REVIEW: HUNT TO KILL

CAST

Steve Austin (Damages)
Eric Roberts (The Dark Knight)
Gary Daniels (Deadly Target)
Marie Avgeropoulos (50/50)
Gil Bellows (Sanctuary)
Emilie Ullerup (Leprechaun: Origins)
Michael Eklund (Bates Motel)
Donnelly Rhodes (Battlestar Galactica)
Michael Hogan (Red Riding Hood)
Adrian Holmes (Elysium)
Brent Stait (Andromeda)

7116_7_screenshotFour years ago, border patrol agent Jim Rhodes (Steve Austin) was stationed in Texas. Jim and his partner, his longtime friend Lee Davis (Eric Roberts), are staking out what looks like an empty trailer. As a gift, Lee gives Jim a watch that has a band made from climbing rope. The band can be unraveled and used in case of emergency. After Jim calls for backup, Jim and Lee decide to go in. What they find is a meth lab that looks abandoned. But two men come up from a door that was built into the trailer’s floor, and they open fire, shooting Lee. Jim kills the two men, and another man opens fire from under the trailer. Jim makes the man come up through the same door the other two came through, and the man sets the trailer on fire. Lee kills the man, and Lee tells Jim to run, just before Lee dies. Reluctantly, Jim leaves Lee behind, running out of the trailer as it explodes because of the highly volatile chemicals used for producing meth.CrossbowNow, Jim and his rebellious teenage daughter Kim (Marie Avgeropoulos) are living in the mountains in Lowery, Montana. In Reno, Nevada, a man named Lawson (Michael Hogan) and his crew of thieves have just robbed the Hotel Palacio casino. Lawson takes the millions of dollars in bearer bonds they stole, and leaves a bomb behind in a warehouse to kill the rest of the thieves, who include his psychopathic right-hand man Banks (Gil Bellows). Banks defuses the bomb, and with the help of a tracking device, Banks thinks he knows exactly where Lawson is going. Banks and the other thieves—Jensen (Gary Daniels), Geary (Michael Eklund), Crab (Adrian Holmes), and Dominika (Emilie Ullerup)—vow to find Lawson and get the bonds back.grave-encounters-2-2012-ghost-girl-chase-scene-reviewIn Montana the next day, Kim says she’s going to her friend Megan’s house to help Megan pack for a trip. Later, Jim gets a call from Sheriff Westlake (Donnelly Rhodes), who says he has Kim in his office for shoplifting. Jim goes to Westlake’s office, and finds Banks and his crew there, beating Westlake up. Banks believes that Lawson is in Montana, and is planning to cross into Canada by foot. Banks wants to find Lawson and get the bonds, and Banks says that Westlake is not being very accommodating. Banks kills Westlake. Banks wants Jim to guide them through the mountains, to find Lawson. In order to make Jim do it, Banks takes Kim hostage. Banks tells Jim that if Jim screws up in any way, Kim dies.htk2In the mountains, it’s a grueling trek. At one point, Crab tries to rape Kim, and Jim beats Crab up, breaking several of his bones. After that, Jensen fatally shoots Crab. After they find Lawson and the money, and Dominika fatally shoots Lawson, Banks sends Jim plunging off a cliff, and leaves him to die. Jim survives, and while Banks is forcing Kim to guide him and his crew, Jim carves some sharp points into some branches to make spears out of them, and finds a bag with a crossbow in it. Jim starts hunting Banks and his crew, who have left a wounded Geary behind after Banks beat Geary up for arguing with him. Jim shoots Geary three times with the compound bow. Geary tells Jim that Banks has taken over Lawson’s plan to go into Canada. As Geary begs Jim not to shoot again, Jim shoots an arrow into Geary’s chest, killing Geary. Next, Jim tracks the others down and confronts Jensen, who is a martial arts expert. Jim ends the grueling fight by fatally stabbing Jensen with a broken tree branch.maxresdefaultBanks wonders where Jensen is at, and Banks is feeling uneasy. Dominika, who is using a rope to hold on to Kim so she does not get away, tells Banks that they have to keep moving. Jim tracks them down, and throws one of the wooden spears he carved. Banks jumps out of the way, and the spear hits Dominika, killing her. That infuriates Banks. Kim tries to escape, but Banks doesn’t let her. Taking Kim with him, Banks finds an outpost where there are three Canadian cops, and three ATVs. Banks kills the three cops, punches Kim and knocks her down, and then takes off on one of the ATVs. Jim finds Kim, and he tells her to take one of the remaining two ATVs and go for help while Jim goes after Banks with the other one. Jim chases Banks down, and they fight. Jim chases Banks down a hill and into what looks like an abandoned factory. Banks even fires a flare gun at Jim. They try to hit each other with shovels. Banks hits Jim a couple of times, and then Jim beats Banks up and hits Banks in the face with a shovel, knocking Banks down.image.pngJim thinks it’s over, but Banks gets back up and tries to shove Jim through the nearby catwalk’s guard rail. Jim turns the tables, and shoves Banks down onto the pile of wooden skids below. Jim, taking the bonds with him so he can return them, goes outside and sees Kim, who says she couldn’t leave him. Banks stumbles outside, and he says “Did you think you could take my money?” Jim tells Kim to get back, and Jim gets on one of the ATVs. Banks says “You can’t kill me!” Jim says “When I hunt, I hunt to kill.” And then Jim floors it, and rams the ATV right into Banks, pinning Banks up against a wall just inside the building, and gas is leaking from the ATV. Jim starts walking away. Again, Banks says “You can’t kill me!” Kim urges Jim to kill Banks for what he’s done. Jim fires the flare gun at the ATV, causing an explosion that kills Banks. Jim and Kim are glad they’ve survived, but they know they have a long walk home.250947_originale_bgAll in all, bar decent production values and a cracking lead in Austin this one ain’t gonna set your world on fire, It’s a film that you need to shut your brain off to watch, but if you have a slow night it passes the time.

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REVIEW: JURASSIC HUNTERS (AKA COWBOYS VS DINOSAURS)

CAST

Eric Roberts (Amityville: Death House)
Vernon Wells (Power Rangers Tiem Force)
Casey Fitzgerald (The Shift)
Rib HIlls (Port CHarles)
John Freeman (Luna)
Sara Malakul Lane (Sun Choke)

maxresdefaultShortly after an injured cowboy, Val, returns home to make amends with his ex-girlfriend and father (Eric Roberts), a group of geologists set off a huge explosion at the local mine. However, instead of finding precious metal, they accidentally unearth hundreds of terrorising and formerly believed extinct, breeds of prehistoric dinosaurs. Anarchy ensues as the rampaging beasts are unleashed upon Val s trembling hometown, running amok and hunting the horror-struck humans who have become their prey. In order to save the terrified citizens, Val has to use his animal-taming skills and band together with the local gunslingers, risking their lives to defeat the deadly predators. Only one species can win. Who will survive? PHLrhdfzhjK0OO_1_lThe title(s) alone suggests that this movie is going to be ridiculous and trust me it does not disappoint. The acting? Bad. Special effects? Some of the worst I’ve ever seen. Plot? It’s there but as bad as everything else. All these are ingredients for a horrible movie but a horrible movie that one with a sense of humor should certainly get a kick out of. I cracked up watching this movie especially the ridiculous ending. cowboys-vs-dinosaursI shouldn’t have to tell you to go into watching this kind of movie knowing it’s bad or to watch this with a sense of humor, you should know this by the title alone. Anyone expecting something like Jurassic Park is barking up the wrong tree here. Enjoy this movie, it’s wonderfully awful!

REVIEW: WOLVES OF WALL STREET (2002)

CAST

Jeff Branson (I Spit On Your Grave)
William Gregory Lee (Bitch SLap)
Eric Roberts (The Dark Knight)
Michael Bergin (Baywatch)
Jason-Shane Scott (The Wrong Student)
John-Paul Lavoisier (One Day In May)
Bradley Stryker (SMallville)
Eisa Donovan (Sabrina: TTW)
Will Keenan (Tromeo & Juliet)
Natalie Light (Dark Fields)
Traci Ann Wolfe (Sweet Home Alabama)

movie_254-1Wanting to be a Wall Street stock broker since as long as he could remember young Jeff Allen,William Gregory Lee,was about to make his dream come true when he traveled to New York City from his home in Ohio to make his bones on what’s called the street of gold and broken dreams: Wall Street. It turned out that becoming a Wall Street stock & bond broker wasn’t as easy as he at first thought since he had no experience at all in selling and buying stocks or bonds. Hurt and depressed Jeff goes into a local Wall Street watering hole, after another day of looking for and not finding a job, to drink his troubles away and meets the bartender pretty Annie Morris (Elisa Donovan). Annie telling Jeff that her late husband was a player, big shot, in the stock market she gives him a tip that there’s this group, or pack, of stock brokers that go to the bar every evening after work and that their boss a man named Dyson Keller(Eric Roberts) is always on the lookout for new recruits in his brokerage house the very successful Wolfs Bros.oborotni-s-uoll-strit-scene-1Getting to talk to Keller Jeff hits it right off with him and Keller offers him a job, if he could survive the two weeks of training, in Wolfs Bros. which Jeff jumps at. Becoming a member of the firm Jeff is at first very happy with his job but as time goes by he begins to realize that he’s not working with a brokerage firm but with a pack of wolves lead by the two alpha males of the group Keller and fellow stock broker Vince, Michael Bergin. Eating raw meat and giving off a scent to attract the female of the species, wolf-women, to mate with as well as staking out their territory by marking it with their liquid bodily waste was the order of the day, and night, of the Wolfs Bros. stock brokers. Jeff trying to get away from this insanity starts to make it with Annie, who he fell in love with, and before you know it he’s living with Annie in her apartment. Keller who’s also in love, or better yet in lust, with Annie would not stand for one of his lower echelon pack members having a mate that he won’t share with him, the top dog, and his fellow brokers. It also turns out that Annie’s late husband Tyler, Jeff Branson, was also a pack member of the Wolfs Bros. brokerage house and was murdered by Keller and his wolf-pack when he tried to leave it which is what Jeff is now thinking of doing.tmb_4280_480

Off-the-wall film about wolf men and women who act and think like, but aren’t, werewolves like the ones we see on TV and in the movies and making complete fools of themselves trying to be them. There’s a number of long and boring scenes in the movie especially those that have to do with the brokers getting involved hot and heavy with their mates, hot to trot wolf-women, that go on forever. The ending has Jeff, with he help of Annie, fighting off and killing Keller Vince and their wolf pack with, I kid you not, a silver pen not bullet putting an end to this whole Wolfs Bros. wolf pack insanity once in for all.oborotni-s-uoll-strit-scene-4

Wolves of Wall Street reminds me in some way of the sequence in the 1981 movie “Wolfen” when a pack of wolves, or Wolfen, descend on Wall Street one evening, from their home in the burnt-out South Bronx, and massacre a number of people unfortunate enough to be there at the time; that’s about the only thing that I can think of to compare the movie with. It’s hard to try to understand what Wolves of Wall Street is trying to tell you besides the story of a pack of insane stock brokers more interested in a full moon then in making a 10% commission for executing a multi-million dollar stock transaction.

REVIEW: DOA: DEAD OR ALIVE

 

CAST
Jaime Pressly (Mom)
Devon Akoi (Sin City)
Holly Valance (Taken)
Sarah Carter (Smallville)
Natassia malthe (Bloodrayne 2 & 3)
Kane Kosugi (Ninja Sentai Kakuranger)
Eric Roberts (The Finder)
Matthew Marsden (Black Hawk Down)
Brian White (The Cabin In The Woods)
A group of martial arts and combat masters are invited to a fighting contest, “Dead or Alive”, on an isolated island within an advanced complex, with the ultimate prize of $10 million. Among the competitors are Kasumi, a shinobi ninja-princess looking for her brother Hayate (who was competing in the last tournament), Tina, a professional wrestler setting out to prove she has more potential (complicated by her father Bass being one of the contenders), Christie, a master thief and assassin, her treacherous partner Maximillian ‘Max’ Marsh, and Hayabusa, a friend of Kasumi and Hayate who follows Kasumi to keep her safe, using the invitation to DOA for this. A final competitor is Helena Douglas, daughter of the tournament’s late founder. When they arrive, they are monitored by the island’s supervisor, Dr. Victor Donovan, who, aided by egghead Weatherby, is gathering data (using injected nano-sensors) from the fights for some mysterious project. To add to the situation, an assassin from Kasumi’s colony, named Ayane, has followed Kasumi to kill her and wipe away the disgrace the princess has caused to the clan.
The contest plays out, with multiple contestants fighting and being defeated (including Gen Fu, Bayman, Leon, and Zack), until only Kasumi, Christie, Hayabusa and Tina are left, with Helena being defeated by Christie. During the course of the film, Max and Christie form a plan to steal the fortune stowed away inside a hidden vault. During her fight, Christie sees that the key to finding and unlocking the vault is a tattoo on the back of Helena’s neck. Meanwhile, Kasumi begins to suspect Donovan of lying about her brother being killed in the previous tournament, and Hayabusa, infiltrating the main facility to find the truth, is captured. She is more than once confronted and nearly killed by Ayane, who Kasumi tries to convince that Hayate is alive (since it is eventually clear that Ayane loves Hayate). Also, Weatherby begins to fall for Helena, and in the end tells her about what he knows of the mystery project, and that before Helena’s father could shut the project down, he died (indicating that he was murdered).
On the final day of the tournament, wondering where Hayabusa is, Kasumi, Christie and Tina look for him and discover a secret entrance to the main complex, where they find Hayabusa unconscious. They are then gassed and captured. Meanwhile, Helena resolves to stop the mystery project, and has to fight the armed staff of the island, sent to kill her and Weatherby by Donovan. They are followed inside by Max, who finds his way to the vault, and is then knocked out by Bayman, who is working for Donovan. Inside the main complex, Donovan shows the four semifinalists the project he has been developing; an advanced form of neural interface that allows him and others to use the fighters’ combined skills to become the ultimate fighter. After ‘downloading’ the data into the device (shaped like a pair of sunglasses), he then shows that he kept Hayate alive and in peak condition to test the technology. He challenges Hayate to fight and win, if the others are to survive. Hayate accepts and is defeated, then thrown through a wall to die. Hayate is saved by Ayane, and the two of them apparently accept each other.
With the successful demonstration, Donovan prepares to sell the technology around the world, and begins “downloading” it to the watching buyers. Weatherby stops the broadcast and alerts the CIA, which provokes Donovan to head for them. Helena keeps Donovan back while Weatherby frees the others, but both are defeated and Donovan activates a self-destruct sequence which will obliterate the base. Kasumi, Helena, Christie, Tina, Ayane, and Hayate launch a combined attack on Donovan, while Hayabusa and Weatherby find Max and escape with him, despite Max’s urge to go back for the money. During the battle with the fighters, Donovan’s ‘glasses’ are knocked off and he is easily paralyzed by Hayate and Kasumi. The fighters then all escape as the base explodes and Donovan is consumed by the flames, making their escape by a hijacked pirates’ boat.
In the final scene, Helena, Ayane, Christie, Tina, and Kasumi are shown together again preparing to fight an army of ninja in Kasumi’s palace.
it is a fun and escapist film to pass an hour and a half.

REVIEW: CHUCK – SEASON 4

 

CAST

Zachary Levi (Heroes Reborn)
Yvonne Strahovski (Batman: Bad Blood)
Adam Baldwin (Firefly)
Joshua Gomez (Invasion)
Sarah Lancaster (Saved By The Bell: The New Class)
Ryan McPartlin (J. Edgar)
Mark Christopher Lawrence (Halloween II)
Scott Krinsky (Transformers 3)
Vik Sahay (eXistenZ)
Bonita Friedericy (Veronica Mars)

RECURRING / NOTABLE GUEST STARS

Mekenna Melvin (Lie To Me)
Linda Hamilton (The Terminator)
Timothy Dalton (Flash Gordon)
Olivia Munn (X-Men: Apocalypse)
Isaiah Mustafa (The Island)
Stacy Keibler (How I Met Your Mother)
Dolph Lundgren (Masters of The Universe)
Summer Glau (Firefly)
Lauren Cohan (The Walking Dead)
Robin Givens (God’s Not Dead 2)
Ray Wise (Robocop)
Richard Chamberlain (Shogun)
Mini Anden (Tropic Thunder)
Larry Cedar (Fear and Loathing In Las Vegas)
Katie Cleary (Tomorrow’s End)
Harry Dean Stanton (Alien)
Lou Ferrigno (The Scorpion King 4)
Bronson Pinchot (Lois & Clark)
Karolina Kurkova (G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra)
Nicole Richie (The Simple Life)
Steve Austin (The Expendables)
Armand Assante (Judge Dredd)
Eric Roberts (The Dark Knight)
Dave Bautista (Guardians of The Galaxy)
Joel David Moore (Bones)
Robert Englund (A Nightmare on Elm Street)
Morgan Fairchild (Roswell)
Ana Gasteyer (Mean Girls)
Rob Riggle (21 Jump Street)
James Lew (G.I. Joe: Retaliation)
Monet Mazur (Just Married)
Matthew Willig (Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.)
John Larroquette (The Texas Chainsaw Massacre)
Clare Carey (Hercules: TLJ)
Lesley-Ann Brandt (Lucifer)
Lou Diamond Phillips (Stargate Universe)
Mercedes Mason (The Finder)
Francois Chau (Lost)
David H. Lawrence XVII (Heroes)
Gary Cole (Crusade)

Season three of Chuck found the show getting more serious as it found the main character fully embracing his new life as a spy. Season four continued that streak. When we last left our characters, we were watching the Buy More  going up in flames. Meanwhile, Chuck Bartowski (Zachary Levi) was promising his sister Ellie (Sarah Lancaster) that he would give up the dangerous world of spying.

The season four premier picks up several months later. Chuck and his best friend Morgan (Joshua Gomez) are conducting a secret mission of their own. They are attempting to use clues left behind by Chuck’s dad to find Chuck’s mom, a woman who disappeared 20 years ago. When it turns out that Chuck’s former government handers Sarah Walker (Yvonne Strahovski) and John Casey (Adam Baldwin) are on the same hunt, Chuck goes back to work for the CIA. Meanwhile, the CIA rebuilds the Buy More as a continued cover for their Southern California base and giving the old Buy More gang their old jobs back in the process. Morgan begins dating Casey’s daughter. Ellie starts investigating her family history, and she and husband Devon (Ryan McPartlin) announce they are expecting. Plus Chuck and Sarah’s relationship continues to build as they work through various issues.

But that’s nothing compared to what happens when Chuck actually tracks down his mother Mary (recurring guest star Linda Hamilton) who is working for the Russian Alexei Volkoff (recurring guest star Timothy Dalton). Can she be trusted? Or is Chuck about to be hurt worse for having tracked her down? As the season unfolded the twists to the story were interesting, and I spent much of the season wondering exactly which side Mary was really on.

And there are some fun sub-plots to the season. Probably my favorite involves Morgan and Casey. The no-nonsense NSA agent has little patience for Chuck’s bumbling best friend, and the fact that they have to work together on missions is nothing compared to when he realizes that Morgan is dating his daughter. Those moments are priceless. The writers and producers did a good job of developing Chuck and Sarah’s relationship. They have managed to avoid the curse of killing a show when you get the main couple together by developing their relationship and giving them realistic things they need to work on. It’s interesting watching it develop, and I like that.

As always with this show, the acting is top notch. As with last season, the show was originally renewed for 13 episodes and then picked up for a back 11. That means that the first 13 episodes tell their own story with a second story springing off that one in the second half. Even the second half of the season reveals some secrets about the Bartowski family legacy. It also means that this season set includes 24 episodes of the show in original wide screen and full surround. In addition to the gag reel and deleted scenes, there’s a featurette about Zachary Levi stepping behind the camera to direct the Thanksgiving episode as well as a collection of Webisodes featuring Jeff and Lester’s quest for a video game.  The characters are still endearing and the storylines worth watching. If you haven’t caught all of season four, fix that today and prepare for season five.

REVIEW: HEROES: THE COMPLETE COLLECTION (BLU-RAY)

CAST
Milo Ventimiglia (Gotham)
Hayden Panettiere (Bring it on 3)
Jack Coleman (Kingdom Hospital)
Tawny Cypress (Supergirl)
Leonard Roberts (Buffy: The Vampire Slayer)
Santiago Cabrera (Merlin)
Masi Oka (Get Smart)
Greg Grunberg (Alias)
Adrian Pasdar (Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D)
Noah Gray-Cabey (My Wife and Kids)
Ali Larter (Final Destination 1 & 2)
Sendhil Ramamurthy (Beauty and the Beast)
NOTABLE / RECURRING GUEST CAST
James Kyson Lee (Hawaii Five-O)
Zachary Quinto (Hitman: Agent 47)
Ashley Crow (The Secret Circle)
Jimmy Jean-Louis (Arrow)
Cristine Rose (How I Met Your Mother)
Thomas Dekker (Terminator: TSCC)
Lisa Lackey (Bones)
Matthew John Armstrong (American Dreams)
Christopher Eccleston (Doctor Who)
Nora Zehetner (Brick)
Clea DuVall (The Lizzie Borden Chronicles)
Randall Bentley (Upside)
Missy Peregrym (Smallville)
Danielle Savre (Boogeyman 2)
Eric Roberts (The Dark Knight)
Adair Tishler (Dollhouse)
Rena Sofer (Traffic)
Malcolm McDowell (Halloween 1 & 2)
George Takei (Star Trek)
Jayma Mays (Ugly Betty)

Heroes Season 1 is an ensemble cast show that became a very large success based on how well it translated the comic book world to the small screen. Set on present day Earth, the show details how a growing number of people are developing special abilities outside of government control with a variety of consequences to them and the population at large. Unlike the truncated second season, the first had a full 23 episodes to explore the concept, resulting in a number of smaller, multi-episode arcs that all built toward a bigger picture as the season progressed. Unlike the old style of comic books though, the cast is made up of all sorts of regular people that start to notice they are”special, some of whom learn to increase their abilities with concentration or training, stumbling at times but honing said powers in numerous ways.

In overall terms, the story uses the Human Genome Project as something of a starting point, using scientist Mohinder Suresh (Sendhil Ramamurthy) as a focal point for identifying gifted people as he follows a trail set forth by his father, a formerly distinguished geneticist that chased what were considered crazy ideas about human evolution until he was killed. Mohinder discovers that certain trace markers in human DNA predict people with abilities and having observed firsthand exactly how gifted some of these people are, he ends up trying to warn them of a serial killer named Sylar (Zachary Quinto) and what appears to be secret agents out to capture them. Needless to say, his efforts are not universally appreciated and he himself is cast into the mix as a pawn, forced to face both powered and mundane humans out to stop him. The show also uses a dozen or so other main characters that either have powers or interact heavily with them, many seemingly patterned after specific comic book characters in terms of abilities, though not so much in terms of their personalities.

Take Hiro Nakamura (Masi Oka) for example, he can bend the space time continuum if he concentrates hard enough, the Japanese office worker slaving away at his father’s corporation while dreaming of his special destiny. The guy is a stereotypical science fiction/comic book nerd too, wanting more than anything to become a hero rather than follow the path laid out for him by his father Kaito (George Takei of Star Trek fame). His hit or miss attempts to control his powers provide some of the comic relief of the show but he also serves as someone genre fans can identify with as he tries to uncover his own future with the help of his best friend, the mundane Ando Masahashi (James Kyson Lee). Then there was Claire Bennet (hotty Hayden Panettiere), a gal with Wolverine-like healing powers who figures out she will regenerate no matter what happens to her, the gal finding out her adopted father Noah (Jack Coleman) is working for an agency with special plans for anyone with her kind of talents. The Texas high school cheerleader becomes an integral part of the main picture as she is stalked by Sylar, a man with the ability to take special powers by decapitating those he encounters, their showdown predicted long before by Isacc Mendez (Santiago Cabrera), a precognitive that draws the future while under the influence of heroin.

The cast also included internet stripper Niki Sanders (hotty Ali Larter) whose multiple personality disorder grants her alias Jessica super strength, Nathan Petrelli (Adrian Pasdar) a district attorney running for Congress that can fly, his brother Peter (Milo Ventimiglia) that finds out his ability is especially powerful as time moves forward, Matt Parkman (Greg Grunberg) a street cop that can read minds, and DL Hawkins (Leonard Roberts) who can become intangible at will. Some of them try to keep their secret, like Nathan since he is running for office, while others are on the run from the agency searching such folks out (their point man being Noah with the aid of a Haitian that can negate powers and erase minds played by Jimmy Jean Louis), the conspiracy something straight out of shows like The X-Files, Jericho, or Angel. The interactions of the cast make the show quite special too, capturing the spirit of modern comic books better than anything else I have seen to date.Particularly appealing is the manner in which most of the powers are not overly flashy, the dramatic elements allowed to keep the science fiction elements present but downplayed so that a larger audience won’t be alienated.

CAST
Milo Ventimiglia (Gotham)
Jack Coleman (Kingdom Hospital)
Masi Oka (Get Smart)
Greg Grunberg (Alias)
Adrian Pasdar (Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D)
Hayden Panettiere (Bring it on 3)
Noah Gray-Cabey (My Wife and Kids)
Ali Larter (Final Destination 1 & 2)
Sendhil Ramamurthy (Beauty and the Beast)
David Anders (Izombie)
Kristen Bell (Veronica Mars)
Dania Ramirez (American Pie: Reunion)
Dana Davis (Prom Night)
James Kyson Lee (Hawaii Five-O)
Zachary Quinto (Hitman: Agent 47)
NOTABLE / RECURRING GUEST CAST
Jimmy Jean-Louis (Arrow)
Adair Tishler (Dollhouse)
Stephen Tobolowsky (Groundhog Day)
Shalim Ortiz (Silver Case)
Nicholas D’Agosto (Gotham)
Katie Carr (Dinotopia)
Eriko (Dragon Evolution)
Ashley Crow (The Secret Circle)
Randall Bentley (Upside)
Cristine Rose (How I Met Your Mother)
Dianna Agron (I Am Number Four)
Mark Christopher Lawrence (Chuck)

Heroes Season 2 picked up four months after the events of Season One with the characters having moved on from the explosive finish. The prophecy thwarted at great cost and Sylar stopped, the clock was reset in many ways for those that survived. Peter is missing, Nathan has become a recluse, Hiro is stuck in Medieval Japan, and the Bennett family is on the run from the Company. Some characters die off-screen or are greatly downplayed and new people are introduced, the major players added in being Maya and Alejandro from Central America. Maya has an uncontrollable ability to infect people with some form of fast acting disease and only her brother seems able to calm her down to reverse the effects. They are on the run for murder (the authorities are not really particular about “how” the deaths occurred so much as “who” was responsible) and head to New York City to meet Dr. Suresh in hopes of finding a cure, not knowing he was murdered. Along the way, they pick up a helpful hitchhiker named Gabriel (guess who) and trouble ensues but that is only one thread of many the show goes back to.Image result for heroes season 2Of much greater interest to me was the Bennett family, particularly Noah in his efforts to destroy the Company, and Claire, as she struggles with her powers, puberty, and origins. Hiro’s trip to Japan circa the Seventeenth century where he meets his childhood hero, Takezo Sensei, proves to be a disaster when he screws up the timeline and must repair it lest the fate of the world be irreparably altered. Sadly, the quirky journey he goes through was arguably the most impacted part of the WGA writer strike that shortened the season to a mere eleven episodes  Takezo finding out that he is special too, though no explanation given. How he deals with his father upon his return and his own shame at his betrayal of his hero provided some relief from the admittedly weak storyline but not nearly enough to compensate for some of the worst writing seen on the show that has just started season three.

Another new chapter in the saga revolved around a relative of Micah named Monica, the Katrina refugee with an uncanny ability to mimic anything she watches on television. This was a thread that had a bit of potential, largely because it contained Micah and Niki, but felt the sting of the shortened season as well, the gal trying to become a heroine and falling short of the mark out of stupidity. Parkman has lost his wife and identity only to start over again in New York, having learned to keep quiet about his abilities and use them serendipitously to advance himself to detective. He and Suresh take in Molly but soon have to face a powerful telepath that is hurting her, the piece of the puzzle unveiled to the bigger picture of a long time conspiracy by the founders of the Company that include the parents of most of the players currently focused on in the series. Suresh ends up working directly for the company too, racing to uncover the secrets of the genetic component that gives the cast their powers but also an engineered virus (the Shanti Virus) that threatens not only the metahumans but the rest of the populace as well.

Perhaps most curious in the season for me, aside from the arcs starring Peter and Sylar of course, are those leading to Bob (the current head of the organization) and his daughter Elle, a gal with electrifying powers that shows what Claire would have become had Noah truly been unattached to her as he was supposed to have been. A psychopathic killer on a short leash, Elle does the dirty work to seek her father’s approval, the contrast between her and Claire referred to time and again by those around them. The introduction of “Adam”, the first person with powers and a founding member of the Company with a huge grudge against humanity, was also kind of abrupt and his use of Peter to try and destroy the world (“resetting the clock on humanity”) had a lot of untapped potential too.

To me, the writers should have pared down the new characters and tied up things like the Hiro saga much sooner given the strike and shortened season. They should have also kept in mind the show has a devoted following so making the characters act outside of their established norms or contrary to what they would have done given the way they acted in the first season weakened it as well. That the major threads employed cheap plot devices used in the past certainly did not help either  but this was indicative of the major problem of the season for me, the pacing. Every book, television show, and movie has an internal rhythm and pace that fans get used to. The WGA strike forced the slowly escalating pace of the show to be accelerated well beyond normal and leave off all the suspense of Season One behind it.

CAST
Milo Ventimiglia (Gotham)
Adrian Pasdar (Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D)
Jack Coleman (Kingdom Hospital)
Sendhil Ramamurthy (Beauty and the Beast)
Cristine Rose (How I Met Your Mother)
Zachary Quinto (Hitman: Agent 47)
Hayden Panettiere (Bring it on 3)
James Kyson Lee (Hawaii Five-O)
Masi Oka (Get Smart)
Greg Grunberg (Alias)
Ali Larter (Final Destination 1 & 2)
NOTABLE / RECURRING GUEST CAST
Brea Grant (Battle Planet)
Ashley Crow (The Secret Circle)
Zeljko Ivanek (The Bourne Legacy)
Jamie Hector (Lie To Me)
Ntare Mwine (Blood Diamond)
Blake Shields (Carnivale)
Robert Forster (Jackie Brown)
David H. Lawrence XVII (Lost)
Kristen Bell (Veronica Mars)
Randall Bentley (Upside)
Jessalyn Gilsig (Nip/Tuck)
Jimmy Jean-Louis (Arrow)
Malcolm McDowell (Halloween I & II)
David Anders (Children of the Corn)
Alan Blumenfeld (In Her Shoes)
George Takei (Star Trek)
Dan Byrd (Firestarter 2)
Francis Capra (Veronica Mars)
Noah Gray-Cabey (My Wife and Kids)
Lisa Lackey (Bones)
Eric Roberts (The Dark Knight)
Adair Tishler (Dollhouse)
Stephen Tobolowsky (Groundhog Day)

The first volume of the third season, Villains, brought back what made the show so good in its first season, with shadowy bad guys and intricate conspiracies, in a storyline that explored what the line is between a hero and a villain. The return of the Petrelli patriarch Arthur (played with quiet badass-ness by Robert Forster) created an us-or-them scenario where characters had to choose sides and decide how far they would go to get what they want

The other key storyline surrounds Mohinder (Sendhil Ramamurthy) and his efforts to understand where the Heroes’ powers come from. The race to discover how to give and take away powers, which involves a hidden formula and an element known as the catalyst, which is key to the granting of special powers. Mohinder grants himself powers, which creates what could be gently described as an homage to The Fly and the distribution of powers becomes sctattershot, as powers change and mutate with each episode, creating characters who suffered from the Superman syndrome, as they were simply too powerful to be defeated in a realistic way.

The newcomers from season 2 have mostly disappeared, with only Elle and Maya sticking around, with Maya in  a somewhat minor role. The additions this time around are much better, including the ultra-creepy Puppet Master; Daphne, the morally-ambivalent Flash of the Heroes universe, and Utusu, an African version of Isaac Mendez, capable of painting the future on big rocks. Though they are, in some ways, repetitions of other characters, they bring enough to the show to be interesting, especially Brea Grant’s speedster, who has a memorable conflict with Hiro (Masi Oka) and a starcrossed relationship with Matt (Greg Grunberg.) There are a handful of other newcomers, including some thuggish bad guys and yet another  role for Ali Larter.


The first arc ended with a bit of a thud, as is probably the only way a battle with a ruthless, all-powerful villain can end, but it was followed up with the Fugitives arc, which tried a bit too hard to have real-world relevance. Guided by a questionably-motivated Nathan (Adrian Pasdar), the government has begun to round-up super-powered people for Guantanamo Bay-style imprisonment, including all our favorite heroes. It puts all the big-names wither in shackles or on the run, a situation that could have been promising, but instead just peters out, as the motivation for each character’s actions is no wildly different from what we know of them that it makes sense. Nathan is all over the ballfield in how he conducts his hunt for his fellow kind, while Sylar has more personality changes than could be explained by the supposed psychotic break he’s experiencing.

The show consistently is one of the finest-looking series on TV, with gorgeous photography and special effects, and from time to time, there are bits of inspired creativity, like the origin story in “1961,” which makes a terrific call-back all the way to a small-bit of dialogue in the pilot, Larter’s character’s powerful outburst in “Cold Snap” and the realistic rage the otherwise moral Matt Parkman (Greg Grunberg) experiences in “Trust and Blood.” And maybe I’m a bit blind, but I didn’t see foresee the identity of the anonymous underground agent helping the heroes in Fugitive and found it a smart re-use of characters.

CAST
Hayden Panettiere (Bring it on 3)
Robert Knepper (Cult)
Jack Coleman (Kingdom Hospital)
Zachary Quinto (Hitman: Agent 47)
Milo Ventimiglia (Gotham)
Masi Oka (Get Smart)
Greg Grunberg (Alias)
Adrian Pasdar (Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D)
James Kyson Lee (Hawaii Five-O)
Sendhil Ramamurthy (Beauty and the Beast)
Ali Larter (Final Destination 1 & 2)
NOTABLE / RECURRING GUEST CAST
Dawn Olivieri (The Vampire Diaries)
Madeline Zima (The Hand That Rocks The Cradle)
Ray Park (Star Wars – Episode I)
Deanne Bray (2 broke Girls)
Elisabeth Röhm (American Hustle)
Jimmy Jean-Louis (Arrow)
Lisa Lackey (Bones)
Todd Stashwick (The Originals)
David H. Lawrence XVII (Lost)
Ashley Crow (The Secret Circle)
Sasha Pieterse (X-Men: First Class)
Saemi Nakamura (Jury Duty)
Jayma Mays (Ugly Betty)
Tessa Thompson (Veronica Mars)
Rick Worthy (Collateral Damage)
Kate Vernon (Battlestar Galactica)
Louise Fletcher (Star Trek: DS9)
Ernie Hudson (Ghostbusters)
Željko Ivanek (Hannibal)
Swoosie Kurtz (Mike & Molly)
Richard Roundtree (Shaft)
George Takei (Star Trek)
Tamlyn Tomita (Highlander: The Series)

The big storyline this time out centers around Samuel Sullivan and his family of superpowered carnies. Samuel is busy building the group, recruiting various super-powered individuals to join them, in an effort to form a homeland of their own  As is usually the case with any story on Heroes, thanks to the need to add twists and turns to pad out episodes, it’s not that simple, and, of course, all of the show’s main characters will be drawn into the tale. It seems that the Heroes have the best contact system known to man, as no one misses an e-mail or call to get together. At some point, coincidence and contrived are very similar. Either way, the show tries to have it both ways with Samuel, attempting to make him both pure evil and a sympathetic soul, like they did with Sylar. While the inexplicably coincidental familial concerns of the Petrelli clan keep going for yet another run of episodes, adding in a new super-powered love interest for Peter, the relationship between Claire and her father Noah is the show’s secondary focus, as Claire goes off to college in an attempt to live a normal life, and ends up in a lesbian couple, while displaying her trademark poor judgment and weakly-motivated rebelliousness. Meanwhile, Dad’s whole world is falling apart in a super-midlife crisis.

The rest of the old crew are still around as well, including erstwhile samurai Hiro, who’s battling a terminal illness and trying his hand at being a hero-for-hire, and Matt Parkman and Sylar, who get closer than they’d really like to be in the aftermath of Season Three. Though the conflict between them is one of the better tales told, and Sylar  remains one of the most interesting characters in recent TV history.

The worst part of the season though has to be the ending. After you’ve sat through 18 episodes, Claire outs herself to the world on camera demonstrating her powers for all the world to see, then the iconic words to be continued appear….. The show was cancelled.

Perhaps the upcoming Heroes Reborn mini series will qive answers to what the aftermath will be.

REVIEW: THE CABLE GUY

CAST

Jim Carrey (Ace Ventura)
Matthew Broderick (Election)
Leslie Mann (This is 40)
Jack Black (Gulliver’s Travels)
George Segal (2012)
Diane Baker (The Net)
Ben Stiller (Dodgeball)
Eric Roberts (The Dark Knight)
Janeane Garofalo (The Truth About Cats and Dogs)
Andy Dick (Road Trip)
David Cross (Small Soldiers)
Owen Wilson (Wedding Crashers)

After a failed marriage proposal to his girlfriend Robin Harris (Leslie Mann), Steven M. Kovacs (Matthew Broderick) moves into his own apartment after they agree to spend some time apart. Enthusiastic cable guy Ernie “Chip” Douglas (Jim Carrey), an eccentric man with a lisp, installs his cable. Taking advice from his friend Rick Lagados (Jack Black), Steven bribes Chip to give him free movie channels, to which Chip agrees. Before he leaves, Chip gets Steven to hang out with him the next day and makes him one of his “preferred customers”.
As promised, Chip arrives the next day, and he takes Steven to the satellite dish responsible for sending out television signals. Steven tells his problems with Robin to Chip, who advises him to admit his faults to Robin and invite her over to watch Sleepless in Seattle, which is running on HBO the next night. Steven takes Chip’s advice, and Robin agrees to watch the movie with him. The next day, Chip begins acting more suspiciously, “running into” Steven and his friends at the gym and leaving several messages on Steven’s answering machine. When Robin arrives to watch the movie, the cable is out, thanks to Chip, who intentionally sabotaged Steven’s cable when he didn’t call Chip back. Chip fixes the cable under the condition that they hang out again, to which Steven agrees.
 The next evening, Chip takes Steven to Medieval Times, where Chip arranges for them to battle in the arena, referencing the Star Trek episode “Amok Time”. Chip behaves aggressively, nearly killing Steven, who eventually bests him in combat. Afterwards, Chip congratulates Steven, who decides the experience was fun. When they arrive at Steven’s home, Chip reveals that he’s installed an expensive home theater system in his living room. Chip and Steven later host a party, complete with a karaoke sing-off. With Chip’s help, Steven sleeps with a woman named Heather. The next morning Chip reveals that Heather is a prostitute. Furious, Steven throws Chip out, but Chip assures Steven he will make things better.

Chip tracks down Robin, who is on a date with another man (Owen Wilson). When the man goes to the bathroom, Chip severely beats him and tells him to stay away from Robin. He later upgrades Robin’s cable, saying that it’s on Steven. Robin decides to get back together with Steven as a result. Steven tells Chip that they cannot be friends, which hurts Chip. Chip then begins a series of vengeful acts. He gets Steven arrested for possession of stolen property (the home theater system), although Steven is released on bail. During a dinner with his family and Robin, Steven is horrified to see Chip is in attendance as well. Steven tells him to leave, but Chip tells him to play along or he will show everyone a picture of Steven with the prostitute. The evening goes from bad to worse, with Steven punching Chip after the latter implies he slept with Robin. Steven is later fired from his job when Chip sends out a video of Steven insulting his boss to the entire office that was recorded on a hidden camera in his apartment.

After doing some investigating, Rick tells Steven that Chip has been fired from the cable company for stalking customers, and uses the names of television characters as aliases (with his current alias taken from My Three Sons). Chip calls Steven that night, telling him he’s paying Robin a visit. Steven tracks them down to the satellite dish, where Chip holds Robin hostage. After a physical altercation and a chase, Steven gets the upper hand and is able to save Robin. As the police arrive, Chip goes into a long speech on how he was raised by television and apologizes to Steven for being a bad friend. Chip then dives into the satellite dish, knocking out the television signal to the entire town, just as the verdict in a highly publicized case involving a famous child star is about to be revealed. Chip survives the fall, but injures his back. As Steven and Robin reunite, Steven forgives Chip and asks for his real name. Chip jokingly replies “Ricky Ricardo”. Chip is later taken to the hospital in a helicopter. When one of the paramedics addresses him as “buddy”, Chip asks the paramedic if he is truly his buddy, to which the paramedic replies “Yeah, sure you are”, causing Chip to smile deviously just before the credits roll.This film will either appeal to your sense of humour, or totally conflict with it, but rest assured, if you find it funny, you’ll find watching it a thoroughly enjoyable hour or so of your life.