REVIEW: LITTLE WOMEN

CAST

Winona Ryder (Black Swan)
Gabriel Byrne (Stigmata)
Trini Alvarado (The Frighteners)
Kirsten Dunst (Bring It On)
Claire Danes (Romeo + Juliet)
Christian Bale (Batman Begins)
Eric Stoltz (Caprica)
John Neville (Odyssey 5)
Mary Wickes (Sister Act)
Susan Sarandon (Tammy)
Matthew Walker (Highlander: The Seires)
Donal Logue (Gotham)

The film focuses on the March sisters: beautiful Meg (Trini Alvarado), tempestuous Jo (Winona Ryder), tender Beth (Claire Danes), and romantic Amy (Kirsten Dunst), who are growing up in Concord, Massachusetts during and after the American Civil War. With their father away fighting in the war, the girls struggle with major and minor problems under the guidance of their strong-willed mother, affectionately called Marmee (Susan Sarandon). As a means of escaping some of their problems, the sisters revel in performing in romantic plays written by Jo in their attic theater.Living next door to the family is wealthy Mr. Laurence (John Neville), whose grandson Theodore, nicknamed “Laurie” (Christian Bale), moves in with him and becomes a close friend of the March family, particularly Jo. Mr. Laurence becomes a mentor for Beth, whose exquisite piano-playing reminds him of his deceased daughter, and Meg falls in love with Laurie’s tutor John Brooke (Eric Stoltz). Mr. March is wounded in the war and Marmee is called away to nurse him. While Marmee is away, Beth contracts scarlet fever from a neighbor’s infant. Awaiting Marmee’s return, Meg and Jo send Amy away to live in safety with their Aunt March. Prior to Beth’s illness, Jo had been Aunt March’s companion for several years, and while she was unhappy with her position she tolerated it in the hope her aunt one day would take her to Europe. When Beth’s condition worsens, Marmee is summoned home and nurses her to recovery just in time for Christmas. Mr. Laurence gives his daughter’s piano to Beth, Meg accepts John Brooke’s proposal and Mr. March surprises his family by returning home from the war.Four years pass; Meg and John marry, and Beth’s health is deteriorating steadily. Laurie graduates from college, proposes to Jo and asks her to go to London with him, but realizing she thinks of him more as a big brother than a romantic prospect, she refuses his offer. Jo later deals with the added disappointment that Aunt March has decided to take Amy, who is now sixteen (and now played by Samantha Mathis), with her to Europe instead of her. Crushed, Jo departs for New York City to pursue her dream of writing and experiencing life. There she meets Friedrich Bhaer (Gabriel Byrne), a German professor who challenges and stimulates her intellectually, introduces her to opera and philosophy, and encourages her to write better stories than the lurid Victorian melodramas she has penned so far.In Europe, Amy is reunited with Laurie. She is disappointed to find he has become dissolute and irresponsible and scolds him for pursuing her merely to become part of the March family. In return, he bitterly rebukes her for courting one of his wealthy college friends in order to marry into money. He leaves Amy a letter asking her to wait for him while he works in London for his grandfather and makes himself worthy of her. Jo is summoned home to see Beth, who finally dies of the lingering effects of scarlet fever that have plagued her for the past four years. Grieving for her sister, Jo retreats to the comfort of the attic and begins to write her life story. Upon its completion, she sends it to Professor Bhaer. Meanwhile, Meg gives birth to twins Demi and Daisy. A letter from Amy informs the family Aunt March is too ill to travel, so Amy must remain in Europe with her. In London, Laurie receives a letter from Jo in which she informs him of Beth’s death and mentions Amy is in Vevey, unable to come home. Laurie immediately travels to be at Amy’s side. They finally return to the March home as husband and wife, much to Jo’s surprise and eventual delight.Aunt March dies and she leaves Jo her house, which she decides to convert into a school. Professor Bhaer arrives with the printed galley proofs of her manuscript but when he mistakenly believes Jo has married Laurie he departs to catch a train to the West, where he is to become a teacher. Jo runs after him and explains the misunderstanding. When she begs him not to leave, he proposes marriage and she happily accepts.It’s a small scale masterpiece that will leave you in tears. The film is honest and true in it’s portrayal of human emotion. It went from being an adaptation of the book to it’s own story and portrayal of people and their lives. It’s beautiful aesthetically and dramatically, and a real gem of a film.

 

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REVIEW: THE BUTTERFLY EFFECT

CAST

Ashton Kutcher (Two and a Half Men)
Amy Smart (Road Trip)
Elden Henson (Daredevil)
William Lee Scott (October Sky)
Jesse James (Jumper)
Cameron Bright (Twilight: New Moon)
Melora Walters (Ed Wood)
Eric Stoltz (Caprica)
Ethan Suplee (My Name Is Earl)
Kevin Durand (Dark Angel)
Callum Keith Rennie (Flashforward)
Lorena Gale (Battlestar Galactica)
Logan Lerman (The Three Musketeers)

Growing up, Evan Treborn and his friends, Lenny and siblings Kayleigh and Tommy Miller, suffered many severe psychological traumas that frequently caused Evan to black out. These traumas include being coerced to take part in child pornography by Kayleigh and Tommy’s father, George Miller (Eric Stoltz), being nearly strangled to death by his institutionalized father, Jason Treborn (Callum Keith Rennie), who is then killed in front of him by guards; accidentally killing a mother and her infant daughter while playing with dynamite with his friends; and seeing his dog being burned alive by Tommy.Seven years later, while entertaining a girl in his dorm room, Evan discovers that when he reads from his adolescent journals, he can travel back in time and redo parts of his past. His time traveling episodes account for the frequent blackouts he experienced as a child, since those are the moments that his adult self occupied his conscious, such as the moment his father strangled him when he realizes that Evan shares his time-traveling affliction. However, there are consequences to his revised choices that dramatically alter his present life. For example, his personal time-line leads to alternative futures in which he finds himself, variously, as a college student in a fraternity, an inmate imprisoned for murdering Tommy, and a double amputee. Eventually, he realizes that, even though his intentions to fix the past are good, his actions have unforeseen consequences, in which either he or at least one of his friends does not benefit. Moreover, the assimilation of dozens of years’ worth of new memories from the alternative timelines causes him brain damage and severe nosebleeds. He ultimately reaches the conclusion that he and his friends might not have good futures as long as he keeps altering the past, and he realizes that he is hurting them rather than helping.Evan travels back one final time to the day he first met Kayleigh as a child. He intentionally upsets her so that she and Tommy will choose to live with their mother, in a different neighborhood, instead of with their father when they divorce. As a result, they aren’t subjected to a destructive upbringing, don’t grow up with Evan, and go on to have happy, successful lives. Evan awakens in a college dorm room, where Lenny is his roommate. As a test, he asks where Kayleigh is, to which Lenny responds “Who’s Kayleigh?”. Knowing that everything is all right this time, Evan burns his journals and videos to avoid altering the timeline ever again.Eight years later in New York City, an adult Evan exits an office building and passes by Kayleigh on the street. Though a brief look of recognition passes over both of their faces, they both decide to keep walking.

Directors’ cut

The director’s cut features a notably different ending. With his brain terribly damaged and aware that he is about to be committed to a psychiatric facility where he will lose access to his time travel ability, Evan makes a desperate attempt to change the timeline by travelling back to his pre-birth self (by viewing a family film of his father’s), where he strangles himself in the womb with his umbilicus so as to prevent the multi-generational curse from continuing, consistent with an added scene where a fortune teller describes Evan to Evan and his mother as “having no lifeline” and “not belonging to this world”. Kayleigh is then seen as a child in the new timeline having chosen to live with her mother instead of her father, and a montage suggests that the lives of the other childhood characters have become loving and less tragic.

Despite mixed reviews prior to seeing this, I thought this film was an absolute gem. The cast were well introduced at the start and you were led thru the film with mysterious gaps which were filled later on, shocking the audience at times. Subject matter was occasionally difficult but this made it all the more believeable in our hero’s responses. Anything that offers a temporal paradox allows the mind to fulfil the ‘whatif’ question. It gets you thinking but this movie was difficult to 2nd guess which in my view makes for a great and unpredictable film

REVIEW: THE FLY II

CAST

Eric Stoltz (Caprica)
Daphne Zuniga (Spaceballs)
Lee Richardson (Network)
John Getz (The Happy Hooker)
Frank C. Turner (2012)
Garry Chalk (Dark Angel)
Lorena Gale (BVattlestar Galactica)
Bill Dow (Stargate: Atlantis)
Garwin Sanford (Tru Calling)

Several months after the events of The Fly, Veronica Quaife delivers Seth Brundle’s child. After giving birth to a squirming larval sac, she dies from shock. The sac then splits open to reveal a seemingly normal baby boy. The child, named Martin Brundle, is raised by Anton Bartok, owner of Bartok Industries (the company which financed Brundle’s teleportation experiments). Fully aware of the accident which genetically merged Seth Brundle with a housefly (a condition that Martin has inherited), Bartok plans to exploit the child’s unique condition.

Martin grows up in a clinical environment, and is constantly subjected to studies and tests by scientists. His physical and mental maturity is highly accelerated, and he possesses a genius-level intellect, incredible reflexes, and no need for sleep. He knows he is aging faster than a normal human, but is unaware of the true cause, having been told his father died from the same rapid aging disease. As Martin grows, Bartok befriends him.

At age 3, Martin has the physique of a 10-year-old, and frequently sneaks around and explores the Bartok complex. He finds a room containing laboratory animals, and befriends a Golden Retriever. The next night, he brings the dog some of his dinner, only to find it missing. He enters an observation booth overlooking Bay 17. There, scientists have managed to reassemble Brundle’s Telepods, but were unable to duplicate his programming that enabled them to teleport living subjects. Using the Golden Retriever as a test subject, the experiment fails, leaving the dog horribly deformed. The dog attacks and maims one of the scientists, horrifying young Martin.

Two years later, Martin’s body has matured to that of a 25-year-old. On his fifth birthday, Bartok presents Martin with a bungalow on the Bartok facility’s property. He also offers Martin a job: repair his father’s Telepods. He apologizes about the Golden Retriever and assures Martin that its suffering was brief. When Martin is uneasy about the proposition, and Bartok shows him Veronica Quaife’s videotapes, which documented Seth Brundle’s progress with the Telepods. Seeing his late father describe how the Telepods ostensibly improved and energized his body, Martin accepts Bartok’s proposal.
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As he begins work on the Telepods, Martin befriends an employee, Beth Logan, and they grow closer. Beth invites Martin to a party at the specimens division, where he overhears some scientists and learns that the mutated Golden Retriever is still kept alive and studied. Thinking Beth is aware of the dog’s imprisonment, Martin argues with her, leaves the party, and goes to the animal’s holding pen. The deformed dog, in terrible pain, still remembers Martin, and he tearfully euthanizes it with chloroform. Martin reconciles with Beth, and rearrives at his father’s “eureka” moment when he realizes the Telepod’s computer need to be creative to analyze living flesh. Martin then shows Beth his perfected Telepods by teleporting a kitten without harm. They become lovers, but Martin begins showing signs of his eventual mutation into a human-fly hybrid. Martin devises a potential cure for his condition, which involves swapping out his mutated genes for healthy human genes. Martin shelves this idea when he realizes the other person would be subject to a grotesque genetic disfigurement.
Image result for the fly iiEventually, Martin learns that Bartok has hidden cameras in his bungalow, and has been lying to him for his entire life. Martin breaks into Bartok’s records room, where he learns of his father’s true fate. Bartok confronts Martin and explains that he’s been waiting for his inevitable mutation. He reveals his plan to use Martin’s body and the Telepods’ potential for genetic manipulation for profit. Martin’s dormant insect genes fully awaken and his transformation into a human-insect hybrid begins. He escapes from Bartok Industries. Bartok is unable to use the Telepods, as it is locked by a password. Martin also installed a computer virus which will erase the Telepods’ programming if the wrong “magic word” is entered. Bartok orders a search for Martin.
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Martin goes to Beth, explains the situation, and the two flee. They visit Veronica Quaife’s old confidant, Stathis Borans, who is now a reclusive, embittered drunk after her death. Borans confirms for Martin that the Telepods are his only chance for a cure. They keep running, but Martin’s physical and emotional changes become too much for Beth to handle, and she eventually surrenders them both to Bartok. Without revealing the password, he becomes fully enveloped in a cocoon and enters the final stages of his transformation. Bartok interrogates Beth for the “magic word.” Shortly after, the fully transformed “Martinfly” emerges from his cocoon and indiscriminately kills the scientists and security guards. A trace of his humanity remains, as shown when he doesn’t harm a rottweiler and spares Beth when he encounters her during his rampage.
Image result for the fly iiMartinfly breaks into Bay 17. He grabs Bartok and forces him to type in the password (revealed to be “DAD”). He then drags Bartok and himself into a Telepod. Martinfly gestures Beth to activate the gene-swapping sequence and, despite Bartok’s protests, Beth complies. Martin is restored to a fully human form, while Bartok is transformed into a freakish monster that can barely crawl around/ The Bartok-creature is placed in a specimen pit similar to the one he had kept the mutated dog. In the final shot of the film, as it leans down to feed from a bowl, it notices a housefly.Image result for the fly iiThis film got battered when released, but actually is a pretty decent film. Though it probably made sense to finish the franchise here.

REVIEW: HARVARD MAN

CAST
Sarah Michelle Gellar (Ringer)
Adrian Grenier (Drive Me Crazy)
Joey Lauren Adams (Chasing Amy)
Eric Stoltz (Caprica)
Rebecca Gayheart (Dead Like Me)
John Neville (Odyssey 5)
Polly Shannon (Lie With Me)
Cle Bennett (Heroes Reborn)
Peter Mensah (Sleepy Hollow)
The story concerns Harvard student Alan Jensen, the point guard of the Harvard basketball team. When his parents’ house is destroyed by a tornado, Alan is desperate for $100,000 to replace their home. He is approached by his girlfriend Cindy Bandolino, whose father is an organized crime boss. Cindy convinces Alan to throw a game for the money. She tells Alan that her father is behind the deal, but actually she goes to her father’s associate, Teddy Carter, and Carter’s assistant, Kelly Morgan for funding. What she does not know is that Carter and Morgan are undercover FBI agents.
Alan throws the game, gives his parents the money, and then undergoes a psychedelic experience after he ingests a big dose of LSD, 15,000 micrograms. There follows a long stretch of the film during which morphing special effects demonstrate Alan’s altered state as he is pursued by Carter, while Cindy is collared by Morgan.
Just when it looks like a toss-up as to what will prove his downfall first, the bad trip, the FBI, or the mob, Alan’s other girlfriend (who is also his philosophy lecturer), Chesney Cort (played by Adams), saves the day. Not only does she get Alan to a doctor who can bring him back to sobriety, she reveals that she is in a sexual threesome with Carter and Morgan. Once he gets some photographic evidence for blackmail, Alan is extricated from his problems.
With almost all the characters flawed by greed, sex or drugs, the one that comes across in the most sympathetic light is the mafia don. You know the good guys will probably win in the end but you’re not really sure who qualifies as good. Despite the special effects, the drug trip is rather too long and mostly fairly dull. Definitely a film for Gellar fans, but I’m not sure how much it would have going for it without her.

 

REVIEW: PULP FICTION

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CAST
John Travolta (The Punisher)
Uma Thurman (Kill Bill)
Samuel L. Jackson (The Avengers)
Tim Roth (Lie To Me)
Phil LaMarr (Free Enterprise)
Amanda Plummer (Drunks)
Bruce Willis (Die Hard)
Ving Rhames (Mission Impossible)
Rosanna Arquette (The Whole Nine Yards)
Eric Stoltz (Caprica)
Steve Buscemi (Ghost World)
Christopher Walken (The Prophecy)
Kathy Griffin (Shrek Forever After)
Alexis Arquette (Bride of Chucky)
Harvey Keitel (Red Dragon)

Outrageously violent, time-twisting, and in love with language, you don’t need me to tell you that Pulp Fiction was widely considered the most influential American movie of the 1990s. Director Quentin Tarantino merged amazingly complex yet casual dialogue with the serious violence of American gangster movies and films noirs mixed up with the wacky violence of cartoons and video games.

The fragmented story-telling structure keeps you watching to see how it all fits together. The script intertwines three stories, featuring Samuel L. Jackson and John Travolta, as hit men who have philosophical interchanges on such topics as the French names for American fast food products; Bruce Willis as a boxer; and Uma Thurman, whose dance sequence with Travolta proved an instant classic.

The moments of shocking violence are simultaneously humorous and ghastly. The surreal yet realistic atmosphere, long takes, and wittily literate non-stop dialogue engage me in the characters’ experience. I’m sure I could dissect this film to no end, commenting on the pop culture references and influences, I could comment on how I enjoyed Samuel L Jackson’s furiously philosophical character and the mysterious item that was in that brief case, but I won’t. I won’t because I don’t need to, it won’t change the fact that this film is an absolute classic, everybody knows it and it will always be remembered when people think of 90’s cinema, plus It’s so nice to watch a film that is a critical sensation and a box-office hit, as you feel clever and entertained

REVIEW: JERRY MAGUIRE

 

CAST

Tom Cruise (Top Gun)
Cuba Gooding Jr. (Boat Trip)
Renee Zellweger (Cinderella Man)
Kelly Preston (Twins)
Jerry O’Connell (Sliders)
Jay Mohr (Small Soldiers)
Bonnie Hunt (Cars)
Regina King (The Big Bang Theory)
Jonathan Lipnicki (Stuart Little)
Hynden Walch (The Batman)
Donal Logue (Gotham)
Drake Bell (Superhero Movie)
Eric Stoltz (Caprica)
Reagan Gomez-Preston (The Cleveland Show)
Lucy Liu (Charlies Angels)
Justian Vail (Kiss The Girls)
Ivana Milicevic (Vanilla Sky)
Emily Procter (CSI: Miami)
Beau Bridges (Stargate: Atlantis)

The title character is played by Tom Cruise (Mission: Impossible), a sports agent in a high-powered firm who continues to support and advocate for his client, sometimes at all physical costs to the athlete. In a moment of revelation, he thinks that the firm can do better, be more human, as it were, and one night writes and publishes a manifesto of sorts that illustrates how to do this. Of course, the firm’s main motivation is to be profitable and not nice, so he is unceremoniously dumped, and he is unable to retain his clients either, except for one, a middle-of-the-pack football player named Rod Tidwell (Cuba Gooding Jr., A Few Good Men).

He also has Dorothy (Renee Zellweger, Cold Mountain), a secretary who read Jerry’s memo, enjoyed it and leaves the firm with him. From there, each of the male characters seem to have separate revelations from their work; Rod’s willingness to take a hit or two quietly elevates his status within the NFL, and Jerry’s personal adaptation into a relationship, where he had previously feared commitment, but was almost addicted to companionship that was far from serious.Jerry Maguire is still watchable after so many years, along with the charm and wit that Crowe has been known for delivering for over two decades now.

REVIEW: CAPRICA

MAIN CAST

Eric Stoltz (The Butterfly Effect)
Esai Morales (Fast Food Nation)
Paula Malcolmson (The Hunger Games)
Alessandra Torresani (The Big Bang Theory)
Magda Apanowicz (The Bionic Woman)
Sasha Roiz (Grimm)
Brian Markinson (Izombie)
Polly Walker (Clask of The Titans)

RECURRING /NOTABLE GUEST CAST

Sina Najafi (Stargate – SG.1)
Genevieve Buechner (Jennifer’s Body)
Hiro Kanagawa (Heroes Reborn)
Patton Oswalt (Two and a Half Men)
John Pyper-Ferguson (Bones)
Peter Wingfield (Highlander: The Series)
Luciana Carro (Battlestar Galactica)
Panou (Flash gordon)
Scott Porter (Speed Racer)
Karen Elizabeth Austin (When A Stranger Calls)
Richard Harmon (Painkiller Jane)
James Marsters (Buffy)
Avan Jogia (The Outskirts)
Teryl Rothery (Stargate SG.1)
Christian Tessier (Goosebumps)
Anna Galvin (Smallville)
Francoise Yip (Arrow)
Anita Torrance (Shortland Street)
Kendall Cross (Andromeda)
Eve Harlow (Bitten)
Patrick Sabongui (The Flash)
Ryan Robbins (Sanctuary)
Kacey Rohl (Hannibal)
Ryan Kennedy (Smallville)
Christopher Heyerdahl (Gotham)
Tom McBeath (Stargate SG.1)

The story revolves around the polytheistic, technologically-advanced colony of Caprica roughly sixty years before “the downfall”, focusing on the conflict between, and within, two families: The Graystones, and the Adamas Adams. Lawyer Joseph Adams (Esai Morales) lives a somewhat normal life with his wife and two children, Tamara and Billy, attempting to juggle his high-profile stature in the legal realm with his domestic life. He fights a bit with keeping himself as distanced as he can from his unsavory lineage, the Tauron mob Ha’la’tha, though it’s hard since the organization funded his education and requires his services regularly — usually by messages delivered through his brother, Sam (Sasha Roiz). BSG devotees with get a jolt in seeing the blossoming of young “Billy” in this environment early on, watching the growth of the semi-troubled youth that’d transform into the disquieting, powerful Galactica commander Bill Adama.

Caprica’s central draw, however, is the Graystones. Daniel Graystone (Eric Stoltz) heads a tech development firm working on a mechanized super-soldier that’s just not cutting the mustard, all the while generating profit (60% of net, to be exact) with virtual reality headsets — holobands — that connect to a network of fully-interactive, realistic digital worlds. Graystone’s seemingly safe digital construct quickly broke down into a laissez-faire underground, filled with hacked sections that exploit sex, drug-use, and violence. Daniel’s daughter, a silver-tongued high-school student named Zoe (Alessandra Torresani) who battles with her mother Amanda (Paula Malcomson) over authority, frequents the holoband V-Club with boyfriend Ben (Avan Jogia) and timid best friend Lacy (Magda Apanowicz), yet they’re beyond the carnal satisfaction that the place has to offer. Instead, they’ve found purpose in monotheistic religious belief within an activist organization, the Soldiers of The One (STO), and, in the process, created an exact digital copy of Zoe who will somehow aid the resistance.

Observant fans will see where Caprica’s going with the duplicate Zoe, coming together in an introductory pilot that realizes the germ of an idea behind the genesis of the Cylon race, but it certainly doesn’t leave newcomers in the cold. Moore and Eick, with this freshness in mind, go in a startling direction with the content surrounding the Cylon conception; a murderous STO-related terrorist attack on a train rattles the city of Caprica, leaving the Graystones without their daughter and Joseph with only his son, Billy. The grief they endure becomes a convincing dramatic catalyst for what’s to come, breaking a floodgate for aggressive decision-making regarding family memories and Daniel’s technological advancement — with the idea of an exact digital replication of both mind and memory, such as the avatar of Zoe that lingers after her death, propelling it forward. It’s a thought-provoking launch that tackles some rather challenging concepts, including that of the human psyche as raw data and the extent that open-minded intellectuals might go to preserve those they’ve lost. And, of course, the narcissistic power behind potential immortality.imagesUpon the second episode, “Rebirth”, one fact becomes very clear: Caprica isn’t cut from the same cloth as its inspiration, instead existing as a compelling new creation with its own hurdles to cross. In retrospect, the reimagined Battlestar Galactica painlessly continued the momentum from its original two-part miniseries, thrusting forward with space warfare and political components into the dazzling episode “33”. With Caprica, a shrewd character-driven thriller with complexity surrounding terrorism and family grief, the carry-over isn’t as easy. Thankfully, the Moore-Eick team never shies away, hitting the gas with some rather incisive writing as they drive deeper into Caprica’s unraveling and the Graystone company’s waning success in the wake of the terrorist attack. Along the way, they also grapple with themes of Tauron racism (“dirt eaters”) and religious extremism through the STO and one of its leaders, Zoe’s teacher Sister Clarice (Polly Walker), that correlate to actual issues, while also cleverly using the concept of a digital underground — especially in the anarchistic “New Cap City” game simulation, a mix of World of Warcraft and Grand Theft Auto — as a way of escape and purpose-finding.

Yet as Caprica focuses on these modern analogous ideas while its characters develop into a mixture of morally desolate entities, the first batch of six or so episodes move at a deliberate, slow-burning tempo that shifts between intrigue and sluggishness. The harsh chemistry between Daniel and Joseph as scorned parents electrifies, driven by Eric Stoltz and Esai Morales in two stark, authentic performances, and the pacing focuses on the causal events that unfold around their family-affecting decisions. But focusing on this calculated slow-burn can, at times, temper the series’ manner and cause the multiple plot threads to stray from the course, weaving intuitive dramatic performances around a lot of existential meditation and shots of neo-religious content without the right energy to propel it forward. I still find it compelling; the depth of Daniel’s egotism reaches a genuine depth that’s unexpected, while offering a cluster of explosive moments — such as the board meeting in “There is Another Sky” that actually starts the Cylon race — spliced within the persistent, astute drama.

 


Then, as Caprica approaches “Ghosts in the Machine” and the mid-season finale “End of Line”, the gradual tension sees a much-needed outburst. These prior episodes extend into what’s essentially a rather lengthy fuse leading to this batch of dynamite, using brewing family turmoil and growing suspicions into an emotionally-taxing, brilliantly-realized culmination point. “Ghosts in the Machine” plays with the intensity of psychological torment in a staggering rush of emotion, while “End of Life” finds the first episode of the series to use the familiar “__ Hours Before” time mechanic frequently used in Battlestar Galactica. Quite simply, the build-up becomes worth the time at this point, igniting the series with the narrative outbreak it desperately lacked to become fully involving. Whether Caprica can maintain this momentum still remains to be seen, but the succession of these explosive developments that derive from subtly-evolving plot points — Amanda’s weakening sanity, Daniel’s obsession with meeting the development deadline, and the presence of the STO as violent radicals — satisfies with evocative, edge-of-your-seat chills at this midpoint, finally achieving that addictive science-fiction adrenaline that hallmarked its predecessor.

The Second half of season 1 Caprica would be the end as Syfy decided to cancel it. Caprica utilized a cliffhanger episode at the end of the first half of the season, one that leaves the mortality of several characters up in the air. It’s uncertain whether the depression-driven grief that Amanda’s been going through truly led her to suicide; similarly, we’re unsure if the full-throttle abrasiveness that Zoe was enacting inside the U-87 Cylon body destroyed her at the end. Then, Syfy opted to go on a very lengthy mid-season break, leaving curious minds in the dark for roughly seven months and, effectively, knocking the wind out of Caprica. It establishes a fine world that explores the emotions coursing through decisions to either reject or embrace digital memories of loved ones, while also giving some deep-rooted glimpses into the underpinnings of Moore and Eick’s Emmy-winning Battlestar Galactica.


None of Caprica’s issues root in the performances, however, or the production design. From the ground up, Moore and Eick continue the shrewdly-cast and stylish thrust of science-fiction with a fine vein of suspense, capturing the city’s expanses with a unique blend of metropolitan polish, futuristic gris-gris, and slick ’50s-esque allure. Locations like the Graystone mansion sport angular windows and a glaring pour of cold light, while the Adama household encapsulates a warm yet dark demeanor. These fitting aesthetic touches cradle some exceptional dramatic performances, including Eric Stoltz and Esai Morales whom have come into their own as tried-and-true denizens of Caprica. The same can be said for Magda Apanowicz as Lacy, who takes the complications surrounding a semi-innocent girl lost in the world of terrorism and runs with them with stalwart momentum. Lacy’s role, which gets sloshed around in the first half of the season, begins to grow more focused as she embeds further into the STO (and learns of her affinity with post-Zoe Cylons). Really, the issues hinge on a general question: “What’s the driving force behind Caprica?” At first, the series closed in on the machinations of the Cylon origins, as well as exploring monotheism vs. polytheism, the benefits and hindrances of an abandon-free V-World, and the reluctance for people to let go of those whom have died. Upon the second half of Caprica, all that’s somewhat switched out for direct drama involving the robots’ “creator”, as well as concentration on the gangster Adama network and the blossoming of the terrorist organization as idealists.


Starting with “False Labor”, Caprica begins to see an awakening, In this episode, Daniel attempts to recreate Zoe’s “resurrection” software, while in the process using an avatar of Amanda as a basis for comparison. Since he knows all the mannerisms and minutiae of his wife, he’s able to determine exactly how human or inhuman she’s acting, and the content that unfolds as he dissects this digital Amanda can be both penetrating and emotionally stirring. On top of that, Lacy gets her first hearty taste of the STO’s domineering, contentious presence, while meeting other “recruits” similar to her. Moreover, it rediscovers its tonality; difficult drama remains, but the way it’s handled regains the excitement of its inspiration.


With Syfy cancelling the show and five episodes still left to run, the big question likely will be: “Does it get a proper, strong conclusion?” Piggybacking off the regained proficiency that it rediscovers in “Blowback”, Caprica sprints through the remaining episodes as if it knows that the end’s coming. With a Coda at the end of the season you do get a conclusion that answers the questions of where the show would of gone had it been around for 5 years.