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Game Of Thrones Season 3 Review: “Dark Wings, Dark Words”

Valar Dohaeris introduced what may arguably be Game of Thrones most important season to date in tremendous fashion, slowly but surely reintroducing and building new plot lines following Season 2, whilst still slipping in the iconic moments of intrigue here and there. Dark Wings, Dark Words aimed to refresh the stories of those sorely missed in the opening episode; Bran’s escape from Winterfell, Arya and Co’s journey to the Tully seat of Riverrun and Brienne’s quest to return Jamie Lannister the Kingslayer to King’s Landing looked set to take the forefront of the season’s second installment. Keeping the audiences gripped, especially in the early episodes of a season, is an undeniably crucial task for any TV series; Game Of Thrones looked set to achieve this aim following Valar Dohaeris. Dark Wings, Dark Words fortunately didn’t fall short of the examples set by its predecessor, in fact it surpassed those examples.

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The production quality of Game of Thrones – as with all HBO programming – is simply uncanny, especially when it comes down to the production design and cinematography. Dark Wings, Dark Words made this very evident on two occasions; the establishing shots and stunning greenery of the location in Bran’s three-eyed-crow dream were totally awe-inspiring for one. Much the same can be said of the Tyrell garden scene’s set where Sansa, Margaery and the newly introduced Queen of Thorns, Olenna Tyrell (Diana Rigg) , had a very intriguing discussion over cheese and lemon cakes.

Olenna and Margaery’s inquiry to Sansa as to whether or not the boy King Joffrey truly was the monster they had heard rumors about made it crystal clear that the Tyrell family are not content with naivety, and that they fully intend to play the Game of Thrones with the sole intention of winning. Plot intrigue aside Diana Rigg’s was a perfect casting choice for Olenna, she delivered her lines with the suitable wittiness and loveable condescension that totally matched the book character; I can definitely see Olenna quickly becoming a fan favourite. Sophie Turner was equally impressive, flawlessly depicting how petrified and reluctant Sansa was to talk of Joffrey’s cruelty in fear of punishment in such a way that it even unnerved me to hear her talk of it.

vlcsnap-2013-04-08-10h34m17s219Dianna Riggs as Olenna Tyrell, The Queen of Thorns.

Margaery again demonstrated a real knack for dealing with some of the trickiest people, and the trickiest situations. In the scene with Joffrey and his beloved crossbow, Margaery somehow managed to achieve the impossible by defusing Joffrey’s anger at her for associating with the traitor Renly Baratheon, which was in no way a simple task. Natalie Dormer impressed me in this scene. She showed that in spite of her character Margaery having a deft hand for court manipulation she could still come close to cracking under pressure through the use of brilliantly subtle facial expressions and momentary stammering. The ‘Oh shit’ look on her face when Joffrey revealed he would make homosexuality punishable by death was priceless, and it also showed just how close and concerned the Tyrells are for one another.

 Their tight knit family harshly contradicted the state of the Lannister household. Cersei is losing her handle on Joffrey week by week as the King slowly becomes more and more of an independent thinker. Joffrey’s dismissals of his mother appear to be another example of masterful foreshadowing from the Game of Thrones Screenwriters. I’m interested to see the imminent trouble that could unfold in Kings Landing with all the rising tension. When putting your hatred for Joffrey aside it is hard not to recognize how well Jack Gleeson performs the role, maintaining the asshole persona flawlessly in spite of his characters better developments.

vlcsnap-2013-04-08-12h10m05s122Jojen (Thomas Brodie-Sangster) and Meera’s (Ellie Kendrick) first appearance.

Further North we saw Isaac Wright return to our screens as Bran encounters the surprisingly nimble Reed duo. The pair appear to have been sent by their elusive father Howland Reed to both guide and protect Bran. Jojen is focused on the task of helping Bran control and enhance his magical abilities whilst Meera serves to merely provide protection to the rag tag band. Although Thomas Sangster’s screen time was unfortunately brief in this installment the role of Jojen seems to fit him like a glove, he captured the boys friendliness and vague cockiness with sublime accuracy without the over exaggeration that is often apparent in young actors performances.

However I found it hard to judge Ellie Kendrick’s performance as Meera this week because it appears the shows scripting has altered her characteristics from the book, but it is too early to be totally sure of this, so for now Kendrick gets my benefit of a doubt as she was pretty bad ass.

Theon’s torture was given an early inclusion into the series in Dark Wings, Dark Words, which was a wise deviation to make from the books considering the issues that could’ve arisen with Alfie Allen’s contract in his absence. The allegiances and identity of his captor are surprisingly unknown to me because I can’t be entirely certain that deviations aren’t being made from A Feast For Crows. Although I have strong suspicions as to who it may be there is still a very welcome mystery lingering over the situation which is making the gradual unveiling far more interesting than I anticipated it to be; props to the screenwriter Vanessa Taylor for making it so.

Beyond The Wall the Night’s Watch and the band of Wildling’s each got very momentary showings, in spite of this one of the groups showings proved to be quite enticing. Jon Snow greeted us to the fantasy powers of the skinchanger this week through his introduction to the Wildling raider Orell (Mackenzie Crook). Skinchanger’s have the ability to take control of animals minds and bodies, an initially subtle connection inferred by a superb use of cross cutting between Orell and his Hawk, which he used to scout the massacred Night’s Watch at the Fist of the First Men that are undoubtedly going to be visited by the Wildling party in a few episodes time. Was their perhaps foreshadowing of Jon Snow being able to warg into Ghost in the future, like Bran does with Summer?

vlcsnap-2013-04-08-13h21m23s76Mackenzie Crook playing the Wildling Orell mid-skinchanging.

Unfortunately the Night’s Watch feature felt very lackluster this week. Samwell’s pitiable behavior has begun to wear on me a tad, and is proving to irritate me more than evoke any of my empathy. That said I still feel this is for good overall effect; male character’s in fantasy fiction are often portrayed as increasingly stale run-of-the-mill hero’s. Samwell Tarly wholly contrasts this character archetype which makes him one of the more interesting characters for a majority of the time, regardless of how infuriating he may be at moments.

Final Thoughts: Dark Wings, Dark Words was a thoroughly entertaining addition to the new season that demonstrated the Game of Thrones team, from the editors to the directors, are a wildly talented bunch in spite of nothing more than a few hiccups here and there. If you have any thoughts to add on this episode or perhaps disagree with me, let your opinions be heard in the comment section below!

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Game of Thrones Season 3 Review: “Valar Dohaeris”

The nearly 365 day wait for Game of Thrones season 3 has been a truly agonizing one. I blasted through the entire book series just to tide myself over but that only covered my unsettling addiction for a meager two months, since then my anticipation for season 3 has been outrageous. Albeit one concern I had with season 3 was that it wouldn’t live up to the ridiculous expectations I had laid at its feet. However Executive producers and directors David Benioff & D.B.Weiss’s sublime talents, which were exhibited in seasons 1 & 2 of the epic fantasy/drama, near enough put this concern to rest in spite of a couple of questionable deviations fmade from A Clash of Kings in season two, in regards to the situations at Harrenhall and Winterfell.  Valar Dohaeris kicked off season 3, introducing us to a handful of the new cast members and sub plots whilst also continuing on those left unfinished from the last series; would Valar Dohaeris mark a seamless return to form, or did it surface new found problems?

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Valar Dohaeris opened the gates with an unfortunately brief continuation of the Night’s Watches sub plot following the sadly un-shown battle at The Fist of the First Men where-in the survivors of the attack, with Samwell Tarly and Lord Commander Jeor Mormont amongst them, are marching back to wall following the defeat. Here the first minor deviation from the books occurs, Samwell is scolded for failing to send the ravens with message of the attack to the wall because it was his only task and a crucial one at that. I think deciding to make this deviation from the original text was wise because it reinforced Samwell’s sheer incapability when put under any pressure, showing that Samwell has yet to truly transform into a man of the Night’s Watch. The tension building in this scene through incredible camera work and sequencing from the editing crew masterfully took complete hold of my attention, a praise that strictly can’t be said for many other TV drama’s out there. Jon Snow’s induction to ranks of wildlings led by the ex-crow Mance Rayder was the next key scene on the cards. This scene certainly felt far less brief than the last, and introduced us to the immaculately detailed and fearsome CGI Giants, the equally fierce Tormund Giantsbane (Kristofer Hivju) and the aforementioned wildling leader Mance Rayder (Ciarán Hinds). Although their limited screen time makes it hard to call whether Hivju and Hinds have wholly grasped their respective characters, last nights performances entrusted me with confidence in the pair; both have the appearance, dialogue delivery, body language and attitudes that near perfectly reflect how the books led me to imagine them, leading me to believe the two of them have done their homework on the roles.

Peter Dinklage (Tyrion) and Charles Dance (Tywin) undoubtedly stole the show last night with their visceral back and fourth in the Tower of the Hand. Charles Dance and sterling scripting flawlessly encapsulated Tywin’s belligerent disgust of his son Tyrion, who showed monolithic restraint and exasperation thanks to the superb subtleties in Dinklage’s acting, as Tywin denounces the imp’s claim to the Lannister seat of Casterly Rock and chastises him for killing his mother on birth and bringing the whore Shae to the capital. A wealth of intrigue was uncovered at Kings Landing in Valar Dohaeris; Cersei’s paranoia began to spill through the cracks as she came to realize that the elegant Margaery Tyrell knocked her off the top of King Landing’s hottest 100 list and also managed to steal the hearts of the poor through honorable charity work, sparking the beginning of a power play between the two women that will surely spawn some brilliant scenes much like the Tyrell/Lannister dinner we saw this week. The mischievous mastermind Petyr Baelish had his moment in the spotlight as he is seen further discussing with Sansa his intentions to remove her from the capital and lead her to safety, amidst the exchange the sidelined servants Ros and Shae strike up a conversation of their own where-in Ros dishes out some subtle foreshadowing, momentarily warning the Essosian hand maiden of the danger Petyr presents to Sansa. It’s often the small moments like these in Game of Thrones that shape it into such an intelligent, refreshing and gripping example of a modern TV drama done right.

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Across the Narrow Sea the Dragon Queen Daenerys had a slew of troubles lobbed her way in the slaver city of Astapor, the hilariously condescending and crude unsullied master who churned out some of the best dialogue in the episode, turned out to be least of those problems. The Warlocks have clearly not forgotten the defiance Daenerys showed them at the House of the Undying, provoking one of the younger members of their ranks to make a narrowly unsuccessful attempt on her life, a chance denied by the sudden yet triumphant return of the legendary Ser Barristan Selmy which was accompanied by one of the series wonderful trademark orchestral tracks that always raise goosebumps without falter.

On a more critical note Robb Stark’s venture to Harrenhall and meeting with Qyburn deviated from the events in A Storm of Swords to an extent that formed discomfort in my mind and left me pondering the daring scale of any other changes that may be made in the latter half of the series. On the other hand Jamie, Brienne, Arya and Bran’s no show in Valar Dohaeris was a decent plot decision as their inclusion would have left show watchers with an unmanageable amount of information to take in and would have likely had a negative impact on the other story lines showcased this week.

Final Thoughts: Valar Dohaeris was a magnificent start to the third season of this totally unrivaled fantasy/drama series, implementing emotionally and mentally involving plot lines that are captured with creative technical prowess from everyone on the production team which  has left me with a strong faith in the episodes to come. Leave any thoughts on Valar Dohaeris or any anticipation for the rest of the series in the comment section below!

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Review: The Fault in Our Stars

The Fault in Our Stars (released January 10th 2012) is author John Green’s fifth addition to his acclaimed line of young adult novels; much like his previous works young love is a major theme in The Fault in Our Stars, this time around the love is shared between two young Cancer survivors. Seventeen year old, lung cancer sort-of-survivor Hazel Grace is the novels narrative voice, detailing how living with Cancer sculpted her personality as it dealt out some of the worst, and surprisingly best experiences of her life time such as when she bumps into the one legged charmer Augustus Waters at a Cancer kid support group. Although I’ve thoroughly enjoyed John Green’s previous works I was hesitant to believe this would be of a similar quality, because as Hazel Grace so delicately puts it ‘Cancer books suck.’ While this isn’t always the case, it is safe to say a fair amount of Cancer books do fall into this terribly sucky category due to their corny predictability and somewhat unrealistic representations of cancer sufferers; would The Fault in Our Stars add to the pile of literary casualties or strive through the clichés it so frequently mocked?

Warning: Spoilers Throughout!

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The Fault in Our Stars unmistakably achieves the latter. Hazel-Grace’s tale dispenses with the sappy emotional baiting and misrepresentation to accommodate for harsh realities, accurate representations and above all a love story that feels refreshingly alive. I quickly found myself getting emotionally invested into the lives of the novel’s sublime characters, and much to my surprise it wasn’t just the polar opposites of happiness and sadness that were drawn from their stories. On Hazel and Augustus’s long awaited first meeting with their favourite author, the belligerently pretentious alcoholic Peter Van Houten, I found myself positively infuriated by his callous behavior to a point where I actually felt the fist clenching tension I can only imagine Augustus’s character would have felt. Green also managed to set aside the space for some unexpected, yet welcome humor that did a brilliant job of not only providing entertainment but also humanizing Hazel, Augustus and Isaac’s characters through their often witty and self-mocking line deliveries. However on a few occasions the intended comedy felt  frankly cringe worthy, for instance when Isaac describes Augustus as ‘The Mayor of Cancervania’ in his eulogy I felt the emotional weight was torn out of the eulogies latter parts.

Another related criticism I would make of  The Fault in Our Stars is that Augustus Waters death had next to no emotional impact on me because I feel it was simply too easily anticipated. The short, sharp plot pacing in the chapters before Augustus kicked the bucket were clearly intended to build a sort of ‘surely he wont die’ tension in the reader’s head, but it had a totally reverse effect on me that ended up making the supposedly tear jerking and sudden death of Augustus nothing more than a wholly disappointing and anti climactic experience.  Thankfully the chapters proceeding Gus’s death were incredibly satisfying to read, providing the two greatest highlights of the novel including Hazel’s bad-ass ‘go fuck yourself’ speech to the pest Van Houten as he fails to redeem himself, and the contents of Augustus’s final letter to the author.

It is this passionate final letter that reveals John Green’s challenging opinions on how we perceive the idea of being successful and whether or not leaving a grand legacy is a wholly negative and selfish thing to do. Through the clever metaphor of a scar, Augustus criticizes his own selfish ambition to leave behind a world of people that would miss him for the sake of his reputation after his death and praises Hazel’s determination to leave behind as small a scar on the world as she possibly can, finally going on to say ‘you have some say in who hurts you. I like my choices. I hope she likes hers.’ John Green demonstrates for a fifth time his thoroughly outstanding ability to inspire readers into contemplating the veracity of their base ideals.

Final Thoughts: Despite the issues of what I feel to be poor plot pacing and snippets of questionable humor, The Fault in Our Stars is an involving and thought provoking roller coaster of a novel that will have any reader thoroughly engrossed in the superb story it has to tell with its encapsulating realism and endearing characters. If you have any thoughts on The Fault in Our Stars feel free to leave them in the comment section below!

Grade: B

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Review: Oz the Great and Powerful

“Oz The Great and Powerful” is a Disney imagining of the conman come magician Oscar Digg’s arrival in the mystical Land of Oz after his hot air balloon slips into a tornado in Kansas. Sam Raimi takes the reigns of this ambitious project as director whilst Mila Kunis performs as Theodora the Witch and James Franco takes the role of the lead protagonist Oz, having snubbed Robert Downey Jr. who was the original choice for the role. In the trailer a lot of emphasis appeared to be placed on the refined details found in the special effects with a very brief showcasing of plot. This left me wondering whether stunning visuals were all Oz the Great and Powerful had to offer in place of any real sustenance and entertainment value which is where many recent children’s movies have faltered before it.

Oz the Great and the Powerful

Thankfully Disney clearly considered the importance of an entertaining story and characters running alongside the stunning visual effects. Unfortunately Oz was never anything more than just entertaining, and around the mid point of the film I’m not sure I would even go as far to call it that. The largest gripe I had with Oz was with its lack of clarity towards the end; whether it was due to my interest completely fading away or just poor connection in the screenplay between the two key moments where the witches are flying away I can’t say, nevertheless I was left in a total jumble which hampered on a few of the positives I had taken from the film early on. Mila Kunis really underperformed as Theodora after her transformation, delivering lines in a very overcooked and corny fashion which was a disappointment considering her previously higher standards of acting. Likewise I made very little of Rachel Weisz and Michelle Williams efforts to play the other two witches, however 14 year old Joey King played the part of China Girl superbly nailing the characters voice whilst also delivering some of her lines with a hilarious, satisfying finesse.

James Franco and Zach Braff handled their roles with a similarly masterful touch; the part of Oz was the perfect fit for Franco who demonstrated a suspiciously good understanding of the characteristics needed to be a deceitful trickster. Almost every time Finlay the flying butler monkey opened his mouth I found myself laughing even during some of his more predictable moments (i.e. his ‘moo’-ing in the graveyard) which is a testament to both Zach Braff’s brilliance and Disney’s ability to make wonderful characters. Dialogue on the whole made significant improvement on the other poor story elements but the inclusion of a few incredibly cringe worthy jokes and the aforementioned predictability meant dialogue was still far from perfected.

Visual effects through the larger percentage of the film were quite breathtaking, every piece of scenery – particularly the greenery- formed an exact illustration of what I imagined the Land of Oz to look like with a level of detail that nearly rivaled Avatar. In the latter parts of the film however the consistency of previous standards went a little awry, the showdown scene between Evanora and Glinda had some particularly shocking effects tossed at it that completely broke immersion at a crucial moment. Cinematography & editing were used appropriately for the films duration but nothing was particularly striking which is a monumental shame considering the great opportunity presented to them on a platter by the fantastic world the film created; the soundtrack was pitifully unmemorable, when much like with the camera work and editing a grand canvas was placed in front of it just waiting for a glimmer of imagination. On the other hand the sound mixing team did a decent job of slipping in some impressive effects such as the clacking of the straw men as they were moved through the foggy fields outside emerald city which was a personal favourite of mine.

Final Thoughts: Oz the Great and Powerful is an entertaining flick that masters the art of effects but misses out on barrel loads of other opportunities, inspiring nothing more than laughter as far as the story is concerned. In spite of this I would still recommend the film to any Wizard of Oz fans and parents taking children (who could take a lot more from Oz) to the cinema. As always share any thoughts you have on Oz the Great and Powerful in the comment section below!

Grade: C-/D+

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Best Picture Review: Argo

“Argo” is an American action thriller that depicts the previously classified story of a messy hostage situation spawning from the U.S embassy in Iran, where-in violent solutions are not an option. Argo is based on the book “The Master of Disguise” by formed C.I.A agent and author Tony Mendez as well as the Wired magazine article “The Great Escape.” Forgery, fake I.D and a bogus cover story are all the rescuer and lead protagonist Tony Mendez (Ben Affleck) can offer those six stranded innocents that escaped the embassy; there is no room for mistakes. Ben Affleck described Argo in his BAFTA acceptance speech as his ‘second chance’, was it chance seized upon or an over hyped let down?

Spoilers Throughout!

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Argo thoroughly deserved the “Best Picture” award on the merits of its story telling alone; it possessed engaging yet not strongly overwhelming originality and a seamless swaying between hilarious Hollywood satire, drama and tension. Above all Argo provided incredibly defined characters minus the irritating clichés. Tony Mendez the ‘lead’ protagonist isn’t the sort of highly trained super agent without flaws or limitations that are often seen spilling from uninspired run-of-the-mill American action films. Tony Mendez has limitations and he is flawed in his own ways but he is still an intelligent, funny and efficacious character which makes it simply effortless to empathize with him and genuinely fear for him when he is repeatedly shoved into dangerous situations. Ben Affleck and screenwriter Chris Terrio put together a character amongst the most realistic and inspiring in the history of film proving to us all just how talented they truly are.

Lester Siegel (Alan Arkin) and John Chambers (John Goodman) were likewise well designed characters however they served a different purpose to Mendez. The Hollywood star duo were the most significant instigators of comedy in Argo; John Chambers character delivers on the Hollywood satire, it’s through the eyes of his story that we see the mocking references to Sci-Fi films of the 80’s (Star Wars especially) and the hilarious jabs at the Hollywood ‘big shots’. Siegel’s character squeezes in the dry and crude humor that Alan Arkin pulls of irreproachably particularly with his notable and hysterical signature ‘Argo fuck yourself’ that was fortunately never used to excess.

Argo’s most impressive quality is its inate, book-like ability to provoke empathy with chilling or fearsome situations in scenes almost none of us will have experienced first hand. The scene where the American hostages were being awoken and sent single file down to a dark and gritty room with blessings placed at their feet before their supposed executions, which ended up just being a mind game when their executioner fired blanks was the most provocative moment for me . It’s the scenes like this that occur throughout Argo that make it seem almost a crime to me that Affleck didn’t get a nomination for Best Director at the Oscar’s, at least Terrio got his deserved recognition.

Argo’s technical elements are equally as admirable as the brilliant scripting and other fantastic plot elements. William Goldenberg pinched the Oscar for the his editing efforts in Argo and rightfully so – pacing, transitions and cutting were always spot on which at times evoked as much emotion from me as the action in a scene itself. Sound editing & sound mixing in Argo were of a likewise sublime quality. Erik Aadahl and Ethan Van der Ryn always crafted and selected the best sound effects for the job, whilst sound mixers’ John Reitz, Gregg Rudloff and Jose Antonio Garcia gave every scene the dialogue clarity and ambience it required. Their choice of music thankfully catered to my tastes with one of my favourite Zeppelin songs “When the Levee Breaks” being squeezed in there, although it wasn’t an essential it certainly won Argo some brownie points from me. Cinematography was fine for best part of the feature and at times even pretty good  but it never really stunned me at any point which has to be my only significant criticism of Argo.

Final Thoughts: Affleck capitalised on his ‘second chance’ flawlessly producing an American action flick truly like no other that has already found its way onto my top ten films of all time list. Argo is a must see for anyone even remotely interested in film, any aspiring films makers and screenwriters amongst you could also learn a hell of a lot from what Argo has to offer. As always leave any thoughts you have in the comment section below!

Grade: A

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Ripper Street Finale Review: “What Use Our Work”

The outstanding first series of BBC’s new crime drama Ripper Street sadly had to come to an end last Sunday. In this season’s send off H Division did not just have one task placed on the table in front of them: ruling Jackson out as a Ripper suspect, making an investigation into another and finding out whether or not that man held Reid’s missing daughter captive were the obstacles placed in front of our Victorian crime fights this week. Did “What Use Our Work” top the sterling series off or did it add to the disappointment of last week’s showing?

Spoilers Throughout

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Writers Richard Warlow & Toby Finlay clearly set aside droves of time to type up “What Use Our Work’s” screenplay; the plot had a plethora of enthralling action and riveting twists that kept me guessing and in awe right until the last. The pinnacle of the finale’s story was Inspector Reid’s unrelenting determination to find and reclaim the daughter he tragically lost on the sinking ship incident; that same sub-plot brought with it the most disquieting moment in the entire series. The sinking expression on Reid’s face when he recognized the small girl held captive was not his daughter caused misery beyond measure. Miraculously Matthew MacFadyen managed to remain 100% convincing in the act of portraying such an extreme sadness; MacFadyen is undoubtedly destined for a greater career having performed so brilliantly in both Ripper Street and “Anna Karenina.”

Sergent Drake’s prominent parts in the more recent episodes continued in “What Use Our Work” and rightfully so, Drake’s average-man’s background makes his strength and depths of intriguing characteristics worlds broader than most of the series other characters – I’m not saying their bad by any means, Drake’s character is just exceptionally fantastic.  Drake’s character ultimately gained a sense of progress in the finale as his affections for the mistress Rose were returned tenfold following his second rescue of her from the hands of a victim drugging psycho-maniac, a rescue which unfortunately felt a tad stale because it heavily mimicked the ingenuity seen in the first episode.  “What Use Our Work” wisely left some big questions unanswered that have me aching for the second series: Will anything come of Reid’s disloyalty to his wife? Is Jackson’s place at H Division secure? and most importantly what will our protagonists come up against in series 2 ? Personally I’m hoping for the Ripper case to have more time in the limelight in season 2 despite some viewers saying they lost interest in the case.

No huge progression came from the technical crew from what can be seen in the series final installment but such progression honestly isn’t desperately needed. Both the editing and sound teams are performing well creating tension or sadness where necessary, however there is one particular track that I’ve noticed being repeatedly played at almost every hugely significant dramatic moment in the series, whether due to a lack of resources or sheer laziness I can’t determine. Lead cinematographer P.J.Dillon is making some very noticeable improvements in his work, in last nights episode there were a few cracking shots in there that captured the moods of any given scene with spot on precision (the best of which can be seen below.)

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Final Thoughts: Ripper Street came almost out of nowhere and took me by complete surprise early this year, after a magnificent finale it is safe to say Ripper Street is now a contender with the best. Granted it is no Sherlock, Game of Thrones or Breaking Bad but nevertheless Ripper Street is an embodiment for many of British televisions greatest assets that immaculately depicts no-forensics Victorian crime stopping. Here’s hoping next season will bring much of the same when it airs around the same time next year. Feel free to leave any thoughts in the comment section below!

Series Grade: B+

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Review: Academy Nominated Animated Short “Paperman”

Wreck-it Ralph saw its belated release over here in the United Kingdom just a few weeks back, yesterday I found the time to go check it out and in my opinion calling it over hyped would be a severe understatement. In spite of this I almost felt the eight pounds spent to see Wreck-it was nearly worth it when the Disney animated short “Paperman” was showcased in the prescreening. Although many of the more confused members of the audience around me greeted the short with a ‘what the fuck, did I just spend eight quid to go see that?’ Paperman was honestly the highlight of my evening.

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Paperman followed a day in the life of your average young officer worker (seen above) where-in before boarding a train he knocks into a young a lady with of a seemingly similar age to him. This introductory scene of the shorts two protagonists had quite an uncanny sort of charm to it, and the very satisfying Disney esque variety of humor that brings a smile to your face rather than having you roaring with laughter. The male protagonists major scene in the filing office was another quite hilarious scene that added a bit of mild drama into the mix; the boss and employees unsympathetic and disdainful hostilities toward the protagonist who was merely trying to catch the women’s attention ended up pushing him to just bolt out of the door after her, an action which I thought carried with it a hidden moral to the story.

The crisp black and white effect and meticulously refined details in the character animation made for some utterly fantastic visuals, I’m anticipating and hopeful Disney will try their hand at more black and white animations in the future due to Paperman’s current acclaim. The intricacies that went into all the characters facial detailing and expressions granted the characters a way of speaking that wasn’t verbal yet still had the same level of impact that verbal communication does, an essential element of any silent film that Disney nailed flawlessly. The backing track, Christophe Beck – “Paperman” fitted the mood of the short film wonderfully and contributed the most emotion to the action on screen without a shadow of a doubt.

Final Thoughts: Paperman was a incandescent showcase of Disney animators at the absolute top of their game with a charming story woven into those stunning visuals, unfortunately the short film is hard to access for free but a digital download copy can be purchased for two pounds from the Disney site. I recommend giving it a go even if you’re skeptical of animated shorts. Seen Paperman? leave your thoughts in the comment section below!

Grade: C+

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