Hanna Season 1 Episode 1: Forest Review and Recap

 

 

Update: Amazon prime drops all 8 season 1 episodes on March 29, 2019, including episode 1. This post is based on the version of episode 1 that was available for 24 hours after the Superbowl.

Review

Hanna is an Amazon Prime original series which is based on the 2011 film of the same name. The series stars stars Esme Creed-Miles as Hanna, a 15 year old girl who’s been raised alone in the woods by her father and trained to be a survivalist and fighter; Joel Kinnaman as Erik Heller, Hanna’s father and a former agent who took his infant daughter on the run to escape the relentless pursuit which killed Hanna’s mother; and Mireille Enos as Marissa Wiegler, a rogue CIA agent who’s been hunting Heller and his family for many years and will stop at nothing to find them.

Amazon is advertising the story as “equal parts high-concept thriller and coming-of-age drama”. I can’t help but notice the similarities to Les Miserables and the Jean Valjean/ Cosette/ Javert storyline, one of my favorite stories of all time. In this version, Cosette is the star, and gets to show what she’s made of.

But, never fear, if you don’t like 19th century French literature or operatic 80s musicals. This is a thoroughly modern action-mystery-thriller in the vein of Hunger Games or Nikita. Hanna has been trained by her father since birth and has extraordinary talents, but she doesn’t know who she is to the outside world, or why she’s being hunted. Her father has kept her sheltered from the rest of humanity, but has taught her as much as he could about the world from their cave in the forest.

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Roswell, New Mexico Season 1 Episode 3: Tearin’ Up My Heart Recap

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Episode 3 of Roswell, New Mexico, Tearin’ Up My Heart, is a big improvement from episode 2, and puts the series back on track with what the pilot led me to expect. The show still has issues, but if it can avoid the WTF inconsistencies and the terrible characterizations from episode 2, along with so much blatant misogyny, it could develop into a compelling story of its own.

This week, the couples continue to play games with each other, which will get annoying very soon, especially in the case of Michael and Alex. If you want me to care about a couple, there has to be something there to actually care about. Max and Liz have been given montages and flashbacks, conversations between themselves and with others about their feelings and memories, and we’ve seen them take risks for each other. It’s been driven home that they have real feelings for each other but were forced apart.

Michael and Alex have had a few brief conversations, mostly made up of insult-filled arguments, and Alex had one short conversation with Maria in which he talked about Michael, but kept him anonymous. It looks like Alex uses Michael when he needs a boost to his self-esteem or to get off, then drops him when he comes to his senses. Why would I want Michael to be with a guy who doesn’t have a personality, has never publicly acknowledged their relationship, is embarrassed by Michael, and is psychologically abusive toward him?

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Roswell, New Mexico Season 1 Episode 2: So Much for the Afterglow Recap

Roswell, NM 102 Michael & Isobel at Crashdown Cafe

So Much for the Afterglow is right. After an enjoyable pilot, Roswell, New Mexico comes crashing down to earth in episode 2. I had a lot of issues with this episode, but the biggest one was with Max Evans. If you watched the original series, you may know where this is going.

I hated the Tess/Max storyline in the original series, especially for how much it took away from Max and Liz’s story. I was hoping Roswell, New Mexico would never go there. I knew Max had been casually dating someone in this series, and was fine with it. But dating someone else while Liz was gone for ten years is totally different from being ready to get together with Liz one minute, then shagging his second choice ten minutes later.

I wasn’t ready for Max to leave Liz and go straight over to the Tess look-alike’s house for sex. I was really, really, really hoping to avoid that entire scenario, where he’s in love with Liz but inexplicably sleeping with the blonde. Yet here we are, in episode two. Very disappointing. For a number of reasons, which I’ll go into further later on.

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Movie Review: Bohemian Rhapsody

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Bohemian Rhapsody * 2018 * Rated PG-13 * 2 Hours 14 Minutes

😸😸😸😸🌑 Happy Lap Cats

Freddie Mercury and Queen are musical legends. As with Elvis Presley and the Beatles, whether you love them or hate them, there’s no denying Queen’s talent, uniqueness and cultural impact. Bohemian Rhapsody, the film, chronicles their history, and especially Freddie Mercury’s history, with that legendary status in mind. Though he only lived to be 45, Mercury was such a larger than life, complex figure that no single film could do justice to his life and work.

This film, made under the guidance of the surviving members of the band, who still tour using the name Queen (as is their right), was created with the goal of preserving the public history and legacy of Queen and Freddie Mercury, and introducing them to new generations. In short, this film is meant to continue the legend. With that goal in mind, it succeeds.

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Movie Review: Roma

Roma Film Poster

Roma * 2018 * Rated R * 2 Hours 15 Minutes

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Roma, written, directed and filmed by Alfonso Cuarón, is a project that is clearly close to the filmmaker’s heart. The film is a barely fictionalized version of a year in the life of Cuarón’s childhood, a tumultuous year which changed the family’s dynamics and drew them closer together. The ostensible focus of the film is Cleo Gutiérrez, an indigenous Mixtec woman who serves as the family’s maid and nanny, with a secondary focus on Sofia, the lady of the house and a stand-in for Cuarón’s mother. Cleo is based on Cuarón’s beloved real life nanny, Libo Rodriguez, now 74, to whom the film is dedicated.

The family Cleo works for, headed by Dr Antonio, lives in the comfortable Mexico City neighborhood of Colonia Roma, with their four young children (Pepe, Sofi, Paco and Toño), Sofia’s mother, Teresa, another maid, named Adela, a man who acts as their driver and their enthusiastic dog, Borras. In the beginning of the film, the children and the maids are laughing and happy. Cleo’s biggest problem in life appears to be keeping up with the messes Borras makes in the alley where he runs free and Antonio parks his massive Ford Galaxy, which barely fits into the space allotted.

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Movie Review: BlacKkKlansman

BlacKkKlansman Poster

BlacKkKlansman * 2018 * Rated R * 2 hours 15 minutes

😸😸😸😸½  Rated 4.5 Happy lap cats

BlacKkKlanman is a comedy-drama film that is a semi-fictionalized version of the true story of Ron Stallworth, the first black cop in Colorado Springs, CO. It follows his rise from a desk job to becoming an undercover detective, working on a case based on a classified ad he saw in the newspaper, recruiting new members of the white supremacist organization the Ku Klux Klan.

The film was directed by Spike Lee (She’s Gotta Have It) and produced by Jordan Peele (Get Out). It was written by Charlie Wachtel, David Rabinowitz, Kevin Willmott, and Spike Lee. It stars John David Washington as Detective Ron Stallworth, Adam Driver as Detective Philip “Flip” Zimmerman, Laura Harrier as Patrice Dumas, Topher Grace as David Duke, Jasper Pääkkönen as Felix Kendrickson, Ryan Eggold as Walter Breachway, Paul Walter Hauser as Ivanhoe, and Ashlie Atkinson as Connie Kendrickson.

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Manifest Season 1 Episode 9: Dead Reckoning Recap

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Well, the Fall Finale of Manifest certainly lived up to its name, Dead Reckoning. There were real and metaphorical deaths, though it wasn’t a Walking Dead or Game of Thrones style bloodbath. I’d like to thank the Angel of the Waters for that. There were a few minutes where that looked entirely possible, but then Grace calmed down. 😘

We learned a lot in this episode, especially about Fiona Clarke. She thinks quick in crisis. She doesn’t mind getting her hands dirty. If she wants to, she can provide safe houses, and probably many other resources, for the passengers. She probably isn’t as outraged about the way her research is being used as she should be, if Saanvi’s reaction to Autumn’s injuries is anything to go by.

And she’s very, very willing to take sole responsibility for 10 fugitives who have been declared dead or missing, are severely injured, have no other friends or relatives to miss them, and who have developed psychic abilities from experiments based on her work.

Did she ask Saanvi to meet them at the safe house to provide medical care for the passengers? No. Did she tell Ben she’d text him the location of the safe house? No. Did she grab a big stack of the paperwork that was still in the lab? Yes.

I believe that Fiona has been playing the other passengers from the beginning. Either she was working with the Singularity Project or she was working for another government faction (DARPA), but took advantage of Ben and Vance’s raid on the secret experimental site to screw the government agencies over and kidnap the test subjects. She intends to continue her work on her own terms, completely off the radar. Or, she just helped DARPA steal the experiments from the CIA, because DARPA offered her better terms.

How do I know all of this?

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Manifest Season 1 Episode 8: Point of No Return Recap

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The Point of No Return, this week’s episode title, refers to the point that’s THE point where there’s no turning back, where the decisions you make and the actions you take are irreversible. For the most part, this episode leaves the point of no return in each storyline mysterious, though it’s clear that life altering decisions are being made and confrontations are coming. For Harvey, the passenger of the week with a death wish, the point seems obvious, but is it? Was he doomed when he started telling stories in O’Ryan’s Tavern, or did he doom himself by overthinking the pattern?

We’re given very little information about Harvey, so we don’t know if he was getting callings that put the ideas of angels or death into his head. We don’t know what he ignored and what he followed. All we know for sure is that he gave up, in a way that he couldn’t turn back from.

This episode, each character commits to a course of action that could lead to a disaster or could help. Cal returns to school, where his friends are 5 years ahead of him and everyone else thinks of him as the 828 kid. He’s grateful to get some normalcy back in his life, but remains aware that it could all disappear in a moment when the experiments start again.

Grace and Ben return to their pre-828 routine of Friday night date nights, while Jared and Lourdes decide to stick to their plans to start a family. But both marriages are weakened by lies and deceptions. Jared and Ben each have a connection with someone other than their wives, and they both have ongoing involvements in the 828 case that they haven’t mentioned to them.

Michaela receives a verbal calling that’s as vague as the previous callings, but this one doesn’t clarify itself by the end of the episode. It comes with another angel reference and several deaths, leading her to question everything she thought she knew about the callings. They’ve been her lifeline since she returned home, and now she’s seeing their dark side. But she can’t ignore them and she doesn’t know who her latest calling is referring to. (I think it’s Cal.)

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Manifest Season 1 Episode 7: S.N.A.F.U. Recap

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Episode 7 of Manifest continues the exploration of faith vs skepticism that we examined in episode 6. After Michaela’s calling leads her to stop the recipient of Evie’s donated heart from ruining his life, she becomes more certain than ever that the messages are good and she should continue following them.

But Ben continues to watch Cal struggle with his deepening involvement with and knowledge of the other passengers and the investigation. Cal’s life is in danger because of his callings, and Ben is unable to help him. It’s much more difficult for Ben to take the same leap of faith that Michaela now finds easy. Even worse, Michaela doesn’t seem to quite understand Ben’s difficulty.

The callings appear to be changing and manifesting in new ways. Are we going to be focussing more intensely on an alternate definition of the show’s title soon, as more than just the flight’s manifest (secure list of passengers, cargo and crew)? Are we waiting for Cal to manifest something in particular, for the passengers as a group to manifest a new ability, or for something entirely new and unexpected to manifest as a result of Flight 828? The calings and Cal’s abilities have been there all along, but Dr Clarke and Marko bring in new elements with larger implications.

Just don’t tell me that aliens laid eggs inside them, and the fetuses are creating the callings. And especially don’t tell me that it was all USD’s idea.

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Manifest Season 1 Episode 6: Off Radar Recap

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In Off Radar, we watch as the connections between the main characters on Manifest are either deepened or further strained. Everything is connected, but not all connections are going to remain strong forever. If the callings are tests, then they are, in part, a test of which connections the passengers are willing to risk losing, and which they’ll fight to keep.

In real life, radar uses reflected radio waves, broadcast over the air, to determine the speed and position of a targeted object. In Off Radar, Cal is the receiver, as he has been before in other ways. He’s receiving emotional, physical and mental information from one of the other passengers, a Bulgarian man named Marko. At the same time, Cal becomes gravely ill. It’s up to Ben, Michaela and Saanvi to interpret Cal’s symptoms and newfound ability to speak Bulgarian, determine if this is a calling, and what the calling wants.

It turns out Marko and ten other passengers have gone missing since the passengers were released by the Feds. Ben uses his data analyst skills to determine where they might be, then Michaela and Jared follow-up on the ground. This brings Michaela and Jared to a turning point in their relationship, when Jared demands that Michaela finally tell him the truth about the callings.

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