REVIEW: THE HUNT (2020)

 

Sarring

Betty Gilpin (The Grudge 2020)
Ike Barinholtz (Suicide Squad)
Emma Roberts (Scream Queens)
Hilary Swank (The Reaping)
Justin Hartley (Smallville)
Glenn Howerton (It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia)
Amy Madigan (American Woman)
Ethan Suplee (My Name is Earl)
Macon Blair (Logan Lucky)
J. C. MacKenzie (October Faction)
Wayne Duvall (The Kitchen)
Reed Birney (House of Cards)
Usman Ally (On Becoming a God in Central Florida)

Betty Gilpin in The Hunt (2020)The general plot for “The Hunt,” is that an unhinged group of politically far-left elitists kidnap and hunt a group of “deplorables” (the obvious implication being that they’re Trump supporters). It goes a little deeper than that but that’s where we get into spoiler territory…Hilary Swank in The Hunt (2020)It turns out, the “hunt” until that point had only been an internet conspiracy theory. Once someone is fired though when her text messages joking about it are made public, she decides to make it a reality. Her and her team of fellow political leftists spend time researching those who pushed the conspiracy on social media, to create a list of victims for the “hunt.”Emma Roberts in The Hunt (2020)One character is chosen by the Hunt’s organizer as their “Snowball.” A reference to Orwell’s “Animal Farm” where Snowball is an intelligent and resourceful pig who seeks to educate the other animals and teach them how to read. He offers an alternative to the farm animals that differs from their more ruthless leader, another pig known as Napoleon (who was based on Joseph Stalin). The references to Orwell’s “Animal Farm” are scattered throughout “The Hunt,” from the leftists including actual pigs in their “game,” to an extended conversation between the two main characters at the end where they debate which one of them is the actual “Snowball.”Betty Gilpin in The Hunt (2020)The underlying messages throughout the film are pretty obvious. “The Hunt” isn’t only mocking the extremists on both sides of the political spectrum, it’s also mocking those who take Twitter WAY too seriously. It’s mocking “cancel culture,” to it’s most extreme. The Hunt’s organizer is “cancelled” by Twitter loons due to her joke, and she then decides to quite literally “cancel” (kill), those who “cancelled” her. The strongest message comes with the finale, where “Snowball” informs the organizer that she got it wrong. Apparently her research was flawed. She hadn’t found the actual Twitter culprit, but someone who simply shares a similar name. The obvious deeper meaning being that “cancel culture” doesn’t care about facts and is a “game” where nobody wins.Betty Gilpin in The Hunt (2020)The entire “game” started because of one individual getting fired over a stupid joke. People were murdered over completely ridiculous nonsense like saying mean words on Twitter. And “Snowball,” was a seemingly innocent person included in the hunt because the organizer got it wrong. The people in the film are caricatures rather than characters. The plot takes current cultural issues and amplifies them into their most extreme incarnation, smacking the viewer in the face with how ridiculous the underlying thought process/belief system is. The main character, “Snowball,” is the “neutral.” The viewer never finds out what her own beliefs are, just that people are trying to kill her so she’s going to fight back. It’s these reasons and several others (which I’ll avoid mentioning so as not to give absolutely everything away), that this is probably the most well executed satire I’ve seen in recent years.Betty Gilpin in The Hunt (2020)The film is a great over top the Horror and a must see.

REVIEW: OCTOBER FACTION – SEASON 1

J.C. MacKenzie, Tamara Taylor, Gabriel Darku, and Aurora Burghart in October Faction (2019)

Starring

Tamara Taylor (Bones)
J. C. MacKenzie (Dark Angel)
Aurora Burghart (The Stranger)
Gabriel Darku (Impulse)
Wendy Crewson (The Covenant)
Megan Follows (Reign)
Stephen McHattie (300)

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Recurring / Notable Guest Cast

Maxim Roy (Shadowhunters)
Nicola Correia-Damude (Coroner)
Sara Waisglass (Holly Hobbie)
Anwen O’Driscoll (Burden of Truth)
Sima Fisher (Lost Girl)
Praneet Akilla (Still/Born)
Dayo Ade (Heartland)
Joris Jarsky (Saw V)
Lyla Porter-Follows (Reign)
Kristen Kurnik (XXX 3)
Michelle Nolden (Red)
Emilia McCarthy (Zapped)
Amanda Zhou (Rabid)
Dale Whibley (The Christmas Cure)
Chris Violette (Power Rangers SPD)
Robin Dunne (Sanctuary)
Kate Ross (Reign)
Taveeta Szymanowicz (Dare Me)
Nicola Correia-Damude (Nurses)
Ted Whittall (Suicide Squad)

october-faction-review-netflixArriving today, with little fanfare and only a day ahead of the much-anticipated third season of Chilling Adventures of Sabrina, October Faction Season 1 looks to scratch the itch for family-centric supernatural adaptations left behind by the Big N’s own The Umbrella Academy. Based on the same-named comic series created by writer Steve Niles and artist Damien Worm, which ran for 18 issues as IDW Publishing and enjoyed two follow-up miniseries’ in October Faction: Deadly Season and October Faction: Supernatural Dreams, this latest adaptation boasts enough geek-savvy casting and essential genre elements to entice a sizeable crowd, even if it might be subsequently overshadowed by Netflix’s algorithm and the release of one of its heavy-hitters.1579779112There’s always the chance of enduring cult popularity here, since those trademark components — dysfunctional family, small-town secrets, supernaturalism, established fanbase, and so on — are plentiful and reliable. Double-life-living Fred (J.C. MacKenzie) and Deloris (Tamara Taylor) are monster hunters and parents to twins Viv (Aurora Burghart) and Geoff (Gabriel Darku), and the parallels between horrors of both the supernatural and high-school varieties are not subtle. Their relocation to a mysterious town in upstate New York following the death of Fred’s father is an excuse for this all to come together across ten episodes.OCTOBERFACTION_107_DAY5_SS_072.DNGExpect the usual beats: An aging man grappling with an old life and its old enemies, and burgeoning powers being a metaphor for growing up and into adulthood. Expect, also, to feel that the show goes on for slightly too long; despite the abundance of the source material, ten episodes is heavy-going for this kind of thing and can lead to the reiteration of dynamics and the delaying of plot points that always amounts to frustration in a binge-watch.october-factionOne has to wonder about Netflix’s strategy here — search for October Faction Season 1 now, and you’ll find it heavily-marketed, but tomorrow, in the wake of a quite similar show with a much more enthusiastic following, that almost certainly won’t be the case. In the meantime, though, if you need to feel better about your own family keeping secrets, there are worse ways.

 

HALLOWEEN OF HORROR REVIEW: DARK ANGEL – BOO

Image result for DARK ANGEL TV LOGO

BOO

MAIN CAST

Jessica Alba (Machete)
Michael Weatherly (NCIS)
Kevin Durand (X-Men Origins)
Richard Gunn (Hemlock Grove)
J.C. MacKenzie (The Aviator)
Valarie Rae Miller (La La Land)
Ashley Scott (Birds of Prey)

GUEST CAST

Sarah Carter (Smallville)
G. Michael Grady (The Tall Man)
Todd Stashwick (The Originals)
Kris Pope (Josie and The Pussycats)

MV5BYzEzMjgyMzUtYmFlNC00NTYxLThmMDQtOGIyYzE5MjA0NzBhL2ltYWdlXkEyXkFqcGdeQXVyMTM2MzAwOA@@._V1_It’s Halloween, and the employees of Jam Pony convince Normal to close early so that they can get busy partying. Honestly, I don’t think Halloween is such a big deal these days, but I can see how that kind of release would be much more important in more depressed times. Max and Original Cindy visit Joshua, who is living in Sandeman’s house (located in “Proof of Purchase”). Joshua thinks he would be able to go to the party at Crash with Max because everyone will believe he is in costume. Max is way too paranoid about what could happen, and convinces Joshua to stay in. Max drops by Logan’s apartment to ask him to go to the party, but he and Asha are trying to track a hitman that is supposedly going to be taking out a good guy sometime soon. Max heads home for a bath before the party. Max falls asleep in her bubble bath, and almost all of the rest of the episode is a dream.  Of course, we as the audience don’t know that it’s a dream, and we get to ride along as things get weirder and weirder.In the dream, Max’s possible-boyfriend Rafer shows up to pick her up for the party at Crash. His mother wants to meet her, so they go by his place. His mother turns out to be a psychic, and she weirds Max out by correctly “seeing” some of Max’s past and telling Max that she’s going to be chased until she’s dead. Joshua follows Max to Rafer’s place, and Max sneaks out to try to convince him to go home. However, Joshua has brought another transgenic that has a problem. This transgenic is superflexible and has somehow accidentally gotten his head turned around 180 degrees and can’t get it back straight. When Max and Joshua try to twist it around, the head snaps off and the body runs off. The head is OK and can speak and think.Max is in a panic to track down the headless body before the public starts to panic. Joshua helps the head call a couple other transgenics to help them. Then Max hides the head, and she and Joshua convince Rafer to drive them on an errand in his paramedic ambulance. (Rafer thinks Joshua is in costume.) They meet Dieter (a lizard guy) and Katarina (with lots of cat traits) in a diner, where it is haggis night. It’s a hoot when the three animal transgenics flip over the idea of haggis. Normal is at the diner, in traditional costume, for haggis night and stops by to harass Max. The head finally tells Max that he had planned to go to Jam Pony to find a package that was supposed to be delivered to him that day, but hadn’t been because the business closed early. The head supposes that that’s where his body has gone. Everyone piles into Rafer’s ambulance and head off, having told Rafer that they are participating in a German scavenger hunt._074At Jam Pony, they hardly get started searching when they have to hide because Normal and some other employees show up. Normal tells his minions that he has confirmed that there are mutants around, and hands them all pictures of Max and the others from the diner. (This shows up in Max’s dreams because in real life Sketchy had been talking to Normal about mutants in the tabloids.) He has additional proof from his surveillance cameras at Jam Pony, because a headless mutant showed up and stole a package. Normal orders his minions to track down all the mutants – after they have cake and ice cream. After Normal and friends leave, Max consults the head about where his body might go next. Apparently he had planned to go to Crash, where the Halloween party is. They catch up with the body there and discover he has a sniper rifle, but the body manages to get away. Max breaks up a couple that she thinks is Logan and Asha making out, but it is look-alikes. Max realizes that the head (and his body) is the hitman Logan and Asha are looking for, so they go to Logan’s apartment to try to find his target since he refuses to reveal it.132bf-screenshot2013-07-23at9-43-50amThings had been strange up to this point, but now they get truly bizarre. While Max, the head, and Logan dig for information, the other transgenics and Asha play charades. Logan says that his informant told him the hitman’s target is “a priest, a minister, or a rabbi.”. Max gets fed up with the head’s refusal to help and begins dunking him in the toilet. Just as the head finally confesses the target, Rafer comes in and sees the head. He doesn’t believe Max’s explanation that it’s a “voice-activated fully articulated animatronic head”  and realizes that none of the transgenics are in costume, but they are actually mutants. Max knocks out Rafer and leaves him with Logan and Asha while she and the others go to save one Father McAllister, who is participating in the dress rehearsal of an award ceremony he will be in. Max and the others manage to foil the body and save the Father. As the Father is thanking them, Logan and Asha show up and announce their identities as Eyes Only and the “supreme commandant” of S1W and claim credit for the rescue. Then the police bust in and arrest all of the transgenics except Max. When questioned, Max denies that she is a transgenic.Image result for DARK ANGEL BOOThe episode seems to begin wrapping up with Max lamenting the sad turn of events for Joshua and the others while seated on the Space Needle. Then Original Cindy arrives and chides Max for denying who she is, which is probably really the only serious message in the entire episode. Then to emphasize that the events have been a dream, Max is suddenly naked.  We jump back to real life, with Cindy waking Max up in the bathtub. Max cancels on the party with Rafer, and instead takes Joshua trick-or-treating.This episode was truly bizarre and funny. The writers must have had a lot of fun with this episode. It felt like they took all their ideas that had been deemed just a little to weird for a “real” episode and dumped them into this. Someone must have had quite the imaginations to think of the transgenic losing his head, and setting up a situation with one normal human and a bunch of transgenics playing charades was near genius. It’s a great fun Halloween episode.

 

 

 

REVIEW: EARTH: FINAL CONFLICT – SEASON 3

Starring

Robert Leeshock (Dead End Road)
Jayne Heitmeyer (Snake Eyes)
Von Flores (Never Cry Werewolf)
Richard Chevolleau (Hannibal)
Leni Parker (Screamers)
David Hemblen (La Femme Nikita)
Anita La Selva (Running with Violet)

Earth: Final Conflict (1997)

RECURRING / NOTABLE GUEST CAST

Lisa Howard (Highlander: The Series)
Chandra West (White Noise)
Barry Flatman (Odyssey 5)
Frank Moore (Rabid)
Richard Zeppieri (Titans)
Lori Alter (Senior Trip)
Richard Eden (Robocop: The Series)
Eugene Clark (Land of The Dead)
Majel Barrett Roddenberry (Star Trek)
Ramona Milano (The Last Don)
Christina Cox (Mutant X)
Page Fletcher (Robocop: Prime Directives)
Andrew Airlie (Final Destination 2)
Reagan Pasternak (Being Erica)
Janet-Laine Green (This Life)
Joy Tanner (Cold Squad)
Mark Lutz (Angel)
J.C. MacKenzie (Dark Angel)
David Calderisi (Tommy Boy)
Marina Sirtis (Star Trek: DS9)
Ellen Dubin (Nobility)
James Kidnie (Robocop: The Series)
Michelle Nolden (Red)
Steve Bacic (Andromeda)
Simon MacCorkindale (Nightman)
Ari Cohen (IT)
Richard McMillan (Cube Zero)
Anne Openshaw (Smallville)
Peter Krantz (The Ref)
Lindy Booth (Odyssey 5)
Michael Hogan (Battlestar Galactica)
Martin Roach (The Shape of Water)
William deVry (Stargate SG.1)
Sarah Lafleur (Ugly Betty)
Lexa Doig (Andromeda)
Garwin Sanford (Arrow)
Shawn Ashmore (X-Men)

60284By the beginning of Earth: Final Conflict: Season Three, it is learned that the Taelons are ruthless and cunning; willing to manipulate anything and anyone to benefit their agenda. Their agenda is primarily fueled by their inter-galactic war with a race of aliens that share a common ancestor with them, the Jaridians. While the Taelons are long-lived and based on an energy physiology, the Jaridians are flesh & bone, with very short life expectancies. The Taelons main advantage has been their lifespan and technological edge, as well as their ability to travel faster than light. The Jaridians, on the other hand, have the advantage of sheer numbers with a scorch & burn policy towards their enemy and any who assist them.pholeontaelonSeason three introduced Renee Palmer (Jayne Heitmeyer) as the main female lead, to assist Liam in his fight against the Taelon agenda but it also showed her as having her own agenda, based on acquiring wealth. It also phased Lili out as a regular and solidified the relationship between Liam and Auger, a computer genius with a leaning towards capitalism (much like Renee). The show evolved with each season and the plot threads of these 22 episodes focused more on unveiling the secrets (and weaknesses) of the aliens than any other season.maxresdefault (1)The show was very much a social commentary and on its good days, showed the mindset of the radical Roddenberry whose idealism was obvious in all of his television shows .

REVIEW: DARK ANGEL -SEASON 2

Starring

Jessica Alba (Machete)
Michael Weatherly (Bull)
Valarie Rae Miller (Crank)
J. C. MacKenzie (The Wolf of Wall Street)
Richard Gunn (Hemlock Grove)
Jensen Ackles (Supernatural)
Kevin Durand (Lost)
Ashley Scott (Birds of Prey)
Martin Cummins (Bates Motel)

Jensen Ackles in Dark Angel (2000)

RECURRING / NOTABLE GUEST CAST

John Savage (American Romance)
Nana Visitor (Star Trekk: DS9)
Yee Jee Tso (Antitrust)
Grace Park (Battlestar Galactica)
Nicki Clyne (Saved)
Jesse Moss (The Uninvited)
Colin Cunningham (Elektra)
Craig Veroni (Two For The Money)
Connor Widdows (X-Men 2)
Rob LaBelle (Watchmen)
John DeSantis (Arrow)
Tyler Labine (Rise of The Planet of The Apes)
Byron Mann (Arrow)
Kris Pope (Josie and The Pussycats)
Rekha Sharma (The Core)
Sarah Carter (Smallville)
Todd Stashwick (The Originals)
John Mann (Pathfinder)
Sonya Salomaa (Watchmen)
Patrick Gallagher (Sideways)
Mike Dopud (The Predator)
William Gregory Lee (Xena)
Brian Markinson (Wolf)
Gus Lynch (North Country)
Jesse Hutch (Cedar Cove)
Anita Brown (The A-Team)
Kendall Cross (Paycheck)
Emily Holmes (The Wicker Man)
Michael Bower (Evolution)
Terry Chen (Jessica Jones)
Tiffany Lyndall-Knight (I, Robot)
Fulvio Cecere (Valentine)
Michael Kopsa (Apollo 18)
Meghan Ory (Once Upon A Time)
Eric Breker (Stargate SG.1)
Ty Olsson (Battlestar Galactica)
Peter Williams (Catwoman)
Enuka Okuma (Impulse)
Sarah Strange (Men in Trees)
Jerry Wasserman (Alive)
Sam Witwer (Supergirl)
Camille Sullivan (Kingsway)
Zak Santiago (Shooter)
Tracy Ryan (The Blows)
Callum Keith Rennie (Jessica Jones)
Gabrielle Rose (Sanctuary)
Garwin Sanford (Arrow)
Malcolm Stewart (Jumanji)
Devin Douglas Drewitz (X-Men 2)
Kandyse McClure (Battlestar Galactica)
Jorge Vargas (Power Rangers Ninja Storm)
Henri Lubatti (Zoo)
Rick Worthy (The Vamnpire Diaries)
Erin Karpluk (Being Erica)

Jessica Alba and Kevin Durand in Dark Angel (2000)James Cameron’s and Charles H. Eglee’s Dark Angellasted a short two seasons back in 2000-2002, launching Jessica Alba’s Hollywood career.  Like Buffy the Vampire Slayer, this show had a similarly headstrong, wise-cracking, female superhero at the helm.Jessica Alba and Valarie Rae Miller in Dark Angel (2000)Set in the near future in rainy Seattle, Washington, Max was a bike courier by day and thief by night, struggling to get by in Post-Pulse America.  She burgles the wrong rich guy one evening who recognises her for what she is, an escaped genetically-engineered human from Manticore, a secret training facility that creates kids like Max and raises them to become soldiers and assassins.  With rich guy Logan’s (Michael Weatherly) guidance/nagging, Max grudgingly uses her physical and mental talents to do some good in the world.Did I mention she did it grudgingly? Max is not a smiley, cheerful young woman.  Most of the time she’s got a scowl on her face but deep down she’s got heart, and despite the tough, ‘I don’t care about anyone but myself’ front she puts up, she’s still a normal young woman trying to put the trauma of being raised to be a weapon of destruction  behind her.  The torture and abuse she suffered as a child at the hands of those in Manticore still haunts her. Max was among a dozen children that fled the prison-like institution ten years previously.  She tries to keep a low profile, fearful that her worst nightmare and personal bogey man Lydecker (played chillingly by John Savage) will find her.  She’s also trying to track down her “brothers” and “sisters”, the other kids who fled.  Logan agrees to help her in this quest in exchange for her help with his noble causes.  Logan is “Eyes Only”, an underground journalist and thorn in the side of criminalsJessica Alba and Kevin Durand in Dark Angel (2000)Keeping Max company is her best friend Original Cindy (Valarie Rae Miller), Sketchy (Richard Gunn) an idiot who works alongside her and Normal, the grouchy but actually easy-going boss at the courier company Jam Pony.  Normal frequently shouts ‘bip bip’ at his employees in order to motivate them to do some work.  It rarely works!  Along the way we meet Zach (William Gregory Lee), her “brother” who is totally in love with her and Alec (played by hottie Jensen Ackles from Supernatural), another Manticore soldier.   We can’t forget about Joshua (Kevin Durrand), the dog-man, one of Manticore’s earliest experiments that left many of their people/creatures looking decidedly non-human.  They were confined to the basement in Manticore until Max releases them into the world in season 2 with devastating consequences. Max looks after Joshua and along with Alec, the three of them form somewhat of a weird, dysfunctional but tight-knit family.Logan’s and Max’s relationship continues the will they/won’t they line for the duration of the two seasons.  A lot of fans wanted her to hook up with Alec but it never happened, despite a few lingering looks.  I loved the universe and characters of Dark Angel.  It’s one of my favourite supernatural/sci-fi tv shows of all time, right up there with BuffyRoswell  and The X- Files. The music was great, the characters awesome and the dialogue snappy.  For me, the most intriguing character was Lydecker.  Yes he was a bad guy, but in a creepy way he was also like the father figure of the group.

REVIEW: DARK ANGEL -SEASON 1

Starring

Jessica Alba (Machete)
Michael Weatherly (Bull)
John Savage (American Romance)
Valarie Rae Miller (Crank)
J. C. MacKenzie (The Wolf of Wall Street)
Richard Gunn (Hemlock Grove)
Alimi Ballard (Sabrina: TTW)
Jennifer Blanc (The Victim)

Jessica Alba in Dark Angel (2000)

RECURRING / NOTABLE GUEST CAST

Stanley Kamel (Domino)
Kristin Bauer van Straten (True Blood)
Paul Popowich (Rupture)
Douglas O’Keeffe (The Andromeda Strain)
Sarah-Jane Redmond (Smallville)
Lauren Lee Smith (Mutant X)
Kim Hawthorne (Greanleaf)
Stephen Lee (Robocop 2)
Hiro Kanagawa (Heroes Reborn)
Garry Chalk (Arrow)
Eileen Pedde (Juno)
Fulvio Cecere (Valentine)
Robert Lewis (Stargate SG-1)
Natassia Malthe (Elektra)
Steve Makaj (Two for The Money)
Tyler Labine (Tucker and Dale vs Evil)
Alessandro Juliani (Smallville)
Ty Olsson (X-Men 2)
Ryan Robbins (Sanctuary)
Peter Bryant (Legends of Tomorrow)
Emily Tennant (Jennifer’s Body)
Christine Chatelain (Final Destination)
Abraham Benrubi (ER)
Byronn Mann (Arrow)
A.C. Peterson (Shooter)
Tony Perez (Once Upon a Time)
Lisa Rodríguez (Next Friday)
Brenda James (Slither)
William Gregory Lee (Xena)
Rodney Rowland (Veronica Mars)
George Cheung (Rush Hour)
Mike Weinberg (Home Alone 4)
Nicole Bilderback (Clueless)
Robert Gossett (Batman Returns)
Harsh Nayyar (Gandhi)
Brian Markinson (Wolf)
Lucia Walters (Stargate: Atlantis)
James Kidnie (Robocop: The Series)
Patrick Kilpatrick (Eraser)
Alex Zahara (Horns)
Mark Gibbon (Man of Steel)
Jodelle Ferland (Silent Hill)
Zahf Paroo (The Good Doctor)
Susan Hogan (Warehouse 13)
Lawrence Pressman (American Pie)
Samantha Smith (Supernatural)
Rekha Sharma (The Core)
Craig Veroni (Cedar Cove)
Lisa Ann Cabasa (Buffy: TVS)
Rob LaBelle (Watchmen)
Shireen Crutchfield (House Party 3)
Ashley Crow (Heroes)
David Kaye (Siren)
Mark Rolston (Aliens)
Ian Tracey (Sanctuary)
Alex Carter (The Island)
Jensen Ackles (Supernatural)
Robert Floyd (Cold Hearts)
Nana Visitor (Star Trek: DS9)
James Kirk (She’s The Man)
Rainn Wilson (Star Trek: Discovery)
Kevin McNulty (Snakes on a Plane)
Sebastian Spence (First Wave)
Lorena Gale (Traitor)
Steve Bacic (Andromeda)
Kris Pope (Josie and The Pussycats)
Joshua Alba (Alpha Dog)
Nicki Aycox (Jeepers Creepers 2)

Jessica Alba in Dark Angel (2000)Dark Angel stars Jessica Alba (Idle Hands) as Max, a genetically-engineered supersoldier who escaped from an expectedly top-secret government facility as a child. Despite the passing of a full decade, the agents of Manticore, led by Donald Lydecker (John Savage), remain determined to retrieve their multi-million dollar killing machine. Max ekes out a living in a scarcely-recognizable 21st century Seattle, avoiding capture while trying to locate the brothers and sisters that fled from Manticore with her. Max’s search brings her in contact with underground cyberjournalist Logan Cale (Michael Weatherly), and together, they try to make Seattle a more palatable place while unveiling the secrets of Max’s past.Jessica Alba, William Gregory Lee, and Michael Weatherly in Dark Angel (2000)Just as Max is a genetically-engineered hybrid of various people and creatures, Dark Angel has been stitched together from the remnants of various other genre television series and movies. The most obvious point of comparison is Buffy the Vampire Slayer, with its beautiful, sassy, headstrong, ass-kicking female lead, a predominately female supporting cast, and an older male mission-dispensing mentor with an answer to every question and a solution to every problem. Hell, both series have even had a recurring character named Kendra. Similarities can also be drawn to The Pretender, which features a gifted child raised in an isolated institutional setting and pursued in adulthood. Both series take every available opportunity to flash back to childhood and draw parallels to the present. The X-5s also bear a passing resemblance to the powerful young aliens of Roswell. Toss in a dollop of a Mad Max post-apocalyptic future for good measure, and you’re in the general ballpark.Jessica Alba in Dark Angel (2000)By the time I’d waded through the 90-minute pilot and the other two episodes on disc one, I was fully prepared to write Dark Angel off as a loss, resigning myself to wading through another thirteen hours of mediocrity. The feature-length pilot carried a hefty price tag, touted at the time as the most expensive ever produced. I’m not sure how much of that reported $10 million made it on-screen or was siphoned off to line James Cameron’s wallet, but the end result is plodding and dull. Thankfully, Dark Angel improves after these early fumbles, though the quality remains uneven throughout. For every decent episode, there’s one as dismal as Red or Haven. Douglas O’Keeffe has been cast in enough movies and TV series that someone out there seems to think he has some modicum of talent, but not a glimpse of it is on display in his embarrassingly inept performance as Bruno in Red. Bruno isn’t the only carryover from the pilot. A disturbing amount of footage appears in flashback form, making it the most shameless rehash outside of a Silent Night, Deadly Night sequel. Haven consists of 43 of the most painfully boring minutes I’ve spent in front of my television this year, and even the most staunch fans of the series seem to consider it pretty dreadful.Jessica Alba and Douglas O'Keeffe in Dark Angel (2000)Dark Angel was, at least in part, a victim of Fox’s determination to air sci-fi programming on Friday night, a timeslot that has claimed such genre casualties as Firefly, The Lone Gunman, M.A.N.T.I.S., Harsh Realm, Strange Luck, and VR.5. Despite not attracting enough viewers to warrant a third season, Fox’s home video arm has enough confidence in Dark Angel’s fan base to release both seasons of the series in relatively quick succession.Jessica Alba in Dark Angel (2000)Established fans of the series ought to find Dark Angel to be well-worth the modest asking price. As for the uninitiated, I wouldn’t recommend this set as a blind purchase. I’d suggest checking out at least a couple of episodes first, which admittedly might prove to be fairly tough seeing as how Dark Angel has been off the air for years now. If the premise sounds intriguing and you never got around to watching the series during its original run on Fox, I’d recommend this set.

REVIEW: THE WOLF OF WALL STREET

CAST

Leonardo DiCaprio (Inception)
Jonah Hill (22 Jump Street)
Margot Robbie (Suicide Squad)
Kyle Chandler (Super 8)
Rob Reiner (New Girl)
Jon Bernthal (The Punisher)
Matthew McConaughey (EDTV)
Jon Favreau (Iron Man)
Jean Dujardin (The Artist)
Joanna Lumley (The Cat’s Meow)
Cristin Milioti (How I Met Your Mother)
Rizwan Manji (The Dictator)
Christine Ebersole (Confessions of a Shopaholic)
Shea Whigham (Agent Carter)
Katarina Cas (Danny Collins)
P. J. Byrne (Final Destination 5)
Kenneth Choi (Red Dawn)
Henry Zebrowski (Herores Reborn)
Ethan Suplee (My Name Is Earl)
Jake Hoffman (Hook)
J.C. MacKenzie (Dark Angel)
Edward Herrmann (The Lost Boys)
Jeremy Bobb (The Kitchen)

Leonardo DiCaprio and Margot Robbie in The Wolf of Wall Street (2013)In 1987, Jordan Belfort procures a job as a Wall Street stockbroker for L.F. Rothschild, employed under Mark Hanna, who quickly entices him with the sex and drugs fueled stockbroker culture and teaches him that a stockbroker’s only job is to make money for himself. Jordan soon finds his career terminated following Black Monday and takes a job at a boiler room brokerage firm on Long Island that specializes in penny stocks. Thanks to his aggressive pitching style and the high commissions, Jordan makes a small fortune.Leonardo DiCaprio, P.J. Byrne, Jonah Hill, Cristin Milioti, Henry Zebrowski, and MacKenzie Meehan in The Wolf of Wall Street (2013)Jordan befriends his neighbor, Donnie Azoff, and the two found their own company. They recruit several of Jordan’s friends, whom Jordan trains in the art of the “hard sell”. The basic method of the firm is a pump and dump scam. To cloak this, Jordan gives the firm the respectable-sounding name of Stratton Oakmont. After an exposé in Forbes, hundreds of ambitious young financiers flock to his company. Jordan becomes immensely successful and slides into a decadent lifestyle full of prostitutes and drugs. He has an affair with a woman named Naomi Lapaglia. When his wife finds out, they divorce, and he marries Naomi. Meanwhile, the SEC and the FBI begin investigating Stratton Oakmont. Jordan illegally makes $22 million in three hours upon securing the IPO of Steve Madden. This brings him and his firm to the attention of the FBI. To hide his money, Jordan opens a Swiss bank account with corrupt banker Jean-Jacques Saurel in the name of Naomi’s Aunt Emma, who is a British national and thus outside the reach of American authorities. He uses the wife and in-laws of his friend Brad Bodnick, who have European passports, to smuggle the cash into Switzerland.Leonardo DiCaprio in The Wolf of Wall Street (2013)Donnie gets into a public brawl with Brad, and, while Donnie escapes, Brad is arrested. Jordan also learns from his private investigator that the FBI is wiretapping his phones. Fearing for his son, Jordan’s father advises him to leave Stratton Oakmont and lie low while Jordan’s lawyer negotiates a deal to keep him out of prison. Jordan, however, cannot bear to quit and talks himself into staying in the middle of his farewell speech. Jordan, Donnie, and their wives are on a yacht trip to Italy when they learn that Aunt Emma has died of a heart attack. Jordan decides to travel to Switzerland immediately to settle the bank account. In order to bypass border controls, he forces his yacht captain to sail to Monaco, but the ship is capsized in a storm. After their rescue, the plane sent to take them to Geneva is destroyed when a seagull flies into the engine. Jordan takes this as a sign from God and decides to sober up.Leonardo DiCaprio and Margot Robbie in The Wolf of Wall Street (2013)Two years later, the FBI arrests Jordan because Saurel, arrested in Florida on an unrelated charge, has also informed on Jordan. Since the evidence against him is overwhelming, Jordan agrees to gather evidence on his colleagues in exchange for leniency. Fed up with Jordan’s lifestyle, Naomi tells Jordan she is divorcing him and wants full custody of their children. Jordan loses his mind and tries to run off with his daughter Skylar in his car, but he ends up crashing in the driveway. The next morning, Jordan wears a wire to work but slips a note to Donnie warning him. Donnie keeps the note and rats out on Jordan to the FBI. Jordan is arrested for breaching his co-operation deal. The FBI raids and shuts down Stratton Oakmont. Despite this one breach, Jordan receives a reduced sentence for his testimony and serves three years in a minimum security prison. After his release, Jordan makes a living hosting seminars on sales technique.Leonardo DiCaprio in The Wolf of Wall Street (2013)Scorsese has always managed to elicit astounding performances from his actors, and his fifth collaboration with Leonardo DiCaprio results in one of the most charismatic, despicable, offensive and captivating characters to ever appear on screen. As financial bad boy Belfort, DiCaprio swaggers from scene to scene ingesting eye-popping amounts of narcotics, groping and fondling nearly every female within reach, and spouting more profanity in three hours than an entire season of The Sopranos. Belfort is the kind of person that any sane person would detest in real life, but thanks to Scorses and DiCaprio, we can’t take our eyes off him.