REVIEW: REIGN – SEASON 2

Adelaide Kane in Reign (2013)

Starring

Adelaide Kane (Power Rangers RPM)
Megan Follows (October Faction)
Torrance Coombs (The Originals)
Toby Regbo (The Last Kingdom)
Celina Sinden (The Retreat)
Caitlin Stasey (I, Frankenstein)
Anna Popplewell (The Chronicles of Narnia)
Jonathan Keltz (21 & Over)
Sean Teale (The Gifted)
Craig Parker (Spartacus)
Rose Williams (Sanditon)

Adelaide Kane in Reign (2013)

Recurring / Notable Guest Cast

Rossif Sutherland (Haven)
Michael Therriault (Heroes Reborn)
Sarah Winter (Versailles)
Camille Stopps (Guilt Free Zone)
Nicole de Boer (Cube)
Jane Spidell (Robocop: The Series)
Noam Jenkins (Earth: Final Conflict)
Ben Lewis (Arrow)
Kate Ross (October Faction)
Sergio Di Zio (Flashpoint)
Ava Preston (Critters Attack!)
James Downing (Cardinal)
Ben Aldridge (Pennyworth)
Tori Anderson (Blindspot)
Anna Walton (Hellboy II)
Rachel Wilson (Impulse)
Linzee Barclay (Lost Girl)
Amy Brenneman (88 Minutes)
Alan van Sprang (Star Trek: Discovery)
Alexandra Ordolis (Nurses)
Siobhan Williams (Deadly Class)
Rob Stewart (Painkiller Jane)
Katie Boland (Long Story, Short)
Vincent Gale (Van Helsing)
Meghan Heffern (Chloe)
Rachel Skarsten (Batwoman)

Sean Teale in Reign (2013)While the first season of Reign provided us with an entertaining experience, we were never truly blown away by the series’ plot, mainly due to the fact that the fiction portion of the series was lacking in originality and overall likeability, the the second season looked a lot more promising. Once again we visit the beautiful sets and costumes, and now that King Henry II is disposed of, the series takes a liking for the occult and the supernatural. It seems Mary and Francis will not have such a happy time as husband and wife just yet.Craig Parker, Anna Popplewell, and Camille Stopps in Reign (2013)This second season handles many separate plots, but the main theme is pretty much the conflicts between France’s Catholic inhabitants and the Protestant ones, with the latter simply wanting to practice their faith without being prosecuted or mistreated. Nonetheless, before these troubles arise, the second season picks up where the first season ended, namely with an outbreak of the plague, which has the entire castle on lockdown. Nonetheless, Francis (Toby Regbo) rides out to find Lola (Anna Popplewell) who has given birth to his illegitimate son. Even though this might be a sore spot for Mary (Adelaide Kane), she truly wants Francis to be happy and play a part in his son’s life. She even allows him to claim the son as his own, making sure it will not be shunned by others and by doing so, ensuring its future as a proper lord.Adelaide Kane in Reign (2013)After the plague has passed, new problems arise with one of the most influential lords of France, Narcisse (Craig Parker), as he is causing uproars because he isn’t delivering grain to the people. This of course has to do with the fact that Mary killed his son by throwing him into a dungeon with infected people, after he demanded the king and queen to kill someone who also possessed a great deal of power. When the royal couple refused, he killed the man himself, and his family by using poison. This infuriated Mary and by this, Narcisse’s son forfeited his life by invoking the queen’s wrath. After this, Narcisse’s countermeasures, of withholding food for the general populace, are the cause of many bloodshed. Sadly, Mary and Francis can’t simply dispose of this lord because of the power he has and the secret he learns of the king.Mary, Lola and Estelle in Reign, The Lamb and the SlaughterAll this occurs while Catherine (Megan Follows) starts to see ghosts, princess Claude (Rose Williams) returns to court and lord Condé (Sean Teale), who is from a noble family that also has the right to claim France’s throne, grows closer to Mary. The latter is also one of the main storylines that occurs in this season. Acting performances are on par with the first season, which means that everyone puts down a rather convincing experience. It has to be said that the three main newcomers put down exquisite performances, with Craig Parker in the lead, closely followed by Sean Teale and Rose Williams. These actors brings their characters to life and add a sorely needed extra to Reign.Megan Follows and Adelaide Kane in Reign (2013)Last time we discussed the ‘modern’ vibe that came off this series, which was not always that well suited for the timeframe Reign situates itself around. Nonetheless, during this season it bothered us a lot less, perhaps because we knew what to expect, or simply because it works quite well for the topic(s) of this second season. Only one thing remains that hampers the entire experience, namely that everybody is pretty much fucking everyone, making this quite unrealistic, especially considering if a woman did this during this time period it would mean certain death. Sometimes this series feels like it can only end if the leading actresses have screwed entire France.

 

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: MUTANT CHRONICLES

 

Starring

Thomas Jane (The Punisher)
Ron Perlman (Hellboy)
Devon Aoki (Sin city)
Benno Fürmann (Hanna TV)
John Malkovich (Red)
Sean Pertwee (Gotham)
Anna Walton (Hellboy II)
Luis Echegaray (Vinyl)
Shauna Macdonald (Filth)

Ron Perlman in Mutant Chronicles (2008)The story is set in the year 2707. The world is loosely based on that of the Mutant Chronicles role-playing game, where many technologies are steam powered and mankind has exhausted Earth’s natural resources. The protagonists must battle against mutated humans that were accidentally unleashed.Ron Perlman, Thomas Jane, and Benno Fürmann in Mutant Chronicles (2008)The plot revolves around a “machine” which came from space 10,000 years ago. The “machine” mutates people into barely intelligent killing drones, known as “mutants”, that drag new victims to the machine for conversion. Sealed away thousands of years ago by human tribes, the machine is accidentally uncovered during a large battle in Eastern Europe between two of the four corporations that now rule the world. Within six weeks the world is almost completely conquered by the mutant gangs. Some of the population has been evacuated to Mars, but millions remain on the doomed Earth. A group of soldiers are assembled to take another ancient device to the heart of the machine in an attempt to destroy it in a suicide mission. In return, their loved ones receive coveted tickets to Mars.John Malkovich in Mutant Chronicles (2008)En route their spaceship is shot down by a kamikaze airship piloted by a mutant. The group is forced to battle through the mutants in underground tunnels to reach the machine, hoping to save the last of humanity. In their attempt to reach the machine most die, with Mitch being partially transformed into a mutant and Brother Samuel being fully transformed. Mitch is able to halt his own transformation, but is forced to kill Brother Samuel. Mitch, being the last survivor, is ultimately successful in activating the ancient device, causing the machine (which was actually part of a spacecraft) to blast off into space.Ron Perlman in Mutant Chronicles (2008)A dying and mutated Samuel tells him to “have faith” as Mitch jumps from the slowly ascending rocket, landing in an underground lake beneath the rocket. Crawling onto land he sees the rocket disappear into the sky, realizing he is the prophesied savior of mankind, despite not believing in a god. Grievously wounded and partially mutated, he lights a final crooked cigarette. An ultimate sequence shows the rocket heading for Mars.Mutant Chronicles (2008)I liked the way they mixed war, humanity, faith all together. It made for a good entertaining movie. Some parts were predictable, but still a good movie and I would recommend it to anyone who is a horror/Sci-fi fan.

REVIEW: HELLBOY II: THE GOLDEN ARMY

 

CAST

Ron Perlman (13 Sins)
Selma Blair (Anger Management)
Doug Jones (The Neighbors)
Luke Goss (Blade II)
Anna Walton (Reign)
Jeffrey Tambor (Transparent)
John Hurt (Alien)
Brian Steele (Your Highness)
Roy Dotrice (Hercules: TLJ)
Seth MacFarlane (Family Guy)
Justin Pierre (Mystic Knights of Tir Na Nog)

During Christmas 1955, an 11-year-old Hellboy is told a bedtime story by his adoptive father, Trevor Bruttenholm, involving an ancient war between human and magical creatures, started by human’s greed. After defeat of the magical creatures’ forces, the master of the goblin blacksmiths offers to build an indestructible mechanical army for the elven King Balor. Encouraged by his son Prince Nuada, Balor orders the building of this Golden Army. The humans are devastated by the army. Balor is ridden with guilt and forms a truce with the humans: Man will keep his cities and the magical creatures will keep their forests. Nuada does not agree with the truce and leaves in exile. The magical crown controlling the army is broken into three pieces, one going to the humans and the other two kept by the elves.

In the present, Nuada declares war on humanity. He collects the first piece of the crown from an auction, killing everyone at the site by unleashing tooth fairies, and kills his father for the second piece. His twin sister, Princess Nuala, escapes with the final piece. Meanwhile, Hellboy is having issues with his girlfriend Liz, and trouble accepting that their organization, the B.P.R.D. must remain undercover. Investigating the auction slaughter, Hellboy allows himself to be revealed to the world. In the commotion, Abe Sapien discovers Liz is pregnant; she swears him to secrecy as she ponders keeping the child. Furious at Hellboy’s actions, the Bureau’s superiors send a new B.P.R.D. agent, the ectoplasmic medium Johann Krauss, to take command. With Krauss in charge, the team tracks the tooth fairies to the troll market, an enormous city hidden under the Brooklyn Bridge. Abe stumbles onto Nuala, who has obtained a map leading to the Golden Army, and falls in love with her. She is brought under B.P.R.D. protection following an attack by Nuada’s sidekick, the troll Wink, and an elemental forest god, both of which Hellboy kills. During the fight, Hellboy is questioned by Nuada whether it is right to fight for the humans when he too is considered a monster.

Nuada tracks his sister to B.P.R.D. headquarters using their magical bond, which causes them to share wounds and read each other’s thoughts. Sensing her brother’s arrival, Nuala attempts to destroy the map and hides the final crown piece in one of Abe’s books. Nuada critically wounds Hellboy with his spear, promising Nuala in exchange for the final crown piece. Unable to remove the spear shard, Liz, Abe and Krauss take Hellboy to the Golden Army’s location in the Giants Causeway, County Antrim, Northern Ireland. They encounter a Bethmoora goblin who brings them before the Angel of Death, who has awaited their arrival. Though warned Hellboy will doom humanity if he lives, and that she will suffer the most from it, Liz pleads for Hellboy’s life. The Angel removes the shard from Hellboy’s chest and tells Liz to give him a reason to live. She reveals to Hellboy that he will be a father, and he recovers.

The goblin leads the team to the resting place of the Golden Army, where Nuada awaits them. In exchange for Nuala, Abe gives him the last piece of the crown. Nuada awakens the Golden Army, ordering the team’s death; the army proves indestructible as the soldiers magically repair themselves. Hellboy challenges Nuada for the crown, and Nuada is forced to accept, since Hellboy’s father was a Prince of Sheol, the Fallen One, a member of Hell’s royal family. Hellboy defeats Nuada and spares his life, but Nuada tries stabbing him. Nuala commits suicide to stop her brother; the dying Nuada tells Hellboy he will have to choose whether humanity or magical beings must die. Abe psychically shares his feelings with Nuala before she and her brother die. Hellboy briefly considers using the crown, but Liz melts it, deactivating the Golden Army. As the team leaves the underground compound, Tom Manning reprimands them. Hellboy, Liz, Abe, and Johann resign from the B.P.R.D. Hellboy contemplates his future life with Liz and their baby. Liz corrects “babies” and holds up two fingers, signifying that she is pregnant with twins.
Hellboy II: The Golden Army is a wild, darkly ornate ride through the world of half-forgotten gods and fey. While it has a few flaws, those are far outweighed by the brilliant of Del Toro’s vision.