REVIEW: SMALLVILLE – SEASON 3

Starring

Tom Welling (Lucifer)
Kristin Kreuk (Beauty and The Beast)
Michael Rosenbaum (Impastor)
Sam Jones III (Glory Road)
Allison Mack (Wilfred)
Annette O’Toole (The Punisher)
John Schneider (The Haves and the Have Nots)
John Glover (Shazam)

Kristin Kreuk and Tom Welling in Smallville (2001)

Recurring / Notable Guest Cast

Terence Stamp (Superman)
Rutger Hauer (Blade Runner)
Ryan Robbins (Sanctuary)
Emmanuelle Vaugier (Two and a Half Men)
Jill Teed (Battlestar Galactica)
Françoise Yip (The Predator)
Camille Mitchell (Izombie)
Jesse Metcalfe (Dead Rising)
Katharine Isabelle (Ginger Snaps)
Christopher Shyer (The Core)
John DeSantis (Thirteen Ghosts)
Michael McKean (This Is Spinal Tap)
Lorena Gale (Traitor)
Kurt Evans (Izombie)
Patrick Gallagher (Glee)
William B. Davis (TheX-Files)
John Mann (Dark Angel)
Kendall Cross (The Butterfly Effect)
Tim Henry (88 Minutes)
Kevin Zegers (Dawn of The Dead)
Patrick Bergin (Lawnmower Man 2)
Michael Daingerfield (Sausage Party)
Ian Somerhalder (The Vampire Diaries)
Jonathan Taylor Thomas (Home Improvement)
Shawn Ashmore (X-Men)
William MacDonald (Riverdale)
Missy Peregrym (Van Helsing)
Martin Cummins (Bates Motel)
Chris Gauthier (Watchmen)
Meghan Ory (Once Upon A Time)
Ryan Merriman (Final Destination 3)
Moneca Delain (Trick ‘r Treat)
Sarah Carter (The Flash)
Lynda Boyd (Sanctuary)
Jerry Wasserman (I Robot)
James Kirk (She’s The Man)
Tahmoh Penikett (Man of Steel)
Julian Christopher (Elysium)
Terry Chen (Jessica Jones)
Aaron Pearl (Godzilla)
Christopher Reeve (Superman)
Gary Hudson (Fifty Shades Freed)
Alisen Down (Stargate SG.1)
Andrew Airlie (Fifty Shades of Grey)
Gordon Tootoosis (Lone Star)
Nathaniel Arcand (Pathfinder)
Neil Flynn (Scrubs)
Amber Rothwell (White Noise)
Adrianne Palicki (The Orville)
Sarah Deakins (Andromeda)
Robert Wisden (Highlander: The Series)
Brandon Jay McLaren (Power Rangers SPD)

Michael Rosenbaum and Tom Welling in Smallville (2001)Season Three begins three months after the cliffhanger that ended Season Two – with Clark under the influence of Red Kryptonite, which doesn’t hurt him – but does bring out his darker side. Clark has left Smallville because he feels responsible for his mother’s miscarriage at the end of Season Two, and the first two episodes – Exile and Phoenix – deal with Clark’s coming to terms with what he has done and where he belongs.Much like The X-Files and other sucessful science-fiction programs, Smallville has both “mythology” episodes and “stand-alone” shows, with the former moving along the overall story, and the latter tending to be more “fun” – generally focusing on someone in town who has a special ability or power that Clark has to deal with. Season Three is also peppered with some great guest-starring roles for notable actors, including Rutger Hauer playing criminal mastermind Morgan Edge; Michael McKean (who happens to be the real-life husband of Smallville star Annette O’Toole) guest-starring as Perry White; and the return of Christopher Reeve as Dr. Swann in Legacy in what would sadly be Reeve’s final appearance on the show.John Schneider and Tom Welling in Smallville (2001)Perhaps more than any previous season, there’s a lot of context to the ongoing storyline in this third season, which may be why many fans (including some right here at DVD Talk) got so frustrated with some of the episodes. Because of the ongoing storyline involving Clark’s biological father, Jor-El (voiced by Terrance Stamp) and his connection to some mysterious caves in Smallville, the chant of “Another Cave Show” and “No More Caves!” became a frequent one on forums here and elsewhere on the Net.John Glover and Michael Rosenbaum in Smallville (2001)But all in all, this is a quite satisfying season of one of the more underrated (and under appreciated) series on TV. Smallville is easily the best incarnation of the Superman legend since Christopher Reeve’s theatrical films, and any fan of The Man of Tomorrow will want to add this boxed set to their collection – assuming you’ve seen the first two seasons first, of course! Entertaining, well-written, well-acted and featuring some impressive special effects, television programs don’t get much better than Smallville. While this may be the weakest season of the first three, it’s still better than most seasons of any hour drama that is currently on the air. This one’s an easy call: fly (don’t walk!) to your local store or online retailer and pick a copy up.

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: X-MEN 2

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CAST

Patrick Stewart (American Dad)
Hugh Jackman (Swordfish)
Ian McKellen (The Hobbit)
Halle Berry (Catwoman)
Famke Janssen (The Faculty)
James Marsden (Westworld)
Bruce Davison (High Crimes)
Rebecca Romijn (Ugly Betty)
Anna Paquin (true Blood)
Shawn Ashmore (Earthsea)
Brian Cox (Troy)
Alan Cumming (Tin Man)
Aaron Stanford (The Hills Have Eyes)
Kelly Hu (Arrow)
Daniel Cudmore (Twilight: New Moon)
Peter Wingfield (Highlander: The Series)
Steve Bacic (Androemda)
Bryce Hodgson (Izombie)
Roger Cross (Arrow)
Kea Wong (Snow Day)
Cotter Smith (Tru Clling)
Ty Olsson (Battlestar Galactica)
Connor Widdows (Agent Cody Banks)
James Kirk (Final Destination 2)
Jill Teed (Gdozilla)
Kendall Cross (Caprica)
Aaron Pearl (Stargate SG.1)
Aaron Douglas (Battlestar Galactica)
Colin Lawrence (Watchmen)
Nolan Gerard Funk (Arrow)
Mike Dopud (The Predator)
Emily Hirst (Smallville)
David Kaye (Beast Wars)
Valerie Tian (Izombie)

At the White House, brainwashed teleporting mutant Nightcrawler attempts to assassinate the President of the United States but fails and escapes. Meanwhile, Wolverine explores an abandoned military installation at Alkali Lake in Alberta for clues to his past, but finds nothing. He returns to Professor Xavier’s school for mutants, and Xavier tracks Nightcrawler using Cerebro. Xavier and Cyclops go to question the imprisoned Magneto about the attack, while X-Men Storm and Jean Grey retrieve Nightcrawler. Meanwhile, military scientist Colonel William Stryker approaches the president and receives approval to investigate Xavier’s mansion for their ties to mutants. Stryker’s forces invade the school and abduct some of the students. Colossus leads the remaining students to safety while Wolverine, Rogue, Iceman, and Pyro escape, and Stryker’s assistant Yuriko Oyama captures Cyclops and Xavier. During the attack Wolverine confronts Stryker, who knows him by name.untitledThe shape-shifting Mystique gains information about Magneto’s prison and helps him escape while also discovering schematics for a second Cerebro. Wolverine, Rogue, Iceman, and Pyro visit Iceman’s parents in Boston and meet up with Storm, Jean, and Nightcrawler. The X-Jet is attacked by fighter jets en route back to the mansion and is shot down, but Magneto saves them from crashing. Magneto explains to the group that Stryker has built the second Cerebro to use it, and Xavier, to telepathically kill every mutant on the planet. Stryker’s son, Jason, is a mutant with mind-controlling powers, which Stryker will use to force Xavier to do this. Stryker had also previously used Jason’s powers to orchestrate Nightcrawler’s attack as a pretense to gain approval to invade Xavier’s mansion. Magneto also tells Wolverine that Stryker was the man who grafted his adamantium skeleton onto his bones. Jean reads Nightcrawler’s mind and determines that Stryker’s base is underground in a dam at Alkali Lake.vlcsnap-2011-10-19-18h17m54s214The mutants infiltrate Stryker’s base and Magneto and Mystique go to disable Cerebro before the brainwashed Xavier can activate it. Storm and Nightcrawler rescue the captured students, and Jean fights a mind-controlled Cyclops; their battle frees Cyclops but damages the dam, which begins to rupture. Wolverine finds Stryker in an adamantium smelting lab and remembers it as where he received his adamantium skeleton. Wolverine fights and kills Yuriko, then chases Stryker to a helicopter pad and chains him to the helicopter’s wheel. Magneto stops Cerebro and, using Mystique impersonating Stryker to command Jason, has Xavier redirect its powers on normal humans. The two subsequently use Stryker’s helicopter to escape, accompanied by Pyro who has been swayed to Magneto’s views. Nightcrawler teleports Storm inside Cerebro, where she creates a snowstorm to break Jason’s concentration and free Xavier from his control.jjojoljljmThe X-Men flee the dam as water engulfs it, but the damaged X-Jet struggles to take flight. Stryker is killed in the deluge and Jean sacrifices herself to hold back the flood of water while getting the jet into the air, and is then consumed by the flood and presumed dead. The X-Men give the president Stryker’s files, and Xavier warns him that humans and mutants must work together to build peace. Back at the school, Xavier, Cyclops, and Wolverine remember Jean, and Xavier begins to hold a class. The film ends with a voice-over narration from Jean accompanied by the flooded Alkali Lake, a fiery Phoenix-like shape rising from the water.X Men 2 was very much as good, if not better, as the first. Bryan Singer seemed much more comfortable with the original characters who’s background were developed in the first film and the addition of Nightcrawler was a particular hit who allied with the good guys made a formidable team.

REVIEW: TWO FOR THE MONEY

CAST

Al Pacino (Simone)
Matthew McConaughey (EDTV)
Rene Russo (Thor)
Armand Assante (Judge Dredd)
Carly Pope (Arrow)
Jeremy Piven (Mr. Selfridge)
Jaime King (Sin City)
Ralph Garman (Yoga Hosers)
Craig Veroni (Dark Angel)
Gerard Plunkett (Fringe)
James Kirk (Final Destination 2)
Gary Hudson (Smallville)
Steve Makaj (Stargate SG.1)
Adrian Holmes (V-Wars)
Jason Schombing (Sanctuary)
Louis Mustillo (Mike & Molly)
Kendall Cross (Van Helsing)
Luciana Carro (Battlestar Galactica)
David Lovgren (Antitrust)
April Telek (Rogue)
Susan Ward (Shallow Hal)

Brandon Lang (McConaughey) is a former college football star who, after sustaining a career-ending injury, takes a job handicapping football games. His success at choosing winners catches the eye of Walter Abrams (Pacino), the slick head of one of the biggest sports consulting operations in the United States. Walter takes Brandon under his wing, and soon they are making tremendous amounts of money.

Lang’s in-depth knowledge of the game, leagues and players brings in big winnings and bigger clients. Abrams’ cable television show, The Sports Advisors, skyrockets in popularity when he adds Lang’s slick “John Anthony” persona to the desk, infuriating Jerry Sykes (Jeremy Piven), who up to now has been Walter’s in-house expert. Lang’s total image is remade — new car, new wardrobe and a new look with the assistance of Walter’s wife, Toni (Russo), a hair stylist.

Things suddenly go south, however, when Lang begins playing his hunches instead of doing his homework. He loses his touch and is even physically assaulted by the thugs of a gambler (Armand Assante) who lost a great deal of money following Lang’s advice. Lang and Abrams’ once-solid relationship sours. Lang’s new high-rolling lifestyle depends entirely on his ability to predict the outcomes of the games. Millions are at stake by the time he places his last bet, and Abrams grows increasingly unstable. (Abrams is a recovering gambling addict and alcoholic, among other things. Toni tells Lang early on that Walter’s life is “held together by meetings; if there’s an ‘anonymous’ at the end of it, he goes. He has to.”). He secretly begins gambling all of his own money on Lang’s picks and becomes suspicious that Lang is having an affair with his wife.

The film concludes with Lang’s predictions coming true for the last game, both of which he allegedly determines by flipping coins in a bathroom, as he leaves New York and takes a job as coach of a junior league football team.

Not a great movie by any means, but some truly fine acting from the trio of stars. The supporting cast also gives solid roles despite the skimpy script. If gambling of any sort, and sports gambling in particular, is of interest to you, then this is a movie to recommend. Otherwise see it for the actors, not the story.

REVIEW: SHE’S THE MAN

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CAST

Amanda Bynes (What A Girl Wants)
Channing Tatum (21 Jump Street)
Laura Ramsey (The Covenant)
Robert Hoffman (Coach Carter)
Alexandra Breckenridge (Dirt)
Brandon Jay McLaren (Power Rangers SPD)
David Cross (Scary Movie 2)
Vinnie Jones (X-men 3)
Emily Perkins (Ginger Snaps)
John Pyper-Ferguson (Agents of SHIELD)
Julie Hagerty (Airplane)
Lynda Boyd (Sanctuary)
Jonathan Sadowski (Live Free Or Die Hard)
Jessica Lucas (Gotham)
Amanda Crew (Final Destination 3)
James Kirk (X-Men 2)
Katie Stuart (The 100)
David Richmond-Peck(V)
Mark Acheson (Elf)
Chad Krowchuk (Man of Steel)

Viola Hastings (Amanda Bynes) is a teenage girl who plays for Cornwall high school’s soccer team until it gets cut. Meanwhile, her twin brother, Sebastian (James Kirk), is supposed to enroll in Illyria, an elite boarding school, but he secretly goes to London with his fledgling band instead. Viola agrees to cover for him and decides to pass herself off as Sebastian, in hopes of joining their boys’ team and beating Cornwall to prove their coach and her cocky ex-boyfriend, Justin (Robert Hoffman), wrong. With the help of her stylist friend, Paul (Jonathan Sadowski), she is transformed into “Sebastian” and attends Illyria in his place.

While moving in, she meets her roommate, Duke Orsino (Channing Tatum), an attractive soccer player and Illyria’s team captain. During tryouts, Viola fails to impress Coach Dinklage (Vinnie Jones) and is assigned to second string, much to her dismay. Her teammates, including Duke, initially dislike “Sebastian” due to his awkward and strange behavior. However, with help from Paul once again, they begin to accept him into their social circle. “Sebastian” then gets the popular and pretty Olivia (Laura Ramsey) as his lab partner, which frustrates Duke, as he has feelings for her. “Sebastian” agrees to put in a good word for Duke if he promises to train him to be a better soccer player. Coach Dinklage eventually notices “Sebastian’s” effort and improvement, thus promoting him to first string. At the Junior League carnival, where her mother has made her volunteer, Viola works a shift at the kissing booth and shares a kiss with Duke. Duke expresses to “Sebastian” that he might move on from Olivia as he is starting to like Viola now. Viola is delighted as she secretly feels the same way.

Olivia who now has a crush on “Sebastian”, asks Duke out on a date in hopes that it will make “Sebastian” jealous. Viola, who is unaware of Olivia’s true intentions, is enraged instead because Duke has now abandoned his interest in Viola. When Viola finds out the truth, she encourages Olivia to tell Sebastian directly about her feelings. The situation becomes even more complicated when the real Sebastian returns from London a day early, unbeknownst to Viola. As soon as he arrives at Illyria, Olivia confesses her feelings and kisses him. Duke, seeing this, believes his roommate has betrayed him. When “Sebastian” returns to their room, the two have an argument and Duke kicks him out. Viola oversleeps and misses the first half of the game, while the real Sebastian is mistaken for “Sebastian” and winds up poorly playing his sister’s game instead. At half-time, Viola explains the situation to Sebastian and they switch places again.

Duke, still furious at “Sebastian”, refuses to cooperate with him on the field. Determined to makes amends with Duke, “Sebastian” explains that he is actually Viola. Illyria wins the game when Viola scores a goal, finally humiliating Justin and the rest of the Cornwall boys. Everyone at Illyria celebrates their victory over Cornwall, except for Duke who is hurt about Viola’s deception. She invites Duke to her debutante ball, but he doesn’t respond to her invitation. At the ball, Viola is skeptical that Duke will show up, but he eventually does just in time to escort her on stage, where they share a kiss. At the end of the film, Viola and Duke are shown happily playing on Illyria’s soccer team together.

This is one of those films that shows so much in the trailer and yet it’s not one of those films that when that part comes up it’s not funny anymore. The parts in the trailer that make you laugh are even more hilarious in the actual film.It’s seemingly completely off the wall but more exact to the classic comedy than you’d think. There isn’t too much to say about a downside except that the last half hour drags a little and also becomes a might predictable but it doesn’t change the hilarity of the first half of the film. Nonetheless you’ll be laughing to tears and it’s one of the funniest films I have seen in a while.

 

 

 

REVIEW: TAKEN (2002)

CAST

Dakota Fanning (War of The Worlds)
Eric Close (American Sniper)
Catherine Dent (Terminator: TSCC)
Joel Gretsch (V)
John Hawkes (Winter’s Bone)
Tine Holmes (Half Nelson)
Steve Burton (Cyber Tracker)
Julie Benz (Angel)
Stacy Grant (Shanghai Noon)
Jason Gray-Stanford (Bones)
Michael Moriarty (Courage Under Fire)
Rob LaBelle (Jack Frost)
Julie Ann Emery (Fargo)
Adam Kaufman (Buffy: The Vampire Slayer)
James McDaniel (Sleepy Hollow)
Ian Tracey (Bates Motel)
Ryan Robbins (Arrow)
Willie Garson (Stargate SG.1)
Ryan Hurst (Bates Motel)
James Kirk (X-Men 2)
Anton Yelchin (Star Trek)
Kevin Durand (X-Men Origins)
Brenda James (Slither)
Chad Morgan (The Purge: Anarchy)
Jonathan Young (Sanctuary)
Ryan Merriman (Final Destination 3)
Brent Stait (Andromeda)
Emily Holmes (The Wicker Man)
Erin Karpluk (Being Erica)
David Paetkau (Flashpoint)
Fulvio Cecere (Valentine)
Jim Byrnes (Highlander: The Series)
Matt Frewer (Watchmen)
Desmond Harrington (Ghost Ship)
Alessandro Juliani (Smallville)
Emily Bergl (Carrie 2)
Britt Irvin (V)
Camille Sullivan (The Birdwatcher)
Ben Cotton (Stargate: Atlantis)
Elle Fanning (Super 8)
Gabrielle Rose (Dark Angel)
Roger Cross (Arrow)
Brian Markinson (Izombie)
Colleen Winton (Van Helsing)
Peter Bryant (Legends of Tomorrow)
Justin Chatwin (Taking Lives)
Gwynyth Walsh (Van Helsing)
Heather Donahue (The Blair Witch Project)
Malcolm Stewart (Jumanji)
Connor Widdows (Battlestar Galactica)
Laurie Murdoch (Spotlight)
Enid-Raye Adams (Good Boys)
Andrew Jackson (Sea Wolf)
Mark Hildreth (V)
Patrick Gallagher (Glee)
Aaron Pearl (Lost In Space)
Nolan Gerard Funk (Truth or Dare)
Kurt Evans (Izombie)
Terry Chen (Jessica Jones)
Frederick Koehler (Death Race)
Sarah-Jane Redmond (Smallville)
Jay Brazeau (Bates Motel)
Matthew Walker (Highlander: The Series)
Devin Douglas Drewitz ( I Love You, Beth Cooper)
Kendall Cross (Caprica)
Bill Marchant (Stargate SG.1)
Eileen Pedde (Juno)
Don Thompson (Watchmen)

From none other than visionary Steven Spielberg comes TAKEN (2002), which I first saw during it’s initial run on the BBC. I admire the scope, ambition, and emotion attached to this entertaining mini series.It starts off in 1944, with Russell Keys, along with his bomber crew, being ‘taken’ by an alien spacecraft during their WWII mission. The crew is experimented on, but Keys is essentially the lone survivor. Keys returns home with PTSD, not due to war, but due to the alien experience. This compels him to leave his wife and child to solve the mystery. Eventually, the aliens take Russell’s teen son Jesse Keys. The aliens obviously see an internal resolve in the Keys’ men that distinguishes them from the rest of the human race.
A second parallel story starts around 1947, and involves the lone survivor of a downed alien spacecraft that manages to take human form as “John” , who seeks refuge on a Texas farm owned by Sally Clarke, a hard-working waitress and single mother of two. John and Sally bond and she is impregnated, leading to a human-alien hybrid Jacob Clarke (superbly played by then-newcomer Anton Yelchin, now known for being the new Chekhov in the re-booted Star Trek franchise).The final parallel story also starts in 1947 in the infamous Roswell, New Mexico, where the local Air Force has found John’s downed ship and his 4 alien compadres who did not survive. Backed by the government, the military takes over the super-secret project, which starts off being briefly led by Colonel Campbell and is soon taken over by his ambitious son-in-law Captain Owen Crawford (brilliantly played by Joel Gretsch), military intelligence officer. Gretsch perfectly essays the role of megalomaniacal Crawford, who runs the project with unapologetic brio. I really felt that Gretsch’s character carried the first few episodes (spanning 1947 to 1962) with strong support from the other actors.
Taken’s first half  storytelling is strong, a perfect balance of science fiction, politics, speculation, and drama. One really buys into the premise that these goings-on could have actually happened. It’s definitely not fiction that many an American have reported UFO sightings and alien experiences over the years, and this miniseries is one of the better attempts at relaying this message to the viewer.
With the second half of the mini series the puzzle pieces finally start to come together to an interesting conclusion. Emily Burgl (as Lisa Clarke) and Andy Kaufman (as Charlie Keys) were commendable as the adult versions of the last respective offspring of the Clarke-Keys clans, the main highlight of the second half was  was the performance of newcomer Dakota Fanning (who plays Allie) whose wonderful narration is a key to the series overall success. She stole the show from all of her adult counterparts. I would definitely recommend the miniseries based on ambition and overall scope and the tightly woven storytellingthe show demonstrates. It’s an epic Sci-Fi story that is intriguing and at times touching. It wasthe series that made Dakota Fanning a star.

REVIEW: FINAL DESTINATION 2

 

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Ali Larter (Heroes)
A.J. Cook (Tru Calling)
Michael Landes (Lois & CLark)
David Paetkau (Flashpoint)
James Kirk (X-Men 2)
Lynda Boyd (Arrow)
Keegan Connor Tracy (Bates Motel)
Jonathan Cherry (What If)
T.C. Carson (U-571)
Justina Machado (The Purge: Anarchy)
Tony Todd (Candyman)
Sarah Carter (Smallville)
Noel Fisher (Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles)
Aaron Douglas (Battlestar Galactica)
Shaun Sipos (Krypton)
Andrew Airlie (Fiufty Shades of Grey)
Enid-Raye Adams (Good Boys)
Veena Sood (50/50)

MV5BMTM2ODIyMjgyM15BMl5BanBnXkFtZTYwODQ5NDQ3._V1_One year after the first film, college student Kimberly Corman is headed to Daytona Beach, Florida for spring break with her friends, Shaina McKlank, Dano Estevez, and Frankie Whitman. En route, Kimberly has a premonition of logs falling off a semi, causing a massive car crash that kills everyone involved. She stalls her car on the entrance ramp, preventing several people from entering the highway, including Lottery winner Evan Lewis; widow Nora Carpenter and her fifteen-year-old son Tim; businesswoman Kat Jennings; stoner Rory Peters; pregnant Isabella Hudson; high school teacher Eugene Dix; and Deputy Marshal Thomas Burke. While Thomas questions Kimberly, the pileup occurs. Shaina, Dano and Frankie are killed by a speeding truck, but Kimberly is saved by Thomas.
MV5BMTczMDUxNDE1M15BMl5BanBnXkFtZTYwNTU5NDQ3._V1_The survivors are brought to the police station, where they learn about the curse of Flight 180. Later, a chain reaction causes a fire in Evan’s apartment which he barely escapes; but when Evan slips the escape ladder falls and impales his eye. Thomas researches the survivors of Flight 180, and discovers that Alex Browning was killed by a falling brick. Kimberly visits Clear Rivers, the last survivor of Flight 180, who is now a voluntary inmate at a psychiatric ward. Clear refuses to help, but while arguing with Kimberly realizes that the survivors are dying in reverse, and warns Kimberly to look out for “signs” of Death. Upon arriving home, Kimberly has a vision of a flock of pigeons attacking her and she and Thomas rush to save Nora and Tim, but they arrive too late and Tim is crushed by a glass pane at a dentist. Clear decides to help and introduces Kimberly Thomas to mortician William Bludworth, who tells them that only “new life” can defeat Death. They believe that if Isabella has her baby it will ruin Death’s plan and they will all be safe.
MV5BYjc3ZGY2NDYtOGM2YS00M2I3LTlmMWUtNDg0MzUyNjIzYzM2XkEyXkFqcGdeQXVyNTQ3NzY1NjI@._V1_SX1777_CR0,0,1777,999_AL_Isabella is accused of driving a stolen van and taken into custody, while the other survivors reunite for safety. After Nora is decapitated by malfunctioning elevator doors, the group leaves to find Isabella, who has gone into labor at the police station, while the policeman on duty rushes Isabella to the hospital in her van. Along the way they discover they have all cheated death twice; had it not been for the survivors of Flight 180 they would all be dead, which explains why the survivors are dying in reverse. Since Thomas saved Kimberly from being hit by the truck, she is last on Death’s list.
MV5BZGYxN2E0YTAtNzJjOC00OTBlLWJmZDAtNmNlYjExNzg0YmU4XkEyXkFqcGdeQXVyNTQ3NzY1NjI@._V1_SX1777_CR0,0,1777,999_AL_The survivors’ vehicle suffers a blowout, prompting them to swerve onto a farm. The back of the car is penetrated by PVC pipes which injure Eugene, and he is rushed to the hospital. As rescuers arrive at the scene, Brian Gibbons, the son of a farm owner, is nearly killed by a speeding news van, but Rory saves him. Using the Jaws of Life Kat’s rescuer accidentally activates the airbag and her head is impaled by a pipe protruding from her headrest. Her cigarette falls out of her hand and into a gasoline leak leading to the news van, causing the van to explode, and sending a barbed wire fence flying through the air, which kills Rory.
MV5BMTQxNDY0NzI1OV5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTYwNjY5NDQ3._V1_Kimberly, Clear and Thomas rush to the hospital, and Kimberly has another vision of Dr. Ellen Kalarjian “strangling” Isabella. After Thomas immobilizes Dr. Kalarjian, Kimberly and Thomas witness Isabella give birth and assume they have cheated death. However, Kimberly has another vision of someone with bloody hands in a submerging van and realizes that Isabella was never meant to die in the pile-up.
MV5BNjEyMjQ0NDk2MF5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTcwMjk3NTQ0NA@@._V1_SY1000_CR0,0,1505,1000_AL_Clear searches for Eugene, but accidentally causes his room to explode from an oxygen combustion, killing them both. Kimberly realizes the person in her vision was herself and immerses a van in a lake to drown herself. Kimberly is rescued by Thomas and resuscitated by Kalarjian, which was her actual premonition, granting her new life. Sometime later, Kimberly and Thomas have a picnic with Brian’s family and Kimberly’s father to celebrate their survival. There they learn of Brian’s deterrence from Death when his father tells them he was almost hit by a van, but Rory saved him. The group then see a malfunctioning barbecue grill explode, killing BrianMV5BMTg4NDExNjkxOV5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTYwMTU5NDQ3._V1_It is a rare event for a sequel to improve on it’s predecessor, but Final Destination 2 does just that. It build’s and evolves on what made the first film great. This film really is just a powerhouse of thrills and spills. Again all the death scenes are perfectly graphically portrayed. These factors alone make the film a must see and you will on the edge of your seat straight away after the opened scene which shows the worst highway pile-up disaster you can imagine.

REVIEW: DEAD LIKE ME – SEASON 2

MAIN CAST

Ellen Muth (Hannibal)
Mandy Patinkin (The Princess bride)
Callum Blue (Smallville)
Jasmine Guy (The Vampire Diaries)
Laura Harris (Severance)
Greg Kean (Black Xmas)
Britt McKillip (Trick ‘r Treat)
Christine Willes (Red Riding Hood)
Cynthia Stevenson (Tiger Eyes)
Ellen Muth in Dead Like Me (2003)

Recurring / Notable Guest Cast

Steven Grayhm (White Chicks)
Glynis Davies (Chilling Adventures of Sabrina)
Michael Daingerfield (Smallville)
Tiffany Lyndall-Knight (I, Robot)
Teryl Rothery (Stargate SG.1)
Michael Kopsa (Fantastic Four)
Enid-Raye Adams (Good Boys)
Lochlyn Munro (Little Man)
Kristen Robek (Jingle All The Way 2)
John DeSantis (The New Addams Family)
Neil Grayston (Wonderfalls)
Pascale Hutton (Sanctuary)
Ryan Robbins (Arrow)
Kurt Evans (Izombie)
Venus Terzo (Arrow)
Anna Hagan (The Posession)
Ken Tremblett (Six)
Peter Williams (Catwoman)
Chris Gauthier (Watchmen)
Tom McBeath (Bates Motel)
Michael Des Barres (Poison Ivy 3)
Nicki Clyne (Battlestar Galactica)
Claudette Mink (Paycheck)
Laura Mennell (Van Helsing)
Meghan Black (X-Men: Evolution)
Graeme McComb (Legends of Tomorrow)
James Kirk (Final Destination 2)
Robin Dunne (Species 3)
Tom Butler (Stargate SG.1)
Laara Sadiq (Arrow)
Emily Holmes (Snakes on a Plane)
Jody Racicot (Flash Gordon)
Ty Olsson (I Zombie)
Eric McCormack (Free Enterprise)
Christie Laing (Izombie)
Michael Adamthwaite (Staragte SG.1)
Peter Kelamis (Stargate Universe)
Bill Dow (Stargate Atlantis)
Frank C. Turner (IT)
Piper Laurie (Carrie)
Yeardley Smith (The Simpsons)
Anne Marie Deluise (Goosebumps)
Patti Allan (Supergirl)
Tegan Moss (The X-Files)
Katie Stuart (Altered Carbon)
Aaron Pearl (Man of Steel)
Emily Perkins (Ginger Snaps)
April Telek (Rogue)

Episode 203 "Ghost Story"

Again, we see both this life, and the afterlife though central character George. This season we also explore the other characters in more detail; especially Rube’s mortal life, and surprisingly vulnerable Mason, with the effects on him caused by his job.

My favourite character Daisy also gives hints on her living life, especially towards the end of the series. I enjoyed having the ‘Bimbo Blonde’ surface scratched away from this character, revealing someone we could all know.

On the living side: George works for a temp agency, Happy Time, ‘living’ under the guise of ‘Millie’. Some of the best comedic moments of the series take place in Happy Time. ‘Millie’s manager Delores is just too funny, and all viewers will see a little bit of their own managers in the character. George has now adjusted to the fact that her old life is over, and decides to make the most of this one. This will include boyfriends, and mingling with her co workers at Happy Time. Also, we once again follow George’s surviving family. Her parent’s are divorcing, and her younger sister Reggie is entering that frightful period known as puberty. George’s grandmother also appears this series.


While the final episode ‘Haunted’ is satisfying, and ties up the series nicely, there are still a few loose ends that are left hanging.