REVIEW: RING OF DARKNESS (2004)

CAST

Adrienne Barbeau (Argo)
Stephen Martines  (The Vampire DIaries)
Jeremy Jackson (Baywatch)
Ryan Starr (What I LIke About You)
Eric Dearborn (D.E.B.S.)
Greg Cipes (Teen Titans)
Colin Bain  (The Rules of Attraction)
John Wynn  (The Passing)
Matt T. Baker (Surf School)
Jeff Peterson (Ancient Evil: Scream of The Mummy)

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Ring of Darkness begins with a young man sneaking through a large home at night. He escapes through a window and we see him run down to a rocky beach. Four other young men confront him and we realize that he knows them. He’s the singer of their band. He threatens to expose them but they won’t allow it. They attack him instead. They seem to be biting him. Soon after, we learn that they’re “Take 10”, a boy band in the vein of *NSync and Backstreet Boys. They search for a new lead singer through an “American Idol” (2002)-styled audition process. When three candidates are chosen, they’re taken to the home we saw in the beginning of the film for the final leg of their audition. Just what was the band’s secret, and will the new candidates accept it? Near the beginning of the film, director David DeCoteau gives us a complete music video of our faux boy band. The music couldn’t be cheesier. To amp up the torture, we have to hear this same song over and over for at least the first half hour of the film. Later on the same footage is constantly intercut into other scenes, edited in a way that is supposed to suggest additional Take 10 videos. Padding is a big theme throughout the film. The music video isn’t the only footage reused. There are also chase scenes that go on for what seem to be hours, until there’s not one shred of suspense left. DeCoteau and editor Danny Draven, two Full Moon alumni, cut the chase scenes with changes in the film speed. The final result just looks ridiculous and feels like more padding.2354_11_screenshot
The funniest aspect for me was the acting, and the worst offender was Ryan Starr (as Stacy), who comes to the film world by way of her stint as a contestant on “American Idol”. She says her lines far too quickly and she emotes as well as a brick wall. Why would DeCoteau just let such a shoddy performance pass? Maybe he didn’t, but he couldn’t get any improvement. That may be why Starr, whose picture is prominently in the center of the poster and video box art, is strangely absent for long periods of time. Not that most of the other actors are any better. Even a veteran like Adrienne Barbeau comes across poorly in the film.  For a film that’s ostensibly a horror flick, there is very little horror here. The attack scenes, as few and far between as they are, are all shown with wide shots. They are completely bloodless. For scenes in Take 10’s “secret lair”, victims are bound and slashed, except it’s the worst knife wound effect I’ve ever seen. It couldn’t be clearer that there is just some oddly colored fluid coming out of the knife, with absolutely no perforation of flesh.
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It’s difficult to know exactly whom the film is supposed to appeal to. My guess is that young teenaged girls and gay men would like it the most, as DeCoteau, who is an openly gay director and is well known for his homoerotic genre films, fills Ring of Darkness with men in various states of undress, posing for the cameras. There are strong subtexts based on the inherent gayness of boy bands. The threatened exposure in the beginning can be seen as a threatened outing of sexual orientation. Take 10’s bonding rituals have strong homoerotic overtones, as does the bondage and fluid ingestion that takes place in their secret lair. But again for its unintentional properties, Ring of Darkness is extremely funny.  It’s a film not to be taken seriously and just sit back and put on to waste time and not to make you think.

REVIEW: AMERICAN DAD – VOLUME 11

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MAIN CAST (VOICES)

Seth MacFarlane (Family Guy)
Wendy Schaal (Small Soldiers)
Scott Grimes (Robin Hood)
Rachael MacFarlane (The Batman)
Dee Bradley Baker (Star Wars: The Clone Wars)

RECURRING / NOTABLE GUEST CAST

Curtis Armstrong (New Girl)
Jane Krakowski (Alfie)
Daisuke Suzuki (I Am Gangster)
Fred Tatasciore (Hulk Vs)
Mike Henry (The Cleveland Show)
David Koechner (Anchorman)
Swoosie Kurtz (Mike & Molly)
Paul Reubens (Batman Returns)
Patrick Stewart (X-Men)
Kim Kardashian West (2 broke Girls_
Constance Marie (Puss In Boots)
Corey Stoll (Ant-Man)
Cristian Solimeno (Highlander: The Source)
Kat Purgal (Her Story)
Cedric Yarbrough (The Boss)
Becki Newton (Ugly Betty)
Kevin Michael Richardson (The Cleveland Show)
DJ Qualls (Road Trip)
Stephen Fry (Bones)
Lorenzo Lamas (CIA)
Dean Norris (Breaking Bad)
Kerri Kenney (Anger Management)
Andrea Martin (Wag the Dog)
Uma Thurman (Kill Bill)
Peter MacNicol (Agents of SHIELD)
Kristin Chenoweth (Pushing Daisies)
Lyndsy Fonseca (Agent Carter)
Jeremy Sisto (Wrong Turn)
June Diane Raphael (New Girl)
Stan Lee (Avengers Assemble)
Adrienne Barbeau (Swamp Thing)
Kate Mulgrew (Star Trek: Voyager)
Carl Reiner (Two and a Half Men)
Mickey Rooney (Night at The Museum)
Kathy Bates (Misery)
Robert Wuhl (Batman)
Ted Danson (Cheers)
Sinbad (Jingle All The Way)

American Dad! returns for an iconic series’ 11th volume. The series centers on super-patriotic CIA agent Stan Smith and the misadventures of his unconventional family in Langley Falls, Virginia. Stan’s blissfully unaware wife Francine has an unfaltering loyalty that allows her to turn a blind eye toward Stan’s unabashed arrogance. Meanwhile, Stan constantly butts heads with his 18-year-old, left-wing activist daughter Hayley who knows just how to push her father’s buttons, whether it’s by helping the homeless, demanding women’s rights or advocating gun control. Hayley’s 14-year-old brother is the geeky-yet-confident Steve, is a kid who spends his time playing video games and obsessing about the opposite sex. The Smith cabinet is rounded out by two rather unconventional members: Roger, the sassy, sarcastic and routinely inappropriate space alien who is constantly trying on new disguises and, with them, new personalities, and Klaus, the attention-starved goldfish with the brain of a German Olympic skier who always throws in his two cents, regardless of whether anyone is listening.The Highlights on this Volume are.ROGER PASSES THE BAR: Roger is forced to sell his beloved attic bar to a restaurant chain after suffering a heart attack, and a new next-door neighbor (Jane Krakowski), who was recently registered as a sex offender, promises to take Steve and his friends’ virginity in return for housework.A BOY NAMED MICHAEL: Roger moves in with Greg and Terry as their adopted Russian son “Michael” after growing tired of the Smiths not being sophisticated. Meanwhile, Stan orders a La-Z-Boy and slowly becomes white trash to annoy Roger while he’s living with the Corbin/Bates.

BLAGSNARST: A LOVE STORY: A furry pink female alien (Kim Kardashian) is discovered in the woods by Francine and Roger, who begins a relationship with her, but quickly tires of her many quirks and eccentricities after having a one-night stand. Roger makes several attempts to get rid of her, including calling the CIA, but then realizes that he can’t go through with it.Image result for AMERICAN DAD BLONDE AMBITIONBLONDE AMBITION: Hayley decides to become a blonde when her efforts to save the planet get no attention. Meanwhile, Stan and Steve go on a journey to search for a new Smith home.BIG STAN ON CAMPUS: When the CIA is forced to make cutbacks, Stan inadvertently volunteers to go on furlough and gets a job as a security officer at a local college. Meanwhile, Roger opens a bed and breakfast to boost the family’s income and must give in to the demands of an eccentric guest.Image result for AMERICAN DAD NOW AND GWENNOW AND GWEN: Hayley suspects that Gwen, Francine’s sister, is up to no good when she comes to town. Meanwhile, Roger tries to find out the location of a treasure from a guy in a coma, Stan teaches Steve the art of man-hugging, and Klaus shadows Roger’s dramatic comments.Image result for american dad dreaming of a white porsche christmasDREAMING OF A WHITE PORSCHE CHRISTMAS: In a parody of It’s a Wonderful Life, Stan wishes to have Principal Lewis’ swinging bachelor life, however, he soon regrets the wish when he finds out that Francine is married to Principal Lewis in an alternate reality.Image result for american dad lgbsteveLGBSTEVE: Steve has a gender identity crisis when Hayley convinces him to join an all-girls roller derby team with her. Meanwhile, Stan and Francine hire a magical repairman to fix the backyard, but everything he does makes them angry.MY AFFAIR LADY: Hayley considers having an affair with a married man when she gets a new job from the help of Roger, her new life coach. Meanwhile, Stan tags along with Steve and Francine to a mother-son dance.Image result for american dad a star is rebornA STAR IS REBORN: Stan and Francine win a trip to Los Angeles, however, upon arriving, an old starlet believes Stan is the reincarnation of her deceased husband. Meanwhile, Roger kennel-trains Steve and Hayley by trapping them in crates, after they disrespect Roger’s enjoyment of Bones.Image result for american dad Manhattan Magical Murder Mystery TourMANHATTAN MAGICAL MURDER MYSTERY TOUR: The Smiths head to the Big Apple when Francine is nominated for an award for her housewife novella. Meanwhile, Stan and Hayley hang out with actor Robert Wuhl and Roger and Steve re-create their fictional partnership, Wheels and the Legman.Image result for american dad holy s... jeff's backHOLY SHIT, JEFF’S BACK: Jeff makes his return from space after being abducted, but Hayley and Roger suspect that Jeff isn’t who he seems to be. Meanwhile, Steve looks after Snot’s hamster.Image result for american dad american fungAMERICAN FUNG: Stan has Francine committed to a mental hospital so he can hide the fact that he once again forgot their wedding anniversary. Meanwhile, American Dad! is sold to a Chinese billionaire.Image result for american dad seizures suit stannySEIZURES SUIT STANNY: When Stan warns Hayley about the dangers of texting, he soon learns of the enjoyment of texting, but when he gets into a car crash because of it, he fakes a seizure. Meanwhile, Roger helps Steve with his anxiety of performance.Image result for american dad seizures suit stannyThis has to be one of the best adult cartoons ever created. It’s hard for me to compare them with South Park. I think that in many aspects, American Dad is way better than South Park. Probably because it addresses to a much larger public, while South Park contains jokes that sometime require some background knowledge, before you can fully understand them. Even for non-Americans, this series are equally funny and enjoying. Great job! I recommend this to anyone who enjoys some good humor.

REVIEW: STAR TREK: DEEP SPACE NINE – SEASON 1-7

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MAIN CAST

Avery Brooks (Roots: The Gift)
Nana Visitor (Dark Angel)
Rene Auberjonois (Boston Legal)
Alexander Siddig (Game of Thrones)
Terry Farrell (Hellraiser 3)
Colm Meaney (Intermission)
Cirroc Lofton (Soul Food)
Armin Shimerman (Buffy: The Vampire Slayer)
Michael Dorn (Ted 2)
Nicole de Boer (Rated X)

RECURRING / NOTABLE GUEST CAST

Patrick Stewart (American Dad)
Felecia M. Bell (Nightman)
Marc Alaimo (Total Recall)
Aron Eisenberg (Puppet Master 3)
Max Grodenchick (Apollo 13)
J.G. Hrtzler (Roswell)
April Grace (Lost)
Majel Barrett (Babylon 5)
Andrew Robinson (Hellraiser)
Gwynyth Walsh (Taken)
Vaughn Armstrong (Power Rangers Lightspeed Rescue)
Rosalind Chao (I Am Sam)
Edward Albert (Power Rangers Time Force)
Scott MacDonald (Jack Frost)
Jennifer Hetrick (L.A. Law)
John De Lancie (The Hand That Rocks The Cradle)
Tom McCleister (Angel)
Gregory Itzin (Firefly)
Fionnula Flanagan (The Others)
Julie Caitlin Brown (Babylon 5)
Chris Latta (Transformers)
Barry Gordon (Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles)
Wallace Shawn (The Princess Bride)
Cliff De Young (Glory)
Jonathan Banks (The Lizzie Borden Chronicles)
Keone Young (Men In Black 3)
Jack Shearer (Star Trek: First Contact)
Harris Yullin (Rush Hour 2)
Louise Fletcher (Heroes)
Frank Langella (Masters of The Universe)
Stephen Macht (Galaxina)
Steven Weber (Izombie)
John Glover (Smallville)
Tim Russ (Samantha Who?)
Daphne Ashbrook (The Love Letter)
Don Stark (That 70s Show)
Brian Thompson (The Terminator)
Salli Richardson-Whitfield (I Am Legend)
William Schallert (Innerspace)
K Callan (Lois & CLark)
Chris Sarandon (Child’s Play)
John Colicos (Battlestar Galactica)
Michael Ansara (Batman: TAS)
William Campbell (Dementia 13)
Tony Plana (Ugly Betty)
Michael Bell (Rugrats)
Alan Oppenheimer (Transformers)
Salome Jens (Superbot)
Martha Hackett (Leprechaun 2)
Ken Marshall (Krull)
Mary Kay Adams (Babylon 5)
Bumper Robinson (Sabrina: TTW)
Brett Cullen (Lost)
Jeffrey Combs (The Frighteners)
Tricia O’ Neil (Gia)
Dick Miller (Gremlins)
Deborah Van Valkenburgh (Free Enterprise)
Clint Howard (Apollo 13)
Richard Lee Jackson (Saved By The Bell: The NEw Class)
Andrew Prine (V)
Tracy Scoggins (Lois & Clark)
Erick Avari (Stargate)
Carlos Lacamara (Heroes Reborn)
Leland Orser (Seven)
Chase Masterson (Terminal Invasion)
Penny Johnson Jerald (Castle)
Andrea Martin (Wag The Dog)
Diane Salinger (Batman Returns)
Sherman Howard (Superboy)
Robert O’ Reilly (The Mask)
Obi Ndefo (Stargate SG.1)
Patricia Tallman (Babylon 5)
Galyn Gorg (Robocop 2)
Jeremy Roberts (Veronica Mars)
James Cromwell (Species II)
Charles Napier (The Silence of The Lambs)
Conor O’Farrell (Lie To Me)
Robert Foxworth (Syriana)
Brock Peters (Soylent Green)
Casey Biggs (Broken Arrow)
Tony Todd (The Flash)
Robert DoQui (Robocop)
D. Elliot Woods (Agents of SHIELD)
Jason Marsden (Full House)
Ron Canada (Just Like Heaven)
James Black (Anger Management
Meg Foster (Masters of The Universe)
Tracy Middendorf (Scream: The Series)
John Prosky (The Devil Inside)
Hilary Shepard (Power Rangers Turbo)
Phil Morris (Smallville)
Charlie Brill (Silk Stalkings)
Kurtwood Smith (That 70s Show)
Eric Pierpoint (Alien Nation)
Robert Picardo (Stargate: Atlantis)
Marjean Holden (Hostage)
Brian Markinson (Arrow)
Christopher Shea (Bounty Killer)
Marc Worden (Ultimate Avengers)
Gabrielle Union (Ugly Betty)
Shannon Cochran (The Ring)
Iggy Pop (The Crow 2)
Brad Greenquist (Alias)
Leslie Hope (24)
Stephen McHattie (300)
Michael Weatherly (NCIS)
Henry Gibson (Sabrina: TTW)
James Darren (T.J. Hooker)
Bill Mumy (Babylon 5)
Kevin Rahm (Bates Motel)
Adrienne Barbeau (Swamp Thing)
William Sadler (Roswell)

DS9 is one of my all-time favourite television shows. It edges out Star Trek’s original series just barely as my favourite in the franchise. I am not going to state that it’s the best Star Trek series, because it definitely will not appeal to everybody, but it is my favourite.

DS9 deviates from the Trek franchise formula in an important way – it is based on one location – a Cardassian-built space station near the planet Bejor. So even the architecture of the main set is alien – not another sterile militaristic star ship inhabited by a primarily white European crew – but a true Babel. Bejor has just been liberated from 60 years of occupation by an expansionist militaristic race – the Cardassians. Both Bejorans and Cardassians will play important roles throughout DS9. Since the station does not move much during the show’s seven year run, DS9 has a much stronger sense of place than the other ST series, and is able to develop story arc and character continuity much more powerfully than the others.

All of the major characters and most of the frequent returning characters have their own interwoven story arcs – most of which span the entire series. Ben Sisko (Avery Brooks), the station’s commander, is a somewhat disgruntled Star Fleet officer who has several personal vendettas which have almost driven him from Star Fleet. He is also a single parent and a genius. In the very first episode, Sisko’s arc begins and it is clear that his story will be the frame within which the entire series is organized – though the reasons for this will no become entirely clear until near the end. Also memorable are the gruff, shape-shifting Chief Constable Odo(Rene Auberjunois) who does not know what he is and where he came from; Kira (Nana Visitor) Sisko’s aggressive and intense Bajoran second officer; Garak (Andy Robinson) a Cardassian Tailor and – possibly – spy, who is easily the most well-developed, well-acted and interesting recurring guest star Star Trek has ever had; Jadzia Dax (Terry Farrell) – the beautiful Trill science officer whose consciousness is enhanced by the memories and personality of a 600 year old symbiotic slug who lives in her stomach and has inhabited dozens of previous hosts; Julian Bashir (Alexander Siddig) the station’s young, brilliant, adventurous and naive doctor; and Quark (Armin Shimmerman), the greedy, conniving, but entirely lovable Ferengi casino owner.

The characters, cast, and serialized stories make DS9 stand apart from the franchise as the most powerfully plotted, intensely dramatic and politically charged Star Trek ever. The show is, however, not for those with limited attention spans and a disdain for complexity. While it isn’t exactly hard to follow, the dialog is often dense and DS9 – more than any other Trek show – uses non-verbal communication very well. Brooks, Visitor and Robinson – all of whom are masters at this – are particularly non-verbal and make a big impression from the first few episodes.

Throughout the series, there are constant underlying political intrigues and surprisingly little filler. Almost every story connects with the main story arc (Sisko’s and Bejor’s) in one way or another, and no time is wasted with aimless experimentation by the writing team (a problem Voyager and Enterprise both suffered from).

The production is consistently theatrical in scope. The special effects are still – even today – above average for television, and even the new BSG doesn’t approach the scope and coherence of the plot.Highly recommended for bright people looking for something more than typical TV drama normally delivers.

REVIEW: THE FOG (1980)

CAST

Adrienne Barbeau (Swamp Thing)
Jamie Lee Curtis (Scream Queens)
Janet Leigh (Psycho)
John Houseman (Rollerball)
Tom Atkins (Halloween III)
Charles Cyphers (Assault on Precint 13)
Nancy Loomis (Halloween)

As the Californian coastal town of Antonio Bay is about to celebrate its 100th anniversary, paranormal activity begins to occur at the stroke of midnight. Town priest Father Malone is in his church when a piece of masonry falls from the wall, revealing a cavity containing an old journal, his grandfather’s diary from a century ago. It reveals that in 1880, six of the founders of Antonio Bay (including Malone’s grandfather) deliberately sank and plundered a clipper ship named the Elizabeth Dane. The ship was owned by Blake, a wealthy man with leprosy who wanted to establish a leper colony nearby. Gold from the ship was used to build Antonio Bay and its church.
Meanwhile, three fishermen are out at sea when a strange, glowing fog envelops their trawler. The fog brings with it the Elizabeth Dane, carrying the vengeful revenants of Blake and his crew who kill the fishermen. Meanwhile, town resident Nick Castle is driving home and picks up a young hitchhiker named Elizabeth Solley. As they drive towards town, all the truck’s windows inexplicably shatter.

The following morning, local radio DJ Stevie Wayne is given a piece of driftwood inscribed with the word “DANE” that was found on the beach by her young son Andy. Intrigued, Stevie takes it with her to the lighthouse where she broadcasts her radio show. She sets the wood down next to a tape player that is playing, but the wood inexplicably begins to seep water causing the tape player to short out. A mysterious man’s voice emerges from the tape player swearing revenge, and the words “6 must die” appear on the wood before it bursts into flames. Stevie quickly extinguishes the fire, but then sees that the wood once again reads “DANE” and the tape player begins working normally again.
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After locating the missing trawler, Nick and Elizabeth find the corpse of Dick Baxter with his eyes gouged out. The other two fishermen are missing, one of whom is the husband of Kathy Williams, who is overseeing the town’s centennial celebrations. While Elizabeth is alone in the autopsy room, Baxter’s corpse rises from the autopsy table and approaches her. As Elizabeth screams, Nick and coroner Dr. Phibes rush back into the room where they see the corpse lifeless again on the floor, upon which it has carved the number 3. That evening, as the town’s celebrations begin, local weatherman Dan calls Stevie at the radio station to tell her that another fog bank has appeared and is moving towards town. As they are talking, the fog gathers outside the weather station and Dan hears a knock at the door. He answers it and is slaughtered by the revenants as Stevie listens in horror. As Stevie proceeds with her radio show, the fog starts moving inland, disrupting the town’s telephone and power lines. Using a back-up generator, Stevie begs her listeners to go to her house and save her son when she sees the fog closing in from her lighthouse vantage point. As the fog envelops Stevie’s house, the revenants kill her son’s babysitter, Mrs. Kobritz. They then pursue Andy, but Nick arrives just in time to rescue him.
Image result for the fog 1980Stevie advises everyone to head to the town’s church. Once inside, Nick, Elizabeth, Andy, Kathy, her assistant Sandy, and Father Malone take refuge in a back room as the fog arrives outside. Inside the room, they locate a gold cross in the wall cavity which is made from the stolen gold. As the revenants begin their attack, Malone takes the gold cross out into the chapel. Knowing that they have returned to take six lives in lieu of the six original conspirators who led them to their deaths, Malone offers the gold and himself to Blake to spare the others. At the lighthouse, more revenants attack Stevie, trapping her on the roof. Inside the church, Blake seizes the gold cross, which begins to glow. Nick pulls Malone away from the cross seconds before it disappears in a blinding flash of light along with Blake and his crew. The revenants at the lighthouse also disappear, and the fog vanishes. Later that night, Malone is alone in the church pondering why Blake did not kill him and thus take six lives. The fog then reappears inside the church along with the revenants, and Blake decapitates Malone.Image result for the fog 1980This movie is perfect in what it tries to achieve. It creates a perfect horror atmosphere, with a typical creepy musical score by John Carpenter himself and has some good creepy moments in it. This is one of the rare real scary movies made.

REVIEW: SWAMP THING (1982)

 

CAST

Louis Jourdan (Octopussy)
Adrienne Barbeau (The Fog)
Ray Wise (Agent Carter)
David Hess (Smash Cut)
Nicholas Worth (Darkman)
Dick Durock (Stand By Me)

In the swamps of Louisiana, Dr. Alec Holland works with his sister Linda on a top-secret bio-engineering project to create a plant/animal hybrid capable of thriving in extreme environments. Government agent Alice Cable arrives just as Holland makes a major breakthrough, and begins to develop feelings for him. However, a paramilitary group led by the evil Dr. Anton Arcane, who is obsessed with immortality, kills Linda while trying to steal the formula for their own purposes.

During the attack, Alice escapes and Alec is covered in chemicals, caught on fire, and runs screaming in the swamp, presumably to die. However, he returns as a monstrously mutated plant creature. As the Swamp Thing, Holland battles Arcane’s forces to protect Cable, and eventually takes on Arcane himself, also mutated by the Holland formula.

Swamp Thing doesn’t take itself too seriously but it’s not too tongue-in-cheek to make it look like a camp parody. The production values tend to be a flaky but Swampy’s costume doesn’t look too bad. At the heart of Swamp Thing is a doomed romance which can never fully blossom and the film does have some substance. It’s certainly not a rubbish film and fans of the genre will find that this is a stronger film than many others. Swamp Thing himself is an interesting character, a disfigured genius who is very much aware of his sad situation, he isn’t just a green rage machine, he has depth and is a monster capable of great tenderness

REVIEW: JUDGE DREDD (1995)

CAST
Sylvester Stallone (Driven)
Armand Assante (American Gangster)
Rob Schneider (The Hot Chick)
Jürgen Prochnow (Ripper)
Max von Sydow (Game of Thrones)
Diane Lane (Man of Steel)
Joanna Miles  (All My Children)
Balthazar Getty (Alias)
Ewen Bremner  (Trainspotting)
Adrienne Barbeau (Swamp Thing)
By the 2080s, much of Earth has become an uninhabitable wasteland. While some humans manage to survive in the barren “Cursed Earth”, the majority of humanity resides in huge Mega-Cities with populations of tens of millions. To combat crime, the traditional justice system has been replaced by a corps of Judges whose role combines those of police officer, judge, jury, and executioner.
In Mega-City One, Joseph Dredd (Sylvester Stallone), one of the most dedicated “Street Judges”, assists rookie Judge Hershey (Diane Lane) in ending a block war. Herman “Fergee” Ferguson (Rob Schneider), a hacker recently released from prison, is caught in the firefight and hides inside a food dispensing robot. Dredd arrests Herman for destruction of property, and sentences him to five years’ imprisonment. Rico (Armand Assante), a former Judge, escapes from prison with the help of Judge Griffin (Jürgen Prochnow). He returns to Mega-City One and reclaims his uniform and “Lawgiver” gun. He also finds and reactivates a decommissioned ABC Warrior combat robot. A news reporter (Mitch Ryan) critical of Dredd is murdered, and he becomes the chief suspect. Dredd is taken to a trial before a tribunal of Council Judges including Griffin and Chief Justice Fargo (Max von Sydow), his mentor. Dredd is found guilty as his DNA is found on the bullets used to kill the reporter (A feature of the Lawgiver is imprinting the user’s DNA on each bullet). To save Dredd, Fargo steps down as Chief Justice and, for his last request, asks the Council to spare Dredd’s life. Dredd is sentenced to life imprisonment while Fargo embarks on his “long walk”, in which a retiring Judge ventures into the wasteland “to bring law to the lawless”. Griffin, who freed Rico to frame Dredd for the murder, becomes Chief Justice and instruct Rico to cause chaos in the city.
Dredd is taken to the Aspen penal colony via airship, where he sits next to Herman. En route, the ship is shot down by the Angel Gang, a family of cannibalistic scavengers. They bring Dredd and Herman back to their cave. A squad of Judges investigate the crashed ship and get to the cave. A battle ensues. Fargo arrives in time to save Dredd’s life, but is mortally wounded by Mean Machine Angel (Chris Adamson). A dying Fargo reveals that Dredd and Rico are the result of the Janus project, an experiment in genetic engineering intended to create the perfect Judge using DNA from Council Judges. Dredd deduces Rico framed him for the reporter’s murder, using their identical DNA. Believing Griffin is trying to reactivate the Janus project, Fargo urges Dredd to stop him. In Mega-City One, Rico terrorize the city and assassinates the Judges. Griffin uses the situation to convince the Council Judges to unlock the Janus files. He plans to create an army of Judges from his DNA. After the Council Judges unlocks the file, Griffin has them killed. Dredd and Herman sneak back into the city and meet with Hershey, who had also discovered the Janus project by herself. They go to the Statue of Liberty where the Janus laboratories are. They encounter the ABC Warrior, which wounds Herman and captures Dredd and Hershey. Rico uses his own DNA as template for the Janus clones, then commands the ABC Warrior to kill Griffin. Herman, despite his wounds, disables the ABC Warrior as Dredd fights Rico, while Hershey fights his assistant. Rico activates his clones prematurely, but they fail to stop Dredd. Dredd pursues Rico to the top of the Statue of Liberty, and a final struggle sends Rico falling to his death.
Central, the city’s controlling supercomputer, has recorded the entire event and broadcasts the information, clearing Dredd’s name. The remaining Judges ask him to become the new Chief Justice, but Dredd refuses and remains a street judge.

Danny Cannon’s Judge Dredd is an entertaining enough sci-fi action flick, but I can’t help wincing whenever I watch it. Cannon claims to be a fan of the original comic strip, which suggests that he didn’t have a great deal of creative control, because plenty of liberties are taken here. I would never have expected the makers of the movie to be 100% faithful to the comic, but some of the changes that were made were superficial and pointless, and that’s what irritates me. For one thing it’s set in the wrong year, the Chief Judge is inexplicably called Chief Justice, Rico is locked up in Aspen rather than Titan, the heroic Chief Judge Griffin is one of the movie’s villains, while in the comic both McGruder and Silver were Chief Judges… and Silver was black!

As a movie it’s okay. The dialogue is pretty awful and the acting is adequate. The action scenes also just-about pass muster, although the hover-bike chase fails to convince, and the climactic punch-up in the Statue of Liberty is a bit of a damp squib. In the end though, it’s all fairly entertaining nonsense. It’s just a shame that when the producers decide to bring Dredd to the big screen, they didn’t have the courage to do it properly – as far as I’m concerned not hiring John Wagner or Alan Grant to work on the script was a crime worthy of life in an Iso-Cube.

REVIEW: ARGO

 CAST

Ben Affleck (Batman V Superman)
Bryan Cranston (Godzilla)
Alan Arkin (Get Smart)
John Goodman (10 Cloverfield lane)
Victor Garber (Legends of Tomorrow)
Tate Donovan (Shooter)
Clea DuVall (The Lizzie Borden Chronicles)
Scoot McNairy (Monsters)
Kerry Bishe (Red State)
Kyle Chandler (Super 8)
Zeljko Ivanek (Heroes)
Titus Welliver (Lost)
Keith Szarabajka (The Dark Knight)
Bob Gunton (Dardevil TV)
Richard Kind (Gotham)
Karina Logue (Bates Motel)
John Boyd (Bones)
Michael Parks (Django Unchained)
Adrienne Barbeau (Swamp Thing)
Tom Lenk (Buffy)
Nelson Franklin (New Girl)
Lindsey Ginter (S.W.A.T.)

After Iranian militants stormed and took control of the U.S. Embassy in Tehran in November 1979 taking 56 Americans as hostages, six Americans managed to get away and took refuge in the home of the Canadian Ambassador. After two months of the Canadians putting their lives on the line everyday, the CIA and the US State Department try to come up with a plan to get their people out.Tony Mendez is a specialist who proposes that they pose as a Canadian film crew scouting locations for a science fiction movie called Argo. Using Hollywood connections, Mendez creates a back story for the movie – ads in Variety, casting calls, inviting he media to a production launch – and then heads off to Iran to lead the six Americans out. When I first heard this film was being made, I had no education on the history of the movie, all I knew is that is was a true story based on something political in the middle east, with a really strange title.Affleck once again proves just how good of an actor her is in Hollywood and the way he mixes comedy with intense drama is wonderful. Some scenes are just genius, like the scene where there is a rehearsal, and the captives are treated to a pseudo execution, and then Affleck showing us that both sides can put on a show.Arkin And Goodman are the brilliant comic relief, and whenever they are on screen, the tension is ever so slightly lifted and relief sets in, apart from one scene involving a phone. Affleck, considering he is the director, is really restraint in this movie, and plays it down, whilst the rest of the cast go for it, and it’s to his credit, as it shows that his character has a lot riding on this. It never lets up on tension, even when the six are enjoying their final meal, there is a sense that the door could be broken down at any second.The final third is genuinely edge of your seat stuff. All in all, it’s a wonderful movie, a perfect antidote to some of the dross movies that get dumped on us around the time of year, and really worthy of your attention