REVIEW: GOD FRIENDED ME – SEASON 1

God Friended Me (2018)

Starring

Brandon Micheal Hall (Monster Party)
Violett Beane (The Flash)
Suraj Sharma (Homeland)
Javicia Leslie (Killer Coach)
Joe Morton (Terminator 2)

Brandon Micheal Hall in God Friended Me (2018)

RECURRING / NOTABLE GUEST CAST

Parminder Nagra (Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.)
Christopher Redman (Reverie)
Rachel Bay Jones (Ben Is Back)
Shazi Raja (Salvation)
Dawn-Lyen Gardner (Luke Cage)
Ajay Naidu (Bad Santa)
Flor De Liz Perez (Madam Secretary)
Brent Sexton (Bosch)
Will Rogers (The Bay)
Kyle Harris (Stitchers)
Ben Cole (Sense8)
Erica Gimpel (Fame)
Francesca Ling (The Good Neighbor)
Navid Negahban (Legion)
Malik Yoba (Designated Survivor)
Michael Vartan (Alias)
Chelsea Spack (Gotham)
Jeremie Harris (The Get Down)
Camille Chen (Game Night)
Anabelle Acosta (Quantico)
James Martinez (Run All Night)
Gaius Charles (Takers)
Annaleigh Ashford (Unicorn Store)
Zach Roerig (The Vampire DIaries)
Adam Goldberg (Taken TV)
Al Sapienza (The Sopranos)
Stella Maeve (The Magicians)
René Ifrah (Nurse Jackie)
Nneka Okafor (Behind The Scenes)
Michel Gill (House of Cards)
Derek Luke (13 Reasons Why)
Jessica Lu (Reverie)

Violett Beane and Brandon Micheal Hall in God Friended Me (2018)At first blush, “God Friended Me” is an easy target for mockery. Its title promises something wacky and miraculous, with a bonus social- media tie-in for relevance. In actuality, the new CBS drama is almost too earnest to ridicule, wrapping its absurd premise with the kind of moralistic sincerity that has fueled broadcast network dramas for decades. It’s “Touched by an Angel” re-imagined for the millennial generation.Suraj Sharma, Violett Beane, and Brandon Micheal Hall in God Friended Me (2018)When a mysterious “God” Facebook account friends skeptical atheist Miles (Brandon Micheal Hall) out of nowhere, he’s shaken to find that it seems to anticipate the future by encouraging him to help people who need it, whether they know it or not. Complicating matters is the fact that Miles is also trying to sell a podcast about atheism in which he’d challenge people of faith on their views. This was complex enough before, especially since Miles’ father (Joe Morton) is a reverend who can’t understand his son’s insistence on preaching a lack of gospel. But now, with this seemingly all-knowing Facebook account watching and trying to dictate his every move, Miles finds himself more confused than ever. Violett Beane in God Friended Me (2018)In the attempt to flesh out Miles and his twenty-something world, creators Steven Lilien and Bryan Wynbrandt throw in as many millennial buzzwords as they can. Miles’s co-worker and best friend Rakesh (Suraj Sharma) complains about dating apps, insisting that “no one uses Tinder anymore” with a knowing eye roll on a show that nevertheless insists twenty-somethings are still avid users of Facebook. Miles is trying to sell his podcast to SiriusXM under the moniker “The Millennial Prophet.” And by the time the God account points him in the direction of Cara (Violett Beane), a writer who hasn’t turned in one of her signature viral think pieces for six weeks but somehow maintains a corner office, the show has itself a whole grab bag of millennial clichés that never add up to anything especially believable.Violett Beane and Brandon Micheal Hall in God Friended Me (2018)It’s telling that even on a series featuring a possibly omniscient being nudging people to do good through the insidious act of suggesting friends on Facebook, the most confusing aspect of “God Friended Me” is the question of who, exactly, it’s for. God Friended Me is able to  convince viewers to get past its premise and develop the wholehearted drama fueling it, which helps the series find its way. with a second season ordered it will interesting where the show will go.

REVIEW: DEFINITELY, MAYBE

CAST

Ryan Reynolds (Two Guys and a Girl)
Abigail Breslin (Scream Queens)
Isla Fisher (Confessions of a Shopaholic)
Elizabeth Banks (The Hunger Games)
Rachel Weisz (The Bourne Legacy)
Kevin Kline (Dave)
Derek Luke (Spartan)
Daniel Eric Gold (Ugly Betty)
Kevin Corrigan (Superbad)

Will Hayes (Ryan Reynolds) is a 38-year-old father who is in the midst of a divorce. After her first sex-ed class, his 10-year-old daughter Maya (Abigail Breslin) insists on hearing the story of how her parents met. Will gives in, but decides to change the names and some of the facts relating to the various love affairs of his youth, thereby creating a love mystery; Maya is left guessing which of the women will turn out to be her mother. The story he tells Maya is depicted in long flashbacks. From time to time the film switches back to the present, where Maya comments (often disdainfully) and asks questions.MV5BMjIwNDkwMzkwMF5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTcwNzQ0MTkxNw@@._V1_SX1537_CR0,0,1537,999_AL_The story begins in 1992 when Will, a starry-eyed aspiring political operative, moves away from Wisconsin and his college sweetheart, Emily (Elizabeth Banks) to New York City, where he works on the Clinton campaign. Over the years, Will becomes involved with three women who enter and re-enter his life, including Summer Hartley (Rachel Weisz) an aspiring journalist, and April (Isla Fisher) the copy girl for the campaign. Will and April have a chance meeting outside work, where Will reveals he is going to propose to Emily. When Will practices his proposal to Emily on April, she is taken aback by Will’s heartfelt words, and replies, “Definitely, maybe.” They go back to her apartment, where April has multiple copies of Jane Eyre in her collection, explaining that her father gave her a copy with an inscription in the front shortly before he died, and the book was later lost. She has spent years looking through copies of Jane Eyre at secondhand stores hoping to find the copy her father gave her, but she buys any copy she finds that has an inscription. They kiss, but Will backs away and leaves.
 Emily comes back to New York where she confesses, just after Will proposes, that she slept with his roommate. She did it on purpose to break up with Will, saying that she is “letting him go” because she does not share his rather lofty aspirations. After Clinton is elected, Will opens a campaigning business with most of his work colleagues, which enjoys a good amount of success. Before Will left Wisconsin, Emily asked Will to deliver a package to her former roommate, Summer Hartley, who is living in New York City. Will first meets Summer when he gives her the package, a diary that she wrote when she was a teenager (which, among other things, tells of her brief affair with Emily). He finds she is going out with a famous writer who is old enough to be her father. The writer breaks up with Summer, and Will starts a relationship with her. April quits her job and leaves to travel around the world. When she returns, she plans to tell Will that she loves him, but discovers that he is planning to propose marriage to Summer. April reluctantly congratulates him instead. Summer writes a derogatory article about one of Will’s clients. Will cannot rationalize this conflict of interest, and he ends his relationship with Summer. As a result of the article, Will loses his business and his dream of a political career ends, with all of his friends abandoning him.

April calls after a long absence and finds that Will has a new job, but is lonely and unhappy, feelings further exacerbated when she reveals she has a new boyfriend named Kevin. She throws a birthday party for him, reuniting him with his old colleagues. Will becomes drunk and confesses romantic feelings for April, but he starts a fight with her when he judgmentally implies that she is wasting her life working in a book store. Some time later, Will passes a used book store and finds the copy of Jane Eyre that April has been seeking with the note from her father. Will goes to April’s apartment to give her the book, but he decides against it when he meets Kevin, who is now living with her. Emily moves to New York City, and she and Will rekindle their relationship after a run-in at a party of Summer’s they both were attending. Maya correctly guesses that “Emily” is her mother. Maya espouses that it is tragic that the story has a sad ending, but Will explains that the story has a happy ending: Maya.

Will learns that April is single again, and he attempts to give her the copy of Jane Eyre. When she discovers that he has been holding onto the book for years, she becomes upset and asks him to leave. Maya is happy to have figured out the story, but she realizes that her father still loves April: he changed the name of her mother, Sarah, to Emily in the story, and the name of Natasha to Summer, but he did not change April’s name. Maya makes Will realize that he really isn’t happy without April. On the spur of the moment they take a taxi to go meet April. April does not let them into her apartment. As they walk away, April runs out and asks about the story. Will confesses to April that he held on to the copy of Jane Eyre because it was the only thing he had left of her. April hugs Will and takes them in to hear the story. As Maya passes through the doorway, April rushes into Will’s arms and kisses him.

It’s bittersweet in many places, seeing how easy it is for life to get in the way of relationships, or for the timing to be wrong. It’s not cloying, or saccharine, and gives a real impression of just how complicated love can be – but also how enriching and life-affirming

REVIEW: CAPTAIN AMERICA: THE FIRST AVENGER

CAST

Chris Evans (The Losers)
Hayley Atwell (Cinderella)
Sebastian Stan (Spread)
Tommy Lee Jones (Batman Forever)
Hugo Weaving (The Matrix)
Dominic Cooper (Dracula untold)
Richard Armitage (The Hobbit)
Stanley Tucci (The Lovely Bones)
Samuel L. Jackson (Jackie Brown)
Toby Jones (The Hunger Games)
Neal McDonough (Arrow)
Derek Luke (Glory Road)
Kenneth Choi (The Terminal)
Natalie Dormer (Game of Thrones)
David Bradley (The Young Messiah)
Jenna Coleman (Doctor Who)
Amanda Righetti (Friday The 13th)
Stan Lee (Avengers Assemble)
Simon Kunz (City of Ember)
Anatole Taubman (Taken)
Laura Haddock (Guardians of The Galaxy)

MV5BMTMxNDU2NDYxNF5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTcwMzc4MjIwNQ@@._V1_SX1777_CR0,0,1777,756_AL_In the present day, scientists in the Arctic uncover an old, frozen aircraft. In March 1942, Nazi officer Johann Schmidt and his men steal a mysterious relic called the Tesseract, which possesses untold powers, from the town of Tønsberg in German-occupied Norway.41aaA5+UHWLIn New York City, Steve Rogers is rejected for World War II military recruitment because of various health and physical problems. While attending an exhibition of future technologies with his friend, Sgt. James “Bucky” Barnes, Rogers again attempts to enlist. Overhearing Rogers’ conversation with Barnes about wanting to help in the war, Dr. Abraham Erskine allows Rogers to enlist. He is recruited into the Strategic Scientific Reserve as part of a “super-soldier” experiment under Erskine, Col. Chester Phillips, and British agent Peggy Carter. Phillips is unconvinced by Erskine’s claims that Rogers is the right person for the procedure but relents after seeing Rogers commit an act of self-sacrificing bravery. The night before the treatment, Erskine reveals to Rogers that Schmidt underwent an imperfect version of the procedure and suffered permanent side-effects.
MV5BMTQ2ODc0MjI2Nl5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTcwODg3NTAyNw@@._V1_SX1777_CR0,0,1777,748_AL_Schmidt and Dr. Arnim Zola harness the energies of the Tesseract, intending to use the power to fuel Zola’s inventions, mounting an offensive that will change the world. Schmidt discovers Erskine’s location and dispatches assassin Heinz Kruger to kill him. Erskine subjects Rogers to the super-soldier treatment, injecting him with a special serum and dosing him with “vita-rays”. After Rogers emerges from the experiment taller and more muscular, an undercover Kruger kills Erskine and flees. Rogers pursues and captures Kruger, but the assassin avoids interrogation by committing suicide with a cyanide capsule. With Erskine dead and his super-soldier formula lost, U.S. Senator Brandt has Rogers tour the nation in a colorful costume as “Captain America” to promote war bonds while scientists study him and attempt to rediscover the formula. In 1943, while on tour in Italy performing for active servicemen, Rogers learns that Barnes’ unit was MIA in a battle against Schmidt’s forces. Refusing to believe that Barnes is dead, Rogers has Carter and engineer Howard Stark fly him behind enemy lines to mount a solo rescue attempt. Rogers infiltrates the fortress of Schmidt’s Nazi division Hydra, freeing Barnes and the other prisoners. Rogers confronts Schmidt, who removes a mask to reveal a red, skull-like visage that earned him the sobriquet “the Red Skull”. Schmidt escapes and Rogers returns to base with the freed soldiers.
MV5BMTY4MzgzMjEwNl5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTcwNTgwODYzMw@@._V1.._SX1777_CR0,0,1777,755_AL_Rogers recruits Barnes, Dum Dum Dugan, Gabe Jones, Jim Morita, James Montgomery Falsworth, and Jacques Dernier to attack other known Hydra bases. Stark outfits Rogers with advanced equipment, most notably a circular shield made of vibranium, a rare, nearly indestructible metal. Rogers and his team sabotage various Hydra operations. The team later assaults a train carrying Zola. Rogers and Jones succeed in capturing Zola, but Barnes falls from the train to his assumed death.[c] Using information extracted from Zola, the final Hydra stronghold is located, and Rogers leads an attack to stop Schmidt from using weapons of mass destruction on major cities around the world. Rogers climbs aboard Schmidt’s aircraft as it takes off, and during the subsequent fight the Tesseract’s container is damaged. Schmidt physically handles the Tesseract, causing him to dissolve in a bright light. The Tesseract burns through the plane and is lost in the ocean. Seeing no way to land the plane without the risk of detonating its weapons, Rogers crashes it in the Arctic. Stark later recovers the Tesseract from the ocean floor but is unable to locate Rogers or the aircraft, presuming him dead.
MV5BMTUzODkyNDE2OV5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTcwMzEzNTIzMw@@._V1_SX1777_CR0,0,1777,999_AL_Rogers awakens in a 1940s-style hospital room. Deducing from an anachronistic radio broadcast that something is wrong, he flees outside and finds himself in present-day Times Square, where S.H.I.E.L.D. director Nick Fury informs him that he has been “asleep” for nearly 70 years. In a post-credits scene, Fury approaches Rogers and proposes a mission with worldwide ramifications.MV5BMTUwMjc2MTgzNF5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTcwNjg0ODI4NA@@._V1_SY1000_CR0,0,1355,1000_AL_Overall, I enjoyed the immersion into the era that Captain America: The First Avenger takes you back into. The performances are capable and Johnston’s vision is convincing, and it makes for entertaining viewing.