TV Review: Legion (2017- )

Original Run: February 8th, 2017 – current
Created by: Noah Hawley
Directed by: various
Written by: various
Based on: Legion by Chris Claremont, Bill Sienkiewicz
Music by: Jeff Russo
Cast: Dan Stevens, Rachel Keller, Aubrey Plaza, Bill Irwin, Jeremie Harris, Amber Midthunder, Katie Aselton, Jean Smart, Navid Negahban, Jemaine Clement, Hamish Linklater

26 Keys Productions, The Donners’ Company, Bad Hat Harry Productions, Kinberg Genre, Marvel Television, FX Productions, 20th Television, 19 Episodes (so far), 44-68 Minutes (per episode)

Review:

With two seasons in the bag, that bag is a mixed one.

Legion is a mindfuck of biblical proportions. And while that works for the show, it also works against it.

The problem with Legion is that if you zone out or miss something for five minutes, you’re totally lost and it’s hard to reel yourself back in.

This show has some very strong positives, however. The cast, for the most part, is f’n stellar. Dan Stevens and Aubrey Plaza are exceptionally fantastic in this. But I can’t dismiss the work of Rachel Keller, Jean Smart and the always entertaining Jemaine Clement. All the other players deliver as well.

Legion also has great cinematography, set design and sort of exists in a very vivid world that is one part fantastical and one part realistic. There is a balance in the show in storytelling, style and overall tone between the fantastical and the real. It works quite well, as long as you don’t get lost in the details and the weirdness of what’s unfolding on screen.

But with all those positives, the show is also hard to watch at times. For me, it gets too strange at certain parts and the narrative gets lost in the weirdness, just as the viewer might.

Point being, this can be a very confusing show and sometimes details come so fast that you might not grasp them all. What may look profound on paper, in this case the script, might not translate well to screen. It doesn’t matter that the screen is littered with a visual smorgasbord of incredible and creative images. It almost feels like all that stuff distracts from the most important thing that this show needs: story. And not just story but a coherent story that flows at a proper pace and doesn’t come across as some dreamlike clusterfuck.

I wish that this show would find a way to tighten up it’s superficial bullshit and be a bit more accessible because ultimately, it can continue to be a total mindfuck but it won’t maintain an audience and generate the ratings it would need to continue.

Legion isn’t beyond fixing but after two seasons, I kind of don’t care about it anymore. With season one, I was able to look past the flaws because it was so nice to look at but season two was tough to get through and every time a new episode popped up, it felt like a chore I had to push through.

This should be better and it can be better but it almost feels pretentious in a lot of ways and I hate saying that but it’s definitely putting art over substance and that doesn’t work too well in television, where people have to be enticed to keep coming back.

Rating: 6.5/10
Pairs well with: Other recent Marvel shows: The GiftedThe Runaways and Cloak & Dagger.

Film Review: Colossal (2016)

Release Date: September 9th, 2016 (TIFF)
Directed by: Nacho Vigalondo
Written by: Nacho Vigalondo
Music by: Bear McCreary
Cast: Anne Hathaway, Jason Sudeikis, Dan Stevens, Austin Stowell, Tim Blake Nelson

Voltage Pictures, Brightlight Pictures, Sayaka Producciones, Neon, 110 Minutes

Review:

I have been waiting for this film to come out for quite some time after hearing the buzz after the Toronto International Film Festival and seeing the first trailer. It’s no secret I am a big kaiju fan, as well as a fan of movies that crossover genres that aren’t usually put together.

Colossal is incredibly unique and that could go one of two ways. It could really work and be fantastic or it could crash and burn and be a mess of a movie. Thankfully, Colossal, in my opinion, is an instant classic.

Now it isn’t a perfect or a flawless movie but when has something featuring a kaiju been a flawless picture? Well maybe the original 1954 Gojira (the Japanese language version, not the Raymond Burr Godzilla: King of Monsters version).

Colossal is so much more than a kaiju flick however, as the bulk of its story is about Gloria (Anne Hathaway) coming to grips with her mess of a life and the awful men she seems to attract. And to be honest, almost every man in this film is awful in some way. One is overly judgmental, one is pure evil and one is a total pussy – all awful qualities. The cokehead, of all people, is the only seemingly decent man in the story.

When Gloria returns home, after a big breakup, she soon discovers that she has some sort of psychic connection to a massive kaiju that is destroying Seoul, South Korea. Her friend and confidant Oscar (Jason Sudeikis) finds out that he is then linked to a massive robot that also appears in Seoul. As their friendship falls apart, due to Oscar having serious mental health issues (he’s the pure evil one), Gloria is emotionally held hostage by Oscar, who threatens to destroy Seoul every morning – killing thousands at a time. It is hard to watch, as Oscar starts out as sweet and nice and evolves into being completely psychotic by the end. However, the finale of the film is absolute perfection.

Anne Hathaway gets a really bad rap. I’m not really sure why, but this film and her performance in it are top notch. Sudeikis is absolutely stellar and this is my first experience seeing him playing a really dramatic character. Dude has chops. The supporting cast is good too but the weight of the picture rests solely on the shoulders of Hathaway and Sudeikis. They carry this kaiju drama well.

The film has good effects, good cinematography and a nice score. The tone throughout the picture is great.

Honestly, I didn’t know what to expect going into this as I tried to avoid spoilers. I wanted to be surprised and taken on an interesting ride and I was.

Colossal, so far, is my favorite picture of 2017, even though it debuted on the festival circuit late last year.