REVIEW: SEE – SEASON 1

Jason Momoa in See (2019)

Starring

Jason Momoa (Aquaman)
Alfre Woodard (Luke Cage)
Sylvia Hoeks (Blade Runner 2049)
Hera Hilmar (Anna Karenina)
Christian Camargo (The Hurt Locker)
Archie Madekwe (Midsommar)
Nesta Cooper (The Edge of Seventeen)
Yadira Guevara-Prip (Mad Dogs)

Jason Momoa and Archie Madekwe in See (2019)

Recurring / Notable Guest Cast

Mojean Aria (Aban and Khorshid)
Luc Roderique (The Dragon Prince)
Peter Bryant (Legends of Tomorrow)
Tantoo Cardinal (Red Snow)
Marilee Talkington (Upside Out)
Sharon Taylor (Smallville)
Hiro Kanagawa (Heroes Reborn)
Adrian Hough (Chilling Adventures of Sabrina)
Lauren Glazier (Red Sparrow)
Franz Drameh (Legends of Tomorrow)
Timothy Webber (Cedar Cove)
Jessica Harper (Stardust Memories)
Joshua Henry (Sex and The City)
Aleks Paunovic (Van Helsing)
Gabrielle Rose (If I Stay)
Kyra Zagorsky (Arrow)
Dayo Okeniyi (Shades of Blue)
Alex Zahara (Horns)

Jason Momoa and Hera Hilmar in See (2019)Jason Momoa Slashes His Way Through Apple’s Weirdest New Series, Steven Knight’s action-drama is a strange-but-effective blend of its star’s burly warrior prowess and “Walking Dead” post-apocalyptic storytelling.
Hera Hilmar in See (2019)There’s a scene near the end of “See’s” hourlong, action-driven pilot where Queen Kane (Sylvia Hoeks), the malicious ruler of one of Earth’s last civilizations with electricity, interrupts her advisers by bluntly shouting, “I wish to pray!” Retreating to an oversized footrest bathed in light, the blind leader of a blind world licks her fingers, starts speaking to God, and then masturbates until her prayer and orgasm climax together.Tantoo Cardinal, Alfre Woodard, Jason Momoa, Bree Klauser, Brianna Clark, Hera Hilmar, Mojean Aria, Marilee Talkington, Luc Roderique, and Yadira Guevara-Prip in See (2019)There’s no particular explanation for this — not in the first three episodes, anyway — and the scene highlights both the peculiar experience of watching “See” as well as the show’s early shortcomings. For as odd as creator and writer Steven Knight’s choices can be, they rarely evoke an intuitive consequence from his apocalyptic premise or a clever way to maximize the bold new world he’s trying to build.Set centuries after a deadly virus reduced the planet’s population to less than 2 million people — and left the few survivors without vision — “See” shows its characters reduced to early settlers’ way of life. Anyone who doesn’t live in or near the queen’s water-powered dam (known as Payan Kingdom) reside in small villages, spending their days hunting live animals and their nights sleeping in tipis. Some homesteaders are mystics, others have special abilities that allow them to sense people’s intentions, but most fall into the hunter or gatherer ways of life.Chief among the hunters — and Chief of the Alkenny Tribe — is Baba Voss (Jason Momoa), an unmatched, but reluctant warrior who befriends, courts, and marries a newcomer to town, all before the series begins. You see, Baba always wanted kids, but he couldn’t have them, and Maghra (Hera Hilmar) walked into the village already pregnant — coupling up was their destiny… even if it sounds like a relationship based on convenience. Even more convenient: When the pilot episode starts, a ruthless army has breached the edge of the village, hunting Maghra. These Witchfinders believe, you guessed it, she’s a witch, and, worse still, she’s carrying children sired by a man who can see. Paris (Alfre Woodard), the town’s midwife and spiritual leader, gleans as much while Maghra’s in labor and Baba is at the front of the line, defending his village.An episode-long battle ensues, and here’s where “See” starts to click — literally. As the Alkenny army approaches their enemy, they communicate with tongue taps and careful clicks, even commencing an attack by lightly clinking their weapon on a rock. Before that, Baba gives an inspirational speech that’s half mumbled English and half new-world gibberish, and Momoa’s vehemency nearly sells it. Directed with a clear eye for the natural beauty surrounding the battle (and a rudimentary vision of everything else), Francis Lawrence helps create a compelling, lengthy, and somewhat different melee. Later scenes feature more well-choreographed carnage, and the expansive sets and found locations add a beauty to the show that helps set it apart.And yet, some of it just feels silly. A certain suspension of disbelief is required for a post-apocalyptic fantasy titled “See” about an unseeing society — that much is obvious — and there are plenty of cool swordfights where a combatant will pivot and thrust into a precise spot without any explanation for how they knew where to stab, or even how they knew an opponent (not an ally) was standing there. OK, fine, but what about when Baba hears the slightest clunk of a ladder smacking against his ledge, and he wisely tips the enemy’s ladder back over — but soon after, he dumbly ignores an even louder attempt at the same attack. It’s as though we’re expected to believe everyone in “See” has heightened and dulled senses simultaneously.Alfre Woodard and Jason Momoa in See (2019)Also nagging: Why have these people regressed so much? What happened to indoor plumbing and solar power, let alone computers and cell phones? It’s as though the big picture concept requires disability equate to inability, and even if that’s not the intent — producers hired cast and crew members who are blind or have low vision, and also employed a blindness consultant — there needs to be more of an explanation for how, exactly, this society ended up living like it’s 200 years in the past instead of 200 years in the future.Sylvia Hoeks in See (2019)Momoa, meanwhile, fits the role well — so well, it’s like they named the character after him — but he’s still a far cry from multidimensionality; one can see how Momoa pulls from Drogo for Baba, building off the “Game of Thrones” favorite for fight scenes while imbuing the new guy with good dad instincts and a haunted past to help form a well-rounded lead. But Momoa isn’t a subtle performer, and scenes where he’s forced to wrestle with tough decisions or face his inner demons require Baba’s facial scars to speak for him. While Momoa is glorious to watch. Indeed, the characters can be irrational, but that is due to a return to Dark Age mentality of superstition and fear. Is it so far from our current era? I encourage viewers to stay with it, and be rewarded.

 

REVIEW: MORTAL ENGINES

Starring

Hera Hilmar (Anna Karenina)
Robert Sheehan (The Umbrella Academy)
Hugo Weaving (V For Vendetta)
Jihae (2B)
Ronan Raftery (Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them)
Leila George (The Kid)
Patrick Malahide (Luther)
Stephen Lang (Avatar)
Colin Salmon (Krypton)
Mark Mitchinson (Power Rangers Megaforce)
Andrew Lees (The Originals)
Sarah Peirse (Heavenly Creatures)
Mark Hadlow (King Kong)
Caren Pistorius (Denial)
Joel Tobeck (Ash vs Evil Dead)
Stephen Ure (Deathgasm)
Nathaniel Lees (Young Hercules)

Hera Hilmar in Mortal Engines (2018)Following a cataclysmic conflict known as the Sixty Minute War, the remnants of humanity regroup and form mobile “predator” cities. Under a philosophy known as “Municipal Darwinism”, larger cities hunt and absorb smaller settlements in the “Great Hunting Ground”, which includes Great Britain and Continental Europe. In opposition, settlements of the “Anti-Traction League” have developed an alternative civilization consisting of “static settlements” (traditional, non-mobile cities) in Asia led by Shan Guo (formerly China), protected by the “Shield Wall”. Relics of 21st-century technology such as toasters, computers, and smartphones are valued as “Old-Tech.”Hera Hilmar and Jihae in Mortal Engines (2018)The city of London captures a small mining town called Salzhaken, absorbing its population and resources, under orders of Lord Mayor Magnus Crome. Tom Natsworthy, a young Apprentice Historian, arrives at London’s “Gut” to collect Salzhaken’s Old-Tech for London’s Museum. Hester Shaw, a masked woman among the Salzhakens, attempts to kill Thaddeus Valentine, Head of the Guild of Historians, but Tom intervenes, pursuing Hester to a chute. Hester escapes, but not before telling him that Valentine murdered her mother and scarred her face. When Tom informs Valentine of this, he pushes Tom down the chute.Hera Hilmar in Mortal Engines (2018)Tom and Hester are forced to work together to traverse the Hunting Ground, finding refuge in a town called Scuttlebug, but the owners lock them in a cell, intending to sell them as slaves. Hester confides that Valentine killed her archaeologist mother Pandora after stealing a piece of Old-Tech she found in a dig in the Dead Continent of Americas, whilst young Hester escaped with a necklace her mother gave her. Meanwhile, Valentine frees Shrike, a reanimated cyborg known as a “Stalker”, from an offshore prison to find and kill Hester. At the slave market of Rustwater, Tom and Hester are rescued by Anti-Traction League agent Anna Fang. During the chaos, they are pursued by Shrike, whom Hester reveals she knows. Hester explains that Shrike had found and raised her, and Hester promised to let him turn her into a Stalker like himself, but she left after discovering that London was in the Great Hunting Ground. On London, Valentine’s good-natured daughter Katherine grows estranged from her father, especially after Apprentice Engineer Bevis Pod informs her that Valentine pushed Tom down the chute, and they learn Valentine’s energy project in the re-purposed St Paul’s Cathedral is more than it seems.Hera Hilmar in Mortal Engines (2018)Hester and Tom travel on Anna’s airship the Jenny Haniver to the airborne city Airhaven, meeting other Anti-Traction League members. Tom realizes Pandora discovered a key component for MEDUSA, a quantum energy-based superweapon used during the war, capable of instantly destroying cities; the Guild of Engineers have stolen the remaining components from Tom’s workshop and rebuilt the weapon under Valentine’s orders. Shrike catches up with them, resulting in a fierce skirmish that critically wounds him and destroys Airhaven. Realizing that Hester is in love with Tom, he frees her of her promise before perishing. As Hester, Tom, and Anna travel to the Shield Wall with the surviving Anti-Tractionists, Valentine kills Crome in a coup and musters support from Londoners by vowing to destroy the Shield Wall with MEDUSA and lead them to a new Hunting Ground in Asia. Anna convinces Governor Kwan to launch the Anti-Tractionist airship fleet against London, but MEDUSA destroys the fleet and blasts a hole through the Shield Wall. Hester discovers that her mother’s necklace hides a “crash drive” with a kill switch for MEDUSA. Hester, Tom, Anna, and the remaining Anti-Tractionists lead a raid against London, braving the city’s anti-aircraft defences.Hester and Anna infiltrate St Paul’s, and though Valentine mortally wounds Anna during a sword duel, Hester disables MEDUSA with the crash drive. Still determined to destroy the Shield Wall, the insane Valentine has his henchmen kill the city’s control crew and ram it into the Wall. With Katherine’s help, Tom uses the Haniver to destroy London’s engine. Hester catches and fights Valentine aboard his airship, where he reminds her that he is her father. Tom rescues Hester and shoots down Valentine’s ship, which is crushed by London’s slowing tracks, killing Valentine. The surviving Londoners, led by Katherine, make peace with the Anti-Tractionists, whilst Tom and Hester travel in the Haniver to see the world.Hera Hilmar in Mortal Engines (2018)The movie manages to entertain. It is a pity it was a box office flop. Probably because of the concept itself which is hard to sell, the lack of efficient marketing, the bad critic reviews and mostly the lack of big names that would draw interest. Not to mention the competition with other movies launched in the same period such as Aquaman. You will not regret seeing the movie if you want to see a visually stunning modern fairy tale. But don’t expect Lord of The Rings.

REVIEW: ANNA KARENINA (2012)


CAST

Keira Knightley (Pirates of The Caribbean)
Jude Law (Spy)
Aaron Taylor-Johnson (Godzilla)
Matthew Macfadyen (Enigma)
Kelly Macdonald (Boardwalk Empire)
Alicia Vikander (Jason Bourne)
Domhnall Gleeson (Star Wars: The Force Awakens)
Olivia Williams (Dollhouse)
Ruth Wilson (The Lone Ranger)
Emily Watson (The Theory of Everything)
Michelle Dockery (Hanna)
Raphaël Personnaz (Three Words)
Cara Delevingne (Suicide Squad)
Bill Skarsgård (Allegiant)
Alexander Roach (The Huntsman)
Hera Hilmar (Mortal Engines)
John Bradley (Game of Thrones)

In 1874 Imperial Russia, Prince Stephan “Stiva” Oblonsky’s wife, Princess Daria “Dolly”, banishes her husband from their home due to his infidelity. Stiva’s sister, Anna Karenina, a well off and liked socialite living in St. Petersburg with her older husband, Count Alexei Karenin, and their son, Seryozha, travels to Moscow to persuade Dolly to forgive Stiva. Meanwhile, Stiva meets his old friend Konstantin Levin, a wealthy land owner and aristocrat who is looked down upon by Moscow’s elite for preferring country life to city life. Levin professes his love for Stiva’s sister-in-law, Princess Katerina “Kitty” Alexandrovna, and Stiva encourages him to propose. However, Kitty declines as she hopes to marry Count Alexei Vronsky. Later, Levin meets with his elder brother Nikolai, who has given up his inheritance and taken a prostitute named Masha as his wife. Nikolai suggests that Levin marry one of the peasants on his estate. On the train to Moscow, Anna meets Vronsky’s mother, Countess Vronskaya, and once there Anna meets Vronsky himself, and they have immediate mutual attraction. When a railway worker is killed in an accident at the station, Vronsky is seen by Anna, Stiva, and the Countess giving a large sum of money to the worker’s family. Anna convinces Dolly to take Stiva back. At a ball that night, Kitty attempts to dance with Vronsky, but he dances with Anna, attracting the attention of everyone in attendance and leaving Kitty heartbroken. Anna boards a train to St. Petersburg, but at a rest stop notices Vronsky, who declares that he must be wherever she goes. She tells him to go back to Moscow, but he refuses.
In St. Petersburg, Vronsky visits his cousin Princess Betsy Tverskaya, a friend of the Kareninas, and begins to show up at all the places Anna and Betsy visit. Vronsky flirts openly with Anna at a party, which catches Karenin’s attention. He suggests they go home, but Anna chooses to stay. Vronsky tells her of his intention to take a promotion in another city but Anna persuades him to stay and the next day they meet at a hotel and make love.
Stiva visits Levin at his country estate and informs Levin that Kitty and Vronsky are no longer to be married. Levin focuses on living an authentic country life, working in his fields with his workers and contemplating taking one of their daughters as his wife, as his brother had suggested.
Karenin hears that his wife and Vronsky are in the country estate and surprises them there, after she reveals to Vronsky that she is pregnant. Later she encounters Karenin who suggests he join them for the horse races that evening. The races begin, and Anna betrays her feelings for Vronsky as his horse falls and injures him. On their way home Anna admits to Karenin that she is Vronsky’s mistress and wishes to divorce him. Karenin refuses and instead confines her to home. Levin sees Kitty in a passing carriage and realises that he still loves her. Anna receives Vronsky at her house in St. Petersburg and as she complains about why he failed to come earlier, he tells her that his duties as an officer have delayed his visit. Karenin comes back home to find out that Vronsky was visiting Anna, as seen from the love letters found in her desk. Meanwhile, Levin and Kitty are reunited at Stiva’s house, and Karenin announces he is divorcing Anna, who begs him to forgive her, which he refuses. After dinner, Levin and Kitty announce their love to each other and decide to marry. Anna goes into premature labour. With Vronsky at her side, she berates him, saying that he could never be the man Karenin is. Karenin comes back knowing that she is going to die and forgives her. Anna survives and initially decides to stay with her husband. Princess Betsy calls on Anna to discuss what will happen with Vronsky now that he is back in Moscow. Anna suggests that Betsy better discuss it with Karenin, who believes that they will be reunited as a family. However, upon Anna’s recovery, she chooses to be with Vronsky. Karenin refuses to grant her a divorce, but releases Anna from her confinement. She and Vronsky soon leave for Italy with Anya.
Levin and Kitty return to his country estate, where the sickly Nikolai and Masha have been given a storeroom to live there. Levin tells Kitty that she doesn’t have to live under the same roof as the former prostitute, but the newly matured Kitty ignores social norms and assists Masha in nursing Nikolai.
Anna returns to St. Petersburg to see Seryozha on his birthday, but Karenin makes her leave after a short time. Anna now begins to suspect Vronsky of unfaithfulness. She attends the opera where the upper class audience regard her with disdain as someone who “has broken the rules”. Though humiliated, she retains her poise, only to break down once back at her hotel. The next day, Anna has lunch at a restaurant where the society women avoid her. Dolly, however, joins her and tells her that Kitty is in Moscow to have her first child. Dolly says that Stiva’s behavior has not changed, but she has come to accept and love him for who he is. Later, Vronsky informs Anna that he has to meet his mother to settle some accounts, but there Anna sees Princess Sorokina picking him up. Anna becomes upset, and takes the train to see if Vronsky is truly with his mother. On the way, she has hallucinations of Vronsky and Princess Sorokina making love and laughing at her. Arriving at Moscow station, Anna says to herself, “Oh God… ” and jumps under an oncoming train that kills her. The scene then flashes to Vronsky who has a shocked face as if knowing his true love has died. Levin returns home from working in the fields to find Kitty bathing their child. Stiva and his family eat with Levin and Kitty. Karenin, retired by then from serving his country, is seen in his estate, with Seryozha and young Anya playing nearby.Although I sympathise with those who may find the director Joe Wright’s approach too contrived, this film held my interest, and gives scope for a good deal of discussion.