Tuesday, April 22, 2014

WGN America recreates historic Salem in their first scripted series. 


The new series created by WGN America is set in Salem, Massachusetts, 1692. John Alden returns home from the Seven Years War to find the town in a state of panic over a phenomenon they cannot explain, but will root out and exterminate at all costs; witchcraft. 

Witches, witches, witches! I've been interested in them for years and Salem perfectly captures the eerie suspense of the unknown forces at work while hitting viewers with the gritty and bloody reality of the witchcraft that is shown. Janet Montgomery stars as Mary Sibley, who makes a pact with either a demon or the devil and gifts her unborn child, Alden's child, to the forest in exchange for powers. Alden had left for the war, and in a Puritan society she had little choice but to abort the pregnancy. 

John Alden (Shane West) and Mary Sibley (Janet Montgomery) 

Fast forward seven years and Sibley is the most powerful witch and woman in town. The writers of Salem are masterminds, they have placed the witches as the instigators of the Salem witch trials. Key members of the town authorities are dabblers in witchcraft or heavily influenced by those who are, such as Mr Sibley, now suffering under Mary's magic for forcing Alden out into the Seven Years War. With witches at the helm of the trial no character is safe, as they will decide who hangs. The affiliation between them won't last forever though, they will surely turn on each other once the Puritans torn each other and Salem apart.

Montgomery's performance was by far the highlight of the first episode titled "The Vow". It certainly was an episode of vows, both broken and kept. Alden vowed he would return for Mary after the war's end, and although it took him seven years he made good on that deal. Mary however did not keep her vow to wait for Alden, however this is understandable and I do not blame her for remarrying, and it was for revenge anyway. Mary clearly loves Alden but is holding strong for now. The witches vowed to take Salem by pitting the Puritans against each other, a vow they will certainly intend to keep. Perhaps the most important promise in the pilot was the vow made by Sibley to do evil deeds in service of dark powers, without which there would be no story. 

In conclusion Salem is a promising series for fans of supernatural thrillers, historical dramas and horror flicks. There is potential for rich storytelling and some serious spine tingling witchcraft action. WGN you have earned this rating:

5/5


Check out the promo for next weeks episode: 

-JoelE
Rising Aussie rapper works her way in style with debut album.

Island Records
The New Classic is exactly that, a new form of classic as Iggy brings her southernly cool accented and unique voice to the music space. 

The Australian born blonde rapper has been called the white version of Nicki Minaj..  but although she may have a similar style Iggy is in a league of her own.

From the fist-track, listeners are treated to a pure-pop and urban album with 'Walk The Line' which features Iggy talking about her journey into the music industry, the hardships of making it their which is a central theme throughout her album with many listeners being familiar with her first hit single 'Work' which also touched on her journey to the land of dreams on her own. "No money,  no family, sixteen in the middle of Miami" will particularly stick in your head if you have not already heard the track.

While balancing with her thriving work ethics, Iggy also delves into relationships and heartbreaks on such tracks as the catchy thumping 'Rolex'. While other tracks delve into forgetting about love and replacing it with materialism, which is noticeable in 'F*** Love'. With this theme in tact, sometimes Azalea's ego (like Nicki Minaj) seems to take over, which is seen in 'Lady Patra'. It's still catchy and fun but may turn listeners off as she seems a bit high on fame and power. But all is forgiven as listeners see an insight into Iggy's viewpoint after talking on being put down and hurt by others on her way to fame.

The album is full of potential hits though, with 'Fancy' featuring Charli XCX already dominating worldwide charts. And rightfully so, with its mix of rap and catchy lines by Charli. Iggy proves she is capable of working her way into the charts without following typical ideals of who should be their. Iggy also scores a team-up with Rita Ora on an urban pumping track titled 'Black Widow' which has drawn comparisons to Katy Perry's 'Dark Horse' who also coincidently penned the track.

Iggy has worked damn hard against her hardships to get here and does not disappoint in the delivery of her first debut album. She is no doubt going to be a voice and face many will become familiar with in no time, so get used to it.

Must-Download/Listen: Fancy, Work, Rolex, Lady Patra, Black Widow and Goddess.

Overall Rating:
8/10

Watch Iggy's video for current popular track 'Fancy':


The New Classic is available to purchase in-stores and iTunes.

Monday, April 21, 2014

The chains have been broken, but at what cost?



1. Tyrion's arrest.. Trust Joffrey to cause Tyrion grief even after he's dead. Tyrion has drawn the short straw several times but now more than ever; blamed for murdering his tyrannical nephew, who I'm sure he would have gladly killed, but is nonetheless innocent. After the Red Wedding I wouldn't be surprised if George Martin has Tyrion's head on a pike for a crime he didn't commit. I thought the emotional farewell to Podrick was well done, another of Tyrion's allies fleeing the city.

2. Sansa's escape.. Finally the poor girl is out of Kings Landing, but is she better off in the hands of Petyr Baelish? I think not. Baelish is a schemer, and a ship off the coast of hostile territory with an unpredictable gambler and opportunist is no safe haven. 

3. The new king.. All hail King Tommen. His grandfather must certainly be satisfied with a king that is younger, needing to learn, and therefore much easier to manipulate. This was made clear when Tywin casually slipped into the conversation that a wise king knows to listen to his councilors and advisers even after coming of age. 

4. A rekindled romance.. It seems that Jamie isn't taking no for an answer, but seriously right there next to Joffrey's body is still a touch distasteful. I would expect two twins with three inbred children to have higher standards. 

5. An alliance with the Martells.. Someone is not what they seem in this situation. I doubt Oberyn will support the Lannister's at Tyrion's trial. It's not impossible, but I doubt it. There's no way Oberyn bought Tywin's denial of involvement in his sister's death. 

6. Arya learns a lesson from the Hound.. The Hound gets more vicious every time we see him. What a bite this episode, robbing a farmer and his daughter of their last silver after they sheltered him from a storm, fed him and offered him the silver for a months work. His excuse to Arya; they're weak and won't survive. It's a shame, but the truth of the matter is kind people in Westeros never fare well with Lannisters and Boltons around, not that this justifies what he did. 

7. Sam says farewell to Gilly.. Another character sent away for their protection; Shae, Podrick and now Gilly. Is this a way of removing minor characters from the show or a legitimate plot device. 

8. Davon finds a way.. After being badgered by Stannis for lack of forces and gold he came to a sudden realization while reading to Shireen. He had Shireen write a letter in the name of her father to the Iron Bank. I hope this pays off, otherwise he might find himself back in a cell. 

9. Maneuvers at Castle Black..  In the face of Mance's invasion the Knights Watch decided to deal with the mutineers to prevent Mance learning that their forces are depleted. There is no way they can defeat Mance at present and all this will do is delay the inevitable. The situation at the Wall is clearly dire, and there is no telling how it could pan out at this point.

10. Daenerys arrives at Meereen.. The climax of the show saw the rulers of Meereen underestimate Daenerys Targaeryn, disrespectfully taunting her with a champion. Daario Naharis dealt with him swiftly and then a message was delivered to the people of Meereen. It was a very symbolic gesture; catapulting unlocked slave collars into the city. This gesture was symbolic of her purpose, to deliver freedom to the slaves of Meereen. Judging from the walls of Meereen, I am unsure if Daenerys can take this city, but then I thought the same of Yunkai last season and it fell to her will. She will most likely find a way and I look forward to seeing the siege play out. 

Conclusions.. This episode saw many chains broken. Sansa Stark escaped Kings Landing which had become her prison, albeit for a potential new prison. Tyrion freed Podrick from his service. Jamie unchained his lust for Cersei. Tywin is now free to exercise power over a young and inexperienced monarch. Daenerys is ready to break the chains of every slave in Meereen. There will be consequences for all of these liberations, and only time will tell what they will be. 


5/5


Check out the promo for next weeks episode below:



-JoelE

Friday, April 18, 2014

Del Rey teases fans with a new single.


Lana Del Rey has hit audiences with another tease from her upcoming album Ultraviolence set for release later this year, the exact date unannounced. I have mixed feelings about this track. The song at first seems to be about adventure and freedom on the West Coast of America, but then evolves into a tale about young passionate love.

The West Coast setting creates an atmosphere and a  visual metaphor. The West Coast of America conjures images of Hollywood, the beaches of LA and a land of icons, fame and parties. In short a place of adventure and passion. This is how young love is supposed to feel, an adventurous and passionate pursuit. Del Rey uses this image to set the tone for the song and create a liberating atmosphere. Destiny is before us, like the expanse of the Pacific Ocean on the West Coast.

I'm not that impressed though. West Coast is a step down from the quality of some of her former work and I feel like the melody is trying to hypnotise me but it isn't working. That being said, it isn't that bad, just average.

 
6/10
 
 
 
If you haven't already check out the song below:
 



 
 
-JoelE

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Spider-Man: Rise Of Electro delivers an emotional and thrilling punch that will get fans and audiences alike talking for days.
Sony Pictures Entertainment
After a delayed advanced screening of the film, the sequel too The Amazing Spider-Man finally graced the silver-screen and proved the painful wait was all well worth it.

The film opens with Spidey swinging around town and dealing with crime. It picks up right were the previous film left off as we then see flashbacks of him making the promise of staying away from Gwen to her deceased father. But it's a struggle for both, as Peter (Andrew Garfield) and Gwen played by the beautiful and talented Emma Stone graduate from High School and try going their separate ways. But the two who share a bubbling and witty chemistry on-screen end up being in each others faces with Gwen making the drastic decision to attend Oxford and leave NYC behind.

Aww, Gwen (Emma Stone) and Peter (Andrew Garfield) can't help themselves around each other.
Enough of Gwen and Peter, there's also plenty of menacing things going down as they try to solve their problems. One of them being, the poor unrecognised Oscorp electrician played by the cool Jamie Foxx. Foxx really brings it to the character (who at times is a bit cheesy and over the top) as Max struggles to receive the attention of others. Unfortunately he ends up being the electrifying power-thirsty Electro, a self-absorbed mad at the world villain.

But one baddie isn't enough for Spidey to face with the sequel also marking the return of Peter's best friend Harry Osborn (Dane DeHaan) who eventually becomes the more uglier than ever Green Goblin.

Jamie Foxx brings his cool to Electro.
Okay, now your probably thinking that's a whole lot of story to process and yes the film does suffer from convuleted story-arcs .  Similarly to Sam Raimi's Spider-Man 3 the film often becomes disjointed with the thematic elements dealt within the film becoming displaced. Such displacement can make audiences a bit confused on what to feel as the movie swiftly swings back and forth between themes. It certainly does a better job at managing multiple story-threads than Sam Raimi's version though (which I personally did not hate, despite the many criticisms it recieved ).

Comic book fans need not be disappointed as the film follows quite boldly with the source material. It also further delves into the muchly uncovered history of Parker's parents, which make this interpretation of the web-slinging hero more enticing. By saying this I will say many who are unfamiliar with the comics will be shocked by the sheer bravery of the unforeseen ending of the film. Also, If you didn't love Garfield in the first film, your bound to love him this time around with his playfulness as Spidey and emotion-heavy Parker. I for one felt more comfortable with him as the web-slinger this time around than in its predecessor.

Garfield proves himself a  more worthy Spidey this time around.
In the thick of it all, The Amazing Spider-Man: Rise Of Electro central theme deals with the repercussions of taking chances despite knowing the consequences. While at the same time the consequences of not taking those chances and in turn living miserably because of it. And that's about all I can say without giving to much of the film away.

Also, If you were thrown-off by the trailer making the film look videogame-ish, the film does surprise and deliver a massive visual and audio treat alongside some well-used 3D to complement it.  So yeah, this is one of those films to spend the extra dollar on.

Enough from me Spidey fans, now follow your Spidey senses and watch the film! Be warned, if your an emotional sort please take some tissues with you.

Overall Rating:
9/10

Watch the final trailer for the film below:


The Amazing Spider-Man 2: Rise Of Electro hits Australian cinemas Thursday, April 17. 
U.S. theatres will get the film May 2.

Monday, April 14, 2014

A shock that couldn't have come sooner.


1. Bolton family drama.. For the first time we see Ramsay and Roose Bolton in the same room. The dynamic to me is the antithesis of the bastard son and father relationship shared between Ned Stark and Rob Snow. Rather than affection all these two share is mutual disappointment in the other, as well as a considerable dose of malice and cunning.

2. The shadow of Theon Greyjoy.. The prince of the Iron Islands is a mere shadow of his former self, reduced to a shell after the tortures he suffered under Roose Bolton. I personally believe Theon is getting everything he deserves for betraying the Starks and ultimately causing the destruction of Winterfell.

3. The departure of Shae.. It had to happen eventually, Tyrion and Shae have been together by one of Cersei's spies. Really this couple is one of the only pairs who are together because they love each other. It was a shame to see Shae leave, she was a very interesting character. However I believe she will return later on. My belief comes from her reluctance to leave despite the danger, only until Tyrion stated he did not believe she was fit to bear his children and called her a whore. If she doesn't return out of her own will she will meet her end as a prisoner of the Lannister's. Cersei and Tywin seemed very determined to apprehend her.

4. Melissandre and human sacrifices.. It seems the insanity of Melissandre continues and Stannis Baratheon is only too happy to oblige. This week they sacrificed relatives of his wife to the Lord of Light and called it cleansing. Seriously is everyone brainwashed by her craziness. The only one talking sense in that place is Davos Seaworth. I did though find Melissandre's conversation with Shireen very intriguing, and I am curious to see if there will be further interaction between these two.

5. Bran's vision.. I was left a little confused. The images were of a northern tree with the face of the old gods, the three eyed raven in a dungeon and dragons over Kings Landing. The raven also told Bran to go north and he suddenly knew where he had to go. I'm not entirely sure if he was referring to one of the locales in the images or just the north. At present I believe he was told to go north and the images are predictions of some kind, but we shall see.

6. The royal wedding.. After the red wedding I don't think any Game of Thrones fan will take a Westerosi wedding lightly. From the moment they began to walk up the aisle I anticipated that something would happen at the wedding, although my guess was wrong. At first I presumed Shae would be brought out and decapitated like Ned Stark, as some sort of sick offering from Joffrey to Margaery, but this was not the case. MAJOR SPOILER ALERT. After humiliating his uncle, and distastefully ordering the re-enactment of the War of the Five Kings, Joffrey Baratheon finally got what was coming to him; death by poison. I'm surprised it took this long, but I am so pleased that an evil character at last paid for their crimes. This Lannister paid his debt tonight. As a bonus his death gave Sansa Stark the perfect opportunity to escape. The only fallout of Joffrey's death is that Tyrion is going to get the blame. Let's see how this unfolds.

Conclusions.. It was a much better episode than the premiere, and for the death of Joffrey, this episode has earned this rating.

5/5
 
 


Check out the promo for next weeks episode below:


 
 
-JoelE

Saturday, April 12, 2014


Another successful season at the abbey.
Julian Fellowes’ Downton Abbey has returned with its best season yet. As usual the drama centres on the Crawleys, an English aristocratic family, and the staff in their employ. The fourth season opens six months after the death of Matthew, chronicling the period between February 1922 and the summer of 1923, a considerable lull in the pace at which the world of Downton Abbey progresses through time.
Matthew's death drives much of the drama in the first few episodes of the season. Mary (Michelle Dockery) is in a state of shock after losing her husband, unfit to care for her infant son George or herself. She walks the halls of Downton with a tragic ghostlike temperament, a highly commendable performance on the part of Michelle Dockery. Advice from her relatives and Carson, the butler, went unheard, and the protective bubble in which her father Lord Grantham (Hugh Bonneville) had sheltered her was doing Mary a great disservice. In the end what revived Mary's desire to live, was learning that her husband had legally named her as his sole heir, and the estate on which her family resided was a third hers. She stepped up, and I was glad to see her take an active role in the running of the estate thereafter, leaving the darkness that had befallen her life behind.
It seemed to be a season all about Mary. The latter half was imbued with Mary's many developing friendships and romantic interests. In the third season audiences said goodbye to Sibyl Crawley, and this season it was great to see Mary and her brother in law (Allen Leech) become closer as he showed her the ropes of running the estate, encouraging her every step of the way. Two suitors appeared for Mary and I feel we may yet see her married again in season five, the only question is will it be to Lord Gillingham (Tom Cullen) or Charles Blake (Julian Ovenden).
 Mary Crawley (Michelle Dockery) and Tom Branson (Allen Leech)

These two very different men are perfect for Mary in their own ways. Tony Gillingham is a charming aristocrat with his future ahead of him. He can play the game well, and is highly respected amongst the aristocracy. Gillingham has an allure about him, in both his handsome appearance and the softness of his voice. He was a tremendous aid in boosting Mary's spirits, reminding her that she does have a future, even if she rejected his marriage proposal. Charles Blake on the other hand is a more hands on character. He is opinionated, and has a more rounded view of the world than Gillingham and most other aristocratic characters in the show. The barn scene where both he and Mary save the lives of dehydrated pigs was one of the best scenes of the season. Covered in mud, these former adversaries realized that there was more to each of them than the other had previously thought.
Mary (Dockery) and Lord Gillingham (Cullen)
Mary (Dockery) and Charles Blake (Ovenden)
The major event occurring downstairs amongst the staff was the assault and rape of ladies maid Ana Bates (Joanne Froggatt). Mr Green, the valet of Lord Gillingham opportunistically assaulted her during a concert at the Abbey, when he cornered Ana alone in the kitchen. Afraid of what her husband might do if he found out she swore her only confidant Mrs Hughes (Phyllis Logan) to secrecy. It was tragic to see such a vibrant character reduced to shreds. Ana's life slowly crumbled as she was unable to accept affection from her husband, and moved from their cottage back into Downton. However when Mr Bates was finally brought into the loop it all worked out for Ana in the end, and his support and understanding guided her back into a measure of normal life. It was a very realistic depiction of severe depression.

Mrs Hughes (Logan) and Ana (Froggatt)

Aside from Mary's two bachelors new characters this season included a new ladies maid for Cora, and Rose, who was upgraded from guest cast to regular cast member. Obrien's resignation paved the way for Mrs Baxter (Raquel Cassidy) to come into the fold later in the season, recommended to the Crawley's by Thomas (Rob James-Collier). Fans of the show will remember the scheming between Thomas and Obrien, yet it seems that his relationship with Baxter is somewhat different. He has something over Mrs Baxter, and is using her as a spy upstairs, in exchange for his silence. In the final episode though Baxter was encouraged by Mr Mosely (Kevin Doyle) to break free of her past, and with that support she refused to follow Thomas's whim any longer.
Thomas (Collier) and Baxter (Cassidy)
Rose (Lily James) was a nice addition to the Crawley household. Young and vibrant she has the modern attitude of the 1920's with a love for London parties and night clubs. Her short lived romance with Jazz singer Jack Ross (Gary Carr) was a highlight of the season, and an interesting point of conflict between Rose and Mary, who believed Rose to only be interested in Ross because he was black, and such a marriage would devastate her imperialistic mother. However I do believe that there were some legitimate feelings on Rose's part, although on that note, Mary's conclusion is quite likely.
Rose (James)
Ross (Carr) and Rose (James)

Other highlights of the season included Edith's (Laura Carmichael) doomed romance with Mr Gregson (Charles Edwards), the usual banter from the kitchen staff, Alfred leaving for a position at the Ritz, Rose's coming out party at Buckingham Palace, the return of Martha Levinson and introduction of Harold Levinson, and several new romances in the making; Branson and Miss Bunting, Isabel Crawley and Lord Merton, Mrs Baxter and Mr Mosley, and one special romance. The long time awaited match between housekeeper Mrs Hughes and butler Mr Carson (Jim Carter) may be coming into fruition. The final scene of the season had the pair walk hand in hand into the ocean on a staff day out at the beach. It was shot impressively and the vistas were beautiful, as was the sight of these long friends finally coming together as a couple. I hope to see their relationship develop further in season five.

Mrs Hughes (Logan) and Carson (Carter)
The fourth season of Downton Abbey was a transitional season. The world is changing at an ever increasing pace, with aristocratic customs breaking down. The show itself seems to be transitioning into a more dramatic kind of storytelling, as witnessed throughout season three and again in season four. Fellowes has laid the seeds for season five in the various new relationships which have begun to develop, and I cannot wait to see what is in store for Downton next season.
10/10
Check out the trailer below:


-JoelE

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Known for his alternative, experimental sound, former Chili Peppers guitarist John Frusciante blows us away with his new album ENCLOSURE with interesting sounds that makes us rethink the way music should be listened to. 


Disjointed beats, harmonising melodies and relaxing sounds, John Frusciante sticks to experimenting the way sounds should be placed together just like scientists play with chemicals to find a cure to a disease! Don’t believe me? His song ‘Excuses’ on this track says it all!

It’s unlike something we hear on mainstream (and even commercial) radio, but it’s not unexpected of Frusciante. The mix of techno and orchestral sounds brings an interesting resonance to this record. You either love it or hate it, and man, do I love it.

This 10 track album is diverse and not one song is the same. You are left in suspense of what sound might come next and it’s a pleasant surprise each time! His voice is melodic, full of range and is easily one of the best voices I’ve heard, which makes it almost uncomfortable (yet comfortable) to listen next to highly computerised music. It’s almost as if he is commenting on the digital age. This record shows that not only is he a song writer, but an artist of music.

I mean, what singer/song writer would take the streaming of his album to the next level? 

On the 29th of March, ENCLOSURE was loaded onto an experimental cube called Sat-JF14 and launched into space! Fans from around the world could download an app which enabled users to track Sat-JF14 movement in real time! Once Sat-JF14 hovered in the geographic region of fans, the album was unlocked and was able to stream for free. Fans also could chat to one another via the app! This ceased on the 7th of April and is now available to purchase around the world!

Now if that’s not awesome, I don’t know what is!


Open your minds and ears to endless possibilities and new sounds, and grab a copy of ENCLOSURE today!

8/10 

(Below is the song Fanfare from ENCLOSURE). 

 

Tuesday, April 8, 2014


Who will go to the chopping block in the fourth Season of “Game of Thrones”?
 
No character is safe with George R. R. Martin, a fact well proven by the climactic Red Wedding in Season 3. Yesterday the fourth season of HBO’s adaptation of Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire series returned on cable television. For me it was an episode concerned more with character development and setting the scene, rather than the hard and fast action viewers became accustomed to in the build up to the Red Wedding.
1. Jamie Lannister returns to Kings Landing albeit without a right hand..Tywin Lannister gifted him a sword of Valyrian steel, one of two swords smelted from that of Rob Stark. It is clear that Tywin Lannister believes his son’s days in the Kings Guard are over, but Jamie is determined to retain his former grandeur and status. Unfortunately at least in the foreseeable future, he will not retain Cersei as his lover. She believes he left her, and stayed away too long, thereby painfully destroying the affection she felt for him. I don’t think this will last. Jamie is too determined and prideful for that and Cersei is only attempting to make him feel as she did when he was away; alone. Also old habits die hard.
2. Margaery Tyrell is apprehensive about her blood thirsty husband to be.. Preparations for the royal wedding continue in Kings Landing. She is cautioned by her grandmother, who remains as witty as ever while they search for a necklace to complement the bridal gown. This is a royal match I eagerly await. Margaery can play the game far better than Sansa Stark ever could. She seems to have the intelligence and cunning required to handle King Joffrey, who I suspect will collect more heads this season, unless by a stroke of luck he loses his own.
3. Sansa Stark mourns the loss of her family.. Tyrion’s genuine attempts to comfort her are futile, and she finds solace in a private spot out in the garden. It is however not so private, as a man sympathetic to her plight appears and hands her a necklace, the last piece of fortune in his family, whose successes and future have been destroyed. Rewind, didn’t Margaery need a necklace for the wedding, supply and demand folks. Let’s see where this plot line goes. I would like to see a stronger Sansa Stark emerging from this situation; right now she is sealed away within her own thoughts.
4. Brianne of Tarth reminds Jamie of an oath made to the enemy.. Brianne of Tarth reminds Jamie of his oath to Catelyn Stark; to return Arya and Sansa to her family. Jamie expresses acknowledgement of this oath, but does not see how he can fulfil it, assuming Arya to be dead and estimating Sansa is safer while in the care of his brother. I wonder if anything romantic will happen between this humorous pair, but I doubt it. 
5. Arya encounters an old enemy.. The other Stark daughter is riding towards the veil with the Hound. They encountered one of Arya’s former captors from Harrenhal, and Arya was able to get revenge for the friend she lost in captivity. She was also fortunate to retrieve the sword gifted to her by her brother. Here we saw the vengeful side of Arya, and I believe George Martin has much more in store for this brilliant character.
6. Daenerys marches on Meereen.. Danerys Targaryen marches upon the city of Meereen, the third of the great slaver cities. Her dragons have grown in the interim between seasons 3 and 4, and she learns a valuable lesson that they are above all things beasts. They cannot be tamed, even by the Mother of Dragons. A great siege is coming. The battle of Meereen will be a highlight of the season I am sure, and I look forward to seeing what role the dragons will play, both in the battle and the season at large.

7. John Snow knows more than we thought.. Having survived three arrows he reported what he saw beyond the wall to his superiors back at Castle Black, including his roll in the hay with Ygritte. For now he has been pardoned, but there was obvious tension amongst the elder members of the Knights Watch. Who knows what is in store for John Snow. It is clear however what the Wildlings plan to do. A new cannibalistic horde has linked up with Ygritte and her group. They will assault Castle Black in the coming episodes, planning to combine their forces with Mance who will attack from the north with 100 000 strong. I wonder if the White Walkers will intervene at all.

8. Shae and Tyrion lose their discretion.. Shae is feeling a little unloved and made an attempt at making love with Tyrion, despite his arranged marriage to Sansa Stark, whom she now serves as a handmaiden. This attempt was witnessed by another maiden, who reported her findings to the Queen Regent Cersei. We all know Cersei seeks any advantage possible against her brother and it will be interesting to see how far reaching the consequences of this development will be.

9. The arrival of the Martells.. Perhaps the most interesting set up of the fourth season's premiere. Oberyn Martell arrives in Kings Landing to attend the royal wedding, instead of his older brother. After a run in with Lannister troops he is greeted by Tyrion at the brothel. They talk of the fate of Oberyn's sister Elia and her children, during the revolution that put Robert Baratheon on the throne. It is clear that Oberyn knows of Lannister involvement in the death of his sister, nephews and nieces, and he swears revenge on those responsible.

In conclusion, the premiere episode was used to set up the primary concerns of the season. At this point they seem to be; Daenerys and the city of Meereen, John Snow and the Wildling attack on Castle Black, Arya's journey home, Shae and Tyrion under threat from Cersei, and the Martells settling a score with the Lannisters. It was a solid episode, and I cannot wait for the rest of the season!

 
4/5



Check out the promo for next weeks episode below:


 
-JoelE

Divergent aims to be different, and does so by adding its own unique flavour to relative familiar young-adult territory.

Summit Entertainment
Divergent, yet another YA novel has been giving the movie treatment. Rightfully so though, as the film is a stand-out amongst others of the same category.

The films plot tells the story of a young lady named Tris, who does not fit into the dystopian future where individuals are divined into distinct groups (think of social-class divisions) who are mind- controlled to forget their humanness and instead focus on work. Human nature has therefore been eradicated to make room for mindless slaves. Tris although is a Divergent, a rare individual who has no fear whatsoever and can't be control.  Knowing this, she tries to fit in with a ruthless daring group called Dauntless, where she tries desperately to hide the fact that she is of rare species.

Kate Winslet is one of the major nemesis of the film and shines as Jeanine, who hunts down Divergents in order to mantain the status quo. Winslet perfectly makes audiences want to slap the hell out of her for her absurd and ruthless ways. There's also the typical teen romance here, with leads Shailene Woodley (Tris) and Theo James who plays Four (yes that's actually his name) who actually do share some chemistry with each other. Fans and teen girls alike will again swoon, ship and fangirl over them. Judging by the crowd's reaction when I watched the film, it will muster the same wild teen girl obsession that The Hunger Games Peeta and Katniss or Twilight's Edward Bella drew.

Shailene Woodley (Tris) and Theo James (Four) actually have chemistry,
 that may likely spark yet another fan girl craze.
I'm a sucker for stories like Divergent, that represent the human soul triumphing over dystopian ideals and values. It's something that has been quite a re-occuring theme within big Hollywood films these days, among them being RoboCop and Captain America: The Winter Soldier. You can try to stop human-will, but the human soul is incapable of destruction and will always triumph in the end.

Yes the film will draw comparisons to The Hunger Games, but what's so bad about that? Most stories these days borrow and encapsulate themes we've seen before and instead add its own unique spin. The Hunger Games itself drew comparisons to Japanese film Battle Royale. Every story has its own story to tell, so don't be off-put by having to dread already familar territory. 

It's enjoyable to see Divergent take a more modern spin on the dystopian theme. It is rather more explicit when it comes to dealing with such themes when expressing ideas on government control, difference and controlling individuals minds.

Also, the film has some stunning music throughout. What a great choice it was for choosing Ellie Goulding to lend her unique voice and talents towards the film.. it truly fits the style of the film of being upbeat within the modern dystopian world. Ellie's "Beating Heart", which was written for the film is a must-listen!

If you love Young Adult novels being turned into films and sick of seeing magical vampire tales be brought to life than Divergent will be a refreshing breath of fresh-air. It may follow in suite of The Hunger Games but still has something fresh and unique to offer.

Overall Rating:
8/10

Divergent is now playing in the U.S. and will hit Australian cinemas on Thursday.

Check out the trailer below: