FlixChatter Review: On The Basis Of Sex (2018)

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“You couldn’t have existed until now.”

Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s teenage daughter has just told off a cat calling construction crew. RBG stares at her daughter, who is striding into the street to call a cab. Oblivious to the rain and to the cab which her daughter is now impatiently waiting by, RBG sees her daughter with new eyes. Jane Ginsburg is an entirely new kind of woman: a woman that RBG could never have conceptualized, much less become, in her teenage years.

This is one of two running themes of On the Basis of Sex. The movie never strays from its biographical storyline, but the movie is also clearly built to remind its audience that everyone is a product of their time. Bader Ginsburg was one of the first women to ever attend Harvard and yet she found herself shocked by her own daughter’s ability to stand up to a perhaps less institutionalized part of the patriarchy. The groundwork laid by our predecessors allows us to become something that they could never have dreamed and sometimes that shocks our predecessors.

The second theme regards the importance of family and a strong partnership. Martin Ginsburg prepares meals, comforts his children, and encourages his wife to pursue her ambitious dreams. RBG also puts in her fair share of work around the house, is willing to sacrifice a degree to support her husband, and puts in twice as much work as any other Harvard students when her husband gets sick. Most notably, the give and take of the Ginsburg’s relationship is not something that the movie asks its audience to be impressed by.

Aside from Armie Hammer’s unfortunately benign interpretation of Martin Ginsburg, the cast of On the Basis of Sex is spot on. Felicity Jones’ performance (as Ruth Bader Ginsburg) is strong-willed, reserved, and funny. Her performance, which is great all around, was downright heart stopping when she curled up in a hospital bed with her husband: the love, sadness, and hope exuded in that moment has lingered in the back of my mind in the week since I saw the movie.

Jones with Cailee Spaeny and Kathy Bates

Justin Theroux excelled as an almost likable, smarmy Mel Wulf. Cailee Spaeny (as Jane Ginsburg) was a perfect teenager: self-righteous, emotional, and ultimately full of love for her family. Sam Waterston was…Sam Waterston. He was a believable Dean of Harvard, but I doubt that Waterston captured Erwin Griswold’s essence in any meaningful way.

The costume and set design were gorgeous. From the very beginning of the movie when Bader Ginsburg is highlighted as a bright blue spot in a sea of black suits, the movie is visually stunning. The clothing, furniture, and city scape of the 50s and 60s are lovingly and colorfully recreated, making the movie an absolute treat to watch.

Ultimately a feel-good movie by director Mimi Leder, On the Basis of Sex is well worth seeing. Much of Bader Ginsburg’s life and work go unaddressed, which, considering the scope of her life’s work, is to be expected, but the film paints a beautiful portrait of Bader Ginsburg and her family.


hollyHolly P. is a twenty-something millennial who enjoys shouting at people on the internet, riding her bicycle, and overbooking her schedule. She prefers storytelling that has a point and comedy that isn’t mean. Her favorite movies are Aladdin, the Watchmen (even though the book was way better), and Hot Fuzz.  She’s seen every Lord of the Rings movie at least a dozen times. You can follow her @tertiaryhep on twitter or @hollyhollyoxenfreee on Instagram. She’s also on Tinder, but if you find her there she’ll probably ghost on you because wtf is dating in the 21st century.


Have you seen ‘On The Basis Of Sex’? Well, what did you think? 

Merry Christmas! FlixChatter Team’s Favorite Christmas Movies

Merry Christmas everyone! It’s Ruth here and it’s Christmas Day here in the Twin Cities where our blog team and I live. It’s actually an unusually brown Christmas with just a few leftover snow on the ground, nary a flurry in sight!

I’ve made a ton of Christmas posts over the years, such us the one from 2016 highlighting favorite Christmas movie moments. The last holiday-related post I did was this relay race to list 10 Best Christmas Movies where I picked this 2005 WWII drama Joyeux Noël.

Well, I thought this year I’d invite my blogging team to tell us their favorite Christmas movies, or the go-to movie(s) they’d watch often during the holiday season. So read on below and see if you share some favorite Christmas movies!


Laura Schaubschlager

Choosing one “go-to” Christmas movie is tough; it’s one of my favorite times of the year, and I have several movies I have to watch for nostalgia’s sake. If I absolutely have to pick one, though, I’ll go with Home Alone. Sure, the plot doesn’t necessarily hold up today (with current home security systems, smart phones, and today’s airport check-in procedures, I don’t think the story would progress past the first 15 minutes now), but it’s still a classic.

The cast is fantastic, with Macaulay Culkin securing his place as the child actor of the early 90’s (and my first celebrity crush) as Kevin McCallister, Catherine O’Hara and John Heard successfully striking a balance of infuriatingly clueless and genuinely loving as his parents, Kate and Peter, and, of course, Joe Pesci and Daniel Stern hamming it up as the hilarious “Wet Bandits,” Harry and Marv.

The movie is full of memorable scenes and dialogue that are still parodied and referenced even after nearly 30 years, and it’s rich with Chrismas imagery, but the soundtrack is what makes it most enduring to me. In addition to classics like Brenda Lee’s Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree and The Drifters’ White Christmas (songs that, to this day, I can’t hear without associating them with specific scenes from this film), the score includes music from iconic composer John Williams, and if you don’t get a little choked up hearing Somewhere in my Memory, his big theme for the film, you might be a bit of a Grinch.


Ted Saydalavong

I tend to watch Home Alone and Die Hard often during the Christmas season. Throughout my teens Home Alone was a staple during the holidays with my parents and siblings. It’s the first film we watched together around Christmas many years ago. For those old enough to remember, studios tend to leave successful films in theaters for a long time and Home Alone was a massive hit back in the holiday season of 1990. So, it didn’t come out on video until the next holiday season and that’s when I first saw the film with my family.

I couldn’t remember exactly when I saw Die Hard but it wasn’t during Christmas season but somehow I’ve watched at least once a year before Christmas. I think the film wasn’t considered by some as a Christmas film probably a decade after its release in theaters. For a while people just think it’s a great action film but throughout the years, it somehow became known more as a Christmas film. Of course they are some who would argue that’s it’s not a Christmas film. To me it’s a great action film that happens to take place during Christmas time, I don’t really care if it’s an official Christmas film or not.

Another film I tend to watch during the holidays is The Long Kiss Goodnight. A big budget action/adventure with a female lead that I thought was way ahead of its time. Unfortunately, it was a box office dud but I think it has sort of a cult following.


Vitali Gueron

My first favorite Christmas movie is Home Alone (1990), directed by Chris Columbus and starring Macaulay Culkin as Kevin McCallister. Kevin is a bratty but smart 8-year-old boy who’s mistakenly left behind by his his family when they fly away to Paris for Christmas vacation. Kevin at first absolutely loves being home alone, especially away from his bullying big brother Buzz (Devin Ratray) but soon he has to defend his family home from two unsuspecting burglars, Harry and Marv (played respectively by Joe Pesci and Daniel Stern). Since Kevin convinces himself that he is not afraid to be home alone, he decides to defend his family home from the burglars and rigs the house with booby traps to take on the bandits. This is where all the fun ensues, and when Harry and Marv break in, Kevin spring the traps and they suffer various minor injuries. Kevin also learns a lesson when he befriends Old Man Marley (Roberts Blossom), his neighbor who Kevin previously misjudged as being a serial killer who murdered his family. What Kevin learns is that forgiveness is a very important character trait, no matter how late it comes. I think it brings a nice message of love and forgiveness that anyone watching can relate to. The film was also nominated for two Academy Awards: Best Original Score (written by John Williams) and Best Original Song for “Somewhere in My Memory” (again by John Williams). I try to watch this movie at least once during the holidays.

My second favorite Christmas movie is Home Alone 2: Lost in New York (1992), directed by Chris Columbus and with Macaulay Culkin reprising his role as Kevin McCallister. This time, Kevin is little order, a little smarter but also a whole lot more likely to get lost by his family.

This time, Kevin and his family decide to take a trip to Florida, but because of a power outage, their alarm clocks don’t wake them up in the morning which makes them late for their flight. In all of the rush and confusion, Kevin ends up taking the wrong plane and instead of Florida, he ends up in New York City. Once there, instead of freaking out, Kevin decides to make the most of it and to tour the city. Meanwhile, the “Wet Bandits”, Harry and Marv (Joe Pesci and Daniel Stern reprising their roles), have traveled to New York City after escaping during a prison riot and have a new name for themselves: the “Sticky Bandits”. Kevin goes to Central Park and meets a homeless woman (Brenda Fricker) feeding the pigeons, but gets scared because she doesn’t talk and has birds all over her. He then goes to the Plaza Hotel, where he uses his dad Peter’s credit card to check in. One of the most poignant but heartwarming parts of the movie comes when on Christmas Eve, Kevin visits a toy store where he meets its philanthropic owner, Mr. E.F. Duncan (Eddie Bracken). Kevin learns that the proceeds from the store’s Christmas sales will be donated to a children’s hospital, and provides a donation.

As a token of appreciation, Mr. Duncan offers Kevin a pair of ceramic turtledoves as a gift, instructing him to give one to another person as a sign of eternal friendship. Kevin goes back to Central Park to apologize to the Pigeon Lady, and give her his other half of the pair of ceramic turtledoves. Of course, he “coincidentally” bumps into the Wet Bandits, who remember him, and then another round of booby traps are set in an abandoned house that use to belong to Kevin’s uncle. The best part of the movie comes at the end when Kevin reunites with his mother at the Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree after he wishes for no presents for Christmas but rather a fast reunion with his family. I love watching this movie back to back with the first Home Alone.


Holly Peterson

There is nothing better than sitting down with a cup of warm, homemade eggnog and a favorite Christmas movie. My two favorites, perhaps predictably, are polar opposites. I’m nothing if not inconsistent. 😉

A viewing of Die Hard (everyone’s favorite is it or isn’t it this year: spoilers, it is) followed by a viewing of Love Actually always get me into the Christmas spirit.

Wishing all of our readers a Happy Holiday season, filled with a family that looks out for you and a love story that is worth telling year after year. Yippee Kai Yay!


Ruth Maramis

For me, my go-to Christmas movies have remain the same over the years and it’s one I can watch any time of the year. I’m a self-professed Anglophile and a huge fan of Richard Curtis’ work (Four Weddings and a Funeral, Bridget Jones’s Diary, Notting Hill and Love Actually). In fact, one of my all time favorite Christmas-themed episode in a TV series is The Vicar of Dibley’s Christmas Special that I’ve highlighted in this post.

This is also a good episode to ogle the the handsome stranger, Richard Armitage (ehm)

So it’s no surprise that Love, Actually is one I can watch time and again, especially during the holiday season. I love that Curtis’ able to balance pathos, irony and absurd humor so perfectly in this scene set in a shopping centre during the hustle and bustle of the Christmas holiday. Absolute classic.

Now, You’ve Got Mail isn’t exactly a Christmas movie per se, but it has several significant Christmas scenes that I’d like think of it as such. Whenever I’m feeling nostalgic and a tad sentimental during the holidays, I’m usually in the mood to watch this Nora Ephron classic. This scene in particular often gets me teared up… I love the setting itself of a winter day in NYC with the sparkling and festive Christmas tree, but it also captures the sentiment of feeling lonely and missing the one you love so perfectly. It’s a beautifully-emotional scene that shall always remains timeless.


So friends, now that we’ve shared ours…

… tell us your favorite or go-to Christmas movie(s)!

FlixChatter Review: AQUAMAN (2018)

I’m not the biggest comic book reader, in my younger years I’ve only read Batman and The Punisher comics. So, I’ve only learned about Aquaman from the show Entourage. During that show’s second season, its star ended up playing Aquaman and fans of the comic were hoping an actual film based on the character would be a reality soon. That’s over 10 years ago and now fans can finally see the super hero from the ocean make a splash on the big screen worldwide.

In a long and very cheesy opening, we learned how Arthur Curry (Jason Momoa) became a super hero known as Aquaman. One day his father Tom (Temuera Morrison) found his wounded mother Atlanna (Nicole Kidman) on the shore of the ocean. Atlanna told Tom she’s from an ancient city under the ocean called Atlantis, I didn’t really pay attention as to why she decided to come to the surface. Anyhoo, Tom and Atlanna fell in love and had a son and they named him Arthur. One day the army from Atlantis came and took Atlanna back to her home land.

Years later, Arthur is now a full-grown man and known to earthlings as Aquaman. The story took place after the events of Justice League. One day a princess named Mera (Amber Heard) came to the surface and asked Arthur to come to Atlantis and claim his place as the king of the ocean. She also needs his help to stop Arthur’s half brother King Orm (Patrick Wilson) from starting a war that could wipe out everyone living on the surface of the ocean. Reluctantly, Arthur agreed to go with Mera and both must face many obstacles in order to save the world from a mad king.

Five screenwriters were credited with the story, yet the plot of the film is a very simple one. It’s nothing we haven’t seen before and some of the dialogs were very cheesy. Now maybe that’s the goal of this film, many people have complained that DC films are way too dark and serious, so they’ve decided to make this one a very light and cheesy. Director James Wan took inspirations from many films including Star Wars, Avatar, Indiana Jones, Tron: Legacy, Batman Begins and countless others that I couldn’t think of right now. And that’s my main gripe with the film, I don’t mind when a director decided to copy other films, but I expect them to re-interpret it as their own. Wan decided to just copy films that I mentioned, in fact there were two sequences in the film that he stole from Tron: Legacy and Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones. His pacing is also a bit off, at almost 2 and half hours long, a lot of scenes could have been cut out.

Performance wise, Momoa is definitely the main draw. He looked like he had a great time playing the silly super hero and his charisma really help made this film watchable. Veterans such as Kidman, William Defoe, Dolph Lundgren and Morrison also looked like they had a good time in the film. Unfortunately, the other leads Heard and Wilson looked too stiff or bored in their respective roles. I didn’t really see any chemistry between Heard and Momoa, mostly because I thought heard just looked too stiff in the role. Wilson’s villain is another long line of one-dimensional superhero antagonist and he looked bored.

I think the only saving grace for this film is its beautiful effects, with limitless budget, Wan and his team did a great job of creating the underwater world. They also did a great job with the 3D effects, heck I thought this film might have been one of the best I’ve seen in 3D. I didn’t really hate Aquaman, it’s just too long and kind of a mess. With more originality in the script and action scenes, it could’ve a been a fun superhero film.

TedS_post


So have you seen AQUAMAN? Well, what did you think?

FlixChatter Review: MORTAL ENGINES (2018)

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Review by Vitali Gueron

[This review may contain plot details that could be considered spoilers, proceed with caution]

When I heard that there was a movie was coming out, produced by The Lord of the Rings trilogy and The Hobbit director Peter Jackson, I was naturally excited and expected to be entertained on a massive scale. This movie coming out was Mortal Engines, a post-apocalyptic thriller directed by Christian Rivers and with a screenplay by Fran Walsh, Philippa Boyens and Peter Jackson. The film would be based on the novel Mortal Engines by Philip Reeve and star well known Australian-English film and stage actor Hugo Weaving. The film would be set in a post-apocalyptic world where entire cities have been made mobile by them having wheels and a motor, and there would be cities that prey on one another.

It sounded promising so I thought I would give it a go. I sat back in the theater and spent the next 128 minutes of my life being shown special effect after special effect, with very little character development or explanation of an overly complicated story to go by. Apparently, the events of Mortal Engines take place hundreds of years after civilization was destroyed by a cataclysmic event, called the Sixty Minute War, and the remnants of humanity regroup and form mobile “predator” cities. One of the greatest of these “predator” cities is the city of London. It is where Tom Natsworthy (Robert Sheehan), a low-class apprentice historian of London lives and Tom has always wanted to be pilot but never afforded the opportunity because of his class status.

Meanwhile, Katherine Valentine (Leila George), daughter of Thaddeus Valentine (Hugo Weaving) who is head of the Guild of Historians and one of London’s elite. She befriends Tom and he shows her his collection of “old tech” that could be used to create powerful weapon that has the capability to destroy cities at an instant. Coincidently, (or not) Thaddeus Valentine is also plotting a mysterious energy project in the re-purposed St Paul’s Cathedral (the landmark that is atop the traction city of London). When a woman named Hester Shaw comes aboard the city of London captures a small mining town called Salzhaken, absorbing its population and resources, under orders of Lord Mayor Magnus Crome (Patrick Malahide). Shaw is revealed to be the daughter of Pandora Shaw, one of Thaddeus Valentine’s arch enemies whom he killed several years back when Hester was just a little girl. Hester tries to kill Thaddeus but Tom Natsworthy stops her and the both find their way off the traction city of London.

Tom and Hester are forced to work together, become imprisoned and get locked in the cell of a small scavenger city who intends to sell them as slaves. In the meantime, Hester reveals to Tom that her mother Pandora was an archeologist who found a piece of old tech which Thaddeus wanted but Pandora would not relinquish, therefore Thaddeus killed Pandora. Hester escaped Thaddeus with only a necklace her mother gave her. Back on the traction city of London, Katherine has grown estranged from her father, learning about his diabolical plans to use a super weapon called MEDUSA that can destroy cities in an instant. Also, Tom and Hester get rescued by Anna Fang (Jihae), a pilot and leader of the Anti-Traction League, a resistance group banding against the moving cities devouring Earth’s resources. Anna Fang is a relentless warrior and also pilots an airship the Jenny Haniver. They take the airship to the airborne city Airhaven, where they meet up with other members of the Anti-Traction League. Their meeting is cut short by a robot named Shrike (Stephen Lang), who was also Hester’s guardian as a child and whom Hester abandoned leaving to avenge the death of her mother.

Hugo Weaving as Thaddeus Valentine

Once Shrike causes the airborne city Airhaven to come crashing down, he is taken out by the members of the Anti-Traction League, but not before he learns that Hester has fallen in love with Tom. Hester, Tom, and Anna then travel to the Shield Wall with the surviving Anti-Tractionists. They meet up with with the Shild Wall’s governor Kwan (Kee Chan) and Anna convinces him to launch the Anti-Tractionist fleet against London. At the same time, London fires the MEDUSA weapon towards the Shield Wall, destroying the Anti-Tractionist fleet and creating a giant hole through the Shield Wall.

Jihae as Anna Fang

Desperate to find something to counter the MEDUSA weapon, Tom discovers that Hester’s necklace (the one she got from her mother before she died) contained a crash drive that acts as a kill switch for the MEDUSA weapon. They made their way back to London, taking heavy losses in ships and Anti-Tractionist members. They also find Katherine Valentine willing to help them confront her father Thaddeus and try to stop the destruction of the Shield Wall.

SPOILER (highlight to read) Hester and Anna infiltrate St Paul’s cathedral in London, but Thaddeus Valentine mortally wounds Anna during a sword duel. Hester is able to disable the MEDUSA weapon with her crash drive but Thaddeus Valentine is undeterred in his ques to destroy the Shield Wall and he orders his henchmen to kill the city’s control crew and ram it into the Shield Wall. With Katherine Valentine’s help, Tom uses the airship Jenny Haniver to destroy London’s engine (similarly to what Luke does in Revenge of the Jedi by flying directly into its center and blowing it up). Valentine attempts to flee London but Hester pursues him and with fights him aboard his airship, where he reveals he is her father. Tom rescues Hester and shoots down Valentine Valentine’s ship, where it is crushed when it is run over by London’s slowing tracks. The surviving Londoners, led by Katherine Valentine, make peace with the Anti-Tractionists.

In the end of the movie it is shown that Tom and Hester travel in the Jenny Haniver to see the world. To me this is the classic happily ever after ending that just doesn’t see appropriate as an ending to this epic fight. There are also way too many similarities with the original Star Wars trilogy not to notice. They way Tom wants to be pilot reminded me of Luke Skywalker’s desire to get off Tatooine in A New Hope. The way he ultimately destroys London and the budding romance between Tom and Hester are some other examples of the influence of the Star Wars trilogy in this movie. It became almost impossible not to notice the resemblances between the movies. Unfortunately for Mortal Engines, the characters had almost none of the character development or unique interest that the characters in the Star Wars trilogy had.

Overall, I was unimpressed by the main characters and overly complicated plot. One can only take so much explosions and special effects before one starts losing interest. That was the case with this one, where a movie failed to lift-off, before it even got off the ground. I was most disappointed in the main characters — Hera Hilmar as Hester was not even slightly compelling and passionate. Robert Sheehan was a little better (I first saw Robert in a Twin Cities Film Fest film last year – Ari Gold’s The Song of Sway Lake, where he was a quirky character along with fellow actor Rory Culkin) but here was also rather forgettable as Tom Natsworthy. These two were supposed to be our heroes, but rather they were just another part of the overly-complicated plot. The best character by far was Anna Fang, probably because of Jihae, a South Korea-born singer-songwriter and actress. Her wardrobe made her look straight out of The Matrix and her swagger made her a formidable adversary to Thaddeus Valentine. I would have liked – and expected — a lot more from the likes of Peter Jackson. Sadly, I got very little in return to remember this movie by.


Have you seen MORTAL ENGINES? Well, what did you think? 

Netflix Original Movie Review: A Christmas Prince (2017)

When a reporter goes undercover as a tutor to get the inside scoop on a playboy prince, she gets tangled in some royal intrigue and ends up finding love – but will she be able to keep up her lie?

Ok so this movie was recommended to me by a dear friend and fellow Jane Austen fan a year ago. Though yes I do enjoy period dramas, especially the Austen or Brontë variety, I had trepidation about this one as it has that ‘so bad it’s good’ vibe. Well, I was absolutely right!

Honestly I’m amused by how popular these Christmas romance movies are which have been Hallmark/Lifetime specialty. I’ve never been a fan of them, but looking at dozens of them on Netflix, there’s clearly a huge market for these types of movies.

Amber’s pathetic attempt at a royal curtsy

Though The Crown proved to be one of the most successful Netflix original shows, do NOT assume this one has the same quality just because it involves the royals. Set in a fictitious foreign land called Aldovia, it’s basically every aspiring young American magazine journalist’s dream (or nightmare??). Amber Moore (Rose McIver) was unexpectedly sent by her boss to cover a press conference of Aldovia’s crown prince Richard (Ben Lamb, a Brit version of Taylor Kitsch). The young prince is a rumored playboy who’s been partying all over the world instead of preparing to take the throne following his father’s death. Now, we’d understand the appeal of a rich, good looking bad boy with a foreign accent, especially to a naive girl from a small town in Minnesota (yep, I didn’t make that up!). Well except that Richard isn’t quite the sexy bad boy we dreamed of expected, and soon we learn he’s actually a really, really good guy. I mean heck, according to his little sister Emily (Honor Kneafsey), his favorite pass time is practicing archery in his palatial garden.

The ‘hobo’ prince… but no worries, he’ll clean up real nice

Now, the storyline is actually quite amusing. The plot involves a secret identity, a mysterious poem and a pair of deceitful villains ready to snatch the throne, what more could you want? At 92 minutes however, the movie moves at a relatively breakneck pace that there’s barely any time for character development at all. But who has time for character development when there’s not even room for a sensible narrative? Apparently the Kingdom of Aldovia has zero concern for security, not a single bodyguard for their future King (who rides from the airport in a cab!) and none in the entire palace that Amber could easily sneak in and wander off (even most houses in Minneapolis suburbs has security cameras!).

Mrs Averill with Little Emily meeting the new ‘tutor’

Once Amber is in the palace, the level of incredulity is off the charts. She manages to fool everyone, including the seemingly discerning Mrs. Averill, palace secretary/head of communication (if you’re a Superman fan like me, you’d be amused by the presence of Sarah Douglas who played Ursa), that she’s in fact a tutor hired by the palace. Little Emily, who’s confined to a wheel chair due to spina bifida, immediately warms up to Amber (despite having driven her previous governesses away). Suddenly their instant besties and baking Christmas cookies together. Their friendship is utterly unconvincing, but of course it’s written in a way so the story can just move along to the actual romance.

The ‘archery’ scene where the two supposedly fall in love (cupid arrow, get it?)

Now, speaking of the romance, I’d be willing to forgive a lot of things in this movie if at least the romance is swoon-worthy. Unfortunately, I think it’s the biggest fail here as there’s simply zero chemistry between the two leads. Prince Richard is so wooden and awkward (not Hugh Grant awkward mind you, which can be endearing). Heck, those Nutcracker prince toy/ornament hanging around your house right now is likely more expressive than this guy!

I actually recognize Ben Lamb from the exquisite BBC/Starz series The White Queen and he’s far memorable there in a small supporting role. I had never heard of the New Zealander McIver before, but I’m willing to give her the benefit of the doubt that she’s a much better actress in a more compelling role. Here, neither of them is given much to do in a formulaic and decidedly-schmalzy script by Karen Schaler & Nate Atkins, and Alex Zamm‘s direction is serviceable at best. But I think the pair still fare better than the villainy-duo Simon (Theo Devaney) and Lady Sophia (Emma Louise Saunders) who are more annoying and lame than possessing any real threat.

The face I’d make if I were stuck doing this movie

The royal kerfuffle involves even more identity issues, on top of the fact that Richard has no idea who Amber really is, there’s a scenario questioning whether the Prince is the rightful heir of Aldovia. Those are pretty heavy subjects in a different, more substantial movie, but here everything just resolves itself nicely and conveniently. Richard doesn’t even have to change his expression at all throughout this whole ordeal. I rolled my eyes at the decidedly Bridget Jones-esque wintry finale complete with Christmas lights, snow falling and kissing.

Where’s Colin Firth when you need him?

I have to say though I had a big grin on my face when the movie ends. As far as feel-good rom-com goes, A Christmas Prince does have that warm & fuzzy quality if you’re willing to accept it for what it is. Incredulous, extremely predictable and even a little insipid, yes, but it’s also kind of sweet with its own kind of charm. I think young girls would love this flick, just like I did growing up watching those oversimplified Disney Princess movies. Come to think of it, Prince Richard’s royal garb looked exactly like Prince Charming’s in the animated Cinderella! Shot in Romania, the movie looks quite beautiful, and Netflix sure spends money creating the Aldovian castle and the quaint little town. If only they’d actually spend more money and time developing the story and characters instead.


Ok so apparently this movie is SO popular that Netflix has spawned a sequel! [oh lucky me!] So yeah I definitely will try to see The Royal Wedding and see what other shenanigans Amber would get herself into (and if Richard manages to actually conjure up a different expression this time around) 😉

 

Musings on 2019 Golden Globes nominations – and the egregious snubs

The award season is officially here… can you believe it? [I still don’t believe it’s Winter already, but well, whatchagonnado?] The Golden Globes nominations were announced this morning, and so the reactions for snubs and surprises have dominated social media. So why not add one more for the fun of it.

Before we go into my thoughts on the noms, let me say that I’m thrilled to see Sandra Oh will be hosting the telecast, along with Andy Samberg. Glad she’s amongst the nominees too, wahoo!!

Now about the nominations… per usual, in addition to my thoughts about the nominees, I thought I’d include my winner pick for some of the categories…

Here is the full list of 2019 Golden Globe nominees (via Variety)

Best Motion Picture – Drama

“Black Panther”
“BlacKkKlansman”
“Bohemian Rhapsody”
“If Beale Street Could Talk”
“A Star Is Born”

Ok so I’ve only seen three out of five, hopefully I can catch up with Bohemian Rhapsody and BlacKkKlansman later this month. Honestly, I’m not as enamored with Barry Jenkins’s If Beale Street Could Talk the way I did with Moonlight. I actually like the acting of the two leads and Regina King, but that’s about it. I am thrilled to see Black Panther breaking new grounds as the only superhero film getting nominated, yay! It’s absolutely well-deserved and of course I’m rooting for that. I loved A Star Is Born too, but I’d give Black Panther a slight edge because it’s not only a fun, entertaining film with substance, but it’s also immensely re-watchable.

My winner pick: Black Panther (my review)


Best Actress in a Motion Picture – Drama

Glenn Close (“The Wife”)
Lady Gaga (“A Star Is Born”)
Nicole Kidman (“Destroyer”)
Melissa McCarthy (“Can You Ever Forgive Me?”)
Rosamund Pike (“A Private War”)

I’ve only seen Lady Gaga’s and Melissa McCarthy’s performances, man what a list!! No doubt Close, Kidman and Pike all give worthy performances, but I was truly impressed by McCarthy’s sensitive and nuanced performance as Lee Israel. Balancing comedy and drama is so tough, and I thought she did a terrific job playing a rather unlikable character.

My winner pick: Melissa McCarthy


Best Actor in a Motion Picture – Drama

Bradley Cooper (“A Star Is Born”)
Willem Dafoe (“At Eternity’s Gate”)
Lucas Hedges (“Boy Erased”)
Rami Malek (“Bohemian Rhapsody”)
John David Washington (“BlacKkKlansman”)

Gaaah I have only seen Cooper’s performance here 😦 I’m not going to pick a winner as I should at least see two performances of the list. But if Cooper does win, I’d be totally ok with it as I think he delivered a tremendous performance in his directorial debut (my review of A Star Is Born)


Best Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy

“Crazy Rich Asians”
“The Favourite”
“Green Book”
“Mary Poppins Returns”
“Vice”

Ok so most of you know just how much I adore Crazy Rich Asians and how much representation of Asians (esp. Southeast Asians) in Hollywood matters to me. I have to say that Green Book also really moved me. Both films have wildly-different style and tone, but both speak about hot button issue of race with humor. I LOVE the cast in both films too, which made it all the more difficult to choose between the two!

My winner picks: Green Book or Crazy Rich Asians


Best Actress in a Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy

Emily Blunt (“Mary Poppins Returns”)
Olivia Colman (“The Favourite”)
Elsie Fisher (“Eighth Grade”)
Charlize Theron (“Tully”)
Constance Wu (“Crazy Rich Asians”)

Firstly, where in the world is Viola Davis??!??! Come on HPFA! She was simply phenomenal in Steve McQueen’s fantastic ensemble cast and she’s the heart and soul of that movie. The lack of love for Widows is truly mind blowing!

Ok now that’s out of my system… given that I’m actually rather lukewarm about The Favourite (which is NOT my favorite films of the year), I really love Colman’s performance as the decidedly unlikable and bizarre Queen Anne. The film’s also decidedly riddled with historical inaccuracies (esp. in regards to her lesbian affairs), yet Colman was mesmerizing in the role. I just think Colman is such a deftly talented actress and I’m thrilled to see her finally getting more recognition!

My winner pick: Olivia Colman


Best Actor in a Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy

Christian Bale (“Vice”)
Lin-Manuel Miranda (“Mary Poppins Returns”)
Viggo Mortensen (“Green Book”)
Robert Redford (“The Old Man & the Gun”)
John C. Reilly (“Stan & Ollie”)

I’m still waiting with bated breath for the press screening of VICE (scheduled to be released on Christmas day). Just based on the trailer alone, I’m willing to bet that Christian Bale will disappear once again into his role as Dick Chenney, perhaps the unlikeliest role for the Welsh thespian even in his wildly diverse resume. It’s pure coincidence that both dreamboat actors (Batman and Aragorn) gained significant weight for their respective roles. I LOVED Mortensen’s comedic performance in Green Book, so I’d be truly happy if either one of them win!

My winner pick: Christian Bale or Viggo Mortensen


Best Actress in a Supporting Role in any Motion Picture

Amy Adams (“Vice”)
Claire Foy (“First Man”)
Regina King (“If Beale Street Could Talk”)
Emma Stone (“The Favourite”)
Rachel Weisz (“The Favourite”)

Hmmm, the Hollywood Foreign Press clearly is enamoured (yes I’m using the British spelling here to match the film’s title, ha!) with The Favourite. I personally would love to see one of the ladies from Widows being nominated here (esp. Elizabeth Debicki). But if I had to pick one from THIS list, I’d go with…

My winner pick: Regina King


Best Actor in a Supporting Role in any Motion Picture

Mahershala Ali (“Green Book”)
Timothee Chalamet (“Beautiful Boy”)
Adam Driver (“BlacKkKlansman”)
Richard E. Grant (“Can You Ever Forgive Me?”)
Sam Rockwell (“Vice”)

I have only seen Ali and Richard E. Grant who’s excellent as Melissa McCarthy’s randy bff. Everyone seems to be smitten with Timothee Chalamet (I haven’t seen enough of him to form an opinion) but Driver and Rockwell are such great character actors. I do have a soft spot for Mahershala, who’s so elegant and oh-so-regal as Dr. Don Shirley.

My winner pick: Mahershala Ali


Best Motion Picture – Animated

“Incredibles 2”
“Isle of Dogs”
“Mirai”
“Ralph Breaks the Internet”
“Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse”

I’m going to refrain from picking a winner as I’ve only seen Ralph Breaks The Internet (see my review and interview with the filmmakers). I am excited to see Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse this weekend!


Best Motion Picture – Foreign Language

“Capernaum”
“Girl”
“Never Look Away”
“Roma”
“Shoplifters”

I am ashamed to say I have not seen any of these!! I was hoping to go see ROMA last month at the Film Society, but the schedule just didn’t work out.


Best Director – Motion Picture

Bradley Cooper (“A Star Is Born”)
Alfonso Cuaron (“Roma”)
Peter Farrelly (“Green Book”)
Spike Lee (“BlacKkKlansman”)
Adam McKay (“Vice”)

Um, firstly… where are the female directors?? Hello???! FastCompany listed no less than 29 female directors that did some worthy projects eligible for noms.

Oh well.

Looking at this list… I was really impressed with Cooper’s directorial debut and not surprised at all he’s nominated. However, I don’t think he deserved to win in this lineup. I’ve heard nothing but tremendous praise for Alfonso Cuarón’s ROMA, which chronicles a year in the life of a middle-class family in Mexico City in the early 1970s, starring unknown actors. If I were a betting woman, I’d put my $$$ on the Mexican filmmaker.

My winner pick: Alfonso Cuaron


Best Screenplay – Motion Picture

Alfonso Cuaron (“Roma”)
Deborah Davis and Tony McNamara (“The Favourite”)
Barry Jenkins (“If Beale Street Could Talk”)
Adam McKay (“Vice”)
Peter Farrelly, Nick Vallelonga, Brian Currie (“Green Book”)

Yes I know the movie hasn’t come out yet, but this movie’s already leading the pack with six Globes nominations. Adam McCay could very well score another big win in the screenplay category. He’d won in 2015 for The Big Short, which also had Christian Bale AND Steve Carell in it, both looked utterly convincing as Chenney and Donald Rumsfeld respectively. Physical transformation aside, this political satire has certainly become the one to beat this award season.

My winner pick: Vice


Best Original Score – Motion Picture

Marco Beltrami (“A Quiet Place”)
Alexandre Desplat (“Isle of Dogs”)
Ludwig Göransson (“Black Panther”)
Justin Hurwitz (“First Man”)
Marc Shaiman (“Mary Poppins Returns”)


Best Original Song – Motion Picture

“All the Stars” (“Black Panther”)
“Girl in the Movies” (“Dumplin’”)
“Requiem For a Private War” (“A Private War”)
“Revelation’ (“Boy Erased”)
“Shallow” (“A Star Is Born”)

This song was stuck in my head for weeks after I saw the movie. Even listening to it again it still moved me to tears. It has everything one wants in a romantic ballad, it has a Whitney Houston vibe to it (circa The Bodyguard) … a truly beautiful and highly-emotional song.

My winner pick: Shallow


Best Television Series – Drama

“The Americans”
“Bodyguard”
“Homecoming”
“Killing Eve”
“Pose”

I’ll refrain from making my pick as I’ve only Bodyguard in its entirety. I’ve only seen season 1 of The Americans and based on that alone, I can see why it’s become awards darling for years. I hope to catch Killing Eve just to see Sandra Oh, I’m thrilled to see her finally getting recognition after putting in great work all these years.


Best Performance by an Actress in a Television Series – Drama

Caitriona Balfe (“Outlander”)
Elisabeth Moss (“The Handmaid’s Tale”)
Sandra Oh (“Killing Eve”)
Julia Roberts (“Homecoming”)
Keri Russell (“The Americans”)

As I mentioned above, I can’t wait to see Killing Eve. But given I don’t have cable, who knows when I can finally see the BBC America series. I just read this on the NYTimes“Spy thrillers almost never cast women as both the cat and the mouse, and this one also features an equally rare female presence behind the camera: The English writer and actress Phoebe Waller-Bridge… is the series’s lead writer, showrunner and executive producer.” Just for this reason alone I’m rooting for this show to win! Miss Oh missed out on becoming the first woman of Asian descent to win an Emmy in the lead actress category, I’m hoping she has a better chance in snatching the Globe since Claire Foy is not amongst the nominees.

My winner pick: Sandra Oh


I’m going to refrain from picking my winner picks in these TV categories. Yes I have picked winners from films/shows I haven’t seen before, but I don’t have any strong hunch or feelings about the following shows and performers to make up my mind.

Best Performance by an Actor in a Television Series – Drama

Jason Bateman (“Ozark”)
Stephan James (“Homecoming”)
Richard Madden (“Bodyguard”)
Billy Porter (“Pose”)
Matthew Rhys (“The Americans”)

Best Television Series – Musical or Comedy

“Barry” (HBO)
“The Good Place” (NBC)
“Kidding” (Showtime)
“The Kominsky Method” (Netflix)
“The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel” (Amazon)

Best Performance by an Actress in a Television Series – Musical or Comedy

Kristen Bell (“The Good Place”)
Candice Bergen (“Murphy Brown”)
Alison Brie (“Glow”)
Rachel Brosnahan (“The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel”)
Debra Messing (“Will & Grace”)

Best Performance by an Actor in a Television Series – Musical or Comedy

Sasha Baron Cohen (“Who Is America?”)
Jim Carrey (“Kidding”)
Michael Douglas (“The Kominsky Method”)
Donald Glover (“Atlanta”)
Bill Hader (“Barry”)

Best Television Limited Series or Motion Picture Made for Television

“The Alienist” (TNT)
“The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story” (FX)
“Escape at Dannemora” (Showtime)
“Sharp Objects” (HBO)
“A Very English Scandal” (Amazon)

Best Performance by an Actress in a Limited Series or Motion Picture Made for Television

Amy Adams (“Sharp Objects”)
Patricia Arquette (“Escape at Dannemora”)
Connie Britton (“Dirty John”)
Laura Dern (“The Tale”)
Regina King (“Seven Seconds”)

Best Performance by an Actor in a Limited Series or Motion Picture Made for Television

Antonio Banderas (“Genius: Picasso”)
Daniel Bruhl (“The Alienist”)
Darren Criss (“The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story”)
Benedict Cumberbatch (“Patrick Melrose”)
Hugh Grant (“A Very English Scandal”)


Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role in a Series, Limited Series or Motion Picture Made for Television

Alan Arkin (“The Kominsky Method”)
Kieran Culkin (“Succession”)
Edgar Ramirez (“The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story”)
Ben Whishaw (“A Very English Scandal”)
Henry Winkler (“Barry”)


Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role in a Series, Limited Series or Motion Picture Made for Television

Alex Borstein (“The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel”)
Patricia Clarkson (“Sharp Objects”)
Penelope Cruz (“The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story”)
Thandie Newton (“Westworld”)
Yvonne Strahovski (“The Handmaid’s Tale”)

Ok so I have only seen Borstein and Newton’s (in S1 of Westworld) performances. I absolutely love Borstein’s performance as Susie in The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel that I kind of want her to win every time she’s nominated!

My winner pick: Alex Borstein


Biggest Surprises

Well, for me it’d be 15-year-old star of Eighth Grade, Elsie Fisher. I haven’t heard of her before this one, and the film wasn’t exactly on my radar. Well good for her, she’s actually done a ton of projects in her young career.

I think VICE being the leader of the pack at the Globes and possibly at the Oscars could count as a surprise to most people. I really can’t wait to see that movie!!

Most egregious snubs

Well firstly, the obvious… where are the female directors?? I mentioned it above in the Best Director category, and for one I thought Josie Rourke who directed Mary, Queen of Scots might have a shot. And there’s Mimi Leder, director of On The Basis of Sex, who hasn’t directed a feature film in ages!

As for the performers… let’s start with Viola Davis in Widows.

I mean… I was quite floored NOT to see her name amongst the Best Actress category. She’s truly amazing as the leader of a fantastic ensemble cast and her performance is simply outstanding. The lack of love for Steve McQueen’s Widows baffles me. There are themes of social, economical, political and racial divides, not to mention a female empowerment story that makes it SO much more than a cool popcorn thriller.

I haven’t seen the film yet but based on the reviews of Hereditary (including ours, by Laura S), I thought Toni Collette’s nomination is a shoo-in [shrug].


So what are your thoughts on the Golden Globes nominees? Who do you think are snubbed and who are you rooting for?

Top 10 reasons I LOVE Netflix’s Daredevil Season 3

The last time I wrote a lengthy post about a TV show was this past Summer when I wrote about Altered Carbon, which happens to be a Netflix Original Series. Well, this time it’s another series on Netflix which I’ve been a huge fan of since season 1. I’m still reeling from the announcement on Nov. 29 that Netflix had canceled Daredevil, saying ‘… we feel it best to close this chapter on a high note.’ Who knows what the real reason is, most likely it’s due to the fact that Disney is launching its own streaming service, which gives me hope that Matt Murdock and co. would find another home on Disney+ in the future.

I have to say that when my hubby and I decided to binge on Season 3 around Thanksgiving holiday, we actually almost gave up after episode 1. We thought the pacing was a bit too slow and there wasn’t much going on to keep our interest (or so we thought). But we decided to wait until the end of episode 2 to see if we want to continue. Well, before the episode ended, we were hooked once again!

Missing for months, Matt Murdock (Charlie Cox) reemerges a broken man, putting into question his future as both vigilante Daredevil and lawyer Matthew Murdock. But when his archenemy Wilson Fisk (Vincent D’Onofrio) is released from prison, Matt must choose between hiding from the world, or embracing his destiny as a hero.

I actually did a similar top 10 list for S1 of Jessica Jones, and I find some similarities to that list, though I think I rate this season higher than that one.… in fact I think it’s nothing short of magical. Anyway, without further ado…

Here’s just 10 reasons why I absolutely LOVE Daredevil Season 3:

(of course it goes without saying that this post is riddled with spoilers so if you haven’t seen S3, proceed with caution. Consider yourself warned)

1. The slow-burn, but shrewdly-written script

The season takes place months after the events of The Defenders when a building collapsed with Matt and Elektra trapped inside. Matt survived but naturally he’s pretty banged up. It’s refreshing to see that at the start of a superhero series, we don’t immediately see our hero in action. I was complaining at first about the slow pace, but in the end I appreciate the fact that the pacing gives us an in-depth look at the universe the characters live in. As the hero rethinks his purpose in Hell’s Kitchen, both as Daredevil and as his lawyer alter ego, his arch nemesis strategically puts a plan in motion even from behind bars. It’s such a shrewd setup by new showrunner Erik Oleson and his fantastic team of writers that only get better as the show progresses!

I read that Marvel TV chief Joseph Loeb envisioned Daredevil series as ‘a crime drama first, superhero show second’ from the very beginning. Season 3 definitely delivered on that vision. Oh and this season, the hero doesn’t even put on his iconic red suit at all. But it really doesn’t matter because heroism is defined by one’s action, not what a person wears.

2. The spiritual side of Matt Murdock

We all know from season 1 that Matt Murdock‘s ravaged by his Catholic guilt. I actually appreciate that the show doesn’t shy away from the hero’s deep spiritual side. In this season we see Matt doubting God and question everything he’s known and believed in. As we watch the physically-shattered and emotionally-broken hero mostly bed-ridden inside the church where he grew up, we get to know him so much more as a person. He’s a psychologically-complex and flawed hero we can relate to as opposed to an indestructible fighting machine.

There are plenty of spiritual discussions between him and Father Lantom (Scottish actor Peter McRobbie) are emotionally-charged. For all the talk about God and salvation, the dialog is not preachy because it’s organic to the character. As this season also introduced the enigmatic Sister Maggie (Joanne Whalley), there’s more of that faith dialog going on that gives us even more glimpse Matt’s psyche, if you will.

There’s also scenes between Father Lantom and Sister Maggie with Karen as she too is ravaged by sins of her past. I really appreciate those scenes as well, which bring us closer to the characters we’ve known and love.

3. The returning cast all brought their A-game

I’ve always thought the entire cast of Daredevil is immensely strong. If there’s a Best Ensemble award at the Emmys, they should at least be nominated! I actually met some of the cast at the Wizard World Chicago Comic-Con in 2016.

Charlie Cox as Daredevil, Deborah Ann Woll as the fearless Karen (more on this later), Elden Henson as the loyal Foggy and of course, the effortlessly-menacing Vincent D’Onofrio as Wilson Fisk… they’re all amazing. Hard to pick a favorite among them as they work SO well together. On some shows, whenever the hero isn’t on screen, the energy level would come down a bit, but NOT on this one. The writers have made us care for each of the supporting characters that there’s a consistent dynamic and level of suspense on every episode. I enjoy the Karen or Foggy-centric episodes as much as the Matt Murdock one, and again, it’s because the script just gets better and better and drives the story forward so effectively.

4. The best arch enemy you love to hate

I don’t know about you but I feel that Wilson Fisk just gets even scarier in Season 3. Vincent D’Onofrio is such perfect casting and not only because of his massive size (it’d be interesting to see him go mano a mano with Mike Colter (Luke Cage). But I think what makes him even more frightening is his calm, observant demeanor. As huge as he is, Fisk isn’t all about brute force (though of course there are moments his rage got the best of him), but he’s more of a master manipulator who strategizes on how to up his game. As Matt and Karen would say, Fisk is often a few steps ahead of them, and he’d target the most vulnerable people he can manipulate. Once a person is ‘marked’ by him, there’s practically no escape and he’s able to infiltrate any organization for his own gain, including the FBI.

As the self-imposed ‘ruler’ of Hell’s Kitchen, Fisk is quite mesmerizing as he is menacing. He’s also quite poetic, especially when he’s waxing lyrical about his love Vanessa (Ayelet Zurer), but then he can turn into a freaky beast within seconds. I would never be the one bearing any kind of bad news to him as he’d beat you to a pulp just to release his animalistic rage.

5. Karen is the real ‘(wo)man without fear’

Now, I LOVE that the show features a woman who isn’t just a damsel in distress. Played brilliantly by Deborah Ann Woll, Karen is no femme fatale either. Yet she is beyond ruthless and in this season, she is utterly fearless that even Daredevil himself is in awe of her grand plan to go against Fisk on her own.

I love that Karen gets a dedicated episode (ep. 10) which shows her backstory when she was a drug addict. She’s been haunted by the death of her brother and here we finally knew why. Though she is now hunted by Fisk, she is still willing to risk her own life to expose the truth. I know that her ruthless-ness can also put others at risk, but I admire her sheer determination and fighting spirit that made her very much Matt’s equal. In fact, I think she is even braver than Matt as Karen doesn’t have any superpowers!

6. Terrific new cast members with compelling character arc

Three new cast members are introduced this season. I have mentioned Sister Maggie, who later on is revealed to have a crucial connection with Matt. It took me a bit of time to warm up to the lengthy dialog between Sister Maggie and Matt but as the season progressed, I appreciate them more and more.

The other two are FBI agents Ray Nadeem (Jay Ali) and Benjamin ‘Dex’ Poindexter (Wilson Bethel). Dex has a more explosive introduction while Nadeem’s intro shows him in his family home, struggling with his finances. Their paths inevitably cross with Fisk which will change their lives forever.

Both actors brought their characters to life so beautifully. Apparently Bethel was in the running for Captain America (in fact it was down to him and Chris Evans!), so he obviously has the physicality for the role as the faux Daredevil. I gotta say he looks really good in the red suit that he gives Charlie Cox a run for his money! 😉 He’s a pretty dynamic sub-villain (as Fisk’s lackey) and he’s scary as he can make anything into a weapon. I love that they show his backstory in a couple of episodes, which also makes him more than just a one-dimensional character.

All three new members were given such a strong and emotionally-resonant arc that strengthen the S3 story as a whole.

7. Ray Nadeem – not every hero needs a cape (or red suit in this case)

I feel that Jay Ali‘s Ray Nadeem deserves its own section on this list because you could say he’s the ‘man of the people’ in this season. He’s not a secret superhero (though I’d love to see Jay portray one!), but Nadeem is a family man who just wants to provide for his family and be a hero to his son Sammy. His riveting yet sensitive performance elevated every scene he’s in.

I have never seen Jay Ali in anything before, but the British actor (of Pakistani descent) has certainly got my attention. It’s nice to see such a compelling, nuanced character written for an actor of color, and not just another stereotypical role that you’ve seen time and time again in other shows.

I remember pondering most about Nadeem when I finished S3. I identify with his struggles, his pain and his conflicted emotions balancing his life as an FBI agent as a dad/husband. The look on his face when his wife rebukes him, it’s convincingly heartbreaking. He wants to make Hell’s Kitchen a safer place when he made a deal with Fisk, and by the time he realizes the Kingpin has infiltrated the agency, it’s already too late. His redemption comes at a high price, that is his own life, which makes him an unsung hero in my book.

Agent Nadeem is definitely one of the most memorable tv characters I’ve seen. Though he won’t be in the future seasons of Daredevil, I sure hope to see more of Jay Ali in more tv/film projects!

8. The loyal friends that make the hero

Speaking of unsung heroes, one thing I LOVE most about the Daredevil series is the strong bond of friendship between Matt, Karen and Foggy. There is something so genuine about how these characters interact, and this season their friendship is truly tested. Karen is especially loyal to Matt that she still pays his rent despite everyone thinking he’s been buried under a building!

In the later episode, there’s exchange between Nadeem and Matt where Nadeem talked about stepping off the path for a few weeks and it destroyed his life. Yet Daredevil steps on and off the path all the time… but his friends keep coming back. ‘How do you hold on to them?’ Nadeem asked. Matt replied ‘It’s not me. It’s them.’

Karen and Foggy love Matt so much that despite knowing his faults and his secret identity, they still stick by him. In fact, at times they even save Matt from himself. Foggy insists in bringing Fisk back to prison and prevent Matt from killing him not only because he believes in the system, but because he knew it’d destroy Matt to go against something he believes in (killing a human being). Foggy knew that he’d lose his best friend forever if he let Matt kills Fisk and that Matt wouldn’t be able to forgive himself.

I love that S3 ends on a hopeful note with Foggy proposing Nelson, Murdock and Page law office. Oh how I’d love to see the trio working together again like old times!

9. The creative ways for character development, fantastic set pieces and haunting music

One of the most effective scenes utilized in S3 is the flashback sequences that tell the backstory of some of the characters. I especially like the flashbacks of Dex as a troubled child, with Fisk observing young Dex like he’s watching a play unfolding right in front of him. It’s a really creative way for character development, to tell an origin story of a prominent character. The same style is also used when Matt is imagining Fisk is talking to him inside his head.

The set pieces of S3, particularly in the action scenes, are simply beautiful. There’s the swanky luxury hotel where Fisk is housed in, the beautiful Catholic church where Matt grew up in that became a battle ground, the claustrophobic prison scene and of course those iconic shots of Daredevil on the church rooftop next the giant cross. It’s a beautifully-shot series but it’s SO much more than style over substance. The style never overpowers the story or the characters.

I have to give kudos to composer John Paesano for the haunting and electric score which gives just the perfect sound of dread at certain moments. I remember the score playing when Agent Nadeem learned just how deep Fisk’s influence has run within the agency. Paired with Nadeem’s expression of sheer shock it gives me goosebumps!

10. The deftly-choreographed and visceral fight sequences

A great action scene is akin to a fantastic dance sequence. Some would call the fight sequences in Daredevil series a ballet of death. It’s choreographed so expertly and it works perfectly in the space it’s set in. I particularly love the church fight scene between Daredevil and Bullseye (wearing Daredevil’s red suit no less). The color scheme of this whole sequence is just so beautiful and eerie at the same time.

But of course, the fight scene everyone is talking about is the prison hallway scene. As if it wasn’t challenging enough to film it conventionally, the nearly 11-minute scene was done in a single long take, no secret cuts or CGI! You can just watch the prison fight breakdown here by the showrunner himself.

Kudos to the director, fight choreographer and of course Charlie Cox for pulling off such an amazing stunts. It’s crazy how Charlie has to do the fight scene as a blind man, too, his acting in this show is simply amazing!


Like any great roller coaster ride, I immediately felt like watching the show again as soon as I finished it. I have since rewatched parts of it, but I might rewatch the entire thing again in a few weeks as I probably have missed a bunch of details in the beginning.

Well, those are the reasons I absolutely LOVED Daredevil 3. Have you seen it? I’d love to hear what YOU think!