REVIEW: RESIDENT EVIL

CAST

Milla Jovovich (The Three Musketeers)
Michelle Rodriguez (Machete)
Eric Mabius (Ugly Betty)
James Purefoy (Solomon Kane)
Martin Crewes (DOA)
Colin Salmon (Arrow)
Jason Isaacs (Peter Pan)

Underneath Raccoon City exists a genetic research facility called the Hive, owned by the Umbrella Corporation. A thief steals the genetically engineered T-virus and contaminates the Hive with it. In response, the facility’s artificial intelligence, the Red Queen, seals the Hive and kills everyone inside.

Alice awakens naked in the bathroom of a deserted mansion with amnesia. She dresses, checks the mansion, and is subdued by an unknown person. A group of Sanitation Team commandos led by James Shade breaks into the mansion and arrests Matt Addison, who just transferred as a cop in Raccoon P.D. The group travels to the underground train under the mansion that leads to the Hive, where they find Spence. The commandos explain that everyone in the group except Matt is an employee of the Umbrella Corporation, and Alice and her partner Spence are security guards for a Hive entrance under the disguise of a couple living in the mansion. Five hours prior, the Red Queen had shut down the entire facility and released a gas which killed everyone inside, flooded the labs, and destroyed the elevators, also causing Spence and Alice’s amnesia.

At the Queen’s chamber, a laser defense system kills Shade and three more commandos. Despite the Red Queen’s urgent pleas for the group to leave, Kaplan disables the Red Queen systems, and the power fails, opening all of the doors in the Hive. This releases the zombified staff and containment units containing Lickers. When everyone regroups, they are ambushed by a horde of zombies and a gunfight ensues. J.D. perishes as the group becomes overwhelmed. A bitten Rain retreats with Kaplan and Spence; Matt becomes separated from Alice, who starts regaining her memories.

Matt looks for information about his sister Lisa and finds her zombified. Alice saves him, and Matt explains he and Lisa were environmental activists, and Lisa infiltrated Umbrella to smuggle out the evidence of illegal experiments. Alice remembers she was Lisa’s contact in the Hive but does not tell Matt. The survivors reunite at the Queen’s chamber, and the commandos explain they have one hour before the Hive traps them inside automatically. Alice and Kaplan activate the Red Queen to find an exit. To force her cooperation, they rig a remote shutdown. As they escape through maintenance tunnels, zombies ambush them, and a reanimated J.D. bites Rain before getting killed. The group reaches safety, but Kaplan is bitten and separated. Alice remembers that an anti-virus is in the lab, but they find it missing. Spence remembers he stole and released the virus. He hid the T-virus and anti-virus on the train. Spence is bitten by a zombie, which he kills before trapping the survivors in the lab. He retrieves the anti-virus, but is ambushed and killed by a Licker. The Red Queen offers to spare Alice and Matt if they kill Rain, whose health is fading and who has been infected too long for the anti-virus to work reliably. As the Licker attempts to reach them, a power outage occurs. The lab door opens to reveal Kaplan forced the Red Queen to open the door. The group heads to the train, where Alice retrieves the T-virus and kills a reanimated Spence before escaping with the others.On the train, they inject Rain and Kaplan with the anti-virus. However, the Licker is hiding on the train and attacks them, clawing Matt and killing Kaplan. In the ensuing battle, Alice subdues the Licker before Matt is attacked by a now-zombified Rain. He shoots Rain dead, causing her head to hit a trapdoor button, opening it and dropping the Licker under the train which ultimately kills it for good. At the mansion, Matt’s wound begins mutating. Before Alice can give him the anti-virus, the mansion doors burst open and a group of Umbrella scientists seizes them. They subdue Alice and take Matt away, revealing he is to be put into the Nemesis Program. Some time later, Alice awakens at the Raccoon City Hospital strapped to an examination table, with no memory of what happened since her capture. After escaping, she goes outside to find Raccoon City abandoned and ruined. Alice arms herself with a shotgun from an abandoned police car as the camera pans out.

The film did an excellent job establishing characters without too much unnecessary background, developing them just enough to make you want to know what they’ll do next, to make you care before the sudden and gruesome happens to them. The acting was above par for a Resident Evil, certainly much better than the first game. The plot was no more comic bookish than any of the games. My one complaint was that the characters were too battle-trained, too slick, too good at fighting for them to be sympathetic horror subjects. This could’ve been balanced out with more reaction shots showing the soldiers wetting themselves. But Alice’s over-the-top commando-style action made her too much of a super heroine to really make anyone concerned about her survival; characters made of Teflon make good action but apathetic horror subjects.

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REVIEW: GREEN ZONE

CAST

Matt Damon (Jason Bourne)
Amy Ryan (Gone Baby Gone)
Brendan Gleeson (Troy)
Greg Kinnear (Movie 43)
Yigal Naor (300: Rise of An Empire)
Jason Isaacs (Star Trek: Discovery)
Khalid Abdalla (East To West)
Michael O’Neill (Transformers)

On March 19, 2003, Iraqi General Mohammed Al-Rawi (Yigal Naor) flees his residence amid the bombardment of Baghdad. Before leaving the compound, he passes a notebook to his aide Seyyed, instructing him to warn his officers to get to their safehouses and wait for his signal.Four weeks later, U.S. Army Chief Warrant Officer Roy Miller (Matt Damon) and his platoon check a warehouse for Iraqi weapons of mass destruction. To Miller’s surprise, the warehouse has not been secured, with looters making their way in and out, as soldiers from the 101st Airborne Division are too few to do much. After a firefight with a sniper, Miller finds that the warehouse is empty, the third consecutive time he has found nothing. Later, at a debriefing, Miller brings up the point that the majority of the intel given to him is inaccurate and anonymous. High-ranking officials quickly dismiss his concerns. Afterward, CIA agent Martin Brown (Brendan Gleeson) tells him that the next place he is to search was inspected by a UN team two months before and that it too has been confirmed empty.Meanwhile, U.S. Department of Defense official Clark Poundstone (Greg Kinnear) welcomes returning Iraqi exile politician Ahmed Zubaidi (Raad Rawi) at the airport. There Poundstone is questioned by Wall Street Journal reporter Lawrie Dayne (Amy Ryan). She says she needs to speak directly to “Magellan”, but Poundstone brushes her off.Meanwhile, while checking another unpromising site, Miller is approached by an Iraqi who calls himself “Freddy” (Khalid Abdalla). Freddy tells him that he saw some Ba’ath Party VIPs meeting in a nearby home. They include Al-Rawi and his officers and aides in Baghdad, who are discussing the current situation. Al-Rawi decides to wait for the Americans to offer him a deal, and attack if they don’t. As the meeting ends, Miller and his men burst into the house. Al-Rawi narrowly escapes, but Seyyed is captured. Before Miller can extract much information, Seyyed is taken away by Special Operations personnel – however, Miller keeps Al-Rawi’s notebook. Dayne complains to Poundstone again, but he states that the stakes are much larger than her role in selling newspapers.Miller goes to Brown’s hotel room in the Green Zone, where he tells him what happened and gives him the notebook. Brown arranges for Miller to get into the prison where Seyyed is being interrogated. Miller is then approached by Dayne, who questions him about the false reports of WMDs. Miller bluffs his way in to see Seyyed. Near death after being tortured, he tells Miller that they “did everything you asked us to in the meeting.” When Miller asks what meeting he is talking about, he says one word: “Jordan.” Miller then confronts Dayne about the bogus intel she published, but she refuses to identify Magellan, her source. After Miller tells her he suspects that Al-Rawi is Magellan, Dayne reluctantly confirms that Magellan met with a high-ranking official in February in Jordan.Miller realizes that Poundstone’s men are hunting Al-Rawi, and can think of only one reason: Al-Rawi confirmed there was no Iraqi WMD program and is now a major liability. Poundstone confiscates the notebook from Martin; it contains the locations of Al-Rawi’s safe houses. When Miller tries to arrange a meeting with Al-Rawi, he is abducted by Al-Rawi’s men following Poundstone’s announcement of the decision to disband the entire Iraqi army. Al-Rawi tells Miller that he informed Poundstone that the WMD program had been dismantled after the First Persian Gulf War; Poundstone, however, reported that Al-Rawi had confirmed there were WMDs so the US government would have an excuse to invade. Poundstone’s men attack the locations listed in the notebook. When they get to the general’s hiding place, he flees, ordering one man to kill Miller. Miller manages to kill his captor and races after Al-Rawi. Miller finally captures Al-Rawi, but Freddy suddenly appears and shoots the general, stating that the fate of Iraq is “not his to decide.” With his only witness against Poundstone now dead, Miller tells Freddy to flee.Later, Miller writes a scathing report. He confronts Poundstone in a meeting and gives him the report, but Poundstone dismisses it, telling Miller that WMDs do not matter. Poundstone then rejoins the meeting, only to see Iraqi factional leaders reject Zubaidi, the US’s choice as leader of Iraq, as an American puppet and storm out. Afterwards, Dayne receives Miller’s report by email. The recipient list includes reporters for major news agencies around the world.Green Zone is an excellent movie that will be thoroughly enjoyed by fans of political conspiracy thrillers.

REVIEW: FURY


CAST

Brad Pitt (World War Z)
Logan Lerman (The Three Musketeers)
Shia LaBeouf (Transformers)
Michael Peña (Ant-Man)
Jon Bernthal (The Punisher)
Jason Isaacs (Peter Pan)
Scott Eastwood (Texas Chainsaw)
Xavier Samuel (Twilight: Eclipse)
Brad William Henke (Split)

Don “Wardaddy” Collier, a battle-hardened U.S. Army staff sergeant in the 2nd Armored Division, commands an M4 Sherman “Easy Eight” tank named Fury and its five-man, all-veteran crew: gunner Boyd “Bible” Swan; loader Grady “Coon-Ass” Travis; and driver Trini “Gordo” Garcia (all of whom have been together since the North African Campaign), as the Allies make their final push into Nazi Germany. When the tank’s original assistant driver/bow gunner, “Red”, is killed in action, Private Norman Ellison (a fresh recruit trained only as a clerk typist) is assigned to be an immediate replacement.As Fury and its tank platoon move deeper into Germany, Norman’s inexperience becomes dangerous: first when he fails to shoot several Hitler Youth child soldiers — who ambush the commanding officer’s tank with a Panzerfaust, killing the entire crew, and then later during a skirmish with German anti-tank guns in which he hesitates under fire. Wardaddy is angered at his incompetence, and after the battle, he orders Norman to execute a captive German soldier. When Norman refuses, Wardaddy wrestles a pistol into his hand and forces him to pull the trigger, killing the prisoner and traumatizing Norman. Wardaddy then leads the tanks to capture a small German town, where Norman kills several German soldiers. While searching an apartment, Wardaddy and Norman encounter a German woman, Irma, and her younger cousin, Emma. Norman and Emma go into the bedroom together and have sex. The four then have breakfast, but the rest of Fury’s crew barges in, harassing the women and angering Wardaddy and Norman. As the men prepare to leave, a German artillery bombardment strikes the town. Norman finds Emma among the dead, which traumatizes him once more.Wardaddy and his platoon are then ordered to hold a vital crossroads to prevent the enemy from attacking the Allies’ vulnerable rear lines. They head to their objective, only to be ambushed by a German Tiger I. Wardaddy leads the Shermans in a counterattack; their shells fail to penetrate the Tiger’s thick frontal armor, and its heavier gun knocks out three tanks from the platoon. Fury eventually destroys the Tiger by outmaneuvering it and firing into its thinner rear armor, but with the radio damaged, Fury is forced to continue the mission alone. Just as it reaches the crossroads, the tank is immobilized by a landmine. Norman is ordered to scout a nearby hill where he spots a battalion of Waffen-SS panzergrenadiers heading their way. The crew initially wants to flee, but Wardaddy refuses to leave and they decide to stay.The crew disguise Fury so that it will appear knocked out, and then wait for the approaching Germans inside. They share a bottle of whiskey, and Norman is finally accepted by the crew and given his nickname: “Machine”. When the Germans arrive, the crew ambush them using both the tank’s and their own personal weapons. As ammunition runs out and the battle turns desperate, Grady is killed by a Panzerfaust round penetrating the turret; Gordo is wounded and then sacrifices himself by covering one of his dropped grenades; then a sniper kills Bible and severely wounds Wardaddy. Wardaddy then orders Norman to escape through an emergency hatch in the floor as the Germans drop grenades into the tank. Norman slips out just as they explode, killing Wardaddy. Norman tries to hide as the Germans move on, but is quickly discovered by a young SS soldier. The soldier hesitates and then leaves, deciding not to report him.The next morning, Norman awakens and crawls back into the tank, where he covers Wardaddy’s corpse with his coat and takes his revolver as he hears movement outside. Norman awaits his fate, only to discover he is being rescued by US soldiers, who tell him that he is a hero. As Norman is transported away to safety, he looks back at the carnage behind him: the countless dead German troops lying around the battered Fury.Amazing war film. Very realistic and gritty with superb battle scenes. Very hard to watch in places as it portrays how dehumanising war is. Extremely well made and filmed.

REVIEW: PETER PAN (2003)

CAST

Jeremy Sumpter (Excision)
Jason Isaacs (Fury)
Rachel Hurd-Wood (Dorian Gray)
Lynn Redgrave (Kinsey)
Richard Briers (Murder She said)
Olivia Williams (An Education)
Ludivine Sagnier (The Young Pope)
Saffron Burrows (Deep Blue Sea)
Bruce Spence (Mad Max 2)

In the nursery of the Darling home located in Edwardian era London in 1904, Wendy Darling tells her younger brothers John and Michael stories about a boy called Peter Pan and his fairy friend Tinker Bell. Life is disrupted when their Aunt Millicent intervenes. Judging Wendy to be an “almost” full-grown woman, Aunt Millicent advises Mr. and Mrs. Darling to think of Wendy’s future, saying that Wendy should spend less time in the nursery, and more time with herself, to become a grown woman. The very idea terrifies the children.

Wendy daydreams about having seen Peter in the night, and along with the family’s “nurse” dog Nana, embarrasses her father in front of his superiors. As a punishment, Mr. Darling chains Nana outside and declares it time for Wendy to grow up. Peter visits the nursery again looking for his shadow, which Nana had bitten off, and introduces himself. After being acquainted, Wendy sews his shadow back on and is enchanted by Peter’s tales of his adventures in Neverland. She asks Peter if she can kiss him, but because he does not know what a kiss is, ends up giving him a thimble instead. He returns the “kiss” by plucking an acorn from his shirt and giving it to her. Peter invites her to be “mother” to his gang of Lost Boys. She asks to bring her brothers, John and Michael, to which Peter agrees. He grabs Tinker Bell and shakes fairy dust on the children and tells them to think of happy thoughts. Nana, having escaped her chain, leads Mr. and Mrs. Darling back home, but they arrive too late to stop the children.

The Children fly over London and then to Neverland. They spy on Captain Hook’s(Isaacs) ship from a cloud. The pirates spot them and attack with their cannons. One knocks Wendy far away and the other causes Michael and John to fall towards the island below. Peter tells Tinker Bell to find Wendy and take her back to the hideout while he gets the boys. But Tinker Bell reaches the hideout without Wendy and out of jealousy, tricks the Lost Boys into shooting Wendy with an arrow. The boys learn the truth and confess to Peter but Wendy is revealed not to have been killed as the arrow hit the acorn necklace hung around her neck. Angry, Peter banishes Tinker Bell and ends their friendship. When Wendy finally awakens she finds the Lost Boys on their knees begging her to be their mother, which she accepts. They blindfold her and lead her to their hideout, and she finally realizes her brothers are missing. Michael and John stumble across the crocodile that ate Hook’s hand then encounter the Native American princess Tiger Lily (Carsen Gray). All three are then captured by Hook and taken to the Black Castle to use as bait for Peter Pan. Wendy and Peter visit the mermaids’ lagoon to ask the dark and mysterious creatures to help in locating John and Michael, and learn that Hook has her brothers. Peter and Hook engage in a duel but it is stopped when the ticking crocodile arrives and tries to eat Hook, allowing the children to all escape.

That night, after a celebration at the Indians’ camp, Peter shows Wendy the fairies’ home and the two share a dance. Hook spies on the two and soon comes across Tinker Bell, who is still hurt and upset from being banished, and charms her into telling him more about Peter and Wendy. Peter becomes upset with Wendy after she tries to get him to tell her if he loves her in return and tells her to go home and grow up if she’s not happy. Wendy, hurt, leaves to be alone. Hook has the sleeping Wendy carried to his ship. There, he entices her to become a pirate but sends a spy to follow her to the Lost Boys’ underground hideout afterwards. Wendy soon comes to her senses and tells her brothers that the three of them will be going home, which upsets Peter. The Lost Boys ask if they can go too, upsetting Peter even more. Wendy tries to say goodbye to Peter but he turns away in sadness. She leaves him a cup of medicine and tells him not to forget to take it.

The pirates capture the boys outside and Hook goes down into the tree and puts a drop of poison in Peter’s medicine. He is about to drink the medicine, but Tinker Bell stops him and drinks the poison herself. Peter telepathically reaches out to children sleeping around the world, the Darlings, Aunt Millicent, the Lost Boys, and even the pirates to assert their belief in fairies, which brings Tinker Bell back to life. Peter and Tinker Bell save Wendy and the boys from walking the plank by making the pirates think the crocodile is on board, and a battle soon breaks out. Hook sprinkles himself with Tinker Bell’s fairy dust and fights Peter in a duel while flying. Hook taunts him about Wendy abandoning him and forgetting all about him when she grows up. Weakened by those thoughts and unable to fight, Peter gives in to his inevitable death. Seeing this as goodbye, Wendy gives Peter her hidden kiss, which gives him the strength to recover. Peter re-engages Hook, who loses his confidence and falls into the waiting jaws of the crocodile.

With the ship covered in fairy dust, Peter flies Wendy and the boys back to London. Mr. and Mrs. Darling are overjoyed at the return of their children, and adopt the Lost Boys. Slightly, who got lost on the way to London and arrives at the house too late, is adopted by the lonely Aunt Millicent. Peter promises never to forget Wendy and to return someday before heading back to Neverland with Tinker Bell. According to the adult Wendy, she never saw Peter again, but she continues to tell his story to her own children and grandchildren so that his legacy will last forever.

Hogan and company have brought the Barrie work to the screen and have rightly restored to it a child’s sense of awe and wonder, of both beauty and terror co-existing side by side and for this reason alone it is the definitive film version of Peter Pan

REVIEW: HIGHLANDER: THE SERIES – SEASON 1-6

Image result for highlander the series logo

MAIN CAST

Adrian Paul (Eyeborgs)
Alexander Vandernoot (Pret-A-Porter)
Stan Kirsch (Shallow Ground)
Amanda Wyss (A Nightmare On Elm Street)
Elizabeth Gracen (Death of The Incredible Hulk)
Jim Byrnes (Sanctuary)
Philip Akin (Robocop 2014)
Michel Modo (My Father’s Glory)
Lisa Howard (Earth: Final Conflict)
Peter Wingfield (Caprica)

RECURRRING / NOTABLE GUEST CAST

Christopher Lambert (Fortress)
Richard Moll (Scary Movie 2)
Wendell Wright (Power Rangers Wild Force)
Peter Deluise (21 Jump Street)
Matthew Walker (Andromeda)
Soon-Tek Oh (Mulan)
Vincent Schiavelli (Buffy)
John Novak (Wishmaster 3 & 4)
Garry Chalk (Dark Angel)
Joan Jett (The Sweet Life)
Gary Jones (Stargate SG.1)
Wes Studi (Mystery Men)
Marc Singer (V)
Brent Stait (Andromeda)
Joe Pantoliano (The Matrix)
Stephen Macht (Galaxina)
Scott McNeil (Beast Wars)
Vanity (52 Pick-Up)
J.G. Hertzler (Star Trek: DS9)
Tom Butler (Freddy vs Jason)
Werner Stocker (The White Rose)
Peter Howitt (Defying Gravity)
Roland Gift (Brakes)
Dee Dee Bridgewater (Another Life)
Jason Isaacs (Peter Pan)
Nigel Terry (Troy)
Anthoyn Head (Buffy)
Marion Cotillard (Contagion)
Peter Guinness (Alien 3)
Roger Daltrey (Tommy)
Peter Hudson (Hitman)
Michael Shanks (Stargate SG.1)
Cameron Bancroft (Legends of Tomorrow)
Douglas Arthurs (Stargate SG.1)
J.H. Wyman (Sirens)
Geraint Wyn Davies (Cube 2)
Traci Lords (Zack & Miri Make a Porno)
Andrew Jackson (Earth: Final Conflict)
Kendall Cross (Caprica)
Sheena Easton (Young Blades)
Don S. Davis (Stargate SG.1)
Robert Wisden (Watchmen)
Mitchell Kosterman (Smallville)
Dan Castellaneta (The Simpsons)
Robert Ito (Quincy M.E.)
Dustin Nguyen (21 Jump Street)
Bruce A. Young (Jurassic PArk III)
Andrea Roth (Ringer)
Roddy Piper (They Live)
Bill Dow (Stargate Atlantis)
Gabrielle Miller (Down River)
Bruce Weitz (Hill Street Blues)
Nicholas Lea (V)
Lochlyn Munro (Little Man)
Jonathan Banks (The Lizzie Borden Chronicles)
Ed Lauter (The Number 23)
Roark Critchlow (V)
Jeremy Brudenell (Wish Me Luck)
Peter Firth (Victoria)
Angeline Ball (My Girl 2)
Nia Peeples (Pretty Little Liars)
James Faulkner (X-Men: First Class)
Nadia Cameron-Blakey (Batman Begins)
Emile Abossolo M’bo (Hitman)
Martin Cummins (Bates Motel)
Stephen McHattie (300)
Tamlyn Tomita (Heroes)
Hiro Kanagawa (Heroes Reborn)
Randall Cobb (Liar Liar)
Chandra West (White Noise)
Brion James (Blade Runner)
Jason Gray-Stanford (Bones)
Alan Scarfe (Andromeda)
John Pyper-Ferguson (Caprica)
Myles Ferguson (Little Criminals)
Jesse Moss (Ginger Snaps)
Sherry Miller (Bitten)
Laura Harris (Dead Like me)
Garwin Sanford (Stargate SG.1)
Anthony De Longis (Masters of The Universe)
Vincent Gale (Van Helsing)
Tamara Gorski (Hercules: TLJ)
Stella Stevens (General Hospital)
Barry Pepper (The Green Mile)
Vivan Wu (Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles III)
Richard Lynch (Puppet Master III)
Eugene Lipinski (Arrow)
David Robb (Downtown Abbey)
Lynda Boyd (Sanctuary)
Kim Johnston Ulrich (3rd Rock From The Sun)
Ben Pullen (Elizabeth I)
Paudge Behan (Veronica Guerin)
Carsten Norgaard (Alien vs Predator)
Anna Hagen (The Messengers)
Laurie Holden (the Walking Dead)
Gerard Plunkett (Sucker Punch)
Kristin Minter (Home Alone)
Wolfgang Bodison (A Few Good Men)
Pruitt Taylor Vince (Heroes Reborn)
Callum Keith Rennie (Flashforward)
Louis Ferreira (Stargate Universe)
Travis MacDonald (Warcraft)
Venus Terzo (Arrow)
Rachel Hayward (Jingle All The Way 2)
Nicholas Campbell (Da Vinci’s Inquest)
Peter Outerbridge (Beauty and the Beast)
Jill Teed (Battlestar Galactica)
Molly Parker (Deadwood)
Emmanuelle Vaugier (Two and a Half men )
Ann Turkel (The Fear)
Ron Halder (Stargate Sg.1)
Ocean Hellman (Voyage of The Unicorn)
Rae Dawn Chong (Commando)
Carl Chase (Batman)
Michael J. Jackson (Coronation Street)
Ricco Ross (Wishmaster)
Peta Wilson (La Femme Nikita)
Jamie Harris (Agents of Shield)
Crispin Bonham-Carter (Basil)
Stephen Tremblay (Unnatural Pursuits)
Jesse Joe Walsh (JCVD)
Tracy Scoggins (Lois & Clark)
Real Andrews (Born on The 4th of July)
Eric McCormack (Will & Grace)
Ian Tracey (Bates Motel)
Michael Kopsa (Dark Angel)
Alastair Duncan (The Batman)
Sandra Bernhard (2 Broke Girls)
April Telek (Walking Tall)
Andrew Divoff (Wishmaster)
Steve Bacic (Andromeda)
Kira Clavell (Ninja Turtles: Next Mutation)
Ron Perlman (Hellboy)
Peter Hanlon (Scary Movie)
Musetta Vander (Stargate SG.1)
Valetnine Pelka (8mm 2)
Sonja Codhant (Navarro)
Jonathan Firth (Withering Heights)
Danny Dyer (Severance)
Rachel Shelley (The L Word)
Alexis Denisof (Angel)
Anita Dobson (Eastenders)
Jasper Britton (The New World)
Alice Evans (The Originals)
Andrew Bricknell (Victoria)
Justina Vail (Seven Days)
Sandra Hess (Encino Man)
Claudia Christian (Babylon 5)
Jack Ellis (Bad Girls)
Paris Jefferson (Xena)_
Martin McDougall (Batman Begins)

Few television series’ that are based on movies live up to the original version, either because they simply don’t have right qualities that made the movie great or they the people making the show just don’t give a damn. “Highlander: The Series”, however, is one of those rare exceptions.

Image result for highlander the seriesBased off of the original 1986 fan favorite and produced by same the executive producers William Panzer and Peter Davis, it continued the saga of the immortals, a race of beings destined to fight one another in sword fights in a centuries long event called the game and who can only be killed by decapitation, with the opponent taking their head and their power. In particular, the show centers around one such immortal named Duncan Macleod (Adrian Paul in his best role) of the Clan Macleod, a descendant of Connor Macleod (Christopher Lambert who reprises his role for the pilot) from the first film.Image result for highlander the seriesBorn in the highlands of Scotland in 1592, Duncan has roamed the world for 400 years, seen many different events, and has fought in many different wars and many battles with other immortals. And that last part is one of the things that made the show great. You could count on almost every episode to feature a spectacular sword fight with the villain of the week, a battle of life and death, with Duncan Macleod emerging victorious from yet another trying ordeal and even more spectacular quickening.

Image result for highlander the seriesBased on that, you might expect a show centering on such a plot to become boring or same old, same old, and the show might very well have become so. But, the truth is the show managed to constantly entertain and thrill for most of its run in large part because of the talent the show had. Adrian Paul was more than capable of carrying a show, bringing not only charm and charisma to the role of Duncan but also a strong sense of honor and chivalry, thus making Duncan Macleod one of the great television heroes.Image result for highlander the seriesBut it wasn’t just Adrian’s acting that made the show great; it was also due to the well blending of strong supporting actors, guest stars and villains, writers, and set designers and directors. You had Richie Ryan (Stan Kirsch), a young man who becomes a part of Duncan’s world in a way he never imagined. Joe Dawson (Jim Byrnes) a member of a secret society of mortals called the Watchers who dedicate themselves to watching and recording the deeds and actions of the immortals; the always enjoyable Methos (the wonderfully charismatic Peter Wingfield), a 5,000 year old immortal and the oldest living of his kind; Amanda (Elizabeth Grace), an immortal who’s had an on again, off again relationship with Duncan throughout the ages and who’s not put off by an occasional high-value heist or two to make a living, and a slew of guest stars, villains and other supporting actors that added to the show every week.Image result for highlander the seriesPlus, one must also give credit to behind the scenes people, who not only managed to make things interesting in the present, but the past as well. Every episode featured dazzling historical flashbacks, flashbacks that were so good there isn’t one where you didn’t believe the characters weren’t where the show said they were, be it World War I France or British Colonial India (these flashbacks are even more remarkable when you consider the fact that the show, because it was syndicated, had a much smaller budget than shows tied directly to a network). It was also a show that, like the original film, caused the viewer to wonder what would it be like to live indefinitely and witness the changing of the times? What kind of person would you become if you witnessed your time, your religion, possibly even your entire culture disappear into the mists of time?Image result for highlander the seriesAll this must be credited to the writers, led by creative consultant David Abramowitz, who had a lot to do with the magic of the show. Not to say, of course, that weren’t imperfections; some episodes dragged, and one or two of them were pretty bad (the episode “The Zone” is a good example of this), not to mention the fact that the show badly lost steam in the last season, a thing that tends to happen to most shows in the end. However, that being said, the show did far more for the Highlander franchise than any of the sequels ever did. For that reason, it’s a show that all fans of action and fantasy should check out.

REVIEW: HARRY POTTER AND THE DEATHLY HALLOWS – PART 2

CAST

Daniel Radcliffe (Horns)
Rupert Grint (Cherrybomb)
Emma Watson (This Is The End)
Helena Bonham Carter (Alice Through The Looking Glass)
Robbie Coltrane (Flash Gordon)
Warwick Davis (Leprechaun)
Tom Felton (The Flash)
Ralph Fiennes (Red Dragon)
Michael Gambon (Sleepy Hollow)
John Hurt (Hellboy)
Jason Isaacs (Peter Pan)
Alan Rickman (Alice Through The Looking Glass)
Maggie Smith (Clash of The Titans)
Kelly Macdonald (Anna Karenina)
Gary Oldman (Red Riding Hood)
David Thewlis (Kingdom of Heaven)
Julie Walters (Dinnerladies)
Evanna Lynch (G.B.F.)
Domhnall Gleeson (Dredd)
Helen McCrory (The Woman In Black 2)
Ciarán Hinds (Munich)
Natalia Tena (Game of Thrones)
Katie Leung (One Child)
Bonnie Wright (The Sea)
Jim Broadbent (Superman 4)
Scarlett Byrne (The Vampire Diaries)
Mark Williams (Agent Cody Banks 2)
David Bradley (Game of Thrones)
Emma Thompson (Junior)
Timothy Spall (Sweeney Todd)

After burying Dobby, Harry Potter asks the goblin Griphook to help him, Ron, and Hermione break into Bellatrix Lestrange’s vault at Gringotts bank, suspecting a Horcrux may be there. Griphook agrees, in exchange for the Sword of Gryffindor. Wandmaker Ollivander tells Harry that two wands taken from Malfoy Manor belonged to Bellatrix and to Draco Malfoy, but Malfoy’s has changed its allegiance to Harry.In Bellatrix’s vault, Harry discovers the Horcrux is Helga Hufflepuff’s cup. He retrieves it, but Griphook snatches the sword and abandons the trio, leaving them cornered by security. The three release the dragon guardian and flee on its back. Harry sees a vision of Voldemort killing goblins, including Griphook, and learns Voldemort is aware of the theft. Harry also realises there is a Horcrux at Hogwarts somehow connected to Rowena Ravenclaw. The trio apparate into Hogsmeade, where Aberforth Dumbledore reluctantly instructs the portrait of his deceased younger sister, Ariana, to fetch Neville Longbottom, who leads the trio through a secret passageway into Hogwarts.Severus Snape hears of Harry’s return and warns staff and students of punishment for aiding Harry. Harry confronts Snape, who flees after Minerva McGonagall challenges him to a duel. McGonagall gathers the Hogwarts community for battle. At Luna Lovegood’s insistence, Harry speaks to Helena Ravenclaw’s ghost, who reveals that Voldemort performed “dark magic” on her mother’s diadem, which is in the Room of Requirement. In the Chamber of Secrets, Ron and Hermione destroy the Horcrux cup with a Basilisk fang. In the Room of Requirement, Draco, Blaise Zabini and Gregory Goyle attack Harry after he finds the diadem, but Ron and Hermione intervene. Goyle casts a Fiendfyre curse and, unable to control it, is swallowed up by the flames while Harry and his friends save Malfoy and Zabini. Harry stabs the diadem with the Basilisk fang and Ron kicks it into the Room of Requirement, where it is destroyed. As Voldemort’s army attacks, Harry, seeing into Voldemort’s mind, realises that Voldemort’s snake Nagini is the final Horcrux. After entering the boathouse, the trio witness Voldemort incorrectly telling Snape that the Elder Wand cannot serve Voldemort until Snape dies since he killed its last owner (Dumbledore); he then orders Nagini to kill Snape, which Nagini does. Before dying, Snape tells Harry to take his memories to the Pensieve. In the chaos at Hogwarts, Fred, Lupin, and Tonks have been killed.Harry learns from Snape’s memories that Snape loved Harry’s late mother, Lily, but despised his father, James, who had bullied him. Following her death, Snape worked secretly with Dumbledore to protect Harry from Voldemort because of his love for Lily. Harry also learns Dumbledore wanted Snape to kill him, and that the Patronus doe he saw in the woods that led him to the sword had been conjured by Snape. Harry discovers that he himself became a Horcrux when Voldemort originally failed to kill him and that Harry must die to destroy the piece of Voldemort’s soul within him. Harry then surrenders himself to Voldemort in the Forbidden Forest. Voldemort casts the Killing Curse upon Harry, who finds himself in limbo, where Dumbledore’s spirit meets him and explains that the part of Voldemort within Harry was killed by Voldemort’s own curse. Harry then returns to his body, determined to defeat Voldemort once and for all.Voldemort announces Harry’s apparent death to everyone at Hogwarts and demands they all surrender. As Neville gives a defiant response and draws the Sword of Gryffindor from the Sorting Hat, Harry reveals he is still alive. While Harry confronts Voldemort in a duel throughout the castle, Molly Weasley kills Bellatrix in the Great Hall, and Neville decapitates Nagini, leaving Voldemort mortal. Harry and Voldemort’s fight ends with Voldemort’s own Killing Curse rebounding, killing and obliterating him. After the battle, Harry explains to Ron and Hermione that the Elder Wand had recognised him as its true master because he had disarmed Draco, who earlier had disarmed its previous owner, Dumbledore, but instead of claiming the Elder Wand, Harry breaks and discards it. Nineteen years later, Harry, Ginny, Hermione, Ron, and Draco proudly watch their own children leave for Hogwarts at King’s Cross station.What an amazing achievement to faithfully bring Rowling’s epic saga to the big screen with the same cast and largely the same crew, maintaining the brilliant quality right to the end.

REVIEW: HARRY POTTER AND THE HALF-BLOOD PRINCE

CAST

Daniel Radcliffe (Horns)
Rupert Grint (Cherrybomb)
Emma Watson (This Is The End)
Helena Bonham Carter (Alice Through The Looking Glass)
Robbie Coltrane (Flash Gordon)
Jim Broadbent (Brazil)
Warwick Davis (Leprechaun)
Tom Felton (The Flash)
Michael Gambon (Sleepy Hollow)
Alan Rickman (Alice Through The Looking Glass)
Maggie Smith (Clash of The Titans)
Timothy Spall (Vanilla Sky)
David Thewlis (Kingdom of Heaven)
Julie Walters (Brooklyn)
Bonnie Wright (Before I Sleep)
Helen McCrory (The Woman In Black 2)
Evanna Lynch (G.B.F.)
Scarlett Byrne (The Vampire Diaries)
Matthew Lewis (Happy Valley)
Natalia Tena (Game of Thrones)
Mark Williams (Agent Cody Banks 2)
Katie Leung (One Child)
David Bradley (Game of Thrones)
Jason Isaacs (Peter Pan)

Lord Voldemort is tightening his grip on both the wizarding and Muggle worlds and has chosen Draco Malfoy to carry out a secret mission. Severus Snape makes an Unbreakable Vow with Draco’s mother, Narcissa, to protect Draco and fulfill the assignment if he fails.

16-year-old Harry accompanies Albus Dumbledore to visit former Potions professor Horace Slughorn, who has gone into hiding but agrees to return to teach at Hogwarts. Dumbledore then takes Harry to the Burrow, where Harry reunites with his best friends Ron Weasley and Hermione Granger. Harry believes Voldemort has made Draco a Death Eater, after seeing Draco taking part in a ceremony, but Ron and Hermione are skeptical. At Hogwarts, Harry and Ron are forced to borrow textbooks for Slughorn’s Potions class, and Harry is stuck with a copy that turns out to be filled with helpful notes, instructions, and spells left by the book’s previous owner, the “Half-Blood Prince”. Using the book, Harry excels in the class and impresses Slughorn. Ron becomes Keeper of the Gryffindor Quidditch team and forms a romantic relationship with Lavender Brown, upsetting Hermione. Harry consoles Hermione, revealing that he now has feelings for Ron’s younger sister, Ginny Weasley.

Harry spends the Christmas holidays with the Weasleys. On Christmas Eve, Bellatrix Lestrange and Fenrir Greyback set fire to the Burrow. Back at school, Ron is nearly killed when he drinks poisoned mead, a drink originally intended for Dumbledore. While recovering, Ron murmurs Hermione’s name, causing Lavender to end their relationship. Harry confronts Draco and severely injures him with a Sectumsempra curse taken from the textbook of the Half-Blood Prince. Snape enters and quickly heals Draco’s wound. Fearing the book may be filled with more Dark Magic, Ginny and Harry hide it in the Room of Requirement and share their first kiss.

Dumbledore shows Harry memories of a young Tom Riddle and reveals that Slughorn retains a memory critical to Voldemort’s defeat. Harry eventually succeeds in retrieving the memory, and learns that Voldemort wanted information for creating Horcruxes, objects that contain pieces of his soul. In the memory, Tom asked if dividing his soul into seven pieces was possible. Dumbledore concludes that Voldemort eventually did this, and two of his Horcruxes have already been destroyed: Tom Riddle’s diary and his mother’s ring. After discovering the possible location of another Horcrux, Harry and Dumbledore travel to a seaside cave where Harry is forced to make Dumbledore drink a painful potion that hides the Horcrux, Slytherin’s locket. A weakened Dumbledore defends them from Inferi and apparates back to Hogwarts, where Bellatrix, Greyback and more Death Eaters have entered with Draco’s help through a Vanishing Cabinet.

Dumbledore instructs Harry to hide as Draco arrives, disarms Dumbledore and reveals that he has been chosen by Voldemort to kill the headmaster. However, he is unable to bring himself to do it, and Snape casts the Avada Kedavra curse instead, killing Dumbledore. Harry attempts to curse Snape, but Snape overpowers him and reveals that he is the Half-Blood Prince. Harry returns to the school to find the staff and students mourning Dumbledore. Harry later reveals to Ron and Hermione that the locket Horcrux was a fake. The locket contains a message from “R.A.B.”, stating that he has stolen the real Horcrux with the intent of destroying it. Rather than return for their final year at Hogwarts, Harry, Ron and Hermione vow to seek out and destroy the remaining Horcruxes.Purist fans will most certainly complain bitterly about numerous sub-plots, events and characters that were cut from the movie and the odd scene that doesn’t exist in the book. But Yates’ truly gutsy adaptation really works and brings a depth and clarity to the main themes of the book that is quite extraordinary. He manages to capture the lingering lightness of that time before the serious business of adulthood sets in, alongside the relentless buildup to the final showdown between The Dark Lord and The Chosen One. And the lack of closure at the end of the movie is no accident, I believe. Just like the book, this movie leaves you aching to see how it all ends.