REVIEW: COLUMBUS CIRCLE

 

CAST

Selma Blair (Hellboy)
Amy Smart (Road Trip)
Kevin Pollak (Mom)
Jason Antoon (Two Weeks Notice)
Robert Guillaume (Big Fish)
Giovanni Ribisi (Avatar)
Beau Bridges (Stargate: Atlantis)
Samm Levine (Pulse)
Jason Lee (My Name is Earl)

Abigail Clayton lives alone. Very alone. In fact, the attractive heiress has not left her Manhattan loft apartment for almost two decades. The famous daughter of a wealthy industrialist, Abigail disappeared from the prying eyes of the press and the intrusiveness of her family on her 18th birthday, the day she received her massive inheritance. During years of self-imposed isolation, Abigail has had contact with only two people-her building’s Concierge, Klandermann, with whom she communicates via notes-and Dr. Raymond Fontaine, a longtime family friend and her sole confidant for most of her life. When the death of her elderly neighbor prompts NYPD Homicide Detective Frank Giardello to launch an investigation, the agoraphobic Abigail is distressed to find him outside her door, asking to question her. Having tried to acquire the dead woman’s now vacant apartment to ensure her privacy, Abigail is further upset when her requests go unanswered, and new tenants Lillian and Charlie move in. A intelligent and suspenseful script makes this outstanding film a real treat. Sharply directed and beautifully filmed, Columbus Circle is easily ranked in the top ten tension filled movies in the last decade. The cast is truly incredible and the performances are unforgettable. It is, however, Selma Blair’s stunning work here that really sets the screen on fire. Her smoldering beauty is only exceeded by her gifts as an actor and as the protagonist in the film, she gives what is nothing less than the performance of her career. She carries the story with grace and gravitas and because of her the story never loses momentum up to its shattering climax. One shock is followed by another as each surprising layer of this onion-like plot is peeled back, revealing the almost overwhelming truth.

REVIEW: VOYAGE OF THE UNICORN

CAST

Beau Bridges (Stargate SG.1)
Chantal Conlin (Mission To Mars)
Heather McEwen (Convergence)
Mackenzie Gray (Man of Steel)
John DeSantis (Seventh Son)
Adrien Dorval (Shanghai Noon)
Colin Heath (The Overcoat)
Kristian Ayre (Elf)
Mark Gibbon (Roadkill 2)
Kira Clavell (Rogue)
Kim Hawthorne (Lucky Louie)
Ocean Hellman (Highlander: The Series)
Jay Brazeau (Bates Motel)

Dr. Alan Aisling is an antiquities professor who has lost his wife and struggles to keep his daughters’ spirits high and his loneliness at bay. His younger daughter Cassie daydreams about the mythical world her illustrator mother left behind in her drawings and annoys her older sister Miranda.Then something magical happens: The family find themselves fleeing a plague of monstrous trolls by boarding a mysterious ship called The Unicorn. They are given a quest to find the benevolent dragon that once ruled the legendary faerie isles, before the demon trolls arrived.They partake of the quest that shows them the wonder of the mythological worlds: Fire-breathing dragons, the mermaids’ siren songs and the Minotaur’s labyrinth, and try to re-ignite an enthusiasm for life within the family.This film is a wonderful fantasy film for both children and adults alike. It alows the watcher to emerse themselves in the world of magic and fantasy and therefore escape reality for a little while.

 

REVIEW: NORMA RAE

CAST

Sally Field (The Amazing Spider-Man)
Beau Bridges (Stargate SG.1)
Ron Leibman (Garden State)
Pat Hingle (Batman)
Barbara Baxley (The Exorcist III)
Gail Strickland (The Drowning Pool)
Morgan Paull (Out Cold)
Noble Willingham (Chinatown)
Grace Zabriskie (Drop Zone)

ww-53Norma Rae Webster is a minimum-wage worker in a cotton mill that has taken too much of a toll on the health of her family for her to ignore their poor working conditions. After hearing a speech by a New York union organizer, Reuben Warshowsky, Norma Rae decides to join the effort to unionize her shop. This causes conflict at home when Norma Rae’s husband, Sonny, says she’s not spending enough time in the home.
war-of-the-worlds-1953-martians-attack-humansDespite being pressured by management, when confronted, Norma Rae takes a piece of cardboard, writes the word “UNION” on it, stands on her work table, and slowly turns to show the sign around the room. One by one, the other workers stop their mill machines, and eventually, the entire room becomes silent. After all the machines have been switched off, Norma Rae is taken to jail but is freed by Reuben.
war-of-the-worlds-1953-martian-hand-on-shoulder-sylvia-van-buren-ann-robinsonShe then decides to talk to her children and tell them the story of her life. After discussing it with Reuben, Sonny tells Norma there’s no other woman in his mind and he will always remain with her. Norma Rae then successfully orchestrates an election to unionize the factory, resulting in a victory for the union. Finally, Reuben says goodbye to Norma; despite his being smitten with her throughout the movie, they only shake hands because he knows she is married and loves her husband, and Reuben heads back to New York.16-215041_0x420This film is very much in the vein of Erin Brockovich(2000)where the worker has to stand his ground and fight for his/her voice to be heard by the oppressive corporate big boys.Sally Field’s Oscar winning performance as Norma Rae Webster was ranked No 15 on the American Film Institute’s Heroes list in their compilation of 100 years of The Greatest Screen Heroes and Villains.It’s good to see a great film with a powerful female lead character.

REVIEW: AMERICAN DAD – VOLUME 1-3

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MAIN CAST (VOICES)

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

RECURRING / NOTABLE GUEST CAST

Curtis Armstrong (New Girl)
Carmen Electra (Scary Movie)
Mike Henry (The Cleveland Show)
Kevin Michael Richardson (Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 2012)
Busy Philipps (The Smokers)
Daisuke Suzuki (I Am Gangster)
Stephen Root (King of The Hill)
Eddie Kaye Thomas (American Pie)
Zooey Deschanel (New Girl)
Nat Faxon (Weeds)
Jeff Fischer (Happy Feet)
Sarah Silverman (Evolution)
Tori Spelling (Smallville)
Patrick Stewart (X-Men)
Martin Mull (Sabrina: TTW)
Abraham Benrubi (Dark Angel)
William Fichtner (Mom)
Gina Gershon (Bound)
Seth Green (Austin Powers)
Richard Kind (Gotham)
Elias Koteas (Fallen)
Matthew Lillard (Scream)
Ron Livingston (The Conjuring)
Megyn Price (Rules of Engagement)
Molly Shannon (Bad Teacher)
Marley Shelton (Planet Terror)
Stephen Colbert (The Venture Bros.)
Daran Norris (Veronica Mars)
Oded Fehr (V)
Forest Whitaker (Panic Room)
Brian George (The Big Bang Theory)
Grant Heslov (True Lies)
Jill Talley (Little Miss Sunshine)
Beau Bridges (My Name Is Earl)
Bryan Cranston (Total Recall)
Leslie Jordan (Ugly Betty)
Sandra Oh (Sideways)
Freddy Rodriguez (Planet Terror)
Jason Lee (Dogma)
Andy Richter (Chuck)
David Herman (Angel)
Jon Cryer (Two and a Half Men)
Ioan Grufford (Ringer)
Jeremy Sisto (Wrong Turn)
Peter Facinelli (Supergirl)
Jennie Garth (Beverly Hills, 90210)
Alex Borstein (Family Guy)
Peter Scolari (Gotham)
John Cho (Star Trek)
John DiMaggio (Futurama)
Fred Tatasciore (Hulk Vs)
Alexandra Breckenridge (She’s The Man)
Chris Klein (American Pie)
Bruce Boxleitner (Babylon 5)
Kate Jackson (Charlie’s Angels)
Romany Malco (No Ordinary Family)
Thandie Newton (Westworld)
Seth Rogen (Bad Neighbours)
Christine Taylor (Zoolander)
Lizzy Caplan (Cloverfield)
Azura Skye (28 Days)
Christine Baranski (The Big Bang Theory)
Swoosie Kurtz (Mike & Molly)
Stark Sands (Minority Report TV)
Elijah Wood (Lord of The Rings)
Ivana Milicevic (Banshee)
Johnny Galecki (The Big Bang Theory)
John Krasinski (License To Wed)
Rusty Schwimmer (Highlander II)
Lisa Kudrow (Easy A)
Miguel Ferrer (Robocop)
Niecy Nash (Scream Queens)
Peter Graves (Airplane)
Patton Oswalt (Caprica)
Jane Lynch (Glee)
Lisa Edelstein (House)
Elliott Gould (Ocean’s Eleven)
Becki Newton (Ugly Betty)
Harve Presnell (Lois & Clark)
Clancy Brown (Highlander)
Richard Gant (Godzilla)
Elizabeth Banks (Power Rangers)
Eartha Kitt (60s Batman)
Eric Stonestreet (Modern Family)
Holland Taylor (Two and a Half Men)

A worthy successor to parent show Family Guy, this show tells the misadventures of an ultra right wing CIA Agent and his long suffering family.The characters are great. Stan Smith, the dad of the title is more capable than Family Guy’s Peter Griffin, but just as blinkered. He calls “French toast” smelly and ungrateful and prefers it to be known as “American toast”, has a questionable attraction to his gun and a fear of liberals.Wife Francine is a housewife who lacks ambition but every so often strikes out on her own. Their children are the geeky Steve and ultra left wing Hayley. Completing teh family are a German athlete who’s mind has been put in a fish Klaus (watch the pilot for the back story) and needy, TV and celebrity obsessed gender bending alien Roger. There are some great set ups e.g. Stan having Francine’s memory erased when he forgets a wedding anniversary, Roger apparently dying and the CIA hunting him as the area 51 alien who previously escaped and Stan being sent to Arabia as a punishment and finding it’s to his taste.The jokes fly thick and fast e.g. Roger telling Stan “Oh by the way your skin cream did wonders for my ‘roids, well if you won’t let me out of the house to buy my own I guess we’re ointment buddies!”, Stan saying “Should, well we don’t live in Shouldland. Ah Shouldland, what a wonderful place!” and Roger’s retort “yes I’m an alien and I have claws. You’re awfully fat. See? Kitty can scratch!”There are also some great turns from Patrick Stewart voicing CIA Deputy Director Bullock. Great commentaries and featurettes make a superb package!

The “Laugh Alert” level is elevated with the release of this second volume of episodes that chronologically span seasons 1 and 2. You know the “there” that people talk about when they say, “Don’t go ‘there’?” Seth MacFarlane’s American Dad leaves “there” in the dust.Take the holiday–excuse me, Christmas–episode, “The Best Christmas Story Never,” which somehow melds Charles Dickens with a Ray Bradbury-esque cautionary tale of tampering with the past.CIA Agent and true patriot act Stan Smith (voiced by MacFarlane) loses the spirit of the season in a blizzard of PC secularism in which even the fugitive “Christmas rapist” must be referred to as “the holiday rapist.” In the “is nothing sacred” world of American Dad, Christmas can only be saved by Stan accompanying the Ghost of Christmas Past (Lisa Kudrow) back in time to (don’t ask) kill Jane Fonda (or Donald Sutherland), take over the direction of Taxi Driver from a drug-free Martin Scorsese, and shoot Ronald Reagan.

The Smith family–wife Francine, geeky son Steve, and “peace-pusher” daughter Hayley–is still not as vividly drawn as the Griffins on MacFarlane’s Family Guy (even Klaus, the talking German-accented goldfish admits in one episode that his “fish shtick” is getting thin), but one can’t help salute the audacity of the oft-inspired writing. In “Stannie, Get Your Gun,” Stan becomes a National Gun Association spokesperson after being accidentally paralyzed by his anti-gun daughter. “The American Dad After School Special” has an A Brilliant Mind-like twist as Stan battles an eating disorder brought about by Steve’s new overweight girlfriend. In “Helping Handis,” Steve becomes the big man on campus after he develops steroid-enhanced breasts.Two episodes are standouts for their animation. “Dungeons and Wagons,” as did South Park with “Make Love, Not Warcraft,” creates a video game universe in which Steve rules. Near the end of “Failure Is Not a Factory-Installed Option,” the screen adjusts to widescreen format, and the saga of the golden turd, begun in the first season episode, “Homeland Insecurity” compellingly continues with the jewel-encrusted oddity becoming the last temptation of an honest cop (Beau Bridges). American Dad is, as should be apparent, not for all tastes (or more sensitive viewers–the episode “Tears of a Clooney” drops some unbleeped F-bombs), but fans of the series are rewarded with this three disc-set’s prodigious extra features, including rowdy, chaotic commentaries for all the episodes, a wealth of hit and miss deleted scenes, and a segment devoted to the production of “Dungeons and Wagons.”

“I’m not beloved,” CIA Agent Stan Smith is shocked to discover after eavesdropping on his mocking neighbours in the episode, “I Can’t Stan You”. With all the resolve this “pig-headed” Red State poster boy and George “The Dub” Bush devotee can muster, he vows, “I will make these people like me.” For those still on the fence about American Dad, this collection of 18 episodes ought to do the trick.These characters may not be as indelible as the Family Guy clan, but these episodes rarely flag. If the outrageous storylines don’t grab you, the rapid-fire random gags will. Like King of the Hill’s Hank Hill , Stan (voiced by series co-creator Seth McFarlane) is oft confounded by a world seemingly gone mad. Unlike Hank, he is the voice of un-reason. In “Surro-Gate,” Stan’s dizzy wife, Francine (Wendy Schaal) agrees to be the surrogate for the Smith’s gay neighbors, prompting the disapproving Stan to kidnap the infant, as well as the brood of a lesbian couple.In “Black Mystery Month,” Stan reveals a Da Vinci Code-like conspiracy involving George Washington Carver that’s plain nuts. In another episode, “Bush Comes to Dinner” for a night of drunken debauchery; some easy-target Bush-bashing is redeemed when the President makes peace between Stan and his “lost cause” liberal daughter, Hayley (Rachael MacFarlane). Some of the best episodes focus more on the Smith family than politics. In “The Vacation Goo”, Francine demands a real family getaway after discovering that all previous vacations were artificially created memories. In “Haylias,” it is revealed that the unwitting Hayley is a brainwashed sleeper agent, who is activated by Stan to stop her from moving to France. “The 42-Year-Old Virgin” reveals another shocker: trigger-happy Stan has never actually killed anyone!American Dad revels in guy humour. As Stan tells an unamused Hayley at one point, “You don’t get a willy, you don’t get the silly.” American Dad brings the silly, but while the series is not above (or beneath) moth fart jokes, it is also smart enough to reference, say, “Equus” or the touching “When Somebody Loved Me” number from Toy Story 2. Stan’s geeky son, Steve (Scott Grimes), bitchy alien Roger (MacFarlane), and talking fish Klaus (Dee Bradley Baker) are no Chris, Brian, or Stewie, but this set contains some of their more memorable outings. In “Frannie 911,” it turns out that it actually would kill Roger to be nice. In “Surro-Gate,” Klaus vows revenge on Roger and Stan following a waterslide prank. American Dad fans will salute this three-disc set’s generous features, including a riotous Comic-Con cast table read of the episode, “The 42 Year-Old Virgin,” nearly a half hour of deleted scenes (deleted jokes would be more accurate), unrated versions (with unbleeped profanities) of certain episodes, and freewheeling audio commentaries (“Hey, aren’t we supposed to talk about the episode?” one participant tries to steer one digressive conversation

REVIEW: THE DESCENDANTS

CAST

George Clooney (The Ides of March)
Shailene Woodley (Divergent)
Amara Miller (1600 Penn)
Nick Krause (Boyhood)
Beau Bridges (My Name Is Earl)
Robert Forster (Heroes)
Matthew Lillard (Scream)
Judy Greer (Jurassic World)

Matthew “Matt” King (George Clooney) is a Honolulu-based attorney and the sole trustee of a family trust of 25,000 pristine acres on Kauai island. The land has great monetary value, but is also a family legacy. While Matt has always ably managed his own finances, most of his cousins have squandered their inheritances. With the trust expiring in seven years due to the rule against perpetuities, the King clan is pressuring Matt to sell the land for hundreds of millions of dollars. Amidst these discussions, a boating accident has rendered Matt’s wife, Elizabeth, comatose.
With Elizabeth hospitalized, Matt is forced to cope with his two troubled daughters, 10-year-old Scottie (Amara Miller) who seeks attention by bullying other children, and 17-year-old Alex (Shailene Woodley) who has a history of substance abuse and is away at a private boarding school on the Big Island. Doctors determine that Elizabeth’s coma is irreversible and her living will directs all life support to be discontinued. When Matt tells Alex, she reveals that Elizabeth was having an affair at the time of the accident, causing a major rift between mother and daughter.
Two close family friends tell Matt that Elizabeth was unhappy and wanted to leave him for her lover, Brian Speer (Matthew Lillard), a real estate agent. After Matt arranges for friends to bid Elizabeth goodbye, he decides Speer should also have an opportunity. He and the girls, and also Alex’s slacker boyfriend Sid (Nick Krause), travel to Kauai to find Brian. While there, Matt’s cousin, Hugh (Beau Bridges) mentions that Brian is brother-in-law to Don Hollitzer, the developer to whom the family wants to sell the land. Brian stands to make a small fortune from the sales commission.
Matt confronts Brian and informs him Elizabeth is dying and offers him an opportunity to see her one last time. Brian declines, admitting that although Elizabeth was in love with him, it was only a fling to him; he loves his wife, Julie (Judy Greer) and their children, then apologizes to Matt for the pain he caused. When Elizabeth is disconnected from life support, her father, Scott (Robert Forster) admonishes Matt for not being a more generous and loving husband. Choosing not to disclose the details of her affair to Scott, Matt agrees, but Sid and Alex both unexpectedly defend Matt.
At the King family meeting, Matt overrules the majority of his cousins who favor selling to Hollitzer. Matt decides to keep the land and look for a different solution to the problem posed by the Rule Against Perpetuities. Shocked, Hugh tells Matt that he and the other cousins will take legal action if Matt refuses to sell, but Matt is undeterred. Julie, after learning of Brian’s affair with Elizabeth and realizing that he will not visit, comes to the hospital, partly feeling that decency obliges her to. She tearfully admits to Elizabeth that she wants to hate her for “trying to destroy” her family, but that she forgives her.

Matt finally comes to terms with his wife’s betrayal and her impending death. He tenderly kisses her goodbye, followed by Alex and Scottie, and later, scatter Elizabeth’s ashes in the ocean off Waikiki. The film concludes with the three at home sitting together sharing ice cream and watching television, all wrapped in the Hawaiian quilt Elizabeth had been lying in.

A Very interesting, multi-faceted film about life, basically. In parts funny,tearful, tragic and angry. Each actor portraying their character superbly. A uniquely understated performance from Clooney. Some really nice music and the Hawaiian location is wonderful. It’s not a romance or a comedy, it’s just a very thoughtful film.

REVIEW: HIT AND RUN (2012)

CAST

Kristen Bell (Veronica Mars)
Dax Sheperd (Zathura)
Tom Arnold (True Lies)
Kristin Chenoweth (Pushing Daisies)
Michael Rosenbaum (smallville)
Jess Rowland (The Princess Diaries 2)
Bradley Cooper (Joy)
Joy Bryant (Bobby)
David Koechner (Anchorman)
Ryan Hansen (2 broke Girls)
Beau Bridges (Stargate Atlantis)
Jason Bateman (Identity Thief)
Sean Hayes (Will & Grace)

Charlie Bronson (Dax Shepard) is enrolled in the Witness Protection Program, staying in Milton, California under the supervision of incompetent U.S. Marshal Randy Anderson (Tom Arnold). Charlie’s girlfriend Annie Bean (Kristen Bell) is a professor at Milton Valley College and has a doctorate in Non-Violent Conflict Resolution from Stanford University, a major she created herself. Annie’s supervisor Debbie Kreeger (Kristin Chenoweth) calls Annie in for a meeting, where she tells her that the University of California is starting a Conflict Resolution program and is interested in interviewing her. The interview is scheduled for Wednesday in Los Angeles at 4:00; Annie balks at the idea saying she needs to talk to her boyfriend about it first, until Debbie tells her to live for herself instead of boyfriends, and that she will be fired if she does not make it to the interview. A perplexed Annie returns home and tells Charlie of the job interview, upsetting him since Los Angeles is the area he lived in prior to enrolling in Witness Protection and can’t return to. Charlie insists Annie interview for the job for her own sake, even though he would be unable to follow her, but Annie instead returns to the college the next day to beg to keep her job. While she is gone, Charlie decides he would return to L.A. after all, and picks up Annie in his souped-up, restored Lincoln Continental, promising to take her to her interview.
Before they leave town Annie realizes that the teaching certificate she needs is at the home of her ex-boyfriend Gil Rathbinn (Michael Rosenbaum). She had previously told Gil that Charlie is in Witness Protection, and he urges Annie not to go with Charlie, who he is certain is a criminal who will chop her up. Annie blows him off and leaves with Charlie; Gil memorizes Charlie’s license plate and asks his gay police officer brother Terry (Jess Rowland) to look up the plate, who finds that the vehicle is registered to “Yul Clint Perkins” — Charlie’s real name. Gil uses the name to look up Charlie’s past, discovering he is a former getaway driver who testified in an ultimately unsuccessful bank robbery case against his accomplices, one of whom shot the bank guard. Gil finds the Facebook page of one of the defendants, Alexander Dmitri (Bradley Cooper), and leaves a message saying he knows where Yul Perkins is for the next 24 hours.
Meanwhile, Randy calls Charlie after discovering he is not home. Charlie tells him he is returning to L.A., and Randy insists on accompanying him per Marshals Service policy, leaving Milton in order to pursue Charlie. A short time later Charlie and Annie discover Gil following them in his vehicle. Charlie pulls over, intending to beat up Gil, but instead tries to non-violently resolve the situation at Annie’s insistence. Gil is unmoved, and reveals that he both knows Charlie’s real name and has Alex Dmitri as a “Facebook friend”. Charlie and Annie then flee from Gil in the Continental, in the process running Randy off the road as he arrives, but ultimately losing Gil. Elsewhere, Alex sees Gil’s Facebook message, gathers his fellow bank robbers Neve (Joy Bryant) and Alan (Ryan Hansen) and heads to meet Gil.
Annie and Charlie gas up the Continental, where the vehicle’s engine is admired by a redneck named Sanders (David Koechner). The two then make their way to a motel, where they are unknowingly followed by Sanders. In the morning, Charlie tries to start the vehicle, only to discover that the engine has been stolen in the night. Gil arrives shortly after, ambushing Charlie with a golf club, but Charlie distracts him and knocks him out, placing him in his vehicle. He quickly discovers that Gil was also accompanied by Alex’s crew, who are at the front desk. Charlie grabs the VIN Number of a Corvette in the parking lot, makes a duplicate keyless entry for the vehicle using the former tools of his trade, and then leaves with Annie, Gil and Alex’s crew in hot pursuit, with Randy joining the chase. During the chase Annie and Charlie argue over his past, where he reveals that he was a getaway driver who participated in 13 bank robberies, and that Neve was once his fiancee. The two ultimately escape their pursuers again.
Afterward, Annie demands Charlie pull over, where she confronts him for lying to her about his past. She decides to proceed to L.A. without Charlie; Gil arrives shortly after, and agrees to take Annie the rest of the way. A short time later they are run off the road by Alex, who takes Annie hostage and calls Charlie, telling him to meet at a nearby diner. Charlie arrives and Alex demands money in exchange for Annie, then argues about Charlie’s betrayal, cut short when Alex reveals that he was raped in jail and blames Charlie for it. Charlie agrees to take him to a hidden stash of bank robbery money located at the home of his estranged father Clint (Beau Bridges). While in transit he surreptitiously places a call to Randy, now in the company of Terry (who’s attracted to Randy) and his partner Angela Roth (Carly Hatter), and gives Randy his father’s address. The three pick up Gil along the way.

At Clint’s house, Charlie digs up a bag of money he hid in a pasture with his father, at the same time reconciling with him. His father carefully mentions he owns a Class 1 Off-Road racing vehicle; shortly after he knocks Alex down with a shovel, then fights with Alan as Charlie and Annie make their escape. The two get in the racer and flee just as Gil, Randy, Terry and Angela arrive. Alex and Neve attempt to follow, but Randy manages to shoot Alex as the latter fires at Charlie, forcing them to stop and placing the two under arrest. Two Marshals (Jason Bateman and Nate Tuck) later arrive and take Alex and his crew into custody, complimenting Randy and Terry on their work. After their escape, Charlie tells Annie he is committed to getting her to the interview still, wanting to keep his word despite the fact that she no longer loves him. Annie responds that she still loves him, and the two reconcile before continuing the trip. Charlie makes it to the University of California campus in time for Annie to make her interview. Before she leaves, Charlie offers to spend the rest of his life with her, which Annie accepts. The final scene cuts some months in the future, showing Randy and Terry, now in a relationship, giving each other a brief pep talk before heading to take the Marshals’ exam.

In a stinger segment, Annie makes her interview with Professor Sandy Osterman (Sean Hayes), interrupting him as he is smoking from a bong. After a rough start due to Osterman’s embarrassment at hotboxing his office and confusion at him not being a woman as Debbie had described, Osterman reveals that Debbie is his sister and she has jokingly called him a girl since he was 9. Annie expresses sympathy for how this must make Sandy feel, earning his approval and an immediate job offer, which she accepts.The action is fun, the characters are  terrific to spend time with, and the ending is satisfying. If you just go with it and let it surprise you, you’ll have a great time.

REVIEW: STARGATE: ATLANTIS – SEASON 1-5

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MAIN CAST

Joe Flanigan (Thoughtcrimes)
Torri Higginson (Highlander: THe Raven)
Rachel Luttrell (Arrow)
Rainbow Sun Francks (Defiance0
David Hewlett (Rise of The Planet of The Apes)
Jason Momoa (Game of Thrones)
Paul McGillion (V)
Amanda Tapping (Sanctuary)
Jewel Staite (Firefly)
Robert Picardo (Star Trek: Voyager)

RECURRING / NOTABLE GUEST CAST

Richard Dean Anderson (Macgyver)
Michael Shanks (Smallville)
Garwin Sanford (The Fly 2)
Andee Frizzell (Andromeda)
Craig Veroni (Dark Angel)
Christopher Heyerdahl (Sanctuary)
Robert Patrick (Terminator 2)
Ben Cotton (30 Days of Night: Dark Days)
David Nykl (Arrow)
Agam Darshi (Sanctuary)
Courtenay J. Stevens (Ripper)
Dominic Zamprogna (Odyssey 5)
Callum Worthy (Samllville)
Alan Scarfe (Andromeda)
Dean Marshall (2012)
Colm Meaney (Star Trek:DS9)
Erin Chambers (Standoff)
Ryan Robbins (Arrow)
Corey Monteith (Glee)
Leonor Varela (Blade 2)
Matthew Walker (Highlander: The Series)
Chuck Campbell (Jason X)
David Orth (The Lost World)
Clayton Landey (Scary Movie 5)
Ellie Harvie (The New Addams Family)
Mitch Pileggi (The X-Files)
Kavan Smith (Sanctuary)
Jaime Ray Newman (Bates Motel)
Claire Rankin (Rogue)
Brenda James (Slither)
Chris Gauthier (Watchmen)
Pascale Hutton (Sanctuary)
Anne Openshaw (Narc)
Aaron Abrams (Hannibal)
Chad Morgan (The Purge 2)
Peter Flemming (Replicant)
William MacDonald (Slither)
Chelan Simmons (Final Destination 3)
Peter Woodward (Crusade)
Sonja Bennett (Blade: The Series)
Connor Trinneer (Star Trek: Enterprise)
Brandy Ledford (Andromeda)
Tamlyn Tomita (Heroes)
Brent Stait (Andromeda)
Richard Kind (Gotham)
John O’Callaghan (Clutch)
David Ogden Stier (Two Gusy and a Girl)
Alan Ruck (Speed)
Kate Hewlett (A Dog’s Breakfast)
Patrick Sabongui (The Flash)
Megan Leitch (IT)
Panou (Flash Gordon)
Bill Dow (Legends of The Fall)
Robert Davi (The Bad Pack)
Leela Savasta (Black Xmas)
Laura Harris (Dead Like me)
Michael Beach (The Abyss)
Beau Bridges (My Name Is Earl)
Sharon Taylor (Legends of Tomorrow)
Christopher Judge (The Dark Knight Rises)
Aleks Paunovic (Mortal Kombat Legacy)
Mark Dacascos (Kamen Rider Dragon Knight)
Jill Wagner (Blade: The Series)
Danny Trejo (Machete)
Gary Jones (Highlander: The Series)
Steven Culp (Jason Goes To Hell)
Jodelle Ferland (Kingdom Hospital)
Crystal Lowe (Poison Ivy 4)
David Richmond-Peck (V)
Emma Lahana (Power Rangers Dino Thunder)
Dylan Neal (Arrow)
Michelle Morgan (Heartland)
Nicole de Boer (Star Trek: DS9)
Janina Gavankar (The Vampire Diaries)
Christina Cox (Arrow)
Mike Dopud (Man of Steel)
Jonathan Young (Sanctuary)
Daniella Alonso (Wrong Turn 2)
Sarah Deakins (Andromeda)
Alan Blumenfeld (Heroes)
Anna Galvin (Caprica)
Dawn Olivieri (The Vampire Diaries)
Neil Jackson (Sleepy Hollow)
Ona Grauer (Arrow)

Stargate : Atlantis is far more than just a spin-off from the successful Stargate SG1 series. It stands on its own two feet as a clever, dramatic, funny, entertaining, well-crafted show. In some ways it even surpasses the original, benefiting as it does from the producers’ and crew’s 8+ years of experience in writing and producing the SG1 series. Continuing the mythology of the original show, but with the added twist of a whole new galaxy to explore, this show has something for everyone.

The mix of characters is great and the core cast – and also the regular recurring cast – boasts some excellent actors. Production values are consistently high and, while some episodes are always stronger than others, the writing in season 1 has also been excellent. The first season got things off to a great start, introducing the new team, new allies.. and a new enemy.5195S6CTB0LThere is a great mix of humour and drama in this series and stand-out episodes for me include 38 Minutes, Brotherhood, The Defiant One and the excellent mid-season 2 parter, The Storm and The Eye.

Season one not only established this show as a unique rival to its fellow series `Stargate: SG-1′, but also set the bar very high for a second season with this new breed of adventurers continuing to battle Wraith and other foe in the far-removed Pegasus Galaxy.

Just as with its sister series, `Atlantis’ is adept at balancing a large season story-arc while at the same time providing its audience with inventive one-off stories that act both to attract new viewers to the show and also give the loyal fan-base a break from the on-going threat of the Wraith. This second season is no exception.

The Siege Part III – As last season closed, the cliffhanger had Atlantis under siege by the Wraiths and things were not going well. Atlantis was ready to self destruct and Maj. Shephard was on the way to a suicide mission. As is customary in such situations, the cavalry arrives just in the nick of time in the form of the Earth Ship Daedelus. It has some advanced Asgard technology on board which saves Shepherd and helps to destroy the hive ships attacking Atlantis. Some manage to get away and they are heading back with reinforcements. While the cleanup is going on, a lieutenant is rescued but he has been severely damaged by the wraith. He is irrational and jumpy about the others who do not fully trust him. As the enlarged wraith fleet arrives, Atlantis decides to gamble on deceiving them that a self destruct has really taken place. This occurs just as the damaged lieutenant steals a puddle jumper and flees through the gate.


Runner – A team from Atlantis is investigating a planet with extremely high solar radiation. While there, they find a dead Wraith. There is evidence that he was killed by Lt. Ford, the guy who fled in the first episode of the season. The team heads back to try and get him to come back. They find a surprise. There is another human on the planet who has had a transmitter mounted in his back so that he can be the guest of honor in a sort of trophy hunt. He has managed to elude the Wraith for 7 years before being captured. He is set free by Lt. Ford who is deranged. Now it is a 3 way manhunt with nobody trusting anyone else.

Instinct – While investigating a new planet, the Atlantis team comes across a village that is intermittently plagued by a Wraith. The team agrees to hunt it down but finds something unexpected. They find a local scientist who has been raising a juvenile female Wraith as his daughter. He swears that it is not her who is terrorizing the village. He also maintains that there is another Wraith out there. The science types at Atlantis think they might be able to use the girl to develop a vaccine to fight the virus that causes humans to become Wraiths. It might even turn Wraiths back into humans. The research is promising until the young Wraith girl jumps the gun causing no end of problems.

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Conversion – At the close of the previous episode, LTC Shepherd was injured by the Wraith girl who had tried the experimental virus. Some of their blood mingled. Now he is infected with the parasitic virus that produces Wraiths. Now the race is one to capture an alien bug, get some stem cells and find a cure. The col. is going stir crazy while this happens and is getting more and more volatile. The Lost Boys – The team is following up on a tip and is captured. They are quickly taken to another planet where they find that they have been captured by a force led by the AWOL Lt. Ford. He has been on a rampage and has been taking Wraith “enzyme” from all of his victims. He feeds the enzyme to his followers to give them super strength. He thinks that is the way for humanity to defeat the Wraith. The enzyme prevents him from thinking straight. And, by the way, this one is a cliffhanger.

The Hive – Lt. Ford’s plan to prove the worth of the enzyme is simple. They use a stolen dart and use it to blow up a hive ship. That’s what they were doing at the end of the last episode when they got captured. Remember, Ford doesn’t think all that well under the influence of the enzyme. After the capture, all grow through withdrawal from the enzyme. The longer it has been used, the worse the withdrawal. Help comes from an unexpected source from the least likely hero. Critical Mass – Stargate Command on Earth and Atlantis are plunged into chaos when it is revealed that a Goa’uld operative is hidden in Atlantis. The operative has orders to set a bomb to blow up Atlantis when the Stargate is used to dial Earth. They apparently want to destroy Atlantis to keep the Wraith from getting anywhere near them. The mole is very highly placed.


Michael – Something is not quite right. The episode begins with a man in sick bay. As he is awoken, all of the command staff is notified to be there. He has amnesia and cannot remember anything. He is told that he was a member of a team captured by the Wraith and recaptured by Atlantis. That is not quite the truth which is quite a bit uglier. He was a Wraith upon whom an experimental retrovirus had been tried. The experiment threatens the existence of Atlantis itself.

Allies – A Wraith hive ship arrives. Instead of opening fire, the Wraith ship opens communication. It is being led by Michael, the Wraith upon whom experiments were conducted. He is offering all sorts of Wraith military secrets…for a price. They want the retrovirus used to create Michael. They believe that will give them supremacy over other Wraith. They are a slimy group though and hidden agendas are not beyond the realm of possibility. The alliance is not what it seems. Earth is in trouble in this season ending cliffhanger.


I’ve watched Stargate Atlantis  from the beginning and have more or less enjoyed it from the start.  I really like Joe Flannigan as Sheppard and David Hewlett as Rodney. This season Some help is on the way. We know that Amanda Tapping and her character Samantha Carter will be moving over from the Stargate – SG.1 to become the new head of the Atlantis project. I think she will bring more strength to the role.

Atlantis has emerged as the name not of a location that cannot be moved, but of a truly mobile city that can relocate .  well, to anywhere. The season ends with the city blasting off into space. Season  Three had some great moments. The season finale . was splendid. And the season featured what may be my favorite episode of the entire series so far in “Common Ground,” in which the Genii kidnap Sheppard and enclose him with a wraith who is allowed to feed on no one else.

Christopher Heyerdahl has played the wraitht in this episode he was allowed to give this particular wraith a dignity and complexity not allowed any other wraith with the exception of Michael. He gradually drains the life out of Sheppard out of sheer necessity before the two of them, cooperating as human and wraith never have before, manage to escape from the Genii. Then, in a moment that could lead to interesting plot developments in the future, we discover that the wraiths cannot only drain another creature of life, they can also imbue them with it, and as a sign of comradeship he heals Sheppard.

Season 3 sets up many changes that carry over into the fourth season, with becketts death in Sunday and Wier leaving the show, and Amanda Tapping taking over, its a great season leaving leaving things on a cliffhanger to be resolved in season 4.

Stargate Atlantis ups its game with season four. But it’s not with particularly clever or imaginative stories that the shows writers and producers manage to bring about this change; it’s actually in the areas of character development and action that this season really excels. With the (implied) deaths of inarguably my favourite two characters in season three, I wasn’t expecting their replacements to integrate perfectly, or right away into the Atlantis team, but both actors are given such great material to work with that it’s impossible not to be engaged with their individual story-arcs.

Sam carter is (of course) as brilliant as always, but unlike Doctor Weir, doesn’t appear in nearly as many episodes, or seem to be involved as deeply in the decision-making processes on the base. She just feels like any other member of the team and fits right in almost immediately. Doctor Keller is initially unconvincing in her role as chief medic, but before long she too blossoms into a really intriguing and multi-layered character.


While there are more than a handful of solid Replicator and Wraith-based episodes to enjoy in this twenty-episode season, it’s the character-based stories that stand-out for me as the best examples of this season. Episode 7- `Missing’ , episode 13- `Quarantine’  and episode 16- `Trio’  are each so gripping. The final stand-out story for me would be the concluding episode- `The Last Man’, which  breaks out of the mould of the finale’s of previous seasons and doesn’t involve an unprovoked attack on the city, or a multi-episode build-up. It’s pretty self-contained on the whole and mixes well themes of time-travel, action and season four’s despicable mystery nemesis.

Carson Beckett is back for no less than five episodes, and despite heavy use of the Wraith ship set, the stories are good and justify it. The characters are as well written as ever, I really felt the writers stepped it up a notch this season.


Robert Picardo is back as Richard Woolsey and promoting him to the role of Commander was a stroke of genus. No disrespect to Commander Weir and Colonel Carter, but in Richard Woolsey, Stargate Atlantis had finally cast its ideal leader. There are also a couple of deadpan in-jokes about his holographic Doctor character hidden in the dialogue, which are extremely funny when you spot them.

Despite the technology getting more and more advanced, there is less of a reliance on the technology itself selling the story. There is more focus on the characters than before and all the characters get at least one episode where they take centre stage in the story – for example, David Hewlett puts in an incredibly moving performance in The Shrine where McKay is struck down with a fast acting Pegasus equivalent of Alzheimer’s. Very good use is made of the popular Wraith characters Michael and Todd, and the budding relationship between McKay and Keller is a refreshing antidote.