Tag Archives: Netflix

TV Review: That ’90s Show

STORY

16 years after the events that wrapped in ‘That ’70s Show‘, the house of the Formans in the fictional town of Point Place in Wisconsin becomes lively in the summer of 1995 when Leia Forman arrives to spend time with her grandparents and joins a group of teenagers.


REVIEW

That ’90s Show” is a spin-off of “That ’70s Show” with Kurtwood Smith and Debra Jo Rupp as the cantankerous Red and super-cheerful Kitty Forman returning as one of television history’s most beloved parents ever.

The aesthetics are the same and the fans of That ’70s Show will be excited to get into the skin of the spin-off so easily. The nostalgia is there and is still vibrant.

Red Forman has gone a little soft by some tiny little percent and is understood as the character goes older. If anyone notices, he begins to hold a stick in the second half of the season.

But Kitty hasn’t aged. Debra Jo Rupp has not aged at all. She is still someone where heart melts for the elders. The Formans are still a joy to watch. I wish Betty White would have returned as Kitty’s mother. She passed away a few months after the announcement of this show.


OLD BATCH

The old batch of young rebels that starred Topher Grace as Eric, Ashton Kutcher as Michael, Mila Kunis as Jackie, Laura Prepon as Donna, Danny Masterson as Steven, and Wilmer Valderamma as Fez, shows up as cameos which was quite understood as they do not have much favor to do in the script.

Maybe it is surprising that the reunion of the group didn’t happen. Perhaps, it is better to keep it for the future when the audience settles well into the second season of the show. Who knows? Maybe Danny Masterson as Steven Hyde makes a cameo in the future and we manage to see a complete reunion only if he gets cleared as Danny is hit with heavy sexual assault allegations that have finished his career to date.

But the rest of the old friends were fun to watch especially Eric Forman. The father-son chemistry just never fades at all.


NEW BATCH

Coming to the new batch of teenage friends. At first, I wasn’t confident about how far will they take the show to convince the audience in a new phase of fashion, music, and humor. Plus, the show is run by Netflix, which began to indicate whether the political messages will ruin the show.

See, the Netflix element is present and it is very obvious that the new batch will never be able to stand as the new favorites as those in the ’70s were. I felt that the makers remade the nostalgia in the new band. The theme, the personifications, and the references were all there. I am okay with it but settling for the new band to act the very way as the older ones lack originality.

Nate and Nikki are the new Michael and Jackie. Ozzie is the new Steven. Jay is the new Fez and I must praise the selection for Jay as Michael and Jackie’s son was so accurate. I thought if the actor is actually the son of Ashton and Mila. And this Kelso is smarter than his father.

And speaking of the Kelsos, Michael and Jackie are remarried. If I am not wrong, Jackie was with Fez in the series finale. I have forgotten if Jackie went back to Michael in the finale or what? Maybe we get to see Jackie and Fez in the future.

Ozzie represents the Queer community and is gay. And I think it was a good idea to address the complicated silence of that group of teenagers in the ’90s living in the US who were overthinking to coming out. And it was never easy for the kids to show their parents and friends who they were. It still is not easy for sure but Ozzie’s character went in the right direction.

Isn’t it that funny Eric and Donna named their daughter Leia? Knowing the fact that Eric is a lifetime lover of Star Wars, naming her Leia looked so naturally funny. They must have added a character of Leia’s brother and named him Luke. Leia is the new Eric, awkward and nerd.


CLOSING REMARKS

If the use of humor in this group looks to fall apart, remember this is a teenage comedy and we are older now. We certainly cannot expect them to build the same ambiance as the oldies did.

It is plain stupid if the audience compares it with the original. But one thing is for sure, in order to run the follow-up in the right direction, the show does not disappoint at all. It is not at all trash. Even if you do not like it, at least you will agree this is a lot better than the last season. “That ’90s Show” is funny and enjoyable and will make the audience wait for the second season.



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TV Review: Wednesday

STORY

Wednesday Addams punishes the boys in the school who bullies her brother Pugsley Addams. As a consequence, she is expelled. The concerned parents admit her to the Nevermore Academy, a school for the monstrous outcasts where they studied but were accused of a crime scene. Incidentally, the event recirculates with Wednesday’s admission when a creature begins to take lives and she uses her psychic instincts to solve the mystery.


ORIGINS

The Addams Family was neither a novel nor did it start as an amination show but the gag cartoons that were published in The New Yorker from 1938 until the 1950s. All the characters were unnamed until the 1964 television show ‘The Addams Family‘.


PRODUCTION

Wednesday hampers a toolbox that was decorated for Tim Burton to utilize when his turn comes to work on the project. The Addams Family and Tim Burton crossed paths but never joined hands which was a sad chapter just like Leo Messi was not lifting the World Cup before it finally happened.

Back in 1991, when Tim Burton was focused on directing Batman Returns, he was approached to work on The Addams Family. He passed on the project due to scheduling conflicts and The Addams Family and its sequel were produced establishing cult status with the audience.

20 years later, Tim Burton was planning to write and direct The Addams Family film, perhaps a reboot, but got canceled due to creative differences with the producers. Then Miles Millar and Alfred Gough acquired the rights, wrote the pilot, and forwarded it to Burton. He became interested and joined them.

It took thirty years for Tim Burton to work and complete a project that looks to me to be the most fitting project he ever happened to work on before. It was a love story that was waiting for its romantic moment to bring the two together.

When the strings are pulled rightly, there is every chance of playing the right notes. Producers Miles Millar and Alfred Gough are well known for creating ‘Smallville‘. Tim Burton has the reputation for many excellent Gothic fantasies. And then his decades-old collaboration with the musician Danny Elfman, the musical notes that ideally fit in Tim Burton films.


CASTING

Wednesday. (L to R) Catherine Zeta-Jones as Morticia Adams, Jenna Ortega as Wednesday Addams, Luis Guzmán as Gomez Addams, Issac Ordonez as Pugsley Addams in Wednesday. Cr. Courtesy of Netflix © 2022

With Tim Burton on the director chair, I would have loved to see Morticia and Gomez Addams played by Helena Bonham Carter and Johnny Depp. Catherine Zeta-Jones as Morticia and more particularly Luis Guzmán as Gomez were quite interesting choices. I felt that spark was missing between the two which was quite a thing between Raul Julia and Angelica Huston in those two films. But here, Catherine and Luis looked pretty odd together.

Fred Armisen as Uncle Fester was an imposing choice. Christopher Lloyd‘s Uncle Fester was character-driven and someone on whom the story was centered around. In a quite different setting, this Uncle Fester was more jolly and exciting. I want to see more appearances in the next season. It was a pleasure to watch Christina Ricci in the show who was Wednesday Addams in the films.

My kudos to whoever decided to give the titular role to Jenna Ortega. This has to be the best-ever casting of Wednesday Addams to date. Let me tell you how I think that Jenna did this role better than Christina.

Christina’s Wednesday lacked the body language of a melancholic personality that defines Wednesday. Plus, the writing of her character in the film didn’t guarantee any growth. Wednesday being the center stage of the plot and a tv series of eight episodes at stretch, Jenna had enough time to grow as Wednesday and answer all our questions that were related to her character that was visibly missing in the films.


WHY WEDNESDAY? WHY NOT ADDAMS FAMILY?

I will continue my point about Jenna’s Wednesday because this leads to a whole new level of storytelling. The films heavily focused on couples as well as Uncle Fester but not children. When my generation watched these films back in the 1990s, we had this feeling about the girl that her side of the story didn’t make rounds and that had a lot of potential to grow due to her sadistic personality. I felt the writers of the films missed the chance.

But this chance was smartly grabbed by Millar and Gough with the creme of the plot centralizing the hows and whys of Wednesday’s character. And this is why her parents were almost out of the frame.

The makers installed the character of Enid Sinclair who struggles to befriend Wednesday and there develops a strange bond between a cheerful roommate and a morosely black soul. The makers also built a rigid mother-daughter relationship. The screenwriting of the show also restricted the fan-favorite Uncle Fester’s character to a very brief appearance. Convincing the audience to stick with Wednesday without Fester is a win.


DANCE

Of course, I have to mention that iconic dance in my assessment. A dance that was actually shot with Goo Goo Muck by the gothic rock legends ‘The Cramps‘ playing in the background but the TikTokers perfectly remixed the dance video with Lady Gaga‘s Bloody Mary and is now called a TikTok Remix of Wednesday Dance. Jenna choreographed the dance herself and the most astonishing fact about the dance is that the dance steps pulled the right strings of Wednesday Addam’s cold-blooded personality. The dance visibly reflected her oddness.

In one of her tweets, Jenna confirmed that gothic rock legends Siouxie Sioux and Lene Lovich, actor Denis Lavant, first Wednesday actress Lisa Loring, and the dance number from Sweet Charity called The Rich Man’s Frug by Bob Fosse were the inspirations behind this dance.


CLOSING REMARKS

I felt that the finale lost control of the pace and hurriedly strove to a conclusion. But in any case, there is a lot to happen in the future seasons. I really want to watch Grandmama and Cousin Itt.

I have read that Wednesday and Enid may develop a romance in the next season. This is totally out of a syllabus stunt. A girl like Wednesday who lacks emotions and has zero-match with the completely opposite Enid, goes 360 and they become lovers, is not so Wednesday we know of.

Whatever happened to something called friendship? Why cannot the writers try to bring both of them in a bond where they find common grounds to somehow live through. Befriending has been a struggle so far so better to focus on friendship.

Wednesday is highly recommended to the fans of Goth culture and The Addams Family. The films and this show cannot be compared at all. They have different vibes and aesthetics on which different stories have been presented to us.

Wednesday has a lot of adventures or misadventures to excite us. I hope to see a Stranger Things kind of excellent follow-up of the show.



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Comic Book Review: My Friend Dahmer (2012)

INTRODUCTION AND ORIGINS

My Friend Dahmer‘ is a graphic novel based on one of America’s notorious serial killers, Jeffrey Dahmer. The book was written by John ‘Derf’ Backderf and published under Abrams ComicArts. As the name indicates, Derf had personally known Dahmer and through this book, he recollects and highlights some eye-openers about the old times spent at Eastview Junior High and Revere High School where they were classmates.

The writing of ‘My Friend Dahmer’ took a few rounds. Derf wrote this back in 1995. It was an 8-page comic strip that was published two years later in the 18th issue of the Zero Zero series of Fantagraphics books. Derf decided to rewrite it full-length and then self-published a 24-page comic. After the death of Dahmer, Derf had made extensive research through other classmates, journals, news, and interviews that stretched to twenty years. When Derf was prepared to shape his fact-finding and exploration into a book of around 200 pages, Abrams Books published it in 2012.

The book is not just a graphic novel but also Derf’s personal memoir and to some extent critically a psychological case study about Dahmer’s personal life. By reading it, it may look as if Dahmer is backed by the author and shows sympathy but Derf actually points out what were the causes that unfortunately misled Dahmer to the path where he never turned his back and looked behind once he walked away.


DAHMER IN DIFFERENT MEDIUMS

For those who have finished watching Dahmer on Netflix starring Evan Peters, reading this book is totally a different experience. The show was dramatized from Dahmer’s narrative and thus, focused on his crimes, his motives, and his victims. Whereas the book helps the readers understand Dahmer’s school life that Derf and other friends observed. The book covers a lot of incidents that reflect Dahmer’s isolation, loneliness, silence, disturbance, and difficulties.


ZERO HUMAN CONCERN

‘My Friend Dahmer’ abandons the hatred and the outcries over Dahmer’s horrific crimes and in very smart writing, the author successfully complains; where were people when Dahmer needed them? The people include his parents, Lionel and Joyce. Where were the adults who could have guided him instead of shutting him down?

Where was the decency when his classmates bullied him? Why none of his friends at school helped him? He was let down by everyone.

The book confirms and the author indirectly admits that he himself along with his friends made a joke out of him instead of helping him. Derf does admit that he wanted to help Dahmer but couldn’t.

In a way, it is kind of a double standard that Derf somehow blames others but he also belonged to the same kind who didn’t shoulder him.


SCARY BOOK?

The readers are believed to have considered their reading experience of ‘My Friend Dahmer’ to be haunting. Maybe my mental capacity is strong enough to not feel it haunting or scary but I think readers who are not hypersensitive or too soft can read this. Maybe, the reader gets disturbed over looking at the pictures of dead animals especially when Dahmer madly chops a tiny fish or when you look at a mutilated dog carcass. But I reason the book to be less haunting because the book doesn’t illustrate those horrific crimes that Dahmer committed after leaving the school. And my first understanding about the book was that picturing his crimes in broad detailing will be the case but not at all.


ILLUSTRATION

I will especially praise the artwork of the book. Pencilling the black and white drawings reminds me of good old mini comic strips of the old newspapers that used to start someone’s morning with a cup of coffee. With a kind of subject and a dark tone the story settles in, I think this was a perfect idea to keep the presentation this way.

Every picture showing Dahmer mimicking the slurred speech of someone with Cerebral Palsy was so accurately drawn giving the reader an impression that Derf closely observed Dahmer’s mimicking because he acted that way most of the time. It looked like an exaggeration, maybe Derf showed us this strange character of Dahmer that he had no other choice of humor to fun around with ‘friends’ but to stick with the only comical act he got recognition around.

But Derf deserves the praise for establishing a reading impact. After many pictures of that mimicry, the readers come to know that he was actually mimicking his own mother. It was a sad revelation when Dahmer’s mother permanently leaves the house and isolates him when Dahmer’s depression alarms.


A Social Guide to Understand the Cornered People

‘My Friend Dahmer’ is a valuable source of understanding a disturbing teenager. If a student, teacher, or principal of an educational institution reads this book, will surely consider backing or assisting such kids in their lives before they turn into Dahmer.

I will recommend reading ‘My Friend Dahmer’ which has around 270 pages because besides five parts, a preface, a prologue, and an epilogue, that book also contains extra detailing about the making of this book and an explanation about a few important pages and some bonus materials.


CLOSING REMARKS

One valid question that breaks after reading this non-fiction book is, who was responsible for making Dahmer a monster? It is not a mystery but a curiosity. He was not an orphan nor did he lack the necessities of life. He wasn’t poor or belonged to some lower-class background.

His father was a chemist and the family lived in some mid-century modern home standing at nearly 2200 square feet back in 1968.

After watching the Netflix show and then reading this book, I think Dahmer was a society-reject who was canceled by almost everyone for his being visibly odd or awkward. In most cases, people like to generally hang around with those who are jolly, funny, friendly, and very extroverted. And Dahmer carries none of the traits.

No one was interested to understand Dahmer’s problems, not even his own parents because they were busy arguing, abusing, blaming, and fighting with each other. No teacher considered being his psychologist. Backderf and other friends used his mimicking and earned some money. He was cornered by everyone and therefore, the human contact distancing from him broke him and ignited him. An anger that will have scary consequences and will bring fear to society. The madness that he committed is unexplainable but this is how the fever starts, the pain instills. His silence became cancer, he moved on to the path that would turn him into evil. People around him failed him.


READING SOURCE

You can read ‘My Friend Dahmer’ online from here. 

https://readcomiconline.li/Comic/My-Friend-Dahmer/Full?id=56176&readType=1


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TV Review: Dahmer (2022)

Netflix‘s Dahmer is a psychological crime drama based on the true story of the serial killer, Jeffrey Dahmer. Dahmer is a limited series of ten episodes that focuses on his crimes, his motives, his victims, and the impact on American society and community, both white and black.

I will say that Dahmer is truly a courageous project pulled by Netflix as the creators Ryan Murphy and Ian Brennan along with the team of writers and directors brought the best outcome of the entire showcasing of the bloody psycho show.

The two words to praise the show’s content and intent will be; disgusting and disturbing. Do I need to explain why I used these two words? I don’t think so. But I must admit that at the halfway mark, I really felt that Dahmer being immensely horrible was tested to limits.

And full marks to Evan Peters who pulled a performance to make you hate him and curse him, I mean Dahmer. The reason I am clarifying this is because on the TV Time app, I observed to my surprise that many voters were criticizing other voters to vote for Evan Peters. Whereas the vote was for the actor, of course not for Dahmer. People really must not be that foolish I swear.

Now the objective of this show was successfully achieved from all aspects. Dahmer’s origins, his childhood, his bullying in school, the parents fighting, the birth of killing instincts, the sexual disorder, the obsession with killing, the show covered everything. And that is the beauty of television that is difficult to achieve in a motion picture.

Dahmer’s parents are worth observation. Dahmer’s mental disturbance was the result of his parent’s fights and divorce. His father was more at fault for exposing him to dead animals on the streets. After Dahmer was arrested, the father realized way too late and he confessed to him in court that he got the same feelings as him. So this torch of madness passed from father to son.

There is a generous need of distinguishing the podium of the significance of the central character. Because the makers here didn’t glorify the serial killer. More than Dahmer being a Milwaukee Cannibal, the show focused on the mental areas of disturbance that caused Dahmer to hurt people.

After Dahmer’s sentencing, the show had two more episodes and perhaps the audience at that point begins to think why further. The reason is that ‘impact’. The writers and makers wanted to show the impact his trial made in America. And it was no joke. The system was rightfully questioned. The law and order, the police, and safety issues were put into question. When Dahmer was committing those brutal crimes, no cop was interested to check him. To my utter surprise, he escaped from getting caught every time before his arrest.

And this is where the sociopolitical agenda strikes the right chords; the injustice with the African-Americans! Superbly dramatizes the double standards of how the Black community was heavily ignored when they complained. Police escorting the 14-year-old kid back to Dahmer’s residence was just insane. The episodes on Tony, Glenda, and Dahmer’s parents were necessary fills.

The ninth and the second-last episode breaks the audience with zero optimism for four reasons. The cops getting awards? Arresting Sandra for breaking a camera? The cops making threatening calls to the victim’s family! And Jeff establishing fanhood!

The world is so sick that people can get inspiration from his killings, become his fans, send him letters, and request his autograph. How will psychopaths like Dahmer not be encouraged? White supremacy is another tragic angle. Three young white boys taking pictures in front of that building with a killing pose? This is the precise problem that needs to be addressed. No wonder how many Dahmers are there in America and other countries.

https://www.hollywoodreporter.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/09/DAHMER-Monster-Still-4-Netflix-Publicity-H-2022.jpg?w=1296

Dahmer shows honesty in historical accuracy and distances from sensationalizing. From the technical aspects of filmmaking, the direction is impressive, especially the episodes directed by Jennifer Lynch. The music score of Nick Cave and Warren Ellis is gloomy. Besides Evan Peters’ unforgettably sublime performance, Niecy Nash as Glenda and Richard Jenkins as Dahmer’s father were excellent. The latter’s emotional breakdowns were accurate.

Dahmer makes the audience cold like dead meat smoldering with complaints that no one will listen to. It is a sad case that makes you sick and humiliated that there are people like Dahmer who are just one step away to finish you in the worst possible way and destroy your family.

RATINGS = 8.6/10

 


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Comic Book Review: The Umbrella Academy: Hotel Oblivion (2018)

Previously, I wrote comic book reviews about the first two volumes of Gerard Way and Gabriel Bá‘s The Umbrella Academy, Apocalypse Suite and Dallas. The Netflix show with the same title that Steve Blackman ran and wrote had smart writing for any adaptation, complex but a method that suits the television audience and to a razor-edge point where the viewers can be convinced with.

The third season detailed the Sparrow Academy which was depicted by the end of the second season as a dramatic cliffhanger. It was more shocking for the comic geeks because the Sparrows are not really much introduced to comics. I happened to read the third volume, Hotel Oblivion, as the title gives me or every one the precise impression that the third season is based on this book which is true but not entirely. The Sparrows show up to the Umbrellas at the end of the book just like the show’s second season as mentioned above.

That makes Steve Blackman’s writing the show in a very different direction really cool. We buy what we watch and there surely is a behind-the-scene geekery-geekery-gock discussion about the fourth book proceedings to refer to on the television. When will the fourth book release, no idea but Steve Blackman’s idea about the show’s fourth season will now test him. Because so far he has done a really good job.

One major difference between television and comics is that Hotel Oblivion is a hotel in the former but a prison in the latter. A prison that is designed by who else than Sir Reginald Hargreeves himself for the most dangerous villains his babies have fought and defeated. There is no chance of escaping this prison unless they use a teleportation device, televator. But utilizing the televator will also not be enough because Scientific Man monitors Hotel Oblivion from space.

Scientific Man is The Umbrella Academy’s Doctor Manhattan with a better costume. While reading the fifth issue, surely his appearance to every reader like me was a surprise. He entered the scene like a messiah or a Superman. And I am not understanding why was this character not involved in the latest season. Or did he show up if I am mistaken?

The stories of both the television and the comics are extremely different. My whole enthusiasm to read Hotel Oblivion to broaden my understanding for the third season altered because, in the comics, the Umbrella Academy fights against the Murder Magician, a hypnotist, and Obscura, the jewel thief. Both of the villains manage to escape the Hotel Oblivion.

Speaking of the hotel, there is no mention of Hotel Obsidian in the comics. Hotel Oblivion is a one-dimensional prison built by Hargreeves to torture his villains. But the third season, I opine, edges over this idea in writing the third season. Steve Blackman introduced the concept of Hotel Obsidian, a hotel where Klaus used to get drunk more often. When the Sparrows show the Umbrellas the exit door, they take shelter in this hotel and later on discover the mysterious routes that take them to a bizarre version of Obsidian which is Hotel Oblivion.

Just like in previous books, Hotel Oblivion maintains dysfunctionality in the siblings. They are again scattered. Spaceboy is walking on the streets of Tokyo. Number Five is a hired assassin. Vanya again has a shorter appearance like Dallas and continues her physical therapy. But this time she is interesting to read when Vanya and her mother have a deep conversation in the fourth issue where the mother explains what makes her daughter so special.

Hotel Oblivion also deserves to be praised for developing the understanding of Hargreeves. A thought about Hargreeves creation to be a blessing also juxtaposes his vision on a broader scale whether he ended up being a villain after the revelation of his prison plan that happened after his death.

Just like the previous two books, the main issue covers and the introduction of the issue names had impressive drawings as well as some portions of the stories. Gabriel Bá’s illustration really reflects a darker image of the happenings. Notice his detailing in the fifth issue when all the villains march together. Or the nuclear reaction in the final issue. The comic-book partnership of Gerard and Gabriel is the key to The Umbrella Academy being an exciting brand to follow.

I think the third book was an offshoot to step into major parallels. The seven-chapter identity crisis story gave new meaning to thinking about renewing a universe. It was an interesting idea. Hotel Oblivion is completely different from the first two books, it is like waking up during a road trip to experience a totally new world.


REFERENCE

The Umbrella Academy: Hotel Oblivion Issues 1-7 (2018-2019)

DOWNLOAD

https://getcomics.info/other-comics/the-umbrella-academy-collection/

SUPPORTING VIDEO

I found this comic-book review about Hotel Oblivion very genuine. Watch and listen to them.

TV Review: The Sandman

STORY

To those who are new to this Sandman world, the one fact you need to understand about this drama and comic book story of The Sandman is that the story is about a dysfunctional family called ‘The Endless‘. And they are seven siblings in different forms. And they are Death, Delirium, Desire, Despair, Destiny, Destruction, and Dream.

‘The Sandman’ centrally focuses on Lord Morpheus, the ruler of Dreaming and the king of dreams. One day, he is captured by the occultist Roderick Burgress and is imprisoned for more than a hundred years until he gets a chance to escape and return. But when he returns to Dreaming, he witnesses it in a terrible state. Along with his only remaining loyalist and librarian Lucienne, Morpheus travels to different worlds and timelines to restore order to his kingdom, clean the mess and fix the chaos that occurred in his long absence.


PRODUCTION

After decades of pulling attempts to come up with a perfect project to execute for either film or television for one of the most acclaimed comics of all time, Netflix eventually succeeds in shaping the best possible adaptation the global audience would have ever demanded. The show has its flaws but the most important valuation to observe is the graphic detailing and writing of one of the most complex comic book stories.

The show is handled with care by some influential writers of the film and comics. Allan Heinberg is well-known for Young Avengers and JLA series while David S. Goyer is widely acclaimed for writing the Blade and Dark Knight trilogies and co. writing Call of Duty video games. The main showrunner is Neil Gaiman, the writer, and creator of The Sandman. So when the God of this universe is running this show, then there is neither a question nor disapproval about dramatizing his creation.

I am usually against taking liberty from the major elements of the original writing that includes the fundamentals of the characters. But at the same time if the author or the creator doesn’t object or holds the creative control of the film or tv show based on his/her own writing, then even if I find the changes to be in the wrong direction, I find no reason to object because the creator himself/herself is the control head and approves the developments.


PLUSSES

There were many reasons that established the theory or a prediction that ‘The Sandman’ will be praised and accepted once it is released on Netflix. One reason is that the original work has a massive following. Then, as mentioned above, Neil Gaiman himself is the showrunner so whoever the director he chooses to execute their writings, he knows the job is done with satisfaction.

Another plus is the extraordinary production budget that is quite understood after the viewers have enjoyed the luxury of watching some stunning visuals. And then the casting is excellent. Tom Sturridge as Dream and Boyd Holbrook as Corinthian are examples of accurate picks. Even for supporting but important roles, very well-known actors like Charles Dance, David Thewlis, Sanjeev Bhaskar, Stephen Fry, Souad Faress, Nina Wadia, Gwendoline Christie, Meera Syal, and Jenna Coleman make rounds in a few episodes. If that wasn’t enough, we heard memorable voices of Patton Oswalt as Matthew the Raven and Mark Hamill as Mervyn Pumpkinhead too.

The continuity of the screenplay is intrigued with a thoughtful and metaphorical portion of understanding some dark elements of life. The episode with Dream’s sister Death is very touching and upsetting but is also my favorite of the show. A kind of perception in which a human is made aware of his/her death by the angel that begins with contacting them and communicating. The whole process is so well dramatized.

This is followed by Dream reminiscing about his centuries-old friendship with Hob Gadling when he grants a customer’s will to live forever back in the 14th century and keeps meeting him once every hundred years in the same bar. This idea touched me and began to question myself, what if time travel was ever true? What if all of us could travel to any timeline, meet random people, speak to them in different centuries, just like that. Those who are deeply concerned about dreams like me will agree to me that dreamers deserve to have a companion or a truly loyal friend in his/her dream. Such an idea can only exist in dreams and Lord Morpheus, the king of dreams, is the key to all this stretch.

Then there is Doctor Destiny‘s dystopian take on the human race circulating their lives around truths and lies that he tests at a diner. That whole episode is superbly stretched to make his point.


MINUSES

A few portions of writing and aesthetics are not to my satisfaction. Netflix with its cult application of political correctness makes the entire dramatizing of the original writing an agenda to moralize forced inclusivity. Although the creator Neil Gaiman has no objection at all, but this is not the first time at all. The direction clearly indicates making many characters homosexual has a purpose. I am not against this form of diversity, I support it, but there should be a method of addressing it through the story instead of dramatizing it like a protest.

Amongst all the characters, the one actor that I am not convinced of selection is Gwendoline Christie as Lucifer Morningstar. Because she looked more angelic than the devil in the role. If the showrunners were adamant to go for a female Lucifer then they should have picked an actress with a lot darker persona. A female Lucifer had to be someone with more devil or gothic vibes. Any of Eva Green, Krysten Ritter, Cate Blanchett, or Helena Bonham Carter would have made superb Lucifer.


COMIC ADAPTATION

This is actually another ‘PLUS’ element but I want to address it separately due to a broad detailing a comic geek can speak and emphasize. We comic book readers generally have been raising this matter for a couple of decades that a television show or a film usually doesn’t do justice while translating the comic pages into this medium.

Because it is hard to deliver the same impact to the viewers that the readers had when they read that all. And it is admirable to observe how ‘The Sandman’ successfully developed a lot of moments from the graphic issues. And at some scenes, even the whole dialogue of a few particular scenes is delivered in the same way.

I wonder how every Sandman reader would have reacted when Death showed up to Dream followed by a conversation when they were sitting together.

Or when John Dee was thanked.

In a very interesting sequence, imprisoned former queen of the First People, Nada briefly appears whose eyes catch Dream’s figure passing from her prison and calls him Kai’ckul. The whole scene is pictured in the comics and will definitely proceed in the second season as showrunner Allen Heinberg has confirmed to one of the sources.

The terrible state of the Dreaming after Lord Morpheus returns is all accurately depicted.

Desire’s tall naked statue Threshold, the fortress of Desire is taken from the beginning of the second volume, The Doll’s House.

Dream’s centuries-old friendship with Hobb Gadling was well translated from the pages. The entire table-talk of centuries constitutes from issue#13.

The whole 24-hour diner episode happened in issue#6 called 24 Hours which is considered one of the darkest and the most horrific tales in comics history.

The whole Dream vs Lucifer challenge is well dramatized. In fact, comics had a lengthier challenge if I am not mistaken.

Dream’s meeting with ‘The Three‘ had a darker portrayal than comics.

Dream and Corinthian face-off exactly happened in the convention just like issue#14.

Even Corinthian stabbing Dream’s palm was covered.

Gilbert getting scared of Corinthian was different in the show. He actually lost his stature when Corinthian joins him in the elevator.


CLOSING REMARKS

There is so much to talk about ‘The Sandman’. But I hope the quality that the showrunners have settled the story in and the aesthetics that has mesmerized us audience shall be maintained for the future.

I am hoping that the show must be stretched to at least five seasons to cover all the aspects and elements of the writing. The Sandman is the best adapted comic book-based television show that I have watched. I recommend all the viewers who loved the show, to read the original content.

The Sandman is a 75-issue storyline that was written in seven years. This was followed by many spin-offs and Neil Gaiman wrote a few of them. But ‘Overture‘ and ‘The Dream Hunters‘ are those that must be read. Especially, Overture because it is the prequel of the entire Sandman story.

To those, who are very interested to watch a fantasy drama, The Sandman is currently the best I can think of to recommend.


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Film Review: The Gray Man (2022)

When the CIA’s assassin ‘Sierra Six’ finds out that the man he was assigned to kill was a former CIA assassin like him and has evidence of the corruption of the CIA’s lead agent on the assassination mission, Denny Carmichael, Six decides to go rebel and escape. Carmichael hires Lloyd Hansen to track him down and collect the evidence.

The Gray Man can be considered an unofficial tribute to old-school action films and I must admit that it takes courage for the Russo brothers to take such a risk of making an action-thriller with such an ensemble cast.

I noticed in the fighting sequences that there was something about the use of colors during the fights. When Six fights the target in Bangkok, colorful firecrackers enchant the whole scene. Then pink flares are enthralled when Six fights in the plane. It is interesting that there were some particular elements involved to make the fights look interesting.

But there are numerous plotholes and the continuity of the story does not impress. I mean there is nothing much to appeal to the audience. The story is an expired cake, the whole screenplay renders a predictable conclusion. It is not some phenomenal direction even. When you have actors like Ryan Gosling and Chris Evans in the lead with such an impressive supporting lineup of Ana de Armas, Billy Bob Thornton, Alfre Woodard, Jessica Hanwick, and Wagner Moura, the expectations are higher.

Dhanush got some decent minutes in the film and was really impressed with his action sequences. I thought he may get a couple of scenes like any Indian film star in an American film. Perhaps the Russo brothers are considering actors from the Indian film industry to join their films for supporting roles. Randeep Hooda had mesmerizing fighting sequences with Chris Hemsworth in ‘Extraction‘ that the Russo brothers produced.

The one actor that impressed me a lot was little butterfly Julia Butters who displayed a really delicate performance that surely gave all the viewers a feeling of amazement.

The Gray Man is certainly neither bad nor boring. The one action sequence that gave me a thrill was when Six is arrested in Vienna and the mercenaries try to down him. This scene was stretched to around ten minutes. Keeping the whole common sense aside, it was an exciting scene to be entertained. So this is a typical action thriller that can be enjoyed when your friends crash into your room along with popcorn, chips, and soft drinks.

RATINGS: 4/10

Film Review: Anek (2022)

Anek is about a government official secret agent Aman who is sent to the Northeast region to negotiate a peace deal between the government and the separatist groups.

A director-actor combo of Anubhav Sinha and Ayushmann Khurrana who are enjoying the peak of their careers for the last few years come up with a very sensitive socio-political subject of the North Indian people.

It is good to observe that a few films have been produced in recent years that are based on the racism that the Northern Indians have been facing for quite some time. Communal subjects have gradually increased over the last decade which indicates that the audience is now enthusiast to try watching different content.

Unfortunately and to my own surprise, Anek neither picks screentime from a solid-looking plot nor the writing does any justice during the prosecution of the film. There is no impression from the aesthetics besides action sequences. The film is over-talkative and some scenes are overstretched. Around 150 minutes of screentime with an uninspiring plot leads to nowhere but disappointment.

There are a few scenes that were shot well though. There is a scene where Aman and Anjaiyyah argue about how to define an Indian, it was a thoughtful conversation. Then the performance of Niko’s mother when she mourns and cavils to Aman at the funeral. For me, the best scene of the film was that one-shot scene in the village when Niko witnesses a series of arrests and some parts of the place put to fire.

Anek could have been a masterpiece if the screenplay was engrossing and held a grip on an important subject. The film visibly began to collapse after approximately thirty minutes.

RATINGS: 4/10

Comic Book Review: The Umbrella Academy: Dallas (2008)

Two time-traveling serial killers Hazel and Cha-Cha are on a quest for Number 5 (The Boy) whereas Number 5 lives fifty years in the future where he gets training by Shubunkin Goldfish (Carmichael) and later on an assignment to assassinate President Kennedy.

The Umbrella Academy was abstracted by the leading vocalist and co-founder of My Chemical Romance, Gerard Way. In 2007, Way completed the writing and visual artwork of the first comic book limited series ‘Apocalypse Suite‘ with the cartoonist Gabriel Bá. Dark Horse Comics published the graphic novel and was first presented in the annual promotional event Free Comic Book Day (FCBD) the same year. The first issue was immediately sold out and indicated staunch interest amongst the readers. By next year, this graphic novel won Eisner Award for Best Limited Series.

This storyline, Dallas, is second in line, which began to run its issues in 2008, exactly nine months after Gerard Way and Gabriel Bá concluded the first chapter, Apocalypse Suite. Just like the predecessor, Dallas also has six issues but the writing elements are darker and more complex than Apocalypse Suite. And it is the upgrade over the first chapter that the tag team of Gerard and Gabriel have improved the method of storytelling to the readers with a lot of potential bettered for Number’s character.

Kraken, who is Number 2, is also a welcoming signal who looks physically visible to lead the perplexed team. The readers may get disappointed by not finding much presence of Vanya in Dallas as compared to Apocalypse Suite. But I sense it was a risky move to continue the story without not much contribution from Vanya who lies on her bed after what she has been through in the first chapter. But there are moments in one of the issues to read where Rumor holds grudge against Vanya.

The fifth issue is mostly based on the Vietnam War and has impressive writing. In fact, the one parallel that bridges both the chapters is the marvelous take on the dysfunctionality of the lost children under the Umbrella Academy. The reader must have to keep his/her hours passed on the Netflix version aside because these two chapters were published almost ten years before what the global fanhood hooked up with on the television.

I must admit that the writers of the Netflix adaptation did some hard work in giving the idea of presenting the original work to the television in the rightest and most acceptable direction. The elements of both chapters are mixed to construct a plot that looks good enough to move on. I thought Hazel and Cha-Cha were created straight on television until I read Dallas. Because they didn’t appear in Apocalypse Suite.

I think Apocalypse Suite will be remembered more than its sequel because of the plotline that inspired the first season of the show. But writing-wise, Gerard-Gabriel have matured their storytelling in Dallas. Surely, an important read one cannot miss at all. The next in line is ‘Hotel Oblivion‘ which started to publish the issues in 2018.


REFERENCE

The Umbrella Academy: Dallas Issues 1-6 (2008-2009)

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TV Review: Man vs. Bee (2022)

Trevor Bingley is a rookie housesitter who is assigned to a high-tech mansion for a few days but to his bad luck, a bee begins to circulate around him and enters the property. After the owners hand over their place to Trevor and leave, the latter struggles to get rid of the bee that jeopardizes his work.

Netflix‘s Man vs. Bee has to be Rowan Atkinson‘s grand comeback to the comedy-drama on television since The Thin Blue Line he did for BBC back in 1995. Rowan Atkinson co. created this show with William Davies, the screenwriter who wrote Johnny English trilogy. So the artistic chemistry is there with David Kerr on the director’s chair who worked as a director with both of them in Johnny English Strikes Again.

Man vs. Bee is a fresh idea for a comedy. This is like someone showed up in a meeting with a plan that, to everyone’s surprise, works and suits well. No forced representation, no lovemaking, just an old-school comedy. Rowan Atkinson as usual displayed his slapstick magic that ages well with the audience. There is still Mr. Bean inside him that teases him to present his usual misfortunes. And the impressive part is that nothing looks unnatural, no portion of the jeopardizing moment is forced at all. The timing of the unfortunate incidents one after one defines a person’s worst Monday to begin with.

Another element of superb writing is the application of old-age or simply non-rich people struggling to settle themselves in a lifestyle that is so unusual and futuristic to them. The complexity of living in a high-tech residence is really well written. The exaggeration is sublime. The problems Trevor senses never end from the first day, it is the hardship of understanding such rich domesticity that leads to misfortunes, not only the bee.

Perhaps Trevor could have gotten rid of the troubling bee if it was a simple apartment. But then, the application of realism gets compromised for the sake of fun and laughter. Man vs. Bee does defy logic that questions realism. A few questions and Man vs. Bee cannot help escaping from the plotholes or obviousness. When the bee made Trevor break the first showpiece, why didn’t he inform the owners? Fine, he panics, and he recently got the job. But when he takes the dog to the vet, why doesn’t he inquire about catching a bee? And who in the right state of mind will detonate in the residence? Perhaps he gets so lost that he cared nothing and even puts the house on fire? Maybe this is an exaggeration to its peak but certainly, logic failed for the sake of comedy. I just felt that these are some portions where the writing and humor looked compromised.

One questionable part of writing was not killing the bee in the microwave when he had the chance. This can be theorized from several angles like sympathy with a living creature after spending some time with it for good or bad reasons, or being foolish by forgetting to close the glass sliding door, etc.

I think it was a smart move to divide a simple comedy into a maximum of 12-minute episodes. Maybe Trevor’s battle with the bee would have looked boring or silly if this was a one-hour film. But in any case, I believe that Man vs. Bee makes you think about those small moments that build nerves if you take this way too seriously. It was just a bee that happened to enter with Trevor and made the mess. Perfect timing for misfortunes and embarrassment that offers the finest displays of remorse and distress none other than Rowan Atkinson can master around.

A very funny take on mistakes, Man vs. Bee has a remarkable discomfort to laugh at.