Tag Archives: Sasha Lane

Loki Season 1 (2021) Review

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Loki Season 1

Cast:
Tom Hiddleston as Loki
Gugu Mbatha-Raw as Ravonna Renslayer
Wunmi Mosaku as Hunter B-15
Eugene Cordero as Casey
Tara Strong voices Miss Minutes
Owen Wilson as Mobius M. Mobius
Sophia Di Martino as Sylvie
Sasha Lane as Hunter C-20
Jack Veal as Kid Loki
DeObia Oparei as Boastful Loki
Richard E. Grant as Classic Loki
Jonathan Majors as He Who Remains
Director:
Kate Herron
Creator: Michael Waldron

Loki, the God of Mischief (Tom Hiddleston), steps out of his brother’s shadow to embark on an adventure that takes place after the events of “Avengers: Endgame.”

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Loki was yet another show from the MCU which would be releasing on Disney+. Out of the shows that Marvel initially announced, I was wondering about what the point of this one was, especially after Loki had his death in the opening of Avengers: Infinity War. From the trailers I reckoned that it would be just filling the gap of the Loki who disappeared with the Tesseract in Avengers: Endgame, and would generally just consist of him getting into shenanigans involving time periods. Some of that was true, but it ended up being a lot different than I thought it would be.

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There’s some aspects of the show worth experiencing for yourself, so I’ll try to be light with spoilers and details. Loki starts out with a whole lot of worldbuilding in the first episode with the TVA, an organisation that preserves the current timeline, and I thought it was quite interesting learning about all this. Like with WandaVision and Falcon and the Winter Soldier, Loki also explores its lead character and the show is character focused. The lead character certainly goes through a change, even when it’s picking up with the Loki from 2012’s The Avengers. The show is definitely slower paced and for some that might get a bit dull. However I appreciated the slower pace and what it was going for. There are some action scenes in the show but it never feels like it is reliant on it. It does take a while to get into what the story is really about, the first couple of episodes takes its time to develop things and while I was invested, I know that some will find that its just meandering. After the first three episodes though I think you’ll get into it. There is some humour but unlike some other MCU projects it doesn’t interrupt anything and actually works well for the tone of the show.

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Usually the finale is where the MCU shows have an issue. WandaVision changed from what it was trying to do and just devolves into a very typical Marvel climax with large special effects. The Falcon and Winter Soldier was more consistent but the way the finale played out ended up highlighting the issues that the entire show had. However, Loki actually nails the ending quite well. Without spoiling anything, it doesn’t end with a traditional climax, and once again I really appreciate that. It is staying true to itself and being more about the story and characters rather than just ticking another box in the Marvel formula. I will say this however, unlike the other two shows, it ends in a cliff-hanger. I don’t think it’s too much of a spoiler to say this since its been announced that Loki has been renewed for a second season. Some character arcs haven’t been quite completed and story plotlines weren’t quite fully resolved, as a result some aspects feel less satisfying compared to the other Marvel shows because they haven’t been finalised yet. So much critical stuff happens in the last episode that I’m surprised that it was happened in this show as opposed to one of the bigger Marvel movies. I know that not everyone watches the MCU shows, even people who watch the movies, and some will probably look over Loki because it seems like a one off show just about Loki. However for what it’s worth I think the show is worth watching if only because of the roll on effect it will have on the other movies and shows. In terms of credits scenes, surprisingly there’s only one in episode 4, and just a little tease in episode 6, which are worth watching.

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The cast were also great in their parts. As expected, Tom Hiddleston reprises his role of Loki. Not only does he get to have a lot of fun as Loki, but Loki goes through a change of his own over the course of the show. To put this in context, this is the Loki from The Avengers (2012) finding out what happens to him (including his death in Infinity War). So he goes through his own change and development, like the lead characters in the previous Marvel shows. However, there’s something even more fascinating about a character like Loki going through the change, and this show makes me like Loki more as a character. Sophia Di Martino plays a vital character named Sylvie, and she’s great in her part too. Her onscreen dynamic with Loki was great to see, especially considering the connection the two of them have (won’t get into it more than that). Another notable character is that of an agent of the TVA named Mobius played by Owen Wilson, and this might actually be one of my favourite roles and performances from Wilson. He has great chemistry with Hiddleston and I loved seeing the two of them interacting, especially in the earlier episodes. Other supporting actors with the likes of Gugu Mbatha-Raw and Wunmi Mosaku are also good in their parts. There are two guest performers in this who stand out, both of them are particularly great in their screentime. The one actor whose name I can mention is Richard E. Grant, and while I won’t go into what his role is, he pretty much stole the entire episode that he was in with his performance. The second performer is a critical role, and who makes me very excited for what’s to come next in the other movies and shows.

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This show is directed by Kate Herron, and she’s done a great job with it all. The show is visually striking and nothing like what the MCU has done before. The set designs, environments and CGI are great (the look of the TVA alone was immediately distinct), those and the cinematography came together to form a gorgeous looking show. As said previously, there is action here and to be honest they aren’t that spectacular. They usually just consist of Loki and other characters involved with hand to hand combat with maybe some weapons. They are filmed okay and are solid enough, they are good enough for the purpose of the show. There is one large set piece involving a lot of CGI in one of the later episodes but even that’s handled very well. Another standout is the score from Natalie Holt, which is incredibly distinct and really gives the show a unique tone and feel. One of my favourite scores from the MCU.

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Loki has ended up being one of my favourite instalments in the MCU. As someone who almost begrudgingly likes some of the MCU projects, I was thoroughly surprised by it. While it is still in the MCU, it remained true to itself and didn’t feel too constrained by some of the formula that some of the movies and shows have to follow. The performances were all solid, the direction was great, and I was invested with the story and characters. If you are interested in the MCU I think it is worth checking out.

Hellboy (2019) Review

Time: 120 Minutes
Age Rating: 860949[1] Graphic violence and offensive language
Cast:
David Harbour as Hellboy/Anung Un Rama
Milla Jovovich as Vivienne Nimue/Blood Queen
Ian McShane as Trevor “Broom” Bruttenholm
Sasha Lane as Alice Monaghan
Daniel Dae Kim as Ben Daimio
Thomas Haden Church as Lobster Johnson
Director: Neil Marshall

Based on the graphic novels by Mike Mignola, Hellboy (David Harbour), caught between the worlds of the supernatural and human, battles an ancient sorceress (Milla Jovovich) bent on revenge.

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Hellboy 2019 was a movie I wasn’t certain about going into it. Everyone wanted a Hellboy 3 with Guillermo del Toro and Ron Perlman, and I was one of these people. A Hellboy reboot wasn’t exactly what I was wanting. With that said, they cast David Harbour as Hellboy, had Ian McShane as part of the cast, and had Neil Marshall directing, so I was cautiously optimistic. Despite the trailers looking a little rough, I was hoping it was good. Even after the overwhelming negative response to the movie, I was hoping to at least be entertained by it. While I didn’t necessarily hate it like so many people did, it really was worse than I thought it would actually be.

I should mention that my knowledge of the Hellboy characters and world only comes from the Del Toro movies. So I’m treating this movie as its own movie (it already has enough problems as it is). 2 hours feels like a standard length for a comic book movie, yet it somehow manages to draw the plot out really long, the pacing is really slow. It takes about 30 minutes for the movie to really start with the actual main plot of the movie, and really it takes another 30 minutes after that for Hellboy to really get involved with it. Even after that point it feels unnecessarily long and drawn out, not to mention it fails to be engaging on any level. There are so many random and lazy expositions dumps given by characters it’s actually astounding, I’m pretty sure I checked out after the 5th one. The opening scene is an example, where it just has Ian McShane just talking about something that happened in the past with the main villain, Arthur and Merlin, and he just explains everything that happened in the past. Not that I don’t like a McShane narration, but from that point I really knew that something was off. This movie is yet another movie that has been hit by a bad case of studio interference, and you can feel it throughout, however it’s really hard to tell at times which was what parts were originally filmed and which were changed. The tone is all over the place, at some points it’s trying to be serious (it doesn’t work), at other points it’s trying to be witty and quippy like it’s trying to be a Marvel movie or something (that also doesn’t work). At points it’s also trying to be edgy, however it’s not quite like the 2019 Shaft type of edgy where the movie thinks it’s so incredible and hilarious when it does it. When Hellboy 2019 does it, it almost feels like thrown in and obligatory.

Despite the long runtime there are at least a number of scenes that were cut out and altered, especially from the trailers. If you watched the later trailers you probably saw a moment with Hellboy on a dragon with a flaming sword, don’t expect much from that scene, because it only lasts like 30 seconds. The trailer really does showcase the best moments, and unfortunately they mostly look worse in the actual movie. I checked out a few of the deleted scenes online just out of curiosity. One of the most notable scenes was an alternative version of that aforementioned opening flashback scene, where instead of having McShane just narrating everything that’s happening in an overly explaining way, you have characters like Milla Jovovich’s character and Arthur and Merlin actually speaking their lines, and it was considerably better. Now I’m not sure if including all those (and no doubt more) deleted/original scenes would’ve fixed most of the problems, but the movie would’ve been at least a little better. Throughout most of the movie I just felt nothing, and I didn’t particularly care about the plot or the characters. I wasn’t even fussed about potential parts of the plot that didn’t make sense, at this point I would’ve accepted a dumb movie and didn’t even get that. It’s really just a couple of action scenes that were the highlights. The first involved giants but had its own set of problems (more on that later). The other was towards the end (partially shown in the trailer as well), it’s a tracking shot action scene and it had more energy than the entire rest of the movie beforehand. Also if you really care enough, this movie has a couple credits scenes, as it seems they are very much keen on setting up for sequels. However it seems very unlikely that they’ll produce any form of media following up on this movie as a sequel.

Casting anyone for Hellboy that’s not Ron Perlman seemed an impossible task, he played the role perfectly in the Guillermo del Toro movies. David Harbour was however a great alternative and pretty good casting. He definitely does the best that he can with what he has, unfortunately he’s not exactly given the best material to work with. His character wasn’t exactly defined well and his arc just had him jumping around with him making sudden random character choices for some reasons, with some pretty lacking development. Ian McShane is always good to see in movies and Hellboy 2019 is no exception, however I didn’t really buy the connection between the two characters despite this movie’s efforts. Sasha Lane and Daniel Dae Kim are decent enough in their roles, but again aren’t given that much to work with. Milla Jovovich plays the villain and she’s one of those over the top taking over the world sort of villains where you can’t really do much with them. In her situation, you could either look like you don’t want to be there or ham up the role, and Jovovich does the latter. She’s really not good but again there’s really not much that she could really do with the little she’s given.

Neil Marshall directed this movie, and I’ve liked the movies I’ve seen from him However there are multiple parts with his direction which didn’t work, but I’m not entirely sure I can put it fully on him. Apparently there were disagreements. You can definitely tell that the budget is lower than the Del Toro movies from even just looking at this movie. Despite it being R rated, it’s kind of generic and dull somehow. As for the actual blood, there are some violent moments every so often in the first two acts but aside from some exceptions, some of it looks like it could be edited down to a ‘hard’ PG-13. It’s very much the CGI and fake looking kind of blood, and yes, when it’s on screen they are excessive with it and it honestly kind of feels lazy and over reliant. At the same time, they’re oddly enough not in the movie as much as I thought it would be. The third act is where the blood suddenly is ramped up, even though there are some other bloody moments in this section of the movie, it cuts to the city and has a full minute of people getting brutally murdered by giant monsters for whatever reason (maybe they thought that there wasn’t enough blood so just added it in at the last moment?). The second trailer at least seemed to indicate a really over the top and goofy hard R rated flick. Unfortunately, it seems that trailer had over 10 times more energy compared to that in the actual movie.

The CGI really is a mixed bag, at some points it looks pretty good, at others it looks really bad. For example in one of the highlights of the movie where Hellboy fights some giants, the environments and the giants themselves just look really off and it’s very distracting. The cinematography is so bland, and there are points where the movie looks flat out ugly, and no not in a good way. With the exception of a few moments, generally the look of the movie is pretty bland and colourless. More often than not, the only red thing on screen is Hellboy himself. On the other hand, the creature designs for the most part are creative and good. I know that a lot of people don’t like the design of Hellboy and think it makes him look ugly and all that, but honestly I liked the whole idea of trying to make him more monstrous. A more R rated horror take on Hellboy would’ve been interesting to see, but if they ever planned or even filmed some of that, it’s not in the final product at all. The score by Benjamin Wallfisch was pretty good, but the other song choices for certain sections were a little weird. It’s not even the few certain song choices, it’s just that there are so many cases where they put known songs in some of the scenes and it was kind of distracting.

Hellboy 2019 was quite a disappointment, and I wasn’t necessarily expecting much from it. By the time I got around to watching it, I was expecting at worst to be Venom levels of absurd silliness, but it couldn’t even reach that level. I’m not even sure what they were really trying to do with this movie, it doesn’t even seem to know what it’s trying to be. It really did seem like one of those 2000s comic book movies that were a misfire, and didn’t really work on any level. The cast were mostly fine with David Harbour and Ian McShane being pretty good, and I liked some of the action, but nothing else in the movie really works unfortunately. Maybe watch the aforementioned action scene with the giants and the ending when these clips come out online, but it’s really not worth watching the full 2 hour long movie. Instead if you haven’t seen them already, I’d recommend watching the two Hellboy movies from Guillermo del Toro, they are considerably better.

The Miseducation of Cameron Post (2018) Review

Time: 90 Minutes
Age Rating: 860940[1] Sex scenes, offensive language & drug use
Cast:
Chloë Grace Moretz as Cameron Post
Jennifer Ehle as Dr. Lydia March
John Gallagher, Jr. as Reverend Rick
Sasha Lane as Jane Fonda
Forrest Goodluck as Adam Red Eagle
Emily Skeggs as Erin
Melanie Ehrlich as Helen Showalter
Owen Campbell as Mark
Quinn Shephard as Coley Taylor
Marin Ireland as Bethany
Kerry Butler as Ruth Post
Director: Desiree Akhavan

In 1993 after teenage Cameron (Chloe Grace Moretz) is caught in the backseat of a car with the prom queen, she is sent away to a treatment centre in a remote area called God’s Promise. While she is being subjected to questionable gay conversion therapies, she bonds with some fellow residents as they pretend to go along with the process while waiting to be released.

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I had been hearing about The Miseducation of Cameron Post for a while, it has Chloe Grace Moretz and involved gay conversion therapy (oddly enough not the only 2018 movie about the subject matter) and the movie was apparently really good. I wasn’t really sure what to expect outside of that. The Miseducation of Cameron Post is a really good movie and is really worth seeing by everyone.

The Miseducation of Cameron Post is based off a book of the same name by Emily M. Danforth, a book that is apparently quite good. I was really invested in the movie from start to finish despite the off-putting subject matter. I know that some people will be turned off because what this movie is about. When you hear the concept on paper, it sounds painful to watch but while it can be tragic and frustrating at many points (intentionally so), I still maintain that it really is worth seeing. It’s not as much of a heavy watch as you’d think it would be, even though it definitely is heavy in parts, and the emotional bits to the story really do hit hard. Yet it’s never heavy handing or overbearing either, it’s not shamelessly using shock value to provoke a response out of you or anything (not that there are a bunch of shocking moments or anything but you get what I’m meaning), it feels honest. I don’t know too much about the subject matter (aside from just hearing about it) but I am very aware of it, and watching the movie, they seemed to have handled it appropriately. My biggest negative of the movie is its length at around an hour and a half long, that’s really short and it feels like there was a lot more story that needed to be told. The ending is also quite abrupt and open ended, however I feel like it was the intention to leave things open ended. It’s more the length that bothered me, like it felt like there was a lot more story that is missing from the final film. By the time it was wrapping up, it felt like we only covered two thirds of the story at most.

The cast all around is great. Chloe Grace Moretz is a very talented actress and here she gives one of her best performances in the lead role. The other kids at the conversion therapy centre including Sasha Lane, Forrest Goodluck and Emily Skeggs are also good in their roles. Even the people running the therapy place with John Gallagher Jr. and Jennifer Ehle were really good and felt like real people despite their positions and their roles in the story.

The film was directed well by Desiree Akhavan, she actually directed (and also co-lead starred in) Creep 2, a very different type of movie which I also liked quite a bit. There’s not a lot to say about the direction really, it’s competently filmed and is just right for the story. Not to say that the direction is basic or anything, it’s at a level where it serves the script and the writing appropriately and is at the fine level of not being subpar but not being overwhelming either. The story is rather intimate film, mostly taking place in the conversion centre, and the direction accompanied that well.

The Miseducation of Cameron Post is a really good movie, tragic, funny, emotional and most of all really important. The performances and direction really elevate the movie even further. It really could’ve benefited a lot more from a longer runtime but it is still well worth a watch and is very deserving of all the praise.