In My Humble Opinion: The third series of Peaky Blinders was by far the most intricate and complex series to date. The series was filled with captivating plot points, great performances and shocking moments…I mean who thought Grace was going to die? Okay maybe I had some suspicions, but shit, the second episode? Creator Steven Knight created an episode cliffhanger that rivals most season cliffhangers when Grace Burgess, played by Annabelle Wallis was shot in the chest leaving the audience wondering if she would be alive or dead in the following episode. That moment in the series truly caught me off guard, but honestly wasn’t the most powerful scene of the series, at least in my opinion. To me, the best scene of the series was when Cillian Murphy’s character Thomas Shelby and Tom Hardy’s character Alfie Solomons had their very heated exchange after Tommy Shelby’s son had been kidnapped. The chemistry between the two actors is undeniable and the show really capitalizes on that in this particular scene. Throughout the 3rd series Cillian Murphy’s character had been trying to become the “respectable” figure and prove to others (and to himself) that he and his family should be included in the dignified and revered classes of society. Of course, things never really work out as they’re supposed to and the scene between Tommy and Alfie serves as a wake up call to Tommy and reminds him that he’s no better than the criminals and gangsters he’s working so hard to get away from. After all, as Alfie so eloquently puts it, “He who fights by the sword, he fucking dies by it.” Eventually, Tommy embraces the fact that he’s a bad man who does bad things and attempts to convey this message to his family who…aren’t exactly the most receptive (except for Michael, who I think will eventually become as cold and disconnected as Tommy). The series ends on the cliffhanger of all cliffhangers with Tommy being left alone, and while he does explain to his family that he has a plan to get them all freed from prison, it’s the first time in the Series (and I mean Series 1,2, and 3) that we see Tommy truly alone and wonder if he really can find a way out of the situation he’s found himself in!
In My Humble Opinion: The documentary series Making A Murderer is a fine piece of entertainment, but please, let’s also remember that it’s a 10 hour series that covers events that span over 25 years. I watched Making A Murderer on Netflix, and like a lot of other people found it completely engrossing and finished all 10 episodes rather quickly. While I was watching it, sorry, binging on it, I caught myself saying things like, “Steven Avery really got screwed; He deserves a new trial; Those cops were out to get him from the get go,” but when I was done, I then asked myself, “Who am I to weigh in on this?” Like a good majority of the people who watched the series, I’m far from a legal expert, but that hasn’t stopped the masses from chiming in and voicing their strong opposition to Steven Avery’s and Brendan Dassey’s incarceration
The series stirred such controversy that a petition with over 125,000 signatures was sent to The White House demanding President Obama grant Steven Avery and Brendan Dassey a pardon. Really? Like I said, I enjoyed the series and it surely convinced me that there might have been some things that weren’t exactly above-board when it came to the investigation and legal proceedings, but to ask the President for a pardon…come on people. Even one of Steven Avery’s own defense lawyers Jerry Buting brought up the point that the murder trial of Teresa Halbach went on for six weeks but only accounts for about 2-2.5 hours of the 10 hour series. There are a number of questions you have to ask yourself while you’re watching the series. How much testimony did we miss? What evidence might have been presented that didn’t make it into the series? Why weren’t the individuals the documentary accused of evidence tampering or wrong doing ever questioned by the film makers in order to offer up their side of the story? Were they questioned and the interviews were then intentionally left out of the final cut? Making A Murderer argues that Steven Avery didn’t receive fair treatment because the authorities involved didn’t like him, made assumptions about his character, and took steps to ensure a guilty verdict by framing him and falsifying evidence. If that’s the case, then shouldn’t we also question the validity of the series itself and the accusations it makes? Like I said, I’m not legal expert this is just my humble opinion.
In My Humble Opinion: Insidious: Chapter 3 is another exciting installment in the Insidious franchise that opens the door to further possible sequels…or prequels depending on how you look at it. Although it’s titled Insidious: Chapter 3, the movie itself is actually a prequel, taking place some years before the events of the first two films. During the movie the audience is given bits and pieces to the backstory of our favorite paranormal psychic Elise Rayner portrayed by Lyn Shaye. Her character’s backstory accompanied by what transpires in this installment ties all three movies together very well. In this film Elise reluctantly agrees to use her psychic abilities to help a teenage girl reach out to her mother who passed away a year earlier. I don’t want to give too much away, so I will just say that Elise’s reluctance is well founded, because once she gives in and agrees to help Stephanie Scot’s character Quinn Brenner, all hell breaks loose.
I’ve typically found movies that restrict the audience from seeing the danger can prove to be the scariest. In Jaws, you don’t see the shark for like the first three quarters of the movie? Paranormal Activity you never really see anything physical. Surely I could go on and on but my point is movies like this feed the audience’s imagination in order to scare them. Well, Leigh Whannell, who wrote all three Insidious films and makes his directorial debut with this installment, has a sixth sense when it comes to the horror genre. Whannell has a way showing you what might frighten you, showing you the danger, and still scaring the shit out of you. Not one of his incarnations; Jigsaw, The Bride In Black, The Man Who Can’t Breathe, Red- Faced Demon, etc. have failed to instill terror and fear. Bottom line, Insidious: Chapter 3 is definitely worth checking out and Leigh Whannell will continue to emerge as a go to guy when it comes to horror films.
In My Humble Opinion: The new Poltergeist remake serves as another nail in the coffin when it comes to the idea of movie remakes. Don’t get me wrong, the idea isn’t completely dead and there have been a few remakes that proved it can be done, and done well. Unfortunately for every Cape Fear or Nutty Professor type remake that succeeds, there is a mass of Total Recall, Red Dawn, Halloween, types that unseat my confidence in the whole idea of remakes. Poltergeist, unfortunately is another remake that not only shows how bad remakes can be, but just how bad movies themselves can be.
Poltergeist stars Sam Rockwell (which is part of the reason I was hoping this movie would do well, he’s awesome!) and Rosemarie DeWitt as married couple Eric and Amy Bowen. When we first meet the couple and their three children, the family is in the process of buying a new home. Amy doesn’t work and is contemplating on writing a novel, while Eric has recently been laid off from his employer. Hopefully, after reading that, you’re thinking the same thing I was when I watched the movie. Neither parent is working, but they’re buying a home? What is this, the great market crash all over again? Anyway, if you’ve seen the original then you know the basic storyline. A poltergeist begins terrorizing the family, all in an attempt to kidnap the youngest of the Bowens, little daughter Caroline so she can lead all the tortured souls “into the light.” Although in this version the youngest daughter’s name is Maddison (Yeah, cause that will surely distinguish this movie from the original). Spooks and scares ensue, or least that’s what I think the filmmakers were trying to do, before an expert is brought in to save the Bowen family, yada yada yada.
Forget that the movie is a remake for a second, and you still find yourself thinking, “God, this movie is just really…bad!” Never mind the fact that the movie doesn’t deliver up a single scare; the writing is all over the place with no real continuity leaving you with a feeling that the movie was being mapped out as it was being filmed. As far as the performances, the actors themselves seem to be disappointed with the fact that they agreed to be in the movie in the first place. The most evident aspect of this is Sam Rockwell. The normally engaging and magnetic actor is dulled down to a morose, sad sack father with no real passion whatsoever. All in all, the movie was a huge disappointment and the only thing haunting about the movie is the fact that it was ever green lit in the first place.
In My Humble Opinion: The 1996 film The Frighteners is a generally forgotten film when it comes to horror movies. Granted, it’s far from the scariest movie out there, but it’s a truly entertaining picture that successfully blends both the horror and comedy genre together. The 1996 film written & directed by Peter Jackson was the last film he wrote, produced, and directed before descending upon Middle Earth and becoming a household name for his Lord of the Rings / The Hobbit trilogies. The film stars a young Michael J. Fox as Frank Bannister, a psychic paranormal investigator who is haunted by the loss of his wife, who died in a car accident years prior. Plagued with grief, Bannister now uses his ability to see and interact with ghosts to con people out of money in order to make ends meet. Low and behold his abilities and integrity are put the test when the “Grim Reaper” turns up in the small town Bannister inhabits to continue a murder spree that was put in motion many years earlier (I’m trying to avoid spoilers if you haven’t seen the movie yet so I’ll end the description here).
Considering the movie was released in 1996 the special effects are surprisingly impressive. The “ghosts” embody what I imagine we all typically envision when we think of what ghosts would look like if they existed in real life. The “Grim Reaper” is a digitally created nightmare that, despite the movies comedy chops, instantly reminds you why the film is considered horror as well. The New Zealand – American film was a moderate success grossing $29.3 million at the box office compared to its $26 million budget. The film earned Saturn nominations for writing, directing, special effects, music, and certainly put Peter Jackson on the map with regards to his writing and directing abilities. If you haven’t seen the film yet I strongly encourage you to check it out, especially with Halloween approaching. If you have seen it, make some time to break out of the repetitive viewing of other classics like Halloween, Friday the 13th, Nightmare and Elm Street, and re-discover this commonly overlooked horror classic.
In 2029, the leader of the human resistance, John Connor, leads the war against the machines. At the Los Angeles offensive, John is notified by his army unit, Tech-Com, that Skynet will attack him from two fronts, past and future, and will ultimately change warfare forever. In response, he sets up 2 units; the Colorado Unit which is tasked with destroying the heart of Skynet, and a second unit lead by himself and Kyle Reese which is tasked with destroying Skynet’s final weapon, a time machine.
Before the resistance can reach the time machine, Skynet sends a T-800 back to 1984 to kill Sarah Connor, John’s mother. John agrees to send Kyle Reese back to protect Sarah. As Kyle is floating in the machine’s magnetic field, he experiences new memories of his 12-year-old self with a young Sarah Connor, and a warning that “Genisys is Skynet” and it will come online in 2017.
The T-800 arrives in 1984 Los Angeles, but is quickly dispatched by Sarah Connor and the Guardian, a reprogrammed T-800 with aged human tissue. Shortly after, Kyle is ambushed by a T-1000 and is rescued by Sarah and the Guardian. Kyle is informed that the original past has changed, Sarah already knows about Skynet, Judgment Day, and Reese’s role as her protector and John Connor’s father (although Kyle doesn’t know he is John’s father). They lure the T-1000 to a sewer, where Sarah disintegrates it with acid.
Sarah explains to Kyle that the Guardian was sent back in time to 1973 in order to protect Sarah the T-1000. The arrival of both terminators caused a fractured timeline that differs from Kyle’s. After saving and protecting Sarah, the Guardian raised and trained her to face her destiny, which she adamantly tries to reject. They have built a time machine to time travel forward to 1997 and stop the creation of Skynet. However, Kyle, convinced by his new memories, persuades the Guardian and Sarah that they should travel to 2017. Kyle and Sarah time-travel, while the Guardian spends the next 30 years preparing for their arrival.
Kyle and Sarah materialize in the middle of a highway and are captured by the police, followed by the Guardian. While they are being treated for injuries, Sarah is introduced to Genisys, a soon-to-be-unveiled operating system that will be used on every computer, mobile device, and military application. They are unexpectedly rescued by John Connor. As John leads the pair to the parking garage, the Guardian catches up with them and shoots John, revealing him to be a nanomachine replication of John, the T-3000. After a brief battle, the T-3000 is temporarily incapacitated with an MRI machine.
The Guardian takes Kyle and Sarah to a safehouse near Golden Gate bridge where they prepare to destroy the Genisys building before Genisys is online. The T-3000 tracks them down, and the battle reaches the Golden Gate bridge, where Kyle and Sarah are once again captured, this time with the Guardian. They are freed by Detective O’Brien, who was saved by Kyle in 1984, and is convinced that they are time-travellers with good intentions. The three hijack a helicopter and head to the Genisys building, pursued by the T-3000.
The T-3000 enters the Genisys building first, kills all the security guards and moves the count down forward from 13 hours to 15 minutes. The Guardian, Kyle and Sarah plant bombs at key points in the facility, all while holding off the T-3000. After a lengthy battle, the Guardian successfully traps the T-3000 in the magnetic field of the prototype time machine. After Kyle and Sarah navigate to a bunker beneath the facility, the time machine explodes, setting off the bombs and leveling the building, preventing Genisys from coming online.
With their mission over, the Guardian, Kyle and Sarah travel to young Kyle’s home, where he repeats the warning of Genisys to young Kyle. Sarah is relieved to know that she is now free to choose what to do with her future, and chooses to be with Kyle. The three then drive away. In the epilogue, the Genisys system core hidden in a subterranean chamber survives the explosion and the holographic projection of the now self-aware Skynet looks on.
In the Eastern European country of Sokovia, the Avengers – Tony Stark, Steve Rogers, Thor, Bruce Banner, Natasha Romanoff, and Clint Barton – raid a Hydra outpost led by Baron Wolfgang von Strucker, who has been experimenting on humans using the scepter previously wielded by Loki. They encounter two of Strucker’s experiments – twins Pietro, who has superhuman speed, and Wanda Maximoff, who can manipulate minds and throw energy blasts – and apprehend Strucker, while Stark retrieves Loki’s scepter.
Stark and Banner discover an artificial intelligence within the scepter’s gem, and secretly use it to complete Stark’s “Ultron” global defense program. The unexpectedly sentient Ultron, believing he must eradicate humanity to save Earth, eliminates Stark’s A.I. J.A.R.V.I.S. and attacks the Avengers during a victory party at their headquarters. Escaping with the scepter, Ultron uses the resources in Strucker’s Sokovia base to upgrade his rudimentary body and build an army of robot drones. He recruits the Maximoff twins, who want revenge against Stark for their parents’ deaths from his company’s weapons. Together, they visit the base of arms dealer Ulysses Klaue in an African shipyard to obtain vibranium. The Avengers battle them, but Wanda subdues the heroes with haunting visions, causing the Hulk to run ramped and forcing Stark to use his powerful “Veronica” armor to stop him.
A worldwide backlash over the resulting destruction, and the fears Wanda’s hallucinations incited, send the team into hiding at Barton’s safe house farm, where they meet his wife, Laura, and children. Thor departs to consult with Dr. Erik Selvig on the meaning of the apocalyptic future he saw in his hallucination. Realizing an attraction between them, Romanoff and Banner plan to flee together after fighting Ultron. Nick Fury arrives and encourages the team to form a plan to stop Ultron. In Seoul, South Korea, Ultron forces Banner’s friend Dr. Helen Cho to use her synthetic tissue technology, vibranium, and the scepter’s gem to create the perfect body for him. When Ultron begins uploading himself into the body, Wanda is able to read his mind; discovering his plan for human extinction, the Maximoffs turn on Ultron. Rogers, Romanoff, and Barton hunt Ultron and retrieve the synthetic body, but Ultron captures Romanoff.
The Avengers fight amongst themselves when Stark secretly uploads J.A.R.V.I.S. – who is still operational after hiding from Ultron inside the Internet – into the synthetic body. Thor returns to help activate the body with lightning, explaining that the gem on its brow – the Mind Stone, one of the six Infinity Stones and one of the most powerful objects in existence – was part of his vision. The synthetic being, now referred to as the Vision, and the Maximoffs accompany the Avengers to Sokovia, where Ultron has used the remaining vibranium to build a machine that lifts a large part of the city skyward, intending to crash it into the ground and cause global extinction. As the city begins to lift, Banner rescues Romanoff, who awakens the Hulk for the battle. The Avengers fight Ultron’s army while delaying Ultron from activating his plan’s final procedure. Fury arrives in a Helicarrier with Maria Hill, James Rhodes, and S.H.I.E.L.D. agents to assist in evacuating civilians, but Pietro dies when he shields Barton from a barrage of fire. A grieving Wanda abandons her post to destroy Ultron’s primary body in revenge, inadvertently allowing one of his drones to activate the machine. The landmass plummets, but Stark and Thor overload the machine and shatter the city into pieces. In the aftermath, the Hulk, unwilling to endanger Romanoff by being with her, departs in a Quinjet, while the Vision confronts Ultron’s last remaining body.
Later, the Avengers have established a new base in upstate New York, run by Fury, Hill, Cho, and Selvig. Believing the Mind Stone is safe with the Vision, Thor returns to Asgard to learn more about the forces he suspects have manipulated recent events. As Stark and Barton also retire from the team, Rogers and Romanoff prepare to train new Avengers: Rhodes, Wanda, the Vision, and Sam Wilson.
In a mid-credits scene, Thanos retrieves the Infinity Gauntlet2 and, dissatisfied with the failures of his pawns, vows to hunt for the Infinity Stones personally.