Tag Archives: review

Tea & Review: ‘The Shape of Water’ is Incandescent

{All images used courtesy Fox Searchlight Pictures.}

Note: this article was also published on Contents May Vary.

The Shape of Water, written by Guillermo del Toro & Vanessa Taylor, directed by Guillermo del Toro. Produced by Fox Searchlight Pictures. Copyright 2017. (Seen December 5, 2017.)

You ever read a book where the writing is so glorious it almost distracts from the plot of the book? Where you spend just as much time admiring the writing as you do thinking about the actual book? The Shape of Water is a gloriously filmed movie, with absolutely gorgeous cinematography — almost to the point of it being a distraction.

Set during the Cold War, The Shape of Water is del Toro’s take on the fairy tale. We are introduced to Elisa (Sally Hawkins), a mute woman. She works alongside Zelda (Octavia Spencer) during the night shift at a government facility as a cleaning woman. She lives with Giles (Richard Jenkins), a closeted gay man who does artwork for advertisements, watching musicals and variety shows on television. And every day is the same.

Every day is the same, that is, until Richard Strickland (Michael Shannon) is introduced, having acquired ‘the asset’ in South America for the facility to study. At first, we only see a container with water, with movements indicating some sort of creature. But one evening, Elisa is cleaning the room it is in, and meets him (Doug Jones).

At first, it’s a friendship: she sees him as a bit of a pet, trying to tame it and not wanting to see him hurt. But, this is at heart a fairy tale, and so the friendship turns to love as Elisa explains to Giles at one point that the amphibian man (as is listed on IMDB) is the only person to not care that she is mute, and sees her for who she is.

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Podcast Review: Ending the ‘Dinner Party’

Note: this article was also published on Contents May Vary.

The Dinner Party Download, produced by American Public Media, and hosted by Rico Gagliano and Brendan Francis Newnam. Was released weekly, with an approximate running time of 60 minutes. Started January 2012.

Back in October of this year, if you were near me at all, you would’ve heard me give out a tropey ‘big no’. You see, I had heard that one of my favorite podcasts, The Dinner Party Download, was ending in December. The last ‘live’ episode is set to be released this week.

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Tea & Review: Legends of Tomorrow, Season 3, Episode 1: Aruba-Con

When we last left our diamonds in the rough heroes of DC’s Legends of Tomorrow the team had seemingly “broken time”. Our original leader, Rip Hunter (Arthur Darvill) had given his leading position to Sara Lance (Caity Lotz).

Last season suffered without the presence of Mr. Hunter along with the plotlines that didn’t quite live up to season one.

However, from the get-go Rip Hunter is no longer trying to figure out his place among the Legends. Now, he’s graduated from time pirate to laced up Men in Black (or Blue?)

In a span of minutes… or five years (time is super fluid) Rip has found a new group to enforce his rules on now that the Legends have outgrown him.

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Tea & Review: A Suitable Girl

A Suitable Girl debuted at the Tribeca Film Festival on April 22nd 2017.

A Suitable Girl

Directors: Sarita Khurana and Smriti Mundhra

At the beginning of A Suitable Girl we come to the juxtaposition between two very stark moments in time.

As an audience, we are given a montage of images: an evolution of little Indian girls growing under the watchful eye of their families.

But the narration offers us what is to be their future. It is a blunt, sweeping attempt to angle us all in the proper direction: marriage.

There will eventually come a time where she will marry and leave her family behind.

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Tea & Review: Beauty and the Beast (2017)

Beauty and the Beast – Not Quite the Original

Beauty and the Beast (2017), stars Emma Watson as Belle and Dan Stevens as Beast/Prince Adam.  It is the newest live-action movie by Disney.  

Belle is also the third princess made into a live-action and the words “third time’s the charm” definitely rang true.

Beauty and the Beast hits a unique spot for both being modern and nostalgic fans who grew up with the 1991 version.

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Tea & Review: ‘Fish’ Podcast is the Ultimate Edutainment Experience

{All images used courtesy the No Such Thing as a Fish Facebook page.}

No Such Thing as a Fish
produced by BBC Two / QI
Hosted by James Harkin, Andrew Hunter Murray, Anna Ptaszynski, and Dan Schreiber.
Released weekly, with an approximate running time of 60 minutes.
Started March 2014.

Did you know that there is an American cricket team in Compton (as in ‘Straight Outta….’)? How about that symptoms of asthma can be treated with a roller coaster ride? And Leonardo da Vinci made sculptures out of marzipan and got angry when people ate them. These are just some of the fun facts you will learn when you start listening to the podcast No Such Thing as a Fish.

Started three years ago this month, the podcast is a byproduct of the British quiz show QI. Hosted by the researchers of said show, who are cheekily titled the QI Elves, the podcast combines the best of British humor and the fun parts of research and education.

Each week, the approximately hour long podcast is hosted by four of the Elves (mostly James Harkin, Andrew Hunter Murray, Anna Ptaszynski, and Dan Schreiber, although they occasionally have someone else come in for one of them). They each present their favorite fact they came across that week, and then discuss it. The topics range from somewhat serious to outright hilarious, and are always fascinating.

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Tea & Review: Sherlock’s ‘Problem’ is Aptly Named

{All images courtesy BBC One.}

Sherlock, series 4, episode 3, “The Final Problem”
Written by Mark Gatiss & Steven Moffat
(based on the works of Arthur Conan Doyle)
Directed by Benjamin Caron
Produced by BBC (in partnership with PBS Masterpiece)

So, in my last review of series 4 of Sherlock, I wrote that the television show was one of the rare pieces of media where I process my own thoughts through reading other reactions. This rings true so much more in this, what is framed as the last episode of the show. Not only the reviews from Indiewire, Vox, the Nerdist (which I apparently remembered the title from), The Guardian, The AV Club, The Mary Sue, and Just Add Color, but the plethora of responses from other fans as we all digested this last piece in the world of Sherlock. It made me reevaluate my place as a fan, and think about the show as a whole. Needless to say, this has major spoilers.

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Tea & Review: This ‘Detective’ Isn’t the Only Liar

{All images courtesy BBC One.}

Sherlock, series 4, episode 2, “The Lying Detective”
Written by Steven Moffat
(based on the works of Arthur Conan Doyle)
Directed by Nick Hurran
Produced by BBC (in partnership with PBS Masterpiece)

Sherlock co-creators Steven Moffat and Mark Gatiss have almost made a career out of outright admitting they are lying whenever they are interviewed with regards to plot points in Sherlock. Interview after interview, they state one thing, to only state in the next interview the exact opposite. Their argument, which does have a point, is that no one really wants to be spoiled as to the plot of the show or where it’s going. But rather than outright just stating ‘spoilers’ ala River Song in Doctor Who (or a variation of ‘no comment’), they gleefully troll the fans of the show with their deception, thinking it’s all in great fun.

So, when they said that this series of Sherlock would be wrapping up most (if not all) of the major plot points so far (which is another clue that this is most likely the last series), I took it with a grain of salt.

And in “The Lying Detective”, we definitely didn’t see much resolution. As usual, there are spoilers and speculations ahead, so turn away now if you haven’t seen the episode.

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Looking Back at ‘Leverage’ – Let’s Go Steal Us a TV Show

{All photos from the Leverage Wiki.}

Leverage is a television show that – like the schemes used by our lead characters themselves – doesn’t seem like it should be anything special but ends up being so much more than meets the eye.

Premiering on TNT in December of 2008, the basic idea wasn’t anything new: a group of criminals (a thief, a hacker, a grifter, and the muscle) all join forces under a man who is good but wants to help others who can’t get help through normal means. Pretty much The A-Team, Mission Impossible, and so on, it’s the ‘bad guys make the best good guys’ trope for the 2000s. Created by John Rogers and Chris Downey, the show ran five seasons and continues on in tie-in novels. And while there’s the occasional ‘not great’ episode, every single one of them is a joy to watch.

I had originally started watching in the second season when I had heard that Wil Wheaton would be making a guest appearance. If I remember right, this was one of his first appearances on television since he had taken a break post-Star Trek and was the first in a line of ‘evil’ characters he was cast in. I had also been seeing the show pop up a lot in my perusal of TV Tropes, and it sounded interesting enough to give it a try.

I fell hard.

Nathan Ford helps a man in season 1’s “The Snow Job”.

It’s one of those shows you watch more for the characters than the actual plots, and it’s filled with geek references and clever quips that make the tropey premise work. (I literally squeed the first time they made a reference to Doctor Who.)  There are also a number of shout outs and crossovers from other shows I liked, from one of the main characters being Christian Kane from Angel to a recurring part for Mark Sheppard (from Firefly and before he popped up on Supernatural and Doctor Who) to shows being directed by Jonathan Frakes and Frank Oz.

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