Tag Archives: Rachael Taylor

Transformers (2007) Review

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Transformers

Time: 143 Minutes
Age Rating: 860940[1] contains medium level violence
Cast:
Shia LaBeouf as Sam Witwicky
Tyrese Gibson as Sgt. Robert Epps
Josh Duhamel as Capt. William Lennox
Anthony Anderson as Glen Whitmann
Megan Fox as Mikaela Banes
Rachael Taylor as Maggie Madsen
John Turturro as Agt. Seymour Simmons
Jon Voight as John Keller
Director: Michael Bay

The fate of humanity is at stake when two races of robots, the good Autobots and the villainous Decepticons, bring their war to Earth. The robots have the ability to change into different mechanical objects as they seek the key to ultimate power. Only a human youth, Sam Witwicky (Shia LaBeouf) can save the world from total destruction.

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It’s been ages since I’ve seen the Transformers movies, I’ve only watched up to the third movie in addition to watching Bumblebee back in 2018. I remember enjoying Bay’s Transformers movies when I was younger, but I wasn’t sure how I’d feel about them now. They have a reputation of being mindless large scale action flicks, however the first movie is still somewhat well received, and so I decided to check it out again. It was pretty much what I expected it to be, overlong and full of flaws, but nonetheless pretty entertaining.

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The writing of the first Transformers movies is a very mixed bag. The plot itself is passable, but the actual script has its issues. It takes a while for the movie to really pick up with the Transformers, it starts with Shia LaBeouf and him eventually realising that he has a car that’s not just a car. It doesn’t really do much to keep you genuinely interested. Even when Shia meets up with Optimus Prime it doesn’t really grab your interest. It certainly doesn’t help that Transformers is a very long movie at 2 hours and 20 minutes long. It’s really the third act where it excels, as Bay does what Bay does best with all the action. However the movie shouldn’t need to be just an action filled one to be good. For such a straight forward plot, there is just too much going on in the movie. The comedy is also very hit or miss but it at least works better than in the later movies (from what I remember). At least the racial stereotypes are kept to a minimum of 1 in this movie. I’ll say this much, if some of the plot elements in this movie bothers you, definitely don’t check out the other Bay Transformers movies.

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The human characters are widely regarded as the worst aspect of these movies. While there are bits about the actual Transformers that don’t work well, the movies would’ve benefited with them being the focus instead. I know that Shia LaBeouf gets a bad rap in these 3 movies but he’s actually alright in this movie at least. Despite how you many feel about his performances in his 3 film appearances, he’s definitely putting everything he can into his role. Megan Fox is also given a bad rap in her Transformers appearances but she isn’t that bad, she’s really not given much to work with, so it’s not really on her either. The romance that LaBeouf and Fox feels really forced and no matter how hard the two of them try, you just don’t buy it. Some of the random comedic side characters don’t really have much point, most of them are meant for comedy. The parents of Shia’s character for one are among the more annoying. John Turturro is also in this movie and is alright. He’s perfectly fine in the movie but I really have no idea why Jon Voight is in this movie, they probably could’ve cast anyone in the role.

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You can really feel that Michael Bay directed this movie, for better or for worse. The cinematography has a saturated look to it, there are many dramatic scenes of military giving some really important dialogue, slow motion shots of the American flag and helicopters flying, it’s all here. The action of this movie is generally good, the CGI effects do look a little iffy now, but given the movie is over a decade old, you can cut it some slack. Back in 2007, we hadn’t really seen anything like this before, with a bunch of action involving giant robots. Yes, a lot of the action is over the top, but it’s not necessarily overwhelming.

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Yes, Transformers is a silly action movie, but there’s a lot of fun to be had with it. Even though I’m not a fan of the Transformers, I feel like they could be better than just an explosion filled action movie. Still, I had some enjoyment with it. Even if many of Bay’s more annoying clichés and style aspects make their appearance here, it is not as bad as it is in his other movies. If you haven’t seen any of the Transformers movies, it’s at least worth checking out the first one.

Jessica Jones Season 3 (2019) Review

Age Rating: 860949[1]
Cast:
Krysten Ritter as Jessica Jones
Rachael Taylor as Patricia “Trish” Walker
Eka Darville as Malcolm Ducasse
Benjamin Walker as Erik Gelden
Sarita Choudhury as Kith Lyonne
Jeremy Bobb as Gregory Salinger
Tiffany Mack as Zaya Okonjo
Carrie-Anne Moss as Jeri Hogarth
Creator: Melissa Rosenberg

When Jessica (Krysten Ritter) crosses paths with a highly intelligent psychopath, she and Trish (Rachael Taylor) must repair their fractured relationship and team up to take him down. But a devastating loss reveals their conflicting ideas of heroism, and sets them on a collision course that will forever change them both.

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I’m aware I’m a little late to releasing my review of Season 3, I did start writing it soon after finishing this season, it just took me a while to get around to finish writing it, I liked the first Season of Jessica Jones, it’s among the best seasons of Marvel’s Netflix shows. On the other hand, Season 2 was unfortunately one of the weakest of the seasons. I liked it a little more than some people, but it was quite disappointing and it could’ve been way better. The show’s third and final season felt like a weird note to leave the whole Netflix Marvel series on, but I remained cautiously optimistic going into it. In comparison to many of the other Netflix Marvel series, it still remains one of the weaker seasons. With that said, it’s definitely better than the second season and is actually pretty decent, despite a few not so great aspects.

In the second season, one of the problems was that it felt like a bunch of unrelated plotlines thrown together, and most of those plotlines were a mixed bag. Although it did sort of have a main plotline, a lot of the others didn’t really fit in with it at all and it was a bit of a mess. Not all the plotlines of season 3 are connected together but they are at least much more relevant to each other this time. Carrie Anne Moss’s storyline was similar as the previous season, performance was good but the story itself was iffy. It’s really the only storyline somewhat disconnected from the other plotlines. The main plotlines are Jessica hunting down a serial killer, as well as Trish’s storyline with her becoming a superhero/vigilante. The storyline with the serial killer was fine enough, however the killer himself wasn’t compelling at all, which kind of a let down. Particularly after Kilgrave, for the most part it just felt like a typical case that Jessica would take on. If you read my Season 2 review, you could probably tell that the biggest worry I had about this season was Trish’s plotline. It was very difficult to like her in that storyline, and I really hoped that this season would at least not fully treat her as the hero that she’s in the comics, because it didn’t really fit what she was in the show. It didn’t necessarily start off great, after a cliffhanger of an ending with episode 1, the entirety of episode 2 is dedicated to Trish. While I appreciate giving her the time and focus, the pacing really grinds to a halt. After that episode however, it picked up, and without spoiling anything I think they handled that story mostly well. With this season also being 13 episodes long, it does have its moments where it feels drawn out, but it’s mostly okay. In a way, the season did sort of successfully end, however there are a few small things that aren’t fully resolved, which was honestly a bit confusing considering that they were filming fully aware that this was going to be the final season. With all that being said, it’s not like Luke Cage or Iron Fist situation where they ended on a cliffhanger clearly assuming that they’d get another season to continue the story.

Krysten Ritter is effortlessly great as Jessica Jones, she’s still one of the best parts of every season and always delivers. Something I noticed about reactions to this season is that some people didn’t like that Jessica was teaming up with other people, but I was fine with it. Jessica has been developing over time, so it makes sense that she would get help from others in some cases, especially compared to how she was in the first season. Rachael Taylor as Trish Walker gets a pretty big part with her having one of the main plotlines of this season. As I said earlier, she was handled better than I expected. Trish’s attempts at becoming a hero at least shows the issues that come with it. There was an acknowledgement that she obviously had some problems, but at points you can see why she would do the things she does, they aren’t necessarily out of character decisions. With that said, I’ll just say that if you’re a fan of Hellcat/Trish from the comics, you may not like the direction that they go in with her here, very different interpretation. Also the contrast between her and Jessica worked, especially when it came to the whole idea of ‘being a hero’, which is really what this season is about. The pairing and dynamic between the two of them over the course of the season was one of the highlights.

Eka Darville’s character of Malcolm Ducasse has clearly made a big change since the last season, with him now working for Hogarth, he’s had to do a bunch of morally questionable things and by the time of season 3 he’s almost a completely different person. He fit into the story well. Benjamin Walker plays a person who had superpowers, coming across Jessica early on the season and plays a frequent role in the season. With him, I liked the expansion of super powered people in this show, with the exception of Trish, the only time we saw a superpowered character in Jessica Jones was that one fast guy in the second season. At this point, I have a feeling that they kept giving Jeri Hogarth her own plotlines in the seasons because Carrie Anne Moss just acts really well, and while I’m pretty sure her storyline this season was one of the less interesting parts, she does make it watchable. Now the main villain of this season is Jeremy Bobb as a serial killer named Gregory Salinger. I wouldn’t go so far as to say that he’s bad, but he’s really a typical serial killer that you might see in crime/thriller tv shows, in Jessica Jones for the most part he doesn’t leave that much of an impact. The first season had Kilgrave as almost a serial killer type character but he was charismatic, interesting and entertaining to watch. If you were to call Alisa Jones a villain in Season 2, she has some ties to Jessica that made you actually have a reason to at least pay attention to what’s happening with her character. Salinger is just a run of the mill killer, there’s not really anything special about him. At a point pretty early on, he becomes more of a nuisance more than anything. Towards his last episodes he improves slightly and even has some impactful moments, but it’s too little too late. Not to mention by the end he ends up more like a plot device than an actual character. Bobb definitely does the best he can, playing him creepy, but that’s really it.

The direction was generally good, directed in a very similar way that the previous seasons were. It again didn’t overdo it with the action, and the superpowers on display were handled quite well, with both Jessica and Trish.

Jessica Jones Season 3 was a relatively decent season, despite some issues that I had. The cast are generally good, I liked most of the plotlines, and it was an okay way to end the season, even though I do have a few questions leaving it. As an ending to the entire Netflix Marvel series, it didn’t seem to resolve everything, but I’m glad it was an decent end to its own series. It’s at least better than the second season. So if you liked Season 1 of the show at least, give it a watch, even if you disliked the second season.

Jessica Jones Season 2 (2018) Review

Age Rating: 860949[1]
Cast:
Krysten Ritter as Jessica Jones
Rachael Taylor as Patricia “Trish” Walker
Eka Darville as Malcolm Ducasse
J. R. Ramirez as Oscar Arocho
Terry Chen as Pryce Cheng
Leah Gibson as Inez Green
Carrie-Anne Moss as Jeri Hogarth
Janet McTeer as Alisa Jones
Created By: Melissa Rosenberg

New York City private investigator Jessica Jones (Krysten Ritter) is beginning to put her life back together after murdering her tormenter, Kilgrave. Now known throughout the city as a super-powered killer, a new case makes her reluctantly confront who she really is while digging deeper into her past to explore the reasons why.

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With Season 3 of Jessica Jones out now, I wanted to give my thoughts on the previous season. Season 1 was great, it was a darker and much more grounded show (for it being about someone with superpowers), Krysten Ritter was perfect as the titular character and it had a fantastic villain in David Tennant’s Kilgrave. So people were anticipating the second season of the acclaimed show. However, Season 2 is generally regarded as being at a much lower level compared to the first season and I’m among these people. Although I still liked the season, it does have quite a bit of problems which really hold it back from being as good as it should be.

I noticed a lot of people who take an issue with the season mainly bring up the fact that the season doesn’t really have a central villain of sorts, but I don’t have an issue with that at all honestly. Not every comic book related movie or show needs to have a ‘villain’. Besides, it would be hard to have a villain that would reach a level of Kilgrave from the first season. I think the main problem is that the whole season feels unfocussed. It seems like a bunch of plotlines just thrown together, and not all of them work, making it feel really uneven, possibly the most uneven of the Marvel Netflix seasons (though Iron Fist Season 1 still exists). The most prominent plotline is basically revisiting Jessica Jones’s past, which is a little unnecessary. As for the other plotlines, they are almost all focussing on different characters that don’t really tie into the main story, Trish Walker, Jerri Hogarth, so in that sense this plotline is still the best out of the season because at least it’s somewhat the most relevant. I guess one good thing that came from needlessly going back to Jessica’s past is that it seems to mean that the next season won’t be revisiting Jessica’s backstory yet again (at least I hope it doesn’t). In terms of issues aside from all the other subplots that don’t work, the detective work by Jessica was a little downgraded. The first season featured Jessica using her detective skills quite heavily, with that taking more priority over her superpowers. Thankfully they don’t turn this season into an action show by any means, but in Season 2, a lot of the mystery seemed to simplify the things she had to figure out, like Danny Rand or Luke Cage could do exactly what she does this season. Not that it isn’t interesting to watch it play out, it just feels lesser in comparison to what they did in the first season.

Krysten Ritter as Jessica Jones is great once again, she’s definitely the best part of this season and I don’t really have any problems with Ritter’s performance or her character. She’s perfectly cast in the role, and even if certain plotlines with her aren’t exactly great and have problems, she seems to make it somewhat work. A lot of the supporting cast is actually good at acting, its just that some of the characters weren’t handled all that great. On the better end of the spectrum is Eka Darville as Malcolm Ducasse, who was in the first season. Now after having dealt with his drug problem in the last season, Malcolm is working for Jessica and plays a reasonably prominent part in the show, and he worked well. Janet McTeer plays the closest thing to a villain this season. Minor spoilers (its hard to talk about her role without spoiling anything) but she plays Jessica’s mother. Now as I said earlier, I’m not exactly on board with them pointlessly going back to Jessica’s past, but it was the strongest plotline of this season, and McTeer was really good in the role. Side note, yes David Tennant returns as Kilgrave but don’t expect much of it, it’s just in one episode and really it didn’t necessarily need him. With that said it was nice to see him again and Tennant once again steals the scene whenever he’s on screen.

There is a character named Pryce Cheng played by Terry Chen who’s pretty much runs a private investigation firm, and his subplot I really didn’t like, one of the worst of the season. He is somewhat a source of antagonist against Jessica Jones but it doesn’t amount to much, and he just ends up being a source of annoyance more than anything. There really wasn’t much point in him being in this season. Carrie Anne Moss as Jerri Hogarth gets a lot of screentime in this season, even more compared to the previous season. There is an entire subplot dedicated to Hogarth involving her dealing with a disease, I’ve seen people being both positive and negative when it came to her plotline, I personally found it to be a mixed bag. I feel the best part of the plotline is that Carrie Anne Moss gets to really shine and gives a really good performance, but it still doesn’t really tie into the rest of the plotlines that well and feels really out of place. So, while there are times where I was interested and invested with what’s going on, there are other times where I’m wondering why we are spending so much time with her. One of the biggest criticisms of this season (and that’s saying a lot) is Trish Walker (played by Rachael Taylor). Her character seemed to be taking enhanced drugs and trying to be a hero of sorts. It was just annoying to see her plotline, worst of all she is a bit unlikable but they dedicate so much time to her, so she really sticks out. At the end of the show though, it gets to a point where it occurred to me that they might be taking her character in a different direction. In the comics, Trish Walker is a superhero named Hellcat and it was speculated that the show would be making her a superhero eventually. However, it seems like they may be changing many things about Hellcat and going about it in a very different way, in a much more villainous direction. If they are going in the direction I think they’re doing for season 3, it might actually work. Otherwise if Season 2 is supposed to be superhero Hellcat’s origin story and we are actually supposed to be with her (both during and at the end) throughout her subplot, I think it was a really bad decision (again, haven’t seen the entirety of season 3 yet, so I’ll know for sure later).

The show is pretty much directed in the same way as the first season, it still very much feels like the same world and city from the first season and it’s all around pretty good. Thankfully this show hasn’t turned into an action series at all, while some of the detective aspect of Jessica Jones has been watered down, at least it wasn’t in favour of a bunch of forced action scenes. At the same time, they still have some pretty tense sequences. The fight/’action’ scenes that do involve Jessica physically and her using her powers don’t overdo it and are handled well enough.

Jessica Jones Season 2 is really not as good as the first season. It is unfocussed, most of the plotlines aren’t really interesting and don’t work well together, and it can be a chore to sit through sometimes. With that said, it’s not all bad. Krysten Ritter is once again great as Jessica Jones, a few of the supporting actors/characters were good and there were some moments that I liked. It’s significantly worse than the first season but I still liked it. Hopefully Season 3 will put the show back on track.

The Loft (2015) Review

The Loft

The Loft

Time: 108 Minutes
Age Rating: 860949[1] Violence, Sexual Violence, Drug Use, Offensive Language and Sex Scenes
Cast:
Karl Urban as Vincent Stevens
James Marsden as Chris Vanowen
Wentworth Miller as Luke Seacord
Eric Stonestreet as Marty Landry
Matthias Schoenaerts as Philip Williams
Rhona Mitra as Allison Vanowen
Rachael Taylor as Ann Morris
Isabel Lucas as Sarah Deakins
Director: Erik Van Looy

For five men (Karl Urban, James Marsden, Wentworth Miller, Eric Stonestreet, Matthias Schoenaerts), the opportunity to share a penthouse in the city — in which to carry on extramarital affairs — is a dream come true, until the dead body of an unknown woman turns up. Realizing that her killer must be one of their group, the men are gripped by paranoia as each one suspects another. Friendships are tested, loyalties are questioned, and marriages crumble while fear and suspicion run rampant.

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The Loft had a good Hitchcockian premise and great cast with actors like Karl Urban and James Marsden being a part of the movie. The cast couldn’t however rise above the terrible material that they had to work with. The plot holes, the uninteresting story and just the overall script let every aspect of the film down. There are glimpses of a potentially good film at times but for the most part this movie fails on every level. The Loft isn’t one of the worst films I’ve ever seen but it is definitely a bad movie.

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Hands down the worst thing about this movie is the script. First of all: the characters, not only is there a lack of likable characters, the main characters are so despicable, and to make it worse, we’re supposed to care about what’s happening to them and it’s so hard to when we not only don’t care about them, we want bad things to happen to them. They aren’t even written that interestingly. Another problem is the pacing, it was so slow in many scenes of the movie. This film has a non-linear way of telling its story, flashing back to relevant parts that happened in the past, however these flashbacks are so long and the relevant information takes up only small parts of those flashbacks, so it just gets boring in these scenes. Also the film shoves so many plot twists, to the point where the film becomes so convoluted and doesn’t make sense. It’s one of those mystery stories that after watching it, you begin to notice plenty of plot holes and inconsistencies.

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This movie had a great cast with Karl Urban, James Marsden, Wentworth Miller and many others. I can tell that they are trying to give good performances and they have moments where they could show off their talent but they have horrible characterisation, dialogue and are playing completely unlikable characters, so they aren’t given much to work with. The blame shouldn’t really fall upon them.

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The direction is fine for the most part but there are times when the director makes it overly stylistic. Sometimes out of nowhere he uses awkward close ups, tilted camera angles and pans, for no reason at all. It felt really awkward and distracting but this only happened a few times and for the most part this film looked fine.

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The Loft had so much potential to be a great film with its premise and its talented cast but for whatever reason, that didn’t come across on screen. The script had so many plot holes, the pacing was off, just everything was let down by the script. The funny thing is that this movie is a remake of a Belgian film called Loft (2008) which was apparently great. Guess what both films had? The same director, Erik Van Looy. He did an American remake of his own film. It’s strange that A. he would remake his own movie, and B. he didn’t get it right. The Loft wasn’t an unbearable movie but I don’t think it’s worth watching.