CHRISTMAS 2017 POWER RANGERS DINO SUPERCHARGE – HERE COMES HEXIMAS

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MAIN CAST

Brennan Mejia (Kaboom)
Camille Hyde (Killer Kids)
Yoshua Sudarso (Shuriken Sentai Ninninger)
Michael Taber (The Legend of Hell’s Gate)
James Davies (Someone to Carry Me)
Claire Blackwelder (101 Ways To Get Rejected)
Davi Santos (Don’t Trust The B— In Apartment 23)

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RECURRING / NOTABLE GUEST STARS

Eve Gordon (The Almighty Johnsons)
Jarred Blakiston (The Hobbit)
Estevez Gillespie (Power Rangers Megaforce)
Reuben Turner (Rush)
Andrew laing (Shortland Street)
John Sumner (District 9)

https://kevinfoyle.files.wordpress.com/2016/12/dac5f-episode2bstill_12b252862529.jpg?w=1140&h=760This episode surprised me when it takes place after the finale, I thought it would take place before it. Chase, Riley and Shelby get early Christmas presents and open them. They get hypnotized and leave. Tyler arrives and gets two presents, one for him and one for Kendall. He goes to the base and before he and Kendall can open it, Keeper arrives with Koda and Ivan from a portal. Tyler opens the present and becomes an evil elf, Koda reminds him of his real self with memories.

https://kevinfoyle.files.wordpress.com/2016/12/9d221-episode2bstill_22b252862529.jpg?w=1140&h=760Tyler returns to normal. Santa contacts them telling them someone stole his coal. They then find Viviks and a left over monster Heximas are making presents. Heximas escaped Sledge’s ship and making his own Viviks to apply his spell on Santa’s coal. They see Riley, Chase and Shelby as elves and manage to get Chase and Riley. Ivan reminds Chase who he is saying he was on a quest for love. He is brought back to normal. Kendall tries to remind Riley who is by telling him he has grown up. The Rangers morph and fight Heximas. Tyler manage to get Shelby and reminds her who she is. Heximas becomes big and is defeated by the zords. The Rangers later celebrate Christmas together. They get pies in their faces, some things don’t ever change.Image result for here comes heximas This is a great Christmas epiosde and the fact that it is set after the finale of Dino Supercharge is brillaint as that is a first for Power Rangers. With these holiday specials becoming a yearly tradition I always look forward to the next one.

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REVIEW: THE TATTOOIST

CAST

Jason Behr (Roswell)
Mia Blake (Without a Paddle)
Robbie Magasiva (Stickmen)
Michael Hurst (Bitch Slap)
Nathaniel Lees (Power Rangers Jungle Fury)
David Fane (Eagle vs Shark)
John Bach (Jack Irish)
Alison Bruce (Young Hercules)
Stuart Devenie (Jack of All Trades)
Timothy Balme (Maddigans Quest)
Jarred Blakiston (Power Rangers Dino Charge)

a4f298880de7d0f5731f2f6b5aeJake Sawyer (Jason Behr) is a global wanderer and tattooist who explores ethnic themes in his designs. While visiting Singapore to sell his craft at a local trade show, he swipes an ancient Samoan tattoo tool. After flying to New Zealand to resume his art, he meet up with a lovely Samoan woman named Sina (Mia Blake) and discovers the local Samoan culture. But Jake slowly learns that his stolen tool ends up unleashing an evil avenging spirit whom targets all of the customers that Jake has given tattoos to since his theft of the tool. While attempting to learn pe’a, the Samoan tradition of tattooing, Jake soon realizes that Sina is imperiled when she gets a tattoo from him and he must find a way to save her, and himself.32ef91aa32efThe Tattooist is a good example of how a tight script and decent direction can make the most out of a small budget. It’s not overlong, either. Really, if you’re after a horror movie then this probably isn’t what you’d want to watch: it’s more like a supernatural thriller. But it’s a very good example of how a simple film can be made to be intriguing and stylish without being smothered by mumbled dialogue or overblown direction.

REVIEW: POWER RANGERS DINO SUPERCHARGE (SEASON 23)

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MAIN CAST

Brennan Mejia (Kaboom)
Camille Hyde (Killer Kids)
Yoshua Sudarso (Shuriken Sentai Ninninger)
Michael Taber (The Legend of Hell’s Gate)
James Davies (Someone to Carry Me)
Claire Blackwelder (101 Ways To Get Rejected)
Davi Santos (Don’t Trust The B— In Apartment 23)
Ryan Carter (Curious-City)

RECURRING / NOTABLE GUEST STARS

Eve Gordon (The Almighty Johnsons)
Jarred Blakiston (The Hobbit)
James Gaylyn (Ash vs Evil Dead)
Ross Girven (Ngati)
Estevez Gillespie (Power Rangers Megaforce)
Jackie Clarke (The Semisis)
Paul Harrop (Power Rangers Samurai)
Gerald Urquhart (Power Rangers Operation Overdrive)
Campbell Cooley (Vertical Limit)
Stig Eldred (Hercules In The Underworld)
Reuben Turner (Rush)
Elizabeth Dowden (Step Dave)
Jay Simon (Filthy Rich)
Mark Mitchinson (The Hobbit)
Paul Gittins (Power Rangers Jungle Fury)
Shara Connolly (Go Girls)
Adam Gardiner (Legend of The Seeker)
Alex Walker (When We Go To War)
Mark Wright (Nothing Trivial)
Sophia Huybens (The Last Saint)
Ilona Rodgers (Sons and Daughters)
Andrew Grainger (Spy Game)
Elizabeth Hawthorne (Cleopatra 2525)
Alistair Browning (Rain)
Jeff Szusterman (Power Rangers Samurai)

I have been an immense fan of the Power Rangers ever since the first show aired and I have also been following and critiquing the show since I have had access to a computer. With that being said, I am the first to say that my hopes for Power Rangers Dino Superchargee were very high. Upon watching the first few episodes of Supercharge, I’m satisfied to say that my expectations were met and in some ways exceeded.

The Characters: Lets start out with the Rangers themselves. These characters are amongst the best I’ve seen since RPM, which to me, was the last truly great season and in many ways, they break all the molds that have plagued the series. As an African-American woman myself, I was most impressed to see the first Pink Ranger of African-American descent who brings a rare non-stereotypical portrayal that seems to be so common to African-American characters these days. She’s a rebellious tomboy whose intellect and knowledge of dinosaurs sometimes puts her at odds with the rest of the Rangers and especially Kendall Morgan, the resident Team Mom. There’s Tyler, the Red Ranger who brings a subtle comical portrayal to the traditional no-nonsense attitude Red Rangers have. Following nearly in the Red Ranger’s place is Chase, the Black Ranger and a cocky, ladies man whose native New Zealand accent makes the character a sleeker, more refined and lovable version of Zander from Power Rangers Mystic Force.

There’s Koda, the Blue Ranger, a caveman who has survived into the modern era due to the effects of the Energem he was bonded to. I cannot find Koda comical nor can I take him seriously, more on that later in my critique section of this review. Riley is the logic minded Green Ranger who brings a quiet intellectual approach that seems to make him stand out in contrast to the other Rangers who are very upfront and in your face in terms of personality. Rounding out the Rangers is Kendall, the resident Team Mom and technological expert who reminds me of a younger Mrs. Fairweather from Power Rangers Lightspeed Rescue whose constant squabbling with Shelby in the first few episodes gives her a rare depth that is rarely found in television nowadays. Lastly, there is Keeper who functions as the Zordon equivalent but who has not seen much character development as of yet, something I hope will be expanded on later in the series.
42As for the villains we have the mysterious Heckyl/Snide who showed up last season, with sledge MIA, Heckyl takes over, he is a cold calculating villain and having half of him be human is brilliant similiar in ways to Jarred from Jungle Fury, as the season goes on he becomes a more complex villain. The overall storyline and premise of Supercharge is rather simple but played pretty much straight in that Heckyl/Snide wants the Energems, which are the most powerful objects in the universe and the source of the Ranger’s powers when Keeper bonded them to dinosaurs. In addition to this main storyline, there are smaller story lines scattered throughout such as Tyler’s missing father and his quest to find him, and there eventual reunion early on in the season. With a great Finale this season and Dinocharge have brought forward a great storyline that ran through these two season, a great team, great villains and a great ending. All I can say is bring on season 24 (Power Rangers Ninja Steel)

REVIEW: POWER RANGERS – THE HALLOWEEN EPISODES – PART 2

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“TRICK OR TRIAL”

MAIN CAST

Brennan Mejia (Kaboom)
Camille Hyde (Killer Kids)
Yoshua Sudarso (Shuriken Sentai Ninninger)
Michael Taber (The Legend of Hell’s Gate)
James Davies (Someone to Carry Me)
Claire Blackwelder (101 Ways To Get Rejected)
Davi Santos (Don’t Trust The B— In APartment 23)

GUEST CAST

Eve Gordon (The Almighty Johnsons)
Jackie Clarke (The Semisis)
Gerald Urquhart (Power Rangers Operation Overdrive)
Estevez Gillespie (Power Rangers Megaforce)
Stephen Butterworth (Evil Dead 2013)
Peter Daube (Power Rangers Dino Thunder)
Reuben Turner (Rush)
Jarred Blakiston (The Hobbit)
Jay Simon (Filthy Rich)
Richard Simpson (Power Rangers Jungle Fury)

https://kevinfoyle.files.wordpress.com/2016/10/33f21-episode2bstill2b2.jpg?w=1140&h=760Scumlaw, a lawyer, sees his commercial on TV and Fury makes fun of Poisandra and she lets go Scumlaw to get the Rangers. Ivan and Kendall are dressed as a scarecrow and a musketeer. Ivan and Kendall watch as Scumlaw and his mummy police teleport the main five Rangers away. Riley is Sherlock, Koda is a samurai, Chase is a vampire, Tyler is either a matador or a mariachi and Shelby is a pirate. The Rangers are on trial with monsters for destroying monsters and they get a strike for every monster destroyed. When they reach ten marks, they will be destroyed. Pumpkins are the judges, cloaked monsters are the jury and a witch summons the witnesses, old monsters.Ninja and Hunter are called and they lie. Tyler clarifies that they put a virus that turned him into a T-Red. Meanwhile, Keeper finds a document about the trail, that Scumlaw never lost a case. Kendall remembers he controls the jury. Keeper says the only way in is with getting captured.https://kevinfoyle.files.wordpress.com/2016/10/b1dc4-episode2bstill2b3.jpg?w=1138&h=760Spellbinder and Golddigger are called out. Spellbinder says he was giving a hypno lesson, we see Chase be hypnotized and snap out of it and breaking Spellbinder’s plate. Spellbinder and Golddigger talk about when he was Spelldigger giving coins to people . Chase clarifies the coins made people greedy. The monsters talk about how they were destroyed, interestingly enough no zord footage. they get three strikes. Kendall and Ivan pretend when the mummies come. The mummies are taken away by two mysterious people. Ice Age, Stingrage, and Meteor are called. Ice Age talk about two times he encountered them. This time the zords are shown. Riley tells them that they were frozen in blocks of ice. Stingrage lies and Kods and Chase clarify about Koda being poisoned and turned against the Rangers. https://kevinfoyle.files.wordpress.com/2016/10/17c2f-curaje1wcaizhs4.jpg?w=520Ankylozord is shown too. Tyler talks about how Stingrage poisoned water to make people forget.  Meteor talk about New Zealand and Albert. Shelby talks about the truth about the Plesio Zord. Meteor claims the Plesiozord attacked him. We don’t see Albert in the footage. They get all ten strikes. The guards come in with Kendall and Ivan. The judge pumpkins say they are to be vaporized too. The mummies unmask the jury and reveal they are Poisandra and Viviks. The pumpkin sentence Scumlaw. The mummies are revealed to be Phillip and James. The Rangers are teleported back and fight Scumlaw and Viviks after they morph. The Ranger spot out puns. Viviks form the Vivizords. The Rangers summon the zords. Red, Black and Blue fight Scumlaw. Ankylo, T-Rex, Para and Raptorzord fight the Vivizords. All the Rngers gather and do a final strike on Scumlaw. Curio and Poisandra dont want to see the judges again and bump into pumpkins in the ship. Fury makes a scary jack-o-lantern that looks like him. Back at the Dino Cafe, the Rangers are about to go to a party when they encounter mummy judges who turn out to be James and Phillip once again.

https://kevinfoyle.files.wordpress.com/2016/10/547e9-episode2bstill2b1.jpg?w=1138&h=760As expected the episode is somewhat of a clipshow, where the episode places within the storyline of the season is to be determined, but most likely around the besties4eva episode. The episode is a fun episode and is cool seeing all 9 rangers together at the battling Scumlaw. Maybe a clipshow but it does have some good new footage and is a fun episode to watch for Halloween.

REVIEW: THE HOBBIT: AN UNEXPECTED JOURNEY – EXTENDED EDITION

CAST
Martin Freeman (Captain American: Civil War)
Ian McKellen (X-Men)
Richard Armitage (Hannibal)
Ken Stott (Spivs)
Graham McTavish (King Arthur)
William Kircher (Xena)
James Nesbitt (Monroe)
Stephen Hunter (All Saints)
Dean O’ Gorman (Young Hercules)
Aidan Turner (Being Human)
John Callen (Power Rangers Jungle Fury)
Peter Hambleton (A Twist In The Tale)
Jed Brophy (Heavenly Creatures)
Mark Hadlow (King Kong 2005)
Adam Brown (Pirates of The Caribbean 5)
Ian Holm (Lord of The Rings)
Elijah Wood (Sin City)
Hugo Weaving (The Matrix)
Cate Blanchett (Hanna)
Christopher Lee (Star Wars – Episode II)
Andy Serkis (Avengers: Age of Ultron)
Sylvester McCoy (Doctor Who)
Barry Humphries (The Howling III)
Jeffrey Thomas (Spartacus: Gods of The Arena)
Lee Pace (Pushing Daises)
Manu Bennett (Arrow)
Conan Stevens (Game of Thrones)
Benedict Cumberbatch (Atonement)
Jarred Blakiston (Power Rangers Dino Charge)
 The release of the three Lord of the Rings Extended Editions were something of a revelation a decade or so ago, particularly for J.R.R. Tolkien fans that wanted to immerse themselves even further in the cinematic landscape of Middle-earth. The nature of the LOTR novels dictated that the film adaptations would be packed to the brim with characters and locations while still excluding a wealth of material that couldn’t possibly be included in the movies, so introducing more material made for a fuller experience.
Peter Jackson and company have taken a similar approach with The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey Extended Edition Blu-ray release, but the new cut of the film doesn’t feel like the definitive version that the LOTR extended cuts did. Instead, a movie that is already stretched too thin simply becomes longer, feeling like an indulgent director’s cut rather than a noteworthy superior cut.
All of that being said, An Unexpected Journey Extended as a Blu-ray release is still a worthwhile purchase for fans of the movie or the universe. The real selling point is the continuation of the Appendices, which even pick up the numbering from the LOTR Extended Editions so that this set holds Appendices 7 and 8. Spread across two different discs, the documentary material is just as rewarding to watch as the LOTR Appendices were, spanning about nine hours of in-depth production footage and interviews. The Appendices cover all aspects of building Tolkien’s world, from returning to the original LOTR sets to casting the new characters to developing the culture of the Dwarves to the score and even the early involvement of initial director Guillermo del Toro.
For fans of Middle-earth or just the process of making a film, these Appendices stand as the most thorough documentation of blockbuster movie-making in recent memory. But perhaps the most engaging part of the behind-the-scenes footage is the depiction of the friendships and bonds forged in the trenches of making a movie of this stature. For such a large scale production, seeing these relationships blossom in this footage is inspiring. The only downside to the Appendices is that unless you opt for the “Play All” option from the beginning, each segment will kick you back to the main menu after it ends rather than just continuing on from where you begin.
 The commentary track from Peter Jackson and Philippa Boyens is insightful and entertaining, even if a lot of the same content is covered in the Appendices at various points. Still, their rapport was amusing enough to keep me engaged throughout the length of the movie. The other special feature included on the movie disc is the “New Zealand: Home of Middle-earth” featurette that’s a holdover from the initial Blu-ray release of the movie.

The first Hobbit Extended Edition feels bloated as a movie, but the bountiful supplemental content and absolutely stunning audio/visual presentation

REVIEW: THE HOBBIT 1,2 & 3

 

CAST

Martin Freeman (Captain American: Civil War)
Ian McKellen (X-Men)
Richard Armitage (Hannibal)
Ken Stott (Spivs)
Graham McTavish (King Arthur)
William Kircher (Xena)
James Nesbitt (Monroe)
Stephen Hunter (All Saints)
Dean O’ Gorman (Young Hercules)
Aidan Turner (Being Human)
John Callen (Power Rangers Jungle Fury)
Peter Hambleton (A Twist In The Tale)
Jed Brophy (Heavenly Creatures)
Mark Hadlow (King Kong 2005)
Adam Brown (Pirates of The Caribbean 5)
Ian Holm (Lord of The Rings)
Elijah Wood (Sin City)
Hugo Weaving (The Matrix)
Cate Blanchett (Hanna)
Christopher Lee (Star Wars – Episode II)
Andy Serkis (Avengers: Age of Ultron)
Sylvester McCoy (Doctor Who)
Barry Humphries (The Howling III)
Jeffrey Thomas (Spartacus: Gods of The Arena)
Lee Pace (Pushing Daises)
Manu Bennett (Arrow)
Conan Stevens (Game of Thrones)
Benedict Cumberbatch (Atonement)
Jarred Blakiston (Power Rangers Dino Charge)

The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey is Peter Jackson’s return to the land of middle earth, and it’s another epic adventure that is sure to delight moviegoers of all ages. The story of The Hobbit takes place before The Lord of the Rings. It connects some of the dots to Jackson’s earlier trilogy and it’s once again an adaption of the beloved writing of J.R.R. Tolkien as brought to cinematic life. This is one journey you are absolutely going to want to make because this is one of the most exciting motion pictures released in the fantasy genre since this film adventure began with The Lord of the Rings. The story takes place before the events that unfold in The Lord of the Rings. Things start to unfold in flashback style through the storytelling of a much older Bilbo Baggins (Ian Holm), reflecting upon his earlier adventures as he reminiscences with Frodo. We learn about how a powerful dragon named Smaug destroyed much of the land where Dwarfs lived, and claimed their Dwarf Kingdom, leaving the dwarfs without a place to call home. Flash forward and onto the beginning encounter between young Bilbo (Martin Freeman) and Gandalf the Grey (Ian McKellan) who informs the merry hobbit that he’ll be going on an adventure and that he needs to prepare. Before the evening is even over with, Bilbo is joined at his quiet home with the presence of thirteen dwarves, including the warrior leader Thorin (Richard Armitage). The company is quick to make themselves at home, feasting and celebrating, and all before Bilbo learns of their journey to reclaim the Dwarf kingdom known as Erebor. Reluctantly at first, Bilbo eventually joins the ranks of the team as their “thief”  and journeys with them on an adventure he never expected in the first place. Gandalf saw something in him that he couldn’t even see for himself.

As the perilous journey continues, they face great danger against Trolls, Orcs, Goblins, and other obstacles on their way to Erebor. What no one expects is that Bilbo will accidentally stumble upon a small golden ring, and that there would be a chance encounter between Bilbo and a creature named Gollum. The rest of the history of Middle Earth waits from here. There was so much anticipation for this film that it is nearly unparalleled in the history of film. It sounds like an exaggeration to state that there was that much hope and anticipation surrounding this film, but the fan-base surrounding this production is unlike anything else out there. The fan base is so dedicated and enthralled in the works of Tolkien and in director Jackson’s vision for bringing these stories to life. There is a lot of dedication from the fans and from those who are involved with making the films happen.


How many big-budget films are given a prequel treatment that is massively enticing to loyal fans and the masses at large? The only film to compare it to  is that of Star Wars’s prequel The Phantom Menace. Unfortunately, we know the results of that prequel film and series was disappointing for many fans. So the question soon centers upon whether or not fans felt the same way about The Hobbit on film. Luckily, the comparisons can end there, because while some viewers may quibble over sentiments that express disappointment that The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey isn’t exactly on the same precise level of filmmaking found in The Lord of the Rings trilogy it’s clear this film isn’t underwhelming, even if for some it failed to live up to the built-up anticipation.

The Hobbit is also a revolutionary film that changes the game of filmmaking. This is the first production of films to be filmed with 48fps (frames per second) technology. The entire idea behind it was to make these films take full advantage of 3D technology so as to remove the effects of motion-blur commonly found and to increase the overall resolution and clarity. It wasn’t something the studio had in mind. This was all a part of Jackson’s vision for how to impact the future of filmmaking. Theaters projecting The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey and future installments had to upgrade their theater equipment just to project these films in the best format possible and that still isn’t realistic as a possibility for many theaters. Yet consider the fact that this is the first film ever produced with 48fps. And it was all because Jackson wanted to do something even greater; something audiences hadn’t even had the opportunity to experience before.

The industry standard of 24fps won’t disappear anytime soon (especially considering the higher costs associated with the technology of 48fps cameras) but at least it seems Jackson wasn’t all alone in wanting to advance the filmmaking game as James Cameron has already announced plans to film his next motion-picture with the same 48fps frame-rate. This is really quite the accomplishment. Almost everyone involved with The Lord of the Rings films creation in prominent roles came back to work with Peter Jackson in making The Hobbit films. This is perhaps one of the most notable elements of the entire production. Howard Shore has crafted another score that is just essential to the backbone of the film. Although it is highly enjoyable it is also a bit repetitive compared to earlier outings, with the greatest accomplishment in this entire outing being the stellar Misty Mountains song. Director of photography Andrew Lesnie is also back to being brilliant as the official photographer of Middle Earth and New Zealand.

Speaking of returning individuals, not only does Andy Serkis return to reprise his legendary performance of Gollum but he receives a promotion to second unit director. He continues to prove that he deserves a special Academy Award for outstanding acting in an uncomfortable outfit and suit thingymagig. Of course, he’s also brilliant all around and a real asset to these films (and now apparently in several ways). While Jackson also keeps things interesting for the adults in the audience  he clearly seems to keep in mind that the story needed to be a more jubilant one and the results are the funniest and most simply enjoyable film in the series to date. It’s the kind of film you could simply put on and get lost within for a few joyful hours. The whole family can share in enjoying this adventure story. The journey continues with an unlikely team of heroes that have set out to reclaim Erebor, their homeland, from the all-powerful Smaug (Benedict Cumberbatch). Bilbo Baggins (Martin Freeman) is the hobbit that fits the role of the thief to steal from the living dragon. Little does the rest of his team know that he’s in possession of the mysterious and magical ring that he took from Gollum. The leader of their team, Gandalf the Grey (Ian McKellen) goes off course in order to fight the very darkness that threatens the world. They soon realize that they will need the help from every race, and more, if they ever hope to defeat the great darkness that will soon overtake all of the lands.

 

 

CAST

Martin Freeman (Captain American: Civil War)
Ian McKellen (X-Men)
Richard Armitage (Hannibal)
Ken Stott (Spivs)
Graham McTavish (King Arthur)
William Kircher (Xena)
James Nesbitt (Monroe)
Stephen Hunter (All Saints)
Dean O’ Gorman (Young Hercules)
Aidan Turner (Being Human)
John Callen (Power Rangers Jungle Fury)
Peter Hambleton (A Twist In The Tale)
Jed Brophy (Heavenly Creatures)
Mark Hadlow (King Kong 2005)
Adam Brown (Pirates of The Caribbean 5)
Hugo Weaving (The Matrix)
Cate Blanchett (Hanna)
Sylvester McCoy (Doctor Who)
Lee Pace (Pushing Daises)
Orlando Bloom (Elizabethtown)
Evangeline Lilly (Ant-Man)
Stephen Fry (Bones)
Luke Evans (Dracula Untold)
Manu Bennett (Arrow)
Benedict Cumberbatch (Atonement)
Ryan Gage (The Musketeers)

The tales are still unravelling and a lot of the characters are still telling their backstories. However, Peter Jackson and co. don’t allow this picture to go without any action. The orcs continue to follow the protagonists from one place to the next, with the intention of killing each one of them. As this danger comes upon each village, audiences are introduced to a batch of insanely entertaining action sequences. One of the most impressive happening down the rapids of a fast-moving stream. Even through the more subtle scenes, The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug has a much better sense of pacing that keeps it moving. Gandalf explores numerous environments, as he ventures the darkness of the curses that threaten the entire world. This team of writers don’t need to have constant battles in order to keep their audiences engaged. While some of the dialogue is intentionally cheesy, the majority of it holds its own fairly well. As expected, the film is humorous when it wants to be. There are a lot of gags against the stereotypes of dwarves that will surely gain some laughs from moviegoers. This works extremely well in bringing a change of tone to the picture every now and then. While the team continues to fight towards the mountain in which Smaug is underneath, they encounter a wide variety of different people and creatures. It’s all a matter of being able to tell the difference between friend and foe. Of course, a lot goes wrong along the way.

Despite having Smaug’s name in the title, he’s the antagonist held for the third act of the feature. This dangerous dragon makes for a meaty portion of the running time, as Bilbo attempts to sneak around the beat’s chamber without being detected. Once the group is faced with the task of fighting off the dragon, they’re forced to draw deep inside themselves in order to find the bravery and courage needed to at least put up a fight. There’s plenty of running around and fighting here, but Smaug gets quite a bit of time to speak with Bilbo before things start spinning out of control. Not only is the dragon threatening in size, appearance, and name, but is actually rather witty in his dialogue. This makes for a great final act that pulls everything together.

 

CAST

Martin Freeman (Captain American: Civil War)
Ian McKellen (X-Men)
Richard Armitage (Hannibal)
Ken Stott (Spivs)
Graham McTavish (King Arthur)
William Kircher (Xena)
James Nesbitt (Monroe)
Stephen Hunter (All Saints)
Dean O’ Gorman (Young Hercules)
Christopher Lee (Lord of The Rings)
Aidan Turner (Being Human)
John Callen (Power Rangers Jungle Fury)
Peter Hambleton (A Twist In The Tale)
Jed Brophy (Heavenly Creatures)
Mark Hadlow (King Kong 2005)
Adam Brown (Pirates of The Caribbean 5)
Ian Holm (Lord of The Rings)
Hugo Weaving (The Matrix)
Cate Blanchett (Hanna)
Sylvester McCoy (Doctor Who)
Lee Pace (Pushing Daises)
Orlando Bloom (Elizabethtown)
Evangeline Lilly (Ant-Man)
Stephen Fry (Bones)
Luke Evans (Dracula Untold)
Manu Bennett (Arrow)
Benedict Cumberbatch (Atonement)
Ryan Gage (The Musketeers)

The Battle of the Five Armies proves to be an accurate title for the last entry in the series. This entry picks up directly where The Desolation of Smaug left off with the impending doom of Laketown because of the approaching dragon Smaug. The people of the Laketown struggle during their confrontation with Smaug and try to defeat the dragon. It is ultimately up to the heroic Bard (Luke Evans) to try and stop Smaug from obliterating everything in the path and save Laketown. Thranduil (Lee Pace) now seeks the sacred jewels of his people and arrives with the elves to get them back from the dwarf kingdom. The humans of Laketown seek shelter and gold so they can rebuild their town. The dwarves, having been without their home for so long, unite and fight to protect the reclaimed mountain kingdom. Increasing chaos ensues as the orcs arrive and bring with them bats bred for war and goblins. The threat of the rise of Sauron (the Necromancer) looms in the background.

As the story progresses, it becomes clear a war is brewing in Middle Earth between the dwarves, the elves, the orcs (under the separate commands of Azog and Bolg), and the men of Laketown (who are fighting alongside Bard). Gandalf (Ian McKellen) must try and prevent the battle that looms but is faced with escaping the grasp of the necromancer with the help of Galadriel (Cate Blanchett). Upon arriving outside of the dwarf kingdom before the battle begins, Gandalf tries uniting the men, dwarves, and elves as he senses the impending war approaching with the orcs and wants the armies strengths combined so they can defeat the orcs. Bilbo Baggins (Martin Freeman) also tries to unite the divided armies of men, dwarfs, and elves. Legolas (Orlando Bloom) and Tauriel (Evangeline Lilly) continue to be an aid to the dwarfs as needed and are thrust directly into the ensuing battle.

Dwarf leader Thorin (Richard Armitage) has become obsessed with finding the Arkenstone: the heart of the mountain. It is kept by Bilbo Baggins as he dislikes the way that power and greed has overtaken Thorin’s mind. Bilbo tries to remind Thorin of his important duties to those in need. Thorin, blinded by gold and the rage of his past, has to overcome his demons to fight as a hero once more before the war has ended. Bilbo, a true friend to Thorin, remains by his side as he faces a inner struggle to regain his sanity and to fight for what is right.

Following An Unexpected Journey and The Desolation of Smaug, The Battle of the Five Armies is easily the most action-packed of the three films. The entire film serves to act as a concluding act to the series. It concludes the story that was established in the first Hobbit film and brings additional closure to the entire six-film saga as it creates a bridge between series. With great adventure, action, and dramatic closure, The Battle of the Five Armies is another excellent experience in the cinematic land of Middle Earth.  The performances are impressive across the board in this film. Martin Freeman serves as a sort of anchor to the proceedings with his lovable performance as Bilbo.  Richard Armitage brings dramatic weight to the character of Thorin with his remarkable performance. As always, the great Ian McKellen makes Gandalf one of the series most beloved characters. Rightfully so. Evangeline Lilly does a superb job in the role of Tauriel. She brings her best to the part and makes an excellent action-hero. It’s a lot of fun to see Orlando Bloom bringing the character of Legolas back. Cate Blanchett is as good as always and Luke Evans brings something uniquely special to the film with his role as Bard. These performances mesh together remarkably well and help the film to succeed during both moments of spectacle and dramatic events occurring between the characters.

 

 

REVIEW: POWER RANGERS: DINO CHARGE (SEASON 22)

MAIN CAST

Brennan Mejia (Kaboom)
Camille Hyde (Killer Kids)
Yoshua Sudarso (Shuriken Sentai Ninninger)
Michael Taber (The Legend of Hell’s Gate)
James Davies (Someone to Carry Me)
Claire Blackwelder (101 Ways To Get Rejected)
Davi Santos (Don’t Trust The B— In APartment 23)

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RECURRING / NOTABLE GUEST STARS

Eve Gordon (The Almighty Johnsons)
Adam Gardiner (Legend of The Seeker)
Paul Harrop (Power Rangers Samurai)
Estevez Gillespie (Power Rangers Megaforce)
Jackie Clarke (The Semisis)
Richard Simpson (Power Rangers Jungle Fury)
Gerald Urquhart (Power Rangers Operation OVerdrive)
Alex Walker (When We Go To War)
Campbell Cooley (Vertical Limit)
Toni Potter (Shortland Street)
Jeff Szusterman (Power Rangers Samurai)
Nic Sampson (Power Rangers Mystic Force)
Patricia Vichmann (The Dark Horse)
Kelson Henderson (Ash vs Evil Dead)
Peter Daube (Power Rangers Dino Thunder)
Paolo Rotondo (Xena: Warrior Princess)
Jarred Blakiston (The Hobbit)
Bruce Phillips (Power Rangers RPM)
Jazmyne Van Gosliga (Deadly Women)
Mia Simons (Legend of The Seeker)
Arhur Ranford (The Piano)
Kirk Torrance (Outrageous Fortune)
Stephen Butterworth (Evil Dead 2013)
Ryan Carter (Power Rangers Dino SuperCharge)
Reuben Turner (Rush)
Lori Dungey (Hercules: TLJ)
John Sumner (District 9)
Beth Kayes (Perfect Creature)

I’m quite pleased with the cast of “Dino Charge,” the 22nd season of the Power Rangers franchise, which premiered on Nickelodeon on Feb. 7, 2015. The new actors all have high degrees of charm, energy and charisma and their characters are more interesting and more layered than the individual rangers have been in some time. They’re also older than the Rangers have been in a while. These aren’t high school kids but young adults just past college age and venturing out into the working world for the first time. InThe female ranger here is the Pink Ranger, of course, and the character, Shelby, is played by a black American actress (Camille Hyde), making her the first black Pink Ranger ever. Not only that, but she’s the first black female ranger in 14 years—since Yellow Ranger Katie Walker (Deborah Estelle Philips) in “Power Rangers Time Force” back in 2001.

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Shelby also happens to be the most compelling character here given her extensive knowledge of dinosaurs and the constant need to prove herself in her efforts to make a real impact on the Rangers’ mission. She also expresses dissatisfaction at having to work as a waitress in the cafeteria of the Amber Beach Dinosaur Museum during her downtime when she’s got so much paleontological knowledge to share. Their supervisor, Kendall Morgan (Claire Blackwelder), also director of the museum, which houses the laboratory base of Power Rangers operations, who has some prickly exchanges with Shelby.

The four male rangers are all personable, endearing characters, each with different backgrounds. Tyler, the Red Ranger (played by Brennan Mejia), Tyler’s father was an archaeologist who disappeared after tangling with one of the lead villains here, a monstrous armored warrior called Fury, who Tyler gets into a serious battle with in episode #8 (“Double Ranger, Double Danger”). Tyler hopes to find his father or at least learn his fate. He keeps a journal and sometimes narrates his thoughts about the others.Blue-RangerKoda, the Blue Ranger, is a caveman who has somehow been revived after being buried alive a few thousand millennia ago during a confrontation with one of the ancient villains they’re now facing. (It’s all explained in #4: “Return of the Caveman”) He’s played by Yoshua Sudarso, from Indonesia, as someone new to the modern world and struggling with the language and the new technologies he witnesses around him.

Riley, the Green Ranger, is a white farm boy (played by Michael Taber), newly arrived in the city, who has a very precise way of doing things, which sometimes puts him at odds with the Black Ranger, Chase Randall (James Davies), a slacker from New Zealand given to riding a skateboard with headphones on. One episode (#6: “The Tooth Hurts”) shows their contentious relationship and how they learn to adapt their working methods to each other. It’s a highlight of the series so far because of the way it develops the characters and their working relationships, something not always given much attention in past PR seasons.


Even though the series is shot in New Zealand, as have the previous eleven seasons (since “Power Rangers Ninja Storm,” 2003), this season appears to take place in California. The series is adapted from “Zyuden Sentai Kyoryuger,” the 2013 sentai season in Japan, one of three sentai seasons with a dinosaur theme, the first being “Kyoryu Sentai Zyuranger,” the basis for the original “Mighty Morphin Power Rangers.” Since I’m following “Kyoryuger” episodes as well, I am happy to note that much of the Power Rangers fight footage in “Dino Charge” and most of the villain scenes seem to be newly shot in New Zealand for this version while the Zord battles, which take up the last five minutes, are, as usual, taken from the Japanese original. When we get to the back half the season  Three new Rangers appear, with one (Gold Ranger) joining the team as a regular member and the others appearing intermittently (“Graphite Ranger” and Purple Ranger). This means there have been a total of eight Rangers so far this season. That’s gotta be a record. And based on its conclusion.maxresdefaultPower Rangers Dino Charge certinally is a great season and the little cliffhanger leaves you waiting for Season 23: Power Rangers Dino Supercharge.Dino-Drive-Purple