REVIEW: CONSTANTINE (2014)

Matt Ryan in Constantine (2014)

Starring

Matt Ryan (Justice League Dark)
Lucy Griffiths (Robin Hood)
Angélica Celaya (Danger One)
Charles Halford (Reprisal)
Harold Perrineau (Lost)

Charles Halford, Matt Ryan, and Angélica Celaya in Constantine (2014)

Recurring / Notable Guest Cast

Lisa Darr (Popular)
Joelle Carter (Home Before Dark)
Michael James Shaw (Limitless)
Sean Whalen (Superstore)
Jonjo O’Neill (The Fall)
Charles Parnell (The Last Ship)
Chasty Ballesteros (The Ranch)
Emmett J Scanlan (Krypton)
Niall Matter (Eureka)
Laura Regan (Mad Men)
Amy Parrish (One Tree HIll)
Max Charles (The Neighbours)
Juliana Harkavy (Arrow)
Megan West ((This is Us)
Claire van der Boom (The Square)
Jose Pablo Cantillo (Crank)
Paloma Guzmán (The Deuce)
Roger Floyd (Graceland)
Amanda Clayton (John Carter)
Mark Margolis (Breaking Bad)
Jeremy Davies (Lost)
William Mapother (Another Earth)
Skyler Day (Raven’s Home)
Robert Pralgo (The Vampire DIaries)
Annalise Basso (Ouija 2)
J.D. Evermore (Cloak & Dagger)

Angélica Celaya in Constantine (2014)DC/Vertigo’s John Constantine leapt from the sordid, scary pages of his Hellblazer comics thanks to EPs David Goyer (The Dark Knight, Man of Steel) and Daniel Cerone (Dexter, Charmed). Matt Ryan, as the titular hero, was really effective in bringing Constantine to life on screen. Flippant when called for. Vulnerable when need be. All the while – whether casting out a demon from some poor body or battling one within himself – creating a very commanding, likable presence on screen. John Constantine was a the sort of hero you had to get right immediately and Ryan excelled.Matt Ryan in Constantine (2014)John’s back up proved reliable from a charismatic standpoint. Chas and Zed were great characters and as the serious progressed we got to see their back story’s and what made them the way they are.I really liked that Newcastle was used as the show’s jumping off point, and that throughout the season John would have to atone in various ways with scattered members of that ill-fated team, but his own team often suffered. Even though we’re only talking about 13 episodes here, the show still made good use of a seasonal arc format. Even using the “Rising Darkness” to both inform and be the cause of a procedural “case of the week” structure .Matt Ryan in Constantine (2014)The “Scry Map” gave John demons and ghosts to chase, all under the umbrella that hell was slowly encroaching upon the world of the living. And while not every “case of the week” landed, a couple of stories ripped from the comics came alive in (remixed) cool ways (“A Feast of Friends,” “The Saint of Last Resorts: Part 1” and “Waiting for the Man”). Along with some DC notables like Felix Faust, Eclipso’s Black Diamond, and Jim Corrigan.I liked that Manny turned out to be the villain right at the end of the finale. Mostly because the “Rising Darkness” needed a face. The Brujeria were mentioned quite a bit, but never shown.Matt Ryan in Constantine (2014)Was the twist worth sitting through a handful of episodes where I wondered why Manny was even there at all? Maybe, maybe not. But the show needed a “big bad,” and whether or not Manny turns out to be Satan himself or just an evil angel, he still fits the bill nicely.Constantine had a cool look, an awesome lead, and a confidence that you don’t see in most fledgling series. As the series went on it became an intriguing show with many dimensions that would of been worth exploring in later seasons, this is a show that was cancelled too soon and now with a unresolved cliffhanger we may never know where it will lead. On the plus side Matt Ryan’s Constantine is coming too Arrow, so we at least get to see him at least one more time.

REVIEW: ZERO DARK THIRTY

CAST

Jessica Chastain (The Huntsman)
Jason Clarke (Dawn of The Planet of The Apes)
Jennifer Ehle Fifty Shades Darker)
Kyle Chandler (Super 8)
Mark Strong (John Carter)
James Gandolfini (KIllThem Softly)
Harold Perrineau (Constantine)
Mark Duplass (Greenberg)
Fredric Lehne (Lost)
John Barrowman (Arrow)
Jessie Collins (Revolution)
Édgar Ramírez (Joy)
Fares Fares (KIll Your Darlings)
Scott Adkins (X-Men Origins)
Joel Edgerton (Exodus: Gods and Kings)
Chris Pratt (Jurassic World)
Callan Mulvey (300: Rise of an Empire)
Taylor Kinney (The Forest)
Mike Colter (Luke Cage)
Frank Grillo (The Purge 2 & 3)
Christopher Stanley (Argo)
Stephen Dillane (Game of Thrones)
Mark Valley (Human Target)

In 2003, Maya, a young U.S. Central Intelligence Agency analyst, has spent her entire brief career, since being recruited for the agency, focused solely on gathering intelligence related to al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden, following the terrorist organization’s September 11 attacks on the United States in 2001. She is reassigned to the U.S. embassy in Pakistan to work with a fellow officer, Dan. During the first months of her assignment, Maya often accompanies Dan to a black site for his continuing interrogation of Ammar al-Baluchi, a detainee with suspected links to several of the hijackers in the September 11 attacks. Dan subjects the detainee to approved torture interrogation techniques, i.e., stress positions, hooding, subjection to deafening noise, sleep deprivation, waterboarding, and humiliation.After failing to get al-Baluchi to give up information on an attack in Saudi Arabia, he and Maya eventually trick Ammar into divulging that an old acquaintance, who is using the alias Abu Ahmed al-Kuwaiti, is working as a personal courier for bin Laden. Other detainees corroborate this, with some claiming Abu Ahmed delivers messages between bin Laden and a man known as Abu Faraj al-Libbi. In 2005, Abu Faraj is apprehended by the CIA and local police in Pakistan. Maya is allowed to interrogate him, but he continues to deny knowing a courier with such a name. Maya interprets this as an attempt by Faraj to conceal the importance of Abu Ahmed.Maya spends the next five years sifting through masses of data and information, using a variety of technology, hunches, and sharing insights. She concentrates on finding Abu Ahmed, theorizing that he is the best way to find bin Laden. In 2008, she is caught up in the Islamabad Marriott Hotel bombing. Dan, departing on reassignment, warns Maya about a possible change in politics, suggesting that the new administration may prosecute those officers who had been involved in interrogations. Maya’s fellow officer and friend Jessica is killed in the 2009 Camp Chapman attack. That same day, a grieving Maya receives an interrogation video of a Jordanian detainee, who claims the man previously identified from a photograph as Abu Ahmed is a man he personally buried in 2001. Several CIA officers – Maya’s seniors – conclude the target who could be Abu Ahmed is long dead, and that they have searched a false trail for nine years.Sometime later, a fellow analyst researching Moroccan intelligence archives comes to Maya and suggests that Abu Ahmed is Ibrahim Sayeed, a suspect who had come to CIA attention shortly after 9/11. Realizing her lead may still be alive, Maya contacts Dan, now a senior officer at the CIA headquarters. She theorizes that the CIA’s supposed photograph of Abu Ahmed was actually of his brother, Habib, as he was said to bear a striking resemblance to Ibrahim and was known to have been killed in Afghanistan, and points out that Abu Ahmed’s death in 2001 contradicts Ammar’s account.Dan uses CIA funds to purchase a Lamborghini for a Kuwaiti prince in exchange for the telephone number of Sayeed’s mother. The CIA traces calls to the mother and quickly identifies one suspicious caller who persistently uses tradecraft to avoid detection. Maya concludes that the caller is Abu Ahmed, and with the support of her supervisors, numerous CIA operatives are deployed to search for and identify the caller. They locate him in his vehicle and eventually track him to a large urban compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan, near the Pakistan Military Academy. As Maya leaves her residence one morning, she is attacked by multiple gunmen, but the bullet-proof glass in her car saves her. Knowing that she has been blacklisted by al-Qaeda and there will be more attempts on her life if she stays, her superiors remove her from the field and send Maya home to Washington, D.C.The CIA puts the compound under heavy surveillance for several months, using a variety of methods. Although they are confident from circumstantial evidence that bin Laden is there, they cannot prove this photographically. Meanwhile, the President’s National Security Advisor tasks the CIA with producing a plan to capture or kill bin Laden if it can be confirmed that he is in the compound. An agency team devises a plan to use two top-secret stealth helicopters (developed at Area 51) flown by the Army’s 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment to secretly enter Pakistan and insert members of DEVGRU and the CIA’s SAD/SOG to raid the compound. Before briefing President Barack Obama, the CIA Director holds a meeting of his top officials, who assess only a 60–80% chance that bin Laden, rather than another high-value target, is living in the compound. Maya, also in attendance, states the chances are 100%.The raid is approved and is executed on May 2, 2011. Although execution is complicated when one of the helicopters crashes, the SEALs gain entry and kill a number of people within the compound, among them a man on the compound’s top floor who is revealed to be bin Laden. They bring bin Laden’s body back to a U.S. base in Jalalabad, Afghanistan, where Maya visually confirms the identity of the corpse. Maya is last seen boarding a military transport to return to the U.S. and sitting in its vast interior as its only passenger. The pilot asks her where she wants to go, but she does not reply. As the plane’s hangar door closes, Maya begins to cry softly.Considering the subject matter of Zero Dark Thirty, a film that follows the CIA’s decade-long hunt for Osama Bin Laden, it’d be little surprise were Hollywood to knock the edges off a little to make it easier for a broader audience. But director Kathryn Bigelow makes no such concession. Off the back of her Oscar-winning feature The Hurt Locker, her movie is a pulls-no-punches, under-your-skin drama. As such, it’s not always the easiest film to watch, but it is an utterly compelling one.

 

REVIEW: SNITCH

Starring

Dwayne Johnson (Jumanji: The Next Level)
Barry Pepper (The Lone Ranger)
Benjamin Bratt (Doctor Strange)
Harold Perrineau (Constantine)
Susan Sarandon (Tammy)
Jon Bernthal (The Punisher)
Michael Kenneth Williams (Ghostbusters)
Melina Kanakaredes (Rounders)
Nadine Velazquez (My Name Is Earl)
Rafi Gavron (Tracers)
David Harbour (Hellboy)
Jason Douglas (Sin City)

Dwayne Johnson and JD Pardo in Snitch (2013)College student Jason Collins is video-chatting with his childhood best friend Craig Johnson. Craig discusses a box of drugs that he is attempting to move and attempts to persuade Jason to let Craig ship the drugs to his house, offering him a share of the profit. Despite Jason’s reluctance, Craig texts him the tracking number for the package. A courier delivers Craig’s package to Collins’ house. Jason signs for the package and brings it to his room, discovering that it contains a large amount of pills in a bag, as well as a tracking device. DEA officers arrive and break into the house; Jason flees but is chased down by Agent Cooper.Dwayne Johnson in Snitch (2013)While at a barbecue, John Matthews, Jason’s estranged father and owner of a construction company, is called by his ex-wife Sylvie about Jason being arrested. John and Sylvie meet and have a tense discussion while waiting to speak to Jason. An investigator speaks with them, saying that Craig set Jason up in a sting operation to reduce his own sentence after being caught. Jason’s charges carry a minimum of 10 years in prison and Jason is denied bail. He is put in an interview room with John, Sylvie, and the investigator, who pressures Jason to inform on one of his own friends for trafficking in order to reduce his own sentence, as Craig had done.Dwayne Johnson, Michael Kenneth Williams, and JD Pardo in Snitch (2013)Using his connections, John arranges to meet with local US Attorney Joanne Keeghan, who is running a very aggressive anti-drug campaign. Keeghan agrees to reduce Jason’s sentence if John will inform on a drug dealer, but states that he’ll receive little help from her and that the risk will be all his. John visits Jason in prison, observing from facial wounds that Jason has been abused by other prisoners.Dwayne Johnson and Michael Kenneth Williams in Snitch (2013)Agent Cooper leads a task force which will monitor any dealings John arranges to use as evidence for an arrest. John searches through his employee records and finds that Daniel James, a new employee, has two prior distribution convictions. Daniel is currently leading a clean life to avoid a third strike. John offers twenty thousand dollars if Daniel will simply introduce him to a dealer; Daniel agrees, though he is unaware that John is acting as an informant. Daniel introduces John to Malik, an extremely dangerous, high-ranking local drug dealer, who also has two strikes. Explaining that his construction business cannot stay afloat in the current economy without a supplement to its revenues, John offers to run nearly limitless amounts of drugs at almost zero risk in his freight trucks. Malik agrees under the condition that John and Daniel drive the initial run themselves.Barry Pepper and Dwayne Johnson in Snitch (2013)John and Agent Cooper arrange for several wire taps. John drives to the pick-up point near the Mexican border when a rival gang ambushes the pick-up, but John manages a daring escape, impressing cartel kingpin Juan Carlos “El Topo” Pintera, whose men fight off the hijackers. John then makes the deal, delivering the drugs to Malik while under surveillance by Agent Cooper. Malik mentions a meeting with cartel members higher than himself; Cooper, hoping to catch the higher priority targets, does not move to arrest Malik as agreed. Keeghan claims Cooper did the right thing and reneges on her promise to reduce Jason’s sentence, unless John cooperates in the second meeting. John, outraged, demands in turn that Jason be released when the job is completed. Daniel learns of John’s arrangement with the DEA and is furious, saying that the cartel will kill John, Daniel, and their families if the truth comes out. John and Daniel send their families into hiding.Melina Kanakaredes and Dwayne Johnson in Snitch (2013)John meets with Pintera, who wants him to run nearly $100 million in drug profits into Mexico and offers to make John a member of the cartel’s inner circle if he succeeds. Keeghan relishes the prospect of arresting such a high-profile dealer, but Cooper has a change of heart and tries to talk John out of doing the run, suspecting the cartel will kill him afterward. John devises a plan to free himself and Daniel from both the government and the cartel. During the run, John is able to escape Cooper’s surveillance. At the same time, Daniel raids Malik’s house, killing his guards and mortally wounding him. Before dying, Malik reveals Pintera’s cell phone number to Daniel. John calls Cooper and has him track both his new cell phone and Pintera’s phone, effectively giving Cooper both the money and the kingpin at once. The cartel realize John is an informant and he leads them on a highway chase and shoot-out before escaping. Cartel members and the money are seized by Cooper’s men. Pintera is surrounded by federal agents and surrenders without engaging in a gun battle because his young son is with him. Jason is released the next day. John and his family go into the witness protection program and he leaves Daniel the large Federal reward check that John received for the capture of Pintera.Dwayne Johnson and Jon Bernthal in Snitch (2013)Looking around the Internet, I see Snitch receiving mixed reviews. Personally, I think this movie is well above average.  Overall, Snitch makes for an evening well spent.

 

 

 

 

HALLOWEEN OF HORROR REVIEW: CONSTANTINE – RAGE OF CALIBAN

Image result for constantine 2014

CAST

Matt Ryan (Layer Cake)
Charles Halford (Agents of SHIELD)
Harold Perrineau (Lost)

960You can tell “Rage Of Caliban” is gonna be a good one from the last-minute excuse for Angélica Celaya’s absence: “Zed’s in art class.” All week? Apparently, because John and Chas spend the run-up to Halloween in Birmingham, Alabama figuring out how to exorcise a young boy safely after What Happened In Newcastle. Creator Daniel Cerone writes and Neil Marshall directs, in case you needed any more proof that this was originally the second episode of Constantine. Why sit on it? Just to get the ball rolling on the post-Liv version of the show? Yes, “Rage Of Caliban” sounds like a lost third-season Star Trek about some neglected godlike alien, but it’s actually a demon seed story that’s about as good as a network demon seed story can be.See, there just isn’t that much life left in evil children. Nothing short of a Claire Denis rethink is going to revive childlike drawings of scary things or kids smiling with black eyes. True enough, “Rage Of Caliban” isn’t that scary, but its scary scenes are vivid. Constantine is trying its damnedest with the look, sound, and mood of those scenes. The cold open is an establishing shot of a house and then a fluid pan—like Marshall’s demon shots in the pilot—through a house and up to the ceiling where a bloody man is being held, and then we follow him to the floor where he lands in front of a cowering girl. For some reason the demon moves on from her to the next child along the psychic railroad—another pilot callback, and this time we get to see what that railroad effectively means for a certain kind of spirit—a bullied boy named Henry. With Henry we get a couple of long suspense scenes that immerse us in that house, a standoff with a dog that struggles against his leather collar so mightily the sound is still haunting my ears, and a carving knife mishap that never really feels threatening but still effectively tightens the screws. The playground fight is silly, and the telekinetic explosions are too harmless to bother a mouse, but so what? Cerone and Marshall give evil children a fighting chance.The real reason I suspect producers sat on “Rage Of Caliban” so long is they wanted to get into a groove with the new face of Constantine—John, Zed, Chas, and Manny—since they threw out the old one at the end of the pilot. Unfortunately that means we’ve gone five episodes without really finding out The Deal With Manny, which is that he can only help through guidance. “When humanity was granted free will, angels lost the power to directly influence events on earth.” John takes that to mean Manny’s just here to shoot the shit. He’s not wrong. But Manny is allowed to offer guidance, which I guess means cryptic counsel and which I don’t think actually has any bearing on John’s ability to solve the case. Manny tells him to think about when he was a child in order to appeal to Henry, or rather Marcello, the possessing spirit who was once a boy who got revenge on his abusive father by introducing him to an axe. Now Marcello’s catatonic in a psychiatric hospital. His animating spirit is off killing more parents.That’s the core of this evil children story, violent dads and helpless kids who suddenly get to be not so helpless. Marcello’s dad used to chop his fingers off on a bloody stump. John’s used to beat him so much he considered suicide. And Henry’s is a macho tough guy who wants Henry to stand up for himself. When John first arrives in the guise of the new school counselor, shirt tucked in and tie too short, Henry’s dad knocks John out while he’s leaving. He’s not abusive to Henry, although he does mock him for crying wolf about someone in his room at night. Henry’s just very sensitive to not living up to his father’s vision of masculinity and the strain that’s putting on his parents’ relationship. He can’t handle the discord in his house. Luckily his new friend and cohabitant Marcello is quite talented at dealing with anger toward parents. “Danse Vaudou” ultimately spun itself into a metaphor for survivor’s guilt. “Rage Of Caliban” is more deliberate, but it lays out a motif and mostly leaves it at at that. A child can react like Marcello and continue a cycle of violence, or he can react like John and endure? The episode never really resolves Henry’s story—what happens next time he’s bullied at school? Is it okay for him to fight back?—but at least his happy family is restored.constantine-recap-episode-6The emotion comes from John’s story. First of all it’s actually a little funny. For instance, back at the home base, Chas starts playing with a sword. He asks what it does and then segues into a story about how he drove Renee away and how John never listens. John takes the sword from him. “This is the Sword Of Night. Compels the holder to speak the truth.” Not only do we finally get some specifics on Manny but the John-Chas relationship has never been clearer. The school counselor get-up is a good sight gag on its own, but the throwaway “I told Chas this wouldn’t work” is so evocative I can picture them bickering about it. And as for the heart of the story, all it takes is a quick flashback to What Happened In Newcastle to explain why John’s so afraid of exorcising the boy. Last time he sent a girl to Hell, and what with The Engorging Evil, who knows what it might take to pry Marcello’s grasp from Henry’s body. As usual, getting rid of the spirit ultimately looks so easy Zed could do it, but there’s a healthy serving of catharsis in the moment Henry comes to in the haunted house from The Guest. John did it! There’s never any real threat of him not saving the day, but the episode imbues this exorcism with all of John’s self-doubt. Saving Henry is an act of faith. And it’s rewarded.

HALLOWEEN OF HORROR REVIEW: 30 DAYS OF NIGHT: DARK DAYS

CAST

Kiele Sanchez (The Purge: Anarchy)
Rhys Coiro (The Unborn)
Diora Baird (Transit)
Mia Kirshner (The Vampire Diaries)
Monique Ganderton (Smallville)
Harold Perrineau (Constantine)
Katharine Isabelle (Ginger Snaps)
Ben Cotton (Stargate: Atlantis)
John DeSantis (Arrow)
Jody Thompson (The 4400)
Sarah-Jane Redmond (Smallville)

Photography by Chris LargeA year after the Alaskan town of Barrow’s population was decimated by vampires during its annual month-long polar night, Stella Oleson (Kiele Sanchez) travels the world trying to convince others that vampires exist. She is fully aware of the risk to her life that her work could bring, but does not care due to her grief over the death of her husband, Eben.30-days-of-night-dark-days-01

Following instructions from a mysterious individual named Dane, she travels to Los Angeles to give a lecture on the existence of vampires. Aware that vampires are in attendance when she speaks, she activates overhead ultraviolet lamps that incinerate several of the vampires in the audience, in front of the humans. She is quickly arrested and harassed by Agent Norris, who she learns is one of the human followers of the vampires, charged with keeping their activities covered up. After her release from custody, she returns to her hotel to find Paul (Rhys Coiro), Amber (Diora Baird) and Todd (Harold Perrineau), sent by Dane to recruit her to hunt the vampire queen, Lilith. As Lilith is responsible for the vampires’ every move and for keeping them hidden, the hunters are convinced that once she is eliminated, the vampires will fall into dormancy. When Stella learns that Lilith was responsible for the slaughter at Barrow, she agrees to meet Dane (Ben Cotton), and is shocked to discover that he too is a vampire. Due to a superficially inflicted wound, he has maintained a grasp of humanity, only drinking blood from packaged hospital stocks he keeps. Stella hesitates to join a plan to attack a vampire nest, but Paul eventually convinces her, revealing that vampires were responsible for his daughter’s death and the resulting divorce from his wife.30-days-of-night-dark-days-ending-stella-oleson-blood-bath-kiele-sanchez

The following day, the four hunters enter a vampire nest, only to be ambushed by a group of them. During their attempt to flee, Todd is bitten. After the four lock themselves in a cellar, Todd turns into a vampire. When Paul hesitates to act against his friend, Stella kills him by smashing in his head with a cinder block. The trio decide to wait for nightfall, when the vampires leave to feed, in order to make their escape. After night falls, Dane comes and frees them. On their way out, they capture a vampire and interrogate him with the ultraviolet lamps, eventually following him back to another nest. They invade the nest and rescue Jennifer, a captive being used as a feeding station. Jennifer’s knowledge of Lilith’s lair being aboard a ship in the bay allows the hunters to plan an attack on Lilith directly. Returning to Dane’s place, Stella and Paul become intimate. Meanwhile, Lilith (Mia Kirshner) decides that Agent Norris should prove his worth to become a vampire (in order to cure the cancer he has been suffering from). He bites the neck of a captive girl, Stacey (Katharine Isabelle), drinking her blood until dead. Satisfied, Lilith turns him to hunt Stella and the others.maxresdefaultNorris kills Dane and the others flee with Jennifer to a boat yard where Jennifer points out the boat that the vampires are set to sail to Alaska in for another 30-day feeding period. After telling Jennifer to leave, the three hunters stow away on the ship where they discover that they can be resurrected after death if they are fed human blood. At gunpoint, they confront the human captain who says he is cooperating because the vampires had threatened his family. Amber is suddenly pulled away from behind, causing her gun to fire and kill the captain. Stella and Paul are too late to save her from being eaten and are quickly captured by Norris and Lilith who orders that they be bled dry. Stella manages to free herself when they are alone with Norris and kills him, but they are subsequently attacked by Lilith when attempting to sabotage the ship and Paul is killed. After being outmatched in hand-to-hand combat, Stella hides from Lilith and when the queen comes looking for her, Stella emerges from her tub of blood and manages to decapitate her. The other vampires appear, but seeing that she killed Lilith, they quietly stand aside and let her pass without a fight, and she returns to Barrow.VIwWP7lHvrIjAz_2_hd

Stella digs up Eben’s grave and recovers his body to feed him her own blood. It appears not to work and she lies down slowly dying from blood loss. After a time, she sees Eben has returned to his former health and she stands to greet him with a hug. As they embrace, Eben pulls back her shoulder and his sharp teeth come down on her neck before the screen goes dark.2826

Once the film moves past exposition and into bat country, “Dark Days” ramps up the fear factor, kicking off a series of encounters that take advantage of all the low-budget  Heavily armed and ready for a fight, our heroes proceed to blast their way into the vampire hive, creating a few hearty sequences of splattery chaos. Criminally, Ketai elects to mimic original director David Slade’s infuriating obsession with shaky-cam, slamming the camera and lights around to create a blizzard of violence.

HALLOWEEN OF HORROR: 28 WEEKS LATER

CAST

Robert Carlyle (Stargate Universe)
Rose Byrne (Damages)
Jeremy Renner (Avengers Assemble)
Harold Perrineau (Justice)
Catherine McCormack (Spy Game)
Imogen Poots (Fright Night)
Idris Elba (Prometheus)

Rose Byrne and Imogen Poots in 28 Weeks Later (2007)During the original outbreak of the Rage Virus, Don, his wife Alice and four more survivors hide in a barricaded cottage on the outskirts of London. They hear a terrified boy pounding at their door and let him in. A few minutes later, they discover that the infected have followed the boy. The infected attack and kill most of the survivors, while Don, Alice and the boy are chased upstairs. Don pleads with Alice to leave the boy but she refuses. He is forced to abandon them as the infected break into their room by busting out of the window. Don sprints to a nearby motorboat, narrowly escaping after a tussle with a recently turned survivor.Robert Carlyle in 28 Weeks Later (2007)After the infected begin to die of starvation, NATO forces take control of Britain. Twenty-eight weeks after the outbreak, an American commanded force, under the command of Brigadier General Stone, brings in settlers. Among the new arrivals are Don and Alice’s children, Tammy and Andy, who were out of the country during the outbreak. They are admitted to District One, a safe zone on the Isle of Dogs, guarded by the US Army. Sergeant Doyle, a Delta Force sniper and his friend, Chief Flynn, a helicopter pilot, are amongst the troops guarding the district. Tammy and Andy are reunited with their father, who was found by the US Army and has become the district’s caretaker. In their new flat, Don fabricates a lie about the circumstances surrounding their mother’s death.Rose Byrne, Jeremy Renner, Raymond Waring, Imogen Poots, and Mackintosh Muggleton in 28 Weeks Later (2007)That night, Andy dreams about forgetting his mother’s face, so Tammy and Andy sneak out of the safe zone and return to their former home, where they collect family photographs and other mementos. To his shock, Andy finds Alice alive and uninfected in a semi-conscious, delirious state. The three are soon discovered by soldiers and taken back to District One. Alice is taken to a quarantine room, where she is tested and found to be an asymptomatic carrier of the rage virus. Don makes an unauthorized visit to Alice in her isolation cell, begging her to forgive him. She accepts his apology and tells him she loves him; when they kiss, Don is infected, savagely kills her and goes on a rampage.Rose Byrne, Jeremy Renner, Imogen Poots, and Mackintosh Muggleton in 28 Weeks Later (2007)General Stone orders the building to be quarantined and orders a Code Red alert in District One. Civilians are herded into safe rooms but despite the precautions, Don breaks into a room full of people and starts a domino effect of rapid infection. The crowd, with half its members infected, breaks out of the safe room and into the streets. Scarlet, a US Army medical officer, rescues Tammy and Andy as the soldiers in District One are ordered to shoot indiscriminately. Doyle, unable to bring himself to comply with the order, abandons his post and escapes with Scarlet, Tammy, Andy and several others through the Greenwich Foot Tunnel. Stone orders District One to be firebombed but large numbers of the infected, including Don, escape the bombardment. Scarlet informs Doyle that the children might hold the key to a cure and must be protected.Imogen Poots in 28 Weeks Later (2007)Flynn arrives by helicopter to pick up Doyle but refuses to take anyone else, as they would be shot down for carrying people who might be infected. Flynn contacts Doyle by radio and tells him to leave the civilians and head to Wembley Stadium. Doyle ignores his instructions and escorts Andy, Tammy and Scarlet to Wembley. They break into an abandoned Volvo V70 to escape nerve gas released to kill the infected but are unable to start the car while soldiers with flamethrowers draw near. Doyle exits the car and sacrifices himself by push starting the car and is burned alive. Scarlet escapes an Apache gunship and drives Tammy and Andy into the London Underground, where the trio continues on foot. Don ambushes and kills Scarlet, then bites Andy.Tammy shoots Don before he can kill Andy, who remains symptom-free but an unknown carrier of the Rage virus. They continue to the stadium and are picked up by a reluctant Flynn, who flies them across the English Channel to France, as instructed by Doyle. Twenty-eight days later, a French-accented voice requesting help is heard from the radio in Flynn’s abandoned helicopter. A group of the infected are then seen running through a tunnel which, as they emerge into the open, is revealed to be the exit of the Paris Métro Trocadéro Station with a view across the Seine to the nearby Eiffel Tower.The film starts off at an odd pace but soon settles into a familiar terror-stricken rush. The cast was well selected, nothing out of the ordinary but no obvious weak links either. The Americanisation was not as severe as I had previously dreaded, and I actually quite welcomed Rose Byrne and Jeremy Renner leading the plot. The shots of post-apocalyptic London may have been done already but they’re still as effective as ever, and John Murphy’s score is brilliant as always.

REVIEW: LOST – SEASON 6

Starring

Matthew Fox (Alex Cross)
Jorge Garcia (How I Met Your Mother)
Evangeline Lilly (Ant-Man and The Wasp)
Terry O’Quinn (The Rocketeer)
Josh Holloway (Colony)
Naveen Andrews (The Brave One)
Michael Emerson (Arrow)
Daniel Dae Kim (Insurgent)
Yunjin Kim (Shiri)
Henry Ian Cusick (Hitman)
Ken Leung (Inhumans)
Emilie de Ravin (Roswell)
Jeff Fahey (Texas Rising)
Nestor Carbonell (Bates Motel)
Zuleikha Robinson (Homeland)

Josh Holloway and Elizabeth Mitchell in Lost (2004)

Recurring / Notable Guest Cast

Sam Anderson (Angel)
L. Scott Caldwell (Chilling Adventures of Sabrina)
Brad William Henke (Bright)
Kimberly Joseph (Hercules: TLJ)
Fredric Lehne (Amityville 4)
Elizabeth Mitchell (V)
Dominic Monaghan (Flashforward)
Mark Pellegrino (13 Reasons Why)
Daniel Roebuck (Final Destination)
Ian Somerhalder (The Vampire Diaries)
Sean Whalen (Twister)
Greg Grunberg (Alias)
John Hawkes (Winter’s Bone)
David H. Lawrence XVII (Heores)
Hiroyuki Sanada (Westworld)
William Mapother (Anotehr Earth)
Jeff Kober (New Girl)
Katey Sagal (Futurama)
Veronica Hamel (Cannonball)
Dylan Minnette (13 Reasons Why)
Andrea Gabriel (2 Broke Girls)
Kevin Durand (Swamp Thing)
Anthony Azizi (Eagle Eye)
William Atherton (Ghostbusters)
Alan Dale (Ugly Betty)
Jon Gries(Taken)
Tania Raymonde (Texas Chainsaw)
Neil Hopkins (The Net 2.0)
Rebecca Mader (Iron Man 3)
Jodi Lyn O’Keefe (The Vampire Diaries)
Titus Welliver (The Town)
Andrew Divoff (Wishmaster)
Chad Donella (Smallville)
Jeremy Davies (Hannibal)
Fionnula Flanagan (The Others)
Sonya Walger (Flashforward)
Fisher Stevens (Hackers)
Harold Perrineau (Constantine)
Cynthia Watros (Titus)
François Chau (The Tick)
Kevin Tighe (My Bloody Valentine)
Allison Janney (Mom)
Mira Furlan (Babylon 5)
Michelle Rodriguez (The Fast and The Furious)
Maggie Grace (The Fog)
John Terry (Full Metal Jacket)
John Pyper-Ferguson (Caprica)

Nestor Carbonell and Terry O'Quinn in Lost (2004)Season 6 of Lost is quite possibly the most scrutinized season of television in history. With both longtime fans of the series and curious outsiders wondering if this season would deliver both on answers and a satisfying conclusion, series show runners DamonLindelof and Carlton Cuse had an incredible task on their hands. With an edge-of-your-seat conclusion to Season 5, the small band of survivors we’ve grown to love set out on their final journey against a villainous shape shifter on an island of mystery.

In Season 4, “The Constant” established Lost as a science fiction series when it introduced time travel into the equation. From that point forward, until the conclusion of Season 5, the series maintained and expanded on that concept by sending the survivors hurtling through time until they eventually landed in 1974 (or 1977, for those on Ajira 316). Season 6 drops the time travel story completely and introduces a different sci-fi concept: alternate realities. It appears that the detonation of Jughead in “The Incident” created a parallel universe in which events played out slightly different and Oceanic Flight 815 never crashed.Much like flash-backs and flash-forwards, we experience this parallel universe through a series of “centric” flash-sideways featuring the lives of these characters as if the crash had never happened. This gives Lindelof and Cuse a unique opportunity to reexamine the lives of these characters from a completely different perspective.Josh Holloway in Lost (2004)The flash-sideways giving us incredibly important character moments and an intriguing new story that’s both surprising and engaging. With each “centric” flash-sideways story, parallels are drawn to the character’s plight while they are on the island. This relationship between timelines establishes a key connection between both storylines that give the flash-sideways an importance outside of simply being a different perspective on how things could have ultimately played out.Jeff Fahey, Michael Emerson, Yunjin Kim, and Zuleikha Robinson in Lost (2004)Connections between the two universes are explored more thoroughly as the series progresses and we do ultimately get a resolution to the flash-sideways storyline. How satisfying that resolution is will ultimately be based on a number of factors that stem from your own expectations. In other words, it’s a polarizing conclusion to a very unique story and you’re probably either going to love it or hate it. I loved the way the flash-sideways story ended because it satisfied the need for closure.Josh Holloway and Elizabeth Mitchell in Lost (2004)“Happily Ever After” stands out as the episode that had the most impact on both universes. Living, breathing Desmond David Hume (Henry Ian Cusick) has his consciousness transported into what we now know to be the afterlife and acts as the genesis for everything that happens in the “flash-sideways” realm after his departure. Desmond is also the catalyst for most events that occur leading up to and including the finale.Matthew Fox and Jorge Garcia in Lost (2004)He’s seen as nothing more than a tool by those around him; a means to an end. However, Desmond is infused with his own sense of purpose. With the events he experienced in the other universe infecting his mind, Desmond sets out to free those remaining on the island from their pain and suffering and take them to a better place. It’s funny how both Desmonds are essentially driven by the same goal, with only one succeeding. But Desmond’s error on the island gives Jack and Kate (Evangeline Lilly) the window they need to stop the Man in Black.untitledTerry O’Quinn, who spent most of the past five seasons playing John Locke, slips into his new role as the embodiment of dark temptation with ease. We actually saw him as the Man in Black last season, but even O’Quinn didn’t realize that he was technically playing a different character until close to the finale.Terry O'Quinn in Lost (2004)Here he’s allowed to truly enjoy portraying a villain and it’s obvious he’s having a hell of a lot of fun in the role.Josh Holloway in Lost (2004)The Man in Black tests the survivors like never before. Offering them freedom, survival and even answers to some of the island’s more pressing mysteries. The way that the survivors respond to this temptation ultimately defines who they truly are, even if it takes them some time to make the right decision. Again, just like the flash-sideways, this gives us yet another fascinating new perspective on these characters. We see them at both their weakest and their strongest this season. )Season 6 does a good job of explaining some mysteries while others are left up to the viewer to dissect for years to come. Lost: Season 6 is a strong conclusion to what has been an extraordinary series.Naveen Andrews and Hiroyuki Sanada in Lost (2004)All the elements that made the past five seasons so great are here, with the added bonus of this being the final season and the stakes being raised for all the characters. Whether or not the answers provided are satisfying or cover enough ground will vary drastically for different viewers, but ultimately, Lost: Season 6 delivers closure on a story that has captivated us for so long.