Lucifer: Favorite Son – Wings (Review)

Watching the FOX series Lucifer, where God’s favorite son leaves his hellish post to mingle with humans and stores his wings in a cargo container in a storage warehouse on the docks, it is hard to believe that Satan is so enamored of becoming mortal

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Watching the FOX series Lucifer, where God’s “favorite son” leaves his hellish post to mingle with humans and stores his wings in a cargo container in a storage warehouse on the docks, it is hard to believe that Satan is so enamored of becoming mortal. Since he left Hell, the world topside has not been too overly pleasant.

Sure Lucifer gets to do as he wants and can still punish the guilty but he has had his identity stolen, been shot and injured by the object of his fascination Chloe Decker and now his wings have been stolen. While the prior events were unrelated this latest insult has clearly been orchestrated by one of two “entities.”

Either Mazikeen or Amenadiel (or the two together) must be behind the theft of what Lucifer tried so hard to keep safe. Certainly the angel, Amenadiel, is working a subtle attack on Morningstar by getting under the skin of Linda his shrink and willing sex partner. The sneaky Amenadiel provides the doc with enough religious training to really work on Lucifer.

As has been pointed out before, the Amenadiel of the series is much less violent and bloodthirsty than the one Neil Gaiman and co created for the comics.   Thus far the only time the angel has attacked anything was when he went “fist city” with Mazikeen, aka, the devil’s ninja.

Maze is suspect number two as Lucifer’s protector is desperate to get him back in Hell where he belongs. Although this theft is, like the depiction of Amenadiel in this version of the verse, too subtle by half.

Favorite Son opens with Tom Ellis’ Lucifer pounding the ivories and singing the Nina Simon song Sinner Man  while someone murders a security guard and steals Morningstar’s shipping container.   He later joins Decker (Lauren German) in her murder investigation only to leave when it proves to be boring.

“Just call me when you’ve got a murder with a pulse. Or at least someone good-looking.”

Decker is not amused and when Morningstar comes back, after learning about the theft of his property, she is even less amused.  Part of the storyline this week involves Decker and “Detective Douche” getting a bit friendlier. It also had Decker’s ex meeting Mazikeen and coming out second best.

Maze knocks him out, takes his clothes and puts him in a bed at Chloe’s house.  The end result is Trixie blackmailing her father for chocolate cake (for a year) to get him some clothes and not to tell her mom.

Lucifer insists upon calling Decker “partner” and he does take a proactive role in the investigation of his cargo container being stolen.  Chloe is not impressed and Morningstar has to apologize in order to question the Diablos.

At the biker hangout, they meet two of the gang, amongst others. Renny and the club’s leader Hank Cutter (Tom Sizemore) who, under the influence of Lucifer, admits that his true desire is to move into fashion. He also reveals that at 54 all the bike riding is enlarging his prostate. 

Later Cutter runs to confront Renny who killed the guard and took the container. Renny (Teach Grant) shoots Cutter and when Decker runs to the help the man, Lucifer chases the shooter down. There is a confrontation on a rooftop and after Renny explains that someone hired him to take Morningstar’s property, the killer jumps to his death. 

After the two “partners” recover the stolen container, Lucifer has a session with Linda.  She uses her new knowledge, provided by Amenadiel, and apart from annoying her  “client”  calls Morningstar “Samael the Lightbringer.” As Lucifer’s rage increases he punches through a cinderblock wall stunning the psychiatrist into shocked silence.

Favorite Son provides fresh insight into Chloe Decker’s acceptance of Lucifer as her “partner” when she admits to liking it when Morningstar helps on the cases, despite his “irritation” factor. Detective Douche, aka, Dan (Kevin Alejandro) appears to be pretty intent upon getting back with the mother of his child. 

The episode ended with a shirtless Lucifer standing on a rooftop drinking and raging about the theft of his wings.  The series airs Mondays on FOX, tune in and prepare to have a devil of a time watching this comic adaptation.

Lucifer: Sweet Kicks – Gangs and Fashion (Review)

Lucifer: Sweet Kicks has a plot dealing with gangs and fashion, as well as Mazikeen showing her true self and Amenadiel preparing to fight dirty in his bid to get Morningstar back into Hell.

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Lucifer: Sweet Kicks has a plot dealing with gangs and fashion, as well as Mazikeen showing her true self and Amenadiel preparing to fight dirty in his bid to get Morningstar back into Hell.  Lucifer attends Benny Choi, former gang member and a “kicks” designer who the former ruler of Hell did a favor, back in the day.

After the show finishes shots are fired and a young girl dies, trampled to death by the panicking audience.  Lucifer talks Chloe’s boss into letting him help to bring the person responsible for the girl’s death to justice.  Using his, “your deepest desire superpower” he gets permission to accompany Decker as she works the case.

Lucifer is excited at the possibility of getting hurt and being caught up in the middle of a gang turf war.  Decker is not pleased about her new partner and after he mentions the thrill of pain, she slaps him.

“That hurt!”

“Do it again.”

The new team talk to Benny and his right-hand man, ex-Marine Hector.   Choi reveals his gang origins and the presence of  the “latin king” gang. Lucifer also tells Decker that he is responsible for Choi’s success via one of his favors.

Lucifer and Chloe head to a local cop bar where they run into an old enemy who insults Decker. Morningstar  then breaks the other cop’s nose and the duo leave.  Before the punch, Lucifer explains about his favor system.

Maze meets with Amenadiel in an effort to get Lucifer back into Hell, where she wants to return.  She tells the angel about Linda, Morningstar’s pet doctor.

Dan, aka Detective Douche, turns up at Lux to remind Lucifer that his new partner is also the mother of his child. He tells Morningstar to calm down before she gets hurt.

The “Starsky and Hutch” team end up questioning the main suspect Yellow Viper after speaking with a couple of Latin Kings who turn up, with the whole gang,  during the Q&A session and a shootout is only just averted by Maze getting involved.

Interesting points:

Lucifer rather nastily reminds Mazikeen that it is her job to protect him whether she wants to or not.

Maze completely destroying, with broken bones and contusions aplenty, the Latin Kings, but Chloe knocking out the one member still standing.

Linda, turning out to have a thing for angels as well as devils.

Final thoughts:

The storyline has Benny Choi as the bad guy. He arranges to frame the real talent, Yellow Viper who just got out of prison and Hector, Choi’s assistant turns his boss in after forcing to kill the pet pig “Pig Diddy.”  (Oh those sentimental gangsters…)

Lucifer’s favor looks set to make Chloe’s boss the new chief and  Chloe proves that her gut instincts are pretty reliable.

It should also be pointed out that the episode title; Sweet Kicks has a dual meaning. Choi’s “kicks” and the sweet kicks that Lucifer is experiencing with the possibility of being hurt.

Apart from Lucifer’s line about “do it again,” Decker gets “line of the episode” with her:

“Your bartender’s a ninja…Of course she is.”

This week has no further injuries of Lucifer by Chloe.  He is still excited at the prospect of “becoming more mortal” and Mazikeen is still annoyed that Morningstar will not return willingly to Hell. Amenadiel is still pretty low key, compared to the comics but he is zeroing in on Linda for a “fluid exchange.”

At the end of the episode, Benny is treated to a look at the real Lucifer, something that Morningstar never seems to tire of.  Later, after Chloe gives Lucifer the slip, Mazikeen stops by the cop’s house for a visit. Showing her true appearance, to the camera but not Decker, it is clear that Lucifer’s protector is jealous after all.

Tom EllisLauren GermanLesley-Ann Brandt and D.B. Woodside are all working well together in this television version of the comic book devil.  Ellis brings a huge amount of naughty fun to his Lucifer Morningstar and the chemistry between the actor and German is spot-on.

Brandt manages to work very well with both her co-stars, in terms of chemistry, playing brilliantly off both  Woodside and Ellis.  

Lucifer airs Mondays on FOX.  Tune in for a look at this version of the character created by Neil Gaiman, Sam Kieth and Mike Dringenberg.

Lucifer: Review Manly Whatnots

Lucifer, in Manly Whatnots, continues to chronicle the changes in the absent ruler of Hell

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Lucifer, in Manly Whatnots, continues to chronicle the changes in the absent  ruler of Hell.Chloe Decker (Lauren German) is coming ever closer to realizing that Lucifer Morningstar is not like other men, remembrances of being shot along with memories of things that do not add up, have the detective asking questions.

While Morningstar (Tom Ellis) is still obsessed with getting Decker to sleep with him, she is still impervious to his influence. This frustrates and confuses the former ruler of Hell.  It is apparent that Lucifer does not just lust after Chloe but that he cares about her as well, this may be the reason his powers of persuasion are not effective.

Just as Lucifer is still fascinated by Chloe, so too is her daughter Trixie (Scarlett Estevez), much to his consternation.  After showing up uninvited to make Decker breakfast, her estranged husband, “Detective Douche” (Kevin Alejandro) shows up and is none too pleased to find Lucifer there while his “wife” is wearing only a towel.

The mystery this week deals with a corn-fed girl next door who has gone missing after attending a Player party.  Lucifer becomes a partner in the investigation as his name in on the invitation only event’s list of attendees.  Player is a “pickup artist” seminar where the owner Carver Cruz (Christopher Marquette) teaches the world’s inept men to how “bed Betties.” 

The missing girl, Lindsay (Bailey Noble) had travelled to LA with her brother and after meeting Cruz, disappears.  At the event, Carver gives his spiel to the punters until Lucifer stands up and questions his advice. 

Sidenote: Lucifer manages to get a bit of Brit slang into the show when he calls Cruz “a wanker.” This may be an ad-lib by Ellis or a bit of fun by the show’s writers. 

Complaining that he has all the attributes that Cruz is teaching yet Chloe will still not have sex with him, he manages to get them both kicked out of the event.  Later, they show up at the “after” party and Carver pulls a gun explaining that “someone” has kidnapped Lindsay Jolson, whom he loves.

Manly Whatnots then has Lucifer interceding on Cruz’s behalf  to get his kidnapped  girl back.  At the ransom drop, it is revealed that Lindsay and her brother set up Cruz as an act of revenge. As Lucifer goes to punish the girl for her actions, Chloe notices the “change” where Morningstar’s visage changes to that of a scary-looking monster versus charming chappy.

While all the investigations and Lucifer’s angsty reactions to Chloe’s rejections are occurring,  Amenadiel (D.B. Woodside) drops by to have a tête-à-tête with Maze Lesley-Ann Brandt that turns into physical combat. The bemused angel tells Mazikeen:

“You can’t hurt me little demon.”

While this may be true, Mazikeen can “affect” the angel. She proves this by “sexily” licking Amenadiel’s lip and the effect is obvious. He feels something and it concerns him. Clearly, Lucifer being away from Hell has caused more things to change than just Morningstar’s personality.

On top of Amenadiel’s reaction, Morningstar discovers that it is  not just his attitude that has changed. During the episode climax, where he starts to punish Lindsay, he pushes Chloe to shoot him.

Earlier in the episode, Lucifer repeatedly tells Decker that he cannot be harmed by bullets (flicking the cop on the arm to show how little it hurts). When Chloe shoots Morningstar not only does it hurt him, but he bleeds as well. After this incident, Lucifer is concerned as he knows this should not happen.

When he returns to Lux and Maze learns of the injury, she  is concerned as well.

This adaptation of a DC spinoff offers characters from the verse that are a bit “watered down” from the source. Amenadiel is not nearly so violent or aggressive and Lucifer’s powers seem to be mainly that of persuading someone to follow their innermost desires.  The one constant is that the absentee ruler of Hell does not actually encourage humans to sin, i.e. be evil.

Lucifer also punishes those who are bad rather than collect their souls as “advertised” in literature.  Tom Ellis still manages to make Morningstar an excellent combination of charming annoyance, mainly due to his character’s overwhelming confidence.

German is allowing her character to arc satisfactorily as she slowly starts to accept that the owner of Lux may not be human.

A word of praise for  Tim Matheson, who has proven time and again how good he is in front of the camera in  a variety of roles in his prolific career, who helmed this episode.  Matheson shows that his equally impressive bona fides as director is, without question,  top notch as well.

It could be said that so far, each episode of Lucifer  has a moral for the viewer by the end of the show. This week, it appears to be that  “two wrongs do not make a right.”

Lucifer airs Mondays on FOX. Tune in to see where this dark DC adaptation goes next.

Lucifer: Season One – Binging on Satan in the City of Angels (Review)

Using a premise that is not too different from the 1934 Frederick March film Death Takes a Holiday, where death takes three days off from the business of dispensing death, falls in love and suffers a personal dilemma, Lucifer

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Using a premise that is not too different from the 1934 Frederick March film  Death Takes a Holiday, where death takes three days off from the business of dispensing death, falls in love and suffers a personal dilemma, Lucifer tells of Satan taking time off from running Hell and taking up residency  in the City of Angels.  Having missed this popular fantasy when it first debuted, it was deemed necessary to binge on the first three episodes to see what all the fuss was about.

Starring  Miranda love interest Tom Ellis (a Welsh actor who is equally at home doing comedy as fantasy) as the title character, the series asks what would happen if Lucifer left Hell, against his Father’s wishes, and lived topside, as it were.

What would he get up to? How would living amongst the human population that, once dead, have a good chance of ending up in his old domain affect him? It also asks the question of why cop Chloe Dancer (Lauren German) cannot be affected by “the devil.”

Lucifer Morningstar owns a nightclub and seems pretty benevolent with those who he has helped. While he enjoys himself amongst the living, with his sidekick Mazikeen (Lesley-Ann Brandt), angel Amenadiel (D.B. Woodside, who played, amongst other roles, Principal Wood on Buffy the Vampire Slayer) comes by periodically to warn his opposite number that the longer he stays out of Hell, the more things are in danger of being messed up badly.

The series thus far has dealt with a number of murders, punishment for those who deserve it and Lucifer’s increasing fascination with Detective Dancer. Morningstar is less enamored of Dancer’s daughter Trixie (played with adorable cuteness by Scarlett Estevez) and the cop’s ex-husband (dubbed Detective Douche by Lucifer) Dan (Kevin Alejandro).

Lucifer  benefits from a number of brilliant guest stars, in the first three episodes there are a couple of familiar, and talented, actors who stop by. In episode 103,  Richard T. Jones (Event Horizon, Collateral) plays an unscrupulous football agent and in episode 102, Jeremy Davies (Lost, Justified) plays a paparazzo under suspicion for murder.

In some ways the show feels almost like a Castle knock-off, but with the reluctant detective being teamed up with Satan versus a writer. Another difference is that Lucifer does not have official permission to tag along on cases, he just manipulates his way there. He is, after all, Satan and highly persuasive.

Ellis manages to give his holidaying devil an impish feel. The ruler of Hell is delighted to be “out and about” while, at the same time, developing emotions and feelings that should be anathema to the angel cast from heaven.

In the three episodes on offer so far, Lucifer is learning what having a conscience means, has suffered from guilt and starts to focus less on punishment and more on justice.  In terms of relationships with people,  he has not changed his feelings for Trixie, he is becoming fond of her mother.

The Welsh actor brings a keen sense of comedy to the role along with sizable acting chops that enable him to make his devil likable with just enough of an “edge” to make him occasionally  a little disturbing.  Despite this harsh side, Ellis’ Lucifer is compelling and a little addictive. Woodside’s Amenadiel is humorless and uptight compared to his “brother.”

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Lucifer and Det. Dancer…

German, as the former actress turned cop, is also a bit uptight and humorless but for entirely different reasons. Her mother was a film actress of note (B films) and Dancer’s one foray into the film world resulted in a topless scene that she would rather forget.

Lesley-Ann Brandt’s sidekick role as Mazikeen places her as an evil Jiminy Cricket, where she attempts to lead Satan back into Hell, or at least to act that bit more…devilish.

Lucifer being set in Los Angeles is nigh on perfect for this fantasy, and oddly procedural, show.  Having Satan solve crimes with his reluctant partner, who remains unmoved by Lucifer’s influences, is set against his personal evolution generated by his being in the “real” world.

Show creator Tom Kapinos, who somewhat amazingly started on Dawson’s Creek has come up with a brilliant show that features two impressive stars, German and Ellis and a fascinating storyline.  Lucifer airs Mondays on FOX. Catch this one, it is different and very much outside the box and,  once you have watched it, you too will be saying “I love Luci…”

The Divide (2011): Claustrophobic Chaos

Directed by Xavier Gens (Hitman) and written by Karl Mueller and  Eron Sheean, The Divide stars Michael Biehn, Milo Ventimiglia, Rosanna Arquette, Lauren German, Courtney B. Vance, Michael Eklund, Ashton Holmes, Iván González and Abbey Thickson as Wendi.

The film opens with German looking out a tall rise building’s stairwell window watching things that are flying through the air and landing on the ground, exploding. A crowd of people are on the stairwell and they are all rushing to get out of the building.

Seven of this “crowd” make it to the basement door which is being closed by Mickey (Biehn). He yells that there is no more room, but the seven survivors push their way in. Mickey then locks the door.

Mickey explains that he is in charge and they need to follow his orders if they want to survive. When the group first arrive they are distracted by noises outside the door. Soon after a group of men in bio-hazard suits force their way into the basement.

They are armed and they focus on Wendi (Thickson) and take her forcibly from her mother Marilyn (Arquette). After two of the men leave with the now inoculated girl in a bag the remaining men go through the basement to kill the rest of the group. Devlin (Vance) beats one to death with a steel pipe and Mickey stabs the other to death. Collecting their guns, Mickey again asserts his leadership role.

Josh (Ventimilgia), aided by Bobby (Eklund) and Adrien (Holmes) puts on one of the bio-hazard suits and goes out the door to see what is going on. When he gets outside he finds that their building is attached to a sealed tunnel which leads to a lab. There he finds Wendi stored behind a closed-door with a glass window on it and an air tube taped to her mouth.

The world is burning.

Josh is spotted as an outsider and has to flee; he shoots two of the other men in the bio-suits, drops his gun and runs back to the basement. Once he gets inside, the people outside the basement weld the door shut. Now that the group are sealed in, the already strained relationship in this disparate group of survivors falls apart.

Mistrust, paranoia, and psychosis are the rule of the day and there is a race to see who will die from radiation poisoning and who will die of violence instigated by each other.

Xavier Gens has started the film in a hurry. The bombs dropping, the mass panic, the people desperate to save themselves and their loved ones all happen quickly. So fast, in fact, that when the few people make it into the basement we are not sure who they are.

A nuclear holocaust, The Divide tells us, makes for strange bedfellows (or basement buddies) and just as in real life, we don’t know who we’ll be sharing that “last” shelter with or if we’ll even get along with them or like them. In keeping with the theme of strangers “helping” strangers, we know very little about any of the survivors.

In this little scenario, the apocalypse has put everyone under the care of the building superintendent, Mickey. He is not pleased to see these folks encroach on his safe haven. Obviously a bit of a “survivalist” Mickey, it seems, has been preparing for this kind of thing since at least 9-11.

Throughout the course of this film we are privy to murder, rape, attempted rape, torture and a lot of tension and violence. Watching this film may make you want to make sure you are armed when you find that little hidey-hole to hunker down in; especially if you have to share it with a group like this one.

This is a thought-provoking film. It asks the viewer to think about how far they would go to save themselves or a loved one. It touches lightly on taboo subjects and just how much we don’t trust strangers.

Gens tells us that not getting turned into an instant crispy critter might actually be worse than dying in the initial conflagration. Like rats that become too crowded in lab experiments, the occupants of the basement turn on each other. It doesn’t help that one (Marilyn) lost the plot when she lost her daughter and that Bobby and Josh are two giant ass-holes on legs.

The two men are as full of attitude as you can possibly be and not be in prison. You get the feeling that these two had probably been in the middle of knocking over the local 7-11 when the bombs began dropping.

Milo Ventimilgia seems to be making a “new” career of playing downright nasty characters. His Josh is the polar opposite of his nurse-turned-super-hero, Peter Patrelli in TV’s Heroes. He was a pretty unpleasant chap in the 2008 film Pathology and he is even more despicable in The Divide.

There’s no saving the cheerleader here.

Michael Biehn does his usual good job and it was especially nice to see Rosanne Arquette again. The last thing I’d seen her in was Pulp Fiction and while I’m sure she has been busy, I just haven’t seen her on-screen for ages. I’ve always had a bit of a crush on Ms Arquette; ever since I saw her in Desperately Seeking Susan.

Everyone does a great job in the film and the whole thing looks like it should. In case you were wondering the apocalypse will be dark, dank, and dirty. Food will be in short supply and you probably will not like the folks you wind up with. The movie is grim and utterly devoid of humour; which, if you think about, probably would not exist in great abundance.

Checking on IMDb, they gave it a 5.8%. I’m not arguing that this figure is wrong, but despite its dirty message, I found that it was a difficult film to watch. The only character I actually felt sorry for was Arquette’s, but that did not last long; once she ventured off into the darker reaches of her mind, I could not maintain my sympathy.

Lauren German  as Eva was the only other female in the group and she seemed too wishy-washy and  self-centred for me to really connect with and while I did not “like” Biehn’s character I could at least understand where he was coming from.

I watched this on Netflix and that is just what I’d recommend anyone else do. A more depressing and disturbing take on surviving a nuclear holocaust might be out there, but if so, I haven’t seen it. Watching the film’s descent into claustrophobic chaos is like watching a slow filthy trolley on its way to hell.

My one big tip about watching this movie is if you aren’t in a good mood don’t watch it. I think if you were depressed before the film started you might just need therapy after watching this downbeat film.

Survivalist Mickey…
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