The Affair – The Redemption of Noah Solloway

It has now been a week since I watched the final ever episode of The Affair, and despite following the show throughout all its seasons, I did not have too much invested in the finale due to the shows mixed results in the last few seasons. However, the couple of episodes that led into the season finale were some of the best the show had done in years, and the finale itself completely took me by surprise by almost perfectly wrapping up the show and providing some of the most emotional scenes I have seen on TV in a long time, one of TVs best finales ever, and it left a huge impression on me.

This post is not going to be a review of the whole show, or of season 5 specifically, and it is more just a comment on the surprise effect that the finale of this show had on me, and why that may be, focusing specifically on the character who has been central to the five seasons. The first and most obvious point to make is that when this show first launched, it immediately became one of the best and most unique things on tv due to the narrative decision to show the same events from two differing perspectives, and the incredibly strong performances from Ruth Wilson, Dominic West, Maura Tierney, and Joshua Jackson. Over the years the show has been a mixed bag in the different stories it has chosen to tell, but the characters themselves have always remained fascinating; flawed and likable at the same time. Following Wilson’s shock exit which led to her death storyline, the show was always going to be deeply affected by the loss of both Wilson and Jackson, and that was felt heavily in season five, until the story came into focus later in the season.

The second half of the final season very much came to focus on Noah and the way he has behaved towards women throughout the show, and looks at what consequences he should face. Although it is initially handled clumsily as the women coming forward are dismissed as lying or seeking attention by getting in on the ‘me too movement’, and even though we know Noah has been incredibly thoughtless and rude towards women, we are still made to believe throughout the years he has never crossed a legal line. This makes for uncomfortable viewing as it is hard for us to not slightly side with Noah as he seems to be wronged, but we also don’t want to not believe these women, especially after the last few years have brought to life so much of the horrors women have had to deal with and how brave they are for speaking out. However, the season quickly corrects itself by having Noah realise that he was in the wrong and stopping trying to disprove these women, and instead trying to becoming a better person for everyone in his life, which is something he eventually achieves. As Helen says to Noah in the penultimate episode, she is “unsure how he can be so compassionate at some times and so cruel at others”. This is a question I have been asking myself for a long time as a viewer, as all the other characters have very distinguishable things that explain why they act like they do, but this isn’t the case for Noah, and this makes his actions and potential redemption all the more intriguing.

In the end, we are asked the question of if a man like Noah deserves redemption. The answer is maybe not, but that doesn’t stop it from being the right thing to happen in this situation. He doesn’t get his success back, but he gets the family he so nearly lost. This then flashes forward almost thirty years to the story of Joanie, who has just discovered that her mother Allison was murdered but is struggling to deal with the memory of her. This leads her back to the lobster roll (the restaurant Allison worked at and first met Noah) just before she leaves town and the place is deserted apart from its owner, non-other than an old Noah, who it is revealed moved back to Montauk soon after Whitney’s wedding. He has an emotional reunion with the woman who he raised for a few years as a child, and he finally sets the record straight for her about who Allison really was, and how resilient and kind Joanie’s mother was. Joanie finally realises how much her mother cares, and is now able to return back to her life, without the self-destructive tendencies she had been displaying. This is the final part in the decades long saga of the families effected by Noah and Allison’s initial affair, and it is the final step in Noah’s redemption story.

The final scene of old man Noah, who has been in Montauk for many years (the place where so much has happened over the decades due to his actions one fateful day) features him dancing on a clifftop to the song ‘The Whole Side of the Moon’, which is what he taught everyone to dance to for Whitney’s wedding, something he was unable to witness himself due to his past actions. The cover of the song is done by Fiona Apple, who sang the iconic opening number for the show, and it perfectly encapsulates how the finale played out, and how effectively they closed the story of The Affair and of these characters we have come to know and care about, and the ballad of Noah Solloway. “I saw the crescent, You saw the whole of the moon”…

The Updated Future of the DCEU

*Updated from my post a few months ago to stay in touch with the changing times*

2020

Birds of Prey (And the Fantabulous Emancipation of one Harley Quinn) (Confirmed)

Wonder Woman 1984 (Confirmed)

2021

The Batman (Confirmed)

The Suicide Squad (Confirmed)

Black Adam

2022

The Trench

Gotham City Sirens

Aquaman 2 (Confirmed)

2023

The Flash

Wonder Woman 3

The New Gods

2024

Batgirl

The Batman 2

Black Adam vs Shazam

2025

Birds of Prey vs Gotham City Sirens

Superman

The Suicide Squad 3

2026

Supergirl

Justice League 2

Aquaman 3

2027

Batgirl 2

The Batman 3

The Flash 2

The Updated Future of the MCU – Movies

*Update from my post a few months ago to reflect the changing times*

Phase 4

2020

Black Widow (Confirmed)

Eternals (Confirmed)

2021

Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings (Confirmed)

Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness (Confirmed)

Untitled ‘Spider-Man’ Sequel (Confirmed)

Thor: Love and Thunder (Confirmed)

Phase 5

2022

Deadpool 3

Black Panther 2 (Confirmed)

Untitled ‘Ant-Man and the Wasp’ Sequel

Blade

2023

Captain Marvel 2

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3

Fantastic Four

Black Widow 2

2024

Shang-Chi 2

Avengers 5

X-Men

Phase 6

2025

Blade 2

Doctor Strange 3

Deadpool and the Wolverine

2026

Nova

Black Panther 3

Iron-Heart

2027

The New Guardians

Captain Marvel 3

Fantastic Four 2

Updated Oscar Predictions

This is my updated predictions for this year’s Oscars, nearly a month on from my last predictions. For the first time in these posts, I will order my predictions by what I believe to be the favourites. These are likely to continue to wildly change over the coming months, but this how I believe things may currently play out.

Best Picture

Once Upon a Time in Hollywood (Sony)

Marriage Story (Netflix)

The Irishman (Netflix)

Joker (Warner Bros)

Parasite (Neon)

Jojo Rabbit (Fox)

1917 (Universal)

Little Women (Sony)

The Two Popes (Netflix)

The Farewell (A24)

Wildcard = Ford v. Ferrari (Fox)

Best Director

Quentin Tarantino – Once Upon a Time in Hollywood

Bong Joon Ho – Parasite

Martin Scorsese – The Irishman

Greta Gerwig – Little Women

Noah Baumbach – Marriage Story

Wildcard = Todd Phillips – Joker

Best Actor

Adam Driver – Marriage Story

Joaquin Phoenix – Joker

Leonardo DiCaprio – Once Upon a Time in Hollywood

Robert De Niro – The Irishman

Eddie Murphy – Dolemite is my Name

Wildcard = Taron Egerton – Rocketman

Best Actress

Charlize Theron – Bombshell

Renee Zellwegger – Judy

Scarlett Johansson – Marriage Story

Saoirse Ronan – Little Women

Awkwafina – The Farewell

Wildcard = Lupita Nyong’o – Us

Best Supporting Actor

Brad Pitt – Once Upon a Time in Hollywood

Al Pacino – The Irishman

Anthony Hopkins – The Two Popes

Joe Pesci – The Irishman

Tom Hanks – A Beautiful Day in the Neighbourhood

Wildcard = Shia LaBeouf – Honey Boy

Best Supporting Actress

Margot Robbie – Bombshell

Florence Pugh – Little Women

Jennifer Lopez – Hustlers

Laura Dern – Marriage Story

Thomasin McKenzie – Jojo Rabbit

Wildcard = Nicole Kidman – Bombshell

Best Adapted Screenplay

Anthony McCarten – The Two Popes

Todd Phillips and Scott Silver – Joker

Taika Waititi – Jojo Rabbit

Greta Gerwig – Little Women

Steven Zailian – The Irishman  

Wildcard = Billy Ray – Richard Jewell

Best Original Screenplay

Noah Baumbach – Marriage Story

Quentin Tarantino – Once Upon a Time in Hollywood

Charles Randolph – Bombshell

Bong Joon-Ho – Parasite

Lulu Wang – The Farewell

Wildcard = Shia LaBeouf – Honey Boy

The Ballad of Bojack Horseman

After ‘Part 1’ of the final season dropped on Netflix on 25th October, we now only have 8 new episodes left of Bojack Horseman, and they will be released on 31st January 2020. With this in mind, I decided to write this brief post focusing on the show, and specifically its title character. This is truly one of the most thought provoking, hilarious, and brilliantly written shows of the 21st century and it has gone underappreciated by the awards communities and the majority of the general public.

Starting in 2014, the show was initially seen as an amusing new series that had Hollywood specific humour and some exuberant characters. However, it became quickly clear that it was much more than that, it was an exploration of morality, depression, substance abuse, abuse of power, and the complicated relationships we develop throughout our life. It has taken on very hot button topics like gun control, sexual harassment, sexuality, and much more during its run, and it should be commended for how realistically and bravely they have done so. The supporting cast all have fascinating arcs of their own; Diane, Princess Carolyn, Mr Peanut Butter, Todd, and many others all change drastically throughout the show in complicated ways, but the one consistent for all of them is their relationships with Bojack.

He is a middle aged horse who was a big star of the 90s sitcom ‘Horsin Around’ and ever since has struggled with being a washed up actor in LA. He battles serious self-loathing and self-destructive behaviour, alcohol and drug mis-use, and a constant need to push people away from him. Throughout the seasons, we have slowly realised how this was all caused by his own childhood and loveless upbringing in an unconventional household and the way he has been failing to process this throughout his life, and repeating the same mistakes. I believe the most telling relationship to show this is between Bojack and his former child star co-star Sarah Lynn, someone who Bojack first met as an innocent young girl but we meet as a drug addicted pop star, still desperate for someone to love her. The story reaches a shocking crescendo when she and Bojack go on a binge and Sarah Lynn ends up dying. This is a huge turning point for Bojack as he is finally able to see the horrors his toxic behaviour can cause and how much he failed the girl who looked up to him so much, as well as many other people. This finally leads him to asking Diane to take him to rehab at the end of season 5, and that’s where we left off.

The first set of episodes of season 6 focus for the first time on a Bojack that is sober and truly determined to stay that way, and he now has to discover who he is without the substances, and how his relationships will be effected by this. In the eight episodes, very little happens of much drama to Bojack but mainly to the people around him as he tries to work out his place in the world. I think much has been set up for the final eight episodes to bring about the shows endgame and finally reveal where Bojack Horseman will end up, and if he deserves the happy ending many want for a man who has been so toxic for much of his life. The finale cliff-hanger that promises repercussions for his actions in previous seasons is a compelling lead in to what is sure to be an emotional, hilarious, and very likely, incredibly powerful final set of episodes.

The Martin Scorsese Debate

Over the past few weeks, film twitter has been ablaze with debate and controversy following Martin Scorsese’s comments that he did not believe that Marvel films were ‘cinema’ during an interview with Empire Magazine, and he has continued to back up these claims. On top of this, directors like Francis Ford Coppola have backed him up by calling the films “despicable” and in response to this, the fans have been in uproar and even filmmakers like James Gunn have hit back in defence of the films. However, I think this is a ridiculous debate to be having and I think it is creating a huge controversy out of nothing.

I need to state that I am both a big fan of the MCU and most comic book films in general, and I am also someone who studied film at University, so I hope I can try and offer a close to balanced opinion. However, I do not actually feel that it is something that really needs too much explaining because at the end of the day, these great filmmakers have every right to express their views on how they think cinema is progressing, because they made huge contributions to it along the way. The world of film would be a very different place without Scorsese and Coppola and it should be acknowledged instead of ignored, and we should also acknowledge the impact Kevin Feige and co have had on the film industry.

However, I do believe that they are misguided in what they are saying about these films not being cinema and that this is simply a progression of cinema that is very exciting, but I do also feel it is key that not all films are just big blockbusters and we allow risks to be taken and different stories to be told. This is not a direct attack on Marvel specifically like it is being implied, it is more old school filmmakers expressing concern for how blockbusters are taking over the industry and lower and middle budget films are suffering.

I hope Hollywood stays a place where The Irishman can co-exist with Avengers: Endgame and that Joker can co-exist with Hustlers. It is important that we have all types of films still playing at the cinema, and it is also important we allow everyone to express their own opinion on how the industry is progressing.

Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker – Final Trailer

We have now finally been shown the new Star Wars trailer, and it is a piece of movie history as it is the final ever trailer we will get for a film within the Skywalker Saga, something that began over 40 years ago in 1977. That is because Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker will end the saga (although films within the Star Wars universe will continue) and it will also end this specific sequel trilogy.

This trailer reveals the most about the film that we have seen so far and we finally get some more dialogue and characters actually interacting with each other, whilst also hinting at a story yet still maintaining the usual Star Wars level of secrecy. People have had a very strong and mostly positive reaction to this new trailer which is definitely a good sign given the comparatively divisive reaction people had to The Last Jedi. JJ Abrams is returning to the franchise after starting the sequel trilogy with the well received The Force Awakens and the hope is that he can again capture that lightning in a bottle moment which lead to the film becoming the biggest in American box office history, and at the time only the third film ever to cross $2 Billion at the world wide box office. While I think it is unlikely to reach those heights again, I think somewhere in the region of $1.5 Billion is most likely and this would be an incredible success.

The film itself seems to promise our trio of heroes (Rey, Finn, Poe) finally working together on a mission for the resistance while Rey and Kylo Ren either battle to the death or hook up and become the galaxies most powerful (and most brooding) couple. We also get hints of how the very dead Palpatine and Luke Skywalker will play into the story, and are also promised that unused footage from The Force Awakens will allow the story of Carrie Fisher’s Princess/General Leia to be completed, even though she passed away long before filming could start on Episode IX. This trailer was actually released on what would have been Carrie Fisher’s birthday, and we know the force is always with her and she is greatly missed.

I will do a future post closer to the films release that goes more in depth with how I feel the film will play out, but for now I am just glad to report how visually and emotionally powerful this film looks, and I have faith in JJ that he will deliver the goods.

The trailer can be found here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8Qn_spdM5Zg

Margot Robbie – Modern Movie Star

In the space of just over 6 years, Margot Robbie has gone from relative unknown to a Oscar nominee and one of the biggest stars in Hollywood. However, the way she has done it has differed greatly from the traditional method, and she has forged her own way to the top in a very modern and admirable way.

Starting her career in her homeland of Australia working multiple different jobs (Subway, surf shop etc) while she tried to make her way in the industry, she discovered a love for acting after doing a part in her friends short film and after that, it wasn’t too long before she got a key role in one of Australia’s biggest soaps, Neighbours, which has often be used as a launching pad for Aussie talent to get careers in America. After three years on the show, she got her first break in America with the short lived TV show Pan Am, which finally got her on Hollywood’s radar, and then not long after that, she got her huge break as she was cast as the female lead alongside Leonardo DiCaprio in Martin Scorsese’s The Wolf of Wall Street.

During her final audition, Robbie once described how she felt it was going poorly, and in a last ditch attempt to make an impact during an improv heavy scene, she hit DiCaprio across the face. In the immediate time afterwards she feared for her career, but DiCaprio proceeded to laugh and tell her to do it again, and Scorsese has since said that it was in this moment he knew he had found his star. For her role in the film, Robbie would be required to play the part of Naomi, a sexually adventurous blonde bombshell with an explosive temper, and Robbie would have to do numerous full frontal nude scenes, something she was initially reluctant to do at such a young age but eventually decided was the right thing for the character. Once the film was released, everyone raved about this newcomer who stood toe to toe with a legend like DiCaprio and more than held her own, and in that moment a new star was born. However, it was the way she proceeded with her career from there that really made her stand out.

It would have been very easy for someone as beautiful and in demand as Robbie to completely embrace her initial reception as a sex symbol and continue to chase these sorts of roles. However, Robbie was smart and realised that she didn’t want to just take on the same sort of role and instead took on numerous varied parts in the following couple of years, including in indie drama Z for Zachariah, thriller Focus, and comedy Whiskey Tango Foxtrot. However, the role she is now most famous for came along in 2016 when she played the sexy and psychotic girlfriend of the Joker (the character is much more than this but this was the initial pitch), Harley Quinn, in David Ayer’s much maligned Suicide Squad. Despite the film receiving very poor reviews, Robbie’s performance was the one universally acclaimed thing and made her into a pop culture icon. From this position, it would’ve been expected for Robbie to continue to chase blockbuster roles, but instead she used the production company she had recently formed to forge her own destiny the way she wanted to, and just a year after Suicide Squad, she received her first Academy Award nomination for her transformative lead performance in 2017s I, Tonya, the first film she released under her production company LuckyChap. She followed this up in with well received performances in Goodbye Christopher Robin and Mary, Queen of Scots.

This essentially brings us up to date in 2019, where she has already had a huge year and is tipped to receive her second Oscar nomination and potentially first win. In July of this year she starred in the incredibly well received Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, where she was directed by Quentin Tarantino and was reunited with Leonardo DiCaprio. This role was in the discussion to potentially land her an Oscar nomination, but earlier this week the first reactions started to come in to her role in the December release Bombshell, which focuses on the Roger Ailes scandal, and she has suddenly become a supporting actress front runner for her performance. There is still a long time to go and things could certainly change, but Robbie has already been proven right with the career she forged for herself.

In 2020, she will finally return to the role of Harley Quinn, but this time in a film that she herself will produce, the female centric spin off Birds of Prey: And the Fantabulous Emancipation of one Harley Quinn, a film that is already generating large amounts of conversation, months before its release. In 2021 she will again play Quinn, this time in James Gunn’s The Suicide Squad, and from there, it is likely she may play the character many more times as Harley becomes one of the lynchpins of the DCEU. Alongside this unique franchise role, she will likely continue to produce roles for herself in a variety of films that really challenge her as an actress and will carry on proving that she is one of the industry’s finest, and is a truly modern movie star.

Zoe Kravitz – Catwoman

Zoe Kravitz is now officially the new Catwoman, and will star opposite Robert Pattinson’s Bruce Wayne and Jeffrey Wright’s James Gordon in Matt Reeves’ The Batman.

It is not confirmed yet where this movie will take place (if it is in the DCEU or not) but it is likely that the role of Catwoman will be an integral one throughout the planned trilogy that Reeves is working on. Selina Kyle/Catwoman is one of DC’s most famous and loved characters, and is a great opportunity for any actress (most famously played in the past by Michelle Pfeiffer and Anne Hathaway), and this is a huge step in Kravitz’s career. She recently starred in the second Fantastic Beasts film and has had two critically acclaimed seasons on Big Little Lies, but she is still someone mostly known within the industry and not to the general public.

Kravitz is the daughter of Lenny Kravitz and Lisa Bonet, and ironically, she is now the step daughter of Aquaman himself Jason Momoa, so the DCEU runs in the family. While I personally would’ve preferred an actress like Ana De Armas, Eiza Gonzalez or Jodie Comer, I do think that Kravitz will be really good in the role and after being told she was “too urban” for a role in The Dark Knight Rises, I’m sure she will be desperate to make the most of this opportunity. I think she will look great in the outfit, will bring great edge and sensuality to Selina Kyle, will be able to hold her own acting wise, and will sex up a storm with Pattinson’s Bruce, with what is building up to be the sexiest superhero film since Batman Returns, another film where Catwoman was integral.

Another factor to consider is whether this will become part of the main DCEU, and if it does, then it is likely that in the future Kravitz would star alongside Margot Robbie’s Harley Quinn in a Gotham City Sirens movie. That has not been officially announced but if Birds of Prey is a success, I believe it is inevitable, and Poison Ivy would then be the only piece in the jigsaw left (Ana De Armas???).

Overall, while she wouldn’t have been my first choice, I think Zoe Kravitz will be great in the role and I feel like this film is shaping up to be something really unique and special. Long live the BatCat.

Hollywood’s Best Rising Stars – Actor

This is very much a personal list of a few actors who I feel are incredibly talented and could potentially become the next big things in Hollywood, and while many of them have made multiple films or big tv shows already at a young age, I still feel that they have the potential to become really huge stars in the next few years.

Timothee Chalamet

At the young age of 23 he is already an Academy Award nominee with an incredibly impressive filmography and a hugely dedicated fanbase (made up predominantly of teenage girls, but continuing to grow and diversify rapidly). He is not a traditional heartthrob, and he mainly stars in independent films and is a very talented character actor. His performance in Call Me By Your Name really launched him into the public eye and he has not looked back since. However, I think that he has only just got started, and can continue to do compelling work (and maybe his upcoming film Dune will be a major blockbuster) over the coming years.

Lucas Hedges

A contemporary of Chalamet is Lucas Hedges, an actor who also has an Academy Award nomination and has appeared in multiple best picture nominees at a very young age. He has consistently worked with the best directors in the industry and has given multiple varied and complex performances, with his best and most famous to date coming alongside Casey Affleck in Manchester By The Sea. Hedges is very well respected, but does not yet have the fanbase that someone like Chalamet does. However, due to the consistent calibre of his work, I don’t expect it to be very long until Hedges becomes a huge star and potential Oscar winner.

Finn Wolfhard

One of the most recognisable names on the list due to his popularity from hit show Stranger Things and hit film IT, Wolfhard is also a very talented actor. For such a young man, he is a very charismatic presence and has a unique look and style which is sure to make him stand out as he continues to develop his filmography. His career is sure to continue to grow in 2020 when he takes on one of the lead roles in the new Ghostbusters film, and from there he still has a few seasons of Stranger Things to film, and will likely be a very in demand star in the coming years.

Jacob Tremblay

After delivering one of recent history’s best child performances opposite Oscar winner Brie Larson in 2015’s Room, Jacob Tremblay has continued to work at an alarming rate, in all sorts of genres. He starred in the hit comedy Good Boys, the horror reboot The Predator, and the drama Wonder, among others. He has only recently become a teenager and has already amassed a very strong filmography, and he shows no signs of slowing down. With his talent already clear to see, there’s every reason to believe he is going to be one of Hollywood’s biggest stars.

Jaeden Martell

The 16 year old is best known for his lead role in IT, alongside Finn Wolfhard, and he was very convincing in that difficult role. This film is the most he has been exposed to the general public, but he has worked in more low key films like The Lodge and Midnight Special as well, and this year will be part of the ensemble in Rian Johnson’s Knives Out. He will soon also be seen alongside Chris Evans in the Apple TV series Defending Jacob, which is sure to raise his profile even more, and I believe he will go on to have a long and varied career.

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