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Category: Series

Damien (2016)

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You’re Simply the Beast

In this day and age, no movie is a movie if it doesn’t spawn a trilogy, a remake, a prequel and a TV series. To celebrate the The Omen‘s 40th anniversary, the producers of The Shield and The Walking Dead check the penultimate box in the list and here we are, happy as clams, gifted with a series about Damien Thorne, son of Satan, aka the Beast, aka the Anti-Christ. The only item missing now is an origin story. One would love to see this movie, culminating in the Devil copulating with a female jackal in the Holy Land desert. Possibly one is sick.

In the present series, nothing has happened since the first movie, a rather rational artistic choice. Damien never became KD Lang or became a self-flagellating 40-something. He just turned 30, and memories of his troubled childhood start resurfacing. Because Christ was baptised at 30. Or something. The Final Conflict was NOT final, see.

After having only seen the pilot, let’s just say that we have a rather wooden hero, expressing inner turmoil (which is, one suspects, the arc of the season) like passing gas; an atrocious love interest; promisingly ludicrous death scenes; a prologue in Damascus. Son of Satan, check, underdevelopped female character, check, Final Destination style massacre, check, Evil from the Middle East, check.

This is all looking very promising!

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Episode 1 The Beast Rises

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Oh My God They Killed Kelly!

It does not start with a bang, but with a rather constipated night visit to church, where Damien, instead of asking “Why me?” like he did in the Omen 2 (which never existed), asks “What do you want from me?”, switching from existentialist to pragmatist as the series had hardly started. This, ladies and gentlemen, is the XXIst century.

In Damascus, Damien takes advantage of a civil war zone to quickly establish that he’s friend with a guy called Amani, that he never called back an R&B babe named Kelly, and that he is special and conflicted. Special because an old woman tells him “I love you” then quote the Gospel according to Saint Matthew. Conflicted because he’s a nice guy, saving a child an all, when, come on, he’s the Beast.

Being expelled from Syria, Damien calls a favor from the IMF Secretary General (Christine, what have you done this time? This have to stop!) for no obvious reason but briefly meeting Ann Ruttlege (Barbara Hershey, ghoulish) who chooses this awkward moment to reveal she’s watching over him since like, forever, in total discretion. Maybe not since the jackal thing, though.

After some atrocious acting from Kelly, who’s back in NYC when she still was on the phone from Damascus five minutes ago, our heroes go meeting a biblical scholar, because that’s what special and conflicted grown ups do. “Many expected the Beast to be a politician”, says the aforementioned scholar, and indeed very few expected him to be a photo reporter. Or a dentist.

Anyway, the biblical scholar is mauled by rotweilers (a phrase that in itself justifies the writing of this blog) and Kelly is upset. “I can’t have all the answers”, she unnecessarily points. She storms out and well, drowns in a puddle of black goo. One dreads that she will be revived, but fear not, Kelly was just an amuse-bouche. The real deal is her sister Simone (Megalyn Echikunwoke).

Simone is a bit sad since her sister died and shit. Damien is not The Great Comforter. But she says “She’s in a better place now.”, and voilà, she’s off. More later.

Some cardinal has the Megiddo dagger. What? ONE? More later.

Damien goes to church at night again (same editing, twice, really?), Christ on the cross explodes, and when he goes out (in broad daylight), the evil old woman is there, tearing his hair to reveal his 666 tattoo. Plus she is everywhere, photoshopped in movie stills from The Omen.

Oh my God, this is holding its promises so far!

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Lucifer (2015)

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I Love Luci

Starting with a “In the beginning…” card weirdly echoing the biblical epic reviewed two weeks ago, Lucifer was a dark horse to make it to our Devil Week but temptation proved, as usual, impossible to resist. Having only watched the pilot of he DC Comics based series aired on Fox, one can’t say much more that it looks quite sleek and seems like a hoot. Oh, and that is an empowering jackass fantasy.

What if the Devil was in LA and could do anything a 15 years old wants, like driving fast, getting laid a lot, mastermind anyone and generally chill? Wouldn’t being such a slacker the acme of cool? No idea where they gonna go with this one, hoping it won’t be only “The Devil is LAPD”. Hell, let’s chill with the Devil!

IMDB page

 

Episode 1 Pilot

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Dammit!

Did you know the Devil was British all along? Welsh, even? Lucifer Morningstar (Tom Ellis) has left the Hell building for relatively edenic California so demons are getting restless. He’s a club owner (Lux, ha, witty!) drives a vintage sports car well over the speed limit while listening to loud music and he can get any woman he wants. He calls everyone “human” or “maggot”. Fuck, man, this is way too cool.

He exfiltrated Maze (Lesley-Ann Brandt) with him, she says “I’m a big fan of sex but I didn’t leave Hell to be a bartender”. Well love, the boss has left Hell to run a club where crowds dance to David Bowie’s Fame in 2016, so he should know better, right? Demon Amenadiel (easy on the eye D.B. Woodside) appears to remind Lucifer he’s due back downstairs and calls him “a mockery of everything divine”. That is NOT how someone calls anyone else very often.

An R&B prop is shot by some crystal meth dealer, allowing Chloe (Lauren German), the hot blonde detective who featured in Hot Tub High School – only in this series universe, deplorably – to ask Lucifer Morningstar “What planet are you from, London?”. She’s weirdly immune to his sex appeal, so together they embark in the thrill of investigating a murder. Except Lucifer, the most handsome and most knowledgeable of angels, can’t follow police work.

Along the way, they confront a rap singer hilariously named 2Vile and his posse, crash a producer/supermodel wedding and antagonise Chloe’s estranged husband. This is, one hopes, during an exchange with Chloe’s daughter Beatrice that the writing becomes quite good, finding a footing between smart and lucidrous (pun intended).

Chloe dies but not. Amenadiel drops by again. Lucifer Morningstar goes to see an ugly shrink when he was supposed to bed the supermodel. Come on dude, know your priorities!

Lucifer is, like Damien but for very different reasons, a promising start. One now has coast-to-coast Evil to review!

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Revenge S1E02 (2011)

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Trust (but only yourself)

In The Hamptons fantasy universe, Quidditch is called Polo and it involves horses instead of brooms. Monster of the week is Bill Harmon, financial advisor to the wealthy, whose Achille’s heel is merger and acquisitions. Relying heavily on frenemy Nolan even though she swore not to do so last week, Emily vanquished him for a meagre 3 billion dollars.

Victoria’s husband is threatened by non-grata Lydia, ruined by not reading her prenup before cheating on her husband. Honey, sell the Van Gogh, quick!

While Victoria herself ominously peers from her dungeon in Emily’s villa, all but unleashing bats to bleed her, poor little rich girl celebrates her own birthday with a one-candle cupcake. Sad, really. “Only trust yourself”, she says, which sounds like the antithesis of trust.

Shouldn’t this episode be called “Self-confidence”, while “Trust” had been a better title for the pilot, with Emily’s fortune placed in a trust by her father? Well, what does one know…

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Revenge (2011)

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Situated in a dystopian environment (The Hamptons), the aptly named ABC series aims at demonstrating that if revenge is best served cold, it is even more mouth­watering left unfrozen. An ambitious goal for the educated palate, to say the least.

A Dynasty for the 21st century, Revenge pits against each other betrayed­-by-­their-­names Emily Thorne, the very blonde and very poor little rich orphan girl whose ambition is to become the thorn in the side of Queen of the Season Victoria Grayson, the very dark­haired, very rich bitch who has everything, icluding a Monet to auction for charity. The thing about The Hamptons see, is that there is more to it than meets the eye. Not only Victoria and her unfaithful husband have framed Emily’s father for funding terrorism (something IT companies routinely do), but the damn place is oozing with depravity, a cauldron of sin and cupidity if there ever was one. From the pilot on, it appears obvious that keeping track of who’s banging who is a task both ungrateful and fruitless. The Hamptons are like Hollywood: everyone is banging everyone. Better focus on what each episode of the first season teaches us. One rarely spends the season in the Hamptons, so one is allowed to leer, right? Shall we?

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Episode 1 Pilot

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The only episode not to be tittled after some variation of the series’ one word concept, Pilot firmly establishes two things: Emily means business and The Hamptons are no place to be fussy about fashion faux pas. There they are, indeed, bold status statements. From the flash forward antagonistic “Fire and Ice” engagement party to the richest of the lot wearing two Ralph Lauren polo shirt on top of each other, both pink, it is only natural that most plot points hinge on dry­cleaning. Who cares what you are wearing when you can, like Queen Victoria, sip champagne discussing with her book club which multi­million dollar painting to auction? Ah, old money with Monet… Shoking reality though, there are poor people in The Hamptons. While the rich have heart problems, they have money trouble. To each his own eh, even if The Hamptons’ “poor” have their own home, business and boat. One wonders if their plain clothes are not the very root of their dire situation.

Emily sets the ball rolling by bringing Victoria aware to the fact that her husband cheats on her with best friend Lydia, who is consequently banished to the outer realm. Wanna humiliate your neighbour in The Hamptons? Switch the Monet she just won in your auction by the Van Gogh she offered you back when you were BFF. Bitch slap!

Cherry on the (fire and ice) cake: a character called Cole Porter. Such witticism is the mark of the truly great.

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