REVIEW: JAMES DEAN: RACE WITH DESTINY

CAST

Casper Van Dien (Starship Troopers)
Carie Mitchum (Grid Runners)
Diane Ladd (Joy)
Mike Connors (Mannix)
Robert Mitchum (African Skies)
Connie Stevens (Grease 2)
Casey kasem (Transformers)
Joseph Campanella (The Fugitive)
Monique Parent (Vigilante Diaries)

Crqwu5vW8AAI7ZPCasper Van Dien stars as James Dean, whose remarkable talent and rebel attitude took Hollywood by storm. But as Dean’s star begins to rise, his passionate affair with Italian ingénue Pier Angeli (Carrie Mitchum) angers her disapproving mother (Diane Ladd) and studio chief Jack Warner (Mike Connors). How did a broken heart, reckless behavior and his relationships with Natalie Wood, Sal Mineo and director George Stevens (Robert Mitchum) lead to Dean’s ultimate race with destiny? Connie Stevens, Joseph Campanella and Casey Kasem co-star in this revealing biopic that goes behind the myth to tell the true story of the superstar who lived fast, died young and left a legacy that changed movies forever.MV5BMjAwODU5ODE3OV5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTcwNjY5MjEyNQ@@._V1_SY1000_CR0,0,706,1000_AL_James Dean: Race With Destiny (a.k.a James Dean: Live Fast, Die Young) is a terrible movie that disgraces a screen legend. The production values are painfully low, and coupled with the shoddy acting, the resulting feel is that you’re watching a soap opera. And a bad one, at that. .

REVIEW: BLOWN AWAY (1993)

CAST

Corey Haim (The Lost Boys)
Nicole Eggert (Baywatch)
Corey Feldman (The Goonies)
Jean LeClerc (The Edge of Night)
Kathleen Robertson (Bates Motel)
Gary Farmer (A Thief of Time)
Rob Stefaniuk (Phil The Alien)

After her mother dies in a mysterious car accident, 17-year-old Megan (Nicole Eggert), daughter of a wealthy businessman, lives a reckless lifestyle. A year later, she is almost killed by a horse who has lost control, though she is rescued by Rich (Corey Haim), a young man who works at the ski resort owned by her father Cy (Jean LeClerc). Grateful, she invites him to her party, where she thanks him again by being intimate with him in her father’s bed. The next morning, Cy comes home and almost catches them. Even though he does not, he angers Megan by forbidding her to see any guys. Unlike Cy, Rich’s girlfriend Darla (Kathleen Robertson) does find out about the affair, and dumps him. Rich wastes no time and enters into a passionate relationship with Megan. She soon introduces him to her father, but he disapproves of him, and Megan tells Rich that they cannot see each other any longer.Devastated, Rich turns to his womanizing half-brother Wes (Corey Feldman) for comfort, who encourages him to do everything to get Megan back. He follows her to a bar, where she is seen giving a large sum of money to a criminal-looking man. Rich catches her getting intimate with the guy, and knocks him down as a response. Megan then apologizes to Rich, and claims that she did not think that he really loved her and was only testing him in order to see how much he would be willing to do for her. He immediately takes her back, and they accompany each other to a bar, where Wes always hangs out with his friends. While Rich is arguing with Darla, who accuses him of going out with her only because of her money, Megan is seen talking with Wes. As they go to their home together, they run into Cy, who calls his daughter a slut for bringing a boy home, resulting in a huge fight between them.Rich decides to go home, where he finds Wes sleeping with Darla. Enraged, he tries to beat up Wes, but Darla stops them by informing Rich that he does not own her; later, Rich apologizes to Wes, saying that he should not have taken his feelings of anger out on him, and Wes accepts (while remarking that it had been a while since they “had a few rounds”), and then apologizes for what he did. Rich decides to return to Megan’s place, where she — fed up with fighting with her father — convinces him that her father killed her mother and that they should kill him, and run off with the money. However, Rich, blinded by the potently sexual relationship, is in two minds about what to do.The next day, Rich and Wes are shocked to find out that Darla has been killed in a horse riding accident. Meanwhile, Megan turns out hospitalized and claims to Rich that her father is to blame. Rich, seeing how severely beaten up she is, fears losing her someday to Cy’s abuse, and promises her to help her. As they return home, Megan tells Rich that she has placed a bomb in his bike, and that ‘it will all be over soon’. The next morning, Rich is invited by Cy to accompany him on a bike ride, causing Rich to witness the explosion that throws him almost off a cliff. As Cy falls to his death, he tells Rich that he did not kill his wife. Rich starts to suspect that Megan may not be who he thinks she is, and meanwhile, he becomes the prime suspect in Cy’s death in the investigation of Detective Anderson (Gary Farmer). Despite Anderson’s attempts to make him turn in Megan, Rich denies any involvement in the entire ordeal, though evidence points against him. Wes is shocked that his brother would have killed anyone, and is mad at him for not having killed their own abusive father. Shortly later, Megan bails out Rich, and gives him her car to skip town with. She promises him that she will follow him soon after collecting her father’s money. Rich drives off. However, now distrustful of Megan, he checks the car and finds a bomb in it. He is able to get away just in time for the explosion and immediately rushes to her house.There, it is revealed that Megan and Wes were lovers all along and planned the murders and schemes together in order to be together. Rich confronts his half-brother, and Wes informs him that he tried to frame him because he has always hated him. As Wes is about to shoot Rich, Megan kills Wes. She tries to put the entire blame on Wes, but Rich does not believe her, prompting her to reveal that she was the mastermind behind it all. As she tries to shoot Rich, the police arrive, killing Megan immediately in self-defense. Rich was wired throughout the final scene, which clears him from all charges (although he has nobody important in his life anymore, leaving him empty inside).Quite a bit more interesting than the average b-movie teen lust flick, “Blown Away” captures viewers with naked vixen Nicole Eggert, and the hapless Corey duo, Haim and Feldman. Despite the quite overused mexican stand-off ending and meandering plot, this movie does have a bit of style: dialogue, wardrobe, its young cast, and last but not least, the ever-creepy Jean LeClerc, as Eggert’s “overprotective” father.

REVIEW: STASH HOUSE

CAST

Dolph Lundgren (The Killing Machine)
Sean Faris (The Brotherhood 2)
Briana Evigan (Sorority Row)
Jon Huertas (Castle)

The film begins with a man going into a church. He enters the confessional booth where he tells the priest he would like to make a donation to the church, but before the father can accept, the man shoots himself in the head. The film then turns to Amy Nash (Evigan) and her husband, David (Faris). It is Amy’s birthday, and David buys her a house. Amy, who seems to hate the house, quickly turns to an upset David and tells him she loves it. A happy David shows his wife the security cameras, that watch over 360 degrees of their premises. Amy’s friend, Trish (Alyshia Ochse) stops by and congratulates them for being homeowners. She then gives Amy a gift, and quickly leaves for a date with her boyfriend. After Trish leaves, an officer stops by, and identifies himself as Ray (Huertas) and welcomes the couple to the neighborhood before leaving. Amy and David are about to celebrate, when they hear a noise coming from a stove that is somehow in their room. They dismiss the noise as being rats, and continue their celebration.Amy goes to the restroom to freshen up after hurting herself on the wall. David checks the wall, and finds it to be loose. David takes off the walls and finds heroin stashed in the walls. Amy enters the room, and David quickly lets her know about the situation, and they decide to leave. As they are about to take off, they run into Ray, and tell him about the house. Ray laughs, and reveals to them, that he bet $20 with his buddy that they wouldn’t find the stash, before pointing a gun at them. David quickly hits his car, which makes their bikes fall on Ray. The couple quickly takes refugee on the house, as Ray begins to terrorize them. He enters through the back door, and shoots David. As he is about to shoot Amy, she falls on a switch that puts the house on lockdown. Amy then quickly goes to David’s aid. Meanwhile outside, Ray’s buddy, Andy Spector (Lundgren) gets to the house, and argues with Ray, for now they must keep the couple alive.As the couple watches the men, David decides to put the stash in trash bags, and give it to them. Amy agrees, and they give it to the men, who throw it on the trash, stating they “do not want that poison”. David then comforts a hysterical Amy. David then shows her that the whole house is designed for drug dealers. The house has bulletproof windows, and is made of metal under the walls. The criminals begin to circle the house, and set up a booby trap. Amy decides to make a run for it, while David distracts the criminals in the front, but David makes a run for it, not wanting Amy to get hurt. Amy looks through the cameras, but before David can make it to the fence, he trips over a rope Spector put. Ray hears David fall in the pool and goes after him. Amy quickly gets in Ray’s way, and begins to shoot at her. Ray then immediately puts his attention on David, who has now exited the pool. Amy goes back in the house, and finds Spector inside, who attacks her. Amy grabs a spray for animals, and sprays it on Spector’s face, before hitting him with it, and quickly puts the house on lockdown. Spector threatens to kills David if Amy doesn’t open the door. Ray shoots David in the hand, and finds David to be in the outhouse. He shoots through the door, thinking its David, but finds out he only shot a raccoon. David, who was in the other side of the house, runs off. Amy, who thinks David was shot, begins to mourn her husband, as she thinks it’s her fault David was killed. David attracts Ray into a line of gas, before setting fire to Ray’s leg. David then goes to Amy, who lets him in, and covers him in hugs and kisses.Later that night, the couple begins to hear something in the roof, and find Ray has climbed to the roof, and is trying to break into the chimney. David tries to close the chimney, but before he can, Ray drops a grenade that gets stuck on the door. The couple runs for cover, but the grenade still affects the couple’s ears. Amy, who has become affected by the loud blow, sits and mumbles random things, while David finds and shoots a flare gun at Ray, who gets burned on his neck, and falls from the roof. An angry Ray then begins to shoot at them, and threatens to kill them, before leaving. The couple then sits down, and Amy confesses to David that they never should have left Ohio. David begins to look around the house to find possibilities of what the criminals might want. Amy finds a switch, and it opens to a hidden room. They begin to hear noise, and go to the stove in their room, where they find a hidden basement, and find a man, who is unconscious.Meanwhile, Spector and Ray find a tunnel that heads into the house. Spector decides to distract the couple, while Ray goes through the tunnel. Spector begins to try to trick the couple into letting him in. He reveals to Amy that David knew the last owner was known as a drug lord who committed suicide in a church (revealed to be the man from the beginning of the movie). The couple then hears Ray climbing through the floor, and they hold him down. Amy also gets Trish’s birthday present, and stabs Ray’s hand with it. An angry Ray begins to shoot through the floor, which causes the couple to hide in the hidden room. Ray lets Spector in, and they begin to saw through the floor, looking for the man. Dave looks through a peephole, and finds the shotgun all alone, and decides to go for it. As he approaches the shotgun slowly, the man wakes up, and begins to freak out, but Amy calms him down before Spector and Ray hear them. David reaches the shotgun; at the same time that Ray and Spector find the man is gone. A police officer then knocks on the door, and asks Ray, who says he lives in the house, if he knows anything about the flare gun. As Ray is about to answer, David points the shotgun at Spector, and makes the officer think David is an intruder, as the two argue, Ray kills the officer, and then attacks David. Ray is about to kill David, but instead, Spector kills Ray.A few seconds after, Trish enters the house, telling David she and her boyfriend broke up. She quickly realizes what’s going on, but is killed before she can react. Spector then forces David to open the hidden room, but finds it empty. Amy then shoots Spector with the shotgun, and they close the door, leaving Spector inside. While Amy calls the police, David finds the front door with a bomb, which he doesn’t know how to disarm, and then finds the switch, that can unlock the house, has been broken. They remember the tunnel, and try to open it, for Spector jammed the lock. Meanwhile, Spector, who was wearing a bulletproof vest, blows up the wall, and goes after the trio. The old man tries to run, but is shot in the process. The couple is unable to open the tunnel, and as Spector is about to kill them, they hear the police, and Spector makes a new plan. He tells David that he will pretend to be Amy’s father, while David hides, for he is the criminal. He tells David that if David is caught before Spector can flee the country, he will kill Amy. David hides, and Spector pretends to be Amy’s father. The police buy it, but suspect something, when Amy seems to be hiding something. The two then see paramedics taking the old man, who is still alive, causing Spector to get distracted a few times.Meanwhile, a police officer unjams the lock, and David knocks him out, and escapes through the tunnel, while a few officers pursue him, but he is able to lock them in, and goes after his wife. The chief of police asks to interview Amy alone, and right when she leaves Spector’s side, she tells the chief to shoot Spector, but instead, he tries to calm her down, causing Spector to kill him. David then gets to the scene, and threatens to shoot Spector, causing the other police officers to come, and they shoot David, before he can shoot Spector. Spector then drags Amy to the side, and knocks her out, before turning his attention to the old man. Amy wakes up, and goes after Spector, and wounds him, before Spector can kill the old man. He hits Amy, and is about to kill her but the police get there, and kill Spector. Amy then goes to David’s aid, and tells him that Spector’s last words were that next time, she should pick the house. The film ends with them going in the ambulance.If you are a Lundgren fan then you will want to check this film out. He is a bit more tame here than usual but still has that dominating screen presence he always delivers. There isn’t near as much action here as you would think, but plays more as a thriller to keep you wondering what will happen next. In a world flooded with action films on the store shelve, Stash House plays way more like a bigger budget good film than most of the lame choices out there.

REVIEW: YOGI BEAR (2010)

CAST

Dan Aykroyd (Ghostbusters)
Justin Timberlake (The Social Network)
Tom Cavanagh (The Flash)
Anna Faris (Mom)
T.J. Miller (Deadpool)
Andrew Daly (Semi-Pro)
Nate Corddry (Girl Most Likely)
Josh Robert Thompson (Scary Movie 5)

Yogi (Aykroyd) and Boo Boo (Timberlake) are two brown bears who like stealing picnic baskets from visitors to Jellystone Park, while park rangers Smith (Cavanagh) and Jones (Miller) try to prevent the thefts. Meanwhile, Mayor R. Brown (Daly) realizes that Franklin City is facing bankruptcy due to profligate spending on his part. Brown plots with his Chief of Staff (Corddry) to raise money for the town budget (and his upcoming gubernatorial campaign) by shutting down Jellystone Park and opening the land to logging.To save the park, Smith and his love interest Rachel hold a Centennial Festival and fireworks show in an attempt to sell season passes. To sabotage the effort, Brown promises Jones the position of head ranger if the funds are not raised. Yogi and Boo Boo had promised Smith to stay out of sight during the festival, but Jones convinces them otherwise. The bears try to please the crowd with a waterskiing performance, but Yogi inadvertently sets his cape on fire, causing fireworks to be launched into the crowd, who flee in panic.After Jellystone is shut down, Smith is forced to stay in Evergreen Park, a small urban enclave choked with litter and pollution. Seeing that their home is in danger of being destroyed, Yogi and Boo Boo travel to Evergreen Park, where they and Smith figure out Brown’s plan. They all return to Jellystone with Rachel, where they learn that Boo Boo’s pet turtle is a rare and endangered species known as a “Frog-Mouthed” turtle.The Chief of Staff learns about the turtle and, since the park cannot be destroyed if the turtle is living there because it would be home to an endangered species, sends Jones to kidnap it. On the day that Brown is planning a press conference to begin the destruction of the park, Smith, Rachel, and the bears rescue the turtle and try to bring it to the media’s attention. Jones, learning that he had been manipulated by Mayor Brown, has a change of heart and helps the team bring the turtle to the press conference. At the press conference, Rachel reveals that she had installed a hidden camera in Boo Boo’s bow tie which had captured Brown admitting to his plan. Smith hooks up the camera to the big screen Brown is using for his press conference and shows the video. When the turtle is revealed to the citizens as an endangered species, the police arrest Brown.Jellystone Park is reopened and becomes a great success. Smith is reappointed head ranger and he and Rachel admit their feelings for each other. As they kiss, they discover Yogi and Boo Boo are back to stealing picnic baskets once again.I don’t really understand the negative reviews for this film. It was exactly what you would expect a new film about Yogi Bear to be. If you’ve ever watched Yogi Bear you know what you’re going to get. Nothing profound or complicated, just simple childish fun.

REVIEW: ALAN PARTRIDGE: ALPHA PAPA

CAST

Steve Coogan (Around The World in 80 Days)
Colm Meaney (Intermission)
Felicity Montagu (I Want Candy)
Simon Greenall (Shaun The Sheep: The Movie)
Sean Pertwee (Gotham)
Anna Maxwell Martin (Becoming Jane)
Darren Boyd (Imagine Me & You)
Nigel Lindsay (Four Lions)

Norwich radio station North Norfolk Digital is bought out by a multinational conglomerate, with staff members facing redundancies. DJ Alan Partridge is not concerned, but fellow DJ Pat Farrell convinces him to gatecrash a board meeting to persuade the new owners not to fire Pat. When Alan discovers that either he or Pat must go, he urges them to fire Pat, and writes “JUST SACK PAT” on the room’s flip chart.During a company party, Pat enters the station with a shotgun and holds the staff hostage, demanding his job back. The police enlist Alan as a negotiator, and he builds an uneasy rapport with Pat; with Alan’s co-presenter Sidekick Simon, the three host a radio show during the siege. Alan daydreams of ending the siege heroically, but cannot bring himself to grab Pat’s gun. As the siege becomes national news, Alan’s ego swells and he shares a kiss with his colleague Angela.Alan accidentally locks himself out of the building and loses his trousers trying to get back in through a window. The police realise he is an ineffective negotiator and send in an undercover officer disguised as a pizza delivery man. Alan interrupts and takes the pizzas in himself. When Pat discovers a taser in one of the boxes, an argument erupts between the hostages and the police burst in. Pat escapes in the station’s tour bus, taking Alan and security guard Michael. On the bus, Alan regains Pat’s trust and they continue to host the radio show. However, Pat sees Alan’s “JUST SACK PAT” message in a photo and deduces that Alan was behind his redundancy. Alan hides in the bus toilet compartment and escapes in the septic tank.On Cromer Pier, Pat faces off with Alan and the police. Michael tries to distract Pat by throwing himself off the pier; he is never seen again. Pat tells Alan that he is depressed due to the death of his wife and prepares to shoot himself. Unable to pull the trigger, he gives his shotgun to Alan, who throws it aside. The gun goes off, shooting Alan in the leg; he is then shot again by a police sniper reacting to gunfire. Alan assumes he is dying, but a paramedic assures him he will be fine. Alan returns to North Norfolk Digital with Sidekick Simon and Pat calls the show from jail. Alan goes on holiday with Angela and her sons.It plays like a very long version of an episode but it’s fast paced enough to never get tedious and the film just flies by. This is a film that can be enjoyed by anyone and may even garner a new generation of Partridge fans.

REVIEW: LOVE & OTHER DRUGS

CAST

Jake Gyllenhaal (Nocturnal Animals)
Anne Hathaway (The Dark KNight Rises)
Oliver Platt (X-Men: First Class)
Hank Azaria (The Simpsons)
Josh Gad (Frozen)
Gabriel Macht (The Spirit)
Judy Greer (Jurassic World)
George Segal (king Rat)
Jill Clayburgh (Running With Scissors)
Nikki DeLoach (The Net 2.0)
Katheryn Winnick (Vikings)
Michael Chernus (Spider-Man: Homecoming)
Jaimie Alexander (Thor)

In 1996, Jamie Randall is fired from a Pittsburgh electronics store for having sex with his manager’s girlfriend. His wealthy brother Josh announces at the dinner table at their parents’ house that he has found Jamie a job as a pharmaceutical sales representative. After attending a Pfizer training program where he has sex with the instructor, Jamie goes to work for the company and tries to get doctors to prescribe Zoloft and Zithromax. He is rebuffed, much to the dismay of his regional manager, Bruce, who sees Jamie as his ticket to the “big leagues” of Chicago. Bruce says if Jamie can get Dr. Knight to prescribe Zoloft instead of Prozac, other doctors will follow his lead. Jamie tries to get access to Dr. Knight by hitting on his female employees until, exasperated, Dr. Knight unethically permits him to observe him at work, during which time he accidentally sees a disrobing patient, Maggie Murdock, who suffers from early onset Parkinson’s disease.Jamie angles a date with Maggie, who has sex with him. Jamie is later beaten up by top-selling Prozac rep Trey Hannigan, one of Maggie’s ex-lovers, who warns him to stay away from her and the doctors. That night, Jamie is unable to get an erection. Maggie teasingly says he should use the new erectile dysfunction drug that his company has developed. Bruce confirms that such a drug, to be called Viagra, is about to be marketed. Jamie soon starts selling Viagra, an instant success. Jamie wants a committed relationship, but Maggie refuses. Jamie confronts her while she helps senior citizens onto a bus bound for Canada to get cheap prescription drugs, and they get into an argument.Two days later, after he waits the night before at the bus stop in his car, he greets her back. Maggie is touched that he waited, and they resume their relationship. Jamie spends nights at Maggie’s apartment. One night, he tells Maggie that he loves her—the first time he has ever said that to anyone—and has a panic attack. Maggie calms him by saying she “said ‘I love you’ to a cat once”. Jamie catches his brother masturbating to a sex tape that he and Maggie had recorded. Jamie asks her to go to a Chicago medical conference with him. She ends up at a Parkinson’s discussion group across the street, and is moved by the people and their stories. Jamie meets a man whose wife is in the final stages of the disease, and asks for advice about Maggie. The man tells him to run.After the convention, Maggie tells him how much she loves him. Jamie starts researching Parkinson’s, and takes Maggie to different specialists around the country to have tests done. Jamie becomes angry and upset when he arrives at an appointment, to find out it has been rescheduled after they had flown in to see the doctor. Maggie sees that Jamie can only love her if there’s a hope that one day there will be a cure, and decides to break up with him.Then Jamie gets invited to a pajama party with his brother by Dr. Knight and ends up having a threesome with two girls. Jamie wakes up with a rare reaction from taking Viagra and he goes to the hospital. Some time later, Jamie goes to a restaurant and runs into Maggie, who is on a date. Bruce shows up and reveals Jamie has been promoted to the Chicago office. While packing to move to Chicago, Jamie finds the videotape recorder where he taped himself and Maggie talking about life. Jamie realizes he wants to be with Maggie, but her boss tells him she has left for Canada to obtain drugs. Jamie flags down her bus and tells her that she makes him a better person, and that he loves and needs her. She starts to cry and says she will need him more. Jamie decides not to take the job in Chicago, but instead he attends medical school and stays with Maggie.Issues such as serious illness, the workings of the big pharmaceutical companies and their attempts to influence the decision making of medical professionals, the struggle people have to pay for treatment and a believably complex love story are woven in without significant signposting or obvious plot twists. Once again, the two lead actors were excellent and overall this made for an enjoyable and engaging film

REVIEW: WESTWORLD – SEASON 1

MAIN CAST

Evan Rachel Wood (Thirteen)
Thandie Newton (Crash)
Jeffrey Wright (The Hunger Games: Catching Fire)
James Marsden (X-Men)
Ingrid Bolsø Berdal (Hercules)
Luke Hemsworth (Neighbours)
Sidse Babett Knudsen (Borgen)
Simon Quarterman (the Scorpion King 2)
Rodrigo Santoro (Lost)
Shannon Woodward (Raising Hope)
Ed Harris (The Abyss)
Jimmi Simpson (Date Night)
Angela Sarafyan (The Promise)
Anthony Hopkins (The Silence of Tue Lambs)
Ben Barnes (Dorian Gray)
Clifton Collins Jr. (Pacific Rim)
Tessa Thompson (Thor: Ragnarok)

RECURRING / NOTABLE GUEST CAST

Louis Herthum (Longmire)
Leonardo Nam (He’s Just Not That Into You)
Talulah Riley (St. Trinians)
Oliver Bell (Salem)
Currie Graham (Agent Carter)
Steven Ogg (The Escort)
Michael Wincott (The Doors)
Eddie Rouse (I’m Still Here)
Brian Howe (Catch Me If You Can)
Demetrius Grosse (Saving Mr. Banks)
Kyle Bornheimer (The D Train)
Gina Torres (Firefly)
Bojana Novakovic (Drag Me To Hell)
Eddie Shin (That 80s Show)
Ptolemy Slocum  (Hitch)
Olivia May (The 18 Year Old Virgin)

As many sci-fi fans will know, the show ‘Westworld’ is based on the 1973 feature film of the same name (written and directed by the late, great Michael Crichton), and the premise is basically the same as it was then: In a future where technological possibilities are seemingly endless, a highly sophisticated theme park offers rich clients the chance to visit the long gone era of the Old West .

The show does a great job pulling the viewer immediately into Westworld. Within 10 minutes of the first episode, the basic rules of the theme park are established: paying guests called “newcomers” get to interact with androids called “hosts” (which to the naked eye are indiscernible from the guests) in a world dressed up like the Old West – and in this world, the guest truly is king. The rules are brutally simple: the visitors get to do whatever they like with – or to – the androids. They can have a friendly chat with them, flirt with them or embark on a spontaneous (or scripted) adventure with them – but they can also shoot them, rape them, torture them and kill them at will.

The androids, on the other hand, are constructed and programmed in a way that is supposed to inhibit them from physically harming “living” creatures. At the beginning of the show – thanks to an interesting choice of storytelling – we get to experience Westworld from the perspective of the androids, which reveals a cruel detail about their nature: they apparently experience emotions. Artificial or not, they do feel pain and fear – as well as affection and anger, and they have no idea that they don’t count as “real” people (at least not to those who call themselves real people). And while that detail certainly makes the “game” even more thrilling and more realistic for the visitors, it means that the shocking abuse some of the androids have to suffer is harrowingly real to them.

The way the show is constructed  it immediately confronts the viewer with very uncomfortable questions. How do we as humans behave towards creatures we consider non-human? How excessive do we become and how thin does our layer of morality turn out to be if we’re allowed to live out all our fantasies without having to fear any consequences for our actions? And at what point should a creature have rights similar to those we demand for ourselves? How do we define “sentient”? How do we define “human”? And how well do we actually understand – and how well are we able to control – the amazing technology our species seems to have acquired so suddenly?

As an avid film fan, I found ‘Westworld’ immediately intriguing; not only because it dares to challenge the viewer with fascinating philosophical questions and scientific concepts, but also because its premise offers the chance to explore a wide range of film genres: sci- fi, western, drama, horror – to name but a few.As for the non plot related aspects of the show: production design, music and effects are fantastic – as we’ve come to expect from HBO’s high concept productions  and with the impressive ensemble of high caliber actors do a great job at bringing their respective characters to life (artificial and otherwise).

A special mention needs to go to Ed Harris and Anthony Hopkins: their charismatic screen presence is once more just impossible to ignore and they simply own every scene they’re in.  Given the amount of talent involved, anything else actually would have been surprising. Produced by J.J. Abrams, created by Jonathan Nolan and Lisa Joy Nolan based on a concept by the late – great – Michael Crichton; directed by Neil Marshall and Vincenzo Natali (among others), and with a cast most shows would kill for, the stars really seem to have aligned for ‘Westworld’.

My overall verdict so far: ‘Westworld’ is intelligent science fiction for adults (some scenes are very graphic) which offers more than just eye candy and is full of mysteries for the patient viewer to uncover. It provides a powerful metaphor for oppression and exploitation of other beings – and it shows how quickly we tend to lose our “humanity” when given ultimate power over those we somehow consider less “human”.  With a great cliffhanger season keeps you salivating for the second season which wont air till 2018.