REVIEW: 13 REASONS WHY – SEASON 2

Dylan Minnette in 13 Reasons Why (2017)

MAIN CAST

Dylan Minnette (Don’t Breathe)
Katherine Langford (The Misguided)
Christian Navarro (Bushwick)
Alisha Boe (Paranormal Activity 4)
Brandon Flynn (BrainDead)
Justin Prentice (Izombie)
Miles Heizer (Rails & Ties)
Ross Butler (Riverdale)
Devin Druid (Louder Than Bombs)
Amy Hargreaves (Wonderstruck)
Derek Luke (Biker Boyz)
Kate Walsh (After The Sunset)
Michele Selene Ang

2

RECURRING / NOTABLE GUEST CAST

Brian d’Arcy James (Smash)
Steven Weber (Izombie)
Wilson Cruz (Star Trek Discovery)
Sosie Bacon (Scream: The Series)
Tommy Dorfman (Fludity)
Allison Miller (17 Again)
Tom Everett Scott (Race To Witch Mountain)
Ben Lawson (No Strings Attached)
Robert Gant (Supergirl)
Chelsea Alden (Facd 2 Face)
Bryce Cass (Battle Los Angeles)
Brandon Butler (Ring of Silence)
Anne Winters (Mom and Dad)
Jackie Geary (NCIS)
Brenda Strong (Supergirl)
Anthony Raoo (Star Trek: Discovery)

“I know some people don’t want us to talk about what happened,” Tyler (Devin Druid) says in voiceover at the start of “13 Reasons Why’s” second season. “But if we don’t talk about it, it’s never going to change. So it’s important for everyone to understand how it all happened. The whole story.”  This is the very first thing viewers of the new season will hear — well, second, if you include the new trigger warning video featuring members of the cast that plays ahead of the premiere. But the warning and monologue are intertwined, because they’re ultimately about the same thing. The warning acknowledges that, while Netflix’s mega-hit series was well-received in its first season, it also drew plenty of controversy over how it treated its sensitive subject material: suicide, sexual assault, drug abuse, and so on.MV5BMThiMjMyMmUtMjcwMC00NjAxLWI0MDMtMmEwN2UzYTExNjIzXkEyXkFqcGdeQXVyMzUwMTgwMw@@._V1_SY1000_CR0,0,733,1000_AL_But Tyler’s monologue, which we soon learn is delivered from the witness stand, is a defense of season two’s very existence. Yes, the creators (including showrunners Brian Yorkey and Diana son) know of the criticisms. Yes, they know there are questions as to why a season two even needed to happen. But their argument is that the season is necessary — “important,” even. And considering how successful the show has been, the story we see in season two may not even be the end. The trial in question, which has compelled troubled gun aficionado Tyler’s testimony, is a lawsuit against Liberty High School by the parents of late student Hannah Baker (Katherine Langford). Hannah’s tapes explaining why she committed suicide provided the narrative arc of season one, with each tape focused on a different person in Hannah’s life. The trial serves the same function this season, with each episode centering on a particular witness’ testimony.13-reasons-why-season2The result is something of an inverse of the first season: instead of Hannah’s voice on the tapes, we hear the other students, teachers, and her parents. They open up parts of the story we didn’t hear in season one, though we’re left to to decide on our own if we trust them as our narrators. Reversing the narrative doesn’t do much to change the core of the series. Clay is the rock of “13 Reasons Why,” the anchor who keeps us chained to Hannah’s story. No matter whether we disagree with Hannah’s actions, get frustrated with the treatment of rapist baseball player Bryce Walker (Justin Prentice), or would perhaps rather follow the complex, challenging story of survivor Jessica Davis (Alisha Boe), Clay keeps us on track. This is about Hannah, the girl he loved but never got up the guts to tell. This is about his journey to make sure her suicide is avenged — whatever that personally means to him. And this is about his relationship to her and her memory, no matter how many forces of doubt come to challenge that.https _blueprint-api-production.s3.amazonaws.com_uploads_card_image_771242_269f95fd-56f8-4925-86ec-20d889c7690dMinnette is a marvel, turning in one of the most committed, insular, intense performances you’ll see anywhere on television. The 21-year-old actor reads as a blank slate when he’s still — maybe a hint of a perpetual grimace on his face, but ultimately inoffensive. As a result, Clay is often seen looking pensive, quiet, and expressionless. When he breaks, however, Minnette shines. Clay screams, cries, and generally loses his cool this season, and Minnette captures it all without missing a beat. Every bit of pain seems to leave an extra wrinkle or crag on Clay’s face. Minnette himself makes Clay feel heavier as the season goes on, like having to do any small thing would cause the young man to explode. Minnette plays Clay as a teen on the verge of a nervous breakdown, and you can’t take your eyes off him. A good deal of the cast is good this season — particularly Kate Walsh as Hannah’s grieving-but-furious mother Olivia — but Minnette stands above the pack. His is a tour-de-force performance that goes a long way to making “13 Reasons Why’s” second season feel worth the drama.

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REVIEW: MOM – SEASON 1-5

MAIN CAST

Anan Faris (Just Friends)
Allison Janney (I, Tonya)
Sadia Calvano (Melissa & Joey)
Nate Corddry (Yogi Bear)
Matt Jones (Mojave)
French Stewart (3rd rock From The Sun)
Spencer Daniels (Star Trek)
Mimi Kennedy (Due Date)
Blake Garrett Rosenthal (New Girl)
Jaime Pressly (My Name Is Earl)
Beth Hall (Mad Men)
William Fichtner (The Dark Knight)

Mom (2013)

RECURRING / NOTABLE GUEST CAST

Courtney Henggeler (The Big Bang Theory)
David de Lautour (Power Rangers Jungle Fury)
Justin Long (Tusk)
Reggie De Leon (Young & Hungry)
Octavia Spencer (Insurgent)
Nick Searcy (Justified)
Lauren Bowles (Ghost World)
Jon Cryer (Two and a Half Men)
Kevin Pollak (Willow)
Nick Zano (Legends of Tomorrow)
Ron Rogge (Power Rangers: Lightspeed Rescue)
Jim Jansen (Gilmore Girls)
Brian Stepanek (Young Sheldon)
Alex Desert (The Flash)
Ryan Cartwright (Bones)
Melissa Tang (A Good Day To Die Hard)
James Earl (Scream Queens)
Crista Flanagan (Epic Movie)
Richard Riehle (Casino)
Mary Pat Gleason (Crucible)
Alison La Placa (Duet)
Jim Piddock (Family Tree)
Sara Rue (Popular)
Edward Asner (Elf)
Rick Fox (Oz)
Ian Reed Kesler (The Finder)
Colin Hanks (King Kong)
Beverly D’Angelo (The Simpsons)
Alan Rachins (Showgirls)
Don McManus (The Mazed Runner)
Clarke Duke (Kick-Ass)
April Bowlby (How I Met Your Mother)
Amy Hill (50 First Dates)
David Krumhotlz (Serenity)
Victor Webster (Mutant X)
Fred Tatasciore (Hulk Vs)
Tom Amandes (Arrow)
Kelly Stables (The Ring 2)
Ellen Burstyn (The Exorcist)
June Squibb (Shameless)
Lauri Johnson (Waitress)
Emily Osment (Cyberbully)
Lamont Thompson (Evan Almighty)
Linda Lavin (The Back-Up Plan)
Harry Hamlin (Clash of The Titans)
Rosie O’Donnell (The Flinstones)
Joe Mangiello (Magic Mike)
Jim Pirri (Suicide Squad: Hell To pay)
Jesse Luken (Star Crossed)
Richard Schiff (Man of Steel)
Stacey Travis (Easy A)
Diane Delano (Jeepers Creepers II)
Jack McGee (The Fighter)
Christina Moore (That 70s Show0
Nicole Sullivan (Disjointed)
Bradley Whitford (Get Out)
Chris Pratt (Guardians of The Galaxy)
Wendie Malick (American Housewife)
Leonard Roberts (Heroes)
Bret Harrison (V)
Yeardley Smith (The Simpsons)
Missi Pyle (Gone GIrl)
David Anthony Higgins (Mike & Molly)
Michael Angarano (Empire State)
Danielle Bisutti (Curse of Chucky)
Steven Weber (13 Reasons Why)
Kristin Chenoweth (Pushing Daisies)
Kristen Johnston (3rd Rock From The Sun)
Yvette Nicole Brown (Community)
Patti LuPone (Parker)
Bill Fagerbakke (How I Met Your Mother)

Allison Janney and Anna Faris in Mom (2013)Chuck Lorre’s already-sizable CBS footprint continues to grow with “Mom,” joining “Two and a Half Men,” “The Big Bang Theory” and “Mike & Molly” to bring to four his one-man renaissance of the multicamera comedy. While the show breaks little ground, it’s a fairly polished and inordinately well-cast pilot, with a central duo and underlying theme — mother-daughter relationships, and repeating destructive patterns — that should resonate with a chunk of its target audience. At this point, the principal danger is whether in success Lorre might run out of cranky things to say on all those show-ending vanity cards.Allison Janney, Jaime Pressly, Anna Faris, and Mimi Kennedy in Mom (2013)Anna Faris stars as Christy, a woman for whom life hasn’t panned out as intended. She got knocked up early and is so distraught over working as a waitress in a high-end restaurant that a casual compliment about her service unleashes a torrent of tears. Christy isn’t faring much better in raising her teenage daughter (Sadie Calvano), who is already exhibiting a rambunctious, sleep-around streak, prompting mom to tell her, “Don’t lie to the woman who washes your sheets.” Seeking consolation at an AA meeting, Christy runs into her mother, Bonnie (Allison Janney). When Christy recalls seeing her mom snort cocaine out of shag carpeting, Bonnie cheerfully dismisses the maneuver as simply being “thrifty.” If Christy considers her mom with about as much enthusiasm as the title character in “Ray Donovan” reserves for his dad, the new and improved Bonnie is a sprightly sort and eager to help out, setting the foundation for the series in motion.Allison Janney and Ivan Hernandez in Mom (2013)If that sounds like little more than “2 Rehabbing Gals” to follow “2 Broke Girls,” Lorre and co-creators Eddie Gorodetsky and Gemma Baker also have given “Mom” a fairly solid B-plot environment, with Nate Corddry as Christy’s manager and French Stewart as the restaurant’s imperious chef.  Janney seems like a natural for this sort of comedic turn, and her character’s zen-like attitude, not over-thinking things and living in the moment, hits home. By that measure, “Mom” has the bones of a pretty durable TV show. with 5 Seasons under it’s belt and a 6th on the way  it looks like this show may well be around for a while.

REVIEW: PERSONAL VENDETTA

Personal Vendetta (1995)

CAST

Mimi Lesseos  (Simone)
Timothy Bottoms (The Paper Chase)
Mark Wilson (Hardbodies)

After suffering for years at the hands of an abusive husband, Bonnie eventually decides to protect herself by pressing charges against him. With the help of sympathetic police officer Bill Star, she decides to begin rebuilding her life by joining the LAPD.

“Magnificent Mimi”‘s acting is not so bad for a former pro-wrestler, but I still think it would’ve been a better idea for her to try more escapist fare if she wanted to break into the movie industry. The domestic abuse angle is distasteful when it is used not by a serious dramatic picture but by a cheap B-movie programmer such as this. And since Mimi made her living as a wrestler and not as a martial artist, it’s not surprising that the fight scenes (which are few and far between anyway) that work best are those that are wrestling-orientated. Overall, “Personal Vendetta” is a rather dreary and predictable movie.

REVIEW: PROMISES & LIES (aka A CHANGE OF HEART)

CAST

Jean Smart (Legion)
John Terry (Lost)
Gretchen Corbett (Magnum, P.I.)
Phillip Geoffrey Hough (Lost In Oz)
Shawna Waldron (Ladies Man)
Dorian Harewood (Space Jam)

Joe Marshall is the perfect father and husband and is respected and admired in his community. But Joe is living a lie that he has tried to keep suppressed throughout his marriage. It is only when Elaine catches her husband in bed with his lover that Joe’s lie rips through the facade. Joe’s lover is a young man. This film is an honest, moving account of a woman struggling to cope with the discovery that her husband and father of her two children, the man that she has worked with side by side, is gay. The movie sees all four members of the family struggle to integrate this new complication into their family life.

 

I think Jean Smart and John Terry were very good in this film. I can’t imagine the shock of being married to a man that has turned out to be gay. All the years they spent as husband and wife and then the shock! And the children finding out. The movie itself was very good

REVIEW: PASSION (1999)

CAST

Richard Roxburgh (Van Helsing)
Barbara Hershey (Black Swan)
Emily Woof (The Full Monty)
Claudia Karvan (Daybreakers)
Simon Burke (Devil’s Playground)

  Percy Grainger was an American composer born in Australia, July 8 1882. He was educated in Melbourne until he was 10 years of age. He was then whisked off to Frankfurt, to attend the conservatory in that wonderful city, and later wooed the audiences in England and America with his flamboyant showmanship, reviving and rearranging traditional old songs such as Danny Boy, but contrasting this side by dabbling in jazz and synthetiser music. Australia did not see much of him. Peter Duncan the Director, has given us Grainger (Roxburgh) as an energetic, health fanatic doing his exercises in a terry-towelling outfit he made himself. He has also given us the other sides of Grainger, the kinkier side of Percy, sado- masochistic, his sessions of flagellation in his bedroom overheard by his Mother (Hershey), and his strong unusual affection and bond (as rumoured by others) to his Mother. Rosie as he called her; but Percy insisted it was a normal Mother and Son relationship (he treated her like his sister).Passion-1999-1Richard Roxburgh (Percy Grainger), Claudia Karvan (Alfhild), Barbara Hershey (Rose Grainger), Simon Burke (Sandby), and Emily Wolf (Karen Holten), and others, all put in good performances of their characters. Roxburgh is a true sturdy-looking resemblance to his real life counterpart, Grainger. Roxburgh turns in a good performance as the eccentric, and sometimes a given impression of the immaturity of the genius of Percy Grainger in this new Australian drama, Passion. But the energy emulated by Roxburgh is not enough to save a film, which despite the reasons for making this movie about perversity, pain and rumoured incest is shallow of it’s plot. The plot, or lack of it, seldom shows, no meat on the bone, in fact the movie is devoid of any purpose other than personifying a very small part of Grainger’s life, not a lot happens at some or most of the time. Scenes go on and on like a soap opera and pop up with a lack of continuity and connection to the previous scene, and is more a talk type movie than action. The scene of Grainger and Holten whipping one another is neither graphic nor detailed. The actors are like symbolic statues of supposingly gratification of mutual flagellation, but hardly move other than to show us their whip marks. They are posing. Grainger and Wolf, in their research, visited a salon at Coogee NSW, to learn the finer detail of bondage, whippings, masochism. The camera shoots, editing and all the other necessaries to make a film, didn’t help them disclose on film, the information they gathered at the salon.passion_1999___5ab3cbf9d358d_mp4Then along comes the scene where the two embrace in an ultimate intimate sexual intercourse, the result of their whippings to each other. Mmm oh yeah!, what could have been done with those scenes to fit into the censorship, and make the film for what it was intended. This could be construed as artily directed, probably a cause of the censorship giving it an R rating, and is problematic of interpretation of Australian censorship rules, which Duncan appealed against. This scene falls well below a standard of some of the more dreadful of the B type movies. The R rating does seem to characterise the movie as being more explicit than it really is. Any plot that can be uncovered, are scenes of Graingers’ dalliances of encounters like the one with his best friend’s Herman Sandby (Simon Burke) fiancé Alfhid ((Claudia Karvan). Alfhid could not be converted to Percy’s lifestyle, and could see through him for what he was. According to Barbara Hershey, she took the role because she had never seen this type of relationship on film before, a relationship between a man and a woman who happened to be Mother and Son, and it was a challenge to her. I will give the movie a score of 7/10. A big 3 for having a go and really trying to show us, as an audience, the real Percy Grainger and his eccentricity.

REVIEW: ALL SHE EVER WANTED

CAST

Marcia Cross (Desperate Housewives)
James Marshall (A Few Good Men)
Leila Kenzle (Identity)
Bruce Kirby (Crash)
Carrie Snodgress (Pale Rider)
CCH Pounder (Avatar)

Denied the opportunity to adopt, a young and mentally ill woman strives to have her own baby against advice of doctors. Strong anti-abortion statement of “All She Ever Wanted” should generate some interesting discussion in political and religious circles. Rachel Stockman (Marcia Cross), a Georgia schoolteacher, has undergone lengthy treatment for “bipolar disorder” (that’s the current term for what used to be known as manic-depressive syndrome), which frightens several adoption agencies. Rachel’s stand against abortion, recommended when her pregnancy is discovered , isn’t for religious reasons. It’s simply because she has it in her mind to have a child. She stops her doses of lithium, against the advice of her doctor (CCH Pounder) and the instincts of her loving husband Joe (JamesMarshall) and mother (Carrie Snodgress). The only person who will stand up for willful Rachel is best friend Jessie Frank (Leila Kenzle). Lack of lithium results in Rachel speeding (at one point Tom comes home to find dinner on the table and his wife busy painting the ceiling) and eating so little that, the doctor warns Tom, the in utero baby may be starved to death. “Oh, pfft!,” he replies (by now resigned to his wife’s wishes). “We made it this far, we’re gonna get through it.” Against what are painted as all odds, the baby is born. Big hugs are exchanged by all.hqdefaultThe idea behind “All She Ever Wanted” is its strong point; script by David Hill and acting, under Michael Scott’s direction, are so-so. To those not sympathetic with her, Rachel seems simply selfish, and Tom wimpy. Kenzle’s character, particularly, seems equal parts conscientious friend and wacky neighbor: Those pulling for Rachel to take the safer route are likely to find Jessie simply annoying.

 

REVIEW: AN IDEAL HUSBAND

An Ideal Husband (1999)

CAST

James Wilby (Gosford Park)
Sadie Frost (Bram Stokers Dracula)
Jonathan Firth (Highlander: The Series)
Trevyn McDowell (Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein)
Robert Hardy (Sense and Sensibility)
Tara Palmer-Tomkinson (Mad Cows)

Sir Robert Chiltern is a successful politician, leading a happy life with his wife Gertrude. Gertrude loves him because of his honesty and she despises all men who did horrible things in the past and have to do other immoral deeds to cover up what they’re ashamed of. One day a certain Mrs. Laura Evely barges in on a party Robert is attending. She disappeared from the London society six years ago, but is now back with a vengeance. Mrs. Evely has invested in a project that Robert already has denounced as swindle and in fact he wants to start a special commission investigating the matter. But Laura has some important information that will harm Roberts career and his relationship with his wife severely. Laura wants him to publicly support the project or else she will disclose the proof that Robert once sold secret information from the government to a speculator. Chiltern calls in the help of his good friend lord Arthur Goring.

While I enjoy Wilde in all the ways a man is supposed to, I’d dare say that there are times when even his brilliance cannot compensate the blunders of others. This being said, I’ll be concise: Mr. Cartlidge’s adaptation of Wilde’s play takes itself far too serious to work and while this is bearable in itself, the questionable caliber of the actors’ performances adds another tedious and gross layer upon an otherwise totally lovable affair. The result is an even, blunt and only partly entertaining production which retains some of its initial values, but misses out on its potential. I do not doubt that any work of art can have unlimited interpretations (although I do not agree to this conception because we are, most unfortunately, limited, pitiful creatures), but only some are rewarding for the masses, with this being a rather lukewarm experience.