Mission Impossible, Rogue Nation

The fifth in the highly successful Mission Impossible film franchise with Tom Cruise. More action, more spying, more awesom stunts. This might be a spoiler-free review. I’ll aim for that and take out anything spoilery later.

Actually, I don’t have much to say on Rogue Nation. Pretty much if you like the previous films, you’ll like this film. This movie is well done with some wow moments. It has all the staples from the previous movies such as a devious villain, a new female that has some connection to the main plot and references to the mask thing.

While the movie is overall fun, I find it tough to say anything that can’t be said about the previous movies. That’s the main reason why this is shorter. This movie is solid, but nothing really new. It’s kind of feeling like a super expensive, 2 hour-ish TV show now.

Don’t get me wrong. The stunts are great in this. You’ve all seen the plane scene from the trailers. Pretty nice. And there’s more, too. And they of course have to use their smarts to help them along the way. This is Mission Impossible, still fun, still possible.

I think the Mission Impossible 3 might be the favorite out of the ones I’ve seen. Which I think I’ve seen every one but the first movie. But this one is pretty great, too. Though I’m not sure how much of Rogue Nation I’ll remember.

Once Upon a Time

This season, more magic mumbo-jumbo, more feelgood tomfoolery, more fairy tales! Geeze, the season has been so long that I almost forgot it started out with the land of untold tales along with Jekyll and Hyde. That was a really cool part of the story, and so was the land of untold tales. But they revert back to Storybrooke soon enough. I wanted to spend more time in the other world. It was interesting and cool.

This season was quite a ride, actually. They had the savior storyline running throughout, but threats came and went every few episodes. There was a long-lasting one, of course, but it didn’t feel like it while watching the show. Still, less things were dropped this season, I think.

Overall, this show is fairy tale fun. There’s a magical solution to everything, and the good guys are usually too dumb or reactionary to win without pulling some kind of magic out. I just kind of want Emma and the others to be smarter. Stop trusting Gold! Check up on him if you ask him to do stuff! If you hold something important in your hand, stop people from magicking it away! Or magic it back from them.

Geeze.

Still, I watch this show for the magic and for the fun family bonding. Regina is still great. And I really like Zelena, now, too. I enjoy the hopeful tone of the story, and how most people will be good. Seeing Regina and Zelena happy just makes me happy.

Emma and her family are also still fun to watch. Overall, this season is about the same as the previous ones. Though it does tout as having the final battle. I didn’t watch from the beginning, so I don’t know about the entire Savior lore, but apparently, the savior is only around when a great evil is? And that evil is not the Dark One since the Dark One seems to be from another thing entirely.

Well, it’s all in good fun. The writing isn’t fantastically smart, but it is hopeful and full of goodness. People will be saved by magic, but the good guys will never plan for the bad guys just taking things by magic. And there is a next season, too. It’s making me curious based on all the news about the series.

Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D

My favorite comic book show. Even among non-comic book shows, this is still tops. This season, Ghost Rider! Robbie Reyes one. I do not know of this character. Still, they did Ghost Rider fantastically in the show. He’s an unstoppable force, especially once the Rider takes over.

There will be spoilers for the season throughout, though not much for the last few episodes.

It takes a while for Daisy to finally get over the Hive thing, but it’s great once she does. Shield also has a new director, Jeffrey Mace. I always thought the guy was alright. What this show does great is that it doesn’t make characters outright dislikable. Everyone has a point, and Jeffery Mace had some good points about Coulson’s team just doing what they want.

Radcliffe, too, despite him going off and betraying Shield, he is still very much their friend. It makes him a great character. He thinks what he’s doing is right, and he still likes all of the Shield agents despite them trying to stop him.

The show does long seasons really well. They divide up the season into several smaller arcs, three this time. But there still is a running thing that ties the season together. This one is the Darkhold. It starts and ends with it.

The best arc out of the bunch has got to the the Framework arc. Yeah, they have the standard if you die in the simulation you die in real life, but it’s what gives the arc the sense of danger. What’s best is the acting during the arc. Everyone is great, and seeing the world all topsy-turvy is just devious. It produces, perhaps, some of the best acting on the show.

Though the LMD arc was also fantastic. LMD stands for Life Model Decoy, which are basically robot replacements of people to help the real person stay safe. And AIDA, the main LMD, is fantastic. The actress, Mallory Jansen, does so well in this show. She plays so many different variations of AIDA and has so many subtle things doing on. She’s great.

The fight scenes in this show is still great, and so are the special effects. They know how to do what they want to do, and they don’t try to overreach. They show off the powers great.

What this show does so well is they set up expectations and then shatters them. Like during the LMD arc, LMD detected among a group of people coming in. Who’s the LMD? All of them. All of them are the LMDs. It happens a lot in the show. They don’t take the easy way out at all. Talking the enemy down rarely works. The agents struggle for each victory and each one is well deserved.

Yeah, season 5! Let’s go!

Riverdale

Riverdale, the once quiet little town. Alright, actually, I’m not sure how large the town is. It does have at least 2 high schools and a bad side of town. I have not read any of the Archie comics before, but I do know about the characters a bit. Archie and his ever triangle with Betty and Veronica. However, this show is not that relationship drama heavy. It’s a murdery mystery!

Riverdale is a more gritty take on the town of Riverdale, and everything kicks off with the death of Jason Blossom, son of one of the town’s most prominent families. As this show is based around a mystery, I’ll probably have a longer spoiler section than regular section. So let’s do this.

To start with, these main characters are all gorgeous. Whoa. Archie, Betty, Veronica, Jughead and Cheryl are all styling. And the characters they’re playing are only supposed to be fifteen to seventeen-ish. Yet the show wants to show off the bodies of the actors, who are all at least 20 (I think). Beyond their looks, the acting is all really good, too. It just that their mood sometimes shift too fast between scenes, but that’s more on the writing than the actors. Each of the actors can pull off really great emotions, sadness, anger, joy, CoverGirl.

The town has a great look and feel to it. The lighting in the scenes are great. It has an old-feeling kind of glow that really works. I think the town of Riverdale really adds to the story they’re trying to tell, which makes sense as the name of the show is named after the town and not anything else.

I will admit watching the show as it comes out is not a high priority for me, but I did enjoy the craziness that’s happening in Riverdale. It creates a great atmosphere with the characters, even the side characters. There’s the feeling that everyone is hiding something. Except Fred Andrews. Maybe even Fred Andrews. Who knows?

But I do want to continue watching the show. It’s a fun show.

Spoiler section!

So, I will further split up this section into pre mystery reveal and post mystery reveal.

This show is shot in a way that makes it seem everyone is guilty. It’s just the lingering shots on peoples faces watching stuff. And pretty much all of the parents have something to hide, especially the Blossoms and the Coopers. Even Hermione Lodge (Veronica’s mother) isn’t as decent of a person as she first appears. The only really good parent in the show is Fred Andrews (father of Archie). He’s the one that wants what’s best for his kid in a way where they work together.

Though I will say FP Jones (Jughead’s father) really grew on me over the season. I will say that feels like the second-most qualified to be a parent. And that’s saying something since he’s in a gang and is too drunk to hold a steady job. I mean, he’s still probably not, but he feels that way.

The Blossom family is done really well as a sort of power family. They do what they want all while being creepy. Every last one of them. Cheryl, in particular, just swings between being friendly and being one step away from crazy. And the season might push her  too far.

You know what I find sort of hilarious? Jason Blossom, the guy that dies in the first episode and kicks everything off, is in pretty much all of the episodes. He’s not credited as a regular, but he could be. He’s in there all the time. His scenes are short and always sort of creepy. I like how he never says a word. It makes him seem really like a memory.

Josie and the Pussycats are in this show, too. They aren’t too important to the overall plot, but there are some nice scenes with them, or rather, two of them. The pussycat that’s not Valerie has no importance at all other than being a band member. It would be nice if she gets some spotlight in the second season.

Alrighty, time for the post mystery reveal spoilers.

Actually, I’ll only talk about the last scene for a bit. The one that sets up season 2. You can see the season for yourself for the mystery of who killed Jason Blossom.

Fred Andrews was shot! And Jughead thinks it’s not an accident. Now I don’t think Fred Andrews will die because that means Archie will be sent to Chicago to live with his mother. Unless his mother comes back and lives in Riverdale. But who shot him if it wasn’t random?

The two obvious choices are the Lodges, either Hermione or Hiram. The other choice, though less likely, are the South Side Serpents, the gang in town. Fred and the Serpents aren’t exactly enemies, but who knows. Fred might have some stuff going on, too, instead of being the good parent. And the two of them have dealings with each other. The Serpents worked for him before Hermione fired all of them, after all.

Hermione is a candidate because she wants Fred out of their business partnership. Hiram, who has not been in the show yet, is also a possibility. Hiram has just been set up wonderfully. You never see him, but his presence is felt a lot around the Lodge household. And he’s finally coming home for season 2. He’s going to be really interesting to see since he does not like Fred Andrews, and probably won’t like Archie dating his daughter.

My out of left field choice is Archie’s mom. She wants to show Archie how dangerous Riverdale is. This way, she both shows him the danger and makes it difficult for him to stay as he has no one taking care of him there.

Time for more Riverdale, and a recast Reggie, and CoverGirl!

Guardians of the Galaxy Volume 2

They’re back, the Guardians of the Galaxy! This movie is more colorful, more bombastic, and more fun than the first one. It’s also funnier, perhaps too much so. The humor cuts into the serious scenes sometimes, but the movie is still a great space romp within the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

The main characters are all still great. Gamora is the exasperated one. Drax, having moved on from the pain of his family’s death, is now the big fun one. Rocket is the technical guy and still kind of a jerk. Groot is the cute one. And Peter is their leader that they only listen to when they feel like it.

They also have Mantis, an empath that’s innocent and has some great funny scenes with the rest of the cast. While she doesn’t fight, she’s probably pretty tough. As seen from the trailer scene, a piece of metal only knocks her out. And she has great landing skills. I really like her addition to the movie and want to see how she works moving forwards with the rest of the team.

Each of the guardians has a nice arc over the course of the movie, except maybe Drax. Not to say Drax is unimportant in the film, but he is more about his interaction with other character rather than changing himself. I’ll go more into their individual stuff in the spoiler section.

I enjoyed the main badguy for the film. There are multiple factions once again, and the movie balances them all well. None of them are unimportant. They all get the right amount of screen time and development. I’ll also get into that more later.

The movie still has great old music to go with the scenes. The humor is cranked up from the first film. Sometimes, I think it’s too funny when they should strive for a more serious tone, but I still liked all of the jokes. Baby Groot is adorable. I mean, I want one. I’m like the Collector.

The visuals are great in this film. Like the first shot of Nowhere, there’s a great, fantastical world in this one. It’s gorgeous and kind of off-putting at the same time. Really grand. We get to see more of the Ravagers, too. They are a lot larger than I first thought. But I’m glad to see more of them.

Guadians of the Galaxy 2 is another fun space film. It has no immediate connection with the rest of the MCU, but it works great on its own.

Now for some spoilers.

I liked Gamora and Nebula becoming sort of sisterly again. It should make for an interesting reunion with Thanos later on. And Drax is still a great character. He has no personal plot this time around, but his interactions with Mantis are adorable. And I really like his and Baby Groot’s stuff, too. Still, I think Drax didn’t even fight anyone past the first ten minutes. He spent the rest of the movie being the fun guy. Rocket and Yondu were great. They work really well together.

In fact, Yondu perhaps had the best personal plot out of all the characters and one of the best jokes. Also, Yondu’s arrow is shown to be really overpowered. I mean wow, that arrow scene. They’re pulling off a X-Men Quicksilver scene with that showing how powerful the arrow is.

The Sovereign are the bad guys for the film, and I really like to be annoyed by them. While they act high and might, what I really enjoyed was how they take loss. They behave like people that never lose. Anything goes wrong and out comes a tantrum. It’s really works within the movie and plays with the high and mighty people type.

And finally, Ego, Peter’s father. He’s quite a character that I’ll leave you to discover for yourself. He’s starts of cool and really gets going as the movie progresses.

And go other team!

Jem and the Holograms, 2015 Film

So, this is quite late. I’ve heard things about this film. I finally decided to go watch it. First up, my experience with Jem and the Holograms, not much. I’ve watched a few episodes of the cartoon back in the day, but not much. I pretty much remember nothing about them other than that they are a band. So I will be going into this movie knowing pretty much nothing about them.

There will be spoilers throughout this. If you haven’t seen this yet? Eh. I doubt you will.

While this film has things I like, such as fluffy, slice of life style stories, it’s way too fluffy. I’ll get to that a bit later. Let’s start with the characters. The band consists of Jem, Kimber (younger sister), Aja and Shana. They were alright. Nothing particularly bad. Aja had some fun moments. Shana was kinda there. And both of them didn’t really help much through the movie at all.

Kimber had some more moments, especially talking with Jem, but she is seriously shafted when it comes to bonding with her father. I mean, she was born and not a baby, yet their father hardly mentions her. It’s always Jem being super awesome and filled with potential. As for Jem, she feels kinda generic for the most part.

The supporting cast is fine. Nothing spectacular, or really memorable. This really has more to do with the movie than any of the actors, though.

So what is off about Jem? Nothing is really earned. There’s no real emotional depth. This is a really fluffy movie. I’ve felt more emotion watching DCOMs. For those that don’t know, that’s Disney Channel Original Movies. They aren’t the fantastic films Disney puts out in theaters. They are those straight to video type things that are made on the cheap. Yet those movies have better character growth and emotions than Jem!

Jem has one music video put on the internet, and yet somehow that gets her a record deal. Of course, the record label girl is sleezy and just wants manufactured pop stars. I always find it really ironic when the movie industry rails on manufactured stuff. It’s just awkward.

Along the way, Jem has some adventure to fix Synergy, the robot her father made before he passed away.

And the entire action part of the movie, the heist, is ridiculous. Jem needs to break into Starlight Records to get her earrings back that the record label lady took. First off, the record label lady took them for no reason. They weren’t known to be valuable at all, yet they are apparently stored in the super secret safe. This still does not necessitate a heist! Jem is one of Starlight Record’s artist. She is with the son of the owner! Just walk in during daytime and ask for it.

In the end the quest to fix Synergy was just for some home movies. Nice, but not shattering. This movie just sort of goes along doing the easiest things and never really challenging the characters. Even the friendship breakup of the band lasted for all of 5 minutes.

And the movie tries to make itself seem far too grandiose with all those inspiring messages from fan videos or something. It’s not, by far, unfortunately.

And at the end, they showed a potential for a cool movie with the introduction of the Misfits! Too bad that’s not going to happen now. The songs were alright.

The Expanse, Season 2

The Expanse, in the first season, was the most science fiction show I’ve seen in a long time. It had everything I wanted out of a sci-fi show. Space, a new way people live, different factions, new and interesting technologies, and something mysterious. But I felt season 1 meandered a bit. I know why, now. It’s the weird reason (perhaps budget) that they do not adapt one book per season. Season one was only part of book one, meaning it did had no overall resolution to anything.

Season 2 finishes up book one, but it still has a similar problem. It starts but does not finish book 2. That leaves the end of the season feeling like how the first one ended. In a sort of why is anything happening sort of phase.

But as a whole, I liked season 2 much more. I think it’s because I get the world, er, solar system now. I get who’s who and how they relate to everyone else. In season 1, I was sort of trying to keep up the entire time, but now I know the characters and get their motivations.

The first few episodes of season 2 were also fantastic. That’s because they are the final parts of book 1, and thus the more exciting parts. Then it ramps down a bit as book 2 starts, but I’m really enjoying it, too.

Bobbie Draper, a new character, is pretty fun to see. She starts out pretty tough and belligerent, but I’m liking her later characterization more. It’s fun but people still know not to mess with her. She is a Martian Marine, after all.

The crew of the Rocinante has an actual purpose now rather than just drifting around trying to survive. A goal gives them some they really needed, a point to being shown. I’ll get into them more in the spoiler section. I will say that Amos was great in the first season, and he’s great here. There’s just something about the way he’s played that makes him the most intimidating guy in the room at all times. And Alex has turned into the fun guy of the group. It makes his scenes great to watch.

As for The Expanse, it has some of the most gorgeous scenes in any TV show I’ve seen. Every time I see the full opening, I get the feels. And there are several wonderfully sci-fi scenes in this season. I’ll also get into that more in the spoiler section, too.

But once again, The Expanse is a wonderful sci-fi show that can’t be matched if you want a fully-realized and complicated world. Earth, Mars, and The Belt each have things they want from each other, and some people will do anything to get it. And with the revelation from the end of the first season, things are about to get much more complicated.

Alrighty, time for spoiler thoughts.

The crew of the Rocinante, Jim, Alex, Amos, and Naomi, now has the goal of getting rid of the protomolecule from the solar system. It does get a bit single-minded to a frustrating degree, especially with Jim. The others are just going along because he’s the captain, and he’s really going to far. The new (probably temporary) addition of Prax is a good one to mix up the crew a bit.

And finally in season 2, I understand what Chrisjen is doing. I really had little ideas during season 1.

This season really brings up some wonderfully amazing shots from Eros, to the final episode of the season. The final episode, in particular, has 2. I’ll admit I did not expect that to happen to the research ship, and it looked amazing. There are lots more during the course of the season, to. They aren’t as grand, but they’re low-key amazing.

The Expanse is a science fiction show that’s well worth a watch. Go get to it.