Showing posts with label movies. Show all posts
Showing posts with label movies. Show all posts

Saturday, June 29, 2019

Technos International Week 2019 Short Video

This is the short video I had made for the Technos International Week 2019 (TIW2019) trip and sent to Pembroke College, Oxford. I have made it public on YouTube.  If you would like to see the report, click here. TIW2019 is a cultural and educational exchange between students from Technos College and students from colleges in the UK, US and New Zealand. The event is run yearly and only select colleges (ten colleges) can send their representatives to the event. I was a participant alongside 4 other students from Pembroke College, Oxford.


If the YouTube file is down or not working, there is a backup video on Google Drive.

Friday, September 21, 2018

Review and reflection of Fox TV Show Gotham


I have been watching Gotham for quite some time now. Two weeks ago, I finished this highly ranked show while I was still at Southampton:

So far, this has been a breathtaking series that never managed to get me bored while watching. Here is the plot:

'Plot Jim Gordon is a rising detective in corrupt Gotham City, where his late father was a successful district attorney. Brave, honest and determined to prove himself, Jim hopes to return the city to the glamorous, purer version he remembers as a child. He and his partner, legendary Detective Harvey Bullock, must navigate the dirty politics of Gotham's justice system, even as they tackle a high-profile case, the murder of billionaires Thomas and Martha Wayne. Gordon becomes a friend to their young orphan, Bruce.'

Here are some interesting aspects of the show I found:

What I liked the most

I loved mainly the villains of this show. Characters such as Fish Mooney, Oswald Cobblepot (Penguin), Hugo Strange, Tabitha Galavan and The Joker made the show very entertaining. 

What I hated the most

At some point, death meant nothing in the show. Characters constantly died and were revived (For example Master Bruce's butler). Science Fiction  (e.g cloning) overwhelmed the show after Season 1 and it made it slightly uncomfortable for me to watch.

The relationship between Harvey Dent and Detective Gordon

Harvey is lazy, corrupt, can be bribed and bought by higher ranked members while Gordon is righteous and rarely breaks the rules. Harvey and Gordon make a phenomenal detective team and both fully trust each other.

The Barbara Keen Flipping

Barbara Keen was a very innocent, sweet and loving character in Season 1. However, her engagement to Gordon caused her to be targetted by a highly effective psychopath who forced her murder her parents and turn into her 'dark side'. The character changed by 360°, the comparison of Barabara between season 1 and 4 is astounding.

Master Bruce and His Butler

After Bruce Wayne's parents get killed in Season 1. Bruce, a child, has no one to take care of him but his Butler, Alfred. Their relationship is very sweet and Bruce's Butler Alfred takes good care of him throughout the show. Only Alfred calls Bruce with 'Master' and this article tries to explain what it means. Bruce fires his Butler twice, the first time after he smashes his computer and the second after they engage in a fight.

Jerome Valeska's Madness

Jerome is probably the craziest villain of this show. He is full of surprises. Jerome Valeska was portrayed as a victimized boy at the beginning of the show and surprisingly, it was revealed that he killed his mother when confronted by Gordon in an investigation. The rest is history. Jerome has no interest in money, power or control over Gotham, he only likes to create chaos, terror and fear. Gordan kills Jerome in Season 4. 

The Penguin

Or Oswald Cobblepot. He is my favourite character in the whole show. Oswald starts as Fish Mooney's umbrella boy and servant. He would literally massage her feet and do whatever she says but at, some point he flips and snitches on her to Gordan and they become enemies. Penguin eventually becomes very powerful in Season 4.

The Riddler

Or Edward Nygma, this character was very interesting. No one would have thought that an innocent and shy character like Nygma would turn into a psychotic cold-blooded murder. Eventually, it can be seen that Edward Nygma has two different personalities: one of a cold-blooded murder and one of a shy innocent guy.

Penguin and Nygma's conflict

The Penguin and Nygma were close friends but end up trying to murder each other after a huge conflict that occurs. Penguin apparently had a romantic crush on Nygma, and before Penguin expresses his feelings, Nygma meets and falls in love with a sweet lady. In return, Penguin murders Nygma's new lover. Eventually, Nygma realizes what happens and tries to kill Penguin. The cycle goes back and forth but they do reconcile at the end of Season 4.

Sofia Falcone

This is one of the worst characters in the show and I'm glad she's almost dead (coma) after being shot by Gordon's ex-girlfriend. Sofia murdered her own father, kidnapped a child, wanted to initiate a war, hired the Pyg and smashed the hand of Gordon's ex-girlfriend. She's been lying for almost all show.

Final Thoughts

This is one of the best and most remarkable shows I have ever seen, there is a lot yet to talk about but I'll stick to that. FOX productions are legendary as usual and I can't wait for Season 4 which will probably air in Summer 2019. Hopefully, I'll be able to stream it legally in the UK.

Oh, and I'll drop this song from the Pyg. In that scene, the Pyg forces the elites of Gotham to eat human flesh of people he had murdered:


Monday, October 30, 2017

Leon: The professional (1994) [Review]

This evaluative essay for the movie Leon: The Professional was written by my friend Elie Tom and has been modified to be displayed properly here. I like it a lot so I decided to post it on my blog.

Léon: The Professional is a 1994 thriller film starring Jean Reno, Natalie Portman, and Gary Oldman and written and directed by Luc Besson. The film received favorable reviews from critics and is one of the best action/drama films of 1994. It pivots around an unusual relationship between Léon, an Italian hitman, and Mathilda, a 12-year-old girl living in a dysfunctional family. The fresh thriller plot, outstanding acting and role performance, and a one a kind script earned Léon: The Professional it’s spot as one of the best drama films of its time and up to this day.

The plot is straightforward compared to most movies of the same genre; the movie is not driven by a plot-driven movie but rather driven by characters. There is no particular plot twist, although there are a few spectacular action sequences like the climax’s police shootout. The film mainly revolves around the relationship between Leon and Mathilda, and how they change each other’s lives.  Mathilda's abusive father draws the attention of corrupt DEA agents, who have been paying him to hide drugs in his apartment. Although Mathilda is young, she becomes interested in Leon and his job, seeking revenge for the horrific acts committed upon her.

The performance of the actors in the movie is unprecedented. Natalie Portman as delivers a brilliant performance a twelve-year-old Mathilda as she is able to portray childlike innocence and raw emotion combined with awareness and intelligence that are years ahead of her age. Mathilda is the star of the film, and Portman is outstanding in playing this difficult role. Jean Reno as Léon delivers a sharp character who sets all of his focus on his hitman assignments until Mathilda comes along. You really can sense what Léon’s character is about from the first few scenes; an extremely skilled hitman who is like a child in many ways. Jean Reno plays Leon perfectly. Danny Aiello as Tony makes you wonder whether he’s a bad guy or good guy. His minor role as Tony was excellent and fits the movie like a jigsaw puzzle. Last and certainly not least, Gary Oldman, as the corrupt DEA Agent Norman Stansfield, moves the story along and controls it with his actions. He plays of the most memorable negative role ever and mixed both fear and sarcasm in his actions at the same time. Oldman especially chews the scenery in a way that's both amusing and utterly menacing especially with his Beethoven obsession.

One issue that may arise in this movie is in the script, although it is one of the best scripts of its time. The love story between a twelve-year-old girl and a hitman would turn a few eyes, but Besson handles it in the most natural way by adding awkwardness in Leon’s script when Mathilda tries to bring up adult topics. There is a breathtaking and heartbreaking scene where Mathilda walks down the corridor past her apartment and knocks on Leon's door to evade the gunman standing at the door to her apartment. You can’t but emphasize with Mathilda. In another scene, a beaten Mathilda asks, "Is life always this hard or just when you’re a kid?" and Leon pauses only to respond with “always like this”. What really stands is the brilliant script and the straightforward direction of the action sequences. Portman, Reno, and Oldman deliver lines that would not be appreciated have they been spoken by any other performer.

Luc Besson's movie delivers an intense story that is amplified with the perfect-fit casting. Every aspect of the movie adds to the unique overall package. Leon: The Professional attained its success without special effects overuse or a large shooting location. Besson's approach provides it with a European look; Paris in New York. Portman, Reno, and Oldman along with Danny Aiello show us that great acting cannot be replaced. One impressive thing about the movie is how it’s basic story is maximized to it’s potential by the depth of the characters and outstanding acting and a one a kind script along with many other elements that go into the making of the movie.

The depth of the characters in this movie hooks you from the moment it starts. Matilda is played with great resourcefulness by Portman, who is required by the role to be, in a way, stronger than Leon. She has witnessed many violent things in her life most of which is through her dysfunctional family. She is wise for her age and this is seen when she makes references to movies: "Bonnie and Clyde didn't work alone," and "Thelma and Louise didn't work alone. And they were the best." Léon who has learned to repress his emotions in order to perform his job as a hitman. His world is changed when Mathilda turns to him for help and he learns about living a normal life, even if the circumstances which unite them are far from normal.


Monday, February 27, 2017

Answering LOST's most confusing questions

Fifteen years ago, a phenomenal ground-breaking series aired on Abc Family, the show is called "LOST".  This show was confusing to plenty of viewers who especially didn't understand the ending and plenty of confusing questions throughout the series. I have recently rewatched the whole series and I will attempt to answer most of LOST's confusing questions.

Why didn't the black smoke kill the candidates when he had the chance, why put them on a submarine with a bomb? 

The thing is, candidates, selected by Jacob, the protector of the Island, are immune to death by the black smoke. While the black smoke can kill anyone he wants, he cannot kill the candidates. Candidates include Jack, Hurley and Sawyer. The black smoke is "extremely smart" and manipulated everyone throughout the series. The black smoke wanted all the candidates dead to be able to escape the Island, so what he has done is manipulated them to be on a submarine with a timed bomb. The black smoke realized that they would try to stop the bomb by messing with the wires and thus they would cause their own death, instead of the black smoke!  Jack, who realized the bomb cannot explode since it was set by the black smoke, couldn't prevent Sawyer, who tried and failed. So the bomb exploded.

How did Jack's dead father appear on the Island? 

The black smoke posted as Jack's dead father on the Island. So Jack was not hallucinating when his father on the island. A reminder that the black smoke and pose in any dead person's body. 

What was the horse Kate saw on the Island? 

The horse is still a mystery, however, my best guess is that the black smoke was trying to mess with Kate by posing as a horse. 

Why didn't Sayid stop Claire from killing Kate? 

Sayid's case got complicated. After dying from a gunshot, he was restored back to life with the help of the black smoke. Thus, Sayid lost his feelings and was only responding to the black smoke's requests. Sayid later repents by saving the candidates by running away with the bomb in the submarine.

Why didn't Jacob prevent himself from being killed by Ben? 

That's a very good question. Jacob was a very a cool character and really didn't give a damn plenty of times. There was no self-defense in the process of his murder. My best guess is that Jacob really trusted Ben and thought Ben would never harm him after being loyal all those years. Miles Straume, the spiritualist hired by Charles Widmore to go to the Island and has the ability to read the final thoughts of the deceased was able to hear Jacob's thoughts before his death and they were: I wish I was wrong about Ben.

Did Ben kill or order the death of the real Henry Gale? 

I would say: Definitely. Ben stole his identity, and knew where he was buried. 

What order did Desmond not follow that led to his dismissal in the army?

I don't believe Desmond ignored orders. The thing, Desmond started moving though time and places while being in the army so he was irresponsive and thus seen unfit to stay in the army.

Who is this person linked to Jack, his father Christian, and half-sister Claire?

We don't know. There is no reference to the "person" in the entire series.

Why does Ben insist that the Oceanic Six, as well as Locke, have to return to the Island?

Because they were candidates, and candidates have to protect island by preventing the black smoke from exiting the island. 

Why can Jacob leave the Island but the Smoke Monster can't?

As long as there are candidates, the black smoke cannot leave the Island, he's stuck. The black smoke cannot kill candidates too so they have to kill themselves. Candidates were picked since there were very young by Jacob.

What is the "infection"?

From CRACKED: "It is the word used to describe people under the Smoke Monster's influence. Claire was infected. Rousseau's husband and team were infected. Sayid was infected, until the power of love gave the infection the business."

Is Juliet Alive? And did she reset the chain of events with brought the passengers of Oceanic Air flight 815 to the island?

Juliet died at the beginning of season 6. She was still breathing before the last goodbye to Sawyer. Sawyer wanted to kill Jack out of anger when she died. So, we're sure that she's dead. Miles Straume, the spiritualist hired by Charles Widmore, also confirmed this when he read her thoughts later after insistence from Sawyer. As for the chain of events, they were not reset! Passengers were still on the island, nonetheless, they weren't in the 80s anywhere. They left the past. I understand how this might be confusing as season 6 aired two chains of events: one in the island and another off the island. I assume what was shown off the island would be the answer to the question: What would have happened if the airplane never crashed and events of Oceanic Air flight 815 are reset?

What Happened to Claire? She's been MIA for three seasons – what's up with that? And what is her son Aaron's role in the island's mythology?

Haven't you watched season 6? Claire reappears. It is really unknown what happened for those three seasons. But claire clearly was affected by the Black Smoke. She might have died and brought to life by the Black Smoke (like what happened to Sayeed), we don't know! But what we know is that she was responding to the requests of Black Smoke. Claire lost her sanity. As for her son, I don't know the answer of that. Her son might have no role in the island's mythology.

The Ajira Airways 316 Posse? And who exactly are Ilana and her crew?

Ilana is "summoned to the Island to protect the remaining candidates by Jacob, with whom she had a previous relationship." I recall that she was Jacob's bodyguard and she viewed him as her only "father". She was extremely saddened by his death. 

The Numbers! What is the significance of the numbers (4, 8, 15, 16, 23, 42), and do they connect somehow to the island or to its powers? And is Hurley truly cursed by them?

You really didn't watch season 6. In short, the numbers correspond to candidates 4, 8, 15, 16, 23, 42 respectively and one of them is supposed to protect the island. There are tons of pages regarding those numbers, please find them here and here.

When some of the survivors went back to the island on the Ajira flight, why didn't Sun end up in the past? Why was she still on the plane?

Very good question, I will quote lostpedia for this as there are plenty of theories:

1. Sun didn't go back in time because she was not a candidate. There is strong evidence that Jacob and his brother are based of the story of Jacob and Esau from the Old Testament. In a passage from the Old Testament, Jacob wants to pass his convenant through his grandchildren, and touches Manasseh and Ephraim. However, he touches Ephraim with his right hand and Manasseh with his left, proclaiming Ephraim will be a greater person. Similarly, Jacob touches Jin with his right hand and Sun with his left, only making Jin the candidate.

2. Sun wasn't sent back in time because she "betrayed" the Island by working for Charles Widmore just like Ben wasn't sent back in time because he moved the Island when Locke was suppose to and then even worse he came back.

3. Sun wasn't sent back in time because she was carrying a tracking device for Widmore. That is how he planned (successfully) to return to the Island. The tracking device worked as a sort of tether in time.

4. Sun didn't travel back in time because she was originally not supposed to be on Oceanic 815, and thus not supposed to be on the island in the first place. If you remember, she was originally going to leave Jin at the airport, but it was through her free will that she stayed with him. The island made sure she got pregnant so as to force her off the island so she would not travel back to 1977.  She was supposed to leave, but Jack, Kate, Hurley and Sayid were not.


Thursday, August 27, 2015

Monday, February 2, 2015

A most violent is year (2014) is one of the worst movies ever

A most violent year is one of the worst movies I have ever seen all my life. Literally, it is as boring as watching a turned-off television. Starting at the source code, and examining it would be more entertaining. It is one of the worst ever made movies, with barely a story to follow. I believe it is extremely overrated too.

When I went with two of my friends (a couple), yesterday, we thought this is going to be a good movie, because it had a Rotten Tomatoes rating of 90%, say what? We were like damn, this has better rating than Taken 3 (2015) or even the Great Gatsby (2013).

Not even Titanic (1997) has a Rotten Tomatoes rating of 90%, but this movie surprisingly do.

Since I am a skeptical, I hardly doubt those ratings are real, I hardly think production has not paid some people to manipulate Rotten Tomatoes ratings.

Firstly, this movie does not at all deserve to be on cinemas, it does not deserve to be on television, it is not worth any money at all.

Secondly, this movie has been classified wrong! It is not a drama, action & thriller movie as implied in some websites. It is a drama movie only with no action or thriller at all.

Thirdly, this movie costed $20 million dollars of production and it won $3.2 million dollars (that's too much for such a movie). I'm not surprised such movie ended with a loss, but I am surprised it costed $20 million dollars. The number seems extremely huge since only few trucks have been crashed in the movie, there are not too many actors, 20 million is too much.

I'd like to also note that it has a rating of R. Also the MPAA rating is wrong, because the movie has 0 rape scenes, has 0 torture scenes, barely a graphic language ("f*ck", "b*tch") only, and it has no strong violent scenes, it shows 0 wounds from any gunshots.

This movie is a bummer and should not be watched by anyone.


Monday, November 17, 2014

Why Courage the Cowardly dog show is a sad show

Courage the cowardly dog is my favorite cartoon show and courage is my favorite cartoon character of all the time.  It was written, produced, and created by American animator John R. Dilworth.  The show is about a dog named Courage and his owners, Muriel and Eustace, facing rather strange and supernatural creatures in their home in The Middle of Nowhere (fictional Nowhere, KS). Courage the Cowardly Dog is very much known for its surrealism and sense of horror more than its humor. The show was canceled on November 22, 2002. Despite the show's reputation of it being comedy/horror, I can remember sad episodes and moments:

  • Observe the relationship between Eustace and his mother, both of them cruel, cold people. Eustace is the way he is due to his mother, and, if one episode in particular is anything to go by, his mother was made this way by a loved one too. Two of the biggest rude and impolite people in the show are the result of a cycle of abuse.

  • Remembrance of Courage Past episode: which shows how Courage met Muriel. Especially with the revelation that his parents were put on a rocket and shot into space by a sadistic vet, with Courage outside the rocket trying to stop it. He escapes the vet by going down a trash chute and you see him land in a dumpster, and he waves to the rocket flying away. Muriel finds courage with panties crying near the garbage and she adopts him

  • The Curse of Shirley, where a hallucinating Eustace takes pity on a young version of himself. Eustace, by all means the biggest selfish jerk ever portrayed on any Cartoon Network show. Eustace: "No hat? That's not right, little boy without a... a little boy should have a hat." It's even more sad if you consider that Eustace was seeing this through a mirror that was meant to show one's true self. It was broken beforehand, but it may have been shown that Eustace is, deep down inside, a sad man who lashes out at everyone due to a painful childhood.

  • The Queen Of the Black Puddle, a ghastly woman charms Eustace and takes him to her world, and no surprisingly, Courage doesn't give a damn, and he has all the right not to. But he then sees how Muriel is devastated by having her husband taken from her, crying her heart out, and Courage realizes he'd rather put up with Eustace's crap for the rest of his life than to see his benevolent owner suffer. The episode makes it very clear (or sad) to see that Courage saves Eustace, even though he doesn't deserve it, because his love for Muriel spoke louder than his dislike of Eustace.

  • The Hunchback of Nowhere: A lonely and deformed hunchback goes from door to door just seeking shelter only to be called ugly or a freak by everyone, including Eustace, and having them slam the door in his face. He and Courage build a friendship that's both heartwarming and as Courage shows the poor soul kindness for once in his life. And the climax only adds to this: as Courage and the Hunchback put on a show for Muriel, Eustace tries to ruin it. The Hunchback's response? He puts on a Eustace mask and forces him to see himself for who he is, which is only more heartrending when you realize that it's not just Eustace: it's for all the people who have said he's just a freak.

  • Now the saddest episode of courage the cowardly dog is this one, without doubt it is the most thematic, dark, and realistic episode of the show: The Mask.  The episode is a perfect example of how this show is not just for kids, it portrays several serious themes, such as feminismdomestic abuseprostitution, and homosexuality.  A mysterious cat named Kitty, dressed in a strange white mask, finds Courage's place, sits on dinner,  explaining that her friend Bunny is being abused by a gangster dog named Mad Dog, and that she hates dog.  Kitty tried to get Bunny to run away with her but Mad Dog finds out and tries to kill KittyKitty takes out her rage on Courage (Who is also a dog). Courage ends up rescuing Bunny from Mad Dog and reuniting her with an unmasked KittyKitty’s last line is: “I was wrong, Bunny. Not all dogs are bad. Now we can be best friends forever.” Kitty's hatred for dogs and Bunny's abuse are strong elements, and the most grim the series has seen. Replace the word “Dog” with “Man” and re-read the above, you will see the main message is clear. This episode is about more than the implied lesbian relationship between Kitty and Bunny. It’s about hiding from reality, about domestic violence, it’s about acceptance, and it’s about hate crimes.  

  • Now, the most creepy character in the show is indeed is Fred, featured in one episode which portrays two dark themes, rape and pedophilia.  Fred is Muriel’s nephew and a barber (a crazy one at that as it says on his wristband). He has an unusual obsession with shaving hair, which might be an indicator of a rapist. What makes him a pedophile is that he does forcefully shaves Courage in the bathroom where you hear a background music which turns into children singing in a creepy fashion. Second, he speaks in rhymes and mostly ends his thoughts with the word “naughty.”  He even has a poem, which got pulled off from courage wikia, because it sounded a lot naughty. This show is just not for kids.

I will forever love Courage. It is still one of the most well-made cartoons I've ever seen all my life, and definitely deserving of multiple awards; truly, it's a masterpiece. This topic was originally opened here.