American Horror Story: The Replacements | Review

It’s becoming very clear why American Horror story has been getting its record ratings, since the show premiered this fall. This week’s episode has it all; incest, brutal scenes of violence, bestiality, and betrayal. Ryan Murphy is showing he isn’t afraid to tackle some controversial topics. Things are beginning to heat up in the coven as the girls are becoming more in tuned with their powers.

One of the interesting prospects of the previous episode of AHS was Cordelia’s fertility issues. Cordelia had already tried everything from natural remedies to black magic rituals. This led to Cordelia resorting to asking for help from her rival tribe. The show gave us a glimpse at the ritual she would have to perform with Tibitia- the leader the rival clan. Cinematography of the Tibitia ritual was a treat to watch.  The camera work throughout this show is unique because it is constantly changing. Overhead cameras, gold fish eyed views, close ups, slanted angles, and other dynamic camera techniques give the viewer a wide and varied perspective of whats going on.

Much like the  last season on AHS, ,  Sarah Paulson plays another troubled and struggling character. Cordelia is dealt a very bad hand and must play it out to the end. She finds herself stuck in between a feud between Tibitia and Fiona . Her goal of bearing a child is being challenged. Her performance is solid as usual. We’re looking forward to seeing more from her in the upcoming episodes.

Meanwhile, Madame Lalaurie must deal with adapting with modern day society and facing her past demons. This all offers some much needed comedic relief. Since the premiere of the show there has been a drastic role reversal for her character. We’ve seen her ability to portray a sadist and now we are seeing how she can easily meld into a more tortured character.

Kyle has more air time this week. Evan Peters manages to show some emotion playing Kyle, even though he’s a mute Frankenstein. Zoe Benson must deal with the resurrection of Kyle and his emergence back into society. This proves to be quite difficult. I hope Kyle regains his humanity because the way he is now is pretty difficult to imagine where the story will leave him. Misty Day also has an appearance which is welcoming. I always smile when I see her character. I don’t know why I like her so much. I think it because she really conveys a carefree soul, even through all the things she’s been through.

Jessica Lange, is superb as usual. Too be blunt she is this show. She really takes demand of the screen. Lange takes on her character Fiona’s flaws and strengths and transforms them into an acting spectacle. Fiona battles with her mortality and becomes a surprise mentor for the ladies of the house. The episode ends on a note which will probably upset some.

Overall, this episode was supreme…(See what I did there?)

9.5/10

What did you think?

Dishonored | Review

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Dishonored  takes many elements from the shooting genre that works well and meshes it into one solid shooter. If I had to explain Dishonored in three words, I would just say, Bioshock with Stealth. The stealth mechanics of this game are tight with several abilities that make it very interesting: From teleportation to possessing animals. You use  variety of skills to get  your objective done.

The downfall of playing the stealthy approach is that many explorative players will find themselves bored. This is  because after a while there is no reason to pick up runes to upgrade.  All the stealthy upgrades are quickly brought up. The developers of this game made it so you can save the game at anytime . So it’s basically irresistible to play the morally sound route but in all honestly is probably not the funnest way to play.

The graphics in this game are pretty solid but not really that impressive. You can’t really expect much considering the art style of the game which is cartoonish. The story of the of game is pretty straight forward and is told in the in-game engine which helps in not ruining the immersion. My biggest gripe for this game is that the ending is pretty anti-climatic considering you played the whole game stealthily in order to receive the “good ending”.

Where the game really shines is that there is so many ways to complete a mission that it gives the game a really open world and sandbox feel that is really fun.  The gameplay is definitely the saving grace of this game and solidifies my review score of …

8/10

The Conjuring | Review


This film succeeds where many other horror movies fail at miserably. This creepy story is  based on true events. The story revolves around the haunting of a house recently purchased by the Perron family. Two paranormal investigators, Ed Warren and Lorrain Warren reluctantly take the case. The Warren’s find that this is not the typical hoax they usually receive and is actually one of the worse cases they have seen in a long time.

When I think of today’s horror movies, I automatically get bad ideas.  I just imagine cliche scenes of cheap scares from ridiculousy loud and shrieking bass with monsters magically appearing. That’s why I usually stray away from the horror genre unless I hear some good word of mouth.  The Conjuring is a film that redefines my idea of what a horror movie should be.

The movie manages to flow very naturally and keep up the suspense to the very end. It helped a lot that the cast of the movie, all had solid acting abilities. Vera Farmiga’s portrayal of the clairvoyant Lorrain Warren was uncanny. Some scenes she didn’t even need to say anything. Just the look in her eye often showed many emotions and depth.

This film touches your primeval fears of darkness which everyone had growing up as kid. It becomes really easy to relate to the Perron family, when you yourself are kept wondering if any shadow in this film could hold a possible demon.  The young actress Joey King played the part of a terrified young girl to the tea.

In addition this film had some excellent special effects. The camera work and costume designs of the dead in this film helped me stay immersed into the movie and kept the hair on my arm raised. I haven’t watched a horror movie in a long time; that actually had me second guessing and left in anticipation after almost every scene. So If you’re sitting there about to put another random modern paranormal activity in your Blu-Ray player, Stop. Give this movie a try and you won’t be disappointed.

This movie is the definition of a good horror movie and solidifies my review score of

9.5/10

What did you think of the film? Leave a comment Below.

Captain Phillips | Review

Paul Greengrass, best known for his work on the Jason Bourne series, bring us another compelling thriller to the cinemas with his latest work Captain Phillips. Stories based on true events are usually a dime a dozen but this film succeeds in creating a suspenseful and interesting film through his signature documentary style film work, a great cast, and solid screenplay.

The film got some flack for portraying Captain Phillips as a bit too much of a hero. In truth, he was a bit of a stubborn and smug guy who ignored countless warnings from his crew. Despite some criticisms, the film successfully toes the line between staying somewhat true to the story and yet bringing us a Hollywood script that is actually interesting to watch.

Tom hanks brings one of his top performances the the film. He portrays  the moralistic and stoic character believably. His accent took a bit to get use to but as the film progressed it began sounding a little a less John F Kennedy impersonation and more Bostonian. The real star of the film however is Barkha Abdi who masterfully steps into the role of Abduwali Muse. Abdi a Somalian taxi driver made his acting debut in the film and was chosen from an extensive 700 man cast pool. He brings to life the desperate nature of Muse’s situation and his way of life.

The film had some impressive production values and felt exceptionally grounded. Paul Greengrass thoroughly researched Somalian piracy and the events that happened on that day. Greengrass and the crew filmed on an actual ship and life boat instead of a green screen. And to further accurately recreate the location of the story he filmed the Somalia portions of the film in Malta. Paul Greengrass’ attention to detail and signature documentary style camera work paid off immensely for the authenticity of movie.

The film kept me on the edge of my seat. The dialogue for the Somalian cast was truly effective and some of the improvised lines really brought the characters to life. The film was a rare example of how to do a film based on factual events. Reasonably paced, a fine cast, good cinematographic techniques, and a interesting script to boot; there isn’t hardly a criticism to be found here. Besides a seemingly overused and somewhat Hans Zimmerian-ending track for the finale I can’t really think of any flaws. Captain Phillips is an intense and engrossing film and I highly recommend.

Score : 9/10

Dexter: ‘Make Your Own Kind Of Music’ Review

With only three episodes remaining, the end game is in sight for our favorite blood splatter analyst. It’s hard to say what exactly are the ingredients for a good episode of Dexter. The recipe has been changing gradually with the series finale approaching. With the introduction of Vogul this season we’ve seen a pretty subdued Dexter. The process of learning his origins and why he is the man he today, hasn’t exactly allowed the show to be filled with the usual bloodshed and butchery that Dexter is surely capable of.

It appears Dexter is preparing to sette down again . In a sense It was bound to happen. Last episode we saw glimpses of a Dexter finding a new purpose. A purpose in passing the legacy of his father’s code down to another person like him. He wasn’t the perfect mentor but things seemed to fall in line. Yet that story arc was disappointingly axed as we see Zach the young and impressionable disciple of Dexter’s life cut short. This week’s episode focused mainly on Dexter’s pursuit of Casey’s killer and the troubles of Hannah’s fugitive status.

The premise of Hannah hiding out from the law under Dexter’s protection is interesting.   Hannah brings up the idea of Argentina again; A fantasy she use to have where she flees from her problems and lives happily. Dexter and Hannah are forced to take a hard look at their future. They are cooped up in a hotel, evading the feds and authorities. She can’t even go to the store without the thought burning in the back of her mind that just the right person will recognize her and turn her in.  It Makes me wonder if Dexter is really thinking long term at all. That’s pretty much how his life would be if they decide to stay together.

Then you add Harrison into the equation and it complicates things exponentially. Even though their life probably wouldn’t be the same I think Harrison may be the wildcard in all of this. He actually has an attachment to Hannah and if Dexter sees this is really what he wants, they might just go all the way to Argentina. I’m a bit worried about Dexter. I think ultimately their plans to escape together will fail but what could actually happen if they do leave Miami. I always imagined Dexter ending on a somber and somewhat depressing note. Suicide, jail, gurgling in a pool of his own blood. Yes maybe that was a bit too dark but how else could all this realistically end?

Pros 

+ Harrison gets some screen time

+ Hannah and Dexter continuing to bond

+ Vogul and her familial connection possibly end up double teaming Dex

+ Debra considering rejoining the force

Cons 

Vogul is a being portrayed a bit too frail

The ending scene was a bit forced with Vogul

Overall a solid episode but was a bit predictable. Here is to hoping the Brain Surgeon can deliver the thrills in the final episodes.

 Score: 8/10

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Second Opinion- By Shawn Perez

What I found really Interesting about this episode is the thin line of what is ethically right. Dexter is put in a dilemma where he has to apply his code to Vogul’s son. Previously, he gave Zach a second chance but he dislikes the idea when Vogul pleas for Dexter to allow her to get her son and put him in a facility to be rehabilitated. This is where Dexter’s justification of Harry’s Code becomes a little muddled. Do murderers deserve a second chance or at least rehabilitation?

Just when Dexter begins to show the more human side of himself; you start to question it because he doesn’t seem to be motivated to kill because they deserve it anymore but rather he’s just going back to his darker urges.This theme of darkness is hinted at when Vogul says to Dexter; if it was his son, Harrison he would do the same thing. Dexter agrees to silence her but he doesn’t really care. Where Dexter goes from here on out nobody knows. All we can do is wait in eager anticipation for the final episodes of the series.

Elysium: Review

The last summer blockbuster has arrived in Elysium. District 9 director and writer, Neill Blomkamp ‘s continued run in the sci-fi genre provides an enjoyable experience. The setting of the story, is 2154 on a severely over-populated and diseased world. The rich and powerful abandon earth for an man-made utopia named Elysium. Elysium entertains with visceral action sequences and a futuristic and unique story that keeps you on your toes.

Matt Damon who portrays the main character of the film, delivers another good performance in his role as Max Da Costa; a man with nothing to lose. Matt Damon is no rookie to action films. He is widely known for his tough bad boy persona in his roles in the Bourne films. He trained four hours a day to get physically and aesthetically equipped for the film. He certainly shows that he isn’t out of practice in the art of asskickery. The weakest performance in the film came from Wagner Moura who played Spyder; a human smuggler who takes people to Elysium. It wasn’t that he had bad acting necessarily but there was an apparent and jarring language barrier. Just seemed sort of forced and a better option probably would have been to to have him speak his native portuguese/spanish tongue especially considering that Max actually had an Hispanic ethnicity.

The highlight of the film came from Sharlto Copley who plays the vicious and psychotic character C.M Kruger. Copley gives a powerful performance and steals the spotlight from the rest of the veteran cast. Even the cold and calculating Jodie Foster, who plays the secretary of defense of Elysium, doesn’t stand a chance to his ruthless and unhinged personality. He takes command of his role and puts a choke-hold on every scene he is in. Even though he is a mercenary who gets paid for his job he he takes pleasure in it all. Neill Blomkamp might be one of the only people in the film industry to acknowledge his talent so far, but that’s sure to change.

The dense over populated and dirty sprawls of Earth are visually stunning. Wide angle shots of the swarming city of Los Angeles on Earth offer a stark contrast to the perfect and clean-cut nature of Elysium. The use of handycam is present in the film but it doesn’t distract me as much as it did in District 9 . The security/surveillance drones are masterfully crafted and have a sense of realism to them. Their design balances just the right amount of finesse, stiffness, and weight to be believable. The highlight from the cinematography and VFX team had to come from the combat and weaponry of the film. It was a truly a blast to watch the way some of the guns and gadgets worked.

The plot and setting of story takes a look at the hardships of a possible future without proper medical care. This system only affords the wealthy and those with influence. Neill Blomkamp was quoted saying that this story was not an alternate future but it was actually a look at the present. Though the story was probably a bit more action oriented then District 9 its still offers some room for thought even if isn’t as deep as his previous work. All in all it was thoroughly entertaining. It’s the one of the best sci-fi films of the year and I recommend it.

‘Life of Pi’ Review

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Once in awhile a movie comes along and makes me appreciate cinema again. I usually don’t give into or condone the purchasing of 3-D tickets, but I’m going to go out on a limb and say, it actually makes the film better. The movie is given a sense of depth and clarity with its incorporation. Cheap 3-D effects. that we usually get in blockbusters nowadays aren’t used. Its inclusion is used simply as a tool to immerse the viewer into the world. From the very opening of the movie, your eyes are greeted with mesmerizing and lush imagery.  The film should most certainly be receiving some nods for visual effects at the upcoming Oscars. For its visuals alone, the film, set itself apart from the competition and it doesn’t hurt that it contains a magical and awe inspiring script to boot.

The film was adapted from a short story by Yann Martel. It covers the remarkable and spiritual story of survival of an of an Indian boy named Piscine Patel. Pi  is castaway at sea and is forced to live on a small life boat with a Bengal Tiger. The film covers religious themes but in such away that it isn’t agitating or forcing its way on the viewer. Just as Pi seeks out different religions; the viewer is given the chance to explore them as well. I would say that these themes are actually more about Pi  being given choice, as well as, giving the film watcher a wider perspective on the subject.

The film was amazingly casted and filled by a remarkable set of international actors. One of the only faults I found in movie was the decision to have Rafe Spall play the reporter. He had some pretty flat reactions to some of the more emotional scenes in the film. The decision to have Tobey Maguire removed from the role was probably for the best. He was replaced due to his image being too much related to Spider-Man. Yet, I still wonder what he could have brought to the table.  After seeing him receive a nomination for best actor in a motion picture drama for his performance in ‘Brothers’.  He definitely has shown, in my opinion, that he is willing to prove he can play more diverse characters then what has come to be expected of him.

Ang  Lee truly found a needle in a haystack. The leading role of the film is played by Surah Sharma. Not only is this Sharma’s first role in a major film but Sharma has no previous acting experience before this. Ang Lee chose him over about three thousand other candidates, for mostly his looks, but Sharma has provided a great performance for his Hollywood debut.

The real praise, however, should go to the visual effects team at  Rhythm and Hues Studios for creating one of the most believable and life-life characters ever to be brought to life; Richard Parker. Your given the opportunity to forgot that he is fictional. Even the slightest movements of Richard Parker contain subtleties that give the beast personality. The most unexpected and unique bond is brought to life on screen between Richard Parker and Pi. With all the hard work put into Richard Parker; we are actually inclined to believe that all of this. somehow might be possible.

The movie follows a pretty basic formula. Pi’s childhood is explored, he is given a romantic interest, and an obstacle he must overcome. He overcomes his obstacle but there is no definitive moment of catharsis for his character. Instead we are given an enigmatic ending  that is neither happy or sad. The moviegoer gets to decide for himself what they want to believe. This idea of story telling is very powerful and I want to praise Ang Lee for his courage in taking this film on that route of imaginative narrative. You aren’t just simply watching the movie. You have created a relationship with the author of the story. You are required to come into understanding on the material presented to you on your own accord.

Life of Pi pulls you in, breaks your heart, and leaves you to decide how to put all the pieces of the story’s puzzle back together again.

Review Score: 9.5/10 (Beautiful Film)