25 DAYS OF CHRISTMAS REVIEW: LOST – THE CONSTANT

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MAIN CAST

Matthew Fox (Alex Cross)
Evangeline Lilly (Ant-Man)
Naveen Andrews (Planet Terror)
Jorge Garcia (Alcatraz)
Elizabeth Mitchell (V)
Henry Ian Cusick (24)
Jeremy Davies (Hannibal)
Rebecca Mader (Iron Man 3)

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RECURRING / NOTABLE GUEST CAST

Anthony Azizi (Eagle Eye)
Alan Dale (Ugly Betty)
Kevin Durand (X-Men Origins)
Jeff Fahey (Planet Terror)
Fisher Stevens (HAckers)
Sonya Walger (Flashforward)
Graham McTavish (The Hobbit)

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Desmond, Sayid and Lapidus experience turbulence while flying the 130 kilometers (about 80 miles) distance from the island where they were stranded to Lapidus’ team’s freighter, the Kahana. Desmond’s consciousness travels back eight years to 1996, when he is serving with the British Army’s Royal Scots Regiment. Moments later, when his consciousness returns to the present day, he neither knows where he is nor recognizes his companions, and has no memory of his life since 1996. After the helicopter lands, Desmond continues to jump between 1996 and 2004. He is taken to the sick bay, where a man named Minkowski is strapped to a bed because he is experiencing similar problems. Minkowski explains that someone sabotaged the radio room two days earlier and that Desmond’s ex-girlfriend Penny Widmore (Sonya Walger) has been trying to contact the freighter. Sayid uses the satellite phone to contact Jack Shephard (Matthew Fox) on the island and explains that Desmond appears to have amnesia. Daniel Faraday (Jeremy Davies), a physicist from the freighter, asks Jack whether Desmond has recently been exposed to a high level of radiation or electromagnetism. Jack is unsure, and so Daniel speaks to Desmond and asks him about his situation. Desmond responds that he believes that he is in 1996 and is serving with the Royal Scots. Faraday understands and tells Desmond that when he returns to 1996, he needs to go to the physics department of The Queen’s College, Oxford University in England to meet with Daniel’s past self, and gives Desmond some mechanical settings to relay, along with an extra phrase that Daniel assures him will convince Daniel’s past self that the story is legitimate.lost-constantDesmond’s flashbacks become more frequent and longer. In 1996, Desmond tracks down a younger Faraday at Oxford, who takes Desmond into his laboratory where he is experimenting with a time machine. Setting his electromagnetic device with the settings that Desmond has given him, Daniel places his laboratory rat, Eloise, in a maze and exposes her to electromagnetic energy. The rat appears to become comatose, then awakens and runs the maze. Daniel becomes excited because he had just built the maze and had not yet taught Eloise how to run it. Desmond realizes that, like the rat, he is caught in a time warp that is moving his consciousness between two different bodies at two different points in time and space. Eloise dies of a suspected brain aneurysm brought on by the exposure to the time lapse. Desmond becomes worried that he will die like Eloise, and Daniel instructs him to find something or someone—a constant—who is present in both times and can serve as an anchor for Desmond’s mental stability. Desmond decides that Penny can be the constant; however, he must make contact with her in 2004. To find out where she lives, Desmond gets her address from her father Charles (Alan Dale), who is at an auction buying a journal owned by Tovard Hanso written by a crew member of the 19th century ship called the Black Rock. hqdefaultIn 1996, Desmond finds Penny, who is still distraught over their break-up and is not willing to see him. However, he gets her telephone number and tells her not to change it because he will call her on Christmas Eve 2004. In 2004, Sayid, Desmond, and Minkowski escape the sick bay and begin to repair the broken communications equipment. Meanwhile, Minkowski enters into another flashback, and dies. Showing signs of suffering the same fate as Minkowski, Desmond telephones Penny, who tells Desmond that she has been searching for him for the past three years and they reconcile before the power is cut off. Having made contact with his “constant”, Desmond stops alternating between 1996 and 2004. Back on the island, Daniel flips through his journal and discovers a note that he had written, “If anything goes wrong, Desmond Hume will be my constant.”676

No other episode since the beginning has touched on this many of the themes of Lost. Rather than the showing the present with the flash-forward/backward tying in symbolically, which is the shows usual template, this episode ties the present to the flash in a very real and deadly way, also revealing a big, nay, gigantic clue as to the island’s origins. Or at least lets us in on a part of the big secret.

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REVIEW: VERONICA MARS – SEASON 3

Starring

Kristen Bell (The Good Place)
Jason Dohring (The Originals)
Percy Daggs III (Detention)
Francis Capra (Izombie)
Enrico Colantoni (Flashpoint)
Ryan Hansen (2 Broke Girls)
Tina Majorino (Waterworld)
Michael Muhney (The Young and the Restless)
Julie Gonzalo (Cherry Rush)
Chris Lowell (GLOW)

Kristen Bell in Veronica Mars (2004)

RECURRING / NOTABLE GUEST CAST

Ken Marino (Agent Carter)
Patrick Fabian (Better Call Saul)
Jason Beghe (One Missed Call)
Charisma Carpenter (Angel)
Brandon Hillock (Villains)
James Jordan (Destroyer)
Andrew McClain (Alienate)
Rodney Rowland (Legacies)
David Tom (Swing Kids)
Samm Levine (Inglourious Basterds)
Rider Strong (Cabin Fever)
Chastity Dotson (Patriot)
Keri Lynn Pratt (Samllville)
Rachelle Lefevre (Twilight)
Dan Castellaneta (The Simpsons)
Ryan Devlin (Izombie)
Armie Hammer (The Lone Ranger)
Lindsey McKeon (One Tree Hill)
Krista Kalmus (Fired Up!)
Abby Miller (The Girl)
Ed Begley Jr. (A Mighty Wind)
Parry Shen (Hatchet II)
Robert Ri’chard (House of Wax)
Michael B. Silver (Jason Goes To Hell)
Daran Norris (Izombie)
Blake Shields (Heroes)
Ryan Pinkston (Will & Grace)
Jaime Ray Newman (Bates Motel)
Richard Grieco (21 Jump Street)
Adam Rose (Santa Clarita Diet)
Dianna Agron (Glee)
Laura San Giacomo (Pretty Woman)
Amanda Walsh (Disturbia)
Michael Grant Terry (Bones)
Sandra McCoy (Power Rangers Wild Force)
Charles Shaughnessy (Sabrina: TTW)
Patricia Hearst (Cry-Baby)
David Blue (Stargate Universe)
Jamie Chung (The Gifted)
Eric Jungmann (Not Another Teen Movie)
Brittany Ishibashi (Runaways)
Brianne Davis (Six)
Amanda Noret (She’s Out of His Mind)
Chris Ellis (Armageddon)
Carlee Avers (The Changed)
Toni Trucks (Grimm)
Juliette Goglia (Mike & Molly)
Jeremy Roberts (The Mask)
Anthony Azizi (Lost)
Jack McGee (Gangster Squad)
Fred Stoller (Little Man)
Duane Daniels (First Strike)
Paul Rudd (Ant-Man)
Suzanne Cryer (Two Guys and a Girl)
Edi Gathegi (Beauty and The BEast)
Tangie Ambrose (Why Him?)
Patrick Fischler (Birds of Prey)
Kyle Secor (The Purge: Election Year)
Max Greenfield (New Girl)
Christopher B. Duncan (Legacies)
Jim Jansen (A.I.)

Kristen Bell and Jason Dohring in Veronica Mars (2004)In its third season, Veronica Mars steps away from any season-length stories. Slightly truncated to twenty episodes, season three is neatly grouped into three distinct chunks of episodes. The season opens with Veronica settling into her freshman year at Hearst College, but the campus continues to be plagued by a spree of sexual assaults. Mac’s bubbly roommate Parker (Julie Gonzalo) is the latest victim to be roofied and raped, with the attacker leaving his calling card by shaving her head. Having suffered through the past couple of years as a rape victim herself and unwittingly in a position to have caught Parker’s rapist during the attack, Veronica’s grim determination to put an end to this reign of terror makes up the first and the lengthiest of the season’s arcs.The season’s second arc picks up a couple of months after the grisly final shot of “Spit and Eggs” as the police have shrugged off the death of someone close to Veronica as a suicide.Kristen Bell in Veronica Mars (2004)A devastating emotional blow delivered just hours earlier, a gunshot to the temple, a vague suicide note typed on a PC…it’s tragic, yes, but the pieces fit neatly together just the same. Still, it’s a scenario lifted directly from a paper Veronica penned for her criminology class on how to commit the perfect murder. Throughout the course of their investigation, Veronica and her father become entangled in a pair of other murders, among them the death of one of Veronica Mars’ most enduring characters.Facing cancellation and attempting to make the largely serialized series more accessible to new viewers, Veronica Mars draws to a close with a set of five standalone episodes. There aren’t any overarching investigations, although some threads leak from one episode to the next, including a sheriff’s race between Keith Mars and an unlikely contender.The season premiere introduces two other Hearst students who’d go on to stick around for the rest of the year: Wallace’s roommate Stosh “Piz” Piznarski (Chris Lowell) and Mac’s roomieuntitledThe hunt for Hearst’s rapist, which runs for the nine of the season’s twenty episodes, is the highest point of the set. It’s the most engaging of the season’s various arcs, which is impressive considering that these episodes have to juggle the weekly mysteries, the overarching search for the rapist, and introduce the new characters and Hearst College as a whole. There seems to be some connection between the rapes and the Greek system at Hearst, pitting Veronica against a group of feminists determined to bring the frats down, forcing her to defend the same lecherous halfwits she thought were tied to the rapes last season, and clawing her way into the Zeta Theta Beta house.Kristen Bell in Veronica Mars (2004)This first half of the season also gives the supporting cast a reasonable amount of screentime, including Wallace and Logan on opposite ends of an Abu Ghraib-inspired prison experiment, Logan stumbling onto a life-changing discovery when trying to find out why his trust fund is dwindling so quickly, and Keith making the same sorts of excuses with a married client as the skeevy men whose infidelities pay his rent. The arc comes to a close with “Spit and Eggs”, which, in true Veronica Mars form, plays like more of a thriller than a mystery, and it’s by far the most intense episode of the season. Veronica Mars was an excellent a show spread across 3 seasons and become a great cult show, and with the arrival of the movie saw resurgence in its popularity.

REVIEW: LOST – SEASON 6

Starring

Matthew Fox (Alex Cross)
Jorge Garcia (How I Met Your Mother)
Evangeline Lilly (Ant-Man and The Wasp)
Terry O’Quinn (The Rocketeer)
Josh Holloway (Colony)
Naveen Andrews (The Brave One)
Michael Emerson (Arrow)
Daniel Dae Kim (Insurgent)
Yunjin Kim (Shiri)
Henry Ian Cusick (Hitman)
Ken Leung (Inhumans)
Emilie de Ravin (Roswell)
Jeff Fahey (Texas Rising)
Nestor Carbonell (Bates Motel)
Zuleikha Robinson (Homeland)

Josh Holloway and Elizabeth Mitchell in Lost (2004)

Recurring / Notable Guest Cast

Sam Anderson (Angel)
L. Scott Caldwell (Chilling Adventures of Sabrina)
Brad William Henke (Bright)
Kimberly Joseph (Hercules: TLJ)
Fredric Lehne (Amityville 4)
Elizabeth Mitchell (V)
Dominic Monaghan (Flashforward)
Mark Pellegrino (13 Reasons Why)
Daniel Roebuck (Final Destination)
Ian Somerhalder (The Vampire Diaries)
Sean Whalen (Twister)
Greg Grunberg (Alias)
John Hawkes (Winter’s Bone)
David H. Lawrence XVII (Heores)
Hiroyuki Sanada (Westworld)
William Mapother (Anotehr Earth)
Jeff Kober (New Girl)
Katey Sagal (Futurama)
Veronica Hamel (Cannonball)
Dylan Minnette (13 Reasons Why)
Andrea Gabriel (2 Broke Girls)
Kevin Durand (Swamp Thing)
Anthony Azizi (Eagle Eye)
Rob McElhenney (Wonder Boys)
William Atherton (Ghostbusters)
Alan Dale (Ugly Betty)
Jon Gries(Taken)
Tania Raymonde (Texas Chainsaw)
Neil Hopkins (The Net 2.0)
Rebecca Mader (Iron Man 3)
Jodi Lyn O’Keefe (The Vampire Diaries)
Titus Welliver (The Town)
Andrew Divoff (Wishmaster)
Chad Donella (Smallville)
Jeremy Davies (Hannibal)
Fionnula Flanagan (The Others)
Sonya Walger (Flashforward)
Fisher Stevens (Hackers)
Harold Perrineau (Constantine)
Cynthia Watros (Titus)
François Chau (The Tick)
Kevin Tighe (My Bloody Valentine)
Allison Janney (Mom)
Mira Furlan (Babylon 5)
Michelle Rodriguez (The Fast and The Furious)
Maggie Grace (The Fog)
John Terry (Full Metal Jacket)
John Pyper-Ferguson (Caprica)

Nestor Carbonell and Terry O'Quinn in Lost (2004)Season 6 of Lost is quite possibly the most scrutinized season of television in history. With both longtime fans of the series and curious outsiders wondering if this season would deliver both on answers and a satisfying conclusion, series show runners DamonLindelof and Carlton Cuse had an incredible task on their hands. With an edge-of-your-seat conclusion to Season 5, the small band of survivors we’ve grown to love set out on their final journey against a villainous shape shifter on an island of mystery.

In Season 4, “The Constant” established Lost as a science fiction series when it introduced time travel into the equation. From that point forward, until the conclusion of Season 5, the series maintained and expanded on that concept by sending the survivors hurtling through time until they eventually landed in 1974 (or 1977, for those on Ajira 316). Season 6 drops the time travel story completely and introduces a different sci-fi concept: alternate realities. It appears that the detonation of Jughead in “The Incident” created a parallel universe in which events played out slightly different and Oceanic Flight 815 never crashed.Much like flash-backs and flash-forwards, we experience this parallel universe through a series of “centric” flash-sideways featuring the lives of these characters as if the crash had never happened. This gives Lindelof and Cuse a unique opportunity to reexamine the lives of these characters from a completely different perspective.Josh Holloway in Lost (2004)The flash-sideways giving us incredibly important character moments and an intriguing new story that’s both surprising and engaging. With each “centric” flash-sideways story, parallels are drawn to the character’s plight while they are on the island. This relationship between timelines establishes a key connection between both storylines that give the flash-sideways an importance outside of simply being a different perspective on how things could have ultimately played out.Jeff Fahey, Michael Emerson, Yunjin Kim, and Zuleikha Robinson in Lost (2004)Connections between the two universes are explored more thoroughly as the series progresses and we do ultimately get a resolution to the flash-sideways storyline. How satisfying that resolution is will ultimately be based on a number of factors that stem from your own expectations. In other words, it’s a polarizing conclusion to a very unique story and you’re probably either going to love it or hate it. I loved the way the flash-sideways story ended because it satisfied the need for closure.Josh Holloway and Elizabeth Mitchell in Lost (2004)“Happily Ever After” stands out as the episode that had the most impact on both universes. Living, breathing Desmond David Hume (Henry Ian Cusick) has his consciousness transported into what we now know to be the afterlife and acts as the genesis for everything that happens in the “flash-sideways” realm after his departure. Desmond is also the catalyst for most events that occur leading up to and including the finale.Matthew Fox and Jorge Garcia in Lost (2004)He’s seen as nothing more than a tool by those around him; a means to an end. However, Desmond is infused with his own sense of purpose. With the events he experienced in the other universe infecting his mind, Desmond sets out to free those remaining on the island from their pain and suffering and take them to a better place. It’s funny how both Desmonds are essentially driven by the same goal, with only one succeeding. But Desmond’s error on the island gives Jack and Kate (Evangeline Lilly) the window they need to stop the Man in Black.untitledTerry O’Quinn, who spent most of the past five seasons playing John Locke, slips into his new role as the embodiment of dark temptation with ease. We actually saw him as the Man in Black last season, but even O’Quinn didn’t realize that he was technically playing a different character until close to the finale.Terry O'Quinn in Lost (2004)Here he’s allowed to truly enjoy portraying a villain and it’s obvious he’s having a hell of a lot of fun in the role.Josh Holloway in Lost (2004)The Man in Black tests the survivors like never before. Offering them freedom, survival and even answers to some of the island’s more pressing mysteries. The way that the survivors respond to this temptation ultimately defines who they truly are, even if it takes them some time to make the right decision. Again, just like the flash-sideways, this gives us yet another fascinating new perspective on these characters. We see them at both their weakest and their strongest this season. )Season 6 does a good job of explaining some mysteries while others are left up to the viewer to dissect for years to come. Lost: Season 6 is a strong conclusion to what has been an extraordinary series.Naveen Andrews and Hiroyuki Sanada in Lost (2004)All the elements that made the past five seasons so great are here, with the added bonus of this being the final season and the stakes being raised for all the characters. Whether or not the answers provided are satisfying or cover enough ground will vary drastically for different viewers, but ultimately, Lost: Season 6 delivers closure on a story that has captivated us for so long.

REVIEW: LOST – SEASON 4

Starring

Matthew Fox (Alex Cross)
Jorge Garcia (How I Met Your Mother)
Elizabeth Mitchell (V)
Evangeline Lilly (Ant-Man and The Wasp)
Jeremy Davies (Hannibal)
Terry O’Quinn (The Rocketeer)
Josh Holloway (Colony)
Naveen Andrews (The Brave One)
Emilie de Ravin (Operation: Endgame)
Michael Emerson (Arrow)
Rebecca Mader (Iron Man 3)
Daniel Dae Kim (Insurgent)
Yunjin Kim (Shiri)
Henry Ian Cusick (Hitman)
Ken Leung (Inhumans)
Harold Perrineau (Sabotage)

Jorge Garcia and Dominic Monaghan in Lost (2004)

Recurring / Notable Guest Cast

Dominic Monaghan (Flashforward)
Sam Anderson (Angel)
L. Scott Caldwell (Chilling Adventures of Sabrina)
Michael Cudlitz (The Walking Dead)
Mira Furlan (Babylon 5)
Tania Raymonde (Texas Chainsaw)
Lance Reddick (John Wick)
Fisher Stevens (Hackers)
John Terry (Full Metal Jacket)
Marsha Thomason (White Collar)
Zoë Bell (The Hateful Eight)
Jeff Fahey (Texas Rising)
Thekla Reuten (Highlander 5)
Beth Broderick (Sabrina: TTW)
Shawn Doyle (Impulse)
Anthony Azizi (Eagle Eye)
Alan Dale (Ugly Betty)
Kevin Durand (Swamp Thing)
Sonya Walger (Flashforward)
Graham McTavish (The Hobbit)
Andrea Roth (Cloak & Dagger)
M.C. Gainey (Breakdown)
Grant Bowler (Harrow)
George Cheung (Rush Hour)
Cynthia Watros (Titus)
Galyn Görg (Robocop 2)
Malcolm David Kelley (Detroit)
Faran Tahir (Iron Man)
Andrea Gabriel (2 Broke Girls)
April Parker Jones (Supergirl)
Nestor Carbonell (Bates Motel)
Doug Hutchison (Punisher: War Zone)
Amanda Carlin (Friends)
Michelle Forbes (True Blood)
Veronica Hamel (Cannonball)
Cheech Marin (Coco)

Jeff Fahey in Lost (2004)After a stunning conclusion to the show’s third season, the bar was raised and much was expected of the fourth season of Lost. With the final three seasons reduced to sixteen episodes each and a clear finish line. The creative team could now focus on telling their story without having to worry about how many episodes they had left to work with. Season four is the first to benefit and delivers a faster paced and leaner story that expands the Lost universe in some unexpected ways and delves into the mystery that was introduced at the end of last season.Mira Furlan, Michael Emerson, Josh Holloway, Terry O'Quinn, and Rebecca Mader in Lost (2004)The “flash-forward” at the end of last season introduced an exciting new way in which Lost stories could be told. The use of these flash-forwards continues through the fourth season, revealing that even more Oceanic survivors made it off the island and also introduces an intriguing conspiracy of silence regarding those who weren’t so lucky. This storyline is the backbone of the fourth season as we discovered who was fortunate enough to escape the island and who was left behind. This is arguably the series’ best story arc since the mystery surrounding the hatch and is a well-developed, tightly paced narrative that actually has a satisfying conclusion at the end of the season.The benefit of a shortened schedule is apparent and this season has far less “filler” than previous outings.Michael Emerson in Lost (2004)Less episodes means that every minute of screen time becomes that much more precious and the outcome is a season that doesn’t have what we’d consider a bad episode in the bunch. Even this season’s Kate-centric episode is decent when compared to previous years’ outings. There are plenty of episodes that you will want to revisit here, including the pivotal “The Constant” that is a game-changer when it comes to the series’ mythology. It also features Henry Ian Cusick’s best performance as Desmond to date and one of the more memorable Michael Giacchino scores. The rest of the season is filled to the brim with moments that will have any Lost fan riveted.Michael Emerson in Lost (2004)Acting wise, all the great performances that you have come to expect from the series’ regulars are present. Henry Ian Cusick in Lost (2004)Michael Emerson and Terry O’Quinn continue to put in stellar performances as Ben Linus and John Locke respectively. As has been stated many times throughout the last couple of seasons, these two have some phenomenal chemistry on screen and they spend a great deal of time verbally sparring with each other this season. The newcomers to the show are no slouches either. Veteran actor Jeff Fahey is memorable as helicopter pilot Frank Lapidus. Ken Leung has already become a series favorite as the sharp-tongued Miles Straume and while some fans have had a negative reaction towards Rebecca Mader’s Charlotte Lewis, it is hard to deny that she puts in a respectable performance here.Elizabeth Mitchell in Lost (2004)Jeremy Davies deserves special recognition for his portrayal of physicist – Daniel Faraday. Simply put, Davies’ is awesome as the polite and awkward scientist whose unique viewpoint of the island’s core mysteries is a benefit to the series. If given more screen time he would have probably stolen the show and he stands alongside Ben Linus and Desmond Hume as yet another exceptional new addition to the series.With the introduction of new characters and the already expanded Lost cast, some regulars take a step back and are not featured as prominently as you would expect. Most notable are series heavyweights Jack and Kate, who are present and accounted for, but see their roles slightly reduced as other characters are brought to the forefront. As the cast and story expand, it has obviously become a necessity to focus on a wider range of characters. The series’ writers are equal to the task and do a good job of handling a large cast without forgetting anyone in the mix.

 

REVIEW: TRANSFORMERS: DARK OF THE MOON

CAST

Shia LaBeouf (Eagle Eye)
Rosie Huntington-Whiteley (Mad Max: Fury Road)
Josh Duhamel (Paradise Lost)
John Turturro (Exodus: Gods and Kings)
Tyrese Gibson (2 Fast 2 Furious)
Patrick Dempsey (Made of Honor)
Kevin Dunn (Samantha Who?)
Julie White (Lincoln)
John Malkovich (Red)
Frances McDormand (Hail, Caesar!)
Keiko Agena (13 Reasons Why)
Lester Speight (Faster)
Josh Kelly (Jarhead 2)
Alan Tudyk (Firefly)
Mark Ryan (Robin of Sherwood)
Ken Jeong (The Hangover)
Glenn Morshower (Supergirl)
Buzz Aldrin (The Big Bang Theory)
Elya Baskin (Heroes)
Peter Cullen (Dungeons & Dragons)
Hugo Weaving (The Matrix)
Leonard Nimoy (Star Trek)
Jess Harnell (Little Nicky)
James Remar (Mortal Kombat: Annihilation)
Francesco Quinn (Hell Ride)
George Coe (The West Wing)
Reno Wilson (Mike & Molly)
Tom Kenny (The Powerpuff Girls)
John DiMaggio (Futurama)
Keith Szarabajka (Angel)
Greg Berg (The Muppets)
Lindsey Ginter (S.W.A.T.)
Anthony Azizi (Lost)
Robert Foxworth (Beyond The Stars)

Ravil Isyanov (Octopus)

In 1961, the “Ark”, a Cybertronian spacecraft carrying an invention capable of ending the war between the benevolent Autobots and the malevolent Decepticons, crash lands on the dark side of Earth’s Moon. The crash is detected on Earth by NASA, and the President authorizes a mission to put a man on the Moon as a cover for investigating the spacecraft. In 1969, the crew of Apollo 11 lands on the Moon.In the present, the Autobots assist the United States military in preventing major conflicts around the globe. During a mission to Chernobyl to investigate suspected alien technology, Optimus Prime finds a fuel cell from the “Ark”, discovering that it had survived its journey from Cybertron. The Autobots are then attacked by Shockwave, a Decepticon scientist, who manages to escape. After learning of the top-secret mission to the Moon, the Autobots travel there to explore the “Ark”. They discover a comatose Sentinel Prime – Optimus’ predecessor as leader of the Autobots – and the Pillars he created as a means of establishing a Space Bridge between two points to teleport matter. After returning to Earth, Optimus uses the energy of his Matrix of Leadership to revive Sentinel Prime.Meanwhile, Sam Witwicky is frustrated that he is unable to work with the Autobots or find a job. He also becomes envious of the close relationship between his new girlfriend, Carly Spencer, and her boss Dylan Gould. After finding work, Sam is provided information by his eccentric co-worker Jerry Wang about the “Ark”, before Jerry is assassinated by the Decepticon Laserbeak. Sam contacts the now-independently wealthy Sector 7 Agent Seymour Simmons, and together they realize that the Decepticons and their leader, Megatron, are murdering people connected to the American and Russian space missions to the “Ark”. They locate two surviving Russian cosmonauts, who reveal satellite photos of hundreds of Pillars being stockpiled on the Moon. Sam realizes that the Decepticons raided the “Ark” long before the Apollo 11 mission to the moon and intentionally left Sentinel and the five Pillars behind to lure the Autobots into a trap with Sentinel being the key to activating the Pillars and the Decepticons lacking the means to revive him. The Autobots rush to return Sentinel to their base for protection, but Sentinel betrays them and murders the Autobot Ironhide, revealing he had made a deal with Megatron to ensure Cybertron’s survival.Sentinel uses the Pillars to transport hundreds of concealed Decepticons from the Moon to Earth. Carly is later captured by Gould, who is revealed to be in service of the Decepticons. The Autobots are exiled from Earth at the demand of the Decepticons to avoid war, but as their ship leaves Earth it is destroyed by Megatron’s second-in-command, Starscream, seemingly killing the Autobots. The Decepticons, led by Megatron and Sentinel, invade Chicago as their agents place Pillars around the world. Gould reveals to Carly that the Decepticons plan to transport their homeworld of Cybertron to the Solar System, then to enslave humanity and use Earth’s resources to rebuild their world. Sam teams up with former USAF Chief Robert Epps and ex-NEST soldiers to go into Chicago to save Carly, but they are nearly killed by Decepticon forces before the Autobots intervene, revealing they concealed themselves during the launch of their ship to convince the Decepticons they were destroyed.Working together, the Autobots and human soldiers manage to rescue Carly and kill Laserbeak, Starscream, Soundwave and Shockwave, with Optimus using Shockwave’s arm-cannon to blast the Control Pillar, disabling the Space Bridge. Sam confronts Gould as he reactivates the Control Pillar, and knocks Gould into the Pillar, electrocuting him. Bumblebee and Ratchet arrive and destroy the Control Pillar, permanently disabling the Bridge and causing the partially transported Cybertron to implode. Optimus and Sentinel fight while Carly convinces Megatron that he will be replaced by Sentinel as leader of the Decepticons. Sentinel severs Optimus’ right arm, and is about to execute him when Megatron intervenes, incapacitating Sentinel. Megatron slyly proposes a truce, having the desire to become the one in charge again, but Optimus instead attacks Megatron, decapitating and killing him. Sentinel pleads for his life, but Optimus executes him too for betraying his own principles. With the Decepticons defeated, Carly and Sam are reunited and the Autobots accept that, with Cybertron gone for good, Earth is now their home.Ultimately, Bay’s primary success here is casting. In addition to Dempsey (pleasingly cynical), Dark of the Moon boasts an elaborate roster of recognizable, exceptional professionals, like John Malkovich (ridiculous), Frances McDormand (deadly serious), Ken Jeong (psychotic), and Alan Tudyk (over-the-top), who give the film color. McDormand in particular adds a level of gravitas to the first half of the movie that really greases the wheels, and even though she’s relegated to the far back in the last third, she shares her time with returning player John Turturro, with whom she has amusing chemistry. Josh Duhamel, Tyrese Gibson, Kevin Dunn, and Julie White also return. Everything else is action, action, action. This time, Bay is better with his action geography and choreography, illustrating fights from a distance and turning down the dust clouds a little bit.

REVIEW: PHOBIC

CAST

Billy Parish (Lich)
Anthony Azizi (Lost)
Katie Bowers (Grand Junction)
Sunny Lombardo (Hell Asylum)

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I used to remember when b-grade movies used to have at least some redeeming quality about them, be it the effort that some actors went through to do what they must to make a buck, or even something about the story that had a certain charm. Phobic isn’t one of these.

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In it, Joey Walters, played by Billy Parish,  has agoraphobia- fear of socializing and the outside. In this case, every time someone opens the door, he starts to space out and see double. Well, we see double and the camera pulling in and out and the brightness turned up too high- we have no idea what Joey sees. Perhaps it’s that crazy lunatic that killed his sister that still haunts him- who calls him on the phone, and eventually enters his house, that’s driving him crazy? Perhaps he has schizophrenia instead? And what is it with all these bodies showing up? At one point, we see a single little gleam of light that may not save the movie, but show us a surprise. But no. Who cares.
phenomenaBad synthesized music, sound levels that are not audible enough, cheap camera tricks that’s supposed to pass off for special effects, and of course really bad acting. If you’re looking for gore, you won’t find any here and what’s supposed to be scary isn’t.

REVIEW: CHARLIE WILSON’S WAR

 

CAST

Tom Hanks (Catch Me If You Can)
Julia Roberts (Mirror Mirror)
Philip Seymour Hoffman (Doubt)
Amy Adams (Man of Steel)
Ned Beatty (Superman)
Christopher Denham (Duplicity)
Emily Blunt (Into The Woods)
Omn Purri (London Dreams)
Ken Stott (The Hobbit)
John Slattery (Ant-Man)
Denis O’Hare (Derailed)
Daniel Eric Gold (Ugly Betty)
Jud Tylor (That 70s Show)
Brian Markinson (Arrow)
Rachel Nichols (Conan The Barbarian)
Wynn Everett (Agent Carter)
Shiri Appleby (Roswell)
Cyia Batten (Killer Movie)
Ilia Volok (Power Rangers Wild Force)
Erick Avari (Stargate)
Anthony Azizi (Lost)

Faran Tahir (Iron Man)

Shaun Toub (Iron Man)
Michelle Arthur (Lost)
Rizwan Manji (The Dictator)
P.J. Byrne (Rampage)
Navid Negahban (Legion)
Jim Jansen (Death Becomes Her)
Kevin Cooney (Roswell)
Spencer Garrett (Yes Man)
Nazanin Boniadi (How I Met Your Mother)
Lara Flynn Boyle (Men In Black 2)

In 1980, Congressman Charlie Wilson is more interested in partying than legislating, frequently throwing huge galas and staffing his congressional office with young, attractive women. His social life eventually brings about a federal investigation into allegations of his cocaine use, conducted by federal prosecutor Rudy Giuliani as part of a larger investigation into congressional misconduct. The investigation results in no charge against Charlie.

A friend and romantic interest, Joanne Herring, encourages Charlie to do more to help the Afghan people, and persuades Charlie to visit the Pakistani leadership. The Pakistanis complain about the inadequate support of the U.S. to oppose the Soviet Union, and they insist that Charlie visit a major Pakistan-based Afghan refugee camp. Charlie is deeply moved by their misery and determination to fight, but is frustrated by the regional CIA personnel’s insistence on a low key approach against the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan. Charlie returns home to lead an effort to substantially increase funding to the mujahideen.

As part of this effort, Charlie befriends maverick CIA operative Gust Avrakotos and his understaffed Afghanistan group to find a better strategy, especially including a means to counter the Soviets’ formidable Mi-24 helicopter gunship. This group was composed in part of members of the CIA’s Special Activities Division, including a young paramilitary officer named Michael Vickers. As a result, Charlie’s deft political bargaining for the necessary funding and Avrakotos’ careful planning using those resources, such as supplying the guerrillas with FIM-92 Stinger missile launchers, turns the Soviet occupation into a deadly quagmire with their heavy fighting vehicles being destroyed at a crippling rate. The CIA’s anti-communism budget evolves from $5 million to over $500 million (with the same amount matched by Saudi Arabia), startling several congressmen. This effort by Charlie ultimately evolves into a major portion of the U.S. foreign policy known as the Reagan Doctrine, under which the U.S. expanded assistance beyond just the mujahideen and began also supporting other anti-communist resistance movements around the world. Charlie states that senior Pentagon official Michael Pillsbury persuaded President Ronald Reagan to provide the Stingers to the Afghans.

Charlie follows Gust’s guidance to seek support for post-Soviet occupation Afghanistan, but finds no enthusiasm in the government for even the modest measures he proposes. In the end, Charlie receives a major commendation for his support of the U.S. clandestine services, but his pride is tempered by his fears of the blowback his secret efforts could yield in the future and the implications of U.S. disengagement from Afghanistan.
Charlie Wilson’s War is a very good film in my opinion, that is compelling, clever and entertaining.