Hemlock Grove: Season 1 (2013)

hemlock grove season 1 poster


What I liked:

  • The colour palette. Everything is all washed out and bland looking, but it works wonders for the show.
  • Shelley. It is the one and only character I actually like, she is such a sweetheart. I can’t wait to find out more about her history.
  • Roman’s relationship with Shelley. It is his one endearing aspect and I love it. He absolutely adores her and will look after her and defend her, no matter what.
  • The intro. I really like it, it is all creepy and spooky and stuff. Major pity that it doesn’t reflect the show whatsoever. It’s like Salem’s intro, really good but a substandard show. Except this is infinitely better than Salem, flaws and all.
  • How messed up Roman is with people, but how attached he was to Peter’s cat.
  • How broken Norman Godfrey was about Letha’s death.

hemlock grove shelley

What I didn’t like:

  • Peter’s nails. I know this seems like a minor thing but OMG they freaked me out… his nails were longer than mine! Really, men should not have long nails. It is so nasty and then some.
  • The character development is all over the show and really shoddy – annoying! It speaks of bad writing.
  • The story line is all jumbled and hops around the whole time, like they don’t know which direction to take the show and when.
  • The lack of likable characters or anyone you can identify with. It makes watching this a really hollow experience.
  • The dialogue is so extremely awkward at times.
  • Famke Janssen’s dead embarrassing accent. I am not too sure if she deliberately sounded like that or what. Bill Skarsgård’s accent dropping a little to Swedish didn’t really bug me too much, it wasn’t too noticeable… but then I am a fan of that accent in general, so maybe I was a little biased.
  • They make it seem like werewolves are just a part of the scenery, and nobody is batting an eyelash, which then gets contradicted later when they are making out such a huge deal of how it is actually not normal at all. Then why is it being portrayed as same old?
  • With a name like Eli Roth attached to this, it was extremely underwhelming. I was thinking gore and nasty and like… Hostel meets werewolves. I was sorely disappointed when that was not the case.
  • The logic is so flawed and so little is explained, and the gore is lacking at the best of times.
  • I wish there was some more continuity, consistency, and explanations! I really felt at times like I was missing something, which made me feel daft, but at the end of the day, if the show cannot write consistently, that is not my problem…
  • That entire rushed ending. It is like they crammed a whole bunch of events into like… five minutes or less, and it just doesn’t work. As if the show wasn’t offensive enough.

hemlock grove smoking again

GRADE 5So when I got to this I know that it had some relatively meh reviews. However, I thought it could have potential, I would have to watch it before slamming it. Things started off slowly, and then they just went downhill progressively. The story is all over the show and has no real sense of direction, the effects are pretty dodgy, which was even more of a disappointment, the characters were totally useless and ridiculous, the dialogue is silly, and nothing is ever actually happening. Or when is suddenly is, out of the blue, the show is making leaps and bounds with flawed logic and expecting you to keep up, which is a real annoyance, let me just tell you that. The only character worth a damn is Shelley, and I just really want them to explain some things about her. Also, my next question, everyone is so freely running around talking about werewolves like it is common, then later it is told that there is nothing normal and common about it, yet nobody says anything about the fact that Shelley glows? I don’t get it! Also, why in the world would a woman as rich and powerful as Olivia ever put her deformed kid in public school? Or her son, for that matter? I just don’t buy into it at all, which is even worse. Then there is Letha, who is also just… what is up with all the incestuous sexual innuendo in television shows?! Recently the shows I have been watching have all focused on that a bit and it is really disconcerting. Also, you all know that I enjoy the works of the various members of the Skarsgård family, right? I mean, Gustaf Skarsgård is my favourite thing about Vikings, Alexander Skarsgård was the best thing about True Blood (and not just for science), and papa Skarsgård is usually a solid actor in most things he’s in. So when I saw the young Bill, I was hopeful. Now, to be fair, the writers are absolutely godawful with this show, which really didn’t let him do anything. On the other, he doesn’t really have the same magnetism as his brothers, and he seemed a little awkward and uncomfortable at times. See, I am not sure if that is just the writing or him. I suppose that I will have to go watch something else with him in it. He isn’t terrible though. The amount of irritating characters in here was astronomical, paired with ludicrous events surrounding them and no closure made for a serious disappointment. I cannot get over how crappy it all was by the end of it. I mean come on people! The inconsistencies were the only consistent thing about this across the board. The soundtrack was also not something I was a fan of. I think one of the most disappointing things is that if I was shown only the intro for this, I would actually consider watching the show. This feels like Salem all over again. Pretty good and interesting intro, lacklustre content (though it must be said this is still better than that aforementioned abomination). I am going to stop putting stock into the intros hahaha. There were some scenes that were so bad and cheesy they were actually good, and a few places I had to laugh (here’s looking at the cat slaughter). Believe you me, your eyes are going to get a rolling workout if you do decide to watch this!

hemlock grove werewolf transformation drop your eyes

Review: X2 (2003) – Silver Screen Serenade

X2 ONE SHEET A ¥ Art Machine Job#5263 ¥ Version A ¥  02/28/03

So when Zoë shared her plans to have an X-Men Blogathon to prepare for the upcoming Days of Future Past, I was totally in. I’d been thinking I ought to do something to get in the spirit, and I think this is just the ticket! Kudos for the awesome idea, Zoë!

When given a choice between the X-Men films to review, I immediately snatched up X2: X-Men United. In my opinion, this is the X-Men film to beat. Let’s talk about why, shall we?

Synopsis: “The X-Men band together to find a mutant assassin who has made an attempt on the President’s life, while the Mutant Academy is attacked by military forces.” –www.imdb.com

Why it’s awesome:

That opening! X2 doesn’t waste any time getting right into some action. I mean, an assassination attempt on the president within the first five minutes? I’m paying attention! And as for the would-be assassin…

  • NIGHTCRAWLER IS THE BEST. Seriously, he might be my favorite thing about this film. Played brilliantly by Alan Cumming, Kurt Wagner a.k.a. Nightcrawler is just too freaking cool. His look, his power, his personality—I feel like this film nails it. He looks scary, but he has a heart of gold, and with only a few details, you get a sense of his tortured past. Plus, I love the designs on his skin. “One for every sin,” he claims. Very nice touch.

  • Patrick Stewart as Professor Charles Xavier. Yes, Professor X is a character we’re introduced to in the first film, but he continues to shine here as the strong, wise, soft-spoken patriarch of the X-Men family.
  • Hugh Jackman just…is Wolverine. At this point, I do believe Logan a.k.a. Wolverine has been a bit overexposed (he has a huge role in every X-Men film except First Class, where he’s limited to a brief albeit delightful cameo), but this is the surly tough guy’s second film appearance, and it’s great.

  • Ian freakin’ McKellen as Erik Lehnsherr a.k.a. Magneto. So much yes. Aside from Tom Hiddleston’s irresistibly fun Loki, McKellen’s Magneto is my very favorite Marvel villain. He’s wonderfully suave, clever, and brutal, and his complicated “frenemy” relationship with Professor X is brilliantly portrayed. Also, his prison breakout scene is arguably the best moment of the film. Sheer awesomeness.
  • Rebecca Romijn as Raven Darkholme a.k.a. Mystique. We don’t know much about her, but what we do know is that she’s sexy, sassy, smart, and an undeniable badass. She has some great moments in this film, but my personal favorite is when she breaks into William Stryker’s facility, then slides through a closing door while flipping her enemies the bird. Win.

  • The coolness of Colossus (Daniel Cudmore). We may not know much about him, but man does he look awesome.
  • The creepy intensity of William Stryker (Brian Cox). It’s hard for a plain old human villain to measure up to mutants, but Stryker does the job perfectly.
  • Bobby’s “coming out” scene. When Bobby Drake a.k.a. Iceman (Shawn Ashmore) leads a group of mutants to his family’s house, he has to confess to them what he really is. The family’s reaction is less than favorable. You can’t help drawing parallels between this and the struggles of the gay community. It’s a smart tie-in to a very relevant social issue.
  • The Phoenix teasers. There are a couple of them in this film, and even though Phoenix a.k.a. Jean Grey (Famke Janssen) doesn’t turn out quite like fans had hoped, the hints of power are still pretty great.
  • Yuriko Oyama a.k.a. Lady Deathstrike (Kelly Hu). When those adamantium claws sprout from her fingertips and she takes on Wolverine, it’s the best.

That scene near the end where the mutants talk to the president. Everything freezes, it’s dark and stormy, the mutants speak from the shadows…Mr. Prez, you’d better LISTEN!

  • In general, I just think the script is really sharp for this one. The dialogue is great, the pacing pretty spot-on, and the story, though ambitious, works well. Kudos, X2!

Clearly, I love this one. But if I have to pick on a few things…

The (few) things that bother me:

I don’t love Jean, Rogue (Anna Paquin), or Storm (Halle Berry), and I hate that because they’re all such potentially awesome characters. The problem is Famke Janssen can’t act her way out of a paper bag, Rogue doesn’t have nearly enough sass and is a little whiny (I blame the writers more than Paquin), and Storm is miscast as well as sans the cool African accent she is supposed to have. I read a list the other day of miscast X-Men where the writer suggested Angela Bassett instead of Berry in the role. Anyone who has seen Bassett in American Horror Story: Coven knows why that idea made me giddy.

angela bassett

I hate the Logan/Jean/Scott love triangle. Is that a thing in the comics? I hate it. I hate how it makes Scott a.k.a. Cyclops (James Marsden) act toward Logan, I hate how Jean kind of leads Logan on, and I hate how it makes Logan a bit mopey. Do you guys feel the same? I don’t know. Maybe the prevalence of love triangles in, like, every recent book and movie has made me bitter toward them.

love triange
make them staaaaahp!
  • Stryker’s team breaks into the X-Mansion like it’s child’s play. Isn’t that place supposed to be super duper guarded? I feel like Professor X would’ve put more thought into that.
  • John Allerdyce a.k.a. Pyro (Aaron Stanford) is just an annoying psycho. There’s not much done to develop his character, and by the time he abandons the X-Men for Team Magneto, I’m like, “Whatever, bro.” Could not care less. Do we even really need him?
  • So if you’ve gotten this far, I’m sure you don’t care about spoilers, but SPOILERS! So Jean heroically sacrifices herself by stepping outside of a jet full of her X-Buddies and powering it up before rushing waters come to drown them. Here’s my question: Why couldn’t homegirl power up the jet from the inside? I guess you could argue that she also has to hold back the waters, but earlier in the film she stopped a missile from inside the jet. I see no reason she couldn’t hold back the water from inside it, too.


I love this film. In my opinion, it’s the best X-Men so far (we’ll see how Days of Future Past stacks up), and it does all the things a good sequel is supposed to do: show us more of the characters we love while introducing a few awesome new ones, thicken the plot and put it on a grander scale, and improve upon and/or equal the previous film in greatness. Check, check, and check. This is one of my favorite superhero films for good reason.

My Rating: 9/10 (Probably an A on my rating system)

Thanks so much for letting me participate, Zoë!  X-Men Blogathon ruuuuuules! 😀

Thanks a million for participating Cara, this was an awesome review! I would have loved to see Bassett rock the Storm role!

Review: GoldenEye (1995)

17 - Goldeneye (1995)

“Back from the dead. No longer just an anonymous star on the memorial wall at MI6. What’s the matter, James? No glib remark? No pithy comeback?
– Alec Trevelyan

MI6 00 agents James Bond (Pierce Brosnan) and Alec Trevelyan (Sean Bean) are on a mission to infiltrate a Soviet chemical weapons facility where everything goes wrong. Alec is captured and executed by Colonel Arkandy Ourumov (Gottfried John), while Bond makes a wild escape as the facility explodes. Many years later, Bond is being assessed, and follows Xenia Onatopp (Famke Janssen). She is suspected to have ties to the Janus crime syndicate, and Bond needs to figure out the involvement and the extent as to what they are up to. After she murders an admiral, now General Ourumov takes over his identity. They hijack a prototype helicopter that can withstand an electromagnetic pulse and go to Severnaya. There they steal the control disks for the GoldenEye satellite weapons. Everyone at the facility is murdered, save one woman who makes it out, programmer Natalya Simonova (Izabella Scorupco), and Boris Grishenko (Alan Cumming), another programmer who must be the insider that helped Ourumov and Onatopp out. They activate a GoldenEye satellite, and the weapon destroys the entire bunker.

goldeneye pre-betrayal
“Governments change. The lies stay the same.” – James Bond

M and Bond see the desecration of the Severnaya bunker, and Bond goes out to see what is happening. Natalya is unaware of Boris’s hand in the destruction of the bunker, and goes to meet with him in St Petersburg. Instead, he betrays her, and she is taken hostage by Janus. Bond’s new CIA contact is Jack Wade (Joe Don Baker), who is also on the GoldenEye mission, and at first they do not seem to get along. Bond wants a meeting with Janus, and only Russian Mafia head Valentin Zukovsky (Robbie Coltrane) can help him out with it. However, the two have a history, and Zukovsky is not overly thrilled to see Bond turn up to meet him. Bond is granted his meeting, however, but is horrified to discover that Janus is actually his “deceased” friend, Alec Trevelyan. He is a Cossack clan descendant, and still has it out for the British Government for their involvement in his parents’ death – the Cossacks were clans that worked with Nazi forces and the British turned them back in to Stalin, and they were killed. Bond is taken hostage.

“This time, Mr. Bond, the pleasure will be all mine.” – Xenia Onatopp

Naturally, a whole lot of bad decisions and situations and escapes ensue, and Bond becomes rather close with Natalya, who offers boundless assistance in helping him out. Everyone still has no idea who stole the GoldenEye controller, Dimitri Mishkin (Tchéky Karyo), the Russian Minister of Defence, captured Natalya and Bond, convinced that Bond is a rogue agent and a thief. Natalya drops the bomb that Ourumov is responsible for the destruction of the bunker and the murders of all the people. Ourumov turns up at that moment and executes a guard and Mishkin with Bond’s gun. Natalya is captured by Alec again, and Bond needs to get to her.

goldeneye crusher thighs
“Kill him. The man just won’t take a hint.” – Alec Trevelyan

When Alec reveals his master plan of robbing a bank and using the EMP to mask the crime as well as cripple Britain’s economy, Bond needs to save Natalya. The two spar as always. Will Bond be able to save the girl as well as take down Alec? Will he be able to get over his personal feelings of betrayal and operate like the agent he was trained to be? Despite all his talk of having to stay cold and disconnected, is it really that simple? Will Bond be able to continue avoiding Onatopp’s attempts to kill him?

A 6.5/10 for GoldenEye. Definitely not the most solid way to enter the realm of Bond, but Pierce Brosnan isn’t bad, though it seems to linger in the uncomfortable place of being between a serious Bond like Dalton and a corny one like Connery/Moore. I am just so glad to be over Moore, I will take anything. I thought that with the cast that they had, the movie would have been more wow, if you know what I mean. Not a terrible movie, just not the biggest bang to come back with after all the court cases and what not. I thought Sean Bean was great for his role, though, as always, he is a walking spoiler. I thought Alan Cumming’s character was good, though his talents were grossly underused. Famke Janssen’s character was just too damned weird, and the sounds? Eeek. The story that they had could truly have been a lot more solid. I really liked the tank chase, though. I was incredibly impressed to finally see Judi Dench step into the role as M, and had to laugh a little at how the boys franchise suddenly had to make way for a woman, and learn to respect her. The whole scene where she explained to Bond that he was an antiquated dinosaur cracked me up. There alone they highlighted moving into a new era, and how everyone felt about it. Well done. Desmond Llewelyn is still hanging on as Q, which is good to see someone is still there so far along in the show. Not a bad film in terms of Bond, just not the most solid way to introduce a new Bond, sadly, and I felt that there was not really enough to genuinely captivate my attention wholly.

Review: Taken 2 (2012)

Taken 2 Poster

“I have to find them… and bring your mom back. And then I have to make sure these people never bother us again in our lives.”
– Bryan Mills

I actually wanted to watch this right after I finished the first one, and did not realize that so much time had passed in between my two viewings. I did not expect greatness from this, but damn, maybe a bit more than we got?

Retired CIA Agent Bryan Mills (Liam Neeson) continues his life since saving his daughter, Kim’s (Maggie Grace), life. His ex-wife, Lenore (Famke Janssen) and her husband, Stuart (Xander Berkeley), are pretty much through with one another since what happened when Kim was almost trafficked. Bryan steps in, trying to comfort Lenore as well as get Kim’s life together so she can get her license. He is unimpressed to learn that Kim has a boyfriend, Jamie (Luke Grimes). What he does not know, however, is that he is a wanted man after all the slayings he inflicted when looking for Kim. The families cry for vengeance, and are led by Murad Krasniqi (Rade Sherbedzija), the father of the man Bryan strapped to a chair and electrocuted.

Payback is a bitch

Lenore is upset when Stuart cancels their trip to China for Kim’s spring break, and Bryan offers that they come and stay in Istanbul with him after he has finished a job. They arrive before he decides to pack up and leave, surprising him. He is so thrilled. Soon, Kim starts playing matchmaker between her parents. On their way out one day, Kim says she will not be joining her folks. They leave together, laughing about how it will be, when Bryan notices a car tailing them. He gets Lenore out, but despite all his efforts, he and his ex-wife are taken. Bryan informs Kim of this via the phone just before it all happens, and urges her to seek safety. After all the slayings to save his daughter, this would have had to happen at some stage I guess…

Rocking that stick
Apparently rocking that stick

Kim becomes instrumental in helping Bryan escape from the people, as well as retrieving her mother. Bryan’s best friend, Sam (Leland Orser), who helped plan the surprise for Bryan with Lenore, needs to step up again and see how he can be of assistance to Bryan, but is not the most elemental in the plot. Bryan’s training kicks in full on and he starts devising an escape, even if the plan is rudimentary at best. Bryan needs to learn to not be so overly protective of Kim, and she becomes his greatest help. They need to recover their family and return home to safety as soon as possible.

Will Bryan be able to protect his daughter as well as recover his wife with minimal damage? How will he get rid of the Albanian gang if they are so intent on revenge?

With long teeth I am going to give Taken 2 a 4/10. I mean, I knew there was no ways it was going to be as good as the first (sequels rarely are), but I really expected a bit more than this. I don’t know, all of it was a bit wooden. Liam Neeson was, as always, great, but the rest of the movie did not really flow (even with him!). Not the dialogue, not the acting, and the story left a lot to be desired. Not even the action sequences helped this movie out at all. I don’t know, Taken was fantastic, and there was a lot of hype surrounding it, and there must have been much higher expectations for this one, but Luc Besson let us down, and could not live up to his predecessor. I hated how his daughter battled to drive an automatic back in the States but can suddenly rock a manual as if she at the very least has a defensive/advanced driving course under her belt. Pfffff. I could not buy into that logic, sorry. So no, this movie is actually one that you can go without seeing.

Review: Taken (2008)


“You don’t remember me? We spoke on the phone two days ago. I told you I would find you.”
– Bryan Mills

Bryan Mills (Liam Neeson) is a retired CIA operative that has moved to California to be closer to his daughter, Kim (Maggie Grace). His ex-wife, Lenore (Famke Janssen), has remarried Stuart (Xander Berkeley), and he seems to outdo Bryan on all fronts. Bryan is trying his hardest, but it seems Stuart is always upstaging him. Kim just turned seventeen and Bryan buys her an expensive karaoke machine because she always wanted to be a singer.

Friends come over to visit Bryan, and Sam (Leland Orser) convinces Bryan to take on a quick and easy job getting a singer to and from her gig. He decides to do it, as it is a few hours work for a decent sum of cash, and scores points with his daughter when she hears her father is looking after Sheerah (Holly Valance). Things go wrong at the show, and Bryan saves Sheerah’s life, and she is now indebted to him, and sets him up with her vocal trainer and manager’s numbers for him so he can take Kim there and maybe realize her dream of becoming a singer.

He thinks he has his foot half in the door when Kim calls him to meet with her for coffee, and unbeknownst to him, Lenore joins them. It eventually comes out that Kim wants him to sign off on her travel documents to let her leave the country for France, seeing as she is under eighteen.

Bryan is very unimpressed, and after arguments and all of that, he finally signs off on her forms with a very strict set of rules. When dropping her at the airport, Kim asks her father what he did for a living, and he briefly explained his position as that of “preventor”, and that it made him very aware of the brutalities of the world. Once at the airport, Bryan finds out that his daughter is in actual fact not going to see the museums around Paris, but follow U2’s European Tour. As upset as he is, his wife makes an issue out of his just letting it go, and against his better judgment, he does.

When Kim and her friend Amanda (Katie Cassidy) arrive in Paris, they are greeted by a man who offers to share their cab with them, and he invites them to a party later. Amanda shares too much information about their living arrangements with him, and he calls his friends up. Bryan establishes that Kim’s flight landed hours before and that she has not called, and so he decides to ring her. Kim only answers on the second call, and in the space of a few minutes, sees Amanda getting taken by some strange men. Bryan’s “preventor” instincts kick in, and he walks his daughter through what is about to happen to her.


Now Bryan needs to save his little girl in a foreign country, from men that his contacts have discovered to be a human trafficking ring. He has a window of roughly ninety-six hours to recover his daughter before she slips off the face of the earth. Time is against him, and he works rapidly, calling is as many of  his old contacts as he can to track his daughter down and bring her home safely. Lenore finally realizes the importance of what Bryan did and what he gave up. As time runs out, the path of destruction he leaves in his wake grows, and starts setting alarm bells off for the French authorities  who want him out of their country as soon as possible.

Taken scores a definite 7.5/10 for me. I loved the movie the first time I watched it, and I thoroughly enjoyed it again. It has tainted my perception of travelling a little bit, but the world is my oyster and will still be explored in detail! I did, however, come to the conclusion that I need to find a friend with a very specific skill set… maybe I can have my brother trained? Taken was incredibly action packed,  but had enough emotion put into it to bring a sense of realism to it. There was not really an overkill of anything in particular, and the aspects were all brought together very well. The betrayal is potent, and the desperation is tangible. I still think it is great how Liam Neeson plays his roles, and so successfully, too. He is awesome, and plays his hardcore yet emotional roles very well. It is terrifying to think that trafficking happens every single day, and I think that this movie awoke the brutal truth of it all to many people.