REVIEW: CAPRICA – PART 2

 

Starring

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

Caprica (2009)

Recurring / Notable Guest Cast

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

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

REVIEW: VERONICA MARS – SEASON 1

Starring

Kristen Bell (The Good Place)
Teddy Dunn (Jumper)
Jason Dohring (The Originals)
Percy Daggs III (Detention)
Sydney Tamiia Poitier (Death Proof)
Francis Capra (Izombie)
Enrico Colantoni (Flashpoint)

Kristen Bell in Veronica Mars (2004)

RECURRING / NOTABLE GUEST CAST

Michael Muhney (The Young and The Restless)
Corinne Bohrer (The Flash 90s)
Amanda Seyfried (Les Miserables)
Lisa Thornhill (Agter The Sunset)
Kyle Secor (The Purge: Election Year)
Daran Norris (Izombie)
Brandon Hillock (Villains)
Bradley Joseph (Stone & Ed)
Patrick Wolff (Mighty Morphin Power Rangers)
Duane Daniels (Fashion House)
Jonathan Chesner (Bones)
Christian Clemenson (Apollo 13)
Aaron Ashmore (Smallville)
Wilmer Calderon (Fast & Furious)
Paris Hilton (House of Wax)
Ryan Hansen (2 Broke Girls)
Bobby Edner (The Amanda Show)
Paula Marshall (Murder In The First)
Alison MacInnis (Power Rangers Lightspeed Rescue)
Kyla Pratt (Dr. Dolittle)
Adam Wylie (Child’s Play 2)
Robert Baker (Supergirl)
Sam Huntington (Superman Returns)
Melissa Reneé Martin (The Secret Craft)
Lisa Rinna (Days of Our Lives)
Jane Lynch (Glee)
Harry Hamlin (Clash of The Titans)
Amanda Noret (Bunny Whipped)
Jessica Chastain (Zero Dar Thirty)
Adam Kaufman (Buffy: TVS)
Steven Williams (Jason Goes To Hell)
Bonita Friedericy (Chuck)
Alona Tal (Cult)
Tina Majorino (Scorpion)
Erica Gimpel (God Friended Me)
Anastasia Baranova (Z Nation)
Jonathan Bennett (Mean Girls)
Chris William Martin (The Vampire Diaries)
Megalyn Echikunwoke (That 70s Show)
Kevin Sheridan (Heart of Dixie)
Emmanuelle Vaugier (Two and a Half Men)
Max Greenfield (New Girl)
Aaron Paul (Breaking Bad)
Christopher B. Duncan (Legacies)
Katie Leclerc (The Big Bang Theory)
Bridget Hoffman (Total Recall)
Anthony Anderson (Transformers)
Jowharah Jones (Ugly Betty)
Ken Merckx (Masked Rider)
Christine Lakin (Family Guy)
Adam Scott (Krampus)
Leighton Meester (The Roommate)
Alyson Hannigan (Buffy: TVS)
Cynthia LaMontagne (Austin Powers)
Zachery Ty Bryan (Home Improvement)
Erin Chambers (Stargate: Atlantis)
Ken Marino (Agent Carter)
Jonathan Taylor Thomas (Last Man Standing)
Theo Rossi (Luke Cage)
Joey Lauren Adams (Chasing Amy)
Roy Werner (Power Rangers Time Force)
Kyle Gallner (American Sniper)

Veronica Mars is set in Neptune, California, a town without a middle-class. Everyone’s either a millionaire or works for one, and the man largely responsible for Neptune’s unparalleled success is Jake Kane (Kyle Secor), the resident billionaire software mogul. Kane and his family are still reeling from the murder of his daughter Lilly (Amanda Seyfried) some months earlier, and as if that loss wasn’t enough, the beloved Kane family was doggedly pursued by a county sheriff convinced that they were hiding something. Public sentiment turned against Sheriff Keith Mars (Enrico Colantoni), who was ousted from office and abandoned by his wife.Kristen Bell and Jessica Chastain in Veronica Mars (2004)Cue the title character. His daughter Veronica (Kristen Bell) had already lost her best friend with Lilly’s death, but standing by her father also cost Veronica her friends, her social status, her house…even her mother. Veronica had already been unceremoniously dumped by Lilly’s brother Duncan (Teddy Dunn) shortly before her friend’s murder, and a defiant visit to face her former friends at a party weeks later led to Veronica being drugged and raped. Despite having lost so much, Veronica is resilient enough to move on with her life, and as her father struggles to stay afloat as a private eye, Veronica puts her smarts and determination to work to help ease the caseload at Mars Investigations. She also puts her talents to use to help her classmates with their troubles — for a price, of course. To cap it all off, Veronica’s faced with a couple of her own mysteries to solve. What convinced Lianne Mars to abandon her family, and where is she now? Who was it who drugged and raped Veronica last December? Also, is her father right — did someone other than disgruntled Kane Software employee Abel Koontz murder Lilly? If there is, who orchestrated the conspiracy that led to Koontz’ confession and why?Kristen Bell in Veronica Mars (2004)The dialogue in Veronica Mars has the same sparkle as Joss Whedon’s work…arguably better, even, since Buffy sometimes sounded like a deliberate attempt to be hip, whereas Veronica Mars manages to be witty and clever without feeling quite so forced. The writing doesn’t skew as young as one might expect from a TV show set in a high school. If anything, the target audience seems to be twentysomething — I don’t know how many fifteen year olds would be able to appreciate references to Archie comics or 21 Jump Street, f’r instance. Characterization is another strength of the series, and part of the reason Veronica Mars works as well as it does is that the audience truly does care about the characters. Despite having a seemingly endless array of talents, Veronica isn’t some sort of idyllic Mary Sue. She’s not always right. Her investigations frequently take morally questionable turns. Things don’t always go the way she wants. Not every episode has a happy ending.Kristen Bell in Veronica Mars (2004)Along with the cases that are solved in the space of forty minutes and change every week, a couple of mysteries are introduced in the pilot that are gradually explored throughout the entire length of the season. That’s right — unlike the hydra that is Lost, where answering one question spawns ten more, all of Veronica Mars’ mysteries are resolved by the time the season finale rolls around. (The finale tosses out a couple questions of its own, but if a second season hadn’t gotten the green light, it still would’ve been a fitting end to the series.)Veronica Mars has a capable cast to match the quality of the writing. Veronica is strong and cynical…bright and sarcastic…and even though all of the trauma she’s suffered over the past year has aged her somewhat, she’s still an emotionally vulnerable teenage girl.Kristen Bell and Alona Tal in Veronica Mars (2004)That’s a lot to juggle, but Kristen Bell is talented enough to make such a colossal task seem effortless and captivating enough to carry a show on her shoulders. Of course, Bell is joined by a strong enough supporting cast that she doesn’t have to shoulder it all herself.VM-S2D2_04After cutting down Wallace (Percy Daggs III), the new kid at school, who’d been stripped naked and duct taped to a flagpole, he and Veronica become best friends. In teen-TV land, it’s an immutable rule that people of different genders can’t just be pals…there’s this endless temptation to couple everyone. Veronica Mars manages to resist, resulting in one of the few platonic friendships like this left on television.Enrico Colantoni, who plays Veronica’s father, is another fan favorite, able to shift from warm, loving, and borderline-goofy to secretive and deadly serious when the situation calls for it. There’s also Eli “Weevil” Navarro (Francis Capra), the leader of a local biker gang from the wrong side of the tracks who engages in some mutual backscratching with Veronica.Kristen Bell in Veronica Mars (2004)The character who stands out the most — aside from Veronica, of course — is Logan Echolls (Jason Dohring). Like Kristen Bell, Dohring is endlessly engaging. He’s introduced as an “obligatory psychotic jackass”, but as the season progresses, Logan’s humanized without being watered-down; even when he’s doing something as thoroughly loathesome as bribing a homeless vet to join in on his homebrew Bumfights video, there’s an undercurrent of understanding why Logan is the way he is. The character changes throughout the season, but the shift feels deserved and natural, not just because that’s what’s scrawled on the whiteboard in the writing room.Other guest stars throughout the season include Napoleon Dynamite’s Tina Majorino as computer whiz Mac, Aaron Ashmore as a love interest with a shady past, Logan’s movie star family (played by Harry Hamlin, Lisa Rinna, and Alyson Hannigan), Anthony Anderson, Zachary Ty Brian, Joey Lauren Adams, Jonathan Taylor Thomas, and, in a shameless bit of stuntcasting, Paris Hilton. Kristen Bell and Francis Capra in Veronica Mars (2004)The fact that the second episode of Veronica Mars manages to be really good despite a Paris Hilton guest spot really is a testament to how good a series this is. Oh, and, in true Laura Palmer fashion, just because Lilly Kane is dead doesn’t mean that Amanda Seyfried can’t rear her head in nearly every other episode.The conclusion to most of the mysteries caught me by surprise. Throughout the entire season, the only time I correctly guessed the culprit was in “Lord of the Bling”, and even then, the motivation and execution were well out of my reach. The many twists the stories take are clever, and watching these episodes a second time, I could spot all sorts of clues and hints that didn’t seem that important the first time through. Veronica Mars is a series that’s easy to dive into as a marathon, but for viewers catching these episodes for the first time, I’d recommend drawing it out a bit.

REVIEW: SPIDER-MAN: INTO THE SPIDER-VERSE

Starring

Shameik Moore (Dope)
Jake Johnson (New Girl)
Hailee Steinfeld (True Grit)
Mahershala Ali (Luke Cage)
Brian Tyree Henry (widows)
Lily Tomlin (I Heart Huckabees)
Lauren Vélez (The First Purge)
John Mulaney (animals)
Kimiko Glenn (Orange Is The New Black)
Zoë Kravitz (Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them)
Nicolas Cage (Mandy)
Kathryn Hahn (Bad Moms)
Liev Schreiber (The 5th Wave)
Chris Pine (Wonder Woman)
Natalie Morales (Santa Clarita Diet)
Oscar Isaac (Star Wars: The Last Jedi)
Greta Lee (Money Monster)
Stan Lee (Super Hero Squad)
Marvin ‘Krondon’ Jones III (Black Lightning)
Lake Bell (Man Up)
Claudia Choi (Her)
Bridget Hoffman (Total Recall)
Scott Menville (Teen Titans)

Shameik Moore in Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse (2018)Teenager Miles Morales struggles to live up to the expectations of his father, police officer Jefferson Davis, who sees Spider-Man as a menace. Miles changes to a boarding school. He sneaks out and goes to his uncle Aaron Davis’ house.When he takes Miles to an abandoned subway station to paint graffiti, Miles is bitten by a radioactive spider and gains spider-like abilities.Hailee Steinfeld in Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse (2018)Miles returns to the station to search for the spider and discovers a particle accelerator called “The Super-Collider” built by Wilson Fisk. Fisk hopes to access parallel universes to find alternative versions of his deceased wife and son, who died in a car crash after they found Fisk trying to kill Spider-Man. Spider-Man tries to disable the collider while fighting Fisk’s enforcers, Green Goblin and Prowler. Spider-Man saves Miles and senses that they are alike. Green Goblin shoves Spider-Man into the collider, causing an explosion that kills Green Goblin. Wounded, Spider-Man gives Miles a USB drive to disable the accelerator and warns that the machine could destroy the city if reactivated. Miles watches in horror as Fisk kills Spider-Man, and flees from Prowler.Nicolas Cage, John Mulaney, Jake Johnson, Hailee Steinfeld, Shameik Moore, and Kimiko Glenn in Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse (2018)Miles tries out his newfound abilities in a Spider-Man Halloween costume, but in the process damages the USB drive. At Spider-Man’s grave, Miles meets Peter B. Parker, an older and worn-down version of Spider-Man from another dimension. Upon meeting Peter, Miles inadvertently discovers a power to emit a bio-electric pulse to disable his victim. Peter reluctantly agrees to train Miles in exchange for help stealing data to create a new drive. In Fisk’s research facility, Miles discovers he has the power to turn invisible. They are confronted by chief scientist Olivia Octavius, who reveals that Peter will die due to cellular decay if he stays longer in their dimension after taking DNA samples from Peter.Jake Johnson, Hailee Steinfeld, and Shameik Moore in Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse (2018)Miles and Peter are rescued by Gwen Stacy, Spider-Woman from another dimension. They find Peter’s aunt, May Parker, who is sheltering more heroes from other dimensions – Spider-Man Noir, Spider-Ham, and Peni Parker – who are also deteriorating. Miles offers to disable the collider so the others can return home, but the heroes tell him he lacks experience.Jake Johnson and Shameik Moore in Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse (2018)Miles retreats to Aaron’s home, where he discovers that Aaron is the Prowler. He returns to May’s house, where Peni has completed the drive; however, he is followed by Fisk, Prowler, Octavius, Scorpion, and Tombstone, leading to a brawl. Miles flees, but is captured by Prowler and unmasks himself. Unwilling to kill Miles, Aaron is shot by Fisk. Miles flees with Aaron, but Aaron dies of his injuries. Jefferson sees Miles mourning over Aaron and concludes that Spider-Man killed him.Shameik Moore in Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse (2018)The heroes regroup with Miles in his dorm. Peter restrains Miles with his webs to ensure his safety before heading out with the heroes, choosing to sacrifice himself by staying behind and deactivating the collider. Jefferson arrives outside Miles’ door and, assuming he does not want to speak to him, apologizes for his mistakes.Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse (2018)Miles masters his powers and goes to Aunt May’s, where he gains web shooters and repaints Peter’s suit. He joins the heroes and helps them defeat Fisk’s enforcers before activating the USB drive and sending them home. Fisk and Miles fight throughout the collider, attracting Jefferson’s attention. As Miles is nearly killed, Jefferson realizes that Spider-Man is not the enemy and encourages him. Miles paralyzes Fisk with his venom blast and throws him at the kill switch, destroying the collider.Brian Tyree Henry and Shameik Moore in Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse (2018)Fisk and his enforcers are arrested and Jefferson recognizes Spider-Man as a hero. Miles embraces the responsibilities of his new life. Back in their home dimensions, the heroes return to their lives; Peter prepares to fix his relationship with Mary Jane, and Gwen finds a way to contact Miles across dimensions. In another dimension, Miguel O’Hara travels to a 1960s New York and argues with Spider-Man.MV5BYmU3NWViODQtNTM0Mi00NDM2LTk0NjYtMDQxZDMyN2VlNDljXkEyXkFqcGdeQXVyNjc3OTE4Nzk@._V1_A movie worthy of Stan Lee’s approval. Incredible animation, great story, great message. This film lives up to the hype and honestly surpassed my expectations. The only reason I think there are some negative reviews is because you can never please everyone. However, for the vast majority of viewers, I believe you’ll find this film to be great. Highly recommend.

REVIEW: BRIDE WARS

CAST

Kate Hudson (Gossip)
Anne Hathaway (Alice Through The Looking GLass)
Chris Pratt (Jurassic World)
Bryan Greenburg Prime)
Steve Howey (DOA)
Candice Bergen (The Women)
Kristen Johnson (3rd Rock From The Sun)
Michael Arden (Anger Management)
June Diane Raphael (Year One)
Hettienne Park (Hannibal
Bridget Hoffman (Darkman)

Emma Allen and Olivia ‘Liv’ Lerner are best friends who have planned every detail of their weddings, since first witnessing a wedding 20 years ago at the Plaza Hotel. They both have made it a priority to be married in the same location in June.
The two get engaged at 26, and are expected to be each other’s maid of honor. They schedule their weddings with New York’s most famous wedding planner, Marion St. Claire, but due to a clerical error they are scheduled to have a wedding on the same day, June 6 (three and a half months later). A week of passive aggressive hostility passes before the two women make it clear that neither will compromise, especially after the headstrong Liv hopes that Emma’s passive nature would end their wait of who will surrender their date. Emma’s fiancé, Fletcher, begins to show signs of being controlling. The two women declare war after a slight misunderstanding that Liv already set her wedding date, outraging Emma who sets her date as well, which Liv becomes aware of at their shared shower party. The two exchange threats and insults in front of their friends who decide not to take sides.
Both women attempt to sabotage each other’s wedding, including Liv changing Emma’s dance instructor, Emma secretly sending Liv candy to make her too fat to fit into her dress, Liv making Emma’s tan turn bright orange, Emma tampering with Liv’s hair dye to turn Liv’s hair a shocking blue-white color, Liv registering Emma on Babies-R-Us as pregnant, and Emma showing up to Liv’s bachelorette party to out-dance her. Emma and Fletcher get into an argument regarding Emma’s maniac behavior of sabotaging Liv’s wedding and their friendship. Emma and Fletcher are shown to undergo strains in their relationship because of Emma’s new found opinionated and confident trait, a depart from her usual people-pleasing characteristics. Liv has learned to be more sensitive and expressive, which gives her a sense of relief to finally have the luxury of being able to let go and be less controlling.
Both brides-to-be are shown to be in the Plaza very shortly before they are due to be wed, separately. Right before Liv leaves to begin her march to the altar, she encounters Emma’s father and receives his blessing; immediately she regrets setting up a wild spring break DVD to play at Emma’s wedding. She sends her assistant Kevin to replace the DVD with the right one, filled with childhood memories. Thinking that the DVD is for a prank, he does not do so. Before the brides enter their respective venues, they share a moment of reconciliation as they both smile at each other.
Emma begins her walk down the aisle but stops when the footage of her spring break is shown. She loses her temper and tackles Liv after sprinting to the other section of the Plaza. The two brides wrestle in their dresses on the floor while the people closest to the brides having decided to let the brides resolve the problem. After tussling, Emma and Liv lie on the ground panting, and then make up. Emma stands up and walks over to Fletcher who is upset at Emma’s behavior. Emma tells him that she is not the same person he fell in love with ten years ago and that she has now changed, as it has been apparent that she learned to be more assertive. With that, the two tearfully call off their wedding. Liv’s wedding resumes with Emma participating and dancing with Nate, Liv’s brother and a well known magazine journalist.
The movie picks up a year later when Liv and Emma meet up for drinks, where it’s revealed that Emma married Nate. Emma and Liv also reveal to each other that they are pregnant and that their due dates are the same, March 3, and both friends get excited.

A fun comedy that passes a Saturday night, worth watching for Anne Hathaway.

REVIEW: ASH VS EVIL DEAD – SEASON 1

MAIN CAST

Bruce Campbell (Jack of All Trades)
Ray Santiago (My Name Is Earl)
Dana DeLorenzo (2 Broke Girls)
Jill Marie Jones (Sleepy Hollow)
Lucy Lawless (Spartacus)
Bruce Campbell, Ray Santiago, and Dana DeLorenzo in Ash vs Evil Dead (2015)
RECURRING / NOTABLE GUEST CAST

Damien Garvey (Terra Nova)
Mike Edward (Power Rangers Operation Overdrive)
Sian Davis (Hercules: The Legendary Journeys)
Bridget Hoffman (Frozen)
James Gaylyn (Avatar)
Mimi Rogers (Ginger Snaps)
Ben Fransham (Legend of The Seeker)
Jared Turner (30 Days of Night)
Hemky Madera (Weeds)
Kelson Henderson (Power Rangers SPD)
Peter Feeney (Black Sheep)
Rachel Blampied (Shortland Street)
Mark Mitchinson (Power Rangers Megaforce)
Milo Cawthorne (Power Rangers RPM)
Samara Weaving (Home and Away)
Indiana Evans (H20)
Ido Drent (Offspring)

Well, we’ve had to be patient for nearly a quarter of a century to finally see Ash wield his chainsaw again, but trust me: it was well worth the wait. Ash vs. Evil Dead fires on all cylinders.  After so many years had passed since Army of Darkness (aka Evil Dead III) came out in 1992, it looked like a direct sequel just wasn’t going to happen anymore, yet apparently, the Raimi-Campbell gang had been working on one for some time. According to recent interviews with the show’s creators Sam Raimi and Bruce Campbell, what was first supposed to be a new feature film and the fourth entry in the franchise, over time turned into an idea for a TV-series, and I believe fans will be very happy with the result. Instead of a 2-hour film for a sequel, we now get 10 episodes  with Ash and the Deadites.Bruce Campbell in Ash vs Evil Dead (2015)At the beginning of the show we meet Ash leading a lazy, but apparently happy slacker life, residing in a run-down trailer and working as a stock boy at a Value Stop (for some obscure legal reasons, the writers couldn’t use the name S-Mart from Army of Darkness’ iconic last scene). In the show, 30 years have passed since Ash’s last encounter with the Deadites, and while he might be well into middle age now, he hasn’t matured one bit. Ash is still the exact same guy we last saw fighting walking skeletons and other ghastly undead things in Army of Darkness, cracking wise and appearing as cock-sure of himself as ever. These days, he likes to spend most of his spare time either getting wasted in his trailer or picking up random ladies – or both . suffice to say that his rather irresponsible lifestyle ultimately won’t go too well with his duty as keeper of a certain  dangerous book, and  bloody mayhem soon ensues.In my opinion, Ash vs. Evil Dead does everything right. Instead of going down the “gritty drama” route of shows like The Walking Dead or taking the “straight horror” approach of Fede Alvarez’ Evil Dead remake, creators Sam Raimi and Bruce Campbell fully embrace the over-the-top goofiness and playful tone of Evil Dead II and Army of Darkness, while still delivering the scares of the first film and plenty of gore. The Deadites are frightening. The production values in general are absolutely great; the writing is in the vein of the first three films (no wonder, since the episodes were mostly written by Sam and Ivan Raimi); the music, the pacing and the direction: really everything just falls into place. It’s clear that this wasn’t some lazy attempt to cash in on the name of a beloved cult-franchise, but a labour of love for all involved.Another great plus of the series is the cast. Seeing Bruce Campbell step back into this iconic character is simply hilarious fun; it still fits him like a glove (or, perhaps more accurately in his case, a chainsaw). But there was never a doubt in my mind that he would deliver (it seems Ash is a character Campbell was born to play); what really surprised me was how well the rest of the cast fits into the show. Ray Santiago as Pablo and Dana DeLorenzo as Kelly (they’re Ash’s co-workers at the Value Stop) are completely able to hold their own; they are fully fleshed-out characters and just as fun to watch as Ash. Also we have Lucy Lawless of Spartacus and Xena fame, who’s character is a mystery until episode 9 when all hell breaks loose and leads into a great Season One finale.Ash vs Evil dead brings back everything that we all loved about the original Evil Dead films, but it also manages to introduce interesting new characters and story lines which help maintain the element of surprise for long-time fans. And the show works just as well as a stand-alone story, so people unfamiliar with the original trilogy need not worry either: they will find just as much to love here as those who know and cherish Sam Raimi’s classics – as long as they have a certain affection for trashy, gory horror comedies and don’t expect serious drama. The good news its already been picked up for a season 2, so we got more blood and gore to come

REVIEW: EVIL DEAD 3: ARMY OF DARKNESS

CAST

Bruce Campbell (Maniac Cop)
Embeth Davitz (The Amazing Spider-Man)
Marcus Gilbert (Rambo III)
Ian Abercrombie (Birds of Prey)
Richard Grove (Money Train)
Bridget Fonda (Jackie Brown)
Patricia Tallman (Babylon 5)
Ted Raimi (Xena)
Bruce Thomas (Kyle XY)
Bill Moseley (The Devil’s Rejects)
Angela Featherstone (The Wedding Singer)
Bridget Hoffman (Total Recall)

Image result for the evil dead 3After being pulled through a time portal, Ash Williams lands in A.D. 1300, where he is soon captured by Lord Arthur’s men, who suspect him to be an agent for Duke Henry, with whom Arthur is at war. He is enslaved along with the captured Henry, his gun and chainsaw confiscated, and is taken to a castle. Ash is thrown in a pit where he fights off a Deadite and regains his weapons from Arthur’s Wise Man. After demanding Henry and his men be set free (as he knew Henry was innocent, and his persecution was simply a witch hunt) and killing a Deadite in full view of everyone, Ash is celebrated as a hero. He also grows attracted to Sheila, the sister of one of Arthur’s fallen knights.
Image result for army of darknessAccording to the Wise Man, the only way Ash can return to his time is to retrieve the Necronomicon Ex-Mortis, a book with magical powers. After bidding goodbye to Sheila, Ash starts his search for the Necronomicon. As he enters a haunted forest, an unseen force pursues Ash through the woods. Fleeing, he ducks into a windmill where he crashes into a mirror. The small reflections of Ash climb out from the shattered mirror and torment him. One of the reflections dives down Ash’s throat and uses his body to become a life-sized clone of Ash and attack him, after which Ash kills and buries the clone. When he arrives at the Necronomicon’s location, he finds three books instead of one. Ash eventually finds the real one and attempts to say the magic phrase that will allow him to remove the book safely – “Klaatu barada nikto”. However, forgetting the last word, he tries to trick the book by mumbling and coughing the missing word. He then grabs the book from the cradle, and rushes back to the castle, while the dead rise from graves all around. During Ash’s panicked ride back, his evil copy rises from his grave and unites the Deadites into the Army of Darkness.
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Despite causing the predicament faced by the medieval soldiers, Ash initially demands to be returned to his own time. However, Sheila is captured by a Flying Deadite, and later transformed into a Deadite. Ash becomes determined to lead the humans against the army of the dead. Reluctantly, the people agree to join Ash. Using scientific knowledge from textbooks in the trunk of his 1973 Oldsmobile Delta 88, and enlisting the help of Duke Henry, Ash successfully leads the medieval soldiers to victory over the Deadites and Evil Ash, saving Sheila and bringing peace between Arthur and Henry in the process. The Wise Men return him to his own time, giving him a potion to drink after reciting the magic phrase. Back in the present, Ash recounts his story to a fellow employee at his job, working in housewares at a store called “S-Mart”. As he talks to a girl who is interested in his story, a surviving deadite, allowed to come to the present due to Ash again forgetting the last word of the magic phrase, attacks the customers. Ash attacks and kills it using a Winchester rifle from the store’s Sporting Goods department, finally ending the deadite threat.pen_31

Original Ending

The original ending, preferred by Raimi and Campbell themselves, in which Ash oversleeps in the cave and wakes up in a post-apocalyptic future, was restored to the film for the UK VHS release, which also had the S-Mart ending put in as a post-credit extra. This scene has been restored on the Army of Darkness: Director’s Cut Region 3 DVD released by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, the “director’s cut bootleg edition” DVD and the double-disc DVD, which also featured the S-Mart ending of the film. The S-Mart ending was shot for the American release; the studio wanted to end the film on a high note for the character of Ash. Raimi believed Ash to be more of a fool, which is why he liked to torture him so much in his films; Ash being a goof and drinking too much potion was in his character.

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Bruce Campbell is the absolute king of B Movies and in this movie he’s in the absolute prime of his career. He’s got such screen presence doing all the corny and off the wall hilarious jokes and physical humor in what is the third movie of Sam Raimi’s Evil Dead trilogy. The first movie was pretty much a straight up horror movie and a cult classic, then Evil Dead 2 while it still had a bit of true horror in it was very much a fantastic comedy/horror film also, in Army of Darkness they go all out with the comedy. But the comedy is done tastefully and doesn’t make the movie into a parody of the previous films like a lot of bad movies like Scary Movie do. Plus it doesn’t hurt that they time travel back to medieval times instead of being a modern day cabin like the previous two movies were.

REVIEW: TOTAL RECALL (2012)

CAST

Colin Farrell (Daredevil)
Kate Beckinsale (Underworld)
Jessica Biel (The A-Team)
Bryan Cranston (Drive)
Bokeem woodbine (The Breed)
Bill Nighy (Hot Fuzz)
John Cho (Sleepy Hollow)
Steve Byers (Smallville)
Will Yun Lee (Elektra)
James McGowan (Bitten)
Michael Therriault (Reign)
Emily Chang (the Vampire Diaries)
Ethan Hawke (The Purge)
Cam Clarke (Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles)
Bridget Hoffman (Darkman)

At the end of the 21st century, Earth is devastated by chemical warfare. What little habitable land remains is divided into two territories, the United Federation of Britain (UFB, located on mainland Europe) and the Colony (Australia). Many residents of the Colony travel to the UFB to work in factories via “the Fall”, a gravity elevator running through the Earth’s core. A Resistance operating in the UFB seeks to improve life in the Colony, which the UFB views as a terrorist movement.
Colony citizen Douglas Quaid[8] has been having dreams of being a secret agent, aided by an unknown woman. Tired of his factory job building police robots with friend Harry, he visits Rekall, a virtual entertainment company that implants artificial memories. Among the choices Rekall salesman Bob McClane offers Quaid are the memories of a secret agent. An emblem of rekall is stamped onto his arm. Just as Quaid is starting to be implanted, McClane discovers that he already has real memories of being a covert operative. As McClane starts to question Quaid about the memories, UFB police officers burst in, killing the Rekall crews and attempt to arrest Quaid. Quaid instinctively reacts and kills the officers before escaping. Upon returning home his wife Lori attempts to kill him, revealing that she is an undercover UFB agent who has been monitoring him for the past six weeks. After Quaid escapes, Charles Hammond, a “friend” Quaid does not recognize, contacts him and directs him to a safe-deposit box. Quaid finds a recorded message from his former self with the address of a UFB apartment.
While being pursued by Lori and other human and robot police, Quaid meets Melina, the woman from his dreams. At the apartment Quaid finds another recording, revealing that his name is actually Carl Hauser, an agent working for UFB Chancellor Vilos Cohaagen. After defecting to the Resistance, Hauser was captured by the UFB and implanted with false memories. The recording reveals that Cohaagen will use robots to invade the Colony so the UFB will have more living space. Hauser, however, has seen a “kill code” that would disable the robots. The code can be recovered from his memory by Resistance leader Matthias. Melina reveals that she was Hauser’s lover before Hauser was captured; she proves that they knew each other by showing that they have matching scars from a time they were both shot whilst holding hands. The police surround the apartment building and Harry appears. He tries to convince Quaid that he is still in a Rekall-induced dream and that killing Melina is the only way out. Quaid is conflicted, but notices a tear on Melina’s cheek and shoots Harry instead. Lori pursues the pair inside the building’s lifts, but fails to capture them.
Quaid and Melina meet with Matthias. While Matthias searches Quaid’s memories, Lori and Cohaagen storm the Resistance base. Cohaagen reveals that Hauser was in fact working for him without Quaid even knowing it due to the memory alteration, using the kill code as a trap. Cohaagen kills Matthias and arranges to restore Hauser’s memory before leaving with Melina as a prisoner. As the officers are about to inject Quaid, Hammond (revealed to be one of the police officers involved in the raid) sacrifices himself to help Quaid escape.
jessica-biel-and-colin-farrell-new-total-recall-2012
Cohaagen begins his invasion of the Colony, loading the Fall with his army of robots. Quaid sneaks on board, setting timed explosives throughout the ship while searching for Melina. After freeing her, they climb atop the Fall as it arrives at the Colony. As they fight the soldiers and Cohaagen, Quaid’s explosives detonate. Quaid and Melina jump off before the ship plummets back into the tunnel and explodes underground, killing Cohaagen and destroying his army and The Fall itself. Waking up in an ambulance, Quaid is greeted by Melina. When he notices that she is missing her scar, he realizes that she is Lori using a holographic disguise; they fight and Lori is killed. Quaid finds the real Melina outside the ambulance and they embrace. As the news channels declare the independence of The Colony, Quaid notices that the emblem of Rekall that was stamped on his arm has disappeared. He looks up to find an advertisement of Rekall on an electronic billboard. Just before Quaid can kiss Melina, the screen cuts to black, making it open to interpretation whether Quaid was actually living the memory of a spy at rekall.
I love the first Total Recall film and put off watching this version due to the negative reviews and uncomplimentary comparisons with Paul Verhoeven’s original, but when I finally got around to watching this movie I was more than pleasantly surprised. Undoubtedly more dour and lacking the humour of its predecessor this is nevertheless an entertaining, action-packed, adrenalin-fuelled, visually spectacular SF movie.