Rapid Review: Exodus: Gods and Kings (2014)

exodus poster

“Remember this. I am prepared to fight. For eternity.”
– Moses

SYNOPSIS: The defiant leader Moses rises up against the Egyptian Pharaoh Ramses, setting 600,000 slaves on a monumental journey of escape from Egypt and its terrifying cycle of deadly plagues. – via IMDB

exodus charge

GRADE 3So you know, when the trailers came last year I thought this looked alright, like it had potential. There were some big names attached to it and all that, I was under the impression Ridley Scott could do something with it. However, when I popped it in and saw the running time, I was a little sceptical. You have to be bloody brilliant to keep me entertained with a story for that long, but you know what? This is a movie based on the book of Exodus. Shit went crazy there, so I was sure that this would be alright. Oh my gosh, was I ever mistaken! For one, I have absolutely no idea what Bible Scott read. No jokes, seriously. I mean, it must be some special secret edition or something. That movie was not very loyal, at all (last I checked, one of Moses’s big selling points was that he could move water, not wade through it). It was long, oh so very long. It felt like it was never going to end, and it wasn’t getting to the point, either, which was even worse. Let’s pretend, for instance, that this was not some biblical epic, but just some film. Crazy concept, a war between brothers, help from a higher power, some extreme violence… well, the costumes looked like crap, the film was shot badly, everyone had a grating accent, there was no character development (and yes, I said that), what the fuck was Jesse doing out in the middle of the desert again, and why did everything look cheap and icky? Not only that, the hardcore plagues we came to see? Hustled through in about fifteen minutes. The battles from the trailer? Please, they were all there, nothing new in the film really. The logic was also incredibly flawed (all those Hebrew slaves magically outfitted with horses and the ability to waltz off and train and do their thing whenever they wanted, just for starters, as well as being crushed by an ocean. It means you’re dead, especially when you are in the middle of it). Also, there was nothing particularly emotional to identify with or any reason you would root for anyone. I know, I know, it looks like I am being harsh. Honestly, I read a lot of bad reviews on this, but I was still willing to give it a chance, I really was. Sitting down and watching it was just a really painful experience, though, and I really would not recommend it to anyone. Even when trying to look at this as a story that is not from the Bible, it really just falls flat, and there were crazy deviations from the book of Exodus throughout… no. I didn’t like this, I really didn’t. Plus there were some sketchy effects. Overall, pretty sucky, Bale and all!

Salem: Season 1 (2014)

salem season 1 poster


What I liked: 

  • The intro song being a Marilyn Manson track. Yes, fan. Also, the intro itself was alright.
  • The animals that Petrus (the seer) has, and their crazy stitched up eyes. Creepy stuff I tell you.
  • Some of the effects are pretty good and the show can be surprisingly graphic.
  • Isaac Walton. Probably the only character I liked. He was so childlike and innocent, and always being used and walked over, which was really sad. But he was sweet, and passionate, and always did the best he could.

salem face cutting for necromancing

What I didn’t like: 

  • I was not a real fan of Shane West as John Alden. I think my biggest issue here was the fact that he plays someone so badass and it really, really doesn’t suit him – he comes across as a sissy trying too hard.
  • We all know Mary went all darkside and all that, but it was just so abrupt and sudden, not a fan of that. She’s also so completely darkside, which just seems a little sketchy.
  • The dialogue is just ridiculous, and cannot decide if it wants to be modern or traditional or what. No idea.
  • There are no characters that I like and that I am rooting for or anything like that.
  • The potential that this show just wasted.
  • The casting really sucked. And I was pretty excited to see Xander Berkeley in here, especially after The Mentalist. No such wonderful winning. Seth Gabel, too, whom I absolutely adored in Fringe felt so wasted and weak here, though he is one of the better characters, to be sure.
  • No real progression. Everything went in circles and was ridiculously predictable. Plus, no plot twist or revelation was ever delivered with any finesse, so it all just felt hollow overall.
  • The whole character progression of Mercy. I mean how the hell did she get so strong and knowledgeable so quickly? Pffff, it was just frustrating.

salem zombies

Well, it is rather evident that I was not a fan of this. I don’t know why my other half insisted on watching this. He was told by some colleagues/friends that it was really good and really interesting and blah blah blah. Now, we have never actually gotten anything good to watch from them before, or a great recommendation that stood out, and all I really wanted was to watch Deadwood, but this was short, so if not, why not? Right? Pffffff. This was such a painful experience for me to get through, but because it was only a thirteen episode long season, my OCD would not allow me to simply stop watching and move on. I hate that about short seasons sometimes. Dammit. Well, I figured that once I had started, I may as well invest some time in this, even if just to bitch and moan about it, and trust me, I will. The casting just felt all wrong, really. From the off. Like none of the characters was suited for their role… I know we are supposed to identify with Alden and all that, but I just wanted to cut his hair (the long hair didn’t suit him – and I am sure you all know how much that must kill me to admit it) and I thought he was such a sissy pushover. Not to mention my excitement levels went through the roof when I saw Seth Gabel as a cast member, I like him, and thought he was simply superb in Fringe. Queue a teeth kicking, cause that’s what this show was. There are so many holes in it, and so many stories that get introduced and forgotten and rushed away from. It’s like… why?! The worst is this show had potential. Like the concept, and the fact that the effects were halfway decent and there was some impressive gore. I was like yeahhhhh, let’s have a lookie here, and then this is what we got. There were moments that were pretty good, albeit predictable. It’s like Salem never catches, never finds itself, never draws you in, which is a pity. Also, I didn’t appreciate Janet Montgomery in the main role of Mary one little bit. Logic also makes some impressively confusing and mind-numbing leaps and bounds, which just adds to the irritations within this show. Also, the pacing was terrible. Something would happen and only be addressed again much later on, undecided as to whether something was relevant or not. Make up your minds, people, it can’t be that hard… The camera work was also incredibly sketchy, and sometimes the way it would rapidly flick between two characters in a single room made me think of a soapie. Meh. As much as Increase Mather was a twit, he was one of the more entertaining twits, and Stephen Lang had more screen presence than anyone I had actually seen this season. The one great thing about this show is the amount of laughter it provided for me and my other half due to ripping it to shreds and taking the Mickey out of it completely. I cannot, with a clear conscience, recommend this show – it could have been so much more if it wanted to!

salem reading

Review: Under the Knife – Tess Gerritsen

tess gerritsen under the knife coverKate Chesne is a successful doctor. She loves her life, albeit a little lonely. One day, a routine operation goes awry. Part of the staff that performs surgery on Ellen O’Brien, a close friend and fellow nurse, something goes wrong in the operating room and Ellen dies on the table. Once an investigation is launched, Kate is soon served with papers suing for malpractice when evidence shows that Kate misread the EKG and killed Ellen on the table. Her life as she knows it is crumbling, and she is desperate to get it straightened out. She knows for a fact that there was nothing wrong with Ellen’s EKG, and that she certainly did not have a stroke before surgery.

Kate approaches the O’Brien family lawyer, David Ransom, intent on making him  hear her out, to hear the truth, that she did not make a mistake, that someone else did. The two are opposites from the very off, though she is immensely attracted to him from the off. David, on the other hand, has made it his life’s mission to sue and crush doctors at every available opportunity, and it seems that Kate is no exception. However, things soon start to happen that make him wonder if there is maybe not more to her story, that maybe there are sides she does not know. Kate receives some strange calls about Ellen’s death, and when searching for answers discovers another corpse, another nurse. The dead nurse seems to have a connection to another murder, and suddenly a murder seems like a theory for the OR, and not necessarily malpractice. David and Kate, however, are tiptoeing and dancing around each other, complete opposites but completely taken with each other.

Is Kate right? Is she being framed? Was there a misunderstanding? Did she kill Ellen on the table, even if just by accident? Will David take her through the wringer, crushing her just like any other doctor? What will happen between the two? Will they start thinking a little more straight if they are away from each other for a while?

GRADE 3Why? Just why? Right, bear in mind, the cover looked like it could present a decent medical thriller. I even (for the briefest of moments) thought that this could totally have been a book that Natasha would enjoy (you know, romance and the medical side – her cup of tea). But then it just spiralled. I had a sour taste in my mouth over the romance aspect that presented itself insanely early, but I was certain it couldn’t be the worst kind or anything. Oh boy, was I mistaken. I was dragged into one of those ludicrous novels where everything is about the heat of the moment, the desire burning all over their bodies, the lingering gazes, the mind running more rampant than a hormonal teenager and electrifying touches and blah blah blah. I was seriously unimpressed. I finished it (not a fan of starting books and not finishing – seeing as this one was only like 250 pages I figured I could hack through it – plus the internets was down at work and I had nothing else with me CRY CRY CRY). Really, I usually like Tess Gerritsen, but this was just awful. The characters were just wholly unbelievable, the names were so pretentious – I mean Jinx? David Ransom (a lawyer)? Pokie? I was unimpressed to the extreme. Not only that, the dialogue and writing style was just so corny and weak. This could have been a decent read if not for all the flaming desire and doomed relationship and crap that dominated only every damn page. I was not happy with the plot progression either. The story was forgotten, and it had the potential to be alright. Instead it got inundated by page fillers of lust and love. Pffffff. The cover is sort of a love/hate thing for me. 1 – I hated it because I ended up reading a junky book, but 2 – thank goodness, otherwise my colleagues would have had a proper laugh at me! I would not recommend this unless you are seriously, seriously into that type of romance novel.