Orange Review (2016)

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Contains spoilers.

Orange is a high school/romance story of both happiness and sadness, moments make you want to both weep and smile. The narrative centres on Neho and her love interest Kakeru. But they are just one element of a beautiful and intricate story, the narrative is told mostly from Neho’s school years with occasional flashbacks from her future self. She communicates with the high school version of herself via letters. Although Neho seems content with her current life, she and the rest of her friends all hold regrets, wishing they had done more for their dear friend Kakeru who sadly is no longer with them.

Orange is bittersweet, so many moments can bring both a smile and a tear, I had my doubts when I decided to watch this series, usually romance drama’s are something I steer away from but it surprisingly handles some very sensitive subjects such as depression, anxiety and loneliness, the characters are all relatable, so many of us would be able to see ourselves in them and that’s what makes Orange so special.

The most important aspect of the show has to be the tight nit friendship of all the characters, how they love and support one another and their desperation to save Kakeru. The show captures issues such as depression in a rather realistic way and handles the subject with care, it doesn’t show that there is some magic way to cure depression, instead it focuses on how important support from others can be, how they act as a safety net and more importantly the show teaches us how to try and be better to those that we love and be there for them in times of need.

Another important character who deserves a mention would be Suwa, his love for Neho is clear but no matter what, he will do whatever it takes to make her happy, even though it may mean that he has to give up his potential future with Neho and their son. Not only this but he also cares for their mutual friend Kakeru and wants to rectify mistakes of the past. Surprisingly rectifying mistakes, even when you know what the right thing is to do, isn’t that easy, everything is better with hindsight and no matter what, everyone makes mistakes sometimes, we’re only human after all.

unfortunately the latter half of the series does get bogged down with trying to explain how the letters are transported to the past. The whole idea is rather far-fetched and trying to make sense of the whole situation seemed unnecessary. But luckily the show manages to pick up in the final episodes and manages to end on a high note with the final episode.

Orange is a series which stands out for me and I’d even be tempted to call one of my favorites, it made me laugh, cry, smile and contemplate. Yes, there are moments where the pace slows down and it perhaps has a couple more episodes than required but it beautifully captures moments of hardship, life and most importantly friendship. All the characters were enjoyable and they all felt like they had purpose. My main issue certainly has to be that the ending seemed to be missing something, the future versions of themselves, can they ever be content, happy? And what about this new time line, how do these characters turn out now that they have altered history? Maybe in some ways it’s better not to know, but it does seem like something is left unsaid.

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True Detective Season One Review (2014).

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This post will contain spoilers.

Air Date: 12/01/14
Writer:
Nic Pizzolatto
Director:
Cary Fukunaga
cast:
Matthew McConaughey, Woody Harrelson, Michelle Monaghan

True Detective deserves every bit of praise it’s ever received, it’s stylish, poetic and an absolute pleasure to watch from start to finish, the only bad part? That it’s only eight episodes long.

Season one of True Detective follows the lives of Rustin Chole (Matthew McConaughey) a smart profiler and Marty Hart (Woody Harrelson) an old style cop; we’re shown their story over the course of a 17 year period, making use of flashbacks to cover this large timescale. Originally the pair were brought together to work on a high profile case which appeared to have occult underpinnings, their lives become intertwined as they attempt to uncover the culprit in the hot murky swamps of Louisiana which seems to get more complicated as the season continues.

As the season progresses the case becomes complicated, Rust believes it goes higher than they first imagined, possibly involving law enforcement and elite members of society. He eventually convinces his partner but nobody else is keen to agree, Rust later uncovers evidence that links a well-known and prominent family to cult murders which have been happening during this 17 year period; the Tuttles, but catching them is the hard part.

True Detective is a mini-series (also called an anthology), each is eight episodes long; seasons will move onto different detectives (season two is currently airing and stars Vince Vaughn, Colin Farrell and Rachel McAdams). The episodes are approximately one hour long, all written by nic Pizzolatto and directed by Cary Joji Fukunaga. Everyone involved seem to have a clear creative goal and it makes for a beautifully crafted series. Everything about this season fits perfectly, the style, the setting, the opening credits and the music all come together so well to craft this intriguing crime thriller which will have you on the end of your seat until the very last minutes.

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Out of the two leads, McConaughy’s Cohle is certainly the more intriguing of the two lead characters, which is due partly of course to the writing of Nic Pizzolatto, as he created such a unique and layered character, Cohle is opinionated and has strange ideas about the world we live in, but, in some ways, he speaks the truth; this goes completely against the grain in this Louisiana setting, especially with his partner; Marty Hart. Cohle has a troubled past and a dark persona; which he himself is well aware of and practically revels in, but he’s not alone; his partner, Hart is also battling his own demons which is starting to take its toll on himself and those around him: mainly, his family.

True detective is slow paced, nothing is rushed, everyone gets their fair share of screen time, Pizzolatto has given the characters room to breathe, we spend enough time with them to almost feel as if we know them. Sometimes Cohle does seem rather ‘out there’ statements such as “I don’t sleep, I just dream” or his remarks on how an area scattered with broken down buildings reminds him of someone’s a faded memory. Harrelson’s Hart manages to bring the tone back down to earth, they’re well suited and the acting from both is phenomenal; they manage to bounce off one another well which in turn adds some much needed laughter into an otherwise serious programme, Harrelson and McConaughey real life friendship certainly helped on this part as they work together magnificently.

In some ways what we’re seeing is nothing new to the other cop shows on TV; what makes it stand out from the crowd is the acting of both Harrelson and McConnaughy alongside a terrific script paired with some beautiful direction by Fukunaga. All this combined makes season one of True Detective one to remember which also begs for multiple viewings.

5/5

Hannibal S02E03 ‘Hassun’ Recap

 

This season seems to be opening it’s episodes to ever increasing disturbing sequences, this episode we begin by witnessing Will sentencing himself to death via electric chair by pulling the lever himself. Creepy. This is understandably on his mind, he knows the stakes, the trial is the difference between life and death.

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This episodes main focus isn’t so much on the trial; its centre point is actually and more importantly that of Will and how the trial is affecting those around him and their perception at this current moment. Some characters attitude hasn’t changed in the slightest. Freddy Lounds is still as unpleasant as ever and will say anything to get her story. Then there’s Dr Chilton, now making up a diagnosis which in actual fact is just a description of his own self-proclaimed vanity.

There are more important character developments however, Will’s lawyer questions Alana Bloom while forcing them to sit across from one another. They talk about him as if he’s not even there and you genuinely feel sorry for him especially with his puppy dog eyes as Alana heartlessly states that she only has a “professional curiosity” in Will.

While Alana pretends that she had no feelings for Will, Jack on the other hand can’t shake the loss of his friend, he even goes as far as to defend Will on the stand which in turn puts him in the way of fire and possible dismissal from his position. He doesn’t know what to believe, especially when another murder has taken place, almost exactly the same as the past murders – Could this be Wills get out of jail free card? Jack certainly wants to believe it. But the short answer is unfortunately no, it’s not.

Hannibal shows the forensic report from the recent murder to Will, although he knows for a fact that this is a different killer due to the fact that the victim had been killed by a gun rather than mutilation like all the rest before. Will still decides to change his defence mid trial even though he himself knew that this was not even the same killer. This defence soon backfires and crumbles away, which is not good news for Will.

Just when you thought it was over, it’s not, the judge is killed just in time, who knew that was going to happen. It’s showy, horrific and slightly disturbing but that’s what this TV show is all about. So now Will has been given a second chance, although if it was to carry on like this there won’t be any judges left.

 

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The episode ends on a pleasanter moment between Will and Alana where she explains that she wants to save him. They also have the first real connection in this series as they hold each other’s hand. which was a nice touch as we knew there was more than “professional curiosity” between the two of them – more interestingly though it is actually Will who is reaching out for Alana.

Hannibal S02E02 ‘Sakizuke’ Recap

Hannibal is now airing in the UK Tuesdays 10pm on Sky Living.

 

The second episode begins just where the first left us, we see the serial killers newest victim ripping himself from the mural. The opening was one of the most horrific scenes from the series so far, it was quite hard to actually watch. You really do feel as if Roland will in fact manage to escape, but those hopes are soon dashed as he hits the rocks below the cliff edge he ends up having to dive off.

Will is sat talking to both Hannibal and Alana behind bars – seems more like a cage quite frankly. He openly breaks down in front of them, confessing that he needs their support, practically on the verge of tears. We soon realise once Will is alone that it was in fact simply a show that he wanted Hannibal to witness. He is clearly more composed in the sanctuary of his own mind, ready to play his own games with Hannibal.

Will understands how much Hannibal desires him as a friend, he realises that he can use this to his own advantage and exploit the situation, utilising it for his own needs but now it seems more like a waiting game for them both.

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Bedelia Du Maurier arrives at Hannibals office, this visit is to inform him she no longer wishes to be his psychiatrist as she has “begun to question” his actions. This scene shows to some degree that she is intimidated by Hannibal Lector, this is portrayed visually with the low close up camera shots of him slowly walking towards her as she keeps trying to back away creating some real tension.

A scene which I personally found quite amusing is that of Hannibal taking the place of Will at the autopsy, he manages to get in the way and look generally out of place as everyone else in the room is trying to get on with their job.

Beverly Katz mentions the idea of the “colour palette” this instantly grabs Lectors attention stating that it’s “as if Will Graham himself were in the room”. He now knows that she is taking advice from Will, this is attention she doesn’t want and could mean that her character isn’t going to have such a happy future. Jack also isn’t happy about the fact she’s been doing this behind his back, but does actually let this continue as he clearly still trusts Wills instinct.

Later in the episode Hannibal goes to discover the mural killer, but for what purpose? He actually helps him finish it – if you can actually call it help. He sews him into his own mural. Once Jack and Co come and find the mural, pictures are then shown to Will in his cell. Hannibal watches him closely waiting for him to put the pieces together, which obviously, he does.

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Du Maurier appears again in this episode to reveal to Will that she believes him; she tries to console him by saying that he will survive what has happened. Finally! This at least, gives Will some hope for the future. Especially after being told that he’s not actually on trial to discover if he’s guilty or not, only on whether he actually knew what he was doing. So he did need a little cheering up.

The trial is imminent and Will is still struggling to gain any support or evidence, will Hannibal even let him go down for these murders? Surely his desired friendship would require Will to actually be out of prison.

 

Leftovers

  • This episode had some real laugh out loud moments, one of my personal favorites being the scene in which Will asks Kade Purnell if he was still an employee of the F.B.I, the obvious answer being no.
  • I have to question why Hannibal took the whole leg of his victim; he made enough for four people and sat alone in his three piece suit in the dark. I don’t know why but even with all the other goings on I still found that odd and slightly amusing. Guess he really does need a friend.
  • “Hannibal has honestly done what he believes is best for you” oh yeah, right.
  • Hannibal clearly underestimated Bedelia Du Maurier as he expected her to be at home, but she’s a clever lady and luckily already high tailed it outta there. He put on his plastic murder suit for nothing.

Game of Thrones Season 4 Review Part 1

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So we’re now over half way through the season so I thought I’d take a look back at some of the past episodes. Soon we shall reach the end and be sat around itching for a new season to begin and there will be a big emptiness where Game of Thrones used reside, below are my thoughts on some of the episodes so far, this is also from a viewpoint of someone who has read up to and part way through a Dance of Dragons so obviously, beware of spoilers.

 

S04E01‘Two Swords’ 

We have been placed back in King’s Landing witnessing events before joffrey is to marry Margery Tyrell. Considering the way weddings are going at the moment it’s rather obvious this wasn’t going to go down too well.

Plenty of screen time has been allocated to the newly introduced character Oberyn Martell, and quite rightly so, he’s going to be an important piece in the game of thrones this season. We know about his troubled passed and his feelings and attitude towards House Lannister due to his sisters horrific death during the sack of Kings Landing, he reminds Tyrion of this during their tense scene together. It was interesting to finally have some important and significant back story of Westoros, reading the books you learn so much but it’s hard to fit all the information in these hour long episodes.

We are soon back with Deanerys who is sat with one of her dragons(Drogon), her two others appear with a meal, scrapping over the food, Drogon begins to feast on it himself.In her attempt to try and calm him, he soon turns on her. Although she is not harmed, there is a sense that she will inevitably lose control over her “children”.

Back at the wall Jon Snow is having to answer for his ‘crimes’, due to the events in the last season when he went over to the wildlings. Showcasing some of Kit Harrington’s best acting so far, as he defends himself against those accusing him and manages to stay alive by the grit of his teeth – and the backing of maester Amon.

Rory McCann (Sandor Cleagane) has been given some of the most hilarious moments and Maisie Williams (Arya Stark) adds to these perfectly. One of the most satisfying events to happen in this episode was seeing Arya finally getting her revenge and striking a name from her list. This moment feels like it has been a long time coming, the killing of Polliver was intimate and more importantly she had no problem watching him die at her own hand, showing some interesting character development, albeit slightly disturbing.

 

S04E02 ‘The Lion and the Rose’

This episode is one of the important game changers of Season two, The purple wedding, this episode certainly didn’t disappoint, the major aspect of this episode, unsurprisingly was the marriage of joffrey baratheon to Margery Tyrell, and what a wedding it was.

The scenes were absolutely perfect, I watched this episode unfold intently, near the end I just waited in anticipation for what was about to happen practically on the edge of my seat.

Joffrey’s insulting dismissal of the band at the wedding gave an idea of how badly this situation would be turning out for him. And his barbaric depiction of the war of the five kings was tasteless and uncomfortable to watch, especially given the wedding guests lack of amusement or enjoyment. joffrey also makes a public mockery of his own uncle Tyrion – again. As if it wasn’t enough for him to have to watch the public humiliation like the rest of the guests, he is insulted further to join in on the act. And to top it all off, he requests that Tyrion be his cupbearer.

Joffrey’s death so early on in the season will more than likely have had people celebrating all over the world, yes, it was deserved but seeing him, begging for his mother to help could almost make you have some pity on him. But then again, he WAS a monster and at least Margery is saved the future misery of having to be married to him.

Tyrion unfortunately gets the blunt end here, he’s now been accused by Cersi for the murder of her malicious son. But I highly doubt Tyrion would have been stood there red handed if he had actually done the deed. Even so it looks like he’ll be in chains again for the foreseeable future.

Aswell as these gripping events we headed back to see what the rather deranged Ramsey Snow is currently up to, thankfully it’s no longer torturing Theon – I don’t know if I could have coped with that much longer. But let’s be honest, his situation is not improving rapidly. He’s even been given a new name, ‘Reek’ who is fully devoted to Ramsey due to his fear of him – not entirely surprising really, Ramsey isn’t the kind of person you want to be on the bad side of.

On a side note.

Bran is still travelling further north but I don’t feel that his screen time is showing much progress and I feel like Bran is used to just fill out the story

Jamie and Brienne still have some nice scenes together while in Kings Landing and she’s still trying to get Sansa Stark out of the Lannisters clutches.

Hannibal S02E01 ‘Kaiseki’ Review/Recap

Hannibal is now airing in the UK Tuesdays 10pm on Sky Living.

Hannibal season two has finally graced the scene in the UK and is kicking off to a flying start. The opening begins with some brutal hand to hand combat between Jack and Hannibal, the latter using some rather unconventional weapons including a pepper mill and a fridge door to gain the upper hand, the scene ends with Jacks life hanging in the balance, my guess is he’ll survive, I couldn’t imagine Bryan Fuller killing off such an important character (in relation to the books) but who knows!

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© NBC

This fight was spectacular; it really gives us an idea of how powerful Hannibal actually is.

Although Will is currently being held in the Baltimore State Hospital for the Criminally Insane he actually is in a better place he has more clarity, the fact that his brain is not “on fire” anymore is certainly helpful. Several times we see Will fishing in tranquillity, looking inside himself to figure out what actually happened to him and being in a mental institution is certainly giving him time to do so.

Alana Bloom feels that it is Jack Crawford’s fault that will’s life is ruined due to him pushing too hard, Bloom has filed a report with these accusations. Due to this report there will now be in internal investigation focusing on Jack. Bloom is one of the few who currently sticks by Will, yet she is still unwilling to believe that someone else could have committed these murders but wishes to help him establish a case for himself that it wasn’t truly his fault due to his mental state.

Hannibal goes to see Will (at Will’s request) who tells him “my inner voice sounds like you, I can’t get you out of my head” Hannibal tries to relate this to their “friendship” but Will quickly dismisses this as “the light from friendship won’t reach us for a million years” so they are certainly not friends in Wills opinion, and it’s understandable. Will promises that there “will be a reckoning” once he remembers what has been done to him.

Will Graham has now been “replaced” by Hannibal, he is now profiling on the new case which I found a little bit odd, I don’t see him as a Will Graham really but for now it I’ll go along with it. He talks about these circumstances with Bedelia Du Maurier stating “I got to be Will Graham today”, sounding a little bit too happy with the idea of stepping into his shoes.

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© NBC

Beverly Katz goes to see Will, this is not a social visit, she believes that he can help with a tricky case they are currently working on. He identifies the motive of the killer by quickly looking at the pictures of the victims, sorting them and labelling it a “colour Platte”. I like that Katz was chosen to go see Will, she clearly still appreciates and trusts his input to go to him even if she’s unsure how she feels seeing him.

Another important aspect of this episode is the flashback in which Will realised how Hannibal gruesomely force-fed him Abigail Hobbs ear. It was interesting to have some clarity on how the ear ended up where it did in season one, as it was one of the main pieces of evidence which originally landed Will where he currently is. At least he now remembers something, the only problem now is getting someone to believe him, no one seems eager to do that just yet.

The episode ends showing us the killer’s newest victim who has managed to survive an intended drug overdose and has woken up after being sewn into the “colour palette” as Will named it.

The weeks the follow should give us a better idea of Hannibal and what his “end game” could possibly be, although he’s a hard nut to crack and his motives are not always what they seem, but you can clearly see that he’s missing Will and his company and the ability to manipulate him. Although considering the circumstances I can’t imagine Will feeling the same. And there’s now a ticking clock, at the end of the season we shall understand fully the confrontation between Jack and Hannibal and how that situation managed to unfold.

 

Leftovers.

  •  The scene where Alana takes the dogs for a jog was nice to see.
  • When will they realise that Hannibal is just making jokes at their incapability to see what’s right in front of them? I.e. – “I never feel guilty eating anything” or “in that case you are dining with a psychopathic murderer”. Trololol.
  • Hannibal keeping his appointment slot open for will as if he’s going to walk through the door. Someone’s looking a bit lonely.
  • Winston going “home”, looking for Will.

 

Game of Thrones Season 3

So the third season of game of thrones is over and I’m feeling ever so slightly lost without it, nothing is quite comparing so here’s a couple of moments which I enjoyed from the season, (not ALL, I haven’t had enough time on my hands lately which has been unfortunate, I may update and add some more.) Oh and as usual spoilers.

The Red Wedding

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Let’s begin with getting one of the more obvious scenes out of the way, for me, the reaction Catelyn gives when she begins to hear the music play is rather chilling, we already know something bad is coming around the corner once this begins and that they have none else to protect them. And her determination to attempt (in vain) to save her son is truly heartwrenching.

Arya

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I found the moment when Arya slid from the horse on the road to go back a kill the man who was boasting over the events from “the red wedding” it was as if she felt like she was getting some kind of revenge and progressing as a character. And I when Sandor Clegane came to finish the other men you know he is doing what he can to protect her and I just think that their relationship is well put together and their scenes even before now still hold some amusing aspects.

Tywin and Joffrey

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The moment when Joffrey calls for his uncle, Tywin to come to his throne room has to be given a mention, this scene alone tells you that Tywin is the more powerful man and is unafraid to speak up (and down) to Joffery. We can even see his dominance when he is slowly pacing up the stairs to talk directly to the king, with a high camera angle being used, we get a sense that Tywin is much stronger,bolder and more important than Joffery who looks increasingly more uncomftable through this whole scene.

Brienne and Jamie

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I couldn’t decide on a single scene from this couple that I enjoyed the most – I found them all to be one of the most entertaining pair within the programme. I was surprised how Jamie could turn from a character who I had no real love for to one of my favourites in this season.

The main point in which my opinion of Jamie Lannister changed was the scene in which he opens up and describes how he gained the name “Kingslayer” as he finally seemed to open up about himself as if he was letting some sort of ‘mask’ slip away and reveal himself for himself for who he really is.

Ygritte

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The scene when she sees the windmill thinking that it must be a castle is entertaining, and shows exactly how much the wildlings know about what is south beyond the wall. This scene with Ygritte and Jon Snow really shows some natural chemistry between the two characters which would have been nice to see some more of, but Jon Snow still apparently “knows nothing”.