Gotham: Burn the Witch – Penguin vs Fish Mooney (Review)

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Gotham “Burn the Witch” picks up after Bruce Wayne’s kidnapping by the owl lady.  Kidnapping aside, this episode was really all about the ladies of Gotham City.  It may have boiled down to Penguin versus Fish Mooney at the end, but it also took a look at just how many strong females there are in the series.

Valerie Vale, the newest addition to the current  line up of powerful women already in the show, proves that she belongs here. Her double-cross of Gordon was pretty impressive. Apparently Jim thinks so too as he moves to kiss her later on.

Fish and her team of “monsters” overpower the GCPD, although five do go down, and she manages to find Hugo Strange with the help of Harvey.  Her muscle girls kidnap Bullock and he leaves his  badge behind as a clue.

Gordon and Barnes realize that Mooney is going after Strange and  they both head out to save Harvey.  Vales is not far behind and they are joined by Cobblepot, Butch and an angry mob.

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Ivy comes out of the bay disheveled and very different. The Pepper girl has grown up in the blink of an eye. She has also turned a tad protective over plants.  Her savior, the guy who gives her a class of water and his former wife’s clothes, ends up on the floor with a flower pot upside his head.

Fish forces Hugo to help her.  As the police and Barnes hold off the angry mob, Gordon sneaks into the mansion via a side door. He orchestrates an escape for Mooney with Penguin. As Oswald leads his mob in an attack on the front  door, Fish, Strange and Marv sneak out the back.

Penguin catches Mooney dead to rights and she manages to talk him down. “Umbrella Boy” lets her go in the end but he does tell her never to return. After the mob force their way into the mansion, the two muscle girls end up dying. Even with all their advantages and superior strength, they are no match for the sheer number of angry Gotham vigilantes.

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Harvey and Fish

Jim Gordon and Valerie Vale lock lips  later as Leslie “Lee” Thompkins returns to Gotham. She looks sizzlingly  hot in steam as she disembarks from the train.

As well as all these powerful women in Gotham, Bruce Wayne has to promise that he will stop investigating the corruption of Wayne Enterprises, Indian Hill and the murder of his parents.  Alfred guesses correctly that other people were threatened.

Later the two are talking about dancing lessons when the Bruce doppelgänger enters the mansion through a window.

It looks like the new lookalike will become part of a bigger plan, perhaps to get around the agreement that Master Brucee was forced into.  There could still be  shades of “The Man in the Iron Mask” this season.

By the end of the episode, Penguin versus Mooney finishes with Fish getting to live. Cobblepot is a hero to the people and Hugo may wish he had never given Mooney those powers.

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Valerie Vale

Right now the big question is whether Jim will stick with his new playmate Valerie now that Lee is back in town.  Although it may not be too much of a struggle unless Vale decides to fight for Gordon.

It has to be said that Barbara manages to practically steal the entire episode with her “baby carriage” dream.  Disturbing but oh, so funny.

Gotham airs Mondays on FOX.

CAST:

Deadpool (2016): Marvel for the Big Kids (Review)

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It has been along time coming but at long last Hollywood, or more accurately FOX, have made a  Marvel action film  for the big kids. The ones who can get into a ‘R’ rated feature without being carded.  Deadpool, aka Wade Wilson, joined the super anti-hero verse in the 1990s so this fourth wall breaking sensation is a new kid on the Marvel block.

Deadpool the movie opened to great box office and better than average reviews and has already been greenlit for a sequel and possible crossover with Spiderman in 2017.  This should come as no surprise as the film delivers as many laughs as it does action and obliterates the fourth wall completely.

The character of Wade Wilson goes beyond referencing pop culture in an accepted sense. He also references his own  as the actor who plays him;  Ryan Reynolds.  On the way to his cancer treatment, which will give him superpowers, the future Deadpool insists that his superhero suit not be green or animated. (Green Lantern, Reynolds’ previous superhero film that  failed to live up to expectations is the punchline here.)

Other  in-joke references includes  Deadpool’s response to Colossus, of the X-Men, who handcuffs the antihero to his own wrist and says they will speak with the professor.  Wilson asks, “Which one? McAvoy or Stewart?”  Later, back on the X-Men theme, Deadpool goes to the professor’s college.

He asks Colossus and Negasonic Teenage Warhead (Brianna Hildebrand) for help rescuing his lady love, Vanessa (Morena Baccarin).  As an aside he ponders why they are the only two X-men in the facility. He muses that one would almost think that the studio could not afford more of the heroes. 

Reynolds chortles, chuckles and wisecracks his way through the film and he is what makes the whole thing work.  Although, disturbingly, without his mask, after his character’s transformation,  Wilson looks like John Malkovich with a bad skin condition.  

There is much more to the film than the tongue in cheek humor, in jokes and annihilation of the fourth wall.  Action, some brilliant fight scenes and actors who all know what they are doing take this films to great heights.  (London actor Ed Skrein plays his character dead straight (pun intended) and it works brilliantly in contrast to Reynolds’ comic interpretation of Wade.) 

Skrein does appear to channel his inner Vinnie Jones though and this too works well for the film.

That Deadpool was made for the big kids who love the Marvel verse is obvious by all the self referential humor.  The focus on IKEA and Stan Lee in his Marvel cameo as the emcee of a pole dancing club where Vanessa works points to giggles for the older audience members. (Although not too old as that demographic favor The Avengers and  and Iron Man…)

In many ways the film is a parody wrapped in a satire wrapped in a “Three Stooges” movie. Deadpool often veers into Bill and Ted territory with the odd detour into  “Dude, Where’s My Car?” although, once again this mix works well.

Everything about the movie works. The comedy routines, even the crackhouse bit at the end where Vanessa picks out that Deadpool lives in a house, all hit the nail on the head.  The music,  a splendid mixture of rap and ’80s pop, is perfect and makes each scene flow beautifully.

Tim Miller does an excellent job directing  his first feature length film and is already penciled in to helm  Deadpool 2.

This is a 5 star effort that proves  comedy works even if the picture is rated ‘R.’  Deadpool, aka Wade Wilson may be a newer member of the Marvel verse but he was designed for the big kids to enjoy.  Check this one out, it is streaming on a multitude of sites an is well worth the time spend to watch it, over and over.

Cast:

  • Ryan Reynolds  –  Wade Wilson/Deadpool
  • Ed Skrein  –  Ajax/Francis
  • Stefan Kapicic  –  Colossus 
  • Morena Baccarin  –  Vanessa
  • Leslie Uggams  –  Blind Al
  • Gina Carano  –  Angel Dust
  • Brianna Hildebrand – Negasonic Teenage Warhead

Gotham: Worse Than a Crime (Review)

Aw Gotham. How do I love thee? Worse than a Crime was season two’s most epic episode with everything being nigh-on perfect in every way. From the lovely twist(s) in relation to the Bruce Wayne and Silver St Cloud storyline, to the Sam Peckinpah “walk” where this Wild Bunch are made up of an army of shotguns versus four.

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Aw Gotham. How do I love thee? Worse than a Crime was season two’s most epic episode to date with everything being nigh-on perfect in every way.  From the lovely twist(s) in relation to the Bruce Wayne and Silver St Cloud storyline, to the Sam Peckinpah “walk” where this “Wild Bunch” are made up of an army of shotguns versus four.  Granted, it stood to reason that young Master Wayne was not going to die, Bruno Heller would not go that far, but the episode practically sang a pitch-perfect tale of madness and comedy.

Sean Pertwee, as Alfred got the lion’s share of the comedic moments.

  1. Hiding in the freezer only to have a ton of additional rubbish dumped on the lid after escaping Tabby and her henchmen, “Oh bloody hell…”
  2. Apologizing to the driver he has just pulled out of the car that Alfred wishes to commandeer only to be tased in the  puss by one of GCPD’s finest.
  3. Interrupting Penguin’s diatribe about how Galavan must die:  “Rabbit, Rabbit, Rabbit. Can we just stop the “Bunny” and get in there chaps?”

*Sidenote* In English (as in the Queen’s English) to “Rabbit on” is to talk too much or too long. It is also the name of a song by Chas and Dave (1981) titled “Rabbit” about a girlfriend who talks too much…

Nygma, played with such maniacal panache by Cory Michael Smith, also has his fair share of amusing moments. The duet he sings with Penguin (Robin Lord Taylor)  with that smile and later when he tells Lee “Is your lover-man alive? Go to Grundy. 805.” In every instance, in this episode, Smith exudes a clear delight in his schizophrenic madness whenever he is on screen that is just so compelling. All the more so in his later scenes with Bullock and Fox.

Stand out moments:

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Lee: “Don’t speak.”

Lee arguing with her “lover-man” in front of Penguin and his evil minion:

Lee: “You’re on the run from the law. You want to attack the mayor with the help of a depraved sociopath. That’s not crazy?

Penguin: “I can hear you.”

Lee: :Shh! Don’t speak.” 

Tabitha “owning” Theo. Not once, but twice.

Young Bruce Wayne “owning” Silver.  It is obvious that Alfred clearly underestimated his young charge’s abilities dramatically when he warned the boy that he was not able to deal with Silver’s deceptive qualities. The kid is a “playa…”

Speaking of the ladies who are loyal to young Wayne, Cat’s helping to get the gang into Galavan’s lair was also special, that look she drops Alfred…

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Her look says it all…

Last, but not least, the shot of Galavan’s lifeless body being “unwrapped” by Ms, Peabody with Penguin’s umbrella shoved halfway down Theo’s throat.

While singing the praises of this particular Gotham storyline finale,  mad props go to director Jeffrey G. Hunt who “got it in one.” It also needs to be pointed out that despite Bruno Heller’s need to play fast and loose with the Batman verse, pre the caped crusader, there was no real suspense in the episode. Bruce Wayne was not going to die, nor was Alfred…although it was  bit iffy there for a little while.

Thoughts:

May Michael Chiklis’ character not wake up from Penguin’s perfectly timed bash in the head. Captain Barnes is getting old very fast, like the dinosaur he so resembles the new captain needs to be retired…yesterday.

Who is doing Morena Baccarin‘s makeup?? Was there a conscious decision to make her look like a younger Teri Hatcher? Morena is a gorgeous actress who does need to be remade into an “escapee from Desperate Housewives” lookalike.

Kudos on allowing Harvey Bullock the punch line of the episode. The gag; all the good guys and bad ones, having to take what looks like an eternal staircase up to save Bruce Wayne from being executed by the mad monks of Dumas.  Partway up, Bullock stops, breathing heavily and says he catch up.

After all the monks have been killed, or shot, the head chap leaps toward Gordon and is shot mid-leap by Bullock (Donal Logue) who has just arrived in the room. With a slight grin, Bullock says:

“That was a lot of stairs.”

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Harvey gets the punch line…

Bravo to Heller, the writers and the cast for killing it in this episode.  How can one not adore Ben MacKenzie’s Jim Gordon? At the end of the episode, before the umbrella reveal, Gordon is sitting on a bench with his paramour and in the least romantic way possible asks Lee to marry him. She smiles, but does not answer…

Does the dark man who shot Galavan, allowed Penguin to beat his mother’s murderer to a pulp with a baseball bat and teamed up with gangsters to save Bruce Wayne really think Lee will say yes?

Thinking about it, he probably does.  Heller and MacKenzie have given us a pre-role model that could have given a grown up Bruce Wayne lessons in being dark,  torn and twisted inside while fighting for justice.  One last observation/question: Did anyone else break out in goosebumps when Mr. Freeze showed up at the end?

Gotham airs Mondays on FOX. Tune in for the madness and near perfection with an unforgettable cast of characters.

Gotham: Mommy’s Little Monster – Two Become One (Review)

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So, in Gotham’s latest episode, Mommy’s Little Monster, it turns out that Butch has indeed been cured and Nygma proves that two can become one, all it took was taking Ms. Kringle out of the equation. Before looking at the episode overall,  a short pause (and a tear or two) may be in order for poor old deluded Gertrude Kapelput (played by the legendary performer Carol Kane).  

Can there be a dry eye in the house after Penguin’s mother was reunited with her boy only to die at the hand of Tabitha Galavan? Speaking of Tabitha (Jessica Lucas), who’s a clever girl then? Not just a homicidal maniac with S&M tendencies and a gorgeous visage but someone well versed in breaking down brainwashed muscle, in the form of Butch (Drew Powell).

 Who knew?

Theo did and while he has a sister and a niece who “have his back,”  the trio have a bad habit of making enemies of all the wrong people. Silver St. Cloud (Natalie Alyn Lind) may brag to her uncle that Bruce Wayne (David Mazouz) is wrapped around her little finger, but pissing off Selina Kyle, like Theo’s poorly thought out murder of Penguin’s mom, is going to bite someone in the butt sooner or later.

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This episode was the  highlight of Gotham’s second season. Butch almost getting whacked by Victor Zsasz (Anthony Carrigan) with Jim Gordon and Harvey Bullock standing  the hitman, and his crew, off with giant machine-guns, hundreds of Penguin lookalikes attempting to create enough of a diversion that the real deal could kill Theo, Tabitha taking out another Strike Force team member with her high heel  and, last but not least, the transformation of Mr. Nygma into The Riddler.

Cory Michael Smith as Nygma gives a great performance that is not out of place  with the over the top theme and action of this episode.   Bruno Heller threw everything into this one. Selina and Silver “duking it out” (verbally) with Kyle losing round one by being too blunt with Bruce and that smug grin from St. Cloud, who clearly knows that Selina is watching…

A real “heart stopping” moment occurs when Dr. Thompkins enters her office to discover Nygma standing over the woman he murdered.  It does really look like Morena Baccarin as Leslie Thompkins was about to be checked out of the show. On a sidenote, the eyes of the deceased Kringle, were very impressive and disturbing;  opaque and blindly staring, younger viewers may just have nightmares…

Previous to finding the body, by following his  own “?” clues, Nygma’s  struggling to find Kris Kringle’s body,  that his “other half” hid,  was brilliantly done. All accompanied by some great music (Closer to the Bone by Louis Prima & Sam Butera & The Witnesses) The lady fingers gag in the vending machine was priceless. All of the events in the GCPD led to the split personality becoming one when The Riddler tells his other self some home truths.  By the time the end credits roll a new villain is born.

Jim Gordon proves, yet again, that he cannot be bought. While he and Harvey have to save the new mayor from Penguin, the first “crusader” declares war on Galavan. Gordon figures out what Butch did not say, that Theo killed poor old addled Gertrude and that the bit of information that  Oswald imparted before his escape means that Galavan is not a good guy after all.

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Selina upsets Bruce with her warning about Silver.

The two men are now adversaries and both men have made it clear that the gloves are now off. Gotham’s ending belongs to Nygma, however, and his transformation into The Riddler. The man has now become the truly insane murderer who will plague a grown Bruce Wayne later.

Gotham airs Mondays on FOX. Tune in and join the OTT fun and chaos.

 

 

Gotham: By Fire – Killing Kris Kringle (Review)

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Things just took  a grim turn in Gotham. By Fire was an episode that turned out to be a bit rough on the female members of the juvenile criminal community.  Things also turned deadly for another female character who probably should have thought before freaking out in front of Mr. Nygma. Before the end credits roll things are very bleak and a particular bird-man is getting ready to take his troops out to rescue mommy.

Bruno Heller once agains teases us with his tendency to usher in characters that appear to be related to the DC Gotham verse. A female firefly was introduced and then, seemingly, discarded almost as quickly as Jerome “The Joker.” Although Bridgit Pike is not dead, the gender swap firefly has been sent to Indian Hill, a Wayne Enterprise facility where invasive testing, aka torture, of “monsters” is the rule of the day.

Poor Pike has been abused not just by her arsonist “family” but by Gotham’s finest as well. The kid looked to be ready to take on all those who bully and threaten the helpless only to get caught by Captain Barnes and the GCPD who wanted payback for the death of new Strike Force member Garrett.

The storyline for Pike (Michelle Veintimilla) was good. An abused and downtrodden girl whose adoptive family are a group of fire-bugs that bully her into submission. A little taste of power transforms the shy and awkward child into a homicidal human flame thrower.  Turns out the kid likes the power of the fire and the fear it induces and death it deals by her hand. 

Kudos to Veintimilla who pulls off the switch from timid victim to vengeful fire-starter effortlessly.  Her expressions give the viewer her thoughts and feelings, just as that one eye tells us that Firefly is terrified as she is being wheeled into Indian Hills.  This poor kid just cannot get a break. Just as she starts a little well-deserved payback to all those bullies, she is incarcerated with a fire proof body and destroyed visage.

Jim Gordon learns that his alliance with Captain Barnes is going to be an uncomfortable one. Barnes (Michael Chiklis) is a “black and white” cop. There is no grey in his view of the law, but as Gordon tells his new boss, “This is Gotham” if one were to look up grey in the dictionary, there would be a picture of the city in the definition.

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Cat tries to save her friend Bridgit.

Selena Kyle (Camren Bicondova) goes off the deep end when her friend Bridgit is kidnapped by her brothers. Getting tooled up she is approached by Gordon who promises her that if she lets the GCPD take care of things the girl will be protected. Sadly, Jim has made a promise he cannot keep, Barnes does not honor grey pledges. 

When the Strike Force head down to the meat market where Firefly is torching the owner/auctioneer and releasing the caged female captives, things go wrong. A stray shot, an angry youngster with fire at her disposal and an exploding police car means that Jim’s promise to Cat cannot be kept, even without Barnes’ insistence that Gordon was out of line.

The female Firefly goes up in flames and later Gordon will tell Kyle that the girl is not expected to “make it.” Selena swears off making friends with cops and this  presumably pushes her over the edge into full villainy. Bicondova kills it in her scenes with Bridgit and her slow tears in the scene with Ben MacKenzie as Gordon was an emotionally underplayed powerhouse performance.

As expected, Mr. Nygma (Cory Michael Smith) blows it pretty spectacularly with Kristen Kringle and he ends up killing the woman, even as he swears his love for her.  This was a doomed relationship from the start, Nygma was too socially inept to carry on a relationship with anyone, let alone the woman he killed for.  This was heavy in the irony department and one felt sorry for Kringle, who really was  a bad judge of character all around.

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Chelsea Spack as Kristen Kringle, sic transit Kris mundi…

Kringle really was an odd one, seems her admission to Lee (Morena Baccarin) that she really liked a bit of rough, was not true after all. Once Ed confesses he murdered the abusive cop Dougherty poor Kris freaks out, despite that fact that she and Nygma just had sex in his bed.  Cue one short exit for the woman who had very poor taste in men.

Butch manages to get into the employ of Galavan and becomes the plaything of Tabitha and Barbara. Later, sporting a mallet for a right hand, Butch is caught looking for Penguin’s mother. After being punished by Tabitha, the “Tiger Lady” locks him up. Gilzean (Drew Powellescapes and reveals where Gertrude Kapelput is being held and Penguin rounds up his troops for a rescue.

One does wonder if Butch has been turned by Theo’s sister as the big man stands in front of the fireplace while Penguin ratchets a shell into his shotgun and gestures for his men to go.  By the end of the episode, before we see poor Bridgit being wheeled into a room surrounded by screaming “monsters” and  the city of Gotham is full of some very unhappy people. Selena and Nygma (who is cradling the women he just murdered, screaming) are two characters whose destinies have been shaped by this episode.

Gotham airs Mondays on FOX. Tune in and catch the murder, madness and mayhem that Bruno Heller delivers on a regular basis. See just how Nygma’s killing of Kris Kringle turns out for the city and its denizens.