Sick Sense Reviews

5 Reasons You Should Be Watching Gotham

Gotham

Billed as the story of Jim Gordon before Batman, the Gotham TV show has seemingly struggled to gain the buzz of the other DC TV outings such as The Flash, Arrow and Supergirl. As a massive fan of the show I’m going to give you 5 reasons why I consider Gotham to be better than every other DC show around. By the end of this hopefully you’ll all want to p-p-p-p-pick up a Penguin too…

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1 – The Casting

I watch a lot of TV shows, I mean A LOT, and I can’t think of one with better casting than Gotham. Cockney kickass Sean Pertwee as Alfred? Perfect. Adorable yet amazingly self-assured David Mazouz as Bruce Wayne/Baby Batman, spot on. The villains too, a major part of the Batman universe and relatively easy to mess up (yes, I’m looking at you Batman Forever) have been note perfect to date.

Of course I can’t conclude this section without mentioning another key section of characters so often effed up in superhero shows but knocking it out of the park in Gotham – the strong female characters. Yes, finally we have some! From Bruce’s catty sweetheart Selina Kyle (Camren Bicondova) through the S & M stylings of Tabitha Galavan (Jessica Lucas) to Jim Gordon’s psychotic ex Barbara Kean (Erin Richards) and not forgetting the unkillable (nearly) Fish Mooney (Jada Pinkett Smith), the girls of Gotham are NOT to be messed with. Well, not unless you like having your body parts removed one by one that is. Bravo ladies.

 

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2 – The Tone

The tone of shows and films set in Gotham over the years has varied somewhat drastically (understatement of the decade). You have the wonderfully camp sixties Batman, the gothic gloom of Burton’s films and the more realistic (Chicago-looking) tone of Nolan’s film versions and the….well… Lego tone of Lego Batman. Our Gotham has sensibly toned down the gothic a little (Arkham Asylum notwithstanding) but kept some of the glorious lunacy of the sixties. It’s difficult not to when you have villains with names like The Riddler, Dr Strange (no, not THAT one) and The Scarecrow running around murdering people.

On the whole though I’d say that the show gets the balance between the darkness and light just about right. There’s a lot of humour which keeps the show from going all Snyder on us. Phew.

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3 – The Deaths

There are A LOT of deaths in Gotham. The mortality rate must be through the roof. We’ve had shootings, stabbings, disembowellings, defenestration (look it up), poisoning and, my personal favourite courtesy of Penguin, death by rocket launcher. Of course this is Gotham though, so death isn’t always permanent. It seems to be mainly the villains who get reanimated, much to everyone’s relief in Season 2 when ‘the guy everyone assumed was going to turn into The Joker’, Jerome (Cameron Monaghan) was unduly offed by one of my favourite characters – Theo Galavan. “No!” We all shouted (or I did anyway) until we realised that Hugo Strange was keeping the best villains on ice for later use. Hoorah!

Anyways, it goes without saying that Gotham is not always for the faint-hearted. There’s blood, creeps and good old fashioned murder in pretty much every episode. I love it.

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4 – The Penguin

I had to pick my favourite villain for this bit and, although given a close run by Edward Nygma aka The Riddler (the absolutely spectacular Cory Michael Smith), there was only ever one baddie that was going to get a whole section to himself. It had to be the one and only Oswald Cobblepot otherwise known as The Penguin and played to perfection by Robin Lord Taylor. If this show wasn’t called Gotham and it wasn’t about baby Batman and Jim Gordon, it could easily have been called ‘The Rise and Fall, and Rise Again and Another Fall of Oswald Cobblepot”. OK, so it’s not as snappy a title but it’s pretty accurate.

Penguin has been in the show since the beginning and, despite the numerous murders and atrocious acts Batman’s future nemesis has committed he’s still managed to remain a sympathetic character. It’s a testament to Robin Lord Taylor’s performance that this version of Penguin has become my favourite. It’s no mean feat to out-penguin Danny Devito. An honourable mention should also go to Gotham’s hairstylist. Is it just me or does Penguin’s hair reinvent itself every time he does? Loving the season 4 spikes by the way.

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5 – The Batman

OK, so I can’t rave on about a show about the evolution of Batman without talking about the (not quite) caped crusader. It’s taken a while (3 whole seasons) and a lot of ‘on the job’ learning (including clones, beatings, broken hearts and batcave discoveries) but our little Bruce Wayne is finally ready to take his first steps into crime fighting at the start of Season 4.

OK, so his mask is a little off (by which I mean crap) and his cape wafting technique needs a little work but he has the ninja skills, the refusal to kill people (Snyder take notes here) and the glowery pouting of The Batman down pat. He’s also gathered that an important part of fighting crime is standing on the edge of tall buildings looking pensive. So what’s missing? Well it’s the Bruce Wayne persona that needs a little work. He’s too bloody nice to people. Bless him. I suspect that will come in time and I, for one, look forward to seeing this in Season 5 (hint hint FOX).

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New hair, don’t care

 

So there you have it, five reasons you should be watching this underrated show. So what are you still doing here? UK people, Season 3 is finally available on Netflix so get watching.*

 

*  I wanted to include a ‘same bat-time’ reference here, but I ran out of brain.

 

Zoe Butcher

@thezoverlord 

Sick Sense Reviews

Sick Sense Reviews – Guardians of the Galaxy Volume 2

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Director: James Gunn
Starring: Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana, Dave Bautista, Michael Rooker, Bradley Cooper, Kurt Russell, Karen Gillan and (sort of) Vin Diesel
Vomit incidence: Minor but unnecessary

The Guardians, on the run after Rocket nicks a few batteries from an uppity gold-painted race of narcissists, are thrown a curveball with the appearance of Quill’s father, who just happens to be a living planet. Because of course he is.

Not quite as universally adored as the first Guardians movie, this outing still proved highly entertaining with a surprising emotional punch. Newcomers to the franchise, Pom Klementieff (Mantis), Elizabeth Debicki (Ayesha) and Kurt Russell (Ego, who else?) more than hold their own against the returning cast but for me the stand out performance comes from the ever-fabulous Michael Rooker as Yondu, Quill’s de facto dad. He also gets the best action sequence – that fin/arrow combo is nifty!

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Grumpy blue asshat vs grumpy furry asshat

One of the elements not quite hitting the mark was the soundtrack, a big part of the first film’s success, the awesome mix on volume 2 falls a bit flat. With the exception of ELO’s fabulous Mr Blue Sky over the film’s opening sequence, the other songs didn’t really stand out. I’m a big 80s music fan and I think the selection here let the movie down a little.

Much was made in the lead up to the release (and in the merchandising) of Baby Groot (voiced by Vin Diesel). He is cute as a little wooden button, but a tad overused. One of his scenes in particular seems to go on forever. OK guys, we get it, he’s cute with a temper and some sort of mental impairment. Move on.

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Yes, he’s adorable, we get it.

It also happens to be the aforementioned tree toddler who provides the movie’s main vomit moment. Apparently warping too much makes him airsick. Great. An honourable mention should also go to the long running (and arguably unnecessary/vaguely sexist) Drax joke about how ugly Mantis is. He doesn’t puke but he does gag a lot.

I might sound a bit negative in this review but I really did enjoy the movie, even more so second time around. The casting was impeccable, the emotional element worked well but the first film was so refreshing and fun that the sequel really needed to up the ante a bit more and take a few risks. Kurt Russell turning up in a giant egg just wasn’t enough.

I’m Mary Poppins, y’all!

 

Film Score: 7/10

NB OCD: 3/10 – even Baby Groot’s vomit is almost cute 

 

 

 

 

Sick Sense Reviews

Sick Sense Reviews – Deadpool (2016)

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Director: Tim Miller
Starring: Ryan Reynolds, Morena Baccarin, TJ Miller, Ed Skrein
Vomit Incidence: Minor but irritating

A wisecracking mercenary with terminal cancer undergoes torturous experimental treatment at the hands of a sadistic British villain and emerges as a disfigured superhuman on a revenge mission with a truckload of nob gags for good measure.

I saw this movie in the cinema for Valentine’s Day and I loved it. After the first godawful outing for Marvel’s ‘Merc with a Mouth’ (where they stitched up said mouth so he couldn’t speak – go figure) Ryan Reynolds finally got to bring his pet mutant to the masses and he did not disappoint. Despite being rated ‘R’  in the US and 15 in the UK, the film deservedly took the box office by storm and spawned the currently filming sequel.

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This is what happens every time someone says ‘Green Lantern’

The film’s budget might not have stretched to the full line-up of lycra-clad X-Men to assist Mr Pool, but they managed to pick two interesting mutants to add to the mix. Colossus (finally done right) the hulking metal man with delicate sensitivities (more on those in a moment) and the girl with the best superhero name ever: Negasonic Teenage Warhead. Brought along to rein in Deadpool’s antics (good luck with that) the two end up helping him in his quest to bring down the man who tortured him, Ajax aka Francis (the magnificent Ed Skrein).

Although the car attack sequence and the obligatory end battle bring some well-crafted action to the film, it’s the humour that lifts it consistently above your average superhero fare. Although not for everyone (lots of swearing, violence and a year-long sex scene apparently don’t appeal to all movie goers), I laughed out loud more times during the opening credits than I have during any film in the past ten years. Fourth wall breaks, Hugh Jackman gags and even jibes at the star, Deadpool has ’em all.

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Mean comment

However, this film does come with a warning for emetophobes. For some reason it was decided that a good way to demonstrate Colossus’ soft side / get some more laughs was to SPOILER ALERT have him throw up after Deadpool shoots Francis in the head at the end of the final battle. Oh Pool, and we were so enjoying the movie up until that point, despite our OCD being triggered by you hiding a ring up your butt at the beginning. Gah. Needless to say I didn’t laugh at Colossus. I just crossed my arms and freaked out quietly in my seat.

Superhero Landing.

 

Film Score: 9/10

NB OCD: 4/10 for unnecessary puking and hiding stuff up bottoms

Sick Sense Reviews

Sick Sense Reviews – 28 Days Later (2002)

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Director: Danny Boyle
Starring: Cillian Murphy, Naomie Harris, Christopher Eccleston
Vomit Incidence: Multiple, zombie-related

Jim awakes from a coma to discover that well-meaning animal activists have unleashed a rage virus which has zombified the majority of the UK. Things do not get better for Jim from there.

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Life in post-Brexit Britain was going well…

Zombie films had died a bit of an undeath before the release of this cracking UK film from Danny Boyle. Rather than the shambling, brain chompers of old, this lot are strong, fast and very cross indeed (they are British zombies after all). The speed and strength add an extra level of terror for poor old Jim as he attempts to locate fellow survivors in the post-apocalyptic UK.

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Must be the UK, it’s raining.

If the rage-filled undead weren’t enough to contend with, not all of the survivors Jim meets are entirely friendly and/or sane. Particular mention in this regard goes to Christopher Eccleston’s mildly unhinged army Major. With a captive zombie and a desire to ‘repopulate’ the UK, he’s even more dangerous than the blood-spewing corpses wandering around.

Yup, blood spewing again. It seems gone are the good old days when zombies would chomp on someone to infect them, now they have to projectile-vomit blood all over them. Thanks guys, just what we needed. So if you’re an emetophobe like me you probably want to close your eyes/ears every time a zombie hoves into view. Which is a lot, so you may miss the majority of the film. Don’t blame me, blame Alex Garland, he wrote the damn thing.

Film Score: 9/10 (point docked for not using the post-apocalyptic scenes shot in my previous hometown of Croydon)

NB OCD: 7/10 for blood-spewing and also that scene with Christopher Eccleston and the rotten egg. Put me off eggs for years.

Sick Sense Reviews

Sick Sense Reviews – It Comes At Night

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A family live a secluded but safe existence while an unspecified threat terrorises the world, until a couple with a young son appear and ask for their help. Cue everything going to hell in a depressing apocalyptic hand-basket.

I hadn’t seen the trailer or read the blurb going in to this film so I was, rather optimistically, expecting an atmospheric horror movie with some nasty psycho-monster attacking people at night (clearly I was watching totally the wrong film with IT in the title). I was also encouraged by the presence of Joel Edgerton who was so impressive in 2015 movie ‘The Gift’. My hopes were dashed pretty much instantly however with the appearance of this chap:

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It came at night and got this guy good.

Oh great, another world-ending virus movie then. Bugger. Because if there’s one thing we all know about world-ending viruses – it’s that they make people puke blood. Great.

In actual fact there isn’t a massive amount of blood-spewing present here which would be good news if it weren’t for the unfortunate fact that there isn’t much of a story here either. The ‘It’ mentioned in the title is never really explained (what is It, why does It come at night? Why am I watching It rather than IT?) and the story focuses on paranoia and mistrust instead. Not a bad idea but other movies have done it better. Edgerton does a decent job of making you feel for the main character but he doesn’t get a lot to do, apart from glower, wave firearms about and murder old people.

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It’s night, so it’s coming. What is it? Fucked if I know.

On the whole I wouldn’t recommend this movie either to horror fans or to emetophobes. Not enough horror for the former and too much upchucking for the latter. Also as a side note, not related to sick, let the above picture serve as a warning to animal lovers. There is a dog in this movie, and we all know how that ends. Probably best not to watch.

 

Film Score: 5/10

NB OCD: 5/10

Sick Sense Reviews

Sick Sense Reviews – Alien (1979)

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Director: Ridley Scott

Starring: Sigourney Weaver, Tom Skerritt, John Hurt, Veronica Cartwright, Harry Dean Stanton, Yaphet Kotto, Ian Holm
Vomit Incidence: Robotic goo and Alien-induced blood spatter

A deep space mining vessel receives an unidentified signal. Assuming it to be a distress call they land on a desolate planet only to find they aren’t the first life forms to do so. Hilarity ensues. Just kidding, it really doesn’t.

I have to admit, this isn’t so much of as review as it is an unadulterated fangirling. Alien is my favourite movie of all time, although I have to be the only person in history to have been relieved when John Hurt had an alien explode from his insides as I had been worrying he was about to throw up.

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Worst case of indigestion. EVER.

Very few films have truly earned the title ‘genre-defining’ in the way that Alien has. Since 1979 every single sci-fi or horror film has borrowed from it somehow and yet no one has quite managed to replicate the tension or the atmosphere. A few dodgy practical effects aside (the alien definitely looks like a tall bloke in a hat a couple of times) this film is utter perfection and I have to watch it at least once a year.

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Ripley’s germ phobia was getting the better of her again.

Emetotophobes beware though. There is some associated blood upchucking when the alien emerges from John Hurt but not enough to worry me. What did freak me out however, and what you may wish to skip through, is when Ash (Ian Holm) goes homicidal. The resulting robotic goo-spew was unpleasant and (as ever) pretty unnecessary. Yes, we get it, robots are filled with white shit. We didn’t need it demonstrated in this fashion thank you.

I’d like to finish this sick sense review by warning you never to watch Prometheus or Alien: Covenant. Not because of vomiting, because they’re shit.

 

Film Score: 10/10

NB OCD: 3/10

Sick Sense Reviews

Sick Sense Reviews – Minority Report (2002)

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Director: Steven Spielberg
Starring: Tom Cruise, Colin Farrell, Samantha Morton, Max von Sydow
Vomit incidence: Multiple

In the near future a special police unit is able to arrest people before they commit crimes. It all goes horribly wrong when the lead detective is accused of a so-called future crime and has to go on the run while solving the murder he’s sure he isn’t going to commit. Or something like that.

Yes, I know it’s another one of those futuristic films based on a story by Philip K Dick (if my last name was Dick, I’d be adding a middle initial sharpish too) but, like Bladerunner way before it, it’s actually a great watch. Tom Cruise is at his best despite having to contend with a scene-stealing Colin Farrell in a breakout role and Spielberg manages to contain the schmaltz (at least until the last 5 minutes, which are god-awful – do what I do and switch off before the glowy shit starts).

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Tom’s audition for Dancing with the Stars was not going as planned

There’s a lot of great ideas on show, not least because they did their research and included plausible future inventions (no laser guns or teleportation devices here, although we do sort of get the flying cars) and it’s one of these inventions that provides the majority of the ‘v’ word incidences.

If I was a police person in the future and I wanted to apprehend a felon, the last thing that I’d personally want to help me would be something called a ‘sick stick’. Who wants to make the person they’re chasing puke all over them? Weirdos, that’s who. And the police in Minority Report. So emetophobes out there be warned, when the coppers get their sticks out they’re not just going in for a traditional ‘beat the fucker senseless’. Also you probably don’t want to watch the bit where a recently eye-transplanted Cruise gropes his way to the fridge and tries to drink lumpy milk.

Sick-sticks notwithstanding, this is one of my favourite underrated Spielberg films and marks the start of Colin Farrell’s Hollywood career (I’ll leave it up to you to decide whether that’s a good thing or not…). The action sequences are superb and there’s even some feels thrown in to boot (it is a Spielberg movie after all). Just remember – turn off before they switch the futuristic blue filter for the happy glowy yellow filter – or you won’t be needing sick-sticks to make you nauseous.

 

Film rating: 8/10

NB OCD: 5/10