, some lucky and others not so much, like in the case of Dr. Ameyo Adadevoh of the 2014 Nigeria outbreak. Fortunately for Dr. Jaax, she fought the good fight and lived to tell the story, and America will continue to be indebted to her.

Rinzy’s Rating: 3/5

Rinzy Reviews ‘Shazam!’ (2019)

Release Date: April 5

Starring: Zachary Levi, Asher Angel, Jack Dylan Grazer, Djimon Hounsou, et al.

***

As more comic book characters find their way into live-action, Shazam! is the latest to make it to the big screen.

The greatest thing going for this movie is Zachary Levi as the titular character, and I don’t even mean all the tons of muscles he added to achieve his great physique. Levi’s a perfect fit for the role, and as many online reviews have already pointed out, he was born to play Shazam!

Where this impressiveness falters is in almost every scene we get to see Shazam revert back to his original self as 14-year-old Billy Batson. Actor/musician Asher Angel does his best in the role, but I can’t help but feel he got overwhelmed by the role, a dilemma the director should’ve taken note of during casting. As a standalone character, Angel does a great job bringing Billy to live but when you put him side-by-side Levi’s, the character starts to fall apart.

For most part of his scenes, you see him acting tougher and much older than his alter ego, making it seem like its two different characters when it really should be one character in two different bodies. To me, that’s a great miss.

Mark Strong is an incredible actor, but his work here as Dr. Sivani falls short of expectation especially when you compare it with his more recent roles, like in the Kingsman franchise. This is by no means the actors fault, he’s incredibly talented, but as a result of a script laddened with cranky dialogues, fewer action scenes, and an elongated runtime. I believe a shorter, more concise story would’ve worked more in its favor. Because of this major setback, we get a villain who’s more powerful than the protagonist, but we never get to feel the gravity of the movie’s stakes. This in turn translates to an easily forgettable villain. Good news is, if the mid-credit scene is anything to go by, Dr. Silvana might be returning in the sequel; this provides the opportunity to right the wrongs done with the character.

Shazam! is a family movie, and would’ve been perfect for a Christmas release. And as a family movie it takes it’s time to preach the gospel of why family doesn’t always have to do with blood. It speaks on acceptance, especially on self-acceptance, and is a good message for children still having difficulty being the best version of themselves. Billy’s relationship with Freddy and the rest of his foster siblings is the kind of thing you want you two children always at lodgerhead to see; that despite our seeming differences we can always be there for each other.

Jack Dylan Grazer does excellent work as Freddy/Shazam’ sidekick/ Shazam’s manager. He really holds his own throughout the movie beside Levi and Angel, and so do the rest of the supporting cast.

Lest I forget, I really liked the twist in the last act. Oh my gosh! I felt electricity course through my veins when the foster kids (yeah, I’m sticking with calling them that) put their hands on the staff and yelled Shazam. Being that I’ve never read a Shazam comic book before, I didn’t know what to expect, and liked that the movie didn’t toe the line of Dr. Silvana collecting Shazam’s powers only to have it returned later in the movie for the final battle.

Shazam! is a magical, really fun movie with good comedy. Since magic in movies is almost always fun, and, also, because we’re expecting a sequel, I hope the director gets a larger budget to work with, so that it’ll have a much grander feel, and the CGI of subsequent magical creatures can look better than the seven deadly sins did in this one.

Directed by: Adam F. Sandberg

Rinzy’s Rating: 3.5/5

Rinzy Reviews ‘When They See Us’ (2019)

Network: Netflix

Release Date: May 31

Starring: Asante Blackk, Caleel Harris, Ethan Herisse, Jharrel Jerome, Marquis Rodriguez, Vera Farmiga, Felicity Huffman, et al.

***

On the night of April 19, 1989, a 28-year-old female jogger, Trish Meili, gets brutally beaten and raped in Central Park. Five boys of color between the ages of 14-16 are coerced by the police department, spearheaded by over-ambitious Linda Fairstein, into accepting the charges and confessing on tape. This leads to all of them doing time for varying years.

If you ever think of police brutality in recent time, I want you to think of these five boys –Antron, Kevin, Yusef, Raymond, and Korey- and what they went through in the hands of the American justice system skewed to disfavor people of color. The boys were all convicted by juries of charges of rape, assault, and related crimes in two separate trials in 1990. They were sentenced to maximum terms and Korey, at 16, was sent to adult prison.

In four episodes, Ava DuVarnay told the gruesome story of how five boys were robbed off their childhood. It was at a time when innocence wasn’t cared about as much as solving a case irrespective of the gravity of its racial undertone. The series does a good job examining racism, discrimination, and its destabilizing effect. With beautiful, fast-paced, yet soulful writing and terrific acting, Ava and the actors show the effect of imprisonment on loved ones, and the uncertainty of the future for all of them. She does a great job tackling a topic many would ordinarily shy away from.

Social injustice is still a big issue today; although not as bold as in the case of Central Park Five, it still thrives, and must be fought at all cost until it’s eradicated. This miniseries has reopened interest in the case, and sparked numerous conversations over the many ways the case could’ve proceeded differently. I hear there’ve been calls to prosecute Linda Fairstein for malicious prosecution, and I support this call. She’s the sole reason those boys ever did time; if she’d done her job without prejudice, the real, sole perpetrator of the crime, Matias Reyes, would’ve been caught much earlier. And her rise in career and popularity might’ve still happened. For letting little boys suffer that way, in my eyes, she’s as guilty as Reyes, and I think she deserves a cell beside him.

Lest I forget, the police carried out a shabby investigation, but they didn’t act alone, the press were complicit too. If both of these institutions had done their jobs, five children wouldn’t have been forced to grow up without a childhood. No amount of monetary settlement can ever make up for this.

Favorite scene: When Korey begs refuses to answer the prosecutor questions in court. Touching.

Favorite actor: Jharrel Jerome’s Korey. He’s terrific.

***

Director: Ava DuVernay

Rinzy’s Rating: 4.5/5