REVIEW: EDGE OF TOMORROW

CAST

Tom Cruise (Oblivion)
Emily Blunt (The Girl on The Train)
Bill Paxton (Aliens)
Brendan Gleeson (Troy)
Jonas Armstrong (Robin Hood)
Tony Way (The Girl With A Dragon Tattoo)
Franz Drameh (Legends of Tomorrow)
Noah Taylor (Powers)

In 2015, a horde of aliens called the Mimics arrived in Germany and began to spread to the rest of continental Europe, killing all humans in its way. Five years later, the United Defense Force has achieved only one victory, at Verdun, and is holding the Mimics back at the English Channel. In Britain, General Brigham, head of the UDF, orders Major William Cage, a public affairs officer with no combat experience, to cover the next day’s massive assault on France. Cage objects to the dangerous assignment and threatens to put the blame on Brigham if the landing fails. Brigham orders the arrest of Cage, who is tasered when he attempts to escape. He awakes in handcuffs at Heathrow Airport, having been demoted to private, labelled a deserter, and assigned to the J squad under the command of Master Sergeant Farell.The invasion proves to be a trap. The famous Sergeant Rita Vrataski (the “Angel of Verdun”) dies before Cage’s eyes. Shortly thereafter, he uses a Claymore mine to kill an unusually large Mimic, and dies covered with its blood. He wakes up and finds himself back at Heathrow the previous morning. No one believes his story that the invasion is doomed. Cage repeats the loop of dying on the beach and waking at Heathrow over and over again, becoming more competent in combat and learning to predict what happens. During every loop, he tries to save the life of Vrataski, until eventually she sees that he knows the movements of the attacking Mimics in advance, and tells him to find her when he “wakes up”.When Cage next awakens, he finds Vrataski. She takes him to Dr. Carter, an expert in Mimic biology. Carter explains that the Mimics are a superorganism in which the “Omega” plays the role of the cerebrum, while the “Alphas” act as the ganglia through which the Omega controls the ordinary Mimics. If an Alpha is killed, the Omega turns time back a day, thus giving the Mimics a seemingly unbeatable advantage. Cage “hijacked” their ability by being doused in Alpha blood. Vrataski had herself gained this ability at Verdun, but lost it by receiving a blood transfusion after being wounded. She tells Cage that they must destroy the Omega.Over numerous iterations of the same day, Vrataski trains Cage to fight better. Frustrated by his continued failures, he retreats to London, but discovers that the Mimics will attack there after defeating the invasion force. Eventually, he has a vision of a dam in Germany (which Carter said meant that the Omega was trying to locate him). Cage and Vrataski spend many loops figuring out how to get to the dam. Cage comes to know Vrataski, who is humourless and only interested in defeating the Mimics, having lost her loved one to them. Upon reaching a point where she dies whatever they do, Cage decides to fly to the dam alone. Inside the dam, he discovers it is a trap. Ambushed by an Alpha and another Mimic, Cage drowns himself before the Alpha can bleed him out and destroy his ability to trigger a time reset.Cage and Vrataski infiltrate the MoD Main Building to obtain a prototype built by Carter that can locate the Omega. Cage finally compels General Brigham to give him the device. During the ensuing car chase, Cage discovers the Omega is under the Louvre Pyramid in Paris. However, Cage is captured and seriously injured. He wakes up in a hospital to find he has been given a transfusion and thus has lost the ability to reset the day. Vrataski frees Cage. Having recruited the J squad to help destroy the Omega before the invasion begins, they fly to Paris, where the other soldiers sacrifice themselves so that Cage and Vrataski can get into the Louvre. Just before luring away an Alpha standing between them and the submerged Omega, Vrataski kisses Cage to thank him for getting her as far as he did. The Alpha kills Vrataski and mortally wounds Cage, but he manages to drop a belt of grenades, killing the Omega.The dying Cage floats down through the water into the Omega’s blood. He awakens en route to his first meeting with Brigham, who is announcing on TV that Mimic activity has ceased following a mysterious energy surge in Paris. Cage, still a major, goes to Heathrow to find Vrataski. She greets him with the same curtness as in previous iterations, but he only chuckles gladly.One of the most ingenious film concepts ever created, a cross between ‘Saving Private Ryan’ and ‘Groundhog Day’, ‘Edge of Tomorrow’ is a gripping and clever blockbuster sci-fi thrill-ride accompanied with taut, fast-paced action and compelling direction. Tom Cruise and Emily Blunt form a perfect chemistry that takes them from the training ground, to the battlefield through to the action-bound finale in Paris. The premise of the time-loop has been used many times before, but this time round there are enough exciting visuals and dynamic storytelling skills employed to make this one thrillingflick that is unpredictable and expertly designed.

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REVIEW: VIXEN: THE MOVIE

CAST (VOICES)

Megalyn Echikunwoke (The 400)
Stephen Ammell (Arrow)
Grant Gustin (The Flash)
Emily Bett Rickards (Arrow)
Victor Garber (Titanic)
Brandon Routh (Chuck)
Franz Dremeh (Edge of Tomorrow)
Katie Cassid (Black Christmas)
Carlos Valdes (The Flash)
Aika Noni Rose (Dreamgirls)
Sean Patrick Thomas (Cruel Intentions)
Kari Wuhrer (Hellraiser: Deader)
Kevin Michael Richardson (The Cleveland Show)
Fred Tatasciore (Hulk vs)
Neil Flynn (Scrubs)
Toks Olagundoye (The Neighbours)

When Mari returns to Detroit after searching for information on her birth parents, she ends up in jail for stabbing a potential employer in the hand with a pen. Her foster father, Chuck, posts her bail, and the two are confronted in an alley by some thugs looking to take Mari’s Tantu Totem, which she inherited from her birth parents at a young age. Mari uses the totem’s powers to defeat the thugs, and the next day, visits Professor Macalester hoping to learn more about the totem and her family. Elsewhere, at S.T.A.R. Labs, Cisco becomes aware of Mari and her powers, and the Flash and the Arrow go to Detroit to investigate. In Detroit, Mari shows Chuck the totem’s powers, when Barry and Oliver show up at their house. Convinced they want to imprison her, she flees, with the two heroes giving chase. Finally getting Mari to stop, the Flash and Arrow try to convince Mari to let them help her. Not trusting them, Mari leaves and returns to Professor Macalester in hopes of getting more answers. Unbeknownst to Mari, Macalester is working for Kuasa, who shows up looking to retrieve the totem. Unable to remove the totem from her neck, Mari tries to escape and is shot by Kuasa’s men. She wakes up in an abandoned African village near the river of Zambezi, where Kuasa reveals she is her older sister and this is her birthplace, telling her the history of the totem and the village’s destruction. Kuasa reveals she was chosen to protect the totem and attempts to sever the bond it has with Mari. The attempt fails and Mari flees, though she passes out shortly after, allowing Kuasa to claim the totem. After coming to, the animal spirits of the totem confront Mari, telling her she is its true wielder. With their support, Mari returns to the village and defeats Kuasa and her followers, regaining the totem. Back in Detroit, Mari begins fighting crime as the vigilante “Vixen”, finally knowing her purpose in life, with Arrow and Flash promising to offer assistance should she ever ask.Months after returning to Detroit, Mari attends a lecture by Macalester on the five totems of Zambezi, which grant their wearers the powers of the elemental forces–air, earth, water, fire, and spirit. He reveals that the fire totem has been found, and would be on display at the Detroit Museum. Mari confronts Macalester about kidnapping her, and he tells her her Tantu Totem is also one of the lost totems of Zambezi, the spirit totem. Mari gets a call from Cisco to help the Flash and Firestorm defeat Weather Wizard. Mari ends up in the hospital after fighting Weather Wizard, and learns that the fire totem and other gems had been stolen from the Detroit Museum. Searching for the person who performed the heist, she eventually learns that Benatu Eshu has stolen the fire totem, traveling from Zambezi to claim it. As she confronts him, Eshu claims to know Mari’s birth mother.The two fight, but Eshu proves too powerful for Mari. Mari goes to Macalester to find a way to stop the fire totem and he suggests they visit Kuasa. Finding her in an African hospital, Kuasa tells them that Eshu was a general who raided their village in search of Kuasa and Mari’s mother and the Tantu Totem. She suggests that in order to defeat Eshu, they must find the water totem, which leads them to Star City. Once they find the water totem, Kuasa double crosses Mari and takes the totem for herself. Mari gives chase and is able to contain Kuasa with the help of Black Canary and the Atom. Felicity Smoak informs the heroes that Eshu is rampaging through Detroit, which makes Mari reluctantly ask Kuasa to help them defeat Eshu. The heroes travel to Detroit to confront Eshu, where Macalester calls Mari and tells her that each totem has a core, which, if destroyed, will cause the totem to lose their powers. The heroes are quickly overpowered, and despite her use of the water totem, Eshu kills Kuasa, leaving Mari the only one remaining. Mari is able to subdue Eshu underwater to weaken him, and takes the fire totem. Macalester arrives to tell her that in order sever Eshu’s ties to the totem, it needs to be smashed by someone with great strength. Mari summons many spirits from the animal kingdom and is able to destroy the totem. Later, she joins Green Arrow, Flash, Black Canary and Atom in Coast City to take on a threat.Vixen is based on the DC Character Mari McCabe / Vixen, a costumed superhero crime-fighter with the power to mimic the abilities of any animal that has ever lived on Earth. The series is set in the same fictional universe as Arrow, The Flash, and Legends of Tomorrow. The “Movie” is the entire series of shorts put together as  a film. A lot of the stuff that Vixen can do would be very hard to pull off on a TV budget, which is why introducing her this way is so important.  I’ll admit that the 5 minute segments can be a bit annoying at times, but it gives that need for the next chapter so all-in-all, the formula works. It’s great to see the series as one whole entity.

REVIEW: THE FLASH – SEASON 2

CAST

Grant Gustin (Glee)
Candice Patton (Heroes)
Danielle Panabaker (Sky High)
Carlos Valdes (Arrow)
Tom Cavanagh (Scrubs)
Jesse L. MArtin (Injustice)
Keiynan Lonsdale (Insurgent)


RECURRING / NOTABLE GUEST CAST

Rick Cosnett (The Vampire Diaries)
Robbie Amell (Scooby Doo 3 & 4)
Dominic Purcell (Ice Soldiers)
Wentworth Miller (Underworld)
Teddy Sears (ugly Betty)
Vito D’Ambrosio (The Flash 90s)
Isabella Hofmann (The Promise)
Patrick Sabongui (Stargate: Atlantis)
Adam Copeland (Highlander: Endgame)
John Wesley Shipp (The Flash 90s)
Victor Garber (Alias)
Kett Turton (Saved)
Shantel VanSanten (The FInal Destination)
Vanessa Williams (Candyman)
Tony Todd (Chuck)
Michael Ironside (Total Recall)
Malese Jow (The Vampire Diaries)
Peyton List (Flashforward)
Amanda Pays (The Flash 90s)
Franz Drameh (Edge of Tomorrow)
Ciara Renee (Legends of Tomorrow)
Violett Beane (The Leftovers)
Stephen Amell (Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 2)
Willa Holland (Legion)
John Barrowman (Reign)
David Ramsey (Con Air)
Emily Bett Rickards (Brooklyn)
Neal McDonough (Paul Blart Mall Cop 2)
Casper Crump (The Legend of Tarzan)
Falk Hentschel (Knight and Day)
Anna Hopkins (Defiance)
Mark Hamill (Star Wars)
Liam McIntyre (Spartacus)
Michael Rowe (Arrow)
Aaron Douglas (Battlestar Galactica)
Matt Letscher (Her)
Morena Baccarin (Gotham)
Audrey Marie Anderson (Lie To Me)
Michelle Harrison (Tru Calling)
Nicholas Gonzalez (Sleepy Hollow)
Greg Finley (Izombie)
Jason Mewes (Dogma)
Katie Cassidy (Black Xmas)

Image result for the flash FLASH OF TWO WORLDSThe Flash’s first season has become the benchmark by which all other DC Comics-based shows on The CW are judged. It offered a truly winning blend of humor, heart, and romance, and superhero action, culminating in a terrific season finale that showed just how much emotional depth there is to the story of the fastest man alive. The cast and crew faced a real uphill battle in living up to the standard with Season 2. And more often than not, they succeeded. This season met and occasionally even exceeded the heights of its predecessor.Season 2 got off to a solid start as the writers explored the fallout of Season 1’s big cliffhanger. But rather than pick up right where “Fast Enough” left off – with a giant temporal vortex threatening to swallow up Central City – “The Man Who Saved Central City” jumped ahead several months to the somber aftermath. The question wasn’t whether Barry Allen (Grant Gustin) could save his city once again, it was what kind of life Barry would return to when he got back. As we saw, it was a pretty lonely existence. The premiere opened on a surprisingly somber note, but one that offered an effective look at Barry’s fragile emotional state and the current status quo of Team Flash, including Cisco, (Carlos Valdes), Caitlin (Danielle Panabaker) Iris (Candice Patton) and Joe (Jesse L. Martin). That darkness was a way to bring the gang back together while reminding viewers that many challenges awaited Barry even after defeating Reverse-Flash (Tom Cavanagh).Image result for the flash versus zoomEven as those early episodes touched base with some familiar faces from Season 1 (including Wentworth Miller’s Captain Cold and Peyton List’s Golden Glider), they also spent a great deal of time setting the stage for the next major villain in Barry’s life, Zoom. Rather than continue to rely on the familiar Season 1 formula, where Barry and his friends battled various metahuman villains spawned by the particle accelerator accident – this year they confronted foes like Atom-Smasher (Adam Copeland) and Sand Demon (Kett Turton) who crossed over from Earth-2 to Earth-1. The addition of parallel worlds this season wasn’t just the latest example of Greg Berlanti and friends delving into all corners of DC’s mythology, it was a fun shake-up that resulted in a wealth of both comedy and drama. Seeing characters like Cisco, Caitlin and Linda Park (Malese Jow) face off with their alternate universe doppelgangers never got old.No character benefited more from the doppelganger concept than Harrison Wells. Wells might have died at the end of Season 1, but thankfully the writers found a way to bring the character back in a very different role. Earth-2’s Dr. Wells made the trip to Earth-1 and began assisting Team Flash in their ongoing fight against Zoom. Cavanagh excelled in his rejiggered role. He consistently played this new Wells as a much different character than the cold, calculating villain of Season 1. This Wells was all nervous, agitated energy, driven by nothing but a desire to stop Zoom and rescue his daughter, Jesse (Violett Beane). His character arc was among the strongest of the season, as Wells formed close bonds with his new friends and worked to counteract some of the destruction his counterpart wreaked on Barry’s life. Most of the cast benefited from the ongoing Earth-1/Earth-2 status quo this year. Grant Gustin was frequently a highlight of the show as he explored Barry’s lingering guilt and heartache after briefly reuniting with his mother and tried to disprove the parting message from earth-1 Wells – the idea that he’d never allow himself to be truly happy. Wells’ words proved distressingly accurate and on-point over the course of the season. Barry went through a lot of emotional highs and lows this season, including a second tear-jerking, phone call reunion with his mother in “Welcome to Earth-2” and multiple traumatic clashes with Zoom. To their credit, the writers didn’t try to force a happy ending out of Barry’s arc, either. By the end of the finale, Barry was at an even lower point than he was a year before, which fuelled his decision to make another ill-advised trip back in time. He’ll no doubt be dealing with the consequences of that act for some time to come.Image result for the flash welcome to earth-2Both Cisco and Caitlin frequently stood out this year, as well. Cisco always served as a reliable source of comic relief, particularly as his bond with Wells deepened and the two bickered with one another. But on a deeper level, this season allowed Cisco to come into his own as a hero. He grew more familiar with his powers, even finally adopting the name and trademark glasses of Vibe. He caught a glimpse of what he could become when he met his doppelganger, Reverb, and began testing the limits of his courage and his abilities. Similarly, Caitlin was shown a glimpse of the villain she could become when she met Killer Frost. But even after her failed romance with Jay Garrick (Teddy Sears) and subsequent ordeal at the hands of Zoom, Caitlin never lost her heroic streak. If the writers ever decide to morph her into Killer Frost for real, that’s going to be one devastating emotional gut punch.The Flash also deserves credit for the way the writers are able to weave romantic drama into the narrative without it coming across as forced. The ongoing romance between Barry and Patty Spivot (Shantel Van Santen) was always entertaining, thanks in large part to the stellar chemistry between Gustin and Van Santen. And if Iris was never the most compelling character in any given episode, she definitely improved this year thanks to her more proactive behaviour and her deepening bond with Barry.Image result for the flash invincibleThen there was the debut of Wally West (Keiynan Lonsdale) to the Team Flash lineup. Looking back, I’m not entirely convinced Wally needed to be introduced this year. With everything else going on this season it didn’t always feel as though the character received the attention he deserved. But Lonsdale proved to be a solid addition to the cast nonetheless. And despite all the foreshadowing, at least the writers weren’t overzealous in terms of rushing Wally into becoming a speedster. There’s plenty of time for that in a later season.Image result for the flash the race of his lifeThere was a lot to love about Season 2. At its best, this season was easily a rival to its predecessor. “Welcome to Earth-2” stands as probably the best single episode the show has delivered to date, with episodes like “Flash Back,” “Rupture” and “The Runaway Dinosaur” also ranking among the best.Image result for the flash the race of his lifeThe Villain of the year was Zoom. This villain was tricky in that he was simultaneously one of the best  aspects of the season.  Zoom left a pretty strong impression during his first clash with Barry in “Enter Zoom.” Between the demonic costume and the gravely rasp of voice actor Tony Todd, Zoom was by far the scariest and most physically imposing villain Team Flash had yet encountered. That certainly counted for something.  Zoom’s characterization was even more intriguing in the second half of the season unfolded. We learned much more about the villain’s past and motivations, including the big twist that Zoom was actually Hunter Zolomon/Jay Garrick and that Team Flash’s newest ally was no ally at all. With all the emphasis on doppelgangers this season, it was fitting that Zoom himself was really Barry’s dark mirror. Both men had childhood’s defined by similar tragedies and grew up to become speedsters. But whereas Barry had a close circle of friends and family to help guide him along his way, Hunter had no one. He was utterly alone on his world and all others, and that gave the villain the humanity and pathos he needed. And it was nice to see the writers acknowledge just how crucial characters like Joe, Cisco and Caitlin are to the show. Without them, Barry would be as empty as Zoom.Image result for the flash the race of his lifeThe season finale, “The Race of His Life,” was a great way to wrap up Season  Zoom’s defeat was satisfying and his metamorphosis at the end was intriguing, it will be intresting if we will ever see him come back in season 3. Also in the finale  there was the reveal of the real Jay Garrick, an act which allowed Shipp to don a Flash costume for the first time in decades, then there was the final cliffhanger, with Barry traveling back in time and almost certainly sparking the beginning of a Flashpoint-inspired status quo for the series. That alone is cause to be excited for Season 3.Image result for the flash the race of his lifeThe Flash season 2 was firing on all cylinders and continued through too the end top form an awesome season and leaves you hanging waiting for season 3.

REVIEW: LEGENDS OF TOMORROW – SEASON 1

MAIN CAST

Victor Garber (Alias)
Brandon Routh (Superman Returns)
Arthur Darvill (Robin Hood)
Caity Lotz (The Machine)
Franz Drameh (Edge of Tomorrow0
Ciara Renée (The Flash)
Amber Pemberton (Anomaly)
Wentworth Miller (Underworld)
Dominic Purcell (Blade: Trinity)
RECURRING / NOTABLE GUEST STARS

Falk Hentschel (Knight and Day)
Stephen Amell (Arrow)
Katie Cassidy (Black Xmas)
Casper Crump (The Legend of Tarzan)
Peter Francis James (The Losers)
Mackenzie Gray (Man of Steel)
Cameron Bancroft (Code Name: Eternity)
Stephanie Corneliussen (Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters)
Martin Donovan (Ant-Man)
Neal McDonough (Arrow)
Joseph David-Jones (Allegiant)
Jamie Andrew Cutler (Kick-Ass 2)
Callum Rennie (Flashforward)
Ali Liebert (Bomb Girls)
Matt Nable (Riddick)
Jewel Staite (Firefly)
Cory Gruter-Andrew (The 100)
Anna Deavere Smith (Nurse Jackie)
Brent Stait (Andromeda)
Anna Galvin (Caprica)
Paul Blackthorne (The Dresden Files)
Faye Kingslee (In Time)
Celia Imrie (Highlander)
Jessica Sipos (Slasher)
Emily Bett Rickards (Brooklyn)
Isabella Hoffmann (Burlesque)
Katrina Law (Spartacus)
Peter Bryant (Dark Angel)
Patrick J. Adams (Suits)
Carlos Valdes (The Flash)
Jonathan Schaech (Prom Night)

I’ve become so hooked on the DC Comics universe that has been unfolding on the CW that as soon as it was announced, I knew I’d be jumping on board with Legends of Tomorrow. After all, they were culling supporting characters from Arrow and The Flash, and both shows spent so much time setting up this spin off early in the season. I could hardly wait for season 1 to premier in January. And my faith was rewarded.

The show begins as Rip Hunter (Arthur Darvill) appears in 2016. He’s from the future, and he has a mission he needs help with. In the future, Vandal Savage (Casper Crump), an immortal, has taken over the world as a dictator. The only hope is for him to assemble a team from the present day to fight Vandal across time. This group of “heroes” include Ray Palmer and his Atom suit (Brandon Routh), both halves of Firestorm, Dr. Stein (Victor Garber) and Jax Jackson (Franz Drameh), Mick Rory and Leonard Snart better known as Heat Wave and Captain Cold (Dominic Purcell and Wentworth Miller), a resurrected Sarah Lance aka White Canary (Caity Lotz) and Kendra Saunders and Carter Hall also known as Hawkgirl and Hawkman (Ciara Renee and Carter Hall) who have had many run ins with Savage over the centuries.

However, it isn’t long before this ragtag group learns that this mission isn’t exactly sanctioned by the Time Lords that Rip Hunter claims to work for. Furthermore, defeating Savage appears to be even harder than they first thought. What other secrets is Rip hiding? Will this team be able to come together to defeat Savage?

Actually, Rip Hunter is the only character that viewers of Arrow and The Flash hadn’t already met since much of the backstory for the series was set up in the annual crossover event that aired in November. As a result, the two part season premier moved quickly since we could jump into the action once the team is assembled.

Since Rip has a time ship, we jump around in time quite a bit, which is a lot of fun. A visit to small town Oregon in the 1950’s becomes a bit preachy, but other than that, we focus on the story and the complications our heroes face in each time while tracking Savage. We spend time in Russia during the Cold War and even the Wild West. There are actually several two parters, or at least two shows set in the same period, which gives us some interesting cliffhangers. A few episodes stood on their own and even didn’t tie in directly to the quest to stop Savage, but they were always fun.

I was actually worried that with a cast this big, we wouldn’t get to know the characters that well. On the contrary, we got some great development for all the characters over the course of the season. Some episodes focused more on some characters than others, but everyone had something to do, and we had some nice arcs before the season was over.

Those looking for action will find plenty to enjoy here as well with several action scenes each episode; this is a comic book show after all. I think this show has more action than the others in the Arrowverse, but it could just be that the scenes can be more epic with the larger cast of heroes.
The acting is just a touch on the over the top side of the spectrum. This is especially true from Wentworth Miller and Dominic Purcell. Actually, this adds a very fun campy feel to the whole show, and I loved it. When the show called for a series moment, the actors always hit it out of the park.
And the writers give these characters some funny lines. There are some classic one liners in the show, mostly coming from Wentworth Miller and Dominic Purcell’s characters, but everyone gets their fair share of great lines.

So if you are looking for a fun trip through time fighting evil, Legends of Tomorrow is for you. Season 1 is pure escapism, and you’ll love every second of it.