Tag Archive: Fantasy


Review: True Blood

TV-MA (strong sexual content, language and violence), HBO. Seasons 1 & 2 available on DVD. Season 3 currently airing.

Created and produced by Alan Ball. Cast: Anna Paquin, Stephen Moyer, Alexander Skarsgard, Sam Trammell, Ryan Kwanten, Rutina Wesley, Kevin Alejandro, Marshall Allman, Chris Bour, etc.

True Blood is an american television series created and produced by Alan Ball, (creator of Six Feet Under). The show is based on the Southern Vampire Mysteries series of novels by Charlaine Harris, and details the co-existence of vampires and humans in Bon Temps, a fictional small Louisiana town. The show centers on Sookie Stackhouse, (played perfectly by Anna Paquin) a telepathic waitress at a bar, who falls in love with vampire Bill Compton, (Stephen Moyer).

Following the vampire craze of Twilight, this is a seriously sexed up and adult themed drama series that is really a guilty pleasure to watch. True Blood is into it’s 3rd season now and has been airing on HBO since September 7 2008, however I only recently got into the show because of all of the accolades it kept receiving, (including winning a Golden Globe and Emmy last year).

The show has such a broad ensemble cast of regular central characters and a rotation of supporting characters, that it gets hard to keep up with them all.

The other most notable characters in True Blood are: Eric Northman, (Alexander Skarsgard) a charismatic vampire who is also the Sheriff of “area 5” and is fascinated with Sookie’s strange abilities. Sam Merlotte, (Sam Trammell) owner of “Merlottes” bar and admirer of Sookie, who also has a secret of his own. Jason, (Ryan Kwanten) Sookie’s horny brother who gets addicted to V juice (vampire blood which acts like a narcotic to humans), Tara Thornton (Rutina Wesley), the obnoxious best friend of Sookie and Lafayette Reynolds (Nelson Ellis), a flamboyant gay cook and cousin of Tara, (who also sells V juice on the side).

As I said above, there are all kinds of story lines aside from the central love story between Sookie and Bill, including a mystery surrounding a series of murders that start happening in Bon Temps, a look into vampire culture and even sorcery.

The show offers plenty of raunchy sex scenes for those who like that kind of thing–and since most of the woman are beautiful, i’m not complaining much.

I think I already summed up this show with two words: Guilty Pleasure. 3/5 stars

1. The Matrix (1999)

2. The Lord of The Rings Trilogy (2001-2004) *

3. Bladerunner (1982)

4. Terminator 2: Judgement Day (1991)

5. Inception (2010)

6. Back To the Future (1985)

7. Star Wars: The original trilogy (1977-1983) *

8. The Abyss (1989)

9. Independence Day (1996)

10. Donnie Darko (2001)

11. 12 Monkeys (1995)

12. Aliens (1986)

13. Iron Man (2008)

14. Star Trek (2009)

15. Spiderman 2 (2004)

16. Watchmen (2009)

17. Avatar (2009)

18. War of the Worlds (2005)

19. The Incredibles (2003)

20. Strange Days (1996)

21. Gattaca (1997)

22. Cocoon (1985)

23. Close Encounters of a third kind (1977)

24. ET (1982)

25. X-men 2 (2002)

26. Sunshine (2008)

27. Wall-E (2008)

28. Jurassic Park (1993)

29. Stardust (2008)

30.  Contact (1997)

* Okay, so if I really have to pick only ONE Star Wars film and Lord of The Rings film then it would be “Empire Strikes Back” and “The Return of the King”–but they are all classics to me.

PG-13, 148 minutes

Warner Bros. Director: Christopher Nolan, Cast: Leonardo Dicaprio, Ellen Page, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Tom Hardy, Ken Watanabe, Cillian Murphy and Marion Cotillard.

Inception is a mind bending roller-coaster of a movie that reminded me of the groundbreaking special effects and originality of The Matrix when it was first released in 1999. I won’t say that this is a better film but I will say that is a far more complex and intelligent one for sure.

A review after just one viewing of this film probably does not do it justice as this is a film that deserves to be watched over and over. What is clear is this: Leonardo Dicaprio plays Dom Cobb a thief-for-hire who has the ability to enter peoples minds and extract information from them while they are sleeping.  The opening sequence gives us a taste of this form of dream invasion and is a thrilling spectacle, yet it is just the tip of the iceberg for what is about to come.

Cobb is hired by a japanese businessman called Saito (Ken Watanabe) to break up a rivals business empire through the use of “inception”,  a very dangerous method of implanting an idea in the mind of another rather than just stealing it. Cobb just wants to go home to his kids but he agrees to do this as his last job, so he forms a dream team: Arthur (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) his regular “Point Man”,  Ariadne (a fantastic Ellen Page) the “Architect” who can design the world within the dream and Eedie (a stand out Tom Hardy), the “Forger” who has the ability to morph into other peoples identities in the dream world. Their target is Robert Fischer (Cillian Murphy, also a stand out here) , the son of the ailing energy tycoon that Saito is in conflict with.

What ensues is a breathtaking spectacle of special effects, mystery, suspense and non-stop action as they go deeper and deeper into one another’s subconscious. We see Ariadne folding a city onto itself just because she can. There’s also a fight sequence in mid air, involving Arthur and an attacker which is a direct shout out to The Matrix.

Inception can get a little hard to follow at times, but this only makes it more captivating to watch every scene as the film unfolds. To add even more complexity to the storyline, Cobb has a secret of his own concerning his beautiful and haunting wife (a chilling Marion Cotillard), who keeps showing up in his own subconscious mind while he is on the job and attempting to sabotage him. The reason why is just all part of the mystery.

Dicaprio delivers another solid performance here and is backed up by a terrific supporting cast. Michael Caine also has a small role as Cobbs father in law, but is under-used.

However, the real genius behind Inception is Christopher Nolan, who wrote the screenplay in addition to directing it. His breakthrough film, “Memento” was a head turning mystery which looks pale in comparison to the rich texture and complexity of Inception. This is a movie about the layering of dreams within dreams where you never really know what is reality and what is not and that is exactly where the film leaves you. In my opinion, this is the best movie of the year so far, hands down.  5/5 stars

Best in Television: LOST!

Season 1-6, 121 episodes, September 22 2004–May 23 2010

ABC Studios, Bad Robot Productions

Created by J.J. Abrams, Damon Lindelof, Carlton Cuse.  Directed by John Bender and many others.

Cast:  Matthew Fox, Evangeline Lilly, Josh Holloway, Naveen Andrews, Henry Ian Cusack, Emile De Ravin, Michael Emerson, Jorge Garcia, Daniel Dae Kim, Yunjin Kim, Dominic Monaghan, Terry O Quinn, Elizabeth Mitchell, Jeremy Davis.

Music: Michael Ciacchino

Yes, I am a huge fan of Lost, or a “Lostie” as people like to call it. To try and describe a show like this is actually a tough job. It really is. For other “Losties” out there, I know they understand. This is a show that transports you into a whole different world and gets you so involved with the characters and what is going on, you literally feel like you are there with them.

This is a show that is part drama, part mystery, part adventure, part fantasy and part Science Fiction. It involves so many different characters and so many different plot threads, you truly do get LOST. That is the fun of it. You’re always wondering what the heck is going on. But you care enough to stick with it through to the end.

That’s what  I did. For all Six Seasons of this remarkable television show. When it started in Sept 2004 it was an immediate success both with viewers and critics. Almost 16 million viewers tuned in to watch the first season and although viewership did decrease over the years, there were still 11 million viewers by Season 6’s finale.  LOST! was consistently hailed by US Critics to be one of the top 5 TV shows of the year over the duration that it was on the air. The show has won numerous awards including an Emmy Award for Best Outstanding Drama Series in 2005 and a Golden Globe for the same title in 2006.

Lost was filmed in its entirety in the beautiful backdrop of Oahu, Hawaii.

So, to describe the show itself?

Oceanic Flight 815 from Sydney to Los Angeles crashes on an unknown island. The survivors all gather together and wait for rescue, but it soon becomes apparent that nobody is coming. There are so many central characters with their own story lines that it would take too much to write it here, but I will cover the most important ones. Jack Shephard is a doctor with a penchant for “fixing things” and  is the hero of the show. The first episode begins with Jack opening his eyes on the island where they crashed. Kate (Evangeline Lilly) is a fugitive who was being transported to prison when the plane crashed. Sawyer (Josh Holloway) is a con-artist with a secret of his own, who throughout the show becomes a very popular character. There is a love triangle involving these central characters that goes back and forth for the duration of the show.

Then there is John Locke (Terry O Quinn) a man who was in a wheelchair before he arrived on the island, but now can walk. Due to this he believes fate brought them to the island and that they are there for a reason. Hurley (Jorge Garcia) is the overweight lovable dude who brings most of the comic relief to the show. He also won 21 million dollars using numbers that appear on a hatch that they find in season 1 and which appear throughout the rest of the show as a central mystery. There’s Claire (Emile De Raven) the pregnant teenager who falls in love with Charlie (Dominic Monaghan) the former rockstar and heroin junkie. Sayid, (Naveen Andrews) the bad-ass who used to be in the Iraqi Military and Sun (Daniel Day Kim) and Jin (Yunjin Kim) an estranged couple who find love again on the island.

With the very first episode you are hooked in with the characters and the mystery surrounding the island. The plane was ripped apart but somehow they survived. There appears to be some sort of “monster” on the island. A polar bear attacks them — on a tropical island. They discover a recording by a french lady which has been playing on a loop for 16 years. As Charlie says, you wonder: “Where are they”?

The story of the show is told in several different ways. There is the continuing story line on the island itself and all the mysteries that unfold while they are there. Then there are flashbacks which tell you the story of each character before they got to the island. By the end of Season 3, that all changes and an entirely different direction is taken in the shows storyline. I’m not going to spoil that one for you. Watch it and find out for yourself.

While the survivors are on the island they become threatened by the mysterious “Others”, a group of apparent natives who already inhabit the island.  Notable characters from the Others are Benjamin Linus (Michael Emerson) who is pitch perfect as the deliciously sly leader and Juliet (Elizabeth Mitchell), a fertility doctor who is on the island reluctantly and gets involved with both Jack and Sawyer.  There is also a man called Desmond (Henry Ian Cusack), who has been living in the hatch for 4 years, typing in numbers so as to “save the world”.

As the show propelled toward its finale I will proudly admit that I was completely obsessed. I had watched all previous seasons 3 times through to try and dissect and decipher all the various mythology and mysteries that the show had to offer.  Now there may have been some disappointment from fans that not all of the mysteries were solved. Yes, this may be true. However, all of the relevant ones were tied up and more importantly is that the show went back to the characters themselves. What resulted was the single most powerful and moving finale for a television series that I have ever watched.  I Don’t think the creators could have done a better job of wrapping everything up.

A true phenomenon was created with LOST! in 2004. Watch this series from beginning to end and you will know why.

LOST! The full collection will be released on DVD August 24 2010. 5/5 stars.

PG-13, Kristin Stewart, Robert Pattinson, Taylor Lautner, Dakota Fanning.

When the first Twilight movie came out, I had no idea what to expect. I had not read any of the books and did not know there was already a rabid following of 20 millions fans (majority female).

That said, I walked out of the cinema pleasantly surprised. I really enjoyed the movie and I ended up watching it another 3 times. I bought all the books and read them before the next movie, New Moon came out.

Twilight is infectious. It pulls you into a whole new world and involves you with characters you start to really care about. Some people may say its lame, but I understand all the commotion over “team Edward” and “team Jacob”.  The author, Stephanie Meyer is to thank for creating a world where Vampires and Werewolves really do exist.  In the footsteps of Star Trek and Harry Potter, we have another truly global phenomenon.

Eclipse starts off where New Moon ended. Bella (Kristin Stewart) is reunited with Edward (Robert Pattinson) much to Jacob’s (Taylor Lautner) disdain. Edward is trying to convince Bella to marry him and in turn she wants him to turn her into a vampire.

Meanwhile, Victoria is still out for revenge and has been building an army of new born vampires in Seattle, which she intends to bring to Forks to destroy Bella and the Cullens. When Jacob finds out that Bella is in danger, he agrees to protect her. The werewolves and Vampires unite to engage in a climatic battle against the new born army and Victoria.

The soundtrack to the film is a highlight as it has been for both previous films and the action sequences are shot with awesome camera angles and slow motion effects to build the suspense. There is also a cool sequence where Jaspar is training the Cullens on how to kill the new borns.

You get a bit of history behind Jaspar and Rosalie in this movie, which had not been explained before. There is also more history behind the wolf tribe of which real Twi-hards will appreciate.

The only thing that I found annoying (as I did in the book too) was the back and forth love triangle between Bella, Edward and Jacob. Bella who is meant to be the heroine of the series, becomes more and more obnoxious in this one and unfortunately Kristin Stewart plays it just a little bit too well in the film.

Dakota Fanning is deliciously evil in her small role as Jane a member of the Volturi and I wished that there had been more written into her character.

We are now ready for the adaption of the last book Breaking Dawn which is being released in two parts.

If you’re one of those people who is just not “into” Twilight, I would recommend that you give it a shot. Its pure escapist entertainment and the whole reason that movies exist in the first place.  Why miss out on all the fun? Especially since your lady is likely to be a fanatic anyways. 4/5 stars.