25 DAYS OF CHRISTMAS REVIEW: DECEPTION (aka The Reindeer Games)

CAST

Ben Affleck (Batman V Superman)
Charlize Theron (Prometheus)
Gary Sinise (The Green Mile)
Dennis Farina (Get Shorty)
Donal Logue (Ghost Rider)
James Frain (Gotham)
Danny Trejo (Machete)
Isaac Hayes (South Park)
Clarence Williams III (The Butler)
Ashton Kutcher (Dude, Wheres My Car?)
Mark Acheson (Elf)
Enuka Okuma (Impulse)

Nick Cassidy and Rudy Duncan are cellmates in prison two days away from release. Nick has been corresponding with a young woman named Ashley Mercer, who is waiting for him on the outside. After Nick takes a shiv in a prison fight and dies, Rudy, who just wants to have a cup of hot chocolate after he reunites with his family, takes his place and lets the beautiful Ashley think he is the one who has been writing her. Gabriel, the leader of a gang who assaults Rudy and Ashley in their cabin, and is Ashley’s brother and tells “Nick” that the gang, with Nick’s help, will rob the casino he used to work at. Rudy reveals he is not Nick, but Ashley continues to confirm he is and that she wrote to him knowing Gabriel was going to kidnap and force Rudy to assist in the robbery. Rudy, while furious with Ashley, is reluctantly forced to go along with his ruse.Using the information from the real Nick’s prison cell stories, Rudy is able to devise a robbery plan and informs Gabriel that the biggest loot is hidden inside a safe in the manager’s office (the “PowWow” safe). On the night of the robbery, Rudy breaks out of his holding in order to find a way to arm himself as he knows Gabriel will kill him after the robbery. He stumbles upon Gabriel and Ashley and learns that they are lovers and partners in crime.The group robs the casino, each dressed as Santa Claus. Rudy, forced to take part in the robbery, hides the fact that he knows Ashley’s secret. Shots are fired and security guards and Santas are shot. Ashley drives into the Casino and lets Nick/Rudy know she is in on the heist. All meeting in the manager’s office, Gabriel introduces Rudy to the casino manager as Nick but the manager recognizes that he isn’t Nick and Rudy confesses. Gabriel, furious at Rudy’s deception, spares him for a moment when he demands to know where the “PowWow” safe is. When the manager opens the safe, he grabs guns from inside and kills one of the robbers as the rest flee. Rudy kills another one of the robbers and is then grabbed by Gabriel and Ashley who tie him up in their 18-wheeler truck.reindeer-games-christmas-movie-1-e1419439542843They plan to drive him off the edge of a cliff in a burning vehicle with a little of the money so that officials will guess all had been burned. After accidentally revealing too much information during an argument with Rudy, Ashley shoots and kills the now suspicious Gabriel. Shortly after, Nick appears, having staged his death at the prison. It is revealed that Ashley’s real name is Millie Bobeck and Rudy learns that the two had collaborated to rob the casino using Rudy and Gabriel and his gang. Ashley had known the entire time who Rudy truly was. Nick also informs Rudy that the prison stories were part of a set-up.

After they tie Rudy to the steering wheel to drive off the cliff, he produces a knife he had gotten earlier, cuts his bindings, hot wires the car, sets it to reverse and crushes Nick. With Ashley firing at him, he rams the fiery car into her and dives out as the car and Ashley go over the cliff. Nick tries to convince Rudy that they can share the money but Rudy locks him in the truck and also sends it over the cliff. Rudy picks up the stolen cash and begins distributing it in mailboxes he comes across on the way home to his family, and eats a Christmas dinner with them. The film closes with Rudy smiling.

Though it is a basic Action Thriller, there are many subdivisions, that will leave fans of any genre satisfied. Don’t know why they changed the name for the UK.

REVIEW: COLD CASE – SEASON 1-7

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CAST

Kathryn Morris (Mindhunters)

Justin Chambers (Grey’s Anatomy)

Danny Pino (Law & Order: SVU)

John Finn (True Crme)

Jeremy Ratchford (Angel Eyes)
Thom Barry (Texas Chainsaw)

Tracie Thoms (Looper)

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Recurring / Notable Guest Cast

D.W. Moffett (Chicago Med)
Michael Reilly Burke (Vice)
Sherman Howard (Superboy)
Kate Mara (Fanastic Four)
Becki Newton (Ugly Betty)
Brett Cullen (Lost)
Bree Turner (The Ugly Truth)
Christopher Shea (Star Trek: DS9)
Isabella Hofmann (The Flash)
Daisy McCrackin (Halloween: Resurrection)
Aimee Teegarden (Friday Night Lights)
Cory Hardrict (Warm Bodies)
June Lockhart (Lost In Space)
Barbara Eve Harris (The Amazing Spider-Man)
Aldis Hodge (Hidden Figures)
Vincent Ventresca (The Invisible Man)
Josh Hopkins (The Perfect Storm)
Lacey Beeman (Coach Carter)
James DuMont (Jurassic World)
Summer Glau (Arrow)
Richard Brake (3 From Hell)
Brandon Routh (Legends of Tomorrow)
Barbara Tarbuck (Walking Tall)
Jack Guzman (Power Rangers Wild Force)
Laura Regan (Mad Men)
Kathleen Gati (Arrow)
Silas Weir Mitchell (Grimm)
Christina Cox (The Chronicles of Riddick)
Fredric Lehne (Lost)
Jeffrey Nordling (Flight 93)
Kaitlin Doubleday (Empire)
Robert LaSardo (Nip/Tuck)
Blake Shields (Heroes)
E.J. Callahan (Bubble Boy)
Chelsea Field (Masters of The Universe)
Marc McClure (Superman)
Ray Campbell (Breaking Bad)
Geoffrey Lewis (The Devil’s Rejects)
Ryan Francis (Hook)
Leslie Silva (Odyssey 5)
Keke Palmer (Scream queens)
Garrett M. Brown (Kick-Ass)
Molly Cheek (American Pie)
Bruce Gray (Cube 2)
Autumn Reeser (Sully)
Amanda Wyss (A Nightmare On Elm Street)
Robin Riker (Alligator)
Nichole Hiltz (May)
Amber Benson (Buffy: TVS)
Marisol Nichols (Riverdale)
Maggie Grace (Taken)
Katee Sackhoff (BAttlestar Galactica)
Chris Sarandon (Child’s Play)
Mehcad Brooks (Supergirl)
Cameron Dye (Smallville)
Laura Allen (The 4400)
Lee Garlington (Sneakers)
Joel Stoffer (Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.)
Michael Paré (Gone)
T.J. Thyne (Bones)
W. Earl Brown (Bates Motel)
Tracy Middendorf (Scream: The Series)
Michael Nouri (Flashdance)
Spencer Daniels (Star Trek)
Jason Dohring (Veronica Mars)
Noel Fisher (Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles)
Sam Witwer (Supergirl)
Mae Whitman (The Duff)
Robin Weigert (Deadwood)
Indigo (Weeds)
Aloma Wright (Scrubs)
Shirley Knight (As Good as It Gets)
Ian Bohen (Young Hercules)
Jenna Fischer (THe Office)
Rance Howard (Universal Soldier)
Chad Morgan (Pearl Harbor)
Stacey Scowley (Dollhouse)
Nicholas D’Agosto (Gotham)
Cody McMains (Bring It On)
Seamus Dever (Titans)
Roxanne Hart (Highlander)
Chad Lindberg (The Fast and The Furious)
Susan Chuang (Young Sheldon)
Bruce A. Young (Risky Business)
Nicholas Guest (Trading Places)
Frederick Koehler (Death Race)
Daveigh Chase (Donnie Darko)
Virginia Williams (Fuller House)
Chad Donella (Smallville)
Nicki Aycox (Jeepers Creepers 2)
Josh Randall (Ozark)
Bob Papenbrook (Mighty Morphin Power Rangers)
Patrick J. Adams (Legends of Tomorrow)
Orson Bean (Two and a Half Men)
John Billingsley (Star Trek: Enterprise)
Phil LaMarr (Supergirl)
Johnny Whitworth (Ghost Rider 2)
Robert Baker (The Originals)
Danielle Harris (Halloween 4)
Michael O’Neill (Transformers)
Scout Taylor-Compton (Halloween 2007)
Brigid Brannagh (Runaways)
Brent Sexton (God Friended Me)
Audrey Wasilewski (Red)
Andrea Savage (Izombie)
Clare Carey (Jericho)
Meredith Salenger (Lake Placid)
Michael B. Silver (Jason Goes To Hell)
Dana Davis (Heroes)
Dee Wallace (E.T.)
Sean Blakemore (Bones)
Jay Acovone (Stargate SG.1)
Daniel Roebuck (Final Destination)
Bradley Stryker (Smallville)
Barry Bostwick (The Secret Agent Club)
Jeff Doucette (Dr. Dolittle)
William Morgan Sheppard (Transformers)
Piper Laurie (Carrie)
Tom Bower (El Camino)
Tessa Thompson (Westworld)
Karina Logue (Argo)
Sonya Leslie (No Good Nick)
Sarah Brown (VR Troopers)
Kristin Richardson (Rock Star)
Cheryl White (Major Crimes)
Lindsay Hollister (Get Smart)
Pat Skipper (Halloween 2007)
Nick Wechsler (Roswell)
Mimi Kennedy (Mom)
Christina Hendricks (Bad Santa 2)
Thomas Kopache (Catch Me If You Can)
Natasha Gregson Wagner (Urban Legend)
Diane Ladd (Joy)
Edwin Hodge (Red Dawn)
April Grace (A.I.)
Jon Huertas (Sabrina: TTW)
Phillip Jeanmarie (Power Rangers: Wild Force)
Deborah Van Valkenburgh (The Warriors)
James Handy (Alias)
Christopher Cousins (Breaking Bad)
Michael Mantell (Secretary)
Skyler Gisondo (Santa Clarita Diet)
Michael Welch (Star Trek: Insurrection)
William R. Moses (Mystic Pizza)
Meredith Monroe (13 Reasons Why)
Megan Follows (Reign)
James Jordan (Veronica Mars)
Zachery Ty Bryan (Slammed)
Christine Elise (Cult of Chucky)
Alona Tal (Veronica Mars)
Meagen Fay (The Big Bang Theory)
Shannon Woodward (Westworld)
Priscilla Pointer (Carrie)
Tina Holmes (Half Nelson)
Veronica Cartwright (Alien)
Jeremy Davidson (Roswell)
Brennan Elliott (Curse of Chucky)
Benjamín Benítez (Tru Calling)
Zeljko Ivanek (Heores)
Shiloh Fernandez (Evil Dead)
Mel Harris (Stargate SG.1)
Bre Blair (Last Vegas)
George Coe (Archer)
John Getz (The Fly)
Thomas F. Wilson (Back To The Future)
Laura Bell Bundy (How I Met Your Mother)
Eric Lange (Lost)
John Rubinstein (The Orville)
Allison Miller (17 Again)
Sammi Hanratty (A Christmas Carol)
Dean Norris (Breaking Bad)
K Callan (Lois & Clark)
Peter Graves (Airplane)
Stacy Haiduk (Superboy)
Tonya Pinkins (Gotham)
Sam Anderson (Angel)
Dale Dickey (Iron Man 3)
Steven Grayhm (White Chicks)
Mageina Tovah (The Magicians)
Susan Walters (The Vampire Diaries)
Kenny Johnson (Bates Motel)
Jeanette Brox (Jack & Bobby)
Kyle Gallner (Veronica Mars)
Will Rothhaar (Killing Kennedy)
Nestor Carbonell (Lost)
Kristin Bauer van Straten (True Blood)
Brian Gross (2 Broke Girls)
Elizabeth Tulloch (The Artist)
L. Scott Caldwell (Lost)
Jack McGee (The Fighter)
Neil Jackson (Westworld)
Enuka Okuma (Impulse)
Mark Famiglietti (Terminator 3)
Susan Blakely (Over The Top)
Jake Abel (Love & Mercy)
Greg Cipes (Teen Titans)
Julie Adams (The Fifth Floor)
Rutanya Alda (The Deer Hunter)
Eric Jungmann (Not Another Teen Movie)
Matthew Glave (Argo)
George Newbern (Scandal)
Robert Pine (Red Eye)
Bonnie Root (Coming Soon)
Annie Wersching (Runaways)
Eugene Robert Glazer (La Femme Nikita)
John Aylward (Alais)
David Henrie (How I Met Your Mother)
Bobby Hosea (Xena)
Bruno Campos (Nip/Tuck)
Brian Hallisay (Revenge)
Charles Mesure (V)
Conor O’Farrell (Lie To Me)
Sonja Sohn (The Wire)
Polly Shannon (Street Time)
Jake McDorman (Limitless TV)
Robert Picardo (The Orville)
Lucinda Jenney (Rain Man)
Ernie Hduson (Ghostbusters)
Sam McMurray (Addams Family Values)
Jamie Bamber (Battlestar Galactica)
Kelly Overton (Van HElsing)
Sam Trammell (The Order)
Bruce Boxleitner (Babylon 5)
Sterling Beaumon (Lost)
Obba Babatundé (How High)
John Diehl (Stargate)
Greg Finley (The Flash)
Chris Mulkey (Cloverfield)
Don Swayze (Drop Zone)
Holmes Osborne (Donnie Darko)
Faran Tahir (Iron Man)
Jennifer Lawrence (Joy)
Darcy Rose Byrnes (Desperate Housewives)
Paula Malcomson (The Hunger Games)
Tom McCleister (Twins)
Mitch Pileggi (Stargate: Atlantis)
Sean Whalen (Superstore)
Whitney Able (Monsters)
AnnaLynne McCord (Exorcisim)
Drew Powell (Gotham)
Charlyne Yi (This Is 40)
Erin Cahill (Power Rangers Time Force)
Ellen Albertini Dow (Wedding Crashers)
Angela Sarafyan (Westworld)
Meredith Baxter (Family TIes)
Brad William Henke (Bright)
Michael Massee (The Crow)
Vyto Ruginis (The Fast and The Furious)
Helena Mattsson (Iron Man 2)
Ksenia Solo (Black Swan)
Anthony Starke (Repossessed)
Lynda Boyd (Power Rangers In Space)
Justina Machado (Six Feet Under)
Kirk Acevedo (Arrow)
Jack Conley (Angel)
Melissa leo (The Fighter)
Mark Rolston (Aliens)
Raphael Sbarge (Once Upon A Time)
Randall Park (The Interview)
Shailene Woodley (Divergent)
Monet Mazur (All American)
Justin Bruening (Ringer)
Rodney Rowland (Veronica Mars)
Daphne Ashbrook (JAG)
Michael B. Jordan (Black Panther)
Jonathan Scarfe (Van Helsing)
Lawrence Pressman (Dark Angel)
Ralph Waite (Bones)
Aisha Hinds (Mr. Brooks)
Jamil Walker Smith (Stargate Universe)
Wings Hauser (The Insider)
Jonathan Keltz (Reign)
Jim Jansen (Gilmore Girls)
Justin Hartley (Smallville)
Diane Delano (Jeepers Creepers 2)
Nikki Deloach (Love & Other Drugs)
Deirdre Lovejoy (Bones)
Ian Anthony Dale (The Event)
Patti Yasutake (Star Trek: First Contact)
Keone Young (Crank)
Kim Coates (Goon)
Ryan Kelley (Smallville)
Timothy Omundson (Xena)
Johnny Lewis (The Runaways)
Jeffrey Combs (Fortress)
Diana Scarwid (Wonderfalls)
Lilli Birdsell (Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.)
Kevin Cooney (Roswell)
Kathleen Munroe (Alphas)
John Pyper-Ferguson (Caprica)
Joe Nieves (How I Met Your Mother)
Gigi Rice (Mission Air)
Maury Sterling (Coherence)
Paul Wesley (The Vampire Diaries)
Bobby Cannavale (Ant-Man)
June Squibb (The Big Bang Theory)
Brea Grant (Heroes)
Ronny Cox (Robocop)
Nicholle Tom (Gotham)
Molly Hagan (Izombie)
M.C. Gainey (Lost)
James Karen (Poltergeist)
Justice Leak (Powers)
Sean O’Bryan (Vantage Point)
B.J. Britt (Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.)
Cassidy Freeman (Smallville)
Patricia Belcher (Bones)
Adetokumboh M’Cormack (Gods & Heroes)
Jenna Leigh Green (Sabrina: TTW)
Jennifer Hetrick (Star Trek: TNG)
Vernee Watson (The Big Bang Theory)
Carl Lumbly (Alias)
Jake Thomas (A.I.)
Wilson Bethel (Daredevil)
Nicholas Braun (Red State)
Richard Herd (Get Out)
Charles Napier (The Silence of The Lambs)
Kim Director (Blair Witch 2)
Ajay Mehta (Anger Management)
Joel Murray (Two and a Half Men)
Ed Lauter (Cujo)
Elena Satine (The Gifted)
Nicole Bilderback (Clueless)
Tina Lifford (Babe)
Brad Rowe (Shelter)
Erin Cummings (Bitch Slap)
Patrick Fischler (Happy!)
Tania Raymonde (Texas Chainsaw)
Chadwick Boseman (Black Panther)
Tyrees Allen (Robocop)
Jonathan LaPaglia (Seven Days)
Keith Szarabajka (The Dark Knight)
Christine Woods (Flashforward)
Bill Duke (Black Lightning)
Adrienne Barbeau (Swamp Thing)
Lee Majors (Ash vs Evil Dead)
Lindy Booth (Wrong Turn)
Raymond J. Barry (13 Reasons Why)
Taylor Cole (The Originals)
Mary Elizabeth Ellis (New Girls)
Jeff Kober (Sully)
Louis Mustillo (Mike & Molly)
Zack Ward (Transformers)
Courtney Ford (Legends of Tomorrow)
David Starzyk (Veronica Mars)
Bailey Chase (Buffy: TVS)
Wynn Everett (Agent Carter)
Brad Greenquist (Ali)
Katherine LaNasa (The Campaign)
Tyler Blackburn (Roswell, New Mexico)
Jason Gedrick (Luck)
Jeff Fahey (Planet Terrror)
Beth Broderick (Sabrina: TTW)
Clayne Crawford (A Walk To Remember)
Jeremy Roberts (The Mask)
Brit Morgan (Supergirl)
Spencer Locke (Cougar Town)
Jonathan Banks (Breaking Bad)
Manny Montana (Graceland)
Erich Anderson (Friday The 13th 4)
Victoria Pratt (Mutant X)
Ryan Wynott (Flashforward)
Johnathon Schaech (LEgends of Tomorrow)
Alexandra Holden (The Hot Chick)
Zach McGowan (Black Sails)
Shalim Ortiz (Heroes)
Darius McCrary (Saw VI)
Tess Harper (Breaking Bad)
Madeline Carroll (Flipped)
Valerie Azlynn (Julia X)
Muse Watson (I Know What You Did Last Sumemr)
Channon Roe (Boogie Nights)
Michael Ironside (Scanners)
Jesse Plemons (Game Night)
Daniel Baldwin (Grimm)
Gary Hudson (Smallville)
Jessica Tuck (Super 8)
Shay Astar (3rd Rock From The Sun)
Ashley Johnson (Dollhouse)
Erin Chambers (Stargate: Atlantis)
Tracey Walter (Batman 1989)
Loren Lester (Batman: TAS)
Chris Browning (Agent Carter)
Dawn Olivieri (The Vampire Diaries)
James Earl (Scream Queens)
Steven Culp (Spartan)
Cress Williams (Black Lightning)
Meagan Good (D.E.B.S>)
Vanessa Bell Calloway (Saints & Sinners)
Jamie Hector (Heroes)
Steven Williams (IT)
Loretta Devine (Crash)
Yara Shahidi (Salt)
Robin Shou (Mortal Kombat)
Miles Heizer (13 Reasons Why)
Nelson Lee (Blade: The Series)
Reed Diamond (Bones)
Steven Krueger (Goosebumps)
Lolita Davidovich (Blaze)
Alan Blumenfeld (Heroes)
Julianna Guill (Captain America: Civil War)
Richard Moll (Scary Movie 2)
Jud Tylor (That 70s Show)
Chandra West (White Noise)
Gabirelle Miller (Highlander: The Series)
Rick Gonzalez (Arrow)
Sharni Vinson (Bait)
Carel Struycken (The Addams Family)
Justina Vail (Seven Days)
Rachel Miner (The Black Dahlia)
Sean Maguire (Meet The Spartans)
Lauren Cohan (Chuck)
Roddy Piper (They Live)
Elya Baskin (Spider-Man 2)
Lauren Bowles (Ghost World)
Patrick Gallagher (Sideways)
Glenn Morshower (Transformers)
Jon Gries (Taken)
William Russ (American History X)
Melissa Ordway (Ted)
Susanna Thompson (Arrow)
John D’Aquino (Quantum Leap)
Peter Jason (They Live)
Azura Skye (28 Days)
Darren Criss (Glee)
Rob Benedict (Waiting)
JR Bourne (Ginger Snaps Back)

43WcQo4u92niVu7P9FElTYyLMBBTelevision today often relies on sleazy comedy and bad CGI, with little or no story and too much drama. Cold Case begs to differ. It has the right amount of drama without overdoing it, is very suspenseful at all the right times, captures the nostalgia of different decades with song hits of the times and matching everything from the music, fashion, hair styles and cars to the exact year the crime took place. It is impossible to not immediately like the detectives of the Cold Case unit. There’s Lilly Rush, the main character who at first glance looks like a bimbo but when she talks throughout the show she’s actually an intelligent and skilled member of the team, with a past she shared with her alcoholic mother, absent father and promiscuous sister. She views Lt. Stillman as a father figure, because he was the first one to help her when she was a child and her mother sent her out into a bad situation.imagesScotty Valens is Lilly’s partner, a street-smart and aggressive but nice guy who is a valued member of the group. He is Cuban; his father moved to the States in the 1950’s. He has an extreme dislike for pedophiles because of a past incident with his older brother and a boxing coach, so he is very good at bringing pedophiles to justice. Nick Vera is the overweight joke of the group at first but is actually really caring towards children and wished he could have had a family of his own. He’s great at solving crimes and at playing “No Drugs Tonight” with Scotty and Will. Will Jeffries is Nick Vera’s best friend and excellent at solving murders; he has an extreme dislike towards racism and hit-&-run cases. His own wife was squashed to death by a mystery trucker years ago and he wants some sort of revenge. Kathrine (Kat) Miller is the only other female detective on the team, becoming a permanent addition to the show around Season 3. She is the single mother of her beloved daughter Veronica and a valued detective who knows a lot about the street gangs from her undercover years. John Stillman is in charge, his team affectionately calls him Boss and he is estranged from his family due to his career. He views his team like his family and tries to help each of them as much as possible.highlanderSadly Cold Case was canceled ; it’s one my favorite show of all time. It tackles crimes relating to issues like the barbaric treatment for mental patients in the 50’s and 60’s (lobotomy and electro-shock therapy), homophobia, racism, rape, pedophilia, abortion, religion, suicide, racism, sexism, pollution (check out the episode Breaking News for that) and child abuse. While helping the forgotten victims rest in peace the team is able to find answers to their own problems. The show doesn’t try to sneak romance in too much; most crime shows make the two main characters as lovers but in Cold Case Lilly and Scotty are just best friends. He is there when her mother dies and rescues her from a killer named Ed, whereas Lilly keeps secrets for him revolving around the crime with his older brother. The show has episodes featuring songs by bands like the Fixx, the Doors, Tears for Fears, Joy Division, Nirvanna, the Cure and Depache Mode. There are some totally heartbreaking episodes like Sleepover, Baby Blues, Boy Crazy, the Goodbye Room, Wishing, Committed and the Good Death as well as some suspenseful episodes like Stalker, Officer Down, the Woods and Flashover. All in all this is a beautifully made and amazing show that will hopefully be remembered among fans forever. I think Lilly Rush’s actress is now being considered in the remake of the 1976 slasher film Alice, Sweet Alice (according to Wikipedia anyway), so hopefully we’ll see her in more crime movies and shows. Still, Cold Case I wish had been continued, why it was shut down in the making is a mystery to me but I’m really glad to have the seven seasons around, I’ll remember it forever. It was based off the Canadian crime drama show Cold Squad, but although I live in Canada I honestly think Cold Case was much better. It’s totally worth watching, if you ever have the chance to see it, check it out, you’ll love it, guaranteed!

 

REVIEW: IMPULSE – SEASON 2

Maddie Hasson in Impulse (2018)

MAIN CAST

Maddie Hasson (The Finder)
Sarah Desjardins (Van Helsing)
Enuka Okuma (Slasher)
Craig Arnold (Heartland)
Missi Pyle (Gone Girl)
Daniel Maslany (Chained)
Callum Keith Rennie (Battlestar Galactica)racRKbQ0w1vBdzpI119jVngXDW6

RECURRING / NOTABLE GUEST CAST

Will Chase (Sharp Objects)
Rachel Wilson (The Glass House)
Tanner Stine (The Thundermans)
Taylor Jackson (The Umbrella Academy)
Jennifer Wigmore (Heartland)
Eric Ladin (American Sniper)
Julia Knope (White Lie)
Bruce Locke (Robocop 3)
Lauren Collins (Degrassi: TNG)
Sarah Deakins (Andromeda)
David James Elliott (Trumbo)
Shohreh Aghdashloo (The Expanse)
Shawn Doyle (This Life)
Sarah Swire (Anna and The Apocalypse)

ob_526952_xt5uqdfif17ie1quyrn50bdsnz3Viewers of Impulse on YouTube Premium have figured out by now that the television adaptation of the Stephen Gould Jumper novels is more true to the themes of personal trauma from the first book than it is to the high octane action film from 2008. As a result, the pacing of the first season is quite deliberate, focusing more on what caused Henry Coles, played by Maddie Hasson, to teleport in the first place rather than accelerating through her origin story and having her quickly gain control over her abilities. Although some of that will change in season 2, the first two episodes indicate that the details about Henry’s abilities and those that seek to exploit them will continue to unfold with enticing but realistic incremental progress.impulse-season-2-maddie-hasson-daniel-maslany-henry-townes-youtube-premiumAnd that’s not a bad thing! Although we’re not yet certain whether Callum Keith Rennie’s character can be trusted, the assistance he provides in Impulse season 2 will immediately raise new questions in the viewers’ minds when the show returns on October 16, 2019. However, Nikolai, as he will come to be known, will also bring answers to long held questions, and the shady group he works for will begin to be fleshed out and given its own set of motivations. As good as season 1 was, if season 2 didn’t at least start to address these mysteries, it wouldn’t have been a follow-up worth revisiting.Impulse-Season-2-YouTube-HenryBut for fans of characters like Henry’s sister Jenna (Sarah Desjardins) and the lovable geek Townes (Daniel Maslany), there’s plenty to love about the sophomore season of Impulse. After being visited by the hacker known as “Systems Analyst Manager” in season one, viewers will no doubt look forward to the continuing mystery of the interloper’s identity and whether or not they have the teenagers’ best interests at heart. The friendship and support that Jenna and Townes give to Henry will be challenged to the limit as Henry struggles to deal with the aftermath of what she did to Bill Boone.impulse-maddie-hasson-youtube-redAnd it’s not as if the Boone family is finished with its life of crime and the Mennonite community which was so wrongly accused in season one. Despite the contrition and guilty conscience Lucas Boone (Craig Arnold) is feeling in having killed Amos Miller and the imprisonment of the community leader, Jeremiah (Shawn Doyle), Esther Miller (Tara Rosling) is still very much looking to place blame as Impulse season 2 begins. How the drug ring and Bill Boone’s absence will play out is anyone’s guess, but there’s no doubt that the tenacious Deputy Anna Hulce (played wonderfully by Enuka Okuma, now as acting sheriff) will not simply move on the way her former boss might have insisted she do.0_B0nelyje-Vqna9EvBut the most important difference in season 2 is the addition of more details about the wider community of teleporters and why shady elements of the government might be interested in learning more about them and about Henry in particular. In that sense, this new season feels properly like the second chapter in the story with plenty of shifted motivations and new players in the mix that thankfully don’t detract from the character development of those we love to sympathize with, like Jenna with her closeted sexuality or Henry with her increasing need to find ways to deal with traumas new and old since her abilities now have the power to kill.ob_af72a6_ntkbkd6vtce0a2tzvhmptqxqoghAs teen dramas with a genre twist go, Impulse is right up there with Freeform’s Cloak & Dagger and Hulu’s Runaways in terms of allowing the characters to develop and experience the full range of emotion as they grow into their powers rather than thrusting huge responsibilities on young people and having them jammed into heroic roles they’re not prepared to deal with. Impulse is still just as much about Henry’s transient childhood and the pain that Clay Boone put her through as it is about learning how to control her power and avoid those who would use her for their own purposes. Impulse season 2 worthily carries the mantle with a clear sense of where the series wants to go.

REVIEW: IMPULSE – SEASON 1

Impulse (2018)

MAIN CAST

Maddie Hasson (The Finder)
Sarah Desjardins (Van Helsing)
Enuka Okuma (Slasher)
Craig Arnold (Heartland)
Tanner Stine (The Thundermans)
Keegan-Michael Key (Why Him?)
Missi Pyle (Gone Girl)

Impulse (2018)

RECURRING / NOTABLE GUEST CAST

Matt Gordon (Rookie Blue)
Daniel Maslany (Chained)
David James Elliott (Trumbo)
Callum Keith Rennie (Battlestar Galactica)
Aidan Devine (A History of Violence)
Shawn Doyle (Reign)
Michelle Nolden (Earth: Final Conflict)
David Alpay (The Vampire Diaries)
Allison Hossack (Reaper)
Danny Pudi (Powerless)
Lulu Antariksa (Legacies)
Hiro Kanagawa (Caprica
Lauren Collins (Degrassi: TNG)
Will Chase (Sharp Objects)

Maddie Hasson in Impulse (2018)YouTube Red’s new series is part of the ‘Jumper’ family, but it’s driven by a very strong lead performance from Maddie Hasson that makes it more of a character drama about sexual assault than a YA thriller.  Directed by Doug Liman, the pilot for YouTube Red’s Impulse begins with a bang. Two men, one played by Keegan-Michael Key, are engaged in a full-on teleportation brawl, exchanging punches as they shift between a remote iceberg and a busy subway train full of confused passengers. It’s a thrilling spectacle. Over the rest of the 10-episode first season of the show, there is no scene of comparable action or scope, and Key’s role in the series is negligible.the-simpsonsAnd if you’re curious why, as I initially was, despite the presence of Liman and source material from Steven Gould, YouTube Red isn’t selling Impulse on its ties to the Jumper book and movie brand, know that the series’ quantity of teleporting fun is minimal and its fidelity to Gould’s novel is close to nonexistent.  Having dispatched and dismissed the major selling points for Impulse, it’s possible to really respect the show for what it actually is, namely a surprisingly effective exploration of a young woman dealing with the aftermath of sexual assault, while at the same time learning very little about her newfound ability to travel through space in moments of extreme emotion. It’s often quite solid and Maddie Hasson effectively leads a fine ensemble, but Impulse really isn’t the show you might be expecting.imageHasson plays Henrietta “Henry” Coles, a vagabond teen who struggles to make friends and connections because her mother (Missi Pyle) keeps moving from one boyfriend and town to the next. Henry’s latest home is somewhere in upstate New York and comes with a popular, dismissive new pseudo stepsister (Sarah Desjardins) and the challenges of being unable to drive due to several recent and unexplained seizures. A conflict with a teacher in class leads to Henry’s latest seizure and to attention from Townes (Daniel Maslany), who’s on the autism spectrum and a bit of an outcast himself, when he notices that Henry’s condition also causes objects around her to move. That’s nothing, though, compared to what happens when basketball star Clay (Tanner Stine) ignores Henry’s boundaries and vocal protestations after some initially benign making-out. Before she knows what happened, Henry is back in the safety of her bedroom and Clay’s life is changed forever.impulseUsing the sexual assault of a young protagonist as a character catalyst can be effective and fertile instigation for drama — see Veronica Mars or Jessica Jones — but it can also be exploitive when ramifications and emotional scarring are ignored to push the narrative forward. Impulse showrunner Lauren LeFranc is admirably determined not to let the series fall into that second category. What the show does best is deal with consent and the lingering trauma a sexual assault can cause a victim. It’s a multi-episode process that’s almost always in the foreground as Henry faces the constant presence of her attacker; suffers self-doubt as her story is questioned; and shies away from other intimacies in her life, already a problem for the new girl in school and for one of those sci-fi characters whose burgeoning adolescence and nascent powers are intermingled.IMPULSE-Maddie-Hasson-YouTube-Premium1Hasson’s balance of tough-girl exterior and inner fragility is exceptional. There’s a volatile minutelong uncut shot of the young actress in the second episode that sold me completely on the performance and her ability to carry the series. Episodes are preceded by sexual violence content warnings and end with hotline callouts to the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network. LeFranc and the writers, plus a team of post-Liman directors dominated by women, including Helen Shaver, Alex Kalymnios and Cherien Dabis, do right by this sensitive, difficult side of the story. The performances by Desjardin; Maslany (Tatiana’s brother); and David James Elliott, as the father of Henry’s attacker and a local automotive kingpin, are all totally overhauled as characterizations go from one-dimensional to much more nuanced. The series badly needs the comic touches Desjardin and Maslany provide in their finer moments.22c11def757c6d1c4d1d8056a72353faHenry’s understanding of her power is being laid as an interesting foundation for future seasons, but I accused Freeform’s new drama Cloak & Dagger of slow progress in its superhero narrative and that show is positively steaming along compared to Impulse. Much too much of what drives the first season comes from a mostly ludicrous plotline involving Elliott’s character and a Mennonite-run opioid empire that recalls the way the first season of Bates Motel was about small-town Oregon marijuana trade more than Norman Bates’ introduction to motel maintenance.  The drug story, probably developed with confidence that YouTube Red’s core audience didn’t watch the far more outrageous take on similar material in Cinemax’s Banshee, at least offers another reason for Henry to feel guilt and remorse, and another tense situation to highlight how good Hasson is. It’s weakly plotted, but appropriate for a show that wants to make you think it’s a YA action-franchise starter, when it’s really an interesting and somber character study with a heroine who, very rarely, teleports.

 

REVIEW: ANDROMEDA – SEASON 2

Starring

Kevin Sorbo( Hercules: TLJ)
Lisa Ryder (Jason X)
Keith Hamilton Cobb (All My Children)
Gordon Michael Woolvett (Bride of Chucky)
Laura Bertram (50/50)
Brent Stait (Blade: The Series)
Lexa Doig (Arrow)

Kevin Sorbo in Andromeda (2000)

RECURRING / NOTABLE GUEST CAST

Gerard Plunkett (Sucker Punch)
Anthony Lemke (Robocop: Prime Directives)
Peter Kelamis (Stargate Universe)
William B. Davis (The X-Files)
Anne Marie DeLuise (Strange Empire)
Enuka Okuma (Impulse)
Amber Rothwell (White Noise)
Rachel Hayward (Jingle All The Way 2)
John DeSantis (Arrow)
Roger Cross (First Wave)
Kendall Cross (X-Men 2)
Steve Bacic (Flash Gordon)
Françoise Yip (The Order)
Sam Sorbo (Hercules: TLJ)
James Marsters (Runaways)
Jud Tylor (That 70s Show)
Alex Diakun (Agent Cody Banks)
Steven Grayhm (White Chicks)
Timothy Webber (North of 60)
Mark Hildreth (V)
Kimberly Huie (Deep Impact)
Kevin McNulty (Fantastic FOur)
Travis MacDonald (Highlander: The Series)
Kristin Lehman (The Loft)
Heather Hanson (G-Spot)
Costas Mandylor (Saw V)
Cynthia Preston (Carrie)
Sonya Salomaa (Watchmen)
Michael Hurst (Hercules: TLJ)
Christopher Judge (Stargate SG.1)
Andee Frizzell (stargate: Atlantis)
Matthew Walker (Highlander: The Series)
Dylan Bierk (Jason X)
Marion Eisman (Riverdale)
David Lovgren (Antitrust)
Ellie Harvie (The New Addams Family)

Laura Bertram in Andromeda (2000)Andromeda starred Kevin Sorbo (Hercules: The Legendary Journey’s) in a science fiction series created by Gene Roddenberry (Star Trek) with a variety of executive producers Robert Hewitt Wolfe (The 4400, Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, Majel Rodenberry (Earth: Final Conflict), Allan Eastman (Star Trek: Voyager), Robert Engels (seaQuest DSV), Jay Firestone (Mutant X, La Femme Nikita), and Adam Haight (Mutant X, Highlander: The Raven). With its diverse crew of producers with extensive experience in science fiction and drama productions, Andromeda put in five solid seasons from 2000 to 2005 and totaled one-hundred and ten episodes. The premise of Andromeda is about the adventures of the crew the Andromeda and their efforts to rebuild a massive civilization that spanned the universeLexa Doig in Andromeda (2000)In season two, Dylan’s quest becomes more of a reality. The Renewed Systems Commonwealth represents more than just the unity and peace Dylan envisions; it is, as Dylan hunt says, a necessity. In the season one finale “It’s Hour Come ‘Round at Last”, Harper took a look around inside Andromeda’s code and found a backup copy of Andromeda’s core. He accidentally restored the backup. Andromeda went out of control and took the crew on a top secret mission. To make matters worse, the mission takes the crew deep into Magog territory, where the Andromeda runs into a Magog Worldship. The Worldship is a transportable solar system, with multiple planets and an artificial sun.Keith Hamilton Cobb in Andromeda (2000)The Worldship houses trillions of Magog and gives them the power to destroy stars. The Magog are traveling towards the known worlds with plans of conquest and destruction. In the close of the episode, the Magog have overrun the Andromeda and the crew’s fate is desperate: Trance, Beka, and Dylan are unconscious and near death, Tyr and Harper are being held by the Magog, Rommie had a pike shoved in her stomach, Rev Bem is being converted to the Magog cause, and the Andromeda Ascendant is in critical condition.Laura Bertram in Andromeda (2000)The second season premiere episode “The Widening Gyre” continues where season one left off. Despite the direness of the situation, they overcome their individual situations and manage to free themselves of capture. The real excitement introduced in this story is the notion of the Magog and the Worldship. The Spirit of the Abyss, a being that acts as the Magog’s God, is leading the Magog on a quest of utter destruction. This threat becomes a staple for the Andromeda crew to fight off. A Renewed Systems Commonwealth is a necessity. Fortunately for the crew, they have some time until the Worldship reaches space of the known world–two or three years. In the fourth and fifth seasons, the Spirit of the Abyss and the Magog are a major port of the season story arcs. In the meantime, season two has an episode “Into the Labyrinth” with another assassin sent by the Abyss that runs into the crew.Laura Bertram in Andromeda (2000)The Magog still are at the front of the stories and a key reason for the new Commonwealth. And Dylan works feverishly to recruit planets to his cause. In the episode “Home Fires”, Dylan receives a message from his long dead fiance. After the initial fall of the Commonwealth, a group sought refuge on a planet called Tarazed and for three hundred years, they have survived as the last remnants of the old way of life. Dylan learns that the people of Tarazed and goes to the planet to get them to join the new Commonwealth. They, however, do not. When he arrives at the planet, he finds a familiar face, that of his former first officer Gaheris. But it is a genetic clone named Telemachus Rhade. Dylan and Rhade are hesitant to trust each other. The story takes an interesting turn in the development of the relationship Dylan had with Gaheris, as well as introduces Rhade, who joins the cast in season four.Sonya Salomaa in Andromeda (2000)The episodes “Into the Labyrinth”, “Bunker Hill”, and “The Prince” are more episodes focused on the restoration of the Commonwealth with the cast in diplomatic missions, facing with spies, political corruption, and other such things. “Into the Labyrinth” sees a Nietzschean clan Saber-Jaguar joining the Commonwealth. In “Bunker Hill” the Saber-Jaguar clan invokes the Mutual Defense Pact, which requires the Andromeda join their side in combat against the Dragan clan. At the same time, Dylan sends Harper and Rommie to Earth to join the resistance movement to free human slaves under Dragan control. In “The Prince”, the crew travel to Ne’Holland to save what is left the royal family from being slaughtered. Dylan wants the planet to join the Commonwealth because it is in a key position to defend against the upcoming Magog onslaught. However, in order to get them to join, he has to save its leaders from its own people. But what Dylan did not know was that the royal family’s actions have not always been just.Lisa Ryder in Andromeda (2000)“Ouroboros” is a major episode in the series. It is the first major cast and crew changes. Rev Bem leaves the series as a regular cast member. He apparently went away to find himself. Stait, who plays Rev Bem, talks about the reason he left in his interview featurette. Another change deals with Trance. Harper builds a machine he hopes will help rid him of the Magog larvae that was implanted in him in the season premiere. The machine works, but it also does a little more and bends space and time. The crew is able to glimpse into future versions of themselves. Trance, in particular, meets her future self, who proclaims the future unfolded very badly. The present and future Trance’s switch places in hope future Trance can set the timeline in the right direction. The new Trance is physically different, without a tail and has golden skin. The other major change is in the crew. Robert Hewitt Wolfe was released because the direction he envisioned for the series was much different than wanted.Michael Hurst in Andromeda (2000)In “Knight, Death, and the Devil”, the crew are on the verge of completing the first stage in restoring the Commonwealth. Beka and Harper negotiate with the fiftieth planetary world to join the cause. Dylan, Tyr, and Rommie also find a decommissioned high guard ship. When they interact with the ship’s AI Ryan (Michael Hurst), they find out there is a solar system with over fifty other relic ships in hiding. Dylan goes to the solar to convince the ships to rejoin the Commonwealth (remember some AI’s have emotions and they were abandoned long ago). Christopher Judge guest stars as one of the AI’s.Kevin Sorbo and Laura Bertram in Andromeda (2000)The season finale “Tunnel at the End of the Light” is a literally explosive episode. Representatives from fifty worlds come to the Andromeda to sign the Commonwealth charter. It is an exciting time to see the Commonwealth officially come back into power. Unfortunately, there are forces that would rather not see the chartered signed. Sabotage hits the Andromeda and the charter signing goes up in flames. It is up to the crew to make necessary sacrifices to see it through.Laura Bertram in Andromeda (2000)Overall, I was pretty happy with the second season of Andromeda. Like the first season, I was not in love with this season. The fact remains the show has a cast who over-performs and spouts cheesy dialogue. The storylines from episode to episode offer some enjoyable content, but nothing you should think too hard about. In addition, the story arcs that span the episodes offer intriguing aspects with the formation of the Commonwealth, the Magog, and the Spirit of the Abyss. In the end, I think season two makes for a good watch if you enjoy science-fiction/fantasy oriented shows.

REVIEW: DARK ANGEL -SEASON 2

Starring

Jessica Alba (Machete)
Michael Weatherly (Bull)
Valarie Rae Miller (Crank)
J. C. MacKenzie (The Wolf of Wall Street)
Richard Gunn (Hemlock Grove)
Jensen Ackles (Supernatural)
Kevin Durand (Lost)
Ashley Scott (Birds of Prey)
Martin Cummins (Bates Motel)

Jensen Ackles in Dark Angel (2000)

RECURRING / NOTABLE GUEST CAST

John Savage (American Romance)
Nana Visitor (Star Trekk: DS9)
Yee Jee Tso (Antitrust)
Grace Park (Battlestar Galactica)
Nicki Clyne (Saved)
Jesse Moss (The Uninvited)
Colin Cunningham (Elektra)
Craig Veroni (Two For The Money)
Connor Widdows (X-Men 2)
Rob LaBelle (Watchmen)
John DeSantis (Arrow)
Tyler Labine (Rise of The Planet of The Apes)
Byron Mann (Arrow)
Kris Pope (Josie and The Pussycats)
Rekha Sharma (The Core)
Sarah Carter (Smallville)
Todd Stashwick (The Originals)
John Mann (Pathfinder)
Sonya Salomaa (Watchmen)
Patrick Gallagher (Sideways)
Mike Dopud (The Predator)
William Gregory Lee (Xena)
Brian Markinson (Wolf)
Gus Lynch (North Country)
Jesse Hutch (Cedar Cove)
Anita Brown (The A-Team)
Kendall Cross (Paycheck)
Emily Holmes (The Wicker Man)
Michael Bower (Evolution)
Terry Chen (Jessica Jones)
Tiffany Lyndall-Knight (I, Robot)
Fulvio Cecere (Valentine)
Michael Kopsa (Apollo 18)
Meghan Ory (Once Upon A Time)
Eric Breker (Stargate SG.1)
Ty Olsson (Battlestar Galactica)
Peter Williams (Catwoman)
Enuka Okuma (Impulse)
Sarah Strange (Men in Trees)
Jerry Wasserman (Alive)
Sam Witwer (Supergirl)
Camille Sullivan (Kingsway)
Zak Santiago (Shooter)
Tracy Ryan (The Blows)
Callum Keith Rennie (Jessica Jones)
Gabrielle Rose (Sanctuary)
Garwin Sanford (Arrow)
Malcolm Stewart (Jumanji)
Devin Douglas Drewitz (X-Men 2)
Kandyse McClure (Battlestar Galactica)
Jorge Vargas (Power Rangers Ninja Storm)
Henri Lubatti (Zoo)
Rick Worthy (The Vamnpire Diaries)
Erin Karpluk (Being Erica)

Jessica Alba and Kevin Durand in Dark Angel (2000)James Cameron’s and Charles H. Eglee’s Dark Angellasted a short two seasons back in 2000-2002, launching Jessica Alba’s Hollywood career.  Like Buffy the Vampire Slayer, this show had a similarly headstrong, wise-cracking, female superhero at the helm.Jessica Alba and Valarie Rae Miller in Dark Angel (2000)Set in the near future in rainy Seattle, Washington, Max was a bike courier by day and thief by night, struggling to get by in Post-Pulse America.  She burgles the wrong rich guy one evening who recognises her for what she is, an escaped genetically-engineered human from Manticore, a secret training facility that creates kids like Max and raises them to become soldiers and assassins.  With rich guy Logan’s (Michael Weatherly) guidance/nagging, Max grudgingly uses her physical and mental talents to do some good in the world.Did I mention she did it grudgingly? Max is not a smiley, cheerful young woman.  Most of the time she’s got a scowl on her face but deep down she’s got heart, and despite the tough, ‘I don’t care about anyone but myself’ front she puts up, she’s still a normal young woman trying to put the trauma of being raised to be a weapon of destruction  behind her.  The torture and abuse she suffered as a child at the hands of those in Manticore still haunts her. Max was among a dozen children that fled the prison-like institution ten years previously.  She tries to keep a low profile, fearful that her worst nightmare and personal bogey man Lydecker (played chillingly by John Savage) will find her.  She’s also trying to track down her “brothers” and “sisters”, the other kids who fled.  Logan agrees to help her in this quest in exchange for her help with his noble causes.  Logan is “Eyes Only”, an underground journalist and thorn in the side of criminalsJessica Alba and Kevin Durand in Dark Angel (2000)Keeping Max company is her best friend Original Cindy (Valarie Rae Miller), Sketchy (Richard Gunn) an idiot who works alongside her and Normal, the grouchy but actually easy-going boss at the courier company Jam Pony.  Normal frequently shouts ‘bip bip’ at his employees in order to motivate them to do some work.  It rarely works!  Along the way we meet Zach (William Gregory Lee), her “brother” who is totally in love with her and Alec (played by hottie Jensen Ackles from Supernatural), another Manticore soldier.   We can’t forget about Joshua (Kevin Durrand), the dog-man, one of Manticore’s earliest experiments that left many of their people/creatures looking decidedly non-human.  They were confined to the basement in Manticore until Max releases them into the world in season 2 with devastating consequences. Max looks after Joshua and along with Alec, the three of them form somewhat of a weird, dysfunctional but tight-knit family.Logan’s and Max’s relationship continues the will they/won’t they line for the duration of the two seasons.  A lot of fans wanted her to hook up with Alec but it never happened, despite a few lingering looks.  I loved the universe and characters of Dark Angel.  It’s one of my favourite supernatural/sci-fi tv shows of all time, right up there with BuffyRoswell  and The X- Files. The music was great, the characters awesome and the dialogue snappy.  For me, the most intriguing character was Lydecker.  Yes he was a bad guy, but in a creepy way he was also like the father figure of the group.

REVIEW: JOSIE AND THE PUSSYCATS

 

CAST
Rachael Leigh Cook (Blow Dry)
Tara Reid (American Pie)
Rosario Dawson (Daredevil TV)
Gabriel Mann (Cherry Falls)
Paul Costanzo (Road Trip)
Missi Pyle (Dodgeball)
Alan Cumminmg (Tin Man)
Parker Posey (Superman Returns)
Tom Butler (Blade: The Series)
Carson Daly (Pauly Shore is Dead)
Justin Chatwin (War of The Worlds)
Katherine Isabelle (Hannibal)
Zak Santiago (Caprica)
Hiro Kanagawa (Heroes Reborn)
David Kopp (Freddy vs Jason)
Enuka Okuma (Impulse)
Dion Johnstone (Stargate SG.1)
JR Bourne (Ginger Snaps Back)
Kris Pope (Dark Angel)
Donald Faison (Scrubs)
Seth Green (Family Guy)
Eugene Levy (American Pie)
Breckin Meyer (Garfield)

Wyatt Frame (Alan Cumming) is an executive with record label MegaRecords. The label, headed by the trend-conscious and scheming Fiona (Parker Posey), manufactures faddish pop bands for consumption by the teenage market. Conspiring with the United States government, they add subliminal messages under the music to brainwash teens into buying their records and other consumer products, creating “a new trend every week”. The Government’s plan is to build a robust economy from the “wads of cash” teenagers supposedly earn from babysitting and minimum wage jobs. When a member of Wyatt’s wildly successful boy band, Du Jour, uncovers one such message and asks Wyatt about it aboard their private jet, Wyatt and the pilot (Harry Elfont) parachute out of the plane, leaving it to crash and kill the band members.
Wyatt lands just outside the town of Riverdale, and meets an unappreciated rock band, the Pussycats: vocalist/guitarist Josie McCoy (Rachael Leigh Cook), drummer Melody Valentine (Tara Reid), and bassist/backup vocalist Valerie Brown (Rosario Dawson). Because they are struggling financially, the Pussycats accept Wyatt’s lucrative record deal despite its implausibility. They are flown to New York City where they are renamed “Josie and the Pussycats”, much to the girls’ discomfort. All goes well and their first single climbs rapidly to the top of the charts, but Valerie grows increasingly frustrated that all media attention is focused on Josie rather than the band as a whole. Melody, too simple to notice the undue attention Josie receives, uses her uncanny behavioral perception and becomes suspicious of Fiona and Wyatt. Before Valerie and Melody’s suspicions can reveal the conspiracy, Fiona orders Wyatt to kill them. He sends them without Josie to a fake television appearance on the MTV show Total Request Live, where an obviously fake Carson Daly impersonator and the real Carson Daly assault them with baseball bats. The girls survive due to their attackers’ incompetence. Meanwhile, Wyatt prevents Josie from attending a gig by Alan M (Gabriel Mann), Josie’s love interest, by telling her it was canceled. Instead, Josie listens to a remix of their latest single. The remix contains a subliminal message track designed to brainwash her into desiring a solo career, and into seeing Valerie and Melody are impediments to that goal. After an argument with her band mates, Josie realizes that the recording caused the fight. Her suspicions are confirmed when she uses a mixing board to make the subliminal track audible, but she is caught by Fiona.
MegaRecords have organized a giant pay-per-view concert, whereby they plan to unleash their biggest subliminal message yet. They force Josie to perform solo on stage by holding Melody and Valerie hostage. The badly injured members of Du Jour—who survived by grounding their plane, but landed in the middle of a Metallica concert where they were severely beaten by Metallica fans—appear just in time to stop Wyatt and Fiona from launching the message. In the resulting fight, Josie destroys the machine used to generate the messages. The new subliminal message is revealed not to promote the band, the label, or a corporate sponsor, but to make Fiona universally popular. Fiona suffers a breakdown and reveals that she had been a social outcast in high school. Wyatt reveals that his appearance is a disguise—that he went to the same high school as Fiona, but was a persecuted and unpopular albino. Fiona and Wyatt immediately fall in love. The government agents colluding with Fiona arrive, but because the conspiracy is exposed, they arrest Fiona and Wyatt as scapegoats to cover-up the government’s involvement in the failed scheme.
Josie, Valerie, and Melody perform the concert together, and for the first time their fans are able to judge the band on its merits, free of subliminal persuasion. Alan M arrives and confesses his love for Josie on stage, and she returns his feelings. The audience roars their approval as the film comes to a close.
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Criminally overlooked at the box office on its release, this really is a no-brain comedy gem. Even if you’re not familiar with the comic/cartoon from the 70s there’s plenty to offer everyone here. The 3 leading ladies are excellent and there is admirable support from Parker Posey and the UK’s very own Alan Cumming.