REVIEW: REIGN – SEASON 1

Starring

Adelaide Kane (Power Rangers RPM)
Megan Follows (October Faction)
Torrance Coombs (The Originals)
Toby Regbo (The Last Kingdom)
Jenessa Grant (The Handmaid’s Tale)
Celina Sinden (The Retreat)
Caitlin Stasey (I, Frankenstein)
Anna Popplewell (The Chronicles of Narnia)
Alan van Sprang (Star Trek: Discovery)

Anna Popplewell, Adelaide Kane, and Jenessa Grant in Reign (2013)

Recurring / Notable Guest Cast

Jonathan Keltz (21 & Over)
Amy Brenneman (88 Minutes)
Michael Therriault (Heroes Reborn)
Anna Walton (Hellboy II)
Rossif Sutherland (Haven)
Lola Tash (Molly Maxwell)
Katie Boland (Long Story, Short)
Luke Roberts (Holby City)
Amy Forsyth (The Path)
Shawn Doyle (Impulse)
Yael Grobglas (Supergirl)
Ted Atherton (Max Payne)
Amy Forsyth (Channel Zero)
Daniel Fathers (Snatch)
Greg Bryk (Bitten)
Zoe Cleland (The Communist’s Daughter)
Kimberly-Sue Murray (V-Wars)
Hannah Emily Anderson (The Purge TV)
Andrew Gillies (Mutant X)
Kathryn Prescott (Tell Me A Story)
Andrew Airlie (Fifty Shades of Grey)
Amy Groening (Goon)
Giacomo Gianniotti (Grey’s Anatomy)
Gil Darnell (Bones)
Ari Cohen (Smallville)
Tahmoh Penikett (Battlestar Galactica)
Shauna MacDonald (11.22.63)
Geordie Johnson (The English Patient)
Sarah Winter (Versailles)
Thor Knai (The Outpost)

Adelaide Kane in Reign (2013)

The creators and writers for “Reign,” a popular CW series, must have been fans of the Choose-Your-Own-Adventure books, because they chose to ignore history and follow the more fantastic (and yes, enjoyable) path. Rather than chronicling the actual rise of Mary, Queen of Scots, starting with her arrival in France as a 15 year old, this 2013 series veers unapologetically from true events to create a suspenseful intrigue on the order of the old Masterpiece series “I, Claudius.” Mothers scheme to elevate their sons to power, kings take concubines, and poison looms as large as the sword.Anna Popplewell, Caitlin Stasey, and Celina Sinden in Reign (2013)Yet, this slickly costumed series also has a contemporary vibe, with all the teen/twentysomething glam of a “Gossip Girls” or “Charmed.” The women, for example, have a deliberately modern look to match the contemporary soundtrack. Instead of fair-skinned lasses, you get several spray-tanned beautiful people who look like California models.Anna Popplewell, Caitlin Stasey, Adelaide Kane, and Celina Sinden in Reign (2013)But the funny thing is, you accept the terms that this show offers, because the characters are interesting and the plot keeps you hanging. It all plays out like the popular ABC series “Once upon a Time,” but with a little more blood and violence. People get beheaded, and in a variant scene from the Godfather trilogy a stag’s head is placed in a prominent character’s bedchamber. Pagans hang sacrificial victims by their heels and slit their throats. And while “Reign” doesn’t celebrate the violence like many TV series do, it’s still an essential part of the plot. Sex, too, though there’s more sexual tension and sexual seethe than there is actual sex, and when it’s depicted it’s tastefully done.Adelaide Kane in Reign (2013)Set in the court of the King of France, “Reign” offers a cast of characters who aren’t short on charisma with or without clothes. The lead actress, Adelaide Kane, does a fine job as Mary, Queen of Scots, with just the right blend of privilege and teenager wanting to break free. The two actors who play the heir to the throne (Toby Regbo) and his “bastard” half brother (Torrance Coombs) also have great screen presence. And Alan van Sprang as King Henry II and Megan Follows as Catherine de’ Medici are compelling in every scene they’re in. I won’t say they steal the scenes, but there’s at least a little minor shoplifting involved.The real Mary, Queen of Scots became queen six days after she was born, with Scotland ruled by regents until she reached adulthood. The real Mary was betrothed to the Dauphin Francis and sent to live in France when she was only five years old. There she would remain for the next 13 years. In “Reign,” the premise is that the promised ones romped and played as children and now Mary returns to the French court as a young adult at a time when the English throne is up for grabs, and Henry wants to push her into claiming her right to that throne so that she and his son can together rule France, Scotland, and England. Typical mindset of the wealthy or aristocratic, isn’t it? Not satisfied to rule just ONE country?Adelaide Kane in Reign (2013)The real Mary was accompanied by four other Marys, all daughters of Scottish noblemen. Here the names have been changed for obvious reasons, but it gives the series a core of five glamorous young women for audiences to identify with, and two handsome men. No wonder “Reign” was one of the most popular shows in the young adult age group.

HALLOWEEN OF HORROR REVIEW: APOLLO 18

CAST

Warren Christie (This Means War)
Lloyd Owen (Miss Potter)
Ryan Robbins (Arrow)
Michael Kopsa (Dark Angel)
Andrew Airlie (Final Destination 2)
Kurt Max Runte (X-Men 2)
Ali Liebert (Bomb Girls)
Erica Carroll (Smallville)

 

In December 1974, astronauts Nate Walker (Lloyd Owen), Ben Anderson (Warren Christie) and John Grey (Ryan Robbins) embark on top secret Department of Defense mission Apollo 18 to place missile detectors on the moon to guard against USSR attacks. Grey remains in orbit aboard the Freedom, while Walker and Anderson take the Liberty Lunar Module to the moon’s surface. The pair plants the detectors and takes soil samples but begins to notice interference and unexplained movement in their equipment. Soon after, the men discover strange footprints and an empty Soviet lander with traces of blood inside.

Apollo 18 saw its release date pushed back several times before limping into theaters with little accompanying marketing. Even so, the lunar setting seemed ripe for eerie tension and jolting scares. Unfortunately, Apollo 18 is mostly a bore. Director Gonzalo López-Gallego, making his English-language debut, nails the film’s intended look by mimicking the images of period-appropriate cameras, but these stationary, low-resolution shots lead to much squinting. One camera is located outside the parked lunar lander and is set to detect motion, but even this view is unimpressive, as it is often difficult to tell if anything is actually happening.  The best thing about Apollo 18 is its stark disconnect from Earth. NASA is but a voice over the radio, and the film excels at making the astronauts feel completely alone. The divide between the men on the surface and Grey above in orbit is also deep. When communications are disrupted, instructions from NASA are ignored and tension rises among the astronauts. The acting is just OK, and it seems like the men playing the astronauts tried a bit too hard to make their performances feel improvised. The men also lack the chemistry that must come from experiencing the rigorous training for a space mission together.

Since Apollo 18 is technically a horror film, the bits of intriguing drama are not enough to keep it from spinning off course. I am not sure what I wanted the film’s big reveal to be, but the answers Apollo 18 provides are unsatisfying. Perhaps the film gives too much explanation, as what little tension there is quickly dissipates when the unknown becomes known. Mostly, though, Apollo 18 is 86 minutes of two astronauts walking around the lunar surface and sleeping in the lunar lander.

Apollo 18 follows three astronauts aboard a secret 1974 mission to the Moon that goes awry. The otherworldly setting is spoiled by a lack of tension and an ultimately silly reveal, and Apollo 18 ends up a bore

REVIEW: CAPRICA – PART 2

 

Starring

Eric Stoltz (The Butterfly Effect)
Esai Morales (Titans)
Paula Malcomson (The Hunger Games)
Alessandra Torresani (The Big Bang Theory)
Magda Apanowicz (You)
Sasha Roiz (Grimm)
Brian Markinson (Sanctuary)
Polly Walker (Pennyworth)

Caprica (2009)

Recurring / Notable Guest Cast

Kendall Cross (X-Men 2)
Peter Wingfield (Highlander: The Series)
Andrew Airlie (Fifty Shades of Grey)
Hiro Kanagawa (Izombie)
Panou (Flash Gordon)
Zak Santiago (Shooter)
Bridget Hoffman (Darkman)
Scott Porter (Speed Racer)
John Pyper-Ferguson (The Last Ship)
Anita Torrance (Smallville)
Genevieve Buechner (The Final Cut)
Ben Cotton (Stargate: Atlantis)
Teryl Rothery (Stargate SG.1)
James Marsters (Buffy: TVS)
Patton Oswalt (Veronica Mars)
Ryan Kennedy (Smallville)
Christopher Heyerdahl (Van Helsing)
Calum Worthy (American Vandal)
Tom McBeath (Stargate SG.1)
Aleks Paunovic (Van Helsing)
Elisabeth Rosen (Cult of Chucky)
Sina Najafi (Stargate SG.1)
Carmen Moore (Flash Gordon)
Mike Dopud (Arrow)

Esai Morales in Caprica (2009)Nothing would’ve made me happier than to deem Syfy’s decision to cancel Caprica a grave and unwarranted one, but that’s something which simply can’t happen. Bear with me now, because there’s a reason for saying this. As a defender of the series when it was on the brink of cancellation, there’s no joy in stating that it’s easy to see why Ron Moore and David Eick’s offshoot from Battlestar Galactica received the axe when it did. Though far from faultless, the first half of the series established a fine foundation for a world rife for exploration: the mechanics of a society that would ultimately create a sentient lifeform, robots which would rebel and eventually annihilate most of the human race. But concept’s only part of the journey, and Caprica saw tonal and storytelling issues that shaped it into a rough, erratic exploration of those ideas, reaching an especially stagnant point at the beginning of this second half. It’s a shame, then, that the writers and producers finally discover their rhythm in the last five-and-a-half episodes, as it truly becomes the series I had hoped it’d become.Paula Malcomson in Caprica (2009)The story revolves around the polytheistic, technologically-advanced colony of Caprica roughly sixty years before “the downfall”, focusing on the conflict between, and within, two families: The Graystones, and the Adamas. Lawyer Joseph Adams (Esai Morales) lives a somewhat normal life with his wife and two children, Tamara and Billy, attempting to juggle his high-profile stature in the legal realm with his domestic life. He fights a bit with keeping himself as distanced as he can from his unsavory lineage, the Tauron mob Ha’la’tha, though it’s hard since the organization funded his education and requires his services regularly — usually by messages delivered through his brother, Sam (Sasha Roiz). BSG devotees with get a jolt in seeing the blossoming of young “Billy” in this environment early on, watching the growth of the semi-troubled youth that’d transform into the disquieting, powerful Galactica commander Bill Adama.Magda Apanowicz in Caprica (2009)Caprica’s central draw, however, is the Graystones. Daniel Graystone (Eric Stoltz) heads a tech development firm working on a mechanized super-soldier that’s just not cutting the mustard, all the while generating profit (60% of net, to be exact) with virtual reality headsets — holobands — that connect to a network of fully-interactive, realistic digital worlds. Graystone’s seemingly safe digital construct quickly broke down into a laissez-faire underground, filled with hacked sections that exploit sex, drug-use, and violence. Daniel’s daughter, a silver-tongued high-school student named Zoe (Alessandra Torresani) who battles with her mother Amanda (Paula Malcomson) over authority, frequents the holoband V-Club with boyfriend Ben (Avan Jogia) and timid best friend Lacy (Magda Apanowicz), yet they’re beyond the carnal satisfaction that the place has to offer. Instead, they’ve found purpose in monotheistic religious belief within an activist organization, the Soldiers of The One (STO), and, in the process, created an exact digital copy of Zoe who will somehow aid the resistance.Eric Stoltz and Paula Malcomson in Caprica (2009)Caprica utilized a cliffhanger episode at the end of the first half of the season, one that leaves the mortality of several characters up in the air. It’s uncertain whether the depression-driven grief that Amanda’s been going through truly led her to suicide; similarly, we’re unsure if the full-throttle abrasiveness that Zoe was enacting inside the U-87 Cylon body destroyed her at the end. Then, Syfy opted to go on a very lengthy mid-season break (read: they shelved the episodes), leaving curious minds in the dark for roughly seven months and, effectively, knocking the wind out of Caprica. Already, the series wasn’t on the strongest of legs; as mentioned before, it establishes a fine world that explores the emotions coursing through decisions to either reject or embrace digital memories of loved ones, while also giving some deep-rooted glimpses into the underpinnings of Moore and Eick’s Emmy-winning Battlestar Galactica. Yet it wasn’t all gelling together as of yet, only improving as the series went along but ultimately lacking the joie du vivre that pumped its inspiration forward.Eric Stoltz in Caprica (2009)Therefore, when Caprica’s second half starts off sluggish and overbearingly dour, it’s almost like a death toll. Let’s be perfectly honest here: the first three installments following a seven-month hiatus end up being misfired glut, something the series couldn’t withstand at that point. Starting with a jump-forward in time that echoes the end of Battlestar Galactica’s second season, it throws the story in a pit of depression, despair, and cutthroat politics surrounding Daniel that bloats beyond its boundaries. When the Ha’la’tha use killing one’s mother — someone unassociated with the crime syndicate — as a sign of loyalty, when the STO enact murderous power moves over their religious heads, or when Zoe’s avatar is bludgeoned to near-death for simply looking like the STO terrorist she’s perceived to be, the tone gets molasses-level thick and fairly objectionable. It’s as if Moore and Eick are overcompensating so their audience knows they’re not pulling any punches, while the output they produce leans toward ham-handed and hard-faced discomfort — and extremely awkward in “Things We Lock Away”, a sloppily glued-together hodgepodge of poorly-orchestrated arena brawls in New Cap City and intent Lacy/STO development.Esai Morales in Caprica (2009)None of Caprica’s issues root in the performances, however, or the production design. From the ground up, Moore and Eick continue the shrewdly-cast and stylish thrust of science-fiction with a fine vein of suspense, capturing the city’s expanses with a unique blend of metropolitan polish, futuristic gris-gris, and slick ’50s-esque allure. Locations like the Graystone mansion sport angular windows and a glaring pour of cold light, while the Adama household encapsulates a warm yet dark demeanor. These fitting aesthetic touches cradle some exceptional dramatic performances, including Eric Stoltz and Esai Morales whom have come into their own as tried-and-true denizens of Caprica. The same can be said for Magda Apanowicz as Lacy, who takes the complications surrounding a semi-innocent girl lost in the world of terrorism and runs with them with stalwart momentum. Lacy’s role, which gets sloshed around in the first half of the season, begins to grow more focused as she embeds further into the STO (and learns of her affinity with post-Zoe Cylons). The faces of Caprica are what keep the series afloat, both during the well-executed and bungled stretches in the show.Still from CapricaReally, the issues hinge on a general question: “What’s the driving force behind Caprica?” At first, the series closed in on the machinations of the Cylon origins, as well as exploring monotheism vs. polytheism, the benefits and hindrances of an abandon-free V-World, and the reluctance for people to let go of those whom have died. Upon the second half of Caprica, all that’s somewhat switched out for direct drama involving the robots’ “creator”, as well as concentration on the gangster Adama network and the blossoming of the terrorist organization as idealists — which, by the way, the STO material’s fairly bland and oddly-executed during that stretch. In essence, it starts to go down a fairly generic path of aggressive human drama, leaving the intrigue behind Zoe’s presence somewhat alone for a two-hour burst. It’s pretty clear that the minds behind the show tinkered with some new (and time-weathered) ideas to try and wrangle together a new audience. And it didn’t really pan out as such.Caprica with Eric StoltzFortunately, the creative team seems to have had an inclination towards this. Starting with “False Labor”, Caprica begins to see an awakening, as if they both discover where their weaknesses lie and resurrect the spirit of Battlestar Galactica — which carries over in “Blowback”, marking the first of five episodes that Syfy shelved around the time of cancellation. In this episode, Daniel attempts to recreate Zoe’s “resurrection” software, while in the process using an avatar of Amanda as a basis for comparison. Since he knows all the mannerisms and minutiae of his wife, he’s able to determine exactly how human or inhuman she’s acting, and the content that unfolds as he dissects this digital Amanda can be both penetrating and emotionally stirring. On top of that, Lacy gets her first hearty taste of the STO’s domineering, contentious presence, while meeting other “recruits” similar to her. Moreover, it rediscovers its tonality; difficult drama remains, but the way it’s handled regains the excitement of its inspiration. In short, it gets good. Really, really good.With Syfy cancelling the show and five episodes still left to run, the big question likely will be: “Does it get a proper, strong conclusion?” Piggybacking off the regained proficiency that it rediscovers in “Blowback”, Caprica sprints through the remaining episodes as if it knows that the end’s coming, losing its abandon in a furious, gripping rush that certainly echoes to Battlestar Galactica’s aptitude in 11th-hour intensity. It hits the accelerator and really doesn’t stop until an unquestionably finite conclusion, bringing together Daniel’s hunt for Zoe’s avatar in V-World and the unsavory connections between Graystone Industries and the Tauron mob to a very fine, robust head. Moreover, the content surrounding Lacy’s presence in the STO finally reaches a meaningful point, instead of evoking the sensation that it’s a time-killing subplot like it did at first. But, much like the conclusion of Battlestar Galactica, it also ditches some sensibility in lieu of excitement, breaking some of its own rules and established character mannerisms just to find a definite close. When it all melts together, though, it’ll be worth gritting one’s teeth through a few questionable moments.Those who’ve watched Caprica and cashed in their chips owe it to themselves to check out the tense follow-through, with the knowledge that the tone’s anything but consistent. There’s only a handful of great moments scattered within; however, there are assuredly some really great moments, ones that ensnare the type of essence I’d hoped would resonate in a depiction of the pre-Cylon world. In the middle of that, along with blatant reflection on the current climate of terrorism, it also provokes thought about the extents that some might go to preserve the memories and essence of those they love, and whether the recreation of an individual would push the boundaries of their belief structure. Caprica’s an intelligent show at its core, one with a complex network of emotion buttons that simply never properly learned how and when to push them. What’s a shame is that the show reveals a few glimmers at the end that suggest it might’ve found out how, ones that likely hadn’t even been seen by those that made the decision to power down this tale of the pre-war Cylon race.

REVIEW: STARGATE SG.1 – SEASON 8

Starring

Richard Dean Anderson (MacGyver)
Amanda Tapping (Sanctuary)
Christopher Judge (The Dark Knight Rises)
Michael Shanks (Smallville)

Torri Higginson and Michael Shanks in Stargate SG-1 (1997)

RECURRING / NOTABLE GUEST CAST

Torri Higginson (Dark Matter)
G. Patrick Currie (Battlestar Galactica)
Kira Clavell (Ninja Turtles: Next Mutation)
Steve Bacic (Andromeda)
Gary Jones (Chilling Adventures of Sabrina)
Kevan Ohtsji (elektra)
David DeLuise (Wizards of Waverly Place)
Barclay Hope (Final Destination 5)
Chelah Horsdal (Hell on Wheels)
Gavin Hood (Eye In The Sky)
Alisen Down (Smallville)
Aaron Pearl (Man of Steel)
Cliff Simon (Project Eden)
Bill Dow (Izombie)
David Kaufman (Prom Night)
Colin Cunningham (The 6th Day)
Amy Sloan (Timeline)
Timothy Webber (War For TPOTA)
Matthew Bennett (BAttlestar Galactica)
Andrew Airlie (Fifty Shades of Grey)
Erica Durance (Smallvile)
Derek Hamilton (Arrow)
Charles Shaughnessy (Mad Men)
Tom O’Brien (The Accused)
Kendall Cross (X-Men 2)
Jolene Blalock (Star Trek: Enterprise)
Tony Amendola (Annabelle)
Mercedes de la Zerda (War For TPOTA)
Noah Dalton Danby (Bitten)
Brandy Ledford (Andromeda)
Mark Gibbon (Warpath)
Peter Bryant (Legends of Tomorrow)
Claudia Black (Pitch Black)
Don S. Davis (Twin Peaks)
Ellie Harvie (The New Addmas Family)
Eric Breker (Scary Movie 3)
Tom McBeath (Bates Motel)
Garry Chalk (Arrow)
Mike Dopud (The Predator)
Hiro Kanagawa (Izombie)
Dan Castellaneta (The Simpsons)
Deborah Theaker (A Mighty Wind)
Mel Harris (Raising Cain)
Isaac Hayes (South Park)
George Dzundza (Crimson Tide)
Clare Carey (Jericho)
David Hewlett (Rise of TPOTA)
Robert Wisden (Watchmen)
Alessandro Juliani (Smallville)
Georgia Craig (Good Luck Chuck)
Jay Acovone (Beauty and The beast)
Peter Williams (Catwoman)

Stargate has retained a massive level of consistency over the years, staying at the same level of quality, if not getting even a little bit better: it has always retained the humor, the characterization and the excitement and the action that has made it so loved.Richard Dean Anderson in Stargate SG-1 (1997)Since season seven, there has been more of a focus on characterization and a tad bit more humor: and i for one welcome this, as the characters have always been the best aspect of the show: season eight continues this trend, and also the trend of even better quality than ever before!Holly Ferguson and Amanda Tapping in Stargate SG-1 (1997)Highlights include the opening two parter: New order Parts one and Two which is very exciting with plenty of plot twists. Affinity is another highlight for me as it is an episode with very little action, it is a mystery with a huge focus on characterization and intrigue, and manages to be very intriguing, with, again, some brilliant little character moments. Prometheus unbound is a highlight.Richard Dean Anderson in Stargate SG-1 (1997)Reckoning parts one and two are possibly the best episodes of stargate ever made; they wrap up most of the major storylines, bringing the end to both the main enemies in the show, and are impossibly epic: there is so much going on, so much peril and a sense of doom, that you are kept on the edge of your seat the whole time, with some humour thrown in for good measure.

REVIEW: STARGATE SG.1 – SEASON 3

Starring

Richard Dean Anderson (MacGyver)
Michael Shanks (Smallville)
Amanda Tapping(Sanctuary)
Christopher Judge (The Dark Knight Rises)
Don S. Davis (Twin Peaks)

Richard Dean Anderson in Stargate SG-1 (1997)

RECURRING / NOTABLE GUEST CAST

Suanne Braun (THe Princess Switch)
Tom Butler (Freddy vs Jason)
Samantha Ferris (The 4400)
Tony Amendola (Annabelle)
Colin Cunningham (Elektra)
Gary Jones (Chilling Adventures of Sabrina)
Steve Makaj (The X-Files)
Mitchell Kosterman (Smallville)
Lucia Walters (Stargate: Atlantis)
Ron Halder (Antitrust)
Jacqueline Samuda (The L Word)
Laara Sadiq (Arrow)
Teryl Rothery (Travelers)
Kevin McNulty (Fantastic Four)
Britt Irvin (The Vow)
Andrew Airlie (Fifty Shades of Grey)
Jay Acovone (Beauty and The Beast)
Peter Williams (Catwoman)
Ty Olsson (X-Men 2)
Sam J. Jones (Flash Gordon)
A.C. Peterson (Shooter)
Laura Mennell (Van Helsing)
Aaron Craven (The Predator)
Dion Johnstone (The Core)
Jesse Moss (The Uninvited)
Vaitiare Hirshon (Far Away Places)
Erick Avari (The Mummy)
Jason Schombing (Tin Man)
Megan Leitch (IT)
Jason Gray-Stanford (Monk)
Carmen Argenziano (House)
JR Bourne (THe 100)
William deVry (Earth: Final Conflict)
Peter Kent (Total Recall)
David Palffy (Blade: The Series0
Daniel Bacon (Brain of Fire)
Colin Lawrence (The 6th Day)
Tom McBeath (Riverdale)
Alex Zahara (2012)
Frida Betrani (The Deal)
Alexis Cruz (Drag Me To Hell)
Garwin Sanford (Arrow)
Kevin Durand (Swamp Thing)
Dom DeLuise (Spaceballs)
Michele Greene (Big Love)
Marie Stillin (The Commish)
Terry Chen (Jessica Jones)
Aaron Douglas (Battlestar Galactica)
Steve Bacic (Andromeda)
Jan Rubes (Witness)

Amanda Tapping in Stargate SG-1 (1997)Many people believe that subsequent seasons of Stargate: SG1 get progressively better. So far, no arguement from me. Season 1 was good, 2 was better, and season 3 is even better. Col. Jack O’Neill (Richard Dean Anderson), and his SG1 team of the now Maj. Samantha Carter (Amanda Tapping), Dr. Daniel Jackson (Michael Shanks), and Teal’c (Christopher Judge) continued their adventures through the Stargate to various old and new planets. The team, as well as the SGC in general, were tested in many more ways than ever thought possible. The team went to “Hell” in order to save Sam’s dad, who is still a member of the Tok’Ra resistance, Daniel suffered a major loss, and O’Neill was blended, albeit briefly, with a Goa’uld. One of the reasons that I personally liked this year was that many of last year’s conflicts were resolved (Lenea, Destroyer of Worlds), which made room for new plotlines (the Replicators), as well as continuing old ones (the search for the Harsesis child).Stargate SG-1 (1997)Don S. Davis in Stargate SG-1 (1997)This is also the season when SG1 truly realizes that they truly have allies in their fight against the Goa’uld; the Asgard helped form a treaty between Earth and the Goa’uld, the Tok’Ra continue to offer their assistance and wisdom, the Nox have begun to reestablish contact with the SGC, and the Tollan.Ron Halder and Amanda Tapping in Stargate SG-1 (1997)Other good episodes include “Into the Fire”, “Fair Game”, “Legacy”, “Learning Curve”, “Point of View”, “Past and Present”, “Jolinar’s Memories”, “The Devil You Know”, “Foothold”, “Urgo”, “Shades of Grey”, “New Ground”, and “Nemesis”. Judging by the increase in quality each season.

REVIEW: SMALLVILLE – SEASON 3

Starring

Tom Welling (Lucifer)
Kristin Kreuk (Beauty and The Beast)
Michael Rosenbaum (Impastor)
Sam Jones III (Glory Road)
Allison Mack (Wilfred)
Annette O’Toole (The Punisher)
John Schneider (The Haves and the Have Nots)
John Glover (Shazam)

Kristin Kreuk and Tom Welling in Smallville (2001)

Recurring / Notable Guest Cast

Terence Stamp (Superman)
Rutger Hauer (Blade Runner)
Ryan Robbins (Sanctuary)
Emmanuelle Vaugier (Two and a Half Men)
Jill Teed (Battlestar Galactica)
Françoise Yip (The Predator)
Camille Mitchell (Izombie)
Jesse Metcalfe (Dead Rising)
Katharine Isabelle (Ginger Snaps)
Christopher Shyer (The Core)
John DeSantis (Thirteen Ghosts)
Michael McKean (This Is Spinal Tap)
Lorena Gale (Traitor)
Kurt Evans (Izombie)
Patrick Gallagher (Glee)
William B. Davis (TheX-Files)
John Mann (Dark Angel)
Kendall Cross (The Butterfly Effect)
Tim Henry (88 Minutes)
Kevin Zegers (Dawn of The Dead)
Patrick Bergin (Lawnmower Man 2)
Michael Daingerfield (Sausage Party)
Ian Somerhalder (The Vampire Diaries)
Jonathan Taylor Thomas (Home Improvement)
Shawn Ashmore (X-Men)
William MacDonald (Riverdale)
Missy Peregrym (Van Helsing)
Martin Cummins (Bates Motel)
Chris Gauthier (Watchmen)
Meghan Ory (Once Upon A Time)
Ryan Merriman (Final Destination 3)
Moneca Delain (Trick ‘r Treat)
Sarah Carter (The Flash)
Lynda Boyd (Sanctuary)
Jerry Wasserman (I Robot)
James Kirk (She’s The Man)
Tahmoh Penikett (Man of Steel)
Julian Christopher (Elysium)
Terry Chen (Jessica Jones)
Aaron Pearl (Godzilla)
Christopher Reeve (Superman)
Gary Hudson (Fifty Shades Freed)
Alisen Down (Stargate SG.1)
Andrew Airlie (Fifty Shades of Grey)
Gordon Tootoosis (Lone Star)
Nathaniel Arcand (Pathfinder)
Neil Flynn (Scrubs)
Amber Rothwell (White Noise)
Adrianne Palicki (The Orville)
Sarah Deakins (Andromeda)
Robert Wisden (Highlander: The Series)
Brandon Jay McLaren (Power Rangers SPD)

Michael Rosenbaum and Tom Welling in Smallville (2001)Season Three begins three months after the cliffhanger that ended Season Two – with Clark under the influence of Red Kryptonite, which doesn’t hurt him – but does bring out his darker side. Clark has left Smallville because he feels responsible for his mother’s miscarriage at the end of Season Two, and the first two episodes – Exile and Phoenix – deal with Clark’s coming to terms with what he has done and where he belongs.Much like The X-Files and other sucessful science-fiction programs, Smallville has both “mythology” episodes and “stand-alone” shows, with the former moving along the overall story, and the latter tending to be more “fun” – generally focusing on someone in town who has a special ability or power that Clark has to deal with. Season Three is also peppered with some great guest-starring roles for notable actors, including Rutger Hauer playing criminal mastermind Morgan Edge; Michael McKean (who happens to be the real-life husband of Smallville star Annette O’Toole) guest-starring as Perry White; and the return of Christopher Reeve as Dr. Swann in Legacy in what would sadly be Reeve’s final appearance on the show.John Schneider and Tom Welling in Smallville (2001)Perhaps more than any previous season, there’s a lot of context to the ongoing storyline in this third season, which may be why many fans (including some right here at DVD Talk) got so frustrated with some of the episodes. Because of the ongoing storyline involving Clark’s biological father, Jor-El (voiced by Terrance Stamp) and his connection to some mysterious caves in Smallville, the chant of “Another Cave Show” and “No More Caves!” became a frequent one on forums here and elsewhere on the Net.John Glover and Michael Rosenbaum in Smallville (2001)But all in all, this is a quite satisfying season of one of the more underrated (and under appreciated) series on TV. Smallville is easily the best incarnation of the Superman legend since Christopher Reeve’s theatrical films, and any fan of The Man of Tomorrow will want to add this boxed set to their collection – assuming you’ve seen the first two seasons first, of course! Entertaining, well-written, well-acted and featuring some impressive special effects, television programs don’t get much better than Smallville. While this may be the weakest season of the first three, it’s still better than most seasons of any hour drama that is currently on the air. This one’s an easy call: fly (don’t walk!) to your local store or online retailer and pick a copy up.

REVIEW: EARTH: FINAL CONFLICT – SEASON 5

Starring

Jayne Heitmeyer (Snake Eyes)
Von Flores (Never Cry Werewolf)
Melinda Deines (Mutant X)
Guylaine St-Onge (One Way Out)
Alan Van Sprang (Star Trek: Discovery)

EFCPromo-S5-01

RECURRING / NOTABLE GUEST CAST

Alex Carter (Out of Time)
Andrew Gillies (Mutant X)
Noam Jenkins (Saw II)
Helen Taylor (Thoughtcrimes)
Frank Moore (Rabid)
Martin Roach (Cube Zero)
James Downing (Total Recall)
Deborah Odell (Godsend)
Peter Outerbridge (Saw VI)
Sarah Lafleur (Ugly Betty)
Kevin Kilner (Dollhouse)
Richard Zeppieri (Titans)
Margot Kidder (Superman)
Anita La Selva (Dead End Road)
Jim Thorburn (Helix)
Anthony Lemke (White House Down)
Michael Anthony Rawlins (Blade: Trinity)
Fulvio Cecere (Valentine)
Vladimir Jon Cubrt (Hannibal)
Kate Greenhouse (The Dark Hours)
Rachel McAdams (About Time)
James Gallanders (Bride of Chucky)
Shawn Roberts (Resident Evil: The FInal Chapter)
Andrew Airlie (Fifty Shades of Grey)
Kristi Angus (Jason X)
Dean McDermott (Open Range)
Cedric Smith (X-Men: TAS)
Damon D’Oliveira (Relic Hunter)
Juan Chioran (Skyland)
Gordon Currie (Friday The 13th – Part VIII)
Kim Coates (Battlefield: Earth)
Daniel Clark (Juno)
Kevin Jubinville (Miss Sloane)
Dorian Harewood (Full Metal Jacket)
Andrea Roth (Ringer)
Robert Leeshock (Dead End Road)

1356165122924793_wLiam, the Taelons, and the Jaridians have disappeared but their efforts, far from saving everyone, have doomed the galaxy: they have awakened the Atavus, a race of energy vampires that preceded the Taelons and Jaridians. Renee and Street are the only ones who know the truth of what’s happening: the Resistance is disbanded and the human governments are in no rush to accept the beginning of another war with an alien race. Their only ally is Raj’el, the first and now the last of the Taelons, who is forced to provide covert support from the heart of the Taelon mothership.TSGB-TireloidTo make matters worse, Sandoval, left in control of the Taelon mothership, allies with the Atavus leaders Howlyn and Juda. Together, they are able to keep their presence hidden for much of the season. Their plan is to create an army of Atavus-Human hybrids by means of a joining process, then use the hybrids to awaken other Atavus hives hidden around the world. As the season progresses, a few familiar faces re-enter the fight: William Boone is brought back as a trap for Renee, but he quickly joins her side. In response, Sandoval and Howlyn revive Zo’or, giving him a new body as a female Atavus, but Renee and Boone are able to defeat their nemesis once and for all. Final Conflict comes to a head when Liam returns to help Renee stop Howlyn from unleashing his elite warriors from the long-buried Atavus mothership. At the end of the series, Liam, Renee and Raj’el depart in the Taelon mothership, resolving to bring the few trustworthy Atavus home and indulge in a little adventure along the way.6a01348361f24a970c014e6088c71b970c-320wiSeason 5 was universally despised by most fans, this was because of the lost of da’an and Liam, bringing in new aliens in the final season was a bold move. Alan Van Sprang joining the cast as Howlyn was brilliant and it allowed Renee to take centre stage. the final episode was a satisfying conclusion, leaving just enough rope to dangle just in case they continued.

REVIEW: EARTH: FINAL CONFLICT – SEASON 3

Starring

Robert Leeshock (Dead End Road)
Jayne Heitmeyer (Snake Eyes)
Von Flores (Never Cry Werewolf)
Richard Chevolleau (Hannibal)
Leni Parker (Screamers)
David Hemblen (La Femme Nikita)
Anita La Selva (Running with Violet)

Earth: Final Conflict (1997)

RECURRING / NOTABLE GUEST CAST

Lisa Howard (Highlander: The Series)
Chandra West (White Noise)
Barry Flatman (Odyssey 5)
Frank Moore (Rabid)
Richard Zeppieri (Titans)
Lori Alter (Senior Trip)
Richard Eden (Robocop: The Series)
Eugene Clark (Land of The Dead)
Majel Barrett Roddenberry (Star Trek)
Ramona Milano (The Last Don)
Christina Cox (Mutant X)
Page Fletcher (Robocop: Prime Directives)
Andrew Airlie (Final Destination 2)
Reagan Pasternak (Being Erica)
Janet-Laine Green (This Life)
Joy Tanner (Cold Squad)
Mark Lutz (Angel)
J.C. MacKenzie (Dark Angel)
David Calderisi (Tommy Boy)
Marina Sirtis (Star Trek: DS9)
Ellen Dubin (Nobility)
James Kidnie (Robocop: The Series)
Michelle Nolden (Red)
Steve Bacic (Andromeda)
Simon MacCorkindale (Nightman)
Ari Cohen (IT)
Richard McMillan (Cube Zero)
Anne Openshaw (Smallville)
Peter Krantz (The Ref)
Lindy Booth (Odyssey 5)
Michael Hogan (Battlestar Galactica)
Martin Roach (The Shape of Water)
William deVry (Stargate SG.1)
Sarah Lafleur (Ugly Betty)
Lexa Doig (Andromeda)
Garwin Sanford (Arrow)
Shawn Ashmore (X-Men)

60284By the beginning of Earth: Final Conflict: Season Three, it is learned that the Taelons are ruthless and cunning; willing to manipulate anything and anyone to benefit their agenda. Their agenda is primarily fueled by their inter-galactic war with a race of aliens that share a common ancestor with them, the Jaridians. While the Taelons are long-lived and based on an energy physiology, the Jaridians are flesh & bone, with very short life expectancies. The Taelons main advantage has been their lifespan and technological edge, as well as their ability to travel faster than light. The Jaridians, on the other hand, have the advantage of sheer numbers with a scorch & burn policy towards their enemy and any who assist them.pholeontaelonSeason three introduced Renee Palmer (Jayne Heitmeyer) as the main female lead, to assist Liam in his fight against the Taelon agenda but it also showed her as having her own agenda, based on acquiring wealth. It also phased Lili out as a regular and solidified the relationship between Liam and Auger, a computer genius with a leaning towards capitalism (much like Renee). The show evolved with each season and the plot threads of these 22 episodes focused more on unveiling the secrets (and weaknesses) of the aliens than any other season.maxresdefault (1)The show was very much a social commentary and on its good days, showed the mindset of the radical Roddenberry whose idealism was obvious in all of his television shows .

REVIEW: THE BUTTERFLY EFFECT 2

CAST

Eric Lively (American Pie)
Erica Durance (Smallville)
Dustin Milligan (Shark Night)
Gina Holden (Flash Gordon 2007)
Andrew Airlie (Final Destination 2)
David Lewis (Bates Motel)
JR Bourne (Stargate SG.1)
Susan Hogan (Phobia)
Lindsay Maxwell (Jingle All The Way 2)
Jerry Wasserman (watchmen)
John Mann (Dark Angel)
Malcolm Stewart (Jumanji)

Julie (Erica Durance) and her boyfriend, Nick (Eric Lively), are celebrating Julie’s 24th birthday with their friends Trevor (Dustin Milligan) and Amanda (Gina Holden). Julie and Nick start to discuss their future when Nick is called in to work, urgently. He has to go to the meeting because he is up against co-worker Dave (David Lewis) for a promotion. As the four friends drive back to the city there’s an accident with a semi-truck. Of the four friends, Nick is the only survivor. Later, when looking at a photograph of himself and Julie, everything in the room begins to shudder and shake, while the people in the photograph begin moving. One year later, Nick suffers a blinding headache and nosebleed at work, while presenting an important sales pitch to investors. As a result he is given a week’s suspension. Back home, Nick looks at photographs from Julie’s birthday and somehow manages to transport himself back to the moment just before the fatal accident. This time, he knows how to avoid the accident and he awakens in a new timeline where Julie is living happily with him. However, in this reality, Nick’s life is ruined when he is fired for backing up his friend and now work colleague Trevor.Later, Nick sees a Christmas photograph of him, his friends and work colleagues, and realizes that this was the point at which a crucial deal was made, resulting in Dave’s promotion. Nick decides to try to alter this in his favor, so he concentrates on the photo in order to trigger another episode. Sure enough, he finds himself at the party. After deliberately spilling a drink on Dave to distract him he finds the paperwork for the crucial deal. He then returns to the present in a new version of reality. In this reality, Nick is the vice-president of the company, but he and Julie have split up and he is living the bachelor lifestyle. Also, Trevor and Nick end up on the wrong side of a shady investor, and the company is broke. Nick confesses everything to his mother, who tells him that he can’t ‘control everything’. She says his father also tried to control things and ultimately committed suicide.

Nick transports himself to the scene from the start of the movie, hoping to finally fix everything by breaking up with Julie. However, he didn’t bank on how upset she would be – and she confesses to being pregnant and speeds away in his car. Fearing a similar accident as the original, Nick speeds after her, but ends up facing an oncoming vehicle himself. He opts to save Julie rather than himself and drives off the cliff. One year later, Julie lives in New York with her son, Nick Jr., who has the same affliction as his father, since his environment becomes unstable while looking at a photograph of his parents and their friends.I really liked the first film. It was a bit of an original concept. I was skeptical when I stumbled across Butterfly Effect 2 thinking it must be bad if I didn’t know there was a second film. However, I decided to give it  a go. I am pleased I did as I think it was another clever film.

REVIEW: BIG EYES

CAST

Amy Adams (Batman V Sueprman)
Christoph Waltz (The Green Hornet)
Danny Huston (30 Days of Night)
Jon Polito (Burning Palms)
Krysten Ritter (Jessica Jones)
Jason Schwartzman (Funny People)
Terence Stamp (Superman 1 & 2)
Madeleine Arthur (The Killing)
Colleen Winton (Van Helsing)
Vincent Gale (Van Helsing)
Heather Doerksen (Pacific Rim)
Leela Savasta (Black Xmas)
Britt Irvin (Smallville)
James Saito (Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles)
Dylan Kingwell (A Series of Unfortunate Events)
Peter Kelamis (Stargate Universe)
Fiona Vroom (Power Rangers)
Aaron Craven (Izombie)
David Milchard (Jingle All The Way 2)
Andrew Airlie (Fifty Shades of Grey)
Michael Kopsa (Fantastic Four)
Barclay Hope (Stargate SG.1)
Eric Keenleyside (Firewall)

 


In 1958, Margaret leaves her husband and takes her young daughter Jane to North Beach, San Francisco. Supporting her daughter alone, Margaret gets a job painting illustrations at a furniture factory. While creating portraits at an outdoor art show, Margaret meets Walter Keane, who is selling his Parisian street scene paintings. Soon, Walter proposes to her and they marry.

Walter goes to a popular jazz club and tries to convince the club’s owner, Enrico Banducci, to purchase the couple’s paintings. He only agrees to rent out the walls to Walter. A drunk woman is touched by one of Margaret’s paintings and buys it. Walter fights with Banducci and ends up on the front page of the local newspaper. When Walter goes to the club again it is packed with curious people. Dick Nolan, a celebrity gossip columnist (who serves as the film’s narrator), wants to know more about Walter’s art, but is only interested in Margaret’s paintings. Afterward, Walter shows Margaret all the money they have made from the sales. He tells her they are a great team, she can stay at home painting and he will sell her works.

Walter opens up his own Keane gallery, promoting the art as his own work, and sells reproductions. Margaret becomes more upset about Walter taking credit for her art and lying to Jane about who is the real artist. Margaret decides to paint in a different style with elongated features and small eyes, so that she can honestly tell people she is also a painter. Margaret and Walter move into a mansion. While going through a crate Margaret finds a stack of paintings of Parisian street scenes, but they are all signed by S. CENIC. She realizes Walter paints over the name of the original artist and claims the paintings as his own. Margaret confronts Walter, he confesses saying he always wanted to be an artist, but never had the talent. Walter learns of the New York World’s Fair and demands Margaret paint something to put on display; she refuses and Walter threatens to have her killed. Jane discovers her mother working on the World’s Fair painting “Tomorrow Forever”. Jane tells her mother she always knew that she was the real artist.

At a party, Walter is angered after reading John Canaday’s scathing review of the “Tomorrow Forever” exhibit and confronts Canaday. Back at home Walter is still enraged and starts throwing lit matches at Margaret and Jane. They run into the studio and lock the door. Margaret runs away with Jane. One year later, Margaret and Jane have settled in Honolulu, Hawaii. Walter will not agree to a divorce unless Margaret signs over the rights to every painting, and produces 100 more. Margaret agrees and continues sending paintings to California. Margaret is visited by two Jehovah’s Witnesses who convince her that honesty is important. The next time Walter receives the paintings, they are signed “MDH Keane”. On a Hawaiian radio show, Margaret reveals she is the real artist behind the paintings attributed to Walter, making national news. Dick Nolan publishes Walter’s claims that Margaret has “gone nuts”. Margaret sues both Walter and the newspapers that printed his version of the story for libel and slander.

At the trial, reporters swarm the courthouse in Honolulu. The court quickly dismisses the libel lawsuit against the newspapers. Without a lawyer, Walter defends himself against slander. Margaret testifies that she felt she had no choice. Walter asks himself questions as a witness. The judge directs both Margaret and Walter to create a painting in one hour as proof of the real artist. Margaret paints steadily, but Walter is hesitant, claiming his arm hurts too much to hold a paintbrush. Margaret completes her painting and wins the lawsuit. Outside the courthouse, Margaret says she doesn’t care about money and just wants credit for her paintings. A fan asks her to sign a copy of “Tomorrow’s Masters” and she does, finally autographing her own work.Excellent story based on the lives of Walter and Margaret Keane. Margaret ‘s work was plagiarised by her second husband Walter soon after they married in the mid fifties until their divorce in the mid sixties taking a high profile court case to determine who the real artist was. The film deals with quite a few topics from Walter’s domination of Margaret to his paranoia and mental delusion. Watch out for a cameo appearance of the real Margaret as an elderly lady sitting on a bench.