Foreign Language Series · TV Reviews

Stranger/Forest of Secrets Review

I knew after watching the trailer for Stanger/Forest of Secrets that I would definitely be watching the entire series as soon as it became available for me to do so. The premise of the show was right up my alley, touching on topics such as crime, corruption, power, money etc. Therefore, I was hoping for extreme amounts of shock, intrigue, scandal and tension and the show did not let me down! Here is my review:

Plot Summary

A seemingly apathetic Public Prosecutor and a Police Detective team up to solve a murder which ends up uncovering various levels of corruption within the organisations that they work for.

Good Points

Firstly, the show had me on edge every episode as nothing was ever as it seemed. The writers skillfully dropped hints and red herrings at every corner to the point where nothing was certain. Each episode revealed something new to the audience that completely changed the direction of the program. As a result, I spent 95% of my viewing experience with my mouth wide open in shock. The suspense was real !!

In addition, the high level of suspense was further maintained by the cast and characters themselves, who were all brilliant by the way. All of the characters were so multi-faceted that they seemed like real people with real desires and by extension, a motive for the crime. In fact, with the exception of  Hwang Si-mok (Jo Seung-Woo) and Han Yeo-jin (Bae Doona), every character could have been the culprit and that was truly exciting to watch.

Furthermore, the show also looked at the psychology of the people involved in the case, suspects and investigators alike. It looked at questions like:

  1. Why do people witness bad things and say nothing?
  2. Why do people do bad things in the first place?
  3. Can you do bad things for good reasons?
  4. Are people inherently bad or inherently good?

I found this angle to be intriguing because it highlighted the grey area that many people live their lives within. Also, it makes the case more interesting and multi-dimensional in the sense that it was not necessarily good guys vs bad guys.

Bad Points

Honestly, the show was so good that what I have to add is extremely nitpicky but it has to be done.

The one and only negative I could say about the show would be its tendency to lengthen certain dramatic scenes with long and drawn out staring competitions between the characters. I found that sometimes these moments took some of the tension out of the scene rather than actually augment it.

Overall Comments & Rating

As a whole Forest of Secrets/Stranger was an amazing series that definitely brought the drama and intrigue. It had a solid acting from a solid cast who had amazing script to work with. Rating wise it was definitely 4/5 stars

So what did you think of the show? Are you a fan of kdrama? Leave a Comment below!

Also, I’ve changed the format of my review in attempt to make it more direct and less ‘rambly’. I’m not sure whether I’ll keep doing it like this but we’ll see 🙂

Featured Image taken from Wikipedia 

TV Reviews

Poldark Series 3 Episode 9 Review

All good things must come to an end, including this series of Poldark. It definitely went out with a bang as all the tension built up over the course of the series exploded, leaving no character untouched- well perhaps the Enys’.

The first victim was the Reverend Whitworth who saw himself swindled out of a great deal of money by Morwenna’s sister, Rowella. Rowella claimed that she pregnant with Whitworth’s child and used this to extort money out of him in order to keep his transgression away from the Bishop. It was great to see the Reverend squirm as Rowella blackmailed him. I doubt she was even pregnant lol! Furthermore, Rowella’s actions caused Morwenna to stand up to the gross Reverend once and for all! It was glorious!

The second victim was Drake, who on the George’s orders, received a beating at the hands of Tom Harry (Turlough Convery). George Warleggan had been harassing Drake at his forge for no reason other than the fact that it was situated near his estate. Fed up of waking up to his forge being vandalised he went to Trenwith to appeal to Elizabeth to make it stop. However, on his way out, he was attacked and left for dead by Tom Harry. His beating was brutal, made even more so by the fact that it was done out of spite for Ross and Demelza.  This character has suffered so much at the hands of George that I really hope that in the next series, he finds happiness (hopefully with Morwenna).

The next person to be touched by the explosion that was this episode of Poldark was George Warleggan. Admittedly, I cannot see many people shedding a tear over this, however, I must say that Jack Farthing really brought the emotion to the point where I almost felt sorry the character. Elizabeth, fed with up with George’s paranoia and cruelty, threatened to end their marriage. This resulted in a display of vulnerability that the viewers have never seen from the character. In fact, it was so unlike George, that I found myself wondering whether he could change and become a semi-decent human. But I was wrong as he quickly reverts to his old, conniving ways by the end of the episode. Safe to say, George Warleggan will not be turning over a new leaf any time soon.

Lastly, Ross Poldark himself, could not escape the tidal waves that came out of this episode. Demelza, tired of Ross’ lies and negligence, decided to succumb to the advances from Hugh Armitage to Ross’ obvious despair. On one hand, I really do feel sorry for Ross as two wrongs to not make a right. On the other hand, he really did have this coming as one can only be neglected and ignored for so long. Yet, there is a glimmer of hope for the character as it seems that he will finally stepping up in the next series. Gone is the passive Poldark as he resolves to finally stand up to George on behalf of the common folk of Cornwall. If only he could have realised the error of his ways sooner…

So what did you think of the finale? Leave a comment below 🙂

Featured Image taken from the Daily Express Website 

TV Reviews

Cleverman Series 2 Review

I remember binge watching the first series on BBC iplayer when it first came out over here in the UK and thoroughly enjoying it. I loved learning about a culture and people that I knew relatively little about. So when I saw the next series had been released on iplayer, I hopped right on it. This is my review of Cleverman series 2:

The series takes place sometime after the events of the series 1 finale that saw the inhabitants of the Zone being taken by the CA. It does not look good for them as Koen is dead (or is he?) and the rest of them, who weren’t shot, were being escorted to some unknown location. However, they are saved by an unknown Hairy and the majority escape to this abandoned building in an attempt to avoid capture. Meanwhile, Koen who (surprise, surprise) is not dead, finds himself in the custody of Slade. He escapes but without Nulla Nulla, which gives Slade the opportunity to study it, to what end, no one knows. The rest of the series breaks into many different yet connected plot lines such as Koen coming to terms with his abilities whilst trying to help the people from the Zone, Slade studying the Hairies and Nulla Nulla for reasons unknown, Waaru realising his politcal ambitions whilst enacting his plan for Human and Hairy integration which involves genocide and Jarli, a new Hairy character from the Bindawu tribe, fighting for change in his tribe.

Firstly, the characters are the best part of the series with special mention going to Koen, Slade, Waaru and Linda. Regarding Koen (Hunter Page-Lochard), it was nice to see the character almost fully matured and accepting of his role as the Cleverman. In series 1, he acted like a selfish, whiny and immature child who refused to take responsibility for his actions. However, since the altercation with the CA in the finale, he has changed into a leader; a person that the audience can root for. Furthermore, the way Koen’s powers were showcased were visually impressive. They managed to make them look mystical and interesting without detracting from the realism of the series. Slade (Iain Glen) is still a shady character in this season. I do not think the audience ever really know what is going through his head at any given moment during the season. I would love to say that the character is completely evil but he has moments that show that he is not a complete monster. Although, what kind of man experiments on his wife that way?? It was poetic that ultimately he died at the hands of the person he loved the most- especially since the guy had so many enemies that could have taken him out.

Furthermore, Waaru (Rob Collins) was clearly in his element this season. Finally, he had become the ‘big man’ he always wanted to be. His plan to get the Hairies to integrate by changing their DNA was absolutely shocking! How could a man who used to be a respected community figure for Hairies and Humans alike in the Zone, come up with such a sickening idea? Worse still, how can a government ever support such a scheme?

Moreover, Linda (Deborah Mailman) was my favourite female character in the series. When she was onscreen, she always had an impact on me, particularly her scenes with Koen after it is discovered that she killed his dad and his mum by ramming her car into theirs.

Another thing that I liked about this season was the fact that there was a human rights lawyer who confronted the newly appointed Minister Marion Frith (Rachael Blake) on her and her countries treatment of the Hairies. One thing that bothered me about season 1 was the lack of involvement from foreign countries and entities like the UN. In a world where worldwide cooperation is common place and social media allows for the swift diffusion of information across the globe, I cannot understand how the Australian goverment’s treatment of the Hairies had not become a worldwide issue. In my mind, this did not make any sense. So, when the human rights lawyer turned up it felt like the show had fixed a huge plot hole.

In addition, the introduction of the character Jarli was interesting as it managed to answer questions I did not even know that I had: Are all of the Hairies living with the human in secret or in the Zone? If not, then where are the rest of them? For the most part, I liked his character. His curiousity and desire for change were understandable, however, he also seemed somewhat selfish and too stuck in his principles which made him incapable of understanding other people.

If I had to choose something that I did not like it would have to be the character Audie (Taylor Ferguson). Honestly, it seemed to me like character was introduced to be solely a love interest for Koen as she did little else in the series. In fact, she reminded a lot of Zendaya’s character in Spiderman: Homecoming. In both cases the characters did not do a lot, however, I get the sense that they both will be more important and have more important roles in the next installments of their franchises/series.

Overall, I really enjoyed the second series of Cleverman and I really, really hope that they get another- especially since they ended the series the way they did.

Rating: 4/5 stars

So what did think of the series? Leave a comment below 🙂

Featured Image taken from Wikipedia

TV Reviews

Poldark Series 3 Episode 8 Review

For the first time ever I can truly say that I felt a tiny bit sorry for George Warleggan. The question mark over the parentage of his child must be agonising. Ross and Elizabeth’s actions were completely wrong and selfish. However, my sympathy for him quickly died as soon as he became the member of Parliament for Truro. He quickly reverted back to the nasty, spiteful and cruel man that we have come to know.

Speaking of cruel, it’s become impossible to see Reverend Whitoworth as anything else. I mean what kind of person prays for their wife’s death whilst she’s giving birth to your baby?? And he’s supposed to a be a man of the cloth!! There is no redemption for this character and I am hoping to see him get his comeuppance the episodes to come. And I have a sneaking suspicion that Morwenna’s sister Rowella will be the one to deliver it. Although, I am curious to see what form it will take because her actions are completely confusing to me.

Another character who irritated me this week was Ross Poldark. The man who can never make up his mind on who he truly loves. But he better decide quickly because Demelza is starting to look elsewhere for the attention and respect that she deserves. Hugh Armitage continued his romantic advances this week with all the subtlety of a fire truck. But unlike last week, it seems Demelza is more receptive to his charms. So will she or won’t she? That is the question…

And lastly, Sam Carne is smitten with Emma (Ciara Charteris). So much so, in fact, that he decides to propose to her! In all honesty, I don’t see how a relationship between the two of them could work and it’s clear that Emma agrees with me as she declined his generous yet premature offer. I can’t help but think that the proposal was only the beginning of their love story and they are far from done with each other…

So what did you think of this week’s episode? Leave a comment below or a like if you liked this review! 🙂

Featured image is taken from the Radio Times Website <<

Film Reviews

Circle (2015) Film Review

I’m always down to watch a psychological thriller, so when I came across this film on Netflix, my interest was peaked. I put it on and prepared for an emotional rollarcoaster as one does when they watch these kind of films. This is what I thought:

Firstly, the plot itself was fairly simply albeit a bit dark and depressing. A large group of people from various social, ethnic and economic backgrounds find themselves trapped in a room with no memories of how they got there or any idea on how to escape. They quickly realise that they have to vote for somebody to die or they will be randomly killed by the machine in the middle. The group spends the majority of the film arguing about who should go next and why they deserve to live.

As soon as the film started, I could not stop watching. I was addicted. In my opinion, this was due to the fact that neither I nor the characters onscreen knew what was going on. We were all in the same boat which in turn made me feel like I, too, was in that room standing on a red circle with the rest of the cast. This feeling was strengthened by the fact that the audience did not learn all the character’s names. As a consequence, the audience felt part of this group nameless people. The tension was real and that was before all the arguments started.

Once the debate started, I found myself pulled in so many different directions. On one hand, I was appalled by the people who were shamelessly voting for this child to die and the criteria that some characters were basing their decisions on. Yet on the other hand, I could not help but wonder what I would do in that situation. I would like to think that I would not be savage and cruel like some of the people in that program, but, I’m not so sure. After all, I’d definitely want to live. But at what cost?

Although, the film had minimal movement, I managed to remain engaged for the duration as there were many twists and turns accompanied by some unexpected deaths. Though nothing was as surprising as the ending which had me in shock because I could not believe what I saw.

My one criticism of the film is that it felt unfinished. After all the stress of the previous hour and twenty minutes, the final seven left me somewhat unsatisfied. I still had questions that I feel should have bee addressed in a sequel.

Rating wise, I will give this film 4/5 stars as I was thoroughly entertained over the course of the film. I would definitely advise everybody to watch it, especially if you’re interested in how people think and act under extreme stress.

Featured Image taken from Wikipedia 

TV Reviews

The Last Tycoon Review

I was browsing through Amazon Prime Video looking for something to watch when I came across The Last Tycoon, a series I had nearly forgotten about from the Amazon Pilot Season. I remember being super excited about it due to the cast, the sets, the costumes and the source material. Now that it has finally arrived, I decided to watch it and see if the rest of the series was as good as the pilot. And disappointed I was not.

Firstly, the show follows an extremely talented film producer named Monroe Stahr as he tries to make movies during the time of the Depression. Although, the premise seems fairly narrow, I was surprised by the amount of issues that the show manages to highlight such as socialism, capitalism, antisemitism, immigration and the rise of Nazism in Europe. These topics come up in period pieces all the time, however, I have never seen them in a series that focused on film making. So, for me, it was fascinating to learn how all these different topics effected the film industry during that time.

Furthermore, I have to say that the characters and the acting were the best part of the series. My favourites being Matt Bomer as Monroe Stahr, Kelsey Grammer as Pat Brady, Lily Collins as Celia Brady and Rosemarie DeWitt as Rose Brady. Ever since I saw Matt Bomer as Neal Caffrey in White Collar, I have been a huge fan. He is excellent at playing these suave, smooth and charismatic characters who are suffering from some kind of emotional trauma. Monroe Stahr was a fascinating character who I often found myself rooting for, even though I wasn’t always a fan of his methods. Furthermore, Pat Brady was the character that had me on the fence the most- that’s to say I couldn’t decide whether I liked him or not. On one hand, I understood that all the actions he took throughout the series were so that he could make movies during a difficult period. On the other hand, his heartless decisions often left a sour taste in my mouth as I began to question whether the ends really did ever justify the means. Nonetheless, I enjoyed watching him on the screen thanks to Grammer’s performance.

Additionally, Lily Collins was well cast as the daughter of a rich man who recognised her own privilege and worked to make the world fairer. Watching her progress throughout the series gave me the impression that I was watching the character grow up. At the end the season, I felt like a proud mother watching as her child graduate from uni. On one hand, this proves that I get way too invested in my TV shows. On the other hand, it highlights how Celia was a character that engaged the audience; one that everyone cared about and wanted to succeed. Moreover, Rosemarie DeWitt was probably my favourite female character as she was funny, sarcastic and clearly unappreciated by most who knew her. DeWitt played a familiar role (bored housewife who wants meaning in her life) but the character never became a stereotype.

If I had any negatives at all, it would be that when season ended, I was left with a few questions. Now, that’s all fine and good when a second season is confirmed but that is not the case here. I really hope that I won’t be left hanging lol.

Rating: 4/5 Stars

So, if you’ve seen The Last Tycoon, what did you think? Who’s your favourite character? Leave your answer in a comment, thanks for reading 🙂

Featured Image taken from imbd website

TV Reviews

Poldark Series 3 Episode 7 Review 

If you thought last week’s episode was filled with tradegy and despair, then you will extremely saddened to hear that episode 6 was even worse. Joyful moments were few and far between this week as tragedy left no character untouched (well maybe Dwight and Caroline)

Arguably, the person who suffered the most was the newlywed Morwenna since her gross and vomit inducing husband turned out to be worse than we could have all imagined. In addition, to being greedy, arrogant and repulsive, the Reverend Whitworth is also abusive, which leads me to believe that this character has no redeeming qualities whatsoever. It’s a shame that Morwenna cannot leave this horrible man and run away with Drake, especially now that she is pregnant. However, the arrival of her sister may prove to her saving grace as Rowella (Esme Coy) seems to have a more confrontational attitude than her sister. 

Furthermore, it seems that Ross and Demelza are going through another rough patch in their relationship as Delemza is growing tired of Ross’ stubborn nature. Honestly, at times it seems that Ross is his own worst enemy. If he had stood as a candidate for Truro in Parliament, then he could have tried to make things better for the poor in Cornwall from inside the system. However, he decided it was better to complain about things from the outside and turned down the position. On one hand, it could be argued that this a noble decision by the character, the likes of which, we as an audience, have become acustomed to and would usually respect. On the other hand, his decision led to George Warleggan swooping in to become the candidate instead. Knowing George, this will not be something that the good people of Truro will benefit from. In addition, it became apparent that Demelza feels neglected by Ross as he is becoming more and more insular. It’s not helping that a certain Hugh Armitage is spouting poetry and sending contemporary chat up lines her way. Ross Poldark better be careful that another man doesn’t run away with his wife! It’s time he realised how lucky he is to have Demelza!

Additionally, the most heartbreaking thing to happen this episode was the death of Aunt Agatha. The blame for this lies solely at the feet of George Warleggan who effectively robbed Aunt Agatha of her will to live by cancelling her birthday party. Moreover, I don’t think starving her and refusing her basic human rights helped either. And this was all so he could feel like a “big man”, finally getting his revenge on the mean old lady. This is the character’s lowest and most pathetic act of the entire show and I honestly can’t wait for karma to drag the dick right back down to earth. Of course, the magnificent Aunt Agatha played by Caroline Blakiston couldn’t leave without laying down some home truths. In her final moments, she hinted to George that he may not be Valentine’s father, an act that visibly hit George where it hurts. Although, a small part of me can’t help but wonder whether she went a little too far…

In attempts to end this review on a high, I have to mention how nice it was to see Caroline and Dwight both super happy and officially wedded. After all the strife and separation, it was heartwarming to see them happy and healthy. Furthermore, it was a welcome sight indeed to see Sam Carne (Tom York) exhibit emotion like a real person. I can’t wait so see if he gets together with the pirate’s daughter. Maybe he’ll become less of a killjoy!!

So, what did you think of this weeks episode? Leave a comment below with your thoughts! 😊

Featured Image taken from the Independent Online