REVIEW: TERMINATOR: THE SARAH CONNOR CHRONICLES – SEASON 1

Starring

Lena Headey (Game of Thrones)
Thomas Dekker (The Secret Circle)
Summer Glau (Firefly)
Richard T. Jones (Santa Clarita Diet)

Thomas Dekker and Lena Headey in Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles (2008)

RECURRING / NOTABLE GUEST CAST

Owain Yeoman (Supergirl)
Sonya Walger (Lost)
Nick Wechsler (Roswell)
Charlayne Woodard (Glass)
Dean Winters (Rough Night)
Tony Amendola (Annabelle: Creation)
Sasha Roiz (Caprica)
Jonathan Sadowski (Cherbnoyble Diaries)
Sabrina Perez (Rebel)
Brendan Hines (Lie To Me)
Jesse Garcia (The Green Ghost)
Adam Godley (Breaking Bad)
Catherine Dent (Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.)
Alessandra Torresani (The Big Bang Theory)
Floriana Lima (Supergirl)
Brian Bloom (The A-Team)
Andy Umberger (Deja Vu)
Lee Thompson Young (Smallville)
Garret Dillahunt (12 Years a Slave)
Kristina Apgar (90210)
Neil Hopkins (The Net 2.0)
Brian Austin Green (Anger Management)
Jonathan Jackson (Nashville)
Peter Mensah (Spartacus)
Bruce Davison (X-Men)
Karina Logue (Scream: The Series)
Craig Fairbrass (Cliffhanger)
Skyler Gisondo (The Amazing Spider-Man)
Ryan Kelley (Teen Wolf)
James Urbaniak (Suicide Squad: Hell To Pay)

Summer Glau in Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles (2008)When I heard that a TV series based on the Terminator franchise was in the works, I didn’t holding out much hope that it would be very good. Don’t get me wrong, I like the franchise. I was blown away by Terminator when I saw it during the original theatrical release and was astounded that the second film was as good, if not better, than the original. The third film was wretched however, and I just couldn’t see how they could work a TV series around the premise without it getting silly. After a bumpy first episode however, Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles surprised me. It turned out to be an intelligent yet fun look at the Terminator universe that works quite well.Summer Glau in Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles (2008)Starting a while after the events that took place in Terminator 2, Sarah (Lena Headey) and her son John Connor (Thomas Dekker), the boy who will end up being mankind’s only hope in the future have still not settled down. After running for years and years Sarah doesn’t know how to stop. When her current boyfriend proposes she takes John and runs away, one more time.Lena Headey in Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles (2008)John ends up in yet another new school where he meets Cameron (Summer Glau) a cute girl who seems to genuinely like him. It turns out that she doesn’t have the hots for him so much as that she’s been programmed to protect him. Yes, she’s a Terminator sent from the future, and where there’s a good Terminator, there’s a bad version too, sent to kill John. With Cameron’s help John escapes from a substitute teacher/Terminator but he’s one the run once more.Luis Chávez and Summer Glau in Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles (2008)Cameron has a unique idea to get away from the Terminator that’s been assigned to John once and for all: They rob a bank. Inside a series of safety deposit boxes are the ingredients for a time machine. In Cameron’s time, a group of resistance scientists were sent in the past to fabricate a time travel device and hide it in the bank for just such an escape. The small group of Sarah, John, and Cameron lock themselves inside the vault while the robot from the future creates the device and a T-800 Terminator tries to break in. They manage to leap to the year 2007 just at the last moment, but unbeknownst to them the head of the Terminator travels with them.Thomas Dekker, Lena Headey, and Summer Glau in Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles (2008)Neatly bypassing the events of T-3, the series jumps to the present time where Sarah is still alive and John isn’t a drug addict but the war with the robots still impending. Of course there are still dangers. The head that came into the present with them goes about trying to refashion a body for itself. There’s also a group of fighters sent into the past to aide John and Cameron, but when they are located, it’s too late; all but one of their number has been slaughtered by a Terminator.Summer Glau in Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles (2008)With several interesting subplots that carry through the season, included finding the maker of a chess computer that may have started the great war and staying one step ahead of an FBI agent who has been chasing the Connors for years, this show packs a lot of excitement into the nine episodes (the season was cut short by the writer’s strike.) It definitely gets better as it goes along too. The writers become more familiar with the characters and the writing gets tighter and the show more enjoyable.The acting is very good across the board. Lena Headey isn’t a Linda Hamilton look-alike but she manages to capture the strengths of the character as Hamilton did and still make it her own. Over the course of the series she manages to show Sarah’s vulnerable side, something that surely exists but rarely peaked out in the movies. Though Sarah’s name is in the title, the show would have crumbled without a good actor playing John, and Thomas Dekker manages to pull off the difficult role. He has to be strong and independent, but not fool-hardy. Dekker gives John those traits, while still making him act like a teenager with an over protective mother. Some of the best scenes are where John is trying to deal with his mother, something that every teenager has problems with.Thomas Dekker in Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles (2008)Summer Glau will be instantly recognized from Firefly. I loved her in that show, but was a bit disappointed that she basically plays the same role in this series. She has the same “not sure what’s going on” look as River did, and I was hoping to see her play a different role here. Even if it is the same character essentially, Summer pulls it off well. Though not at all Summer’s fault, the writers did put the “small waif-like girl kicks the big burly man’s ass” scene in the series a bit too often. Yeah, it’s funny, but after a while it becomes trite.Lena Headey in Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles (2008)I wasn’t expecting much from this show. After all, how could you make a weekly series that could compete with the first two movies? The creators managed to pull it off and made a show with some intelligent plots and interesting stories. There are a few surprises along the way that add a lot to the show, and make this a must-buy for fans of the Terminator franchise.

REVIEW: THE A-TEAM (2010)

CAST

Liam Neeson (Batman begins)
Bradley Cooper (Joy)
Jessica Biel (The Texas Chainsaw Massacre)
Quinton Jackson (Vigilante Diaries)
Sharlto Copley (Powers)
Patrick Wilson (The Conjuring)
Gereald McRaney (Mike & Molly)
Henry Czerny (Revenge)
Maury Sterling (Coherence)
Terry Chen (Bates Motel)
Tom Butler (Blade: The Series)
Dirk Benedict (Battlestar Galactica)
Dwight Schultz (Star Trek: TNG)
Corey Burton (Critters)
Jon Hamm (Mad Men)
Brian Bloom (Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles)
Brendan Penny (I Love You, Beth Cooper)
Jason Schombing (Timecop)

John “Hannibal” Smith (Liam Neeson) is held captive in Mexico by two Federal Police officers working for renegade General Javier Tuco (Yul Vazquez). Hannibal escapes and sets out to rescue Templeton “Faceman” Peck (Bradley Cooper), who is held captive at Tuco’s ranch. Hannibal saves Face after enlisting fellow Ranger B.A. Baracus (Quinton Jackson), driving to the rescue in BA’s modified GMC Vandura van.[9] Pursued by Tuco, they stop at a nearby Army Hospital to recruit the services of eccentric pilot Howling Mad Murdock (Sharlto Copley). They flee in a medical helicopter, chased by Tuco, in a dogfight that leaves BA with a fear of flying. The battle ends when they lure Tuco’s helicopter into American airspace, where it is shot down by a USAF F-22 Raptor for trespassing.Eight years later in Iraq, Hannibal is contacted by CIA Special Activities Division operative Lynch (Patrick Wilson), who assigns them a black ops mission to recover U.S. Treasury plates and over $1 billion in cash from Iraqi insurgents slated to move it out of Baghdad in an armored convoy. Hannibal’s commanding officer, General Morrison (Gerald McRaney), consents to the operation but Face’s former girlfriend, Defense Criminal Investigative Service Capt. Charissa Sosa (Jessica Biel), tries to discourage the team against getting the plates. The mission is successful; when the team returns to base, however, the money and Morrison’s vehicle are destroyed by Brock Pike (Brian Bloom) and his men from the private security firm Black Forest. Without Morrison (the only proof that they were authorized to act), Hannibal, Face, Murdock, and BA are court martialed and they are sentenced to ten years in separate prisons and dishonorably discharged. Sosa also ended up court-martialed and is demoted to lieutenant.Six months later, Lynch visits Hannibal in prison and tells him that Pike may be trying to sell the plates with the help of an Arab backer. Hannibal, who has been tracking Pike on his own, makes a deal with Lynch: full reinstatement and clean records for his team in return for the plates. Lynch agrees and Hannibal escapes, breaking out Face, BA, and Murdock in the process. Sosa is hot on the team’s trail. The team hijacks a USMC Lockheed C-130 Hercules aircraft, which is later shot down by Reaper UCAVs, but not before the team parachute away in a tank stashed aboard and make it to the ground safely. The team moves to reclaim the plates and kidnap Pike’s backer. It is revealed that the backer is actually General Morrison, who plotted with Lynch and Pike to steal the plates but teamed up with Pike to double-cross Lynch and fake his death. Lynch orders an airstrike to kill the team and Morrison, but the team manages to escape.Hannibal arranges to meet Sosa on board a container ship at the Los Angeles docks, saying he will hand over Morrison and the plates. Face then calls Sosa on a drop phone he planted on her at the train station, and conspires a different plan with her. It all unfolds according to plan until Pike, who is now working with Lynch, blows up the container ship and chases Face to near death. BA finally gives up his pacifist ways and kills Pike, saving Face. Hannibal leads Lynch into a container with Murdock, who, wearing a covered bullet-proof helmet, is portraying Morrison. Lynch shoots at Murdock’s head, believing that he is killing Morrison, and is later tricked into admitting that he stole the plates, and is subsequently arrested by Sosa.The CIA agents led by a man named “Lynch” (Jon Hamm) comes and claims custody of the other Lynch. Despite their success and proving themselves innocent, the military still arrests the team for escaping from prison, also a crime; they and Sosa are angered by this. Sosa is reinstated to captain, but she promises to do all she can to set the team free and kisses Face as everybody is led into a prison van. In the van everyone starts saying that the system has burned us again, but Hannibal tells them that there is always a way out of any situation, and turns towards Face, who smiles and says “I dont want to steal your line boss but, I like it when the plan comes altogether” and opens his mouth and reveals a handcuff key, given to him by Sosa through the kiss.The final scene includes a narration (spoken by Corey Burton) similar to the show’s opening narration.In a post-credits scene, Murdock and Face of A-Team’s original cast are seen.A Strong cast. I think that it is a good stand alone romp with lots of twists and turns, good plot and nice nods to the original series. I know that it has been criticised, and that Dirk Benedict subsequently regretted his involvement; but for me at least it was a brilliant film. It had a good pace, great stunts.

REVIEW: LEGO BATMAN: THE MOVIE – DC SUPER HEROES UNITE

 

CAST (VOICES)

Troy Baker (Dragon Ball Z)
Travis Willingham (Marvel Anime)
Christopher Corey Smith (The Twelve Kingdoms)
Clancy Brown (Highlander)
Brian Bloom (Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 2012)
Steve Blum (Wolverine and The X-Men)
Cam Clarke (Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 1987)
Townsend Coleman (Fraggle Rock)
Rob Paulsen (Animaniacs)
Charlie Schlatter (Batman Unlimited)

lego-batman-movie-dc-super-heroes-unite-1

The movie begins with Batman and Superman taking on Lex Luthor and flashes back to the “Man of the Year” award ceremony which quickly gets out of control when the Joker leads a group of villains (including the Penquin, Harley Quinn, Riddler, Two-Face and Catwoman) to crash the party. And what better way to stop a villain team up then by getting together a few “super” friends like Superman, Wonder Woman, Green Lantern, Cyborg and The Flash. There are plenty of other characters that show up along the way as well.

The film itself is fun for all ages, with enough Lego humor for the kids and plenty of jokes that will probably be over their heads including references to the Batman films going all the way back to the 1960s. Kudos to the design team for their parody of the original 1989 Batman film opening, as well as the use of that iconic Danny Elfman music and the John Williams Superman score. The voice work is solid and though I prefer the voice cast of Arkham Asylum, this group of actors does a wonderful job portraying these characters in a more kid friendly way.

The bonus features are great as well and include a short feature called “Building Batman” behinds the scenes in the Lego animation studio with a few kids getting to work with the resident animator, 2 episodes of The Brave and the Bold and one from Teen Titans, a Lego Batman stop-motion short, and 5 winning shorts from the Lego DC Universe Super Heroes Video Contest. There are various languages options but unfortunately no commentary which I would have loved to hear from the director or lead animator about the production. The pack-in of Clark Kent with the “S” exposed is a nice add on for Lego collectors as well.

Ultimately this is a great release. It’s a fun film for all ages and  worth a look.