Friday, January 13, 2017

FRESH FROM THE THEATRE: Assassin's Creed

Let's be honest, movies based on games can't win with the public... I, however, went in with an open mind. Needless to say, this is my favorite game series of all time, so I was judgy, but I decided to leave out all of my worries and concerns before entering the cinema. Let's see what happened next:

Assassin's Creed

Cal Lynch gets a chance to live a new life without his past act following him, at the condition of helping scientists retrieve something they lost in the past. In order to do this, he is put in a machine which lets him enter the memory of his ancestors, in particular that of Aguilar, an assassin at the time of the Spanish Inquisition. Cal is reluctant to help these people, until he gives in just to be free, but only then does he realize that he is aiding the Templars, the very group Aguilar and all of his ancestors before swore to defeat. After having reclaimed his memory and his knowledge of the Creed of the Assassin's he and others take up the hood again to fight against the Templars.

I f*cking loved this movie. Don't listen to anyone, go and see it! Every single movie adaptation of a computer game is either a complete remake of the game - except you can't play it -, or it comes up with a shitty background story for one character that has little to nothing to do with the original. Now, this movie is NOT like that. The movie builds up what you as a player already know, but with a different character, with someone you spend time with and you begin to care about them. One of the main reasons player don't really care for Desmond, the character you play with in contemporary times, is that you never get to know him. He is deceived by the Templars and then is saved and he is used, now by the good guys, to do the same as he would've for the Templars. He does have his father present but it is very limited and sometimes annoying compared to the magical world that opens up once you enter into the animus.
Going into the present was a nuisance when playing the games, but it isn't in the movie. The story progresses both in the past and the present and because they introduced the character in much more detail you do have a genuine interest toward knowing what will happen to him. Or at least I did. And then there are the women.In the past we have someone who is fierce, a badass assassin who clearly has an emotional relationship with Aguilar, but they never kiss, never profess their love, it is simply in their eyes and it was done beautifully. The other women is of course the enemy.
Sofia is a scientist working with the Templars, but her motivations are unclear. She does not seem to care about the war between Assassins and Templars, she too is deceived in a way, as her work was used to aid a war and not for good. On some levels she new, because she new her father and the kind of men she worked for, however, when her father used Cal's hatred of his own father to get him to cooperate, her feelings changed. Not just that, but through animus she was able to see other assassins and among them she recognized one who seemed to be her ancestor. It is unclear how that is possible, but I am guessing she was adopted or stolen by the Templars at a young age.
This movie was the first step. I think there is so much more that can be done now that they opened the universe! I did not care about the fact that most of the scenes were in the present, because you need people to get involved. The action scenes were simply brilliant and when yo understand how the use the animus... oh boy!!! Using this machine is very dangerous and you need to set that up! Even in the series there is just a separate game that left the main character stranded in the animus with no way out at first look! You might be upset that some characters point out moves that are well known in the game, like the leap of faith, but I wasn't because it was set up properly! There is a difference between forcing onto the viewer that "you could do this by pressing R2 and X", or if you have a background as to why such move is important.
In the movie Cal disconnected from the virtual reality when he failed the move at the first try. This is important! He could die! If something is set up properly it does not feel forced! Not to mention that when the characters are in the past? Oh my god... the costumes and the colors and the fight scenes! I found myself squealing with joy during the fight scenes! And you know what? They were in Spain. They portray native Spanish men and they spoke in Spanish in every single scene that was played in the past! It is simply genius! You know how much easier it is to do it in English, and pretend that of course they were speaking that other language, blah-blah. But no. Not here. They portrayed men whose mother-tongue was Spanish and they stuck with that. Done beautifully.

I really don't think people gave this movie a chance. It was postponed for years because they wanted a good script and guess what, they got it! It was made with great actors and they set up this world all over again leaving place for new stories and new ways to relive the past. I personally am dying to see what a new encounter between Sofia and Cal would look like. The game itself presented a universe that is not finished. There are hundreds of assassins with hundreds of descendants. This was the story of one of them and in my humble opinion it was done magnificently!

Go see it for yourself!

Until the next item on my list!
_ _ _ _ _ 

Cal Lynch/Aguilar - Michael Fassbender
Rikkin - Jeremy Irons
Maria - Ariane Labed 
Ellen Kaye - Charlotte Rampling
Joseph Lynch - Brendan Gleeson
McGowen - Denis Ménochet

Monday, January 2, 2017

20 TV Shows I Wish Had One More Season

First of all, I am sorry for skipping the last review of the year, but after the celebrity deaths, people I really cared for, I just couldn't bring myself to writing a witty review about some movie. However, I decided that I will gather my strength and remember them with a smile. So, instead of a movie review we are starting this year with a list, thank you for reading! Have a great 2017!

_ _ _ _ _ _ 

I have read three hundred lists on TV shows that should have "never" ended and I thought to myself... isn't that a bit too much?... like think of The Simpsons, do you still watch it? If no, why not? Is it because it has different writers or it was stretched out too far long, what is the reason? Because if it happened to that show, it will happen to other shows you love too. That is why I just wish some shows had 1 more season. Maybe to give closure to the story, or just so I can get used to the idea of it not being on air anymore, or simply because I find that they were cut too soon (probably due to bad scheduling!). Many of these I simply just miss. This is my list:

20) Firefly

I put this here not because of the main story arc, which was given an ending to in the movie, but because I miss the atmosphere. I very much enjoyed their adventures and there was less unnecessary deaths than the movie... I would like to see what they are up to now! [The show's Shepherd Book, Ron Glass, passed away recently, may he rest in peace!]

19) Young Justice

This show was so awesome that people managed to get it another season, however, when I compiled this list I put it onto it and I wanted to leave it because the fact that three years later there will be a third season is a testament to the awesomeness of the show. The fans did not give up. This right here was DC comics coming to life for me and the reason I adore DC characters in the first place. I can't wait to rewatch it before the third season.

18) Vanished

This show was going somewhere and it was cut short and it bothered me so much I can't tell you... The wife of a senator goes missing and it turns out that she is not who she really was. It seems, however, that many around the senator, including the senator, had reason to have her disappear. The show had 13 episodes and I think there was a significant change in writers as the second half was a bit different and maybe that was the reason why it didn't get renewed. Nonetheless, I was always mad I never got to find out what the mystery was and the show had some great actors in it, many of whom I still look for today!

17) Perfect Couples

It was a fun sitcom with adorable characters and it portrayed three kind of couples that I do believe exist in real life too. It was far better than many others that survived and I think there was potential for more. Would be nice to have another 10 episode season. If you don't know it, check it out, most of the actors you will know from other places, thankfully ;)

16) Flight of the Conchords

The two writers, creators - Jemaine Clement and Bret McKenzie - admitted that they wanted the show to end because it was hard for them to keep on writing new and quality material. Still, I adored this show. And well, I don't think that another season can't be made if they are taking time in between to write songs that they are proud of. I would be into it very much!

15) John Doe

Another one of those shows that had a mystery element to it which we never got to discover and I feel that they knew a cancellation was coming as they tried to quickly wrap things up, which left just a lot of holes. The main character woke up on an island not knowing who he is but with the knowledge of everything else, from any field of science to practical knowledge. He helps the police with their investigations and of course they are reluctant at first but with time grow fond of him and try to help him. I would've loved to see what the writers had in mind when they came up with the show and well I very much fell in love with Dominic Purcell.

14) Scoundrels

I haven't enjoyed a show as much as I did this one for years. A totally dysfunctional family that has a hard time admitting that they are useless without their father, currently in jail, have to now rely on their mother. Slowly their mom gets them together and against all odds manages to get the family on a straight path. The cop who arrested the father keeps showing up and the mom's feelings start to change over the months while her husband is away. The show stopped on a cliffhanger, with the mother starting something with the cop, while her husband gets back home and I just really want to know what the writers had in mind... Check it out if you haven't seen it!

13) Moonlight

This poor show had the misfortune of coming out one year before people went insane for vampires... I think it would have survived longer, with a vampire private investigator and all. It only had a couple of episodes that were just as good as any investigative show out there. I'm super happy Alex O'Loughlin is in Hawaii Five-O which is one of my favorites, still, would have liked more Moonlight.

12) Bunheads

Never watched Gilmore Girls and I don't care much for it either... I do think, however, that the creator had a great show on her hands with this one and I was sorry it was canceled. Especially because it did not seem like it was going to be axed and I think a lot of people were shocked. The story was original, funny, the characters were unique and lovable and some of the lines were dead serious. They had some of the best monologues and dialogues I ever had the fortune to hear. It is a shame it doesn't have more season!

11) The IT Crowd

I mean... who doesn't want one more season of this? It was probably one of the best comedies out there! And yes, four seasons, but they are all just six episodes each... I miss Roy and Moss and Jane!! And well... Richmond :D I need more Richmond in my life!

10) Dallas

This was one of the few re-booths that was successful, in my humble opinion, and I do think it would have worked better as a Netflix series because I enjoyed binge watching it. It was on the wrong channel, I think, but it was a wonderful cast that paid homage to the original without going overboard with it. The stories were fun, the twists got me every single time and the arc that each season followed showcased how good the writers were. I would've liked for it to have a conclusion.

9) The Tudors

I am super pissed at this show, because it had 5 seasons and in the beginning it seemed that each wife of Henry the VIII would get a separate season, and that is not how it went down and it legitimately upset me... This was one of my favorite shows, even if historically elements of it are debatable (as they always are), it had an accuracy to detail and the accents of people and the acting ... it was sublime. I am sad that they did not stretch it into one more season, that is all.

8) Third Watch

With six seasons and a moving conclusion you could assume that this show has no place on this list, but as I emphasized in the beginning, these are not necessarily shows that got axed, but those that I would love to watch still. Thankfully, with Chicago Fire-PD-Med and upcoming Justice I got back some of that magic that made me love this show so much, but Chicago is not New York!

7) The Borgias

From a historical point of view this show was one season away from its finish and I was really mad that they canceled it... It is hard to believe that with such casting it had so terrible ratings that a last, finishing season was not possible... Of course, at least we can look up history books, which is a great help, opposed to those fantasy and sci-fi shows that will never have an ending, still, I would have liked it to be concluded.

6) Happy Endings

It is quite unclear to me why a show with 7,7 rating on imdb got canceled, and it was also infuriating because I know several hundreds of other shitty sitcoms that have lived on despite not being funny at all... they had a great cast with wonderful jokes and I found myself waiting for new episodes because the writing just kept getting better and better... it is a shame it got canceled!

5) Cold Case

This was one of my favorite investigative shows of all time. I loved the detectives, their stories and there was something humane about each case... you know most current shows usually have serial killers and people who just go nuts on corpses and it is gross, literally disgusting sometimes. Here, jealousy, money and love, those are the main motivators and sometimes the deaths are caused by accidents. Of course, there were a couple of special cases, but otherwise they were pretty straight forward. The actors were great, the chemistry worked, it had seven seasons but I have been looking for something similar since and haven't found anything like it. I would sure love it if there were just a few more episodes.

4) Pan Am

Up to today I cannot understand why this show was canceled... I love period pieces. Great cast, great stories, it was unique and inventive and showcased a period when finally women could stand up and show that they don't need a man to live a full life. I think this show could have gone places, it certainly wasn't enough for me!

3) Political Animals

Sigourney Weaver... I mean... how could I ever get tired of watching Sigourney Weaver? This show brought together the politics of The West Wing and the excitement that was All The President's Men (1976), the movie by Alan J. Pakula. Wonderful cast with an intriguing story that was just about to get even more interesting and it was one of those few shows that got me glued to screen from the first to the last second... Boy, I wish it would've continued! Six episodes were not nearly enough to satisfy me!

2) A Gifted Man

This was probably one of my favorite medical shows. The reason for that was the casting of course, but I think it had a good concept - testament to that is that a similar show, Saving Hope, managed to survive five seasons -, while this, airing in the Friday night death slot to begin with got axed. In it the main character sees the ghost of his deceased wife and she advises him to help out in a clinic instead of working in private practice. The main character slowly comes around to it as he learns that helping those in need is a lot more important than getting a pay check. I will forever be mad about the fact that they put it on on Friday... such a shame!

1) The Whole Truth

This was beyond comparison the best legal show I have ever seen in my life. I don't want it to end so badly that I still have 3 episodes of its 14 episode run that I haven't seen. I just... goddammit! You had two lawyers and in the first half they showed the defence and in the second half the prosecution setting up their case and at the end of the episode they showed us if the given person was indeed the culprit or not, without the lawyers knowing. And that is what was different than any other show, the lawyer's job is not to stand on the right side but to defend their client. It can be super hard sometimes because you too might not believe you should defend your client, but that is the job ultimately. I love Maura Tierney and I love Rob Morrow and this show was exceptional. I will never get over the fact that it was cancelled. I just won't!

And what were your favorites that got axed? Let me know in the comments below!

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

I Don't Wanna Be Writing This

As everyone mourns their Princess, I mourn the writer, the brain and the brilliant person who people knew as Carrie Fisher. She was, to me, a very special person. I had a super hard time writing this entry because I am still not over having lost George Michael. This was just as bad as when Rickman followed Bowie this January.


Every time someone dared to attack her because of who she was in the past I got so pissed... because the slave outfit isn't who she was. She struggled with drugs because she had too much pressure put onto her, and I understand that. Have you seen Disney channel actors? People who are exposed to fame at a young age can come up with depression and substance abuse. And she never hid that she made mistakes, she never pretended that her past cannot be looked up by anyone. She never pretended to be a role model, but owning up to one's mistakes is tough. And that was not the only thing of course, Fisher was diagnosed with bipolar disorder, which she talked about openly. She was one of the first and only who tried to emphasize how the brain is just an organ, like any other. Organs can get defective. Organs can stop working properly. Organs fail.

“Stay afraid, but do it anyway. What’s important is the action. You don’t have to wait to be confident. Just do it and eventually the confidence will follow.”

She was, above all, a wonderful writer. She had contributed to several of the best scripts out there and she did many anonymously. She doctored and had helped the first version of scripts like Milk Money, The River Wild, Love Affair, The Mirror Has Two Faces, Kate & Leopold, So I Married an Axe Murderer and Sister Act. I remember when I saw her on 30 Rock after so many years and it was my favorite episode! I laughed so hard at all of her jokes and it left me wanting more. I grew up on Drop Dead Fred, and I will never forget her in The Blues Brothers. Not to mention Soapdish, and When Harry Met Sally..., that I only saw recently and yes... she was the only person who we'll always think of as Princess Leia Organa, sorry, General.

“The father who flipped out about it, ‘What am I going to tell my kid about why she’s in that outfit?’ Tell them that a giant slug captured me and forced me to wear that stupid outfit, and then I killed him because I didn’t like it. And then I took it off. Backstage.” —On the rumored ban on Princess Leia bikini merchandise.

I am happy that the Star Wars universe will live on because it is something I will make my children watch too! But the movie that I will always think of first will Postcards From The Edge, written by her, based on a semi-autobiographical book by her. When Meryl Streep accepted her AFI award Fisher gave a speech about what a good job she had done playing the main character, so much so that her family wished she was Meryl Streep! She was hilarious, always honest and fearless! She spoke her mind and not many people do that in Hollywood, be honest, there are very few of them. She came back from where many never recover from. She used her brain and not her looks and people hired her for that. She will be missed incredibly by many and that alone makes me smile.

I just watched her appear on 8 Out of 10 Cats in this year's Christmas special. She was the funniest and my sister and I watched it on Christmas, because we were happy that there was news of her wellbeing. I am so tired, this year? I mean... every time I managed to get over or somewhat emotionally recover from a death this year, another one followed. I understand that this is life, that this is also part of life, but I don't want it to be. I'm concerned that this year was just the prelude to something much worse... hopefully not, but it did make for a pretty shitty holiday season.

"[on the sale of Lucasfilm to Disney] I'm now a Disney Princess!"

Remember her, not for the roles she played, but the work she has done and the battles she fought and won. She even beat the heart attack, but it left her weak. Even in the end, she went out fighting. Remember that. She will always be my role model. I will miss you tremendously, Ms. Fisher.

Sunday, December 25, 2016

Forced to Say Goodbye to George Michael

"I still believe that music is one of the greatest gifts that God gave to man."

I was sitting at an Irish Pub in the heart of Rome, with a friend and on the television one of the many music channels was on and I heard a song. I got home and searched for that song for days until I finally found it. It stuck with me for some reason and it was only years later when I noticed the lyrics. There was something in me I was still too young to understand. And the lyrics, well... they helped me understand who I really am.


That wasn't the first time I heard George Michael, of course. Actually, our story goes back to when I was about 4 or 5. We had a small electric piano at home and each time you pressed the "demo" button a midi song would start playing and it was loud and I pressed that button at least three hundred times a day. It wasn't until I was in my teens that I realized it was Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go by Wham!. I can tell you that my whole family hated that song for quite some time because of me!


George Michael was... he fought long and hard to be who he really was: a born performer, a man who was out and proud, who managed to keep his fame and the love of music from his start back in the 80s all the way to today. He had a unique voice and he used that for good. And when he was caught red-handed for doing something wrong? He owned up to his mistakes. A whole world had already and will always sing his Christmas classic and now each Christmas we will remember you too, me personally sadly and with much ache in my heart, but with love.

"I do love Christmas. I always have loved it, ever since I was a child. When I was young both my parents used to work so hard and they always seemed quite stressed to me. But at Christmas everyone would calm down and be nice to each other for a few days, and that used to make me feel very safe. It's Frank Sinatra who reminds me of Christmas. During the school holidays, when I was a kid, I used to work behind the bar of my dad's restaurant in Edgware [North London], and he'd always play Sinatra records for the customers. So that association is very strong for me. Why doesn't it snow at the right time anymore, like it did in the '60s? If it could snow on Christmas Eve or something that would be perfect."


I am crying because I hate writing these. I decided right now to take time to write about the people I love before I am forced to do it... this way it is just heartbreaking. I noticed this year that my favorite artists all come from the UK... this shitty started with us losing a wonderful voice and I thought it cannot get any worse and somehow it did. I have, in the background, playing Freedom, Faith, Outside and Amazing on repeat. One More Try always makes me cry... it is a story too close to my heart and I really don't think I can handle Careless Whisper right now. So I sit here, listening to Easier Affair, religiously, it's my mantra and my savior sings to me about not letting the haters get to me, about how we all deserve love and shouldn't let anyone put us down. 


"I just hope that I'll stay around musically for as long as I can. I'd love to think that I will still be satisfying myself and other people as a musician until the day I die."

You will be missed and your music will live on within me until I too die. Thank you for the songs you gave us, the path you walked and the fights you fought will not be in vain! Never stop singing, even up there in the sky.

"And I'm dancing with the freaks now
I'm havin', I'm havin' so much fun!"

Saturday, December 24, 2016

What's Next On My List? Love The Coopers

Well, I had no Christmas spirit this year... I still forced it onto me so that when it did come, those bits and pieces of memories of how I should feel around the holiday, I was able to embrace it. And one movie more than the others helped me this year and despite it having a bad rating on imdb, which I think is utterly stupid, I would like to tell you all about it in light of the holiday season!


A big family is about to come around for Christmas Eve dinner, but all of them have to run a lot of errands before getting there, and many don't finish in time... the parents are about to get divorced, their daughter brings a soldier home to pose as her boyfriend, their son is looking for a job after his separation, and the mother's sister gets arrested.

This movie is everything I love about Christmas: a winter wonderland, a caring family, Christmas trees everywhere and a dog! A cute little puppy! There are hundreds, truly hundreds of Christmas movies out there - they keep making them -, most of the time it is just new versions of classics like A Christmas Carol or It's a Wonderful Life, and some have great twists, but otherwise the stories keep repeating themselves. The key is to have likable characters and stories that work separately. And they really do! This is not another mixture of famous people with no plot and no story arcs! When the stories come together and you realize how everyone thinks that the worst part of them is someone else's fault and not their own and they are faced with their mistakes, however, with family around they are able to mend those mistakes and see past their faults.
I can relate to that because I always have the need within me to finish and conclude everything I start before Christmas of the given year. I also feel like running away sometimes. I have also felt the need to be the best person I can be for my parents and my family and sometimes I fell short. But somehow... someway, it does not matter on Christmas Eve. When we are sitting around the tree, when we open the things we got for each other, after dinner, before second dinner, with gingerbread and tea around us... nothing matters anymore. Maybe that is why it is the season of love... you will fight, because family fights, you might be alone because 2016 sucked big time or you might be with the one you love more than anyone else right now. Who knows? But you are smiling and that is what matters.
The conflicts in the movie are relatable and with so many characters anyone can find something they have experienced themselves or wish to have. There is no unnecessary death just to make you weep, and when it comes to the jokes, it does not forget to add them at the right time and not just the beginning (the way romantic comedies do nowadays...). When you looking at all the characters, the movie does not force its message onto you. You might be alone, and that is OK. You might long to be with someone, and that is fine too. You might wish for the old customs of your family or to make new ones and you'll see that there is a place for all of it under the tree. And the snow outside makes it pure!

I recommend this movie to everyone. I don't get the rating and it has become a quick favorite of mine and I can't wait to rewatch it again next year! You can barely go wrong with Diane Keaton and John Goodman, so do check it out when you get a chance!

And for now HAVE THE BEST TIME THIS HOLIDAY SEASON!

Until the next item on my list, best to you all!


_ _ _ _ _ _ _

Rags (voice) - Steve Martin
Charlotte - Diane Keaton
Hank - Ed Helms
Bucky - Alan Arkin
Emma - Marisa Tomei
Eleanor - Olivia Wilde
Joe - Jake Lacy