REVIEW: A LONELY PLACE TO DIE

CAST

Melissa George (Triangle)
Ed Speleers (Alice Through The Looking Glass)
Alec Newman (Dune)
Sean Harris (Prometheus)
Karel Roden (Hellboy)
Eamonn Walker (The Messenger)
Kate Magowan (Stardust)
Stephen McCole (Last Orders)
Paul Anderson (The Revenant)

Mountaineers Alison, Ed, Rob, Jenny, and Alex are hiking and climbing in the Scottish Highlands when they discover Anna, a young Serbian girl buried alive in a small chamber in the wilderness. Upon rescuing her, the group finds themselves pursued by her captors, Mr. Kidd and Mr. Mcrae, who hunt them down in an effort to reclaim Anna. Only Alison and Ed manage to escape the wilderness and reach Stonehaven, while Rob, Jenny, and Alex fall victim to the kidnappers. Meanwhile, Serbian mobster Darko and mercenaries Andy and Chris travel to the area to negotiate a ransom exchange with Mr. Kidd and Mr. Mcrae. Having been unable to recapture Anna, Mr. Kidd attempts to bluff his way through the negotiation with Darko while Mr. Mcrae continues to pursue Alison and Ed through Stonehaven. As the surviving mountaineers flee, Chris shoots Ed when he mistakes him for the kidnappers and is in turn shot by Mr. Mcrae, but manages to inform Darko that the kidnappers no longer have Anna before dying. After finishing off Ed, Mr. Mcrae chases Alison and Anna into a household.The house catches fire and a struggle between Alison and Mr. Mcrae ensues that ends with Alison killing him by pushing him out of a window. She then manages to save Anna from the burning building before she is rescued by firefighters. Mr. Kidd nearly escapes with the ransom money, but is captured by Andy. Mr. Kidd is brought before Anna’s father and mob boss Mr. Rakovic, who has him buried alive for the kidnapping. Alison is transported to the hospital in an ambulance as Anna remains by her side.This film should be well received and enjoyed by a wide audience when it’s released. It is definitely one of the best British thrillers made in my honest opinion and I look forward to seeing more.

Advertisements

REVIEW: LONG TIME DEAD

CAST

Joe Absolom (I Spit on Your Grave 2)
Lukas Haas (Alpha Dog)
James Hillier (The Crown)
Marsha Thomason (Lost)
Tameka Empson (Street Dance 3D)
Alec Newman (Dune)
Tom Bell (The Krays)

vlcsnap-2015-12-08-21h43m29s244The film begins showing people using a ouija board in Morocco. Throughout the scene, something is seen from first person perspective coming at high speed towards the people. The main film begins with four housemates (Rob (Joe Absolom), Liam (Alec Newman), Stella (Lara Belmont) and Spencer(James Hillier) ) deciding to go out and party. Also going to the party is Lucy(Marsha Thomason)(a friend of Stella’s and Spencer’s girlfriend), Webster (Lukas Haas), Joe (Mel Raido)(a new housemate of the first three) and Annie(Melanie Gutteridge)(Liam’s girlfriend). As the night progresses, they all try to find the biggest buzz they can, until Spencer suggests a ouija board, saying it is the weirdest buzz he’s ever had. The partygoers agree and participate, all placing their right index fingers on an upside-down glass with the alphabet and the words ‘Yes’ and ‘No’ written in a circle around the glass. Lucy tells them that under no circumstances should they remove their fingers from the glass early – otherwise the spirit they summon will not be able to return.6u567u65

At first, the glass moves slowly, spelling out ‘DJINN’, but when Liam asks if it can predict the future, the glass sharply goes to ‘Yes’. It then proceeds to spell out ‘ALL DIE’ and then Annie’s name. Before the ritual can continue, however, Liam experiences visions similar to the prologue that causes him to run away. Annie goes to see him to check if he’s alright, but Liam refuses to talk. Annie realises she has left her inhaler in the room that they used the ouija board in, and goes back to get it. When she gets there, she becomes frightened by noises. Eventually she sees something that the camera does not see, and it gives chase (as shown through the first person view that was used in the prologue). Finding Liam nowhere and with her exits barred, she attempts to climb over a glass roof to safety, but the thing giving chase grabs her legs and she falls through the glass roof into the party below, dying instantly. As the camera pans out, severe burn marks are seen on her legs.longtimedead1The group are distraught by her death, but while Spencer goes to find some hash to calm himself down, Lucy goes back to her boat and does some research. She comes across a description of a djinn, explaining that it’s made of fire. She learns that it can be banished by using lawful magic. She is suddenly disturbed by banging all around her, but it turns out to be a boatman who is telling her that the electrics are down. Lucy and Spencer go to the house where everyone else lives and discuss the events of the night. Lucy suggests to the housemates that they may have summoned a djinn, saying the burns on Annie are signs of this being true. The housemates are still skeptical, so they watch the tape they recorded of the ‘summoning’ to check if anyone was pushing it. Soon after Liam freaks out in the video, however, the electricity in the house goes out. Webster and Spencer break into Becker (Tom Bell), the landlord’s, flat and find a hidden shrine of sorts to the Djinn with grisly photos and newspaper cuttings. It is also revealed that Liam’s father, Paul Brennan, had been in the same predicament once (as shown in the prologue) and killed his mother as a result. He pleaded insanity and was put in a mental hospital. Joe attempts to get information out of Liam about it the next day at college, but he gets angry and leaves. Stella also leaves soon after, and goes to the toilet. She starts to freak out about a burning smell when an unnamed female black student (Tameka Empson) tells her it’s just a joint. Calming down, Stella goes to leave, but is pulled into another stall, where she is brutally murdered (the viewer can only see her feet lifting off the ground as they slowly become covered in her own blood). Her body is discovered by the female student. Liam goes to see his father to get answers but it quickly descends into a row. When Liam mentions Becker his father shouts that he is there to protect Liam. Liam leaves without hearing this.long-time-dead

Meanwhile, Joe and Webster sneak back into the house (now under police guard) to get the camera which recorded the ritual and Webster insists on watching it there. Joe goes to the kitchen to get a light for his cigarette. Meanwhile, Webster is thrown into a panic by something on the film. He goes to look for Joe. In the hallway he turns the lights on and realises he is standing in a pool of blood. He runs for the front door which is locked, so he rushes back upstairs to get the keys. He has to hide under the bed as he is being chased by the djinn. While the djinn does not see him, it dumps Joe’s dead body in the room – his throat has been slit. Webster silently exits the room with keys in hand but steps on a broken light bulb, alerting the djinn. He races back down to open the door, but the djinn catches up and kills him before he can succeed. Rob and Spencer return to Lucy’s boat and tell her of Stella’s death. Lucy demands that they perform the banishing ritual, so they return to the warehouse where the party was held. Liam attempts to catch up with them, but upon arriving at their boat, they have already left. Lucy, Spencer and Rob begin the ritual, but as they are performing it, a sudden burst of flame from the ouija board frightens them all off. Spencer runs off and tries to look around, but when he drops a large metal pole he alerts the djinn, who has already arrived, to his location. He hides in a cupboard. We then learn that the djinn has possessed Rob. The djinn walks off, making Spencer think he is safe, until he bursts into the cupboard from behind and kills Spencer after knowing he was there by smelling the blood on his cut hand on a shard of glass he’s holding tightly in fear.vlcsnap-2015-12-08-21h06m01s15Liam enters the building, as does Mr. Becker, who is holding a petrol can. As Liam walks into the ritual room, Rob runs out, shouting “Liam, it’s Becker, he’s here!” but is interrupted by Becker who hits him with a bat and proceeds to douse him with petrol. Liam, thinking Becker is the djinn, runs in to save Rob, accidentally pushing Becker down some stairs. When he goes back to look Becker has disappeared. Later Becker reappears and Liam is about to kill him in revenge for Annie until Rob rushes in and stops him. Seconds later, Rob kills Becker in a panic when Becker attempts to choke him. They start to leave, Rob attempting to convince Liam there really was no djinn but Liam remembers Lucy and they go looking for her. Liam finds her hanged in the lift shaft. Rob reveals to Liam that he is the djinn, telling Liam that it’s his turn as his father sent him somewhere terrible, so now Liam will know the pain that he has. Liam attempts to stab him, but Rob blocks it with his hand, which bleeds but also starts a small flame. As Rob taunts Liam, Liam realises through another flashback that fire will kill the djinn. He grabs the nearby lantern and wards off Rob with it, but as Rob attempts to fake being unpossessed (by crying and admitting fear) Liam tosses the lantern at him, setting him ablaze. Liam kicks him down the lift shaft, but a few seconds later he grabs onto Liam’s shin (now heavily burned and scarred). Liam finishes him by shutting the lift door on him, causing him to fall all the way down. After a while Liam opens the door to check he is dead, but a burst of flame pushes him back, signalling his body has been destroyed.untitled

Liam goes back to the mental hospital to see his father face to face, and they reconcile only for Liam to reveal he too is now possessed. He kills his father. The djinn, now free, sets off. As the camera rolls back from the cell, it is revealed that Liam had killed a prison officer to get in, and Liam suddenly appears in front of the camera, and reveals his eyes are now permanently like the djinn’s.long_time_dead-4

Not bad for british. quite good but still felt it could a been a lot scarier

REVIEW: STAR TREK: ENTERPRISE – SEASON 1-4

Image result for STAR TREK ENTERPRISE LOGO

MAIN CAST

Scott Bakula (Chuck)
Jolene Blalock (Starship Troopers 3)
Connor Trinneer (Stargate: Atlantis)
Dominic Keating (Heroes)
Linda Park (Jurassic Park 3)
Anthony Montgomery (Leprechaun In The Hood)
John Billingsley (Cold Case)

RECURRING / NOTABLE GUEST CAST

Tommy Lister (The Dark Knight)
Vaughn Armstrong (Power Rangers Lightspeed Rescue)
Jim Beaver (3rd Rock From The Sun)
Gary Graham (Alien Nation)
Thomas Kopache (Catch me If You Can)
Melinda Clarke (Spawn)
James Cromwell (Species II)
Henri Lubatti (Angel)
Erick Avari (Stargate)
Jeffrey Combs (The Frighteners)
Jane Carr (Treasure Planet)
Paula Malcomson (The Hunger Games)
Gregory Itzin (Firefly)
Jeff Kober (New Girl)
Eric Pierpoint (Alien Nation)
Keith Szarabjka (Angel)
Conor O’Farrell (Lie To Me)
Clint Howard (Apollo 13)
Ethan Phillips (Bad Santa)
Annie Wersching (The Vampire Diaries)
Rene Auberjonois (Boston Legal)
Dennis Christopher (Angel)
John Rubinstein (Legends of Tomorrow)
Fionnula Flanagan (Yes Man)
Clancy Brown (Highlander)
Rudolf Martin (buffy: The Vampire Slayer)
Keone Young (Alias)
Brad Greenquist (Heroes)
Holmes Osborne (Donnie Darko)
Sean Whalen (Twister)
J.G. Herztler (Roswell)
Larissa Laskin (Earth: Final Conflict)
Bonita Friedericy (Chuck)
Brigid Brannagh (Angel)
Keith Carradine (The Big Bang Theory)
Robert O’Reilly (The Mask)
Stephen McHattie (300)
Rick Worthy (The Vampire Diaries)
Daniel Dae Kim (Lost)
Stephen Culp (Scream Queens)
Tucker Smallwood (Traffic)
Maury Sterling (The A-Team)
Sam Witwer (Smallville)
James Parks (Kill Bill)
Emily Bergl (Carrie 2)
Leland Orser (Seven)
Jeffrey Dean Morgan (The Walking Dead)
Erin Cummings (Spartacus)
Casey Biggs (Broken Arrow)
Seth MacFarlane (Family Guy)
Bruce Thomas (Army of Darkness)
Joanna Cassidy (Blade Runner)
Alec Newman (Dune)
Richard Riehle (Texas Chainsaw 3D)
Brent Spiner (Dude, Where’s My Car?)
Robert Foxworth (Beneath Loch Ness)
Todd Stashwick (The Originals)
Lee Arenberg (Once Upon A Time)
Brian Thompson (Hired To Hill)
James Avery (That 70s Show)
Harry Groener (Buffy: The Vampire Slayer)
Peter Mensah (Sleepy Hollow)
Marina Sirtis (The Grudge 3)
Jonathan Frakes (Roswell)

Out of all the Star Trek series and films, Enterprise is easily the most overlooked, and was the only one since the original to be canceled. This isn’t because it wasn’t as good as the rest, but simply the way it was marketed. The show is in fact a prequel to Kirk’s Enterprise, and does take place before the Federation, but what the show lacks in technology, is more than made up for with realism and some of the best character development in the Star Trek franchise.

100 years after Zefren Cochrane’s warp flight, the human race has had enough of Vulcans holding them back, and have created the first warp five star ship in human history. Over the Vulcan’s objections, Jonathan Archer (Scott Bakula), the son of the engines designer, has been selected to Captain the ship and explore a galaxy that humans know very little about.
This show is extremely important to the franchise and all Trekkies, as it not only shows humanities first trip out of our solar system and first contact with all the races we’ve come to know over the years, but the show fills in a lot of the gaps from all the other series and films! Enterprise explores the origins of Data’s creator, the Eugenic Wars (which created Khan), the development of many protocols and much of the tech we see on future ships, but most important of all the series shows how the foundation for the Federation and the creation of star fleet all came together.
Enterprise was also unique for it’s character development and realism, in that it takes place in the not to distant future. We get to know the crew intimately, from their fears to their families, and we see them doing and discussing things never before seen in Star Trek. The Enterprise crew has a classic movie night, watches sports on TV, has pets, and they even talk about sex. The cast is lead by Scott Bakula, which was another great move by producers. Casting a veteran science fiction actor, whose been in long running series, automatically gives him that air of experience and authority that Picard had. He’s also a younger man, so with no federation policies in place yet, Archer can be just as much of a risk taker as Kirk was, even more so.
Star Trek Enterprise was extremely enjoyable, and a series people could relate to more than any other in the Star Trek franchise. The show isn’t simply about the future and the Federation, it’s about what it means to be human and how that compares to other species. It shows what we need to do in order to get along with and understand other cultures, but most of all it fills in so many holes from previous films and episodes, that it truly was the missing link.

Unfortunately for Star Trek fans, the show barely made a hundred episodes, because it was on a dying network, that folded shortly after the show was canceled, screwing us Trekkie’s out of three more seasons. As with all the previous series, the story has been continued in books, but in this case, the books were written by the main writers of the series, and do encompass everything that would have happened in seasons five, six, and seven.

REVIEW: DUNE: APOCALYPSE

Note This incredible science fiction has also been released under the title Children of Dune

CAST

Alec Newman (Angel)
Julie Cox (Holby Blue)
Ian MacNeice (Ace Ventura 2)
Steven Berkoff (Red 2)
Daniela Amavia (Tatort)
James mCAvoy (Wanted)
Susan Sarandon (Tammy)
Edward Atterton (Alias)
P.H. Moriarty (Patriot Games)
Alice Krige (Star Trek: First Contact)
Jessica Brooks (Footballer’s Wives)

Twelve years have passed since Paul Atreides had become Emperor at the end of Frank Herbert’s Dune by seizing control of the planet Arrakis and forcing a union with the former Emperor’s daughter, the Princess Irulan. Paul’s Fremen armies have since launched several bloody jihads to solidify his position. Deposed Emperor Shaddam IV and the rest of his family are exiled to Salusa Secundus, where his other daughter Princess Wensicia plots to restore House Corrino to power. The Bene Gesserit, the Spacing Guild, and the Tleilaxu also plot to overthrow Paul’s reign, aided even by rebel Fremen, who hate how Paul’s terraforming project is changing Arrakis and the traditional Fremen way of life. The Tleilaxu present Paul with a ghola in the likeness of his friend Duncan Idaho, killed during the events of Dune, but secretly conditioned to assassinate Paul when triggered by certain words.

Though his prescient abilities reveal the dangers ahead, Paul allows the conspiracies to succeed to avoid even worse consequences. He is attacked with a type of nuclear weapon called a stone burner and blinded, but still manages to “see” by following his prescient visions. Later, Paul’s concubine Chani gives birth to twins at a Fremen sietch but dies soon afterward. In Paul’s absence, his sister Alia purges the imperial city of the enemies of House Atreides. Meanwhile, the Tleilaxu Face Dancer Scytale triggers Duncan’s conditioning; but the trauma of potentially killing Paul breaks his programming, and unlocks the memories of his original incarnation. His plan foiled, Scytale threatens the lives of Paul’s children; whereupon the unique nature of the infants (who, like Alia, were “pre-born”) allows Paul to see through the eyes of his son and kill Scytale. Following the Fremen tradition of abandoning the blind to the sandworms, Paul walks alone into the desert. His legacy secured, the twins and their future empire are now left in the care of Alia. Paul’s and Chani’s children Leto II and Ghanima are now young adults; Princess Irulan has protected their interests as her own. Now married to Duncan, Alia is still regent of Paul’s empire and official guardian of the children. Irulan’s sister Wensicia yearns for a return to power through her son, Farad’n. After a long absence, Paul and Alia’s mother Lady Jessica arrives on Arrakis to visit her family, but Alia fears that Jessica has resumed her allegiance to the Bene Gesserit and may be plotting against her. An individual known as “The Preacher” has surfaced in the capital, speaking against the decline of Muad’Dib’s religion into fear and ritualism; but Alia resists having him killed because she shares the popular belief that he may be a returned Paul.

Alia possesses the memories and personalities of her ancestors due to being pre-born, but has trouble controlling them; her internal struggles against the assertive voices manifest themselves in the form of paranoia and self-destructive behavior. The persona of the evil Baron Vladimir Harkonnen, Alia’s maternal grandfather whom she had herself killed, begins to influence her, and threatens to overtake Alia’s consciousness altogether. Jessica senses that Alia has become dangerous, and advises Irulan to spirit Leto and Ghanima away to safety. Later, after an assassination attempt on her, Jessica seeks sanctuary with Fremen dissidents. Wearing clothes presented to them by Wensicia, the twins escape into the deep desert but are soon cornered in a deadly trap of her devising.

 

Wensicia’s plot to assassinate the Atreides heirs fails, but provides Leto an opportunity to fake his own death and buy time to overcome Alia. Alia’s madness reaches its peak as Baron Harkonnen’s grip on her consciousness strengthens and a civil war brews with the rebel Fremen. Leto returns from the deep desert, having used sandtrout — the larval form of Arrakis’ sandworms — to acquire the superhuman speed, strength, and invulnerability of the sandworms themselves.

As a means of forcing as-yet-neutral Fremen leader Stilgar to lead the rebels, Duncan murders Alia’s lover Javid in Stilgar’s sietch; Duncan knows that, according to Fremen custom, Stilgar must revenge-kill him, which will force Stilgar into active opposition to Alia. Leto encounters the Preacher, whose identity as his father is revealed. Leto’s prescient visions have convinced him that he must lead mankind along “the Golden Path” to ensure humanity’s ultimate survival.

With a political marriage arranged by Jessica between Ghanima and Wensicia’s son Farad’n, the Corrino heir identifies his mother as the mastermind behind Leto’s apparent death. Alia has Wensicia imprisoned, but Ghanima accepts Farad’n’s gesture as honest. With Stilgar’s forces moving in, father and son return to the capital city of Arrakeen, where the Preacher makes a final speech denouncing Alia and his own religion, and is fatally stabbed by a rebel Fremen. Leto confronts Alia at Ghanima’s wedding and defeats her. Alia then commits suicide rather than be controlled by the Baron. In the final scene, Ghanima tells Farad’n that while he will not be her husband, they may yet fall in love, and how she pities her brother for the pain and suffering he will endure in the long life he must expect.

Children of Dune’s compelling plot is executed with precision by director Greg Yaitanes, who does a bang-up job over his predecessor, John Harrison. As a matter of fact, though Dune Messiah’s story is naturally a bit weaker than Dune’s, the superb execution here makes it superior to any previous adaptations of Dune (it’s at least as good as the terrific miniseries, far better than the horrible Lynch film). The cinematography distinguishes itself with darker colors, while still maintaining the vibrancy the original miniseries had. Brian Tyler’s beautiful score is evocative, particularly during a wonderful montage segment of literal birth and death.

 

REVIEW: CHILDREN OF DUNE

CAST

Alec Newman (Angel)
Julie Cox (Holby Blue)
Ian MacNeice (Ace Ventura 2)
Steven Berkoff (Red 2)
Daniela Amavia (Tatort)
James McAvoy (Wanted)
Susan Sarandon (Tammy)
Edward Atterton (Alias)
P.H. Moriarty (Patriot Games)
Alice Kridge (Star Trek: First Contact)
Jessica Brooks (Footballer’s Wives)

Twelve years have passed since Paul Atreides had become Emperor at the end of Frank Herbert’s Dune by seizing control of the planet Arrakis and forcing a union with the former Emperor’s daughter, the Princess Irulan. Paul’s Fremen armies have since launched several bloody jihads to solidify his position. Deposed Emperor Shaddam IV and the rest of his family are exiled to Salusa Secundus, where his other daughter Princess Wensicia plots to restore House Corrino to power. The Bene Gesserit, the Spacing Guild, and the Tleilaxu also plot to overthrow Paul’s reign, aided even by rebel Fremen, who hate how Paul’s terraforming project is changing Arrakis and the traditional Fremen way of life. The Tleilaxu present Paul with a ghola in the likeness of his friend Duncan Idaho, killed during the events of Dune, but secretly conditioned to assassinate Paul when triggered by certain words.

Though his prescient abilities reveal the dangers ahead, Paul allows the conspiracies to succeed to avoid even worse consequences. He is attacked with a type of nuclear weapon called a stone burner and blinded, but still manages to “see” by following his prescient visions. Later, Paul’s concubine Chani gives birth to twins at a Fremen sietch but dies soon afterward. In Paul’s absence, his sister Alia purges the imperial city of the enemies of House Atreides. Meanwhile, the Tleilaxu Face Dancer Scytale triggers Duncan’s conditioning; but the trauma of potentially killing Paul breaks his programming, and unlocks the memories of his original incarnation. His plan foiled, Scytale threatens the lives of Paul’s children; whereupon the unique nature of the infants (who, like Alia, were “pre-born”) allows Paul to see through the eyes of his son and kill Scytale. Following the Fremen tradition of abandoning the blind to the sandworms, Paul walks alone into the desert. His legacy secured, the twins and their future empire are now left in the care of Alia. Paul’s and Chani’s children Leto II and Ghanima are now young adults; Princess Irulan has protected their interests as her own. Now married to Duncan, Alia is still regent of Paul’s empire and official guardian of the children. Irulan’s sister Wensicia yearns for a return to power through her son, Farad’n. After a long absence, Paul and Alia’s mother Lady Jessica arrives on Arrakis to visit her family, but Alia fears that Jessica has resumed her allegiance to the Bene Gesserit and may be plotting against her. An individual known as “The Preacher” has surfaced in the capital, speaking against the decline of Muad’Dib’s religion into fear and ritualism; but Alia resists having him killed because she shares the popular belief that he may be a returned Paul.

Alia possesses the memories and personalities of her ancestors due to being pre-born, but has trouble controlling them; her internal struggles against the assertive voices manifest themselves in the form of paranoia and self-destructive behavior. The persona of the evil Baron Vladimir Harkonnen, Alia’s maternal grandfather whom she had herself killed, begins to influence her, and threatens to overtake Alia’s consciousness altogether. Jessica senses that Alia has become dangerous, and advises Irulan to spirit Leto and Ghanima away to safety. Later, after an assassination attempt on her, Jessica seeks sanctuary with Fremen dissidents. Wearing clothes presented to them by Wensicia, the twins escape into the deep desert but are soon cornered in a deadly trap of her devising.

 

Wensicia’s plot to assassinate the Atreides heirs fails, but provides Leto an opportunity to fake his own death and buy time to overcome Alia. Alia’s madness reaches its peak as Baron Harkonnen’s grip on her consciousness strengthens and a civil war brews with the rebel Fremen. Leto returns from the deep desert, having used sandtrout — the larval form of Arrakis’ sandworms — to acquire the superhuman speed, strength, and invulnerability of the sandworms themselves.

As a means of forcing as-yet-neutral Fremen leader Stilgar to lead the rebels, Duncan murders Alia’s lover Javid in Stilgar’s sietch; Duncan knows that, according to Fremen custom, Stilgar must revenge-kill him, which will force Stilgar into active opposition to Alia. Leto encounters the Preacher, whose identity as his father is revealed. Leto’s prescient visions have convinced him that he must lead mankind along “the Golden Path” to ensure humanity’s ultimate survival.

With a political marriage arranged by Jessica between Ghanima and Wensicia’s son Farad’n, the Corrino heir identifies his mother as the mastermind behind Leto’s apparent death. Alia has Wensicia imprisoned, but Ghanima accepts Farad’n’s gesture as honest. With Stilgar’s forces moving in, father and son return to the capital city of Arrakeen, where the Preacher makes a final speech denouncing Alia and his own religion, and is fatally stabbed by a rebel Fremen. Leto confronts Alia at Ghanima’s wedding and defeats her. Alia then commits suicide rather than be controlled by the Baron. In the final scene, Ghanima tells Farad’n that while he will not be her husband, they may yet fall in love, and how she pities her brother for the pain and suffering he will endure in the long life he must expect.Children of Dune’s compelling plot is executed with precision by director Greg Yaitanes, who does a bang-up job over his predecessor, John Harrison. As a matter of fact, though Dune Messiah’s story is naturally a bit weaker than Dune’s, the superb execution here makes it superior to any previous adaptations of Dune (it’s at least as good as the terrific miniseries, far better than the horrible Lynch film). The cinematography distinguishes itself with darker colors, while still maintaining the vibrancy the original miniseries had. Brian Tyler’s beautiful score is evocative, particularly during a wonderful montage segment of literal birth and death.

 

REVIEW: DUNE (2000)

4187RDK6KHL

CAST

William Hurt (A.I.)
Alec Newman (Angel)
Saskia reeves (Nymphomaniac)
James Watson (The Winter Warrior)
Jan Vlasak (Hostel)
P.H. Moriarty (Patriot Games)
Robert Russell (Blue Valentine)
Ian MacNeice (Ace Ventura 2)
Matt Kesslar (Scream 3)
Giancarlo Giannini (Man on Fire)
Julie Cox (Holby Blue)

The Sci-Fi Channel’s production of Frank Herbert’s Dune is a vast epic tale bristling with adventure, romance, and political intrigue. It’s an epic saga that’s faithfully told, staying true to its source material with well-developed characters and an engrossing plot that’s complex, yet entirely comprehensible. Most importantly, it’s a miniseries that’s extremely enjoyable to watch; this isn’t an example of slow pretension, but rather a spirited and rousing adventure. Running at nearly 5 hours, the production is always a lot of fun to watch, and never flags in pacing or momentum.
 The cast is a success, particularly lead Alec Newman as Paul Atreides. In the miniseries most crucial role, Newman finds most of the right nuances and emotional complexities of the character. Saskia Reeves delivers the series’ best performance as Lady Jessica, a role full of warmth and heart. It’s a pity Reeves won’t return for Children of Dune, but Alice Krige is a superb actress in her own right. The villains of the piece are equally magnetic. Ian Mcniece is a menacingly cunning Baron Harkonnen, while Matt Keeslar makes for an imposing Feyd Rautha. In other important roles, William Hurt, P.H. Moriarty, and Julie Cox acquit themselves admirably. The only weak performer is Barbara Kodetova, who’s annoying as Chani, lacking the strength and conviction we expect from the part.

Dune is a spectacular production, aided by some of the best interior sets on screen to date. The CGI effects are excellent, given the budgetary limitations, and the giant sandworms stand out, especially in their awe-inspiring first appearance. The miniseries has a lavish, gorgeous look to it (courtesy of cinemtographer Vittorio Storraro), wisely separating it from its lacking predecessor (the Lynch disaster). Writer/director John Harrison achieves tight pacing through superb editing and storytelling. He also does a fine job delivering rousing action sequences, the knife fights are dynamic and the epic battle scenes are fast-paced and exciting. I’m certain there will still be discontent Herbert fans, but I found this a fully satisfying miniseries on almost all counts.

 

REVIEW: THE SHADOW (1994)

51Y00EXZGYL
CAST
Alec Baldwin (Beetlejuice)
John Lone (Rush Hour 2)
Penelope Anne Miller (Kindergarten Cop)
Peter Boyle (Dr. Dolittle)
Ian McKellan (The Hobbit)
Tim Curry (IT)
Sab Shimono (Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles III)
James Hong (Blade Runner)
Ethan Phillips (Bad Santa)
Abraham Benrubi (Parker Lewis Can’t Lose)
Steve Hytner (Roswell)
Frank Welker (The Simpsons)
Robert Trebor (Hercules: TLJ)
In Tibet, following the First World War, an American named Lamont Cranston (Alec Baldwin), succumbing to his darker instincts during the war, has set himself up as a brutal warlord and opium kingpin under the alias of Ying-Ko (Mandarin Chinese for “Dark Eagle”).[2] He is abducted from his palace by servants of the Tulku (Barry Dennen), a holy man who exhibits otherworldly powers and knows Cranston’s identity. He informs Cranston that he is to become a force for good. Cranston objects but is silenced by the Phurba (Frank Welker), a mystical sentient flying dagger that assaults Cranston, wounding him. Cranston is unable to refuse and remains under the tutelage of the Tulku for seven years. He learns to “cloud men’s minds,” a form of mystical, psychic hypnosis that allows him to influence others’ thoughts and bend their perceptions so he cannot be seen, except for his shadow (since light itself cannot be deceived), hence his new alias.
Cranston returns to New York and resumes his previous life. No one is aware of his past in the East; he is seen as a shallow and opulent playboy. He operates as The Shadow, a vigilante who terrorizes the underworld. Citizens who are saved by The Shadow are recruited to be his agents, providing him with informants and specialists. The existence of The Shadow is regarded by the public as nothing more than an urban legend. But The Shadow’s secret is endangered when Cranston meets Margo Lane (Penelope Ann Miller), an eccentric socialite who is a natural telepath. He is intrigued, but unable to continue seeing her as he cannot keep his thoughts from her.
Cranston is challenged by Shiwan Khan (John Lone), another student of the Tulku who possesses even sharper powers, but had successfully resisted redemption and hence had stayed evil. Khan is the last descendant of Genghis Khan and plans to fulfill his ancestor’s goal of world domination. He offers Cranston an alliance, sensing that bloodlust and a thirst for power still exist in his heart, but Cranston refuses. Cranston acquires a rare coin from Khan and learns that it is made of a metal called “bronzium” (an impure form of uranium) that theoretically can generate an explosion large enough to destroy a city. This suspicion is confirmed when he learns that Margo’s father Reinhardt (Ian McKellen), an atomic scientist working for the War Department, has vanished. Shiwan Khan hypnotizes Margo Lane and sends her to assassinate Cranston, hoping that Cranston will be forced to kill her, thus reawakening his darker side. Instead, Cranston breaks Khan’s hold on her, but she is now aware of his secret identity. Cranston prepares to rescue Reinhardt but is thwarted by several of Khan’s henchmen. The Shadow suffers another setback when he confronts Reinhardt’s former assistant, Farley Claymore (Tim Curry), who has joined Khan’s forces. Claymore traps The Shadow in a submersion tank, but Cranston escapes drowning by mentally summoning Margo. The Shadow learns of Khan’s hideout, the luxurious Hotel Monolith, a building in the middle of the city that Shiwan Khan has rendered invisible; it appears to everyone else as an empty lot, but The Shadow can see through Khan’s mental clouding. Knowing that Khan has Reinhardt hostage and the completed atomic bomb in his possession, he infiltrates the hotel for a final showdown.
The Shadow fights his way through the hotel, killing Claymore and Khan’s warriors. He faces Khan but is subdued by the Phurba, sustaining multiple injuries until he realizes that only a peaceful mind can truly control the Phurba. Overcoming Khan’s command of the dagger, he launches the Phurba into Khan’s torso. The injury breaks Khan’s concentration, freeing Reinhardt from his hypnotic state and rendering the hotel visible to everyone. The Shadow pursues Khan into the bowels of the building while Margo and Reinhardt disable the atomic bomb. The Shadow defeats Khan by psychically hurling a glass shard into his skull.
Khan awakens in a padded cell, confused as to how he got there. He discovers that his powers are gone. He learns that the doctors saved his life by removing the part of his brain that harbored his psychic abilities. He demands to be set free, but is ignored along with the rants of the other inmates. Unknown to him, the doctor is an agent of The Shadow who has ensured that Khan is no longer a threat.
Now safe from Khan, Cranston gives in to his love for Margo, but duty calls soon after, and he promises to find her later that night. Margo asks how he will know where to find her, and Cranston reassures her, “I’ll know.”
This movie is stunningly produced, with excellent scenes. The characters are interesting, even if not often believable. The action is quite gripping, but is restrained.