REVIEW: TALES FROM THE LOOP – SEASON 1

Tales from the Loop (2020)

 

Starring

Rebecca Hall (Transcendence)
Paul Schneider (Lars and The Real Girl)
Tyler Barnhardt (13 Reasons Why)
Duncan Joiner (Waco)
Daniel Zolghadri (Ready Player One)

Nicole Law, Daniel Zolghadri, Tatiana Latreille, Tyler Barnhardt, and Christin Park in Tales from the Loop (2020)

Recurring / Notable Guest Cast

Jonathan Pryce (Game of Thrones)
Ato Essandoh (Blood Diamond)
Abby Ryder Fortson (Ant-Man and The Wasp)
Nicole Law (Every Day)
Jane Alexander (The Ring)
Christin Park (Charmed)
Emjay Anthony (Chef)
Dominic Rains (Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.)

Abby Ryder Fortson stars in Amazon Prime's Tales From The Loop Directed by Mark RomanekAre you stuck at home, watching time creep past like a glacier? Do you not know what day of the week it is? Has the world become an unfamiliar, empty place, with interesting bits of technology lying around but nothing much happening? If this sounds like you, then Amazon Prime Video has a new programme for you. The creators of Tales from the Loop can’t possibly have known they would be birthing this sparse, slow eight-part sci-fi drama into a world perfectly suited to receive it. Not only is life under quarantine surprisingly evocative of their setting, the fictitious town of Mercer, Ohio, but they have just what every creator of a sparse, slow sci-fi craves: a captive audience.Tales from the Loop (2020)In part, the pacing can be put down to the programme’s genesis. It was inspired by a 2014 book of the same name by Swedish artist Simon Stålenhag, who has a cult following for his gorgeous depictions of an alternate-reality Sweden, a beautiful and uncanny landscape populated by robots and dinosaurs and mysterious machinery. Clearly someone decided that the global audience wouldn’t be able to handle a Swedish setting, but this version of America is just as remote, and its technological marvels are equally melancholic.Tales from the Loop (2020)Unlike The Twilight Zone or Amazing Stories, which have similar premises, Tales from the Loop at least tries to give a context for its strange goings on, although it doesn’t try to explain them. Mercer sits on top of a giant particle accelerator, the titular Loop, where scientists conduct experiments on the far fringes of physics. The Loop is run by Russ Willard (Jonathan Pryce) and the first episode opens with him speaking directly to camera. “Everyone in town is connected to the Loop in one way or another,” he says. “And you will come to know many of their tales – in time.” His daughter-in-law Loretta (Rebecca Hall) spends much of rest of the first instalment with a young girl, played by Abby Ryder Fortson, who is searching for her mother.Abby Ryder Fortson in Tales from the Loop (2020)Tales from the Loop is maybe best understood as visual art, rather than a conventional narrative. The production design and music do justice to the original works, and the score, by Paul Leonard-Morgan and Philip Glass, lends ballast to the imagery. It is often gorgeous to look at and its set-pieces are given more time to stick in the mind than they would in a series with a denser plot. Children coming across a stricken robot in a snowy wood. A gravitational anomaly that makes snow fall upwards. A family of restrained geniuses coming to terms with loss and mortality.Jonathan Pryce in Tales from the Loop (2020)Nobody would accuse Tales from the Loop of being gripping, but it has other qualities, rare in a frenetic era: it is thoughtful, patient, and unafraid to leave its Big Questions open-ended. This is slow television for slow days, and for all the viewers who switch off after 10 minutes worried they are slipping into a coma, there will be others for whom this is a curious joy.

REVIEW: TERMINATOR SALVATION

CAST

Christian Bale (The Dark Knight)
Sam Worthington (Avatar)
Anton Yelchin (Star Trek)
Moon Bloodgood (Faster)
Bryce Dallas Howard (Jurassic World)
Common (Wanted)
Helena Bonham Carter (Darkk Shadows)
Terry Crews (Training Day)
Linda Hamilton (ChucK)
Jane Alexander (The Ring)
Chris Browning (Cowboys & Aliens)
Jadagrace (The Jadagrace Show)
Michael Ironside (Total Recall)
Michael Papajohn (Spidr-Man)
Zach McGowan (The Scorpion King 5)

In 2003, Dr. Serena Kogan (Carter) of Cyberdyne Systems convinces death row inmate Marcus Wright (Worthington) to sign over his body for medical research following his execution. Sometime later, the automated Skynet system is activated, becomes self-aware; perceiving humans as a threat to its existence, it starts a nuclear holocaust to eradicate them in the event known as “Judgment Day”. In 2018, John Connor (Bale) leads an attack on a Skynet base, where he discovers human prisoners and schematics for a new type of Terminator, incorporating living tissue, the T-800. Connor survives a violent assault on the base, which is destroyed. Following Connor’s departure, Wright emerges from the base’s wreckage and begins walking towards Los Angeles.Connor returns to the Resistance headquarters located aboard a nuclear submarine and is briefed by General Ashdown (Ironside) that the Resistance has discovered a hidden signal containing a code protocol which they believe can initiate a permanent shutdown of Skynet’s machines. Working on this intelligence, the human militia plan to launch an offensive against the Skynet base in San Francisco. It is decided among the Resistance that the offensive will commence in four days, due to an intercepted kill-list created by Skynet, which plans to terminate the Resistance’s command staff within the same time frame. Connor learns he is second on this list, following Kyle Reese (Yelchin). The Resistance leaders are unaware of Reese’s importance, but Connor knows Reese will eventually travel back in time and become his father, and realizes that Skynet has learned of this fact.Arriving at the ruins of Los Angeles, Wright encounters Reese and a mute child named Star (Berry) during a violent skirmish with Terminators. Reese and Star are subsequently abducted and taken prisoner by Skynet. Later, two Resistance A-10 airplanes are shot down while trying to intercept a machine transport. Wright locates downed pilot Blair Williams (Bloodgood), as they make their way to Connor’s base, where thereafter, Wright is wounded by a magnetic land mine. Attempting to save his life, the Resistance fighters discover that Wright is indeed a cyborg, with a mechanical endoskeleton and a partially artificial cerebral cortex. Although Wright believes himself to be human, Connor and his wife think that Wright has been sent to execute him and orders him to be killed. Williams helps Wright escape. During the pursuit, Wright saves Connor’s life from Skynet’s hydrobots and the two make a bargain; Wright will enter Skynet’s headquarters in San Francisco, to help Connor rescue Reese and the other prisoners, if he lets him live.Connor pleads with General Ashdown to delay the offensive so he can formulate a plan to extract the human captives, but Ashdown refuses and relieves Connor of his command. However, the Resistance disobey Ashdown’s orders and instead, await Connor’s signal. Wright enters the base, interfaces with the computer, and disables perimeter defenses so that Connor can infiltrate the cellblock and release human prisoners. Wright learns from Skynet (which assumes the form of Dr. Kogan on a screen), that he was created and built from the original Wright’s corpse to lure Connor to the base; when the Resistance launches its attack, Connor will be killed, achieving the goal that Skynet had failed to accomplish in the past. The hidden signal that the Resistance received earlier is revealed to have been a ruse, and Skynet uses it to track down and destroy the command submarine with the Resistance’s leaders aboard.

Wright tears out the hardware linking him to Skynet and assists Connor in battling the new T-800 (Model 101) Terminator (Kickinger). Wright is soon outclassed in strength and temporarily disabled until Connor comes to his aid. Wright eventually defeats the T-800 while Connor destroys the Skynet base by rigging together explosives. Connor, Wright, Reese, and Star are airlifted out. Connor though was seriously wounded during the assault with a life-threatening injury to his heart. Wright offers his own heart for transplantation, sacrificing himself to save Connor. As he recovers, Connor radios to other Resistance fighters that, although this battle has been won, the war is still not over.

Basically there are a few of loopholes and inconsistencies which could bring you down if you linger too long on them, but if you are able to get past that it is definitely worth watching. Not the best Terminator film, but not as bad the haters say.

 

HALLOWEEN OF HORROR REVIEW: THE UNBORN

CAST

Odette Annable (Cloverfield)
Meagan Good (D.E.B.S)
Gary Oldman (Red Riding Hood)
Cam Gigandet (Easy A)
James Remar (Judge Dredd)
Jane Alexander (Glory)
Carla Gugino (Watchmen)
Idris Elba (Thor)
Rhys Coiro (Straw Dogs)
C.S. Lee (Chuck)

Casey Beldon has nightmarish hallucinations of strange-looking dogs in the neighbourhood and an evil child with bright blue eyes following her around. While babysitting Matty, her neighbor’s son, she finds him showing his infant sibling its reflection in a mirror. Matty attacks Casey, smashing the mirror on her head, and tells her: “Jumby wants to be born now”. She puts him to bed and leaves in shock.Casey’s friend Romy tells her of a superstition that newborns should not see their reflections in the mirror for at least a year because otherwise they will die soon. Casey’s eyes begin to change color; a doctor asks if she is a twin, and explains the change as tetragametic chimerism and heterochromia, and that is completely normal. Her neighbor’s infant dies, supporting the superstition.

Casey’s father admits that she had a twin brother years ago who died while he was in the womb when her umbilical cord strangled him, and whom he and Casey’s mother had nicknamed “Jumby”. She begins to suspect that the spirit is haunting her and that is the soul of her dead twin wanting to be born so it can enter the world of the living as evil.

Casey meets Sofi Kozma—whom she later learns is her grandmother—who explains that as a child she had a twin brother who died during Nazi experiments in Auschwitz during World War II. A dybbuk brought the brother back to life to use as a portal into the world of the living. Kozma killed her twin to stop the spirit, and now it haunts her family for revenge, which is why Casey’s mother became insane and committed suicide.  Kozma gives Casey a hamsa amulet for protection; instructs her to destroy all mirrors and burn the shards; and refers her to Rabbi Joseph Sendak, who can perform a Jewish exorcism to remove the dybbuk out of her soul. Sendak does not believe Casey’s story until he sees a dog with its head twisted upside down in his synagogue. The dybbuk kills Kozma and, soon after, Romy. Casey and her boyfriend Mark—who both see the spirit after it kills Romy—realize that it is getting stronger.Sendak, Mark, Episcopal priest Arthur Wyndham, and other volunteers begin the exorcism, but the dybbuk attacks them and several are wounded or killed. The spirit, having possessed the priest, chases Casey and Mark. Mark knocks Wyndham unconscious but gets possessed. Casey stabs Mark in the neck with the amulet; Sendak arrives and he and Casey complete the exorcism. The rite draws the dybbuk out of the human world, but Mark falls and dies during the separation. Casey mourns her boyfriend but still wonders why the dybbuk became suddenly active in her life now, and why it didn’t attack her earlier. She takes a pregnancy test, and learns that she is pregnant by Mark, with twins.I didn’t think it was all bad. I have seen better horror movies, but this certainly wasn’t the worst.  I thought that the plot was quite.  I thought Odette Yustman was a fair leading actress as Casey and I thought her best friend Romey was quite entertaining.

REVIEW: DREAM HOUSE

CAST

Daniel Craig (Cowboys & Aliens)
Rachel Weisz (The Bourne Legacy)
Naomi Watts (Shut In)
Marton Csokas (The Equalizer)
Rachel G. Fox (Spork)
Elias Koteas (Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles)
Jane Alexander (The Ring)
Sarah Gadon (Dracula Untold)
Gregory smith (Small Soldier)

Rachel Weisz and Daniel Craig in Dream House (2011)In 2007, Will Atenton (Daniel Craig) leaves his job as a successful editor in New York in order to spend more time with his wife, Libby (Rachel Weisz), and their two daughters, as well as to write his own book. At first, the family appears to be happy in their new home, until they discover that its previous occupants, a mother and her two small daughters, were shot to death in the house. Public opinion has condemned the father, Peter Ward, as the person responsible, but there was not enough evidence to convict Peter in court and he was also deemed mentally unfit to stand trial. Ward has been recently released from police custody and Will begins to feel he is seeing Peter watching the house.Daniel Craig in Dream House (2011)Will visits Greenhaven Psychiatric facility, where Peter has been held for five years. He learns that on the night of the murders, Peter was shot in the head by his wife Elizabeth, who had somehow grabbed the murder weapon in the moments just before her death. In recovery, Peter could not believe he had committed the murders and so he no longer believed he was Peter Ward. He chewed his own name off all of his identification bracelets/cards/tags, leaving only his Greenhaven I.D. sequence, which revealed Peter Ward and Will Atenton to be the same person.Daniel Craig in Dream House (2011)Unable to believe this, Will rushes home and we see his home is actually run down and condemned. Peter visits his neighbor, Ann Patterson (Naomi Watts). Ann had been a good friend to the Wards and never believed Peter was the killer. Returning to the house, Peter remembers he was on the phone with Libby when she stumbled on a burglar, who shot the little girls and wounded Libby. Peter attacked the gunman and Libby accidentally shot Peter.Rachel Weisz in Dream House (2011)Ann’s ex-husband Jack and the gunman burst into the now-decrepit Ward home. It is revealed that the hit man had been hired to kill Ann, but broke into the wrong house and chose to kill the witnesses. Jack shoots the hit man in the abdomen before staging the scene so it will appear that Peter has murdered again before burning the house down. Peter regains consciousness in time to fight off Jack and rescue Ann. As Peter and Ann make it out of the house, Jack starts up the cellar steps but is doused with kerosene by the dying hit man, and Jack goes up in flames. The house burns to the ground. Some time later, Peter—now back in New York City—walks past a major bookseller’s window and sees that his book “Dream House” has become a number one national bestseller.Rachel Weisz in Dream House (2011)The acting is good, the thrilling scenes are good enough and the plot confusion doesn’t spoil the movie whole after all.