‘Suits’ Season 6: Should I Stay or Should I Go Now?

September 20, 2016 at 8:49 AM | Posted in TV | Leave a comment
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SPOILER WARNING: This TV review contains major spoilers for Suits season 6. Read at your own risk!

Suits aired its midseason finale last week, and while I had the urge to review each episode as they aired, I waited until the end of Episode 10 of Season 6 to write a proper review. That way, I’d have a better perspective on the season’s storyline and what the characters have been up to.

To get you up to speed, check out the Season 6 trailer below:

This season of Suits has been a rocky ride. Honestly speaking, I consider it to be the show’s weakest season yet. While its midseason finale, aptly titled “P.S.L.” delivered a very satisfying turn, with the shocking revelation of Jessica’s departure from the firm (and Gina Torres’s exit from the show), the rest of the episodes were really difficult to watch.

I’ve been a fan ever since Suits‘ first season in 2011. I really enjoyed the past storylines and have come to love the main characters. But what made Season 6 so frustrating was the fact it dragged out the Mike-in-prison story arc for too long. Long story arcs have never been Suits’ strong suit (pun intended). Just look at what happened in Season 3 with that Ava Hessington case. For me, the show’s best seasons were the first and the second ones, where they mainly dealt with case-of-the-week stories. But with this season, all we got was a soapy drama about self-entitled Mike.

suits_s6-to-trouble-episode

Photo credit: screencapped.net

Prison Break: The Soapy Days Of Mike’s Life Behind Bars

Mike used to be a likable character — yes, even that time when he left Pearson Specter Litt to work as an investment banker. But this season, his stubbornness made for unbearable TV viewing. I watched the first episode of this season expecting that Mike’s time in prison would give him the chance to reflect on his past mistakes and focus on becoming a better version of himself. But instead, week after week, he acted like a bratty kid, throwing tantrums whenever he didn’t get his way. Here was Harvey, bending over backward just to get him out of prison in the shortest time possible, and yet Mike kept insisting that Harvey bust Kevin Miller out, too. And not only that, he wanted Kevin’s wife out of the big house as well. It’s as if he wanted to stay in prison longer for Kevin.

mike_suits-s6_accountspayable

Photo credit: screencapped.net

Harvey may be a brilliant lawyer, but he has his own limitations. He cannot guarantee he’ll always win or that he can convince every person to do his bidding. Mike should have known that. Harvey could only do so much. To me, Mike came off like he didn’t think he deserve to be in jail, where in fact it was his fault as much of Harvey’s that he landed there in the first place. And it’s bad enough that I had to watch this whole boring drama play out over the entire season.

I was actually looking forward to Mike getting out a redeemed man, but when he finally got his release, he was just as cocky as he was before. Did he even learn from his mistakes? Where was his character development? I would have thought he’d grown after Season 5, when he was grappling with his secret of being a faux lawyer, and broke down in front of the priest. His time in prison would have been a chance for him to plan for his future. Which brings me to Harvey…

Fifty Shades Of Harvey Specter

Harvey has done some pretty shady things as of late. Aside from drugging Mike to temporarily springing him from prison, he also colluded with Sean Cahill. What made it worse was that he handed Cahill the insider trading program that Kevin developed. And all this because he was desperate to get Mike out as soon as possible, because Frank Gallo was a major threat in the faux lawyer’s life. In the past, Harvey had always managed to bend the law without actually breaking it. But when it comes to the people he cares about, he’s willing to do anything just to save them. And what he did this season — from accepting William Sutter as his client, to colluding with Cahill — just made his shades a lot darker.

While I don’t agree with what Harvey has done, I can understand his motivations. It must have been excruciating and emotionally exhausting for Harvey to be burdened with guilt. He obviously felt responsible for Mike being in prison instead of him. He’s been carrying that guilt ever since the scandal broke that he’d hired a fraud. That decision led to the firm’s employees leaving the company and their clients walking as well — and that doubled his regret.

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SUITS — “Trust” Episode 605 — Pictured: (l-r) Neal McDonough as Sean Cahill, Gabriel Macht as Harvey Specter, Alan Rosenberg as William Sutter — (Photo by: Ian Watson/USA Network)

I had truly enjoyed Harvey’s character development in Season 5 when he had those panic attacks after Donna left him. But this season his growth seems to have stunted. While he learned to apologize and took responsibility for his decision to hire a fake, he’s in danger of making that same mistake again when he offered Mike a job as a consultant after he got him out of prison. At that moment I had the urge to smack him in the head. The firm crumbled because of his past actions, and now he wanted to hire Mike again?! The business’s reputation had been tarnished enough. It’s not a good idea to risk it even more. Seriously, Harvey needs to go back and see his therapist!

Speaking of which, it would have been nice to see him continue his therapy sessions with Dr. Agard. I would have loved to see his struggle and how he coped with the guilt while trying to save whatever was left of the firm. While Donna’s support did help, it would be best that a professional therapist handle the situation. And speaking of Donna…

Not Just A Pretty Face And More Than Meets The Eye

Donna was the most underutilized character this season. Aside from being at her desk, helping Harvey get Mike out, she had little to do other than help Louis with his newfound love. After five-and-a-half seasons, her character is the only one that’s not fully developed. In fact, Cahill and Kevin got a lot more screen time than her this season. While the mudding scene was fun to watch, I would rather see her do more. I think it’s worth exploring that hidden side of Donna to better understand her character, because so far we know so little about her backstory.

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Photo credit: spoilertv.com

Lightning-Fast Love Story

Louis was given a new love interest this season — a subplot that no one really asked for. Instead of him focusing on helping the firm retain its clients, he spent most of his time impressing the woman he fell in love with at first sight and worrying about how she would accept him. But I really didn’t buy this story. First and foremost, there was zero on-screen chemistry between Rick Hoffman and Carly Pope. I remain unconvinced that Louis and Tara were in love after dating only for a few weeks. And the fact that Tara was involved in an open relationship with someone who she meets up with only every six months made this story really weird and uncomfortable. Add to that WTF storyline was Louis proposing to Tara after her boyfriend proposed to her when she told him she’s pregnant. And then she accepted Louis’s proposal. Seriously, WTF?!

louis-tara_suits-s6

Photo credit: cartermatt.com

Women Power

I liked that Jessica and Rachel banded together to handle Leonard’s case. It’s about time the show’s writers made good use of Rachel. Up until this season, she’d been the weakest female character in the show who spent most of her time whining about law school and crying over Mike. But I’m glad she’s becoming a stronger character in her own right. She truly shines when she’s not with Mike, which says a lot about how her character was written in past seasons. And it’s really a wonderful sight to behold that Jessica has become her mentor.

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SUITS — “The Hand That Feeds You” Episode 609 — Pictured: (l-r) Meghan Markle as Rachel Zane, Gina Torres as Jessica Pearson — (Photo by: Ian Watson/USA Network)

Jessica, on the other hand, had always been the epitome of female power in the show. And I liked that we were also shown her softer side; it made her both endearing and admirable. But I was even more impressed after watching the midseason finale. She truly killed it in those courtroom scenes. The nod to A Few Good Men wasn’t lost on me. Jessica in that courtroom moment reminded me of Tom Cruise badgering of Jack Nicholson when he took the stand and finally admitted his crime. That was the side of Jessica that I would have liked to see more of.

Unfortunately, we won’t be able to see more of that, seeing as she’s now left the firm. I was really disappointed, since I would have liked to see her stay on long enough to rebuild the business and continue mentoring Rachel. That would have been a great sendoff and it would’ve show her clients, the senior partners who left her, and their enemies like Hardman, that Pearson Specter Litt can rise above the scandal and prove its credibility once again.

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SUITS — “P.S.L.” Episode 610 — Pictured: (l-r) Gina Torres as Jessica Pearson, Gabriel Macht as Harvey Specter, Rick Hoffman as Louis Litt — (Photo by: Shane Mahood/USA Network)

So “P.S.L.” explored Jessica’s past and her realization that somewhere along the way she forgot the reason why she became a lawyer in the first place. In the episode, she was torn between rebuilding the firm and saving a man from death row. I’m glad that Jessica finally found happiness with Jeff, but I hope she’ll make an appearance next year when Season 6 continues.

One Step Closer

Of course, I cannot end this review without talking about that poignant scene at the end of the finale. After Jessica made the announcement that she’s leaving the firm, it didn’t sink in with Harvey until the final scene. The firm’s fate now lies in his and Louis’s hands, and while that might be a daunting task, what really affected Harvey was that someone he considered as a long-time mentor and friend was leaving. Jessica shaped him to into the lawyer he is today. They might have fought and clashed many times over, but their bond was never broken and their friendship and respect for each other only grew stronger. Harvey was coming to terms with this realization when Donna found him in his office.

She knew how Harvey must have felt and, as always, she was there for him. Their simple act of holding hands was enough to convey that Harvey, in his vulnerable state, finally let his guard down and showed Donna how he truly felt without saying any words. And Donna didn’t need to say anything to let him know she understood and that she’s there for him.

Suits - Season 6

Photo credit: newslocker.com

It was a touching scene as Harvey admitted he didn’t want to be alone. It’s another step for him to show his willingness to open up, after years of being emotionally unavailable. And for these two to hold hands while looking out into the night only teased us of what lies ahead for both of these characters as well as the firm.

It’s been amazing to see that their closeness goes beyond words, and I’d love to see their relationship evolve into something more, bringing them closer to each other and deepening their bond. After all, the show still needs to address the elephant in the room: What happened between them in Season 4.

The midseason finale was, for me, the best episode of the season. I liked it for the fact that it was less about Mike and more about Jessica. But I was glad that Mike initially turned down Harvey’s job offer. And I really hope that he will eventually decide not to accept it. He has done enough damage to the firm.

So where can the show’s writers go with Mike, now that he’s out of prison and everyone knows his secret? I can’t wait to find out. I’m also looking forward to seeing how Harvey would handle being the top partner at the firm, now that Jessica is gone.

We’ll just have to wait for Suits Season 6 to return to the USA Network in January.

(NOTE: This article was originally published in moviepilot.com)

Does Size Really Matter?

September 14, 2016 at 10:45 PM | Posted in Film Reviews, Movies | Leave a comment
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SPOILER WARNING: This movie review contains major spoilers. Read at your own risk.

In these times where body shaming on social media has become more and more prevalent, one movie attempts to address the issue and among others with wry humor.

Zoom is a Canadian indie film about three characters who find themselves in a story written by the other. It’s generally a satire movie about body objectification and the creative process involved in writing books and making films. The movie stars Gael Garcia Bernal, Alison Pill, Jason Priestly, and Mariana Ximenes.

zoom-movie-poster

It tells the story of Emma, a young comic book artist who works at a factory that makes sex dolls. She sculpts and paints sex dolls while drawing comic book characters on the side. One day her co-worker/boyfriend Bob saw one of her drawings and points out that she could never be as voluptuous and big-breasted as the female superhero in her comics. Taking offense, Emma draws a new character named Edward in her comics – a guy possessing all the qualities of her ideal man. In her comics, Edward is a famous movie director – handsome, smart, charming and popular with the ladies.

This is where Zoom starts to get interesting. In Edward’s world, he is struggling to complete a new movie against the pressure of a major film studio. The movie script is incomplete and Edward wants to make it as an art house film. The problem is, the film studio wants a typical action-packed, Hollywood-style movie with lots of explosions – something that he really wants to avoid.

Edward’s movie is about a female model named Michelle who wants to become a writer. Her boyfriend Dale is not as supportive of her plans as she expected. So she leaves their shared apartment and goes to Brazil. It’s while she’s in Brazil where she starts writing her novel.

Eventually, Edward realizes that he’s just a character in Emma’s comics, while Emma soon learns that she’s only a fictional character in the book that Michelle is writing. Michelle, on the other hand, also realizes that she’s just a part of Edward’s movie. She doesn’t even know that she’s an actress in the movie.

Zoom splits between the real world, the comic book world, and the movie world. It’s reminiscent of Stranger Than Fiction, A Scanner Darkly and Inception. It also reminds me of A-ha’s comics-inspired “Take On Me” music video back in the ’80s. It’s a shame that I don’t get to see Gael Garcia Bernal in his true form as he only appears in his comic book form in the movie.

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Unfortunately, the movie doesn’t have enough depth and fails to explore and develop the characters. Zoom is muddled, silly, absurd and has no direction. Its attempt as an art house film is as unsuccessful as Edward’s efforts in his movie. The ending is a big question mark as the viewers are left wondering what happened to the characters.

What happens to Michelle after she wrote those words in her book? Why is Emma working in that perverted factory in the first place when she could have used her talent somewhere else? What happens to Edward and his unfinished movie? I guess we’ll never know since they are already “smeared” in the comics.

Six More Burning Questions About Donna Paulsen of ‘Suits’

August 16, 2016 at 10:40 PM | Posted in Fandom, TV | Leave a comment
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I have previously said my piece about Donna Paulsen – my favorite character on Suits – and how I think she is being treated in season 6. While I’ve put out a list of the top questions I have about Donna that I think the show’s writers need to address one way or the other, I couldn’t help but wonder more about her.

Donna has made a lasting impression on me and the fans over the years. And the more I think about it, the more I have questions about her character and her background story. So I have made another list here in addition to the previous one which I think would tie up with all the burning questions I have about her and her story.

  1. How did Donna come up with her personal rule of not dating men she work with?

Season 3 of Suits saw Donna telling Harvey in a flashback episode that she doesn’t date men she is working with. How did this rule come about? Has it always been that way with her even before she started working at the NYC DA’s Office? Or does this apply only when she started working for Harvey Specter?

Darvey

Image credit: screencapped.net

And since she admitted that she’s in love with Harvey, would she have broken her rule if Harvey had been more open about his feelings for her?

  1. Does she secretly still want to pursue an acting career?

Fans of the show know that Donna always has a love for theater and that she previously wanted to become an actress but gave it up. But in season 4, she seemed to be starting her acting career again when she did Shakespeare in an episode. Considering that she seemed to be insecure about her position as Harvey’s secretary, is she thinking of pursuing an acting career again? Does her position at the firm leave her wanting more?

Image credit: tvshowtime.com

Image credit: tvshowtime.com

  1. Is Donna still allowing Harvey to pony up her salary?

When Donna found out that Harvey has been augmenting her salary for years without telling her, she got mad at him. Now I really find it hard to believe that Donna of all people didn’t know about this. She should have known years ago that Harvey was doing it. I mean, if I were to check my income tax returns and found any discrepancies in it, I would get suspicious. But I digress.

Image credit: tv.com

Image credit: tv.com

Anyway, when Donna went back to working for Harvey again, is she still allowing Harvey to do this? How does she feel about it?

  1. Where did she work before her job at the NYC DA’s Office?

Before working at Pearson Specter Litt, Donna worked at the NYC DA’s Office where she met and eventually worked for Harvey. But I’m curious if she ever had a job before that. When she wanted to become an actress, did she try working at any theater company or film studio? How many auditions she went to before finally giving up her acting career?

Image credit: screencapped.net

Image credit: screencapped.net

  1. Does she have any siblings?

I would imagine Donna having siblings. Her caring personality, especially towards Mike and Rachel seemed like she has taken care of a younger brother or sister. Sarah Rafferty, who plays Donna, mentioned in an interview before that she thinks Donna might have a brother. I would really like to think that too. I think it would greatly explain why she is sort of a mother hen towards Mike and Rachel, and even Louis.

SUITS -- "Self Defense" Episode 514 -- Pictured: (l-r) Sarah Rafferty as Donna Paulsen, Meghan Markle as Rachel Zane -- (Photo by: Ben Mark Holzberg/USA Network)

SUITS — “Self Defense” Episode 514 — Pictured: (l-r) Sarah Rafferty as Donna Paulsen, Meghan Markle as Rachel Zane — (Photo by: Ben Mark Holzberg/USA Network)

  1. When and where did she meet Mitchell?

After Donna’s heartbreak with Harvey, she started dating Mitchell – a guy whom Suitors haven’t even seen yet. I’m curious to know when and where Donna met him. Is he the guy she was supposed to have a date with in season 4? Donna was supposed to have a date with an unnamed guy in season 4 but she cancelled it because Harvey had problems with Louis about Forstman and he needed her. Is Mitchell that same guy or is he a new one whom Donna met?

Donna Paulsen

Image credit: screencapped.net

If he’s a new guy, when did she meet him and where? I would imagine Donna having a social life of her own and maybe she went out with friends after her confrontation with Harvey (you know, the confrontation about how Harvey couldn’t tell her how he loved her) and that’s where she met this guy. But I don’t know. The show’s writers haven’t given any details about this.

These are just my thoughts on Donna and I just think that there is more to her character than what Suits has been showing to the fans. I really hate to think that her character would stay undeveloped this season and in season 7. Every character should have growth and given more depth. While I’m glad that the show has let Harvey and Rachel grow as characters, it should also be the same for Donna.

8 Burning Questions About Donna Paulsen of ‘Suits’

August 14, 2016 at 10:00 AM | Posted in Fandom, TV | Leave a comment
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I’ve been a big fan of Suits since its early days. I religiously tuned in to every episode since its first season. While Harvey Specter used to be my favorite character on the show, it has since then been replaced with Donna Paulsen. I’m always drawn to strong female characters on TV and I think Donna is one of those who can hold on her own and get people’s attention despite the fact that she’s not the main character on the show.

She has become my favorite character on the show not only because of her sassiness and witty dialogues but also because she is smart, confident, funny, and can go toe-to-toe with alpha males like Harvey Specter. Heck, she even got the balls to slap Daniel Hardman! That was really gutsy on her part. My love for Donna has grown over the seasons so much so that it has already eclipsed my love for Harvey.

Donna Paulsen

Image credit: zap2it.com

I think there’s more to her character than just being Harvey’s secretary. That’s why it frustrates me so much to see her character being reduced this season. Suits is already in its sixth season and yet we Suitors don’t know much about Donna. Aside from her past with Harvey and a glimpse of her as a teenager, not much has been written about her background.

I am upset and disappointed that Donna has been relegated to the sidelines this season. Five episodes in and we only see Donna give advice to people at Pearson Specter Litt and help fix things at the firm. In the last episode, Donna only had three scenes. Sean Cahill, who is only a recurring character on the show, got even more screentime than her. Looking at the plot in the upcoming episodes, I’m afraid that Donna will not have much of a storyline this season.

SUITS -- "Fork in the Road" Episode 413 -- Pictured: Sarah Rafferty as Donna Paulsen - (Photo by: Shane Mahood/USA Network)

SUITS — “Fork in the Road” Episode 413 — Pictured: Sarah Rafferty as Donna Paulsen – (Photo by: Shane Mahood/USA Network)

What happened to the show’s writers? Are they running out of ideas on what to do with Donna? Donna Paulsen might not be the main character on the show but she definitely is a well-loved character among fans. And I think that she deserves a better storyline than just help Harvey, Rachel, Louis, Mike and Jessica.

There are just so many things I want to know about Donna, and there are loose ends in her story that I think the show needs to address.  I’ve listed here the questions that I think should be addressed by the show and I think other Donna fans would agree with me.

1. How does Donna really feel about going back to Harvey as his secretary?

While Donna wanted to help Harvey save Mike from prison in season 5, it wasn’t exactly her idea to return to Harvey. She left him in the first place because it wasn’t healthy for her to stay working for him after he refused to explain how he loved her and after she admitted that she has feelings for him. But when Louis let her go back to Harvey, we didn’t really see how she felt about it. Is she truly over him? If she is (which I doubt), does she even realize that she’s still in danger of falling for Harvey again? How can you get over someone that quickly if you work closely with him every day?

Donna_I don't want your pity

Image credit: giphy.com

And let’s talk about the elephant in the room: When will she and Harvey talk about that “I love you” scene in season 4? Suitors are left hanging with it since that confrontation scene in Harvey’s office. They had dinner together eventually in season 5 but it seemed to me that they talked about everything but that. I really hope that the show would eventually tie this loose end.

2. How did Donna come to the conclusion that she couldn’t work for Harvey anymore?

When Harvey refused to explain in season 4 how he loved Donna, we saw her got hurt by what he said. But we actually didn’t see how she struggled with it. What did she do when she got home after that? Did she talk to someone about it? Did someone advise her to leave Harvey or was it entirely her decision? We only saw her help Louis make arrangements on Norma’s passing but never her struggle with her feelings.

Donna Paulsen leaves Harvey

Image credit: giphy.com

And we didn’t see how she dealt with it after she left him. Sure, she was visibly shaken by it as seen by Rachel but after that scene with her, we never got to see how she really felt. Harvey had panic attacks but what about Donna? Although we saw her start working for Louis and help Mike get the hotel that Rachel wanted as venue for their wedding, I suspected that it was all a front to what she was really feeling at that time. Unfortunately, we didn’t get to see that.

3. Does Donna feel insecure about her position at Pearson Specter Litt?

In earlier seasons, Suitors saw Donna as a badass legal secretary that always get things done. But in season 4, we got a glimpse of her vulnerable side. In the episode where Harvey confronted her about lying on her involvement in the Liberty Rail case, she told him that she lied because she wanted to feel just as important as the lawyers. In tears, she said that Harvey and Mike keep being hotshot lawyers while she only answers the phone.

Donna_s4-e15-Intent

Image credit: screencapped.net

That got me into thinking and wondered whether Donna feels insecure about her work at the firm. While I’m glad Suits showed that side of her, I feel that there’s so much more to that story.

4. Why did Donna give up her dream of becoming a stage actor?

I’ve been wondering about this since that episode where she did Shakespeare. In the flashback episode “Not Just A Pretty Face,” she told Harvey that she wanted to be an actress. But what happened after that? When did she decide to stop pursuing an acting career? And most importantly, why?

Donna_Not Just A Pretty Face

Image credit: screencapped.net

I know she mentioned something to Louis before about her dad losing all the money and not wanting to go through the same thing, but that was never explored. We didn’t get to see her struggle with her acting career. What made her decide to give it up? Was it because she got too busy working for Harvey? Or was it because there’s too much competition?

5. When will she put herself first for once?

She went back to working for Harvey in the later part of season 5 because she knew he needed her at that time. But after their attempts of saving Mike failed, she stayed on. Why? So she can keep helping Harvey and Mike? I really want to see Donna put herself first for once. I want to see her life outside work. She’s always been there to help Harvey, Mike, Louis, Rachel and Jessica when they needed her. She’s the linchpin that ties the main characters together during times of trouble. But she deserves to live her own life, and yes even apart from Harvey.

Donna_sigh

Image credit: giphy.com

As much as I want Donna and Harvey to be together, I want her to be her own person. Since Harvey is too coward to express his real feelings for Donna and needs to man up, she deserves to be happy. For once, I want to see her being taken care of instead of the other way around. I don’t want to see her becoming like Rachel who, up until this season, was known only as Mike’s girlfriend.

6. Does she still play the piano?

We’ve seen Donna in a flashback episode as a teenager and an aspiring pianist. And when her dad told her that she couldn’t keep the piano because it wouldn’t fit in their new apartment, she was heartbroken. I’m really curious to know if she ever attempted to play the piano again after that or if she lost interest eventually and turned to acting.

Young Donna in Suits

Image credit: screencapped.net

In season 3, we saw her sit at a piano while Stephen Huntley played the keys. Did she ever attempt to play it before him and did she tell him about her piano?

7. What’s Donna’s mother like? Is Donna close to her as she is to her dad?

Ever since that story about Harvey accidentally spitting a shrimp onto Donna’s mother’s hair during the god-awful dinner party was revealed in season 4, I’ve always wanted to know more about her. What is she like? Is she as sassy as Donna?

Donna and her dad_Suits-s5-e12

Image credit: chilitimes.com

Suitors have already seen most of the main characters’ family members. We’ve seen Harvey’s parents, Mike’s grammy, Rachel’s parents, Jessica’s sister and even Louis’ parents but not much of Donna’s. Sure, her dad appeared briefly in season 5 but I’m really curious about Donna’s mom. I hope the show would finally include her in one of the episodes. I’d like to see a flashback episode when that dinner party actually happened.

8. Is the can opener ritual back?

When Donna left Harvey to work for Louis, the can opener ritual between Donna and Harvey ended. But since she came back to him and Harvey went to trial to defend Mike, did they continue with the pre-trial ritual?

The can opener did not make an appearance again after Harvey returned it to Donna (indirectly, that is) when she left him. Now that Harvey is in trial again as Sutter’s lawyer, I’m wondering if the ritual is back.

can opener in Suits season 5

Image credit: screencapped.net

At this point, I’m beginning to lose interest in Suits not only because the stories haven’t been as compelling as the first two seasons but also because of the way they are treating Donna this season. She is mostly the reason why I’m still watching the show (and the fact that I’m still waiting for Darvey to happen). But I feel that the writers are neglecting her. I know that the focus of the show has always been Harvey and Mike, but the other characters deserve their own storyline, especially the women. They are closely interconnected with each other that I don’t think the show would work if it’s only Harvey and Mike. I can’t imagine the show without Jessica. And I can’t imagine it without Donna. Otherwise, the women might as well have their own spinoff show.

While the writers are finally making good use of Rachel this season (too little, too late in my opinion) and Jessica has been given her own story arc, I feel that Donna is the one character who is still not fully fleshed out. The writers need to give her more depth because if they don’t, then she would just end up as a caricature of herself.

Considering the current circumstances, if they keep this poor treatment of Donna for the entire season, then I’m afraid I might have to dump this show and not watch season 7 anymore.

Money Talks

July 11, 2016 at 11:00 AM | Posted in Film Reviews, Movies | Leave a comment
Tags: ,

Kapit sa patalim.

This succinctly describes Rosa’s predicament in life in the indie film, Ma’ Rosa. In a world where you have to do everything to survive, there is little choice left except to take big risks regardless of whether it’s even legal or not.

Ma’ Rosa is yet another indie film by Brillante Mendoza that tackles the social ills of Philippine society, particularly poverty and corruption. It took the local cinema by storm when it won an award at the Cannes Film Festival early this year. Its lead star, Jaclyn Jose, bagged the Best Actress award at Cannes beating out veteran Hollywood actresses such as Charlize Theron, Marion Cotillard and Kristen Stewart.

Ma' Rosa movie poster

I was surprised and proud as well when Jaclyn Jose won the award. And it was thrilling to see that it was Mads Mikkelsen (a.k.a TV’s Hannibal Lecter) who announced the winner. The movie wasn’t even locally released yet at that time so the moviegoing public had no idea what it was about. Thankfully, the movie is now showing in local cinemas so I had the opportunity to check it out.

Ma’ Rosa is about a family living in a poor neighborhood somewhere in Manila. Rosa Reyes (played by Jaclyn Jose) and her husband Nestor run a small convenience store adjacent to their humble home with their four kids. However, many people in their neighborhood know that the couple is also selling drugs on the side and using their store as a front. It’s not long before their home is raided by corrupt policemen who take them to the police station. The corrupt cops then demanded a large sum of money from Rosa and her husband in exchange for their freedom. Most of the movie then tackles on how the family scramble to raise the money to pay the cops.

The tone of the entire film was bleak and dreary. There was a general feeling of jadedness among its characters, perhaps highlighting the hard life that they were into. Some camera shots were intentionally shaky. Other shots zoomed in for a closer look at scenes such as Nestor crossing out the name of one of his customers on a tattered notebook, reminding local viewers that this was not your typical mainstream Tagalog movie.

Jaclyn embodied the typical woman I see on the streets with her bare face, basic outfit and street language. Her deadpan facial expressions were refreshing to see. She barely evoked emotions. Only a couple of worrying frowns betrayed the inner turmoil she was feeling. That last scene where she finally let loose and silently cry was truly touching.

Julio Diaz, who played Nestor, looked like he was high on drugs the entire time with his slurred speech and swagger. Maria Isabel Lopez, on the other hand, only had one scene in the movie but she provided some light and amusing moments to the film with her hugot-filled one-liner, “O ayan, isaksak mo ‘yan sa bunganga ng nanay mo!

The script needed tightening, though. Some of the dialogues came out trite, thus resulting in shallow performance by the supporting characters.

Overall, the movie was okay. It was not that bad but it could have been better.

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