Altered Carbon (2018-?)

Altered Carbon (2018-?)

Network:

Netflix

Starring:

Joel Kinnaman

James Purefoy

Martha Higareda

Chris Conner

Dichen Lachman

Renée Elise Goldsberry

Kristen Lehman

Plot:

Set in a future where consciousness is digitized and stored, a prisoner returns to life in a new body and must solve a mind-bending murder to win his freedom.

Review:

It’s been almost a week since I finished watching Altered Carbon and I’ve done a lot of talking about it, my original opinion was mostly neutral but it has become more negative the more I’ve thought about it. AC is visually remarkable, especially considering it’s a TV show. The world created was interesting and definitely something worth exploring. There have been lots of complaints about the acting, but I personally don’t have a problem with it considering it’s a Sci-Fi show and that’s honestly what I expect. My main problems with the show are the characters, story, and the treatment of women.

In AC bodies are called sleeves, if you’re wealthy you can slip in and out of different sleeves depending on your whim. If you are poor, not so much, but it is possible for you to earn enough in your lifetime so that you can feasibly not die. This makes the human body almost like a car and for some disposable, which is supposed to explain a lot of things, like why there is so much nudity in the show.

My problem with that is that the nudity is almost completely one sided. You see all but one main female cast member completely naked. You see one male lead and it’s so brief I missed it. There is a scene where Dichen Lachman’s character jumps into six different sleeves of herself, all completely naked, and fights on a ton of glass. There are multiple sex scenes were you see full frontal female nudity, but the most you get male wise is butt. There are discarded female sex bots all over one episode, but almost no male ones.

I counted 2.5 penises, though I’m told I missed maybe 2 more. I lost track of how much bush I saw. If this was a futuristic world in which women appeared to be able to do everything that men could, they were revolutionaries, capitalists, and police officers, why was there so little in the way of their sexual entertainment? Why were their bodies the only ones on display?

Even ignoring the nudity the female characters were treated and written horribly. It was a violent world, but they almost always ended up worse than the male characters. They made decisions that seemed to go against character, though, most of that seemed to be in situations involving them being naked which just adds to my frustration on that front. Clearly the reason for the female nudity had very little to do with story.

Kristen Ortega, Martha Higareda, stalked Kovacs, Joel Kinnaman, from the beginning because he was in the sleeve of her boyfriend. She hated him because of it and was constantly calling him a terrorist, but this did not stop her from sleeping with him and falling in love to the point where when her boyfriend is cleared and Kovacs is returning the sleeve she is visibly disappointed. She was tortured, her partner killed protecting her, and her entire family brutally murdered. She’s finally at least getting the man she’s supposed to have loved enough that it messed her up emotionally at the beginning of the story, but she’s bummed because…reasons.

Reileen Kawahara, Dichen Lachman, is Kovacs sister. She has miraculously survived these two hundred and fifty years because she has no morals or scruples. This was hinted at in flash backs to their original lives and not out of character at all. What does feel out of character is her sudden incestuous feelings toward Kovacs. While she’s taken over the body of Kristen, she comes on hard to him. He realizes it’s her and is grossed out, but her explanation is nothing is off limits when you’re rich and basically a god. She goes from a younger sister that idolizes her brother to a madam that does truly heinous things all in the pursuit of money and apparently wants to get in his pants. Her getting her brother free is basically a stretch goal and her real purpose was to cover her own ass. She ends up dying, which is much deserved, though who knows if it’s permanent.

Quellcrist Falconer, Renée Elise Goldsberry, is leading a revolution. She’s created a technology that she thought would be good, but of course turned out bad. She’s trying to correct things, she’s got a plan, too bad she falls in love with Kovacs. She ends up dying at the hands of his sister, or does she? She’s currently saved on a stack waiting to be rescued by Kovacs.

Miriam Bancroft, Kristen Lehman, is married to Laurens Bancroft, James Purefoy, and is basically stuck. She can’t do anything because he owns everything, but she’s got her kids. Her kids are everything to her apparently, though apart from a couple seemingly throw away comments you don’t really know this until the last episode. She has been with her husband forever and seems to exist for him. Her body is specifically engineered to be amazing at sex to the point it excretes some kind of pheromone or something. Naturally she has sex with Kovacs and then any time she’s around him is trying to get him to go to an island where all of her clones are so that he can have sex with lots of her. You discover that she killed a sleeve and an unborn baby because of her great love of her children and not wanting someone else to give birth to a child by her husband. She has charges read against her and she’s led away by the police.

I’m not going to list the rest of the female cast, but their histories are similar. They’re dedicated to getting ahead at whatever cost, they do everything for their children, and they’re sexually abused and left for dead.

Just so you can see the contrast here’s a breakdown of some of the male characters.

Kovacs is woken up after two hundred and fifty years in jail, he’s put in an enhanced body, sadly they missed an opportunity here. He went from being Asian to a white male, if bodies are as exchangeable as they keep trying to say in the show it would have been nice if they hadn’t been so tone deaf.

He’s told if he can solve Bancroft’s murder he will get a full pardon and a ton of money, in the meantime he’s allowed to roam free and has access to a ton of money. He indulges in lots of drugs, has sex with his boss’s wife and the cop tailing him and wins a lot of fights. At one point he’s tortured for quite a while, but he eventually breaks himself out and destroys the whole place. The show ends with him killing his sister (maybe), learning his true love is in a stack somewhere and just needs to be found and put in a body, and getting a ton of money and a full pardon.

Laurens Bancroft is RICH and thinks of himself as a benevolent god. He’s kept his children in arrested development and they hate him for it. He believes one of his sleeves was murdered and wants Kovacs to figure out who did it. All the evidence points to suicide, but he refuses to believe that’s what happened. Turns out that’s exactly what happened. His wife drugged him because she was being blackmailed after she killed his baby momma. He gets super violent while on these drugs and permanently kills one of his prostitutes. He can’t believe he’d do something like that and it breaks him, he felt there was a line he’d never cross. So that he will never have to remember what he’s done he kills his sleeve before his memories can be backed up. The show ends with him being arrested, though the charges are never read by the police. He reconciles with his son and leaves him in charge, but let’s be honest there’s no way he’s not getting free with his money and the confession of his wife drugging him.

Poe, Chris Conner, is the most interesting character in the whole show. He’s a hotel AI and takes care of his guest, Kovacs, every whim. He dies a heroes death.

Like I said Altered Carbon is visually amazing to watch, the world interesting, but the story and characters are seriously lacking. There’s a lot wrong with it and I don’t think I’d say I enjoyed watching most of it, but it’s got a lot of potential. If it is picked up for a second season I hope it’s able to live up to that potential and do a lot better. I’m honestly not sure if I would watch a second season though.

2/5

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All Rise for the Honorable Perry T. Cook By: Leslie Connor

All Rise for the Honorable Perry T. Cook By: Leslie Connor

Plot:

From Leslie Connor, award-winning author of Waiting for Normal and Crunch, comes a soaring and heartfelt story about love, forgiveness, and how innocence makes us all rise up. All Rise for the Honorable Perry T. Cook is a powerful story, perfect for fans of Wonder and When You Reach Me.

Eleven-year-old Perry was born and raised by his mom at the Blue River Co-ed Correctional Facility in tiny Surprise, Nebraska. His mom is a resident on Cell Block C, and so far Warden Daugherty has made it possible for them to be together. That is, until a new district attorney discovers the truth—and Perry is removed from the facility and forced into a foster home.

When Perry moves to the “outside” world, he feels trapped. Desperate to be reunited with his mom, Perry goes on a quest for answers about her past crime. As he gets closer to the truth, he will discover that love makes people resilient no matter where they come from . . . but can he find a way to tell everyone what home truly means?

Review:

I cried through this entire story, there are so many tear stains on the pages of this library book. I expected it to be well written based on the buzz around it, but I had no idea that I would end up crying so much. After the first chapter I knew that it was going to be an emotional journey so I had to read the last chapter to make sure there was a happy ending.

***SPOILERS***

There was.

Perry was so innocent and optimistic and just let things roll right over him that would normally drive an adult crazy. His ability to cope with things was remarkable and I wish I had his skills. Just when I was starting to think he was too good, though, Connor allowed him to get mad. He had been bothered by things throughout the book, but he was able to accept that there was nothing that he could do about them.

I do wish that he had a bit more fight in him, but the book acknowledged that was an area he could grow in. I also wish that the pay off at the end was a bit better. I found myself reacting like one of the characters and I wished things had been fair. I at least wanted the DA to have more negative backlash against him. It would have also been nice to learn more about Perry’s father.

There was so much love between the characters. It was beautiful.

4/5

The Accident Man (2018)

The Accident Man (2018)

Director:

Jesse V. Johnson

Starring:

Scott Adkins

Ray Stevenson

Amy Johnston

Michael Jai White

Ray Park

Plot:

Mike Fallon, the Accident Man, is a stone cold killer whose methodical hits baffle the police and delight his clients. He is the best at what he does. But when a loved one is dragged into the London underworld and murdered by his own crew, Fallon is forced to rip apart the life he knew in order to hold those accountable and avenge the one person who actually meant something to him.

Review:

Mike, Scott Adkins, is an assassin and he’s the best at what he does, he is not, however, good at romantic relationships and even though he loves a woman he can’t or won’t change and she leaves him because he’s an asshole.

She’s killed and he’s not happy about it, it doesn’t help that she was pregnant with his baby. Lots of violence and death ensue.

The story was surprisingly good in The Accident Man. The world wasn’t quiet as interesting as a John Wick movie, but there were still several good characters. Mick and Mac, Michael Jai White and Ray Park, were ex-special forces that made killings look like normal violent crimes. Amy Johnston’s character was an expert with a katana and decimated anyone in her way. Mike makes his killings look like normal accidents. It’s all kind of fun.

A surprisingly good story adds to what sets this movie apart from other direct to video action movies, the fact that everyone in this movie is great at fighting. Scott Adkins, Michael Jai White, and Ray Park are incredible on their own but add them all together and it makes things even better. We got several great fights, next to no shaky cam, a bit too many quick cuts considering the level of fighters we had but since I’m sure this was filmed fairly quickly I can understand. Honestly I really enjoyed this movie, definitely one of the best direct to video action movies.

As Mike started his rampage I kept hoping that the characters would live so that we could get more, and there is definite room for another movie in this universe, but I almost wish they’d just make another movie with all these people all over again. I want another fight scene with those three, only this time I want it to be one shot.

The Accident Man was very great and I was very happy with it.

4/5

Acts of Vengeance (2017)

Acts of Vengeance (2017)

Director:

Isaac Florentine

Starring:

Antonio Banderas

Christina Serafini

Karl Urban

Atanas Srebrev

Plot:

A fast-talking lawyer transforms his body and takes a vow of silence, not to be broken until he finds out who killed his wife and daughter and has his revenge.

Review:

I watched this movie, then literally completely forgot I had. It’s been an effort to remember enough to write this review.

Antonio Banderas character is a hot shot lawyer that talks his clients problems away. He’s a criminal defense attorney, something that pays well if you’re good and is required, but also comes with the price of knowing that you’re potentially getting bad guys back on the street. As long as the money is coming in he doesn’t care, but when his wife and child are murdered things change.

Karl Urban was jacked in this movie and I kept hoping for more, sadly I did not like his character and felt like he was wasted.

The action was alright, but this was not an action movie despite what the trailer seems to say. Yet another misleading trailer.

The idea is unoriginal, the acting is fine, the payoff is eh. Would not recommend.

2/5

Delicious Emily: Message in a Bottle

Delicious Emily: Message in a Bottle

Publisher:

GameHouse

Developer:

GameHouse

Platform:

PC

About:

Enjoy an amazing story while you cook divine dishes in Italian kitchens!

Review:

The story in this started out pretty dark. Delicious Emily: Hopes and Fears ended with a donkey and postman showing up saying that he had a letter. Well DE: Message in a Bottle opens thirty years ago when Emily was three and she was spending time with her grandfather. Her grandmother has recently passed away and he’s depressed. The first five levels are pretty fast but end with the grandfather giving a three year old a goodbye letter and sailing off into a horrible storm. I got definite suicidal undertones and was really surprised at the dark tone. Eventually, meaning at the very end after the main story ended, you discover that wasn’t his intention, he was just storming off like a child and sulked for thirty years.

In this story we get to see more of Emily’s father’s family. They aren’t very pleasant, even after they learn their lessons. They bring stubborn to a whole new level, which I can easily understand, but isn’t very sympathetic. They also seem to bring out the worst in Emily’s dad.

All and all, story wise, I enjoyed this much more than DE: Hopes and Fears.

Game play things were slightly changed. You did not have a diamond to get on every level, which made this game easier than the rest. I did feel like you had to work harder to unlock things, though, and so I still had nineteen hours in to beat and unlock all achievements. Thankfully, I kept track of all the items and I don’t have to replay the game to get the final achievement like I’ll have to do with Hopes and Fears.

Message in a Bottle was a nice installment to the series, it expanded the family and history, though, Emily was not a very big part of the story. It set up some potential conflict for the next installment, so we’ll see what happens and if the rest of the family ever shows up again.

4/5