REVIEW: THE BOYS – SEASON 1

Laz Alonso, Karl Urban, Jack Quaid, Tomer Capon, and Karen Fukuhara in The Boys (2019)

Starring

Karl Urban (Dredd)
Elisabeth Shue (Piranha 3D)
Laz Alonso (Straw Dogs)
Jack Quaid (Logan Lucky)
Karen Fukuhara (Suicide Squad)
Erin Moriarty (Jessica Jones)
Tomer Kapon (Wedding Doll)
Antony Starr (Outrageous Fortune)
Dominique McElligott (Leap Year)
Jessie Usher (Shaft)
Chace Crawford (Eloise)
Nathan Mitchell (IZombie)

Erin Moriarty and Jack Quaid in The Boys (2019)

Recurring / Notable Guest Cast

Simon Pegg (Ready Player One)
Jennifer Esposito (Summer of Sam)
Ann Cusack (Tank Girl)
Shaun Benson (ARQ)
Jimmy Fallon (Almost Famous)
Colby Minifie (Jessica Jones)
David Andrews (Terminator 3)
Brittany Allen (Falling Water)
Malcolm Barrett (Timeless)
Tara Reid (Sharknado)
Brit Morgan (Supergirl)
Jess Salgueiro (Mary Kills people)
Billy Zane (The Phantom)
Shantel VanSanten (The Flash)
Haley Joel Osment (A.I.)
John Dorman (Gotham)
Brendan Beiser (Andromeda)
Jim Beaver (Breaking Bad)
Seth Rogen (Knocked Up
Giancarlo Esposito (Breaking Bad)

 

Jack Quaid in The Boys (2019)
Traditional superhero lore primarily revolves around individuals who inadvertently (and sometimes reluctantly) step into their saviour destinies. Typically, these superheroes are cognisant of the public’s reverence for their abilities, yet they often choose to either live on the fringes of or blend seamlessly into society. The few who publicly embrace their fame manage to maintain their moral compass despite ever-present temptation and opportunities to make negative choices.Laz Alonso and Karl Urban in The Boys (2019)In 2006, The Boys comic book explored this concept through a hyper-violent and decidedly darker lens, questioning what would happen if these figures became tainted by their social status. Now, The Boys TV series, set to premiere on Amazon Prime on July 26, expounds on this alternative premise. In a world dominated by corporate greed, approval ratings, social media stats, a clan of superheroes bends the rules to their whim, and a group of everyday people tries to stop them.Ann Cusack and Erin Moriarty in The Boys (2019)The  series, developed by Eric Kripke, Evan Goldberg, and Seth Rogen, is everything that fans of the Gareth Ennis (Preacher, The Punisher)-penned comic expect it to be – gory, diabolical, and unapologetically blunt with an undercurrent of social commentary. But, it’s also an easy saga for viewers coming straight to the show to follow. The costuming, action sequences, and cinematography are solid for a TV production and the plot mostly maintains a steady pace with pivotal moments that work well for a streaming service style release. And, there’s just enough expository information revealed in the first few episodes to set the stage for a packed ending to its first season. There’s already strong speculation concerning The Boys season two, so there will likely be several loose threads in the finale.Karen Fukuhara in The Boys (2019)The Boys obviously leans on its source material for a general framework; however, a few tweaks, including protagonist Hughie Campbell’s background, are made. In the TV adaptation, Campbell (Jack Quaid, The Hunger Games) is a tech store employee who’s afraid to stand for himself or take risks to change his mundane existence – which makes him much more relatable to the general audience than his comic counterpart. The plot swiftly puts Hughie’s vigilante arc in motion after (as revealed in the trailer) his girlfriend Robin is gruesomely obliterated by A-Train, a speedster and member of the dominant superhero (aka “supes”) collective known as the Seven.Erin Moriarty in The Boys (2019)Robin’s unintentional death is written off as collateral damage by Vought International, a massive superhero marketing and management company that dominates the United States, led by the pleasingly ruthless and ingeniously manipulative Madelyn Stillwell (Elisabeth Shue). Her character is the first of several who are either gender or race swapped, but it’s permissible since none of their backgrounds are inextricably tied to their origin stories. Hughie’s difficulty processing Robin’s death and mounting anxiety attacks over realising the supes’ indomitable influence is interrupted by Billy Butcher, portrayed by Star Trek’s Karl Urban, a vigilante whose mission to eliminate superheroes leads to the formation of The Boys. His accent is a bit iffy at points, but Urban fully embodies the role of a madman with a singular focus, dishing out a level of charismatic energy and sharp wit that’s incredibly fun to watch. Mother’s Milk (Laz Alonzo) and Frenchie (Tomer Kapon) round out the vengeful quartet characters who consistently challenge and surprise each other with their ingenuity when they aren’t butting heads over sticking to the script. The fifth leg of their crew, simply named Female, comes into play but it’s not clear how this person will fit into their overall mission.Karl Urban and Jack Quaid in The Boys (2019)The internal examination of Vought and Seven’s corrupt partnership filters through Annie “Starlight” January (Erin Moriarty), the newest member of the elite Seven who realises that her dream job is full of smoke and mirrors. Her childhood crush on a renowned idol is shattered when he uses it as a sickening abuse of power and she struggles with maintaining her creed as a hero and meeting the expectations of her proud mother in the midst of constant coercion. Starlight manages to swiftly gain her footing in this sphere as she goes off-script to push back against her employer’s ridiculous standards. She’s truly good at heart with badass powers, so perhaps she will be treated well in the TV series and given the space to have an impactful arc. Hughie and Starlight’s paths cross in the most mundane way and sets up an inner conflict for the former about his motivations. It’s a classic case of falling in love with the supposed enemy who shows that everyone on the other side isn’t a monolith but, thankfully, it doesn’t feel like a trope in this narrative.Antony Starr and Chace Crawford in The Boys (2019)The Boys has focused on a few primary members of the Seven, giving them varying levels of development with Queen Maeve (Dominique McElligott), the sole woman hero of the clan until Starlight’s arrival, getting the least screen time. The Wonder Woman-esque hero is fully aware of the morally reprehensible behaviour of her comrades but she remains silent and offers little support to Starlight. However, a pivotal atrocity will certainly change her outlook. There’s a deeper story begging to be told with Maeve that will hopefully unfold as The Boys progresses. The Deep (Chace Crawford) is annoyingly surface-level – a poor man’s Aquaman who’s hyped up on his fame, immature, condescending, and trying to flex the little power he has against those whom he perceives to be weaker when he’s the weakest link. His purpose at this moment is to be irritating and he’s succeeding on all fronts. The Deep, who was Black in the comics, and his comrade A-Train, portrayed by Jessie T. Usher of Survivor’s Remorse, switch races in the live adaptation and have some different personality traits than their comic versions. A-Train’s lack of accountability and egoic decisions are the catalyst for much of the initial action and plot progression, but the series also digs deeper into his personal relationships and insecurities about his future with Voight.Elisabeth Shue, Chace Crawford, and Erin Moriarty in The Boys (2019)The most intriguing hero is Homelander (Antony Starr), the leader of the Seven and a mashup of Captain America and Superman. The show does a great job of slowly peeling back his outer layer of high moral standards and leadership qualities to reveal an obsessive, manipulating, narcissistic, and sinister being who is capable of unthinkable callousness. Homelander is undoubtedly the supreme villain hiding in plain sight that too many people are underestimating. The Boys has the potential to become Garth Ennis’ next comic-to-TV production win on the heels of Preacher’s upcoming fourth and final season. Sure, some of the scenes run a tad bit too long and the punchlines occasionally fall flat, but those are outweighed by truly clever moments, an engaging plot, and several WTF moments to create a dark and oddly realistic take on the superhero genre.

REVIEW: SAMANTHA WHO ? – SEASON 1 & 2

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MAIN CAST

Christina Applegate (The Sweetest Thing)
Jennifer Esposito (Summer of Sam)
Kevin Dunn (Transformers)
Melissa McCarthy (Mike & Molly)
Tim Russ (Star Trek: Voyager)
Barry Watson (Boogeyman)
Jean Smart (Garden State)
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RECURRING / NOTABLE GUEST CAST

William Abadie (The Pink Panther)
Nakia Burrise (Power Rangers Turbo)
Jessica St. Clair (Bridesmaids)
Kiele Sanchez (Lost)
Eddie Cibrian (The Cave)
Tom Lenk (Buffy)
Timothy Olyphant (Hitman)
Jerry O’ Connell (Scream Queens)
Rick Hoffman (Hostel)
Cybil Shepherd (Moonlighting)
Anthony Anderson (Transformers)
Rachel Cannon (Two and a Half Men)
Mary-Kate Olsen (Full House)
James Tupper (Revenge)
Billy Zane (Zoolander)
Greg Cipes (Teen Titans)
Florence Henderson (The Brady Bunch)
Nora Dunn (New Girl)
Angie Harmon (Agent Cody Banks)
Teddy Sears (The Flash)

What if you had the chance to start over, to do it all again? For Samantha Newly, this fantasy becomes a reality after a hit and run accident leaves her in an eight day coma. When she awakens in the hospital, she is surrounded by family and friends. The only problem is that she has no idea who they are or who she is. In medical terms, Sam has retrograde amnesia, which allows her to fully function in the world but leaves her with no personal memories. Most people would deem this disorder a curse. But Sam may come to call it a miracle. As she sets out to rediscover herself, Sam is forced to rely on the only people who can help her an eclectic bunch of friends and family. Although now strangers to Sam, it’s not long before she begins to get an idea of who she was before the accident.

Life,as we all know,can be extremely unfair at times.Samantha Who? was cancelled after just 2 seasons.

Samantha Who? is a terrific sitcom.Why was it cancelled then,i hear you cry.As i understand it,the 1st season was well received and got good ratings,all was well,but the 2nd season was for some reason buried in a bad time slot and never recovered.Also,i gather there were cost issues involved due to financial cut backs regarding the making of the programme.A real shame because this is a gem of a show with Christina Applegate outstanding as Samantha,a shallow,obnoxious,yuppie type who awakes from an 8 day coma caused by a car accident and realises that she can’t remember anything due to amnesia.

As she starts trying to put her life back together,she realises,with some horror,just what an awful person she was.Thats where the fun starts,and its to Applegates credit that,although its her characters mission to make amends and change for the better,the programme never gets too treacly or soft,partly due to the naturally mischevious look that Christina Applegate has that suggests Samantha could never be too goody-goody.The support cast is terrific,the lovely Jean Smart is wonderful as Sams amusingly uncaring mother and the fabulous Melissa McCarthy as her old friend Dena.

To sum up,this is a very funny,smartly written,well acted sitcom that should have been up there with the best of them.And,refreshingly,just like the brilliant Gilmore Girls,no laugh track,just provide your own!

REVIEW: DON’T SAY A WORD

 

CAST
Michael Douglas (Traffic)
Sean Bean (Game of Thrones)
Brittany Murphy (The Prophecy 2)
Skye McCole Bartusiak (Boogeyman)
Guy Torry (Runaway Jury)
Jennifer Esposito (Summert of Sam)
Shawn Doyle (Reign)
Lance Reddick (Fringe)
Famke Janssen (X-Men)
Oliver Platt (2012)
Daniel Kash (Bitten)
Martin Roach (Cube Zero)
In 1991, a gang of thieves steal a rare $10-million gem, but, in the process, two of the gang double-cross their leader, Patrick Koster (Sean Bean) and take off with the precious stone. Ten years later, on the day before Thanksgiving, prominent private practice Manhattan child psychiatrist, Dr. Nathan R. Conrad (Michael Douglas), is invited by his friend and former colleague, Dr. Louis Sachs (Oliver Platt), to examine a disturbed young lady named Elisabeth Burrows (Brittany Murphy) at the state sanatorium. Having been released from prison on November 4, Patrick and the remaining gang members break into an apartment which overlooks Nathan’s apartment, where he lives with his wife Aggie (Famke Janssen) and daughter Jessie (Skye McCole Bartusiak). That evening, Patrick kidnaps the psychiatrist’s daughter as a means of forcing him to acquire a six-digit number from Elisabeth’s memory.
As Nathan visits Elisabeth, she is reluctant at first, but he gains her trust later—especially when he reveals that his daughter has been kidnapped and will be killed if he doesn’t get the number they want. Dr. Sachs admits to Nathan that the gang who kidnapped Jessie also kidnapped his girlfriend to force him to acquire the number from Elisabeth. Sachs is then visited by Detective Sandra Cassidy (Jennifer Esposito) who reveals to him that his girlfriend has been found dead. Meanwhile, Aggie hears Jessie’s voice and realizes the kidnappers reside in the apartment nearby. The kidnappers send one of them to kill Aggie while the others escape with Jessie, but Aggie sets an ambush and kills him.
After Nathan takes Elisabeth out of the sanatorium, she remembers certain events regarding the gang. It is revealed that Elisabeth’s dad was a member of the gang that committed the robbery ten years prior and that he double-crossed them and took the stolen gem. However, other members of the gang later found him and ordered him to reveal where he had hidden the gem, subsequently pushing him in front of a subway train. The gang members were arrested immediately, and Elisabeth escaped with her doll in which the gem was hidden. She also remembers that the required number, 815508, is the number of her father’s grave at Hart Island and that her doll is placed beside him in the coffin. She explains that she had stowed away on a boat that was taking her father’s coffin for burial in Potter’s field on Hart Island, where the gravediggers put the doll, named Mischka, inside.
Nathan and Elisabeth steal a boat to reach Hart Island. The gang members track them down and demand that Nathan give them the number they want. Elisabeth reveals the number and Patrick orders his companion to exhume her father’s coffin. He finds the doll and the gem hidden inside it. He then decides to kill Nathan and Elisabeth, but Detective Cassidy arrives before he can shoot them. Patrick’s companion is shot by Cassidy, but Patrick manages to wound her. Taking advantage of the confusion, Nathan takes the gem from Patrick and throws it to a nearby excavation machine. Patrick goes to recover the gem, but Nathan triggers the mechanism which covers Patrick with earth, burying him alive. Nathan is then reunited with his wife and daughter, and it is implied that Elisabeth goes on to live with the Conrads.
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The late Brittany Murphy was such an amazing actress and fans of hers will love this