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Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Top 25 TV Shows: Part 5

My list of the Top 25 TV Shows of All-Time continues with five more entries! If you missed my previous parts, click here for Part 1here for Part 2here for Part 3, and here for Part 4.

5: Firefly
Firefly is the definition of shiny (awesome in Firefly lingo). Joss Whedon is the king of making lovable and believable characters, and Firefly is a shining example of his skill in writing an ensemble cast. Almost everything about Firefly is perfect and endlessly quotable. It is one of the few shows that I could re-watch. Unfortunately, (or fortunately for Marvel and The Avengers), Firefly was cancelled after one brilliant season. Despite being cancelled, if you enjoy science fiction or well written characters, Firefly is wholeheartedly recommended to pretty much anyone.
Watch on: Netflix, Amazon Prime

4: Sherlock
With season 4 of Sherlock set to arrive.... whenever Steven Moffat bloody well feels like it, there is no better time than the present to catch up with the modern reimagining of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's legendary detective, Sherlock Holmes. Despite the series' relative brevity, basically ten 90 minute TV movies, BBC's Sherlock is an absolute must watch. Benedict Cumberbatch is a brilliant Holmes and Martin Freeman is, by far, my favorite John Watson put to screen. Equally balancing characterization, humor, and each mystery, Sherlock elevates the TV mystery genre to new heights, and being so short, you have absolutely no reason not to watch this brilliant and witty adventure.
Watch on: Netflix
Seasons: 3
Episodes: 9
Runtime: 90 mins

3: Daredevil
Daredevil introduced viewers to Matthew Murdock, a lawyer trying to help the little people in New York’s Hell’s Kitchen along with his friend Foggy Nelson. And during the nights, Matthew tries to clean of the streets of Hell’s Kitchen as Daredevil. Marvel not only proved that they deliver the best comic book films, but also the best comic book television series. Season 1 of Daredevil established the character and presented a darker, more violent side of the Marvel Universe, without losing the core aspects that make Marvel adaptations truly great. Season 2 raised the stakes, introduced riveting new characters, like The Punisher, and continued the character development of Mat and the supporting cast. In many regards, Daredevil stands right next to the MCU’s best films. Every episode is an experience that has me glued to the screen from beginning to end. It is worth $9.99 Netflix subscription fee just for Daredevil, so do yourself a favor and watch it.
Watch on: Netflix

2: Doctor Who
Deciding what should be number one is SO DIFFICULT! On one hand, Breaking Bad is a complete masterpiece of television with the most consistently high quality writing through 62 episodes. On the other, Doctor Who is a continuously changing adventure with some episodes being absolutely brilliant and inventive, while others fail. While Doctor Who might be my “favorite” television series for fueling my love of science fiction for over half my life, Breaking Bad ultimately takes the top spot due to Doctor Who containing entire seasons that are disappointing, despite my love of the series. 

Doctor Who is certainly weird. It’s cheesy sometimes, especially the early seasons. However, if you give the series a chance, Doctor Who is an incredibly inventive series. The time-and-space-traveling aspect produces so many fun adventures, unique creatures, and episodes that standalone as an engrossing experience. “Blink” is a stunning piece of gothic horror and possibly my favorite episode of any television series. Many other episodes fascinated and intrigued me. Doctor Who is a large part of my love for time-travel, and while a few other works execute time-travel better, Doctor Who’s creativity and sheer fun is among the best. If you are up for something different, give Doctor Who a try.
Watch on: Amazon Prime

1: Breaking Bad
Breaking Bad is the greatest television series of all-time. Sure, this might be the most clichéd top pick, but hear me out. When watching Breaking Bad for the first time over the course of a month late last year, my expectations were somewhat, albeit cautious. How could something that LITERALLY everyone claims to be the “BEST THING EVER” actually be the BEST THING EVER? 

Season 1 started slow and setup an interesting narrative. Season 2 meandered just a tad in the middle, but still balanced the humor, character development, and plot twists skillfully. Then, Season 3 happened. Each episode left me on the edge-of-my-seat. Plot twists left and right. Would Walter and Jesse get caught? Where could the story go next!? Season 4 capped off Season 3’s exceptional story arc with some of the most exciting twists in television. Season 5 brought things to a riveting conclusion, and while arguably not quite as perfect as the previous two seasons, still surpasses just about any other television series. So yeah, Breaking Bad is the best television series of all-time for so many reasons. Nothing is perfect, especially television series with their wide margin for dips in quality, but Breaking Bad does every single thing right and more than surpassed expectations. Breaking Bad is a once in generation type of experience, and while that sounds like hyperbole, I have yet to see a television that even comes close to its quality. If any television deserves the title of “Best,” Breaking Bad certainly deserves it, so, if you are old enough and can handle mature content, watch Breaking Bad.
Watch on: Netflix

Are any of these your favorites? What do you think of my final list? Please comment below and let me know!

If you want to contact us or have any questions please send an e-mail to johnstarslayer@gmail.com.

Monday, August 15, 2016

Suicide Squad Review

Panned by critics, praised by fanboys, and breaking box office records, Suicide Squad is yet another divisive film from DC!
Wow, now this is one difficult review to write. Walking into the theater without a single notion of the abysmal critical response helped to remove the bias of expecting to tear it apart. In fact, walking to the truck after movie, I was thoroughly entertained and had a great time. But that does not mean I necessarily disagree with the consensus. Honestly, if DC just cannot make quality superhero flicks, a small part of me just wants their movies to fail so hard that it kills the franchise, so as stop oversaturating the superhero genre. Of course, by making so much money regardless of what people say, that is not happening anytime soon.

Let's get back to the film itself. If you hate Suicide Squad, that's fine by me; it is completely understandable. In many ways, it does deserve the panning t. DC just cannot get their stuff together no matter how hard they try. However, as you will find in my review, Suicide Squad does the absolute most important aspect so much better than Batman v Superman….

Directed by: David Ayer
Genre: Action, Comic Book, Fantasy
Release Date: August 5, 2016
Running Time: 123 minutes
MMPA rating: PG-13

The Good: Harley Quinn, Excellent main cast, Will Smith is great, Joker scenes, Great humor, Rocking soundtrack, After credits scenes (finally), Good first 20 minutes, Great chemistry between cast, Jai Courtney isn't bad, El Diablo's backstory, Viola Davis as Amanda Waller kills it, Fanservice and Easter Eggs,

The Bad: Awful antagonist, Generic Third Act, A bit too obvious at times, Missed opportunities, Messy plot composition, Some music doesn't work, Subpar CGI,

Plot: 3.0/10- Ultimately, the plot is where is where Suicide Squad falls flat. Despite having so many potential options for the central plot and antagonist, Suicide Squad takes the most clichéd, generic, and boring route to drive the plot forward. Apparently, it is even essentially the same final act as this year's Ghostbusters! With a premise of villains essentially being forced into covert Black Ops missions for the government, the best central plot should have been obvious, but alas, it's a huge missed opportunity (who signs off on this stuff!?).

Another issue with the plot is that the narrative is messy and jumps around from flashback to flashback to side plot to other side plot. The messy editing did not detract from the entertainment value, but it certainly could have been much better, especially considering that the Harley flashbacks are the most interesting part.

Characterization: 8.6/10- For first time, DC made me care about their characters. Suicide Squad's cast of quirky characters is what keeps it from being a bad film. In fact, for me at least, the characters elevated the film to a thoroughly entertaining experience.

Harley Quinn is easily the standout. Harley Quinn has been one of, if not, my absolute favorite character in all of DC ever since her first appearance in Batman: The Animated Series. And this portrayal of the character does not disappoint. She isn't quite the show-stopper she could have been, but as a fan, Harley Quinn finally hits the big screen in brilliantly quirky, humorous, and fiendish fashion. Her flashbacks with the Joker are a highlight of the film, although it should have been an entire film instead of just flashbacks.

Speaking of the Joker, contrary to the marketing, he is neither the main antagonist nor a central aspect of the film. Since I never place any value in trailers or marketing, his lack of screen time wasn't disappointing. He is just not a main part of the film and that's fine, although what he is in is quite good.

Deadshot, along with Harley, are the real stars of the films. His backstory and characterization is quite good. You actually care about the character and his reasons for what he does. His one-liners are funny, and his character motivation with his daughter is well executed.

El Diablo's story might be emotionally manipulative to some, but it works. Captain Boomerang is a surprise as his character is hysterical, albeit seemingly useless in a fight. Killer Croc is barely relevant, except for some humorous moments and action sequences. Katana is underused, with only one relevant scene. Enchantress' motivations are poorly conceived, and Rick Flag is just kind of OK. However, Amanda Waller is a standout among the cast with a strong presence and an overall interesting character.

Direction: 6.0/10- David Ayer's direction is hit and miss. The first 20 minutes are full of style and fun visuals. Unfortunately, that same style does not permeate the rest of the film in the same way. The action sequences are uninspired and generally unimpressive. However, the cast's quirks and fun traits elevate relatively average action sequences into a thoroughly viewing experience for me at least. Nothing about the action is bad. There's no shaky-cam or poor editing. It's just not amazing or impressive.

Acting: 8.4/10- Suicide Squad's cast is certainly a highlight. Margot Robbie plays an excellent Harley Quinn! Will Smith plays a very Will Smith type of Deadshot, yet it works quite well, making this his most memorable role in years. Despite minimal screen time, Jared Leto's Joker makes a good impression with a distinctly different take on the character that could be expanded upon in later films. Viola Davis is incredibly menacing and portrays Waller perfectly. Shockingly, Jai Courtney does not suck. Joel Kinnaman as Rick Flag is serviceable, and the rest of the cast are fine with no noticeably strong or weak performances.

Special effects: 6.0/10- With a $175 million budget, you'd think the CGI would look a lot better. It's rather mediocre for one character in particular. The rest of the special effects are fine, but unimpressive.

Soundtrack: 8.8/10- Suicide Squad's soundtrack tries to mimic the success of Guardians of the Galaxy with a collection of catchy music from different eras. Most of the music, even songs from genres I dislike, are a lot of fun and got me hyped up in certain scenes. The usage of the songs can feel a bit unnecessary and forced, although it created a more fun tone. However, using "Spirit In The Sky" by Norman Greenbaum, a song used in Guardians of the Galaxy, was a huge mistake because it just reminds the audience of the far superior film that Suicide Squad is attempting to copy.

Humor: 8.5/10- Honestly, Suicide Squad is a funny movie! It has a good sense of humor with some good one-liners and humorous interactions between the cast of quirky characters. Sure, it pales in comparison to Marvel's wit, but that's expected.

Entertainment Value: 9.4/10- Honestly, Suicide Squad was a largely entertaining experience. The characters kept me invested in the story, and while the narrative is a mess, it never detracted from my fun with all the quirky characters. Unlike Batman v Superman, Suicide Squad is not a self-important slog with dreadfully boring characters, and honestly, I rather watch a shallow movie with characters I actually care about than one that thinks it's deep with horrendous characters.

Overall: 7.0/10- Featuring DC's best cast of characters to date and some surprisingly amount of heart, Suicide Squad's painfully derivative antagonist and conflict mixed with an otherwise messy narrative makes for a very fun and stylish film with numerous flaws. With that said, if you can connect with the characters and enjoy the style, Suicide Squad is worth at least a rent.

Closing comments: If you hated Suicide Squad, that's perfectly fine. In fact, I do not disagree with you. Suicide Squad is not a great movie. It's just OK, and if you like the characters, then it's a fun movie, nothing more, nothing less.

Recommended for: DC fans, Anti-hero fans, Harley Quinn fans,

Click here to check out more of my movie reviews.

If you want to contact us or have any questions please send an e-mail to johnstarslayer@gmail.com.

Friday, August 12, 2016

Star Wars: Rogue One Trailer 2


During the Olympics, a new trailer for Star Wars: Rogue One was revealed. And it is phenomenal! Now this is how you make a trailer. There is almost nothing that spoilers the film, or at least not without context. Take note studios, this is how you make a trailer! And all the scenes of the Imperials look incredible. Even though it is CGI, the Star Destroyers look just like the original models used in Star Wars (1977). The tone is serious and war movie-like, yet not dark for the sake of darkness. Alan Tudyk plays humorously deadpan droid, K-2SO, and Donnie Yen looks absolutely awesome (seriously, go watch the Ip Man trilogy to understand why). Everything about this trailer makes me excited for Rogue One! And after an abysmal and disappointing summer of movies, Rogue One is what we need to redeem a slow year by December. What did you think of the trailer? Please comment below and check back soon for my review of Suicide Squad!

If you want to contact us or have any questions please send an e-mail to johnstarslayer@gmail.com.

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Suicide Squad First Impression

It feels so good to be bad. Yes, I've seen Suicide Squad. Like usual, I did not see a single review, rating, or opinion prior to viewing it. And I am really glad that I did. There is so much to talk about in regards to this movie and everyone else’s opinions. But that will be saved for my review. And boy, this is going to be one difficult movie to review. Regardless of the quality of the movie, it was a fun experience. Half the audience clapped at the end (I didn't), and DC FINALLY HAS AN AFTER CREDITS SCENE. About time DC! Hopefully, that will be out in a few days. In the meantime, you can post links to your reviews in the comments for myself and others to see your thoughts. 



If you want to contact us or have any questions please send an e-mail to johnstarslayer@gmail.com.

Thursday, August 4, 2016

Wonder Woman Trailer

In addition to Justice League, DC released a trailer for Wonder Woman, or, as I like to call it, "Wonder Woman: The First Justice Leaguer." Like, come on, this is totally Captain America: The First Avenger of the DC movies. 

Gal Gadot wasn't terrible in Batman v Superman earlier this year, and the period setting of World War I thoroughly interests me. The trailer itself is fine. There's nothing awful, aside from those poor attempts at humor (DC just cannot be funny), but there isn't anything great. The action is cool. But just like the Justice League trailer, I expect nothing. My favorite part is probably the music at the end, because it uses the same theme from BvS. Overall, this is not the worst trailer ever. It's fine. So, what do you think? Please comment below and let me know!

If you want to contact us or have any questions please send an e-mail to johnstarslayer@gmail.com.
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