Category Archives: TV show Review

Rinzy Reviews ‘Stranger Things 3’ (2019)

Release Date: July 4

Starring: Millie Bobby Brown, Winona Ryder, Finn Wolfhard, David Harbour, et al.

***

When Stranger Things first arrived in 2017, it rode high on people’s feelings of nostalgia for the ’80s, and quickly became one of the best original series of this generation, further catapulting Netflix higher among the big wigs in entertainment. These days, the show’s become its own entity, is currently the biggest young-adult series on air, and is now fully able to express itself and tell its perculiar breed of horror-SciFi stories without relying much on external nostalgia. Stranger Things 3 does reference some pop culture materials or the ’80s – Terminator, Back to the Future, Gremlins, Evil Dead 3, etc. But its greatest references comes from its earlier seasons, and that works fine too.

I enjoy watching kids grow up in movies – Arya and Sansa’s arcs were two of my favorites in Game of Thrones. For the Stranger Kids, adulthood beckons, and with it all the quirks that follow; a new kind of drama abounds – and that includes teenage love, with sub-themes of understanding, commitment, and how not to lose yourself while in a committed relationship. The show handles these mature topics well, even better than most movies centered around adults.

Millie Bobby Brown is a terrific actress for her age, and part of what makes Eleven’s naivety and bravery believable is thanks to her portrayal. It’s good to see her better hone her craft as well as her sense of style this season.

As the never-ending drama between the children’s club vs. the demons rages on, it’s become more incredulous seeing the Scooby-gang as Earth’s first defense against enemies of life and the United States. It’s even more unbelievable when you consider the lack of strong reason the show keeps revisiting the same plot over and over again. It was easier when all we we had to deal with watching Eleven battle Demogorgon beasts trying to usurp our world, but when you add a Russian spy plot (with a Terminator-looking agent at the forefront) believability gets thrown into a mix.

It’d be expected that since the show returns to the same central conflict of man vs. demon again and again it’d be boring already, but Stranger Things 3 works so well because it’s mostly character-driven, even the Mind-Flayer is given a rebranding push, becoming a gigantic goo.

Stranger Things 3 is great because it lets its characters (old and new) play and grow in ways the last season didn’t, making it a better and well-rounded one. It still isn’t half as good as the rollercoaster ride the first season was, but it’s far better than the mostly lacklustre sophomore outing. And even though the characters are mostly separated into factions for the better part of this season, they mostly play off into one another, making the story feel like different parts of the same body at the same time.

My verdict: Stranger Things 3 doesn’t disappoint. It’s an 8 hours of entertainment well spent, and I can’t wait for the next installment. If you wait around long enough, you’ll catch the mid-credit scene, and have an idea of what’s in store next season. More monsters and, hopefully, a resurrection for our fan favorite character.

Rinzy’s Rating: 4/5

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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 ‘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 ‘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 ‘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

Rinzy Reviews ‘Game Of Thrones’ Season 8 (2019)

Network: HBO

Starring: Emilia Clarke, Kit Harrington, Sophie Turner, Lena Headey, Maisie William, et al.

***

Game of Thrones is arguably the best TV show to ever air on this earth; and also one of the most expensive ever. Its fans are people from all walks of life, and cut across any barrier one can think of – geography, race, age, name it. And after a very long wait since the last episode of the penultimate season, expectations were very high going into the eighth and final season of the show. And, while the season premiere wetted appetites and gave viewers something to talk about after it’d aired, the enthusiasm with which most entered the season only continued to dwindle with each passing episode, starting from episode 3.

Enter: The Long Night aka The Battle of Winterfell

The third episode of the season, The Long Night, was heavy teased and marketed as one featuring the longest battle scene in TV/movie history; it was even said to be longer than that in The Lord of the Rings. Appetites were drawn, and the wait continued for months, but by the time the closing credits aired viewers all over the world found themselves polarized, and the emergence of various factions. To name but a few, were those who believed The Night King got a fitting end to his series long arc, and that it didn’t matter he never got to say a word. Also, were those not to impressed at all, especially with the fact that it was Arya who got to strike the kill blow and not Daenerys or Jon. Whatever the bone of contention was, there was one popular, loud consensus at that point – that the show had sacrificed logic and pacing for the Wow! factor; a trap it’d successfully avoided all these years, which arguably made it so popular.

Viewers fears continued to be proved right as the season progressed and the producers continually ignored logic and due process as they meticulously did in the past; this was quite glaring in the fourth episode ending when Daenerys got ambushed midair by Euron Greyjoy’s iron fleet, which saw the death of Rhaegal, near mundane capture of Missandei and her eventual death moments later. All these would later culminate to the explanation for why Daenerys, who viewers has followed for years liberating cities and slaves, burn a city and its helpless citizens down to the ashes.

Now, one might argue that the people of King’s Landing deserved it, after all they cheered when Joffery ordered for Ned Stark’s head in the penultimate episode of the first season, but, then, one would be forgetting that casual citizens have no say in the heavy politicking of the land, and only have information giving to them to go by. Ned Stark confessed to being a traitor, and as far they were concerned, it was a traitor to the realm that was beheaded. I don’t think that makes them bad people.

I, for one, hoped the season would proceed differently. I believe D&D (the popular abbreviation for the showrunners D. B. Weiss and David Benioff) had the best intentions, but it was their selfish decision to shorten the seventh and eighth season that actually hurt the show. I call it selfish because it’s now popular knowledge they rushed through the show so they could jump ship to go do a Star Wars project, which is good for their career and bad at the same time. Now, most fans have lost confidence in them to properly wrap up whatever project it is they start next, which might hurt them in the near future. Making full ten episodes of both seasons would’ve added an extra seven episodes, which would’ve been more than enough to satisfy the urge of fans who wanted more depth to the series’ resolution.

Enter: King of the Six Kingdoms

My reaction to the revelation that Bran the Broken would become King of the seven kingdom is something I’ll never forget in a hurry 😂. It was a mixture of surprise, shock, and a dose of sinister laughter borne out of grave confusion, which quickly gave way to iritation when Bran gave that awkward response to Tyrion’s prompting: “why do you think I came all this way?”

What an arrogant young man?!! 🤣🤣🤣

It was shocking and unexpected, yes. The most unlikely candidate, a big yes. But if you think about it, Bran’s actually the best person to be king. With his abilities as the Three-eyed Raven he could put an end to plottings and conspiracies before they even happened, if he so wanted to. The off thing with his response is that it puts him in the dark light as the show’s real big bad, one who’s been bidding his time for the iron throne, and plotting all these years.

His response raises an eyebrow.

Maybe that wasn’t the producer’s intention, maybe it was; but I see fans discussing this for a very long time.

It wasn’t all sad and gloom on the show this year, as this season featured some of the very best cinematography seen on a TV budget. But let’s be honest, Game of Thrones episodes fot this final season got a budget of about $15M each, that’s more than most movies receive 🤣. The bulk of the money can be seen in the show’s lavish fight scenes, especially those involving the dragons in episode three; that cloud scene was orgasmic 😍.

It want like Game of Thrones to end on a hopeful note, but that’s exactly how we left the vast kingdom of Westeros… Happy. Save for Daenerys and the bastard Jon, the rest od rhe living pretty much had something to hold on to for coming out of many great wars alive. Bran is King, Sansa is queen, and Arya is putting her many skills into a career in land exploration, what more could you hope for? It’s almost as if a Stark wrote the final episode.

Whatever opinion I or anyone might have about the final season still doesn’t negate what I said in my opening paragraph: Game of Thrones is arguably the best TV show to air on this Earth, and it’s got its online ratings to prove it.

RIP to the ones who died this season – Varys, Jorah, Missandei, Cersei, Jaime, Euron, The Hound, The Mountain, Qyburn, Daenerys, the countless citizens of King’s Landing, and many more. Y’all nearly made it to the finish line. Better luck next time.

‘Gotham’ Finally Unveils Its Batman

After five years spent watching Fox’s extra dark take on the origin of the dark knight and the most elite members of his infamous rogue gallery, we finally get to see Bruce Wayne unveiled as Batman.

Just like with Smallville, years back, we watched how Bruce went from young naive kid through various tests and trials into the caped crusader, protector of Gotham city.

Bruce Wayne (as played by David Mazouz) went from dorky, defenseless boy to mean-faced, unwilling disciple of Ras Al Ghul in season three of the show. Anyone familiar with Batman lore knows that the immortal Ras and his League of Assassins plays a pivotal role in modelling young Bruce into the guardian Gotham so desperately needs. This, coupled with the fact that at the end of the penultimate episode Bruce leaves the city for further training in an unspecified place, only to return 10 years later, fully formed as the Bats.

Though a different actor plays the character, we get to see Gotham’s take on the beloved dark knight, and I think it was decent.

Take a look and judge for yourself:

In the same vain that Bruce became Batman, his existing rogues, such as fan favorites – Ed, Nygma and Selina – became more accurate versions of their comic book counterparts as The Riddler, Penguin and Catwoman. Even the Joker wasn’t left out, as Jeremiah Valaske wholeheartedly took on the mantle.

One thing I liked about Gotham during its run was the consistency with its story telling; it might have been the most popular shows o air, but it knew what it was doing, and we’re it was going. And might be fondly remembered for ending right.