Luke Cage TV series (spoiler free review) 

The new Marvel Netflix series Luke Cage had a lot to live up to. The previous Netflix series Daredevil and Jessica Jones were both fantastic and beloved by all. Thankfully Luke Cage exceeds all expectations and in my opinion is the best Marvel TV series there has ever been. 

Luke Cage is quite obviously the story of Luke Cage. Luke is played by Mike Colter (random fact: he is second cousin to Viola Davies, who I love) and is a bulletproof and super strong superhero who was first introduced in Jessica Jones. The show is an origin story but it doesn’t follow the overplayed conventions of other origin stories. 

The rest of the cast are just as fantastic as Mike Colter. Simone Missick plays Misty Night a police officer in Harlem (where it is set) and she is trying to defend Harlem from corruption and crime. Rosario Dawson reprises her role as Claire Temple the badass nurse who appeared in both Daredevil and Jessica Jones. I am so in love that it’s Claire that is connecting all the characters in this world (I just a hope that in the Defenders she’s the one that joins the team and she’s she cool leader of the group). Finally, Alfre Woodard plays the main villain of the show Mariah Dillard (a local and corrupt politician) and is such a powerful and different villain the stereotypical ones we see in the superhero genre. 

Diversity is prominent in this cast and it makes such a refreshing change from the rest of the media where everyone appears to be white. It’s so amusing that people are complaining about the amount of black people in the show, especially considering the fact that in this show there is a valid reason that there are hardly any white people in it, Harlem is a a predominantly black area, (not that it needs a valid reason) whereas most mainstream shows just exclude every race other than white for no apparent reason. 

Overall, Luke Cage is a great show that is more than worth the watch. 


Demolition and Southpaw Review 

EditDemolition and Southpaw initially seem to be very different films. The only similarity they have to the naked eye is that they both star Jake Gyllenhaal. They have completely different atmospheres and Gyllenhaal is almost unrecognisable in each film. 

However, these two films don’t just have Jake Gyllenhaal and a year in common, they also has very similar themes. Both films contain the death of his Gyllenhaals wife dies and the rest of the film deals with the grief of loosing a lost one and trying to live life afterwards. 

Demolition is the story of a successful businessman Davies who starts to deconstruct after the loss of his wife. The couple seemed to have the perfect life but Davies starts to see the faults in his life and decides to demolish both his house and his life trying to work out what is real in his world. 

Whereas, in Southpaw Gyllenhaal plays Billy (a professional boxer). In the film Billy’s wife dies and he goes completely off the rails and looses the right to see his child. He therefore has to fix his life and work out what his priorities is. 

Both of these films are very intimate and only contain a few key characters meaning it is very easy to feel encapsulated in the film and to deeply care about the characters. 

I love how they each take different aspects of the subject and make these aspects into two magnificent films that despite the initial similarity don’t actually seem that alike. Demolition has some great side characters – Chris (played by Judah Lewis) steals the film – and focuses on the relationships between all the characters. In contrast Southpaw centres on the journey of the main character with a lot of the side characters not being present for most of the film. 

Despite the similar natures of these films they are both absolutely wonderful and I loved them both truly. 

Landline (spoiler free book review) 

Landline is the first adult book of Rainbow Rowell’s that I have read (I have read all of her young adult books including her short story Kindred Spirits that she wrote for world book day). Rowell is best known for her young adult books so I was a bit anxious about reading one of her adult books, although I knew that lots of people really loved this book so I wasn’t that confirmed. Thankfully Rowell’s writing is just as beautiful and relatable no matter what age group she’s writing for. Seriously once you’ve read one Rainbow Rowell book you’ve just got to read them all. 

I think you should go into this book not knowing much about it as it will make the story so much more enjoyable. But here’s a little summary for those interested: 
The story is about a television writer called Georgie McCool (yes that’s her actual name) who has to work on getting her show picked up with her best friend and writing partner Seth, so she can’t go her husband Neil’s childhood house for Christmas. This leads her to calling her husband but something doesn’t seem quite right. 

It’s a beautiful story about fate, working hard (in two different ways), priorities and what love actually is. These themes make the story relatable no matter your age, although I did feel like I might have related a bit more if I was slightly older. 

Like all Rainbow Rowell books it has fantastic little details that give the book a realistic feel. Great jokes and distinctive characters complete the story and make it wonderful. 

Although it isn’t my favourite Rainbow Rowell book it is still an amazing book that is truly worth a read.  

Hercules (review)

Recently I watched Hercules for the very first time. It was one of the only Disney films that I missed as a child but I’d heard so many good things about this film and I love Greek mythology so I finally decided that Hercules was a film that I needed to see. 
Hercules unsurprisingly tells the story of Hercules and is based off the original Hercules myth. The story follows Hercules a young boy with super strength but rotten luck who has to become a hero to join his dad and the other gods in Olympus. 
Like all Disney films it is a super fun film with catchy songs, an enjoyable plot, characters which are easy to relate too and a bunch of lessons. It is a very easy film to watch and I honestly wish I’d watched it earlier, I think it would have been a great addition to my childhood. 
I loved the fact that the film has little ideas and lines that run throughout the film. For example, the idea of being a hero or a zero which came up multiple times. 

Overall, Hercules is a wonderfully uplifting and enjoyable film which is great to watch at any age. 

My Inspiration 

I have seen many writers say that their inspiration is other great writers. They say it’s the classic books, films and TV shows they were surrounded with as they grew up that shape them into the people (and writers) that they are today. But to be honest I want to be a writer more because of the bad writing I see than the good.  

Obviously I still have writers that I admire and love and make me want to write something that is just as good as their writing but they’re not my main inspiration. 

I have seen so many examples of literature where they are so badly written that I can’t help but want to correct or write something myself that doesn’t have these issues that annoy me so much. 

So many books, TV shows and films have a lack of diversity that honestly shouldn’t be a problem any more. I want to create art that has an eclectic cast of characters all with defined character traits in a piece of fiction with a genre that isn’t their diversity. I want more science fiction, more fantasy, more romance, more comedy and more drama with main characters that aren’t white straight cis men. 

Characters that aren’t defined by their sexuality, their gender, their race, their religion, their disabilities or anything else that characters are so often completely defined by. 

But not only that, I also want more stories with clear direction and purpose, where they don’t just do things and then change their mind on the direction they’re going. It’s shocking how many times book series, TV shows and film series do something completely random and stupid because they don’t know what to do and they somehow don’t realise just how little sense it makes. I hope I can write something where every thing that happens makes sense and is logical but also surprising. 

Also, so many times series completely change their characters personalities and motives just so they can tell a story. Characters should obviously develop and change, but in a natural way not in a oh shit I need a character to put in this situation so this one will do kind of way. Because of this my writing will always stick to the personality of my characters. 

In addition, stories often have lose ends and don’t include scenes that they really need to include to develop the story. I want to make sure that everything I do in the future doesn’t have this problem.  

I hope that in the future I can look at these issues and create a piece of art that I would want to read and doesn’t irritate other people with the potential that it has but doesn’t live up to. I don’t want to create something that is perfect (because obviously that isn’t possible) but something that I can be proud of and is the best that I can do. I hope to not only learn from my own mistakes but also other people’s mistakes. 

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child Review (spoilers) 

First of all I would like to say that I didn’t hate the play but I didn’t love it either. Also, I have only read the play so my review is solely based on the written words not the whole play experience. 

This leads nicely to my first point about the play. I think they should have distributed the play differently. A lot of people feel negatively about the play but everyone I know who has seen it has said that even if hey had some problems with the plot the actual experience was magnificent. They are allowing us to judge a fraction of a piece of art as if it’s the whole piece of art. I feel that they should have had at least a couple of nights where they showed the play at the cinema before the book of the script was released so that more people could see the play in its intended format. This would have meant that the critiques of the play would have been more accurate (how can I know if some of my issues with the Cursed Child are solved in the play). It wouldn’t have made a different to the sales of the play or the book, so if the Cursed Child was about money it would again be to their advantage. 

Another issue I had was that some of the characters didn’t feel like the characters we feel in love with, specifically Ron who felt like he was just there for comic relief. Harry also felt out of character when he was interacting with Albus. I can’t imagine that the Harry we know would be that cruel to his own son. This may be because of the different writers or the fact that we don’t see from a characters point of view or the fact that a lot of time has passed since the play toke place. 

Furthermore, another big problem I had with the play was that the story focused on both Albus and Harry. To me it felt like they couldn’t decide who’s story it is. Obviously the story had to heavily feature Harry as it is a Harry Potter story but I think it could have been better if the story didn’t revolve so much about elements of his high school life. It should have felt like a separate story where we get to learn about Albus and his group of friends and fellow students. I know most people’s, including mine, favourite parts where with Scorpius and Albus. In my opinion I think that the story shouldn’t have focused on Cedric and Voldermort (specifically his child, which made no sense) as their stories both felt done with. We should have had a plot that was about a new set of characters who we could fall in love with and invest in their story. 

As well as having some characters who didn’t need to be there appear just for the sake of it but a lot of characters who felt like they should have been there weren’t. Teddy was said to have been really close to the Potters so why didn’t he appear or at least be mentioned. It was almost like they forgot about him completely. Although this wasn’t my biggest problem with the play it was still irritating. 

In addition, the plot felt almost like a fanfic with its main focus (the time turners) that was weird and felt like an excuse to revisit/mention some characters from the books (mainly Snape). Also, the idea of Voldermort having a daughter was completely left of centre and felt like a way of randomly linking Voldermort to the story. A lot of the developments in the story just happened and had no explanation at all and lots of things that happened seemed far to convenient. These issues with events just happening may be because of the fact that it’s a play so everything can’t be explained. 

Last but not least, I had an issue with the romance in the play. Why did no one realise who weird it was that a 20 year old was hanging out with two 14 year old boys. I know Albus was kind of oblivious but Scorpius was shown to be clever so surely he would have realised. In addition why at the end did Scorpius ask out Rose when there was no romantic build up at all. The only relationship that had any build up was Albus and Scorpius who had many jealous looks throughout the play. But to be honest the play didn’t need any romance at all as it wasn’t the point of the play. 

Obviously there were parts of the play that I did like. These include:

– I liked how they were all the Cursed Child in a way. Albus was cursed by the legacy of Harry, Scorpius was cursed by the rumour of Voldermort being his parent and Delphi was cursed by Voldermort being her dad.  

– A lot of the scenes felt like they would translate well on the stage and would be fun and interesting to watch. For example the bookshelf scene. 

– Scorpius was a great character who I fully routes for. 

– Scorpius and Albus had a great friendship and it was a great focus for the play. 

– I liked how it showed that Slytherines can be good people.  

– Draco felt in character and his redemption was a nice factor to the storyline. 

– I loved that Hermione is the minister of magic, that was great and it was so in character. 

– Some of the aspects of the play felt like they were for the fans which was nice but was probably responsible for some of the problems of the play. 

Overall, I think that Harry Potter and the Cursed Child is an enjoyable and fun read that must be fabulous to watch but unfortunately doesn’t live up to the hype. 

Why Whiplash is a Masterpiece (a spoiler free review)

I love Whiplash because it told a story that I honestly don’t think has been told before which is very unusual because most Hollywood films of recent years are either remakes, sequels or feel awfully familiar. The unique premise and the incredibly well thought out elements make Whiplash one of my favourite films. 

Whiplash tells the story of an aspiring jazz drummer (Miles Teller) and his experience with his verbally, physically and psychologically abusive teacher (J.K. Simmons). This film shows the pressure of wanting to succeed in a very honest way which makes the film feel relatable even if the situation is extreme. 

In addition, it explores the effects of abuse on the characters. Due to the abuse Andrew (played by Teller) is shown to become obsessed with being the best and sabotages not only his opposition but also his own life and happiness for what the audience can’t tell is his future or to please Fletcher (played by Simmons). The film explores the complexity of human nature and how even if you are aware of someone not treating you right you can still want to be the best you can for them. All of the characters in the film are very human and it’s nice that in such a short amount of time the characters can have realistic faults and strengths. 

The use of the drumming really adds to the theme of pressure in the film as it builds up the tension and drums clearly show the violent nature of the situation. It was a very clever decision for the film to focus on a drummer as the music and the visual together create a fantastic overall experience. Whiplash wouldn’t have been as encapsulating if Andrew (Teller) had played a different instrument or was interested in a different career. 

Not only was the music spectacular the cinematography was wonderfully well chosen. The film uses low lighting such as candles which creates an intimate atmosphere which clearly reflects the intimate and intense relationship between the two main characters. The directing by Damien Chazelle is magical and so well thought out, every choice is just perfect. 

Furthermore, the film wouldn’t be the same without the cast. Teller beautifully crafts the exhaustion of working far too hard with the determination of a young boy who doesn’t want to give up. Andrew is both likeable and unlike able but ultimately you hope this poor boy successeds despite the cruelty he faces. Simmons cleverly plays the abusive Fletcher in a way where he is clearly a horrible person but his conviction in his own rightness and some occasional moments of niceness make you occasional think that you shouldn’t hate him as much as you do, the character is a realistic portrayal of an abuser. 

In conclusion the film is incredibly clever, relatable and goes in unexpected ways that still make perfect sense. Everyone involved is fantastic and worked hard to create a truly magnificent film. It deserves all the accolades it received and to be honest should have received even more. Whiplash is a film that everyone should watch.