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: CAPRICA

MAIN CAST

Eric Stoltz (The Butterfly Effect)
Esai Morales (Fast Food Nation)
Paula Malcolmson (The Hunger Games)
Alessandra Torresani (The Big Bang Theory)
Magda Apanowicz (The Bionic Woman)
Sasha Roiz (Grimm)
Brian Markinson (Izombie)
Polly Walker (Clash of The Titans)

Recurring / Notable Guest Cast

Avan Jogia (Tut)
William B. Davis (The Dead Zone)
Sina Najafi (Stargate SG.1)
Hiro Kanagawa (Heroes Reborn)
Genevieve Buechner (Jennifer’s Body)
Anna Galvin (Tin Man)
Jorge Montesi (The Romeo Section)
Veena Sood (Timecop)
Scott Porter (Prom Night)
Karen Elizabeth Austin (The Eye)
Anita Torrance (Smallville)
Michael Eklund (Arrow)
Patton Oswalt (Young Adult)
Kendall Cross (Snakes on a Plane)
Peter Wingfield (Highlander: The Series)
Luciana Carro (Falling Skies)
Teryl Rothery (Stargate SG.1)
Alex Arsenault (Tucker and Dale vs Evil)
Françoise Yip (The Order)
Panou (Flash Gordon)
Camille Mitchell (Legion)
Richard Harmon (The 100)
A.C. Peterson (Shooter)
Eve Harlow (Bitten)
John Pyper-Ferguson (Suits)
James Marsters (Runaways)
Leah Gibson (Watchmen)
Jill Teed (Godzilla)
James Pizzinato (Rise of The POTA)
Zak Santiago (Ghost Wars)
Meg Tilly (Bomb Girls)
Ryan Robbins (Sanctuary)
Kacey Rohl (Arrow)
Andrew Airlie (Fifty Shades of Grey)
Bridget Hoffman (Hercules: TLJ)
Ben Cotton (Staragte: Atlantis)
Ryan Kennedy (Smallville)
Christopher Heyerdahl (Van Helsing)
Tom McBeath (Stargate SG.1)
Calum Worthy (American Vandal)
James Kirk (X-Men 2)
Aleks Paunovic (War For The POTA)
Elisabeth Rosen (Cult of Chucky)
Carmen Moore (Arrow)
Mike Dopud (Stargate Universe)

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 Adams. 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.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.Observant fans will see where Caprica’s going with the duplicate Zoe, coming together in an introductory pilot that realizes the germ of an idea behind the genesis of the Cylon race, but it certainly doesn’t leave newcomers in the cold. Moore and Eick, with this freshness in mind, go in a startling direction with the content surrounding the Cylon conception; a murderous STO-related terrorist attack on a train rattles the city of Caprica, leaving the Graystones without their daughter and Joseph with only his son, Billy. The grief they endure becomes a convincing dramatic catalyst for what’s to come, breaking a floodgate for aggressive decision-making regarding family memories and Daniel’s technological advancement — with the idea of an exact digital replication of both mind and memory, such as the avatar of Zoe that lingers after her death, propelling it forward. It’s a thought-provoking launch that tackles some rather challenging concepts, including that of the human psyche as raw data and the extent that open-minded intellectuals might go to preserve those they’ve lost. And, of course, the narcissistic power behind potential immortality.imagesUpon the second episode, “Rebirth”, one fact becomes very clear: Caprica isn’t cut from the same cloth as its inspiration, instead existing as a compelling new creation with its own hurdles to cross. In retrospect, the reimagined Battlestar Galactica painlessly continued the momentum from its original two-part miniseries, thrusting forward with space warfare and political components into the dazzling episode “33”. With Caprica, a shrewd character-driven thriller with complexity surrounding terrorism and family grief, the carry-over isn’t as easy. Thankfully, the Moore-Eick team never shies away, hitting the gas with some rather incisive writing as they drive deeper into Caprica’s unraveling and the Graystone company’s waning success in the wake of the terrorist attack. Along the way, they also grapple with themes of Tauron racism (“dirt eaters”) and religious extremism through the STO and one of its leaders, Zoe’s teacher Sister Clarice (Polly Walker), that correlate to actual issues, while also cleverly using the concept of a digital underground — especially in the anarchistic “New Cap City” game simulation, a mix of World of Warcraft and Grand Theft Auto — as a way of escape and purpose-finding.Yet as Caprica focuses on these modern analogous ideas while its characters develop into a mixture of morally desolate entities, the first batch of six or so episodes move at a deliberate, slow-burning tempo that shifts between intrigue and sluggishness. The harsh chemistry between Daniel and Joseph as scorned parents electrifies, driven by Eric Stoltz and Esai Morales in two stark, authentic performances, and the pacing focuses on the causal events that unfold around their family-affecting decisions. But focusing on this calculated slow-burn can, at times, temper the series’ manner and cause the multiple plot threads to stray from the course, weaving intuitive dramatic performances around a lot of existential meditation and shots of neo-religious content without the right energy to propel it forward. I still find it compelling; the depth of Daniel’s egotism reaches a genuine depth that’s unexpected, while offering a cluster of explosive moments — such as the board meeting in “There is Another Sky” that actually starts the Cylon race — spliced within the persistent, astute drama.Then, as Caprica approaches “Ghosts in the Machine” and the mid-season finale “End of Line”, the gradual tension sees a much-needed outburst. These prior episodes extend into what’s essentially a rather lengthy fuse leading to this batch of dynamite, using brewing family turmoil and growing suspicions into an emotionally-taxing, brilliantly-realized culmination point. “Ghosts in the Machine” plays with the intensity of psychological torment in a staggering rush of emotion, while “End of Life” finds the first episode of the series to use the familiar “__ Hours Before” time mechanic frequently used in Battlestar Galactica. Quite simply, the build-up becomes worth the time at this point, igniting the series with the narrative outbreak it desperately lacked to become fully involving. Whether Caprica can maintain this momentum still remains to be seen, but the succession of these explosive developments that derive from subtly-evolving plot points — Amanda’s weakening sanity, Daniel’s obsession with meeting the development deadline, and the presence of the STO as violent radicals — satisfies with evocative, edge-of-your-seat chills at this midpoint, finally achieving that addictive science-fiction adrenaline that hallmarked its predecessor.The Second half of season 1 Caprica would be the end as Syfy decided to cancel it. 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, leaving curious minds in the dark for roughly seven months and, effectively, knocking the wind out of Caprica. 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.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). Really, 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.Starting with “False Labor”, Caprica begins to see an awakening, 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.Eric Stoltz and Paula Malcomson in Caprica (2009)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. With a Coda at the end of the season you do get a conclusion that answers the questions of where the show would of gone had it been around for 5 years.