REVIEW: SEE – SEASON 1

Jason Momoa in See (2019)

Starring

Jason Momoa (Aquaman)
Alfre Woodard (Luke Cage)
Sylvia Hoeks (Blade Runner 2049)
Hera Hilmar (Anna Karenina)
Christian Camargo (The Hurt Locker)
Archie Madekwe (Midsommar)
Nesta Cooper (The Edge of Seventeen)
Yadira Guevara-Prip (Mad Dogs)

Jason Momoa and Archie Madekwe in See (2019)

Recurring / Notable Guest Cast

Mojean Aria (Aban and Khorshid)
Luc Roderique (The Dragon Prince)
Peter Bryant (Legends of Tomorrow)
Tantoo Cardinal (Red Snow)
Marilee Talkington (Upside Out)
Sharon Taylor (Smallville)
Hiro Kanagawa (Heroes Reborn)
Adrian Hough (Chilling Adventures of Sabrina)
Lauren Glazier (Red Sparrow)
Franz Drameh (Legends of Tomorrow)
Timothy Webber (Cedar Cove)
Jessica Harper (Stardust Memories)
Joshua Henry (Sex and The City)
Aleks Paunovic (Van Helsing)
Gabrielle Rose (If I Stay)
Kyra Zagorsky (Arrow)
Dayo Okeniyi (Shades of Blue)
Alex Zahara (Horns)

Jason Momoa and Hera Hilmar in See (2019)Jason Momoa Slashes His Way Through Apple’s Weirdest New Series, Steven Knight’s action-drama is a strange-but-effective blend of its star’s burly warrior prowess and “Walking Dead” post-apocalyptic storytelling.
Hera Hilmar in See (2019)There’s a scene near the end of “See’s” hourlong, action-driven pilot where Queen Kane (Sylvia Hoeks), the malicious ruler of one of Earth’s last civilizations with electricity, interrupts her advisers by bluntly shouting, “I wish to pray!” Retreating to an oversized footrest bathed in light, the blind leader of a blind world licks her fingers, starts speaking to God, and then masturbates until her prayer and orgasm climax together.Tantoo Cardinal, Alfre Woodard, Jason Momoa, Bree Klauser, Brianna Clark, Hera Hilmar, Mojean Aria, Marilee Talkington, Luc Roderique, and Yadira Guevara-Prip in See (2019)There’s no particular explanation for this — not in the first three episodes, anyway — and the scene highlights both the peculiar experience of watching “See” as well as the show’s early shortcomings. For as odd as creator and writer Steven Knight’s choices can be, they rarely evoke an intuitive consequence from his apocalyptic premise or a clever way to maximize the bold new world he’s trying to build.Set centuries after a deadly virus reduced the planet’s population to less than 2 million people — and left the few survivors without vision — “See” shows its characters reduced to early settlers’ way of life. Anyone who doesn’t live in or near the queen’s water-powered dam (known as Payan Kingdom) reside in small villages, spending their days hunting live animals and their nights sleeping in tipis. Some homesteaders are mystics, others have special abilities that allow them to sense people’s intentions, but most fall into the hunter or gatherer ways of life.Chief among the hunters — and Chief of the Alkenny Tribe — is Baba Voss (Jason Momoa), an unmatched, but reluctant warrior who befriends, courts, and marries a newcomer to town, all before the series begins. You see, Baba always wanted kids, but he couldn’t have them, and Maghra (Hera Hilmar) walked into the village already pregnant — coupling up was their destiny… even if it sounds like a relationship based on convenience. Even more convenient: When the pilot episode starts, a ruthless army has breached the edge of the village, hunting Maghra. These Witchfinders believe, you guessed it, she’s a witch, and, worse still, she’s carrying children sired by a man who can see. Paris (Alfre Woodard), the town’s midwife and spiritual leader, gleans as much while Maghra’s in labor and Baba is at the front of the line, defending his village.An episode-long battle ensues, and here’s where “See” starts to click — literally. As the Alkenny army approaches their enemy, they communicate with tongue taps and careful clicks, even commencing an attack by lightly clinking their weapon on a rock. Before that, Baba gives an inspirational speech that’s half mumbled English and half new-world gibberish, and Momoa’s vehemency nearly sells it. Directed with a clear eye for the natural beauty surrounding the battle (and a rudimentary vision of everything else), Francis Lawrence helps create a compelling, lengthy, and somewhat different melee. Later scenes feature more well-choreographed carnage, and the expansive sets and found locations add a beauty to the show that helps set it apart.And yet, some of it just feels silly. A certain suspension of disbelief is required for a post-apocalyptic fantasy titled “See” about an unseeing society — that much is obvious — and there are plenty of cool swordfights where a combatant will pivot and thrust into a precise spot without any explanation for how they knew where to stab, or even how they knew an opponent (not an ally) was standing there. OK, fine, but what about when Baba hears the slightest clunk of a ladder smacking against his ledge, and he wisely tips the enemy’s ladder back over — but soon after, he dumbly ignores an even louder attempt at the same attack. It’s as though we’re expected to believe everyone in “See” has heightened and dulled senses simultaneously.Alfre Woodard and Jason Momoa in See (2019)Also nagging: Why have these people regressed so much? What happened to indoor plumbing and solar power, let alone computers and cell phones? It’s as though the big picture concept requires disability equate to inability, and even if that’s not the intent — producers hired cast and crew members who are blind or have low vision, and also employed a blindness consultant — there needs to be more of an explanation for how, exactly, this society ended up living like it’s 200 years in the past instead of 200 years in the future.Sylvia Hoeks in See (2019)Momoa, meanwhile, fits the role well — so well, it’s like they named the character after him — but he’s still a far cry from multidimensionality; one can see how Momoa pulls from Drogo for Baba, building off the “Game of Thrones” favorite for fight scenes while imbuing the new guy with good dad instincts and a haunted past to help form a well-rounded lead. But Momoa isn’t a subtle performer, and scenes where he’s forced to wrestle with tough decisions or face his inner demons require Baba’s facial scars to speak for him. While Momoa is glorious to watch. Indeed, the characters can be irrational, but that is due to a return to Dark Age mentality of superstition and fear. Is it so far from our current era? I encourage viewers to stay with it, and be rewarded.

 

REVIEW: K-19: THE WIDOWMAKER

CAST
Harrison Ford (Blade Runner)
Liam Neeson (Batman Begins)
Sam Spruell (The Hurt Locker)
Peter Stebbings (bates Motel)
Roman Podhora (Final Destination 5)
Ravil Isyanov (Alias)
Peter Starsgaard (Jarhead)
Donald Sumpter (Game of Thrones
Tygh Runyan (Versailles)
Christian Camargo (See)
In 1961, the Soviet Union launches its first ballistic missile nuclear submarine, the K-19. The ship is led by Captain Alexei Vostrikov, aided by executive officer Mikhail Polenin. Polenin, the original captain, and the crew have served together for some time but Vostrikov’s appointment is alleged to have been aided by his wife’s political connections. During his first inspection, Vostrikov discovers the submarine’s reactor officer to be drunk and asleep on duty. Vostrikov sacks the officer and orders Polenin to request a replacement. The new reactor officer, Vadim Radtchenko, arrives direct from nuclear school having just been fresh from the naval academy, annoying Polenin who thinks Vostrikov was too punitive on the former reactor officer who was competent despite his momentary lapse of judgment. Also, during the preparation period for the sub’s launch, the ship’s medical officer is killed when struck by an oncoming truck, and is subsequently replaced by the command’s foremost medical officer, an army officer who has graciously offered himself in the submarine’s time of need, but also privately admits to Vostrikov that as an army officer he has never been out to sea and suffers from motion sickness. During the K-19’s official launch, the bottle of champagne fails to break when it strikes the bow; the sailors nervously glance at each other due to this customary sign of bad luck.
The crew’s performance improves and Vostrikov decides to carry out the K-19’s first mission, which is to surface in the Arctic and fire an unarmed (“test”) ballistic missile. After that, the K-19 will patrol a zone in the Atlantic within range of New York and Washington D.C. just in case the U.S. launches an attack to the Soviet Union. As a test of the sub’s endurance, Vostrikov orders the K-19 to submerge past its maximum operational depth of 250 meters to its “crush depth” (300 meters), then surface rapidly at full-speed to break through the Arctic pack-ice which he estimates to be no more than one metre thick. Polenin regards this maneuver as dangerous and, during the surfacing procedure, storms off the bridge. After scraping along the underside of the ice, the K-19 finally breaks through and surfaces with no apparent damage. The crew is both relieved and exhilarated by Vostrikov’s bold maneuver and the test missile is launched successfully.
As the K-19 sails southwards to begin the second part of its mission, a pipe carrying coolant to the reactor cooling system springs a leak and then bursts completely. Polenin and Vostrikov are informed that once the nuclear reactor reaches 1000 °C, the nuclear reactor will explode and most likely plunge the world into a nuclear war. The frightening possibility prompts the crew to solve the problem. The control rods are inserted to stop the reactor, but without coolant the reactor temperature continues to rise rapidly. Polenin and Radtchenko are shocked to discover that back-up coolant systems have not been installed. Vostrikov orders the K-19 to surface so that he may contact fleet command to inform them of the accident and await orders. But upon surfacing they discover the long-range transmitter on the conning tower is damaged and they are unable to contact fleet headquarters – Vostrikov assumes, ruefully, his surfacing maneuver in the Arctic caused the antenna damage.
An engineering team reluctantly have to enter the reactor to make repairs, and produce a makeshift coolant system to get the reactor temperature down. Polenin discovers the submarine has been provided with chemical suits rather than suits to protect against radiation. He nonetheless tells the first team that the suits will protect them. The first group emerges from the reactor compartment vomiting and heavily blistered. The second team panics, but make their way in. The repairs succeed in cooling the reactor, but many are severely ill with radiation poisoning.
Vostrikov is informed that a helicopter is approaching; he and some of the crew climb out onto the deck, thinking a Russian ship has come to save them, only to discover that it is a US Navy helicopter from a nearby US destroyer. The destroyer is asking if the K-19 requires assistance. Vostrikov orders a reply in the negative; the men on the deck notice a crewman in the helicopter photographing them, and they drop their trousers and bare their buttocks at him. The helicopter flies away. Vostrikov refuses to allow the Americans anywhere near K-19. The US destroyer follows them at a discreet distance. Back in the Soviet Union, the Soviet government begins to have suspicions about the K-19 abandoning the mission following K-19’s failure to contact fleet headquarters about the condition of the mission.The submarine makes its way towards a group of diesel submarines in the south, but the pipework ruptures and the temperature begins to rise once again, forcing Vostrikov to dive the submarine and quell a mutiny. The second repair is a success, but the engineer has sustained more radiation than the previous teams and is certain to die. Captain Vostrikov drags him from the reactor. After that, the K-19 finally reaches to the location of the diesel submarines. However, the Soviet leadership order him to confine the crew on the submarine until a freighter can arrive to pick them up. Knowing that it would be too dangerous to keep the crew on K-19, Vostrikov orders the crew to be evacuated to the diesel submarines despite knowing he will most likely lose his command and be sent to a gulag. After the incident, Captain Vostrikov is tried for endangering the mission and disobeying a direct order, but Polenin comes to his defense, which resulted in his charges being dropped.
An epilogue shows an aged Captain Vostrikov in 1989, putting on his dress uniform in a small flat and catching a train to meet up with Polenin. It is exactly 28 years after the accident; the Berlin Wall is shown to be coming down. Vostrikov grumbles about the inconvenience but Polenin informs him this is the anniversary of the day they were rescued. The commanders enter a cemetery where a number of the surviving K-19 crewmen are gathered by a grave site. We learn that this is the first time the K-19 survivors have met since the incident. Vostrikov is visibly moved as he greets the men and informs them that he nominated the men now dead of radiation poisoning (28 in total) for the distinction of Hero of the Soviet Union, but was told they were not worthy of the title as they died not during war time, but as the result of an accident. The film ends with the moment when, years before, the whole crew took a group photograph in front of the submarine.
This is a well crafted, true story and Exposition of the cold war submariners’ duties. The unusual thing is that the Russians are depicted as the good guys. The editing, as signified by the pace of the film is superbly done. The claustrophobic aspects of the ship could have been boring but it was not the case. The two captains are shown as mutually distrusting at first but under duress begin to see the others point of view under the weight of an unreliable and dangerous vessel.

 

 

REVIEW: THE TWILIGHT SAGA: BREAKING DAWN – PART 2

CAST
Kristin Stewart (Snow White & The Huntsman)
Robert Pattinson (Sword Xanten)
Taylor Lautner (Tracers)
Peter Facinelli (Supergirl)
Elizabeth Reaser (The Ex List)
Ashley Greene (Burying The Ex)
Jackson Rathbone (S.Darko)
Kellan Lutz (The Legend of Hercules)
Nikki Reed (Sleepy Hollow)
Billy Burke (Red Riding Hood)
Maggie Grace (Lost)
Jamie Campbell Bower (Sweeney Todd)
Christopher Heyerdahl (Sanctuary)
Michael Sheen (Underworld)
Daniel Cudmore (X-Men 2)
Dakota Fanning (Taken)
Cameron Bright (The Butterfly Effect)
Mia Maestro (Alias)
Judith Shekoni (Heroes Reborn)
Lee Pace (The Hobbit)
Andrea Gabriel (Lost)
Rami Malek (Mr. Robot)
Valorie Curry (The Tick)
Joe Anderson (The Grey)
Noel Fisher (Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles)
Julia Jones (Westworld)
Booboo Stewart (Descendants)
Christian Camargo (See)
Omar Metwally (Treadstone)
 
Bella awakens from her transformation from human to vampire, aware of her new abilities, but unaware of changes within the coven, such as Jacob having imprinted on her child, Renesmee. It also appears that Bella’s father, Charlie, has been attempting to contact the Cullens for updates on Bella’s illness. They intend to tell him she didn’t survive, which requires that they move away from Forks, Washington to protect their identities. Jacob, desperate not to lose Renesmee, tells Charlie that Bella is in fact alive and well, and explains that Bella had to change in order to survive. He morphs into a wolf, revealing his tribe’s shape-shifting power, but does not tell Charlie about vampires.
 
Several months pass with Carlisle monitoring Renesmee’s rapid growth. On an outing in the woods, a bitter Irina sees Renesmee from a distance and believes her to be an immortal child. Immortal children were vampires who were changed in childhood, and because they could not be trained nor restrained, they destroyed entire villages. They were eventually executed, as were the parents who created them, and the creation of such children outlawed. Irina goes to the Volturi to report what she has seen. Alice sees the Volturi and Irina coming to kill the Cullens and instructs the others to gather as many witnesses as they can to testify that Renesmee is not an immortal. The Cullens begin to summon witnesses, such as the Denali family. One of the Denali, Eleazar, later discovers that Bella has a special ability: a powerful mental shield which had protected her from Edward’s mind reading even when she was human, and which she can now extend to protect others from mental attacks.
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As some of their potential witnesses are attacked and prevented from supporting the Cullens, Carlisle and Edward realize they may have to fight the Volturi. Their witnesses ultimately agree to stand with them in battle, having realized the Volturi increase the Guard by falsely accusing covens of crimes, destroy them and then recruit vampires with gifts. The Volturi arrive prepared for battle, led by Aro, who is eager to obtain the gifted members of the Cullen coven as part of his guard. Aro is allowed to touch Renesmee, and is convinced that she is not an immortal child. Irina is brought forth and takes full responsibility for her mistake, leading to her immediate death. Aro still insists that Renesmee may pose a risk in the future, validating his claim that battle is necessary. Before any violence, Alice shares with Aro her vision of the battle that is to come, during which both sides sustain heavy casualties, including Aro who would also die. Aro believes her, giving Alice and Jasper an opportunity to reveal their witness (a half mortal half vampire just like Renesmee). The witness proves that he is not a threat, supporting the notion that Renesmee is not a threat. The Volturi unhappily leave without a fight.
Back at the Cullen home, Alice glimpses the future, seeing Edward and Bella together with Jacob and a fully matured Renesmee also together. Edward reads Alice’s mind and feels relieved that Renesmee has Jacob to protect her. Alone in the meadow, Bella pushes her mental shield away and finally allows Edward a peek into her mind, showing him every precious moment she and Edward shared together and the two share a kiss after Bella telling Edward, “No one has ever loved anyone as much as I love you”, and both Edward and Bella saying they’ll love and be together forever. The end credits present the cast members from all five films.
I enjoyed seeing the characters develop, especially  Stewart who steals the show. She has grown into a respectable actress and she has turned a wooden and unlikable character (in the novel) into someone you root for in the film.

REVIEW: THE TWILIGHT SAGA: BREAKING DAWN – PART 1

 

CAST
Kristin Stewart (Snow White & The Huntsman)
Robert Pattinson (Sword Xanten)
Taylor Lautner (Tracers)
Billy Burke (Red Riding Hood)
Sarah Clarke (Thirteen)
Ashley Greene (Burying The Ex)
Jackson Rathbone (S.Darko)
Peter Facinelli (Supergirl)
Elizabeth Reaser (The Ex List)
Kellan Lutz (The Legend of Hercules)
Nikki Reed (Sleepy Hollow)
Anna Kenderick (The Voices)
Christian Serratos (Flight 7500)
Michael Welch (All The Boys Love Mandy Lane)
Michael Sheen (Underworld)
Christopher Heyerdahl (Sanctuary)
Jamie Campbell Bower (Sweeney Todd)
Mia Maestro (Alias)
Maggie Grace (Lost)
Christian Camargo (See)
Daniel Cudmore (X-Men 2)
Ty Olsson (Battlestar Galactica)
Booboo Stewart (Descendants)
Julia Jones (Westworld)
Mackenzie Foy (Interstellar)
Kiowa Gordon (Roswell, New Mexico)

Bella Swan is getting ready for her wedding. During the reception, her best friend, Jacob Black the werewolf returns after hearing about Bella and Edward’s engagement. While dancing with him in the woods, away from everyone else, Bella admits that she and Edward plan to consummate their marriage on their honeymoon while she’s still human. Jacob becomes furious, knowing that Edward could easily kill Bella. The other wolves restrain him and leave.
The couple spends their honeymoon on Isle Esme and they make love for the first time. The next morning, Edward realizes that Bella has numerous bruises and is mad at himself for hurting her, though Bella insists she enjoyed the experience. Edward swears not to make love again until she becomes a vampire. Two weeks into their honeymoon, Bella realizes that she is pregnant with a half mortal half immortal child. Edward is terrified by the news, knowing that she may not survive the delivery. He says that Carlisle will remove the monster. She refuses, as she wants to keep the baby and convinces Edward’s sister, Rosalie, who has always wanted a child, to help protect her baby. They fly back home to Forks, Washington. She has only been pregnant for two weeks, but the baby is growing very fast.MV5BMjA1NTI1OTkxNl5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTcwNDYxODUzNg@@__V1_SY1000_CR0,0,1103,1000_AL_Jacob rushes over to the Cullen’s mansion and finds Bella already heavily pregnant. He is angry, saying that they should remove it as soon as possible. Bella says that it is her choice. Jacob is disgusted by this. As Bella gets bigger, the quality of her health declines then rapidly improves as she starts drinking human blood to satisfy the baby’s vampiric thirst. Edward comes to love the baby as much as Bella does as he reads its thoughts, learning that his child loves Bella in return and doesn’t want to hurt her.
Soon after, Bella drops a cup of blood and as she bends down to pick it up, the baby breaks her back. She almost dies giving birth. To save her life, Edward injects Bella’s heart with his venom to transform her into a vampire, but nothing seems to happen and Bella is thought to be dead. Greatly distraught, Jacob attempts to kill the baby, but stops when he realises he has imprinted on the baby. When the werewolves hear of Bella’s death, they attack the Cullens’ house in an attempt to kill the baby as they fear it would become a threat. Edward, Alice and Jasper defend their home and their family, and are later helped by Carlisle, Esme, and Emmett. Jacob then runs outside to stop the battle and shape-shifts. Edward reads Jacob’s mind and announces that Jacob has imprinted on Renesmee and since it is the wolves’ law not to harm anyone who has been imprinted on they are forced to leave. After Bella is cleaned and dressed, her cuts from her difficult labour heal as the venom spreads through her body. The last scene shows Bella open her now blood red eyes as a newborn vampire.
What I loved most about this movie were the emotional extremes. Where the past three Twilight movies are subtle and reserved, this one goes all out, portraying everything from euphoria to unthinkable agony. The blissful scenes at the beginning are such a stark contrast to the agonizing scenes at the end.

REVIEW: THE HURT LOCKER

CAST
Jeremy Renner (The Bourne Legacy)
Anthony Mackie (Million Dollar Baby)
Brian Geraghty (When A Stranger Calls)
Guy Pearce (Prometheus)
Ralph Fiennes (Red Dragon)
David Morse (The Rock)
Evangeline Lilly (Ant-Man)
Christian Camargo (See)
The Hurt Locker opens with a quotation from War Is a Force That Gives Us Meaning, a best-selling 2002 book by Chris Hedges, a New York Times war correspondent and journalist: “The rush of battle is a potent and often lethal addiction, for war is a drug.”
Sergeant First Class William James (Jeremy Renner), a battle-tested veteran, arrives as a new team leader of a U.S. Army Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) unit in the Iraq War,replacing Staff Sergeant Matthew Thompson (Guy Pearce), who was killed by a radio-controlled 155mm improvised explosive device (IED) in Baghdad. His team includes Sergeant J.T. Sanborn (Anthony Mackie) and Specialist Owen Eldridge (Brian Geraghty).
James’ maverick methods and attitude lead Sanborn and Eldridge to consider him reckless, and tensions mount. When they are assigned to destroy some explosives in a remote desert area, James returns to the detonation site to pick up his gloves. Sanborn openly contemplates killing James by “accidentally” triggering the explosion, making Eldridge very uncomfortable, but Sanborn does nothing.
Returning to Camp Victory in their Humvee, the team encounters five armed men in traditional Arab garb standing near the men’s Ford Excursion, which has a flat tire. After a tense encounter, the men reveal themselves to be private military contractors and British mercenaries. They have captured two prisoners featured on the most-wanted Iraqi playing cards. The entire group suddenly comes under fire, and when the prisoners attempt to escape in the confusion, the leader of the mercenaries (Ralph Fiennes) remembers the bounty for them is “dead or alive” and shoots them. Enemy snipers kill three of the mercenaries, including the leader. Sanborn and James borrow a Barrett .50 cal to dispatch three attackers, while Eldridge kills a fourth.
During a raid on a warehouse, James discovers the body of a young boy, in which a live bomb has been surgically implanted. James believes it to be “Beckham” (Christopher Sayegh), an Iraqi youth he had previously befriended. During evacuation, Lieutenant Colonel John Cambridge (Christian Camargo), the camp’s psychiatrist and a friend of Eldridge’s, is killed in an explosion; Eldridge blames himself for the Colonel’s death. Later, James leaves the military compound seeking revenge for Beckham and breaks into the house of an Iraqi professor, but his search reveals nothing and he leaves.
Called to a petrol tanker detonation, James decides on his own to hunt for the insurgents responsible, guessing they are still in the immediate area. Sanborn protests, but when James heads out, he and Eldridge reluctantly follow. After they split up, insurgents capture Eldridge. James and Sanborn rescue him, but accidentally shoot him in the leg. The following morning, James is approached by Beckham, who James believed was dead. The young boy tries to play soccer with James and sell him more DVDs, but the soldier walks by without saying a word. Before being airlifted for surgery elsewhere, Eldridge angrily blames James for his injury.
James and Sanborn’s unit is called to another mission in their last two days of their rotation. An innocent Iraqi civilian man has had a bomb vest strapped to his chest. James tries to cut off the locks to remove the vest, but there are too many to undo in the time available before the bomb will detonate. He has to abandon the man, who is killed when the bomb explodes. Sanborn is left distraught by the man’s death. He confesses to James that he can no longer cope with the pressure, and he wants to return home and have a son.
After Bravo Company’s rotation ends, James returns home to his ex-wife, Connie (Evangeline Lilly) and their infant son who both still live with him in his house. However, he is bored and disconnected from routine civilian life, with its ordinary tasks of shopping at the supermarket and family dinners. One night, James confesses to his son that there is only one thing that he knows he loves. Shortly thereafter, he starts another tour of duty serving with Delta Company, U.S. Army EOD unit as they are starting their 365-day rotation.
Fully deserving of its Oscar and BAFTA awards Kathryn Bigelow’s The Hurt Locker is an ambitious, intelligent, unsentimental attempt to present the experience of war from the perspective of ordinary soldiers.