Thursday, January 17, 2019

Glass - Another Proof of How Visionary M. Night Shyamalan in Completing an Unusual & Intelligent Trilogy

I read somewhere months ago about this movie being made, which was a sequel to Split that my wife and I saw two years ago. To be honest, I was not that enthusiastic at first because it was not really my favorite film and the ending was something which I thought a bit too weird. Only until I finally saw the movie Unbreakable which was said to be its predecessor that I could understand the ending better and more intrigued to see this third film, just to see how it would all be connected and resolved. Without further ado, below is more on the movie.

Brief Story Line

Set 19 years after the events in Unbreakable, David Dunn (Bruce Willis - 12 Monkeys, Death Wish remake etc) still continued his vigilante act accompanied and supported by his now adult son Joseph (Spencer Treat Clark - The Last House on the Left, Mystic River etc). On the other hand, Dennis with his multiple personalities (James McAvoy - Sherlock GnomesAtomic Blonde etc) was still terrorizing the city by kidnapping young girls. David and Dennis life would soon intertwine and became a lot more complicated when they also met with Elijah Price aka Mr. Glass (Samuel L. Jackson - The Hitman's Bodyguard, various Marvel movies etc) in the psychiatric hospital under the care of Dr. Staple (Sarah Paulson - Ocean's 8, The Post etc).

Wednesday, January 16, 2019

(Special Screening) Take Point - An Almost Nonstop Korean Action Movie with a Plot that could have been Simplified for Maximum Enjoyment

Yesterday morning my wife got a surprise email from one of her friends who works in CGV (Rivki) and it was an invitation to a special screening of a Korean movie officially premiering on 19 January 2019. It was an event in the new CGV theater in Jakarta, at FX to be exact. Registration started at 6.30 PM and by 7.05 PM we were able to enter the studio. After some brief introduction on the movie from Rivki, we were shown few trailers and finally the film started at around 7.35 PM. So let us get on with the movie now.

Brief Story Line

A group of military personnels led by a South Korean captain Ahab (Ha Jung-woo - Along with the Gods: The Last 49 Days and its prequel, 1987: When the Day Comes etc) were sent by the US to infiltrate North Korea to "abduct" a general wanting to defect. Their point of contact in US was Agent MacKenzie (Jennifer Ehle - A Quiet Passion etc) who was also the one sanctioning Ahab's team on the mission. With the support of his team that included Markus (Kevin Durand - Robin Hood 2010 version etc), a rookie Logan (Spencer Daniels), the reliable Gerald (Malik Yoba - New York Undercover TV series etc) and few others, Ahab would go on to capture the target.

Sunday, January 13, 2019

My Favorite All Time 80s TV Series

After watching Star Trek: Discovery, it brought back some memories of my favorite series from the 1980s. During that period, there were quite a lot of TV series that I watched and I would like to share some of those that truly captured my heart. To slim down the list, I have excluded the series which started from the 1970s till the 80s even though I also quite enjoyed them such as family drama Little House on the Prairie (1974 - 1982), sit-com Mork & Mindy (1978 - 1982) or the action comedy Charlie's Angels (1976 - 1981). However, series that started from the 80s which spanned to years beyond, would still be in my list if they really had major impact on my growing up. 

Below are the series in alphabetical order:

21 Jump Street (5 seasons from 1987 - 1991)
The series was about a group of police officers who looked young for their age and hence they could work undercover for cases which mostly involved teenagers or college students. Their headquarter was located at the title's address. The original cast consisted of Johnny Depp, Holly Robinson, Peter DeLuise, Dustin Nguyen, Frederic Forrest and Steven Williams. As the series progressed, the cast grow to more than double which include the character Booker (Richard Grieco) and was even made into a spinoff 1 season series. 

Sadly, towards the end, the series episodes grew too heavy for my taste and I lost a bit of interest, especially when few of the original cast were no longer playing. I cannot remember now if I ever watched it till completion (or if the TV did show the full series back then).

Reasons for being my favorite: Great premise, good action sequence, nice theme song and featuring Johnny Depp.

Airwolf (4 seasons from 1984 -1987) 
Series focused on a military helicopter which had a lot of capabilities such as stealth mode and was equipped with heavy weapons etc with a codename Airwolf. The crew consisted of the pilots Hawke (Jan Michael Vincent) and Santini (Ernest Borgnine) and the missions were given by CIA deputy director Archangel (Alex Cord) with his right-hand woman Marella (Deborah Pratt). 

When the series reached fourth season, the cast were completely changed and I also lost my interest since then. But for the first 3 seasons, every Thursday night I would always sit in front of my TV to watch this and never missed an episode.

Reasons for being my favorite: As a kid, I loved the story of super helicopter that could do a lot maneuvers and killing bad guys. It also had a memorable theme song.

Growing Pains (7 seasons from 1985 - 1992)
This was a comedy series about the Seavers family which consisted of the father Jason (Alan Thicke), the mother Maggie (Joanna Kerns) with their 3 children: Mike (Kirk Cameron), Carol (Tracey Gold) and Ben (Jeremy Miller). Starting from season 4, the Seavers had the youngest child named Chrissy and starting from season 5, played by Ashley Johnson. In the 7th and last season, they had a homeless teenager who lived with them named Luke (Leonardo DiCaprio). 

The story focused on the whole family's relationship with each individual's problem such as Jason's early difficulties in working from home or Mike's ladies problem and Carol's social issues being the bookworm, plus Ben as the youngest. The family's dynamic also changed a lot with the addition of the youngest, plus Luke's appearance.

Reasons for being my favorite: It was a really funny sit-com and all the characters were amazing plus the interaction among family members were wonderful to see.

Knight Rider (4 seasons from 1982 - 1986)

Story was about a super car which was bullet proof and had lots of amazing gadgets with an Artificial Intelligence (AI) and was called Knight Industry Two Thousand (KITT) based on the organization that created it named Knight Industry. The driver of this car was an ex police named Michael Knight (David Hasselhoff) and he was given the assignments by Devon Miles (Edward Mulhare). The chief technician in charge of Kitt was Bonnie (Patricia McPherson - season 1, 3 & 4) and April (Rebecca Holden - season 2). In every episode, we would be shown how sophisticated Kitt was and also the fun interaction between Kitt (voiced by William Daniels) and Michael Knight.

Honestly I could not remember if the series was completely shown till 4 seasons, so I could not remember the ending either. Btw, there were some series and TV movies based on this series, but the only one that I ever saw was the 2008 1 season series which I thought was not a classic like the original.

Reasons for being my favorite: Who would not love to see a sports car that could speak (sometimes make jokes) and assist in capturing bad guys?

L.A Law (8 seasons from 1986 - 1994)
This was a legal drama with a large ensemble cast which included among others Harry Hamlin, Jimmy Smits and Corbin Bernsen. It focused on the law firm McKenzie, Brackman, Chaney and Kuzak in Los Angeles. It told us the stories about attorneys at the firm and various members of the support staff.

In each episode there would be 1 or 2 cases that need to be handled by one or more lawyers/associates. It also had some serious cases that provide us a lot of heavy thinking and sometimes the love story of the people, as well as some office politics.

Reasons for being my favorite: It was a great TV series that focused on lawyers fighting cases and the drama surrounding them. It was my first ever lawyers series that made me love the courtroom "fights". It had also won multiple Emmy Awards during its run. Till now, if I want to watch legal drama, I would always remember the time I watched this series.

MacGyver (7 seasons from 1985 - 1992)
This series focused on Angus MacGyver (Richard Dean Anderson), an agent for US agency and also worked at the Phoenix Foundation as troubleshooter, under his boss Pete Thornton (Dana Elcar). 
With his intelligence, good luck and vast knowledge of applied science, MacGyver could solve problems using ordinary things around him plus of course his trademark Swiss army pocket knife. 

It was such a popular show that the term MacGyver could sometimes be referred to by people using ordinary things around them to create something useful. There was also a reboot/remake the series in 2016 (MacGyver 2016 version).

Reasons for being my favorite: A good guy who does not use gun but able to defeat bad guys using whatever normal things around him. We would always be intrigued of what case MacGyver would find and how would he solve it.

Miami Vice (5 seasons from 1984 - 1989)
Series was about two Miami police detectives Sonny Crocket (Don Johnson) and Ricardo Tubbs (Philip Michael Thomas) who usually worked undercover in solving cases. Their superior was the tough Lieutenant Castillo (Edward James Olmos). There were also other cast such as Saundra Santiago, Olivia Brown, Michael Talbott and John Diehl as detectives in the same precinct.

Each episode would always have lots of gunshooting and car chasing scenes on the beaches of Miami. Unfortunately though, the series did not seem to run full seasons in our TV channel and I think I never saw the conclusion in the fifth season.

Btw, there was also a movie made based on this series with the same title, starring Colin Farrel and Jamie Foxx as Sonny & Tubbs which was directed by Michael Mann, but unfortunately it was not really well received by critics and was not a major box office hit.

Reasons for being my favorite: Great scenery, wonderful action sequences accompanied by nice music at that time. Sonny and Tubbs were also very stylish and created trends in my school. Plus it had a nice theme song as well.

Remington Steele (5 seasons from 1982 - 1987)
This was a series focusing on a female private detective Laura Holt (Stephanie Zimbalist) who had to create a fictitious male superior named Remington Steele in order to convince clients. But her plan was ruined when a con man later on claimed to be the real Steele (Pierce Brosnan). As it was impossible to prove otherwise, Holt and "Steele" would ultimately joined and worked together under the agency. In season 2 onwards, there would be additional character of Mildred Krebs (Doris Roberts) who worked as secretary.

In each episode, Steele and Holt would be competing against one another to solve the case and there was also some kind of possible romance between the two of them.

Sadly though, the series was never shown completely and I never got to see it concluded. Guess I would need to see how I could watch the rest of them.

Reasons for being my favorite: The premise of a really charming detective with a mysterious background and his relationship with Laura Holt was very interesting and fun to see. Plus the case solving at that time was also fascinating. 

Star Trek: The Next Generation (7 seasons from 1987 - 1994)
I admit that I probably have seen only few times the original Star Trek series re-run on TV, but this was the first real Star Trek series that really captivated me. The series focused on the starship USS Enterprise-D with the crew that consisted of a lot of characters including obviously humans, a Klingon, an android and a half betazoid. It was set around 100 years after the original.

In each episode, Enterprise would be visiting a location that require assistance or a place for conventions and other unique places in the galaxy. Each crew member would have their own specific story which may or may not have any relations to the particular visit.

Amazingly, The Next Generation also had 4 movies made and I loved all of them. 

Reasons for being my favorite: New planet or places with different kind of aliens in almost every episode, with wonderful special effects at that time, plus Jean Luc Picard was such a charismatic character as the commander of Enterprise. Till now I still could picture him navigating and narrating those classic words: "Space: the final Frontier. These are the voyages of the starship Enterprise ...." 

The A Team (5 seasons from 1983 - 1987)
Series focused on a team of ex military soldiers who were sentenced for crimes they did not commit and flee from the prison. While trying to clear their names, they all worked as soldiers of fortune. Team was led by Colonel John "Hannibal" Smit (George Peppard), Lieutenant Templeton "Face" Peck (Dirk Benedict), Sergeant B.A Baracus (Mr. T) and pilot Lieutenant Murdock (Dwight Schultz). 

In every episode they would be hired by people who usually were oppressed by the strong (bad guys/villains) and help them free. They would also need to avoid capturing by the Military Police. In future seasons, there would be additional character (s) in their team.

There was also a movie made based on this series with Liam Neeson, Bradley Cooper, Quinton Jackson and Sharlto Copley as the A-team. The movie had a mediocre performance and thus no sequels made after that.

Reasons for being my favorite: Every character in this series was so lovable. Always nice to see the colonel's plan or Face charming people to get necessary equipment or the banter between Barracus and Murdock. Plus the fun preparation of major fight by creating special car or equipment to defend against the bad guys. I also loved Hannibal's favorite words: "I loved it when a plan comes together"

Aside from the above list, I also had great appreciation to other series which had accompanied me during those time, from the sit-com such as The Cosby Show (1984-1992), Mr. Belvedere (1985 - 1990), The Golden Girls (1985 - 1992) or the action/police procedural such as Moonlighting (1985 - 1989 which featured Bruce Willis) or the kick-ass tough police series Hunter (1984 - 1981 starring Fred Dryer).

So there you have it, a top 10 list of my most favorite 80s TV series. I would welcome comments or views about series that might be your own personal favorites but not on my list.