REVIEW: LOADED

CAST

Jesse Metcalfe (Dead Rising)
Corey Large (It Follows)
Monica Keena (Freddy vs Jason)
Nathalie Kelley (The Vampire Diaries)
Chance Crawford (Gossip Girl)
Johnny Messner (Running Scared)
Jimmy Jean-Louis (Heroes)
Vinnie Jones (Snatch)
Taylor Cole (The Origianls)
Nicole Eggert Blown Away)
Drew Fuller (Charmed)
Erin Gray (Jason Goes To Hell)
Noel Gugliemi (The Fast and The Furious)
Lochlyn Munro (Scary Movie)

Tristan Price is a wealthy and privileged teenager who seemingly has everything he could ever want, money, loving parents and a beautiful girlfriend. However, his perfect life is turned upside down by the arrival of Sebastian, a handsome, charismatic, ruthless drug dealer. As Tristan is sucked into a seedy underworld of drugs, sex and violence he begins to realise his new best friend is, in fact, his worst enemy.Generally it was a good movie with an ideal ending; the acting was spectacular and the characters didn’t stray from their persons. I especially liked the plot, although you knew what was going to happen it still gave the element of surprise through out the entire movie. However, I find that coming on to the ending it could have been a little longer (extended maybe)- to me it seemed like it was rushed a bit; as if the writer was trying to take linens off the lines before the rain fell.

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12 DAYS OF CHRISTMAS REVIEW: JOY

CAST
Jennifer Lawrence (American Hustle)
Bradley Cooper (Serena)
Robert De Niro (Silver Linings Playbook)
Dascha Polanco (Orange Is The New Black)
Virginia Madsen (Highlander 2)
Isabella Rossellini (Death Becomes Her)
Elisabeth Rohm (Heroes)
Diane Ladd (Kingdom Hospital)
Melissa Rivers (First Daughter)
Jimmy Jean-Louis (Heroes Reborn)
In 1989, Joy Mangano is a divorced mother of two, working as a booking clerk for Eastern Airlines. She lives with her two young children, her mother, Terri, her grandmother, Mimi, and her ex-husband, Tony in working-class, Quogue, New York. Her parents are divorced, and her mother and father fight whenever her father shows up at her home. Joy’s older half-sister, Peggy, is an overachiever who constantly humiliates Joy in front of her children. Peggy and Joy’s father Rudy are very close. Terri spends all day lying in bed watching soap operas as a means of escape from her life, leaving Joy to run the household. Only Joy’s grandmother and her best friend Jackie encourage her to pursue her inventing ambitions and become a strong successful woman.
After divorcing his third wife, Joy’s father starts dating Trudy, a wealthy Italian widow with some business experience. While on Trudy’s boat, Joy drops a glass of red wine, attempts to mop up the mess, and cuts her hands on the broken glass while wringing the mop. Joy returns home and creates blueprints for a self-wringing mop. She builds a prototype with help from the employees at her father’s shop. She then convinces Trudy to invest in the product. They make a deal with a company in California to manufacture the mop’s parts at a low price. In order to avoid a potential lawsuit, Joy also pays $50,000 in royalties to a man in Hong Kong who supposedly has created a similar product. When the company repeatedly bills Joy for faulty parts they create, Joy refuses to pay the fees and tells her father, Trudy, and Peggy not to pay them.
Joy needs a quick, easy way to advertise her product, and is able to meet with QVC executive Neil Walker. Neil is impressed and shows Joy his infomercials, where celebrities sell entrepreneur’s products through a telethon system. Neil tells Joy to manufacture 50,000 mops. Joy is advised by Trudy to take out a second mortgage on her home, in order to pay her costs. The first infomercial fails, but when she goes on QVC, Joy and her product become an overnight success. Things look up for the family, with the mop earning thousands of dollars on QVC, and Terri falls for Toussaint, a Haitian plumber Joy hired earlier in the film to fix up a leak in Terri’s bedroom.
Joy’s grandmother dies suddenly. Rudy and Trudy send Peggy to California to conduct Joy’s company business. Afterwards Peggy tells Joy that she paid excessively raised production fees. Joy is angry and travels to California to meet with the manufacturer, who refuses to pay her back. Joy also discovers that the manufacturer is about to fraudulently patent her design. Her lawyer reveals that there is nothing they can do to prevent this, and Joy is forced to file for bankruptcy. Joy discovers that the manufacturers have been defrauding her the entire time she has dealt with them. She confronts the owner, and forces him to pay her back.
Several years later, Joy is wealthy and runs a successful business. She continues to take care of her father, even though he and Peggy had unsuccessfully sued her for ownership of the company. Terri is the only family member who does not live off Joy, finally finding stability through her relationship with Toussaint. Jackie and Tony remain Joy’s most valued advisers, and the film ends with her helping a young mother develop a new invention.
Based loosely on the life and career of Joy Mangano this is the story of her fight to keep her home and her very dysfunctional family together on the way to inventing the miracle mop. In other hands this could make a very bland lifetime movie but steered by David O Russell and headed by a terrific performance from Lawrence, who is proving herself to be superior to any other female actor, Joy is a great experience. It’s worth noting that both Cooper and DeNiro are superfluous in this movie, it is Jennifer Lawrence who carries it from first to last.

REVIEW: MONSTER-IN-LAW

CAST

Jennifer Lopez (Jersey Girl)
Michael Vartan (Alias)
Jane Fonder (Barberella)
Wana Sykes (Clerks 2)
Adam Scott (The Aviator)
Monet Mazur (Just Married)
Will Arnett (Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles)
Jimmy Jean-Louis (Heroes)
Christina Masterson (Power Rangers Megaforce)

Jennifer Lopez - monster-in-law Photo

Charlie Cantilini (Jennifer Lopez) is a temp/dog walker/yoga instructor and aspiring fashion designer from Venice Beach, California, who meets doctor Kevin Fields (Michael Vartan). She thinks he’s gay at first, based on a lie Kevin’s former girlfriend Fiona (Monet Mazur) told her. But then Kevin asks her out, and Charlie believes that she’s finally found the right man. Things start to go wrong when Kevin introduces Charlie to his mother, Viola Fields (Jane Fonda). Viola is a former newscaster who has recently been replaced by someone younger, and is in the midst of a meltdown. Loathing Charlie from the outset, Viola becomes even more distraught when Kevin proposes to Charlie. Fearing that she’ll lose her son the same way she lost her career, she sets out to ruin Kevin and Charlie’s relationship. With Ruby (Wanda Sykes), her assistant, she tries everything possible to drive Charlie away.

Jennifer Lopez - monster-in-law Photo

Charlie eventually catches on to Viola’s plan and fights back. On Charlie’s wedding day, Viola turns up wearing a white dress instead of the peach-colored dress specially made for her. This leads to a violent stand off between the two, leading with Viola refusing to accept Charlie and states she’ll never be good enough for Kevin. Suddenly, Viola’s own dreadful mother-in-law, Kevin’s grandmother, Gertrude Fields (Elaine Stritch), appears and they have an indignant argument, while Gertrude takes a liking to Charlie, saying she is stunning, her grandson is a lucky man, that she is an “exotic Latina”, and if only her son, Kevin’s father, was as lucky to find a woman like Charlie. Gertrude’s resentment of Viola bears a strong resemblance to Viola’s feelings of animosity toward Charlie. Gertrude even believes that Kevin’s father had died years ago of “terminal disappointment,” for which Gerturde holds Viola responsible. Viola counters stating Gertrude “smothered him to death” because she thought nobody was ever good enough for him(basically similar to how Viola is). Gertrude, satisfied she got her last word in, leaves; showing she still favors Charlie. Charlie decides to back down as she witnesses Gertrude and Viola’s relationship. “Nothing’s going to change,” she laments to Viola after Gertrude leaves the room, “In thirty years that will be us.”
Jennifer Lopez - monster-in-law Photo
Charlie exits to tell Kevin that the wedding is off. But before that can happen, Ruby enters and talks with Viola. Viola is miffed that Charlie compared her to Gertrude, although Ruby points out that Viola is actually far worse than Gertrude, as she doesn’t ever recall Gertrude trying to poison Viola once, referring to earlier at the rehearsal dinner when Viola put crushed nuts (which Charlie is highly allergic to) in the meal’s gravy. Ruby points out that Viola’s efforts against Charlie to make Kevin happy are unwarranted. “Whatever made you think he wasn’t?” is her final point. Viola has an epiphany and realizes that she wants Charlie to stay, and they reconcile, which ends the feud. Charlie then explains to Viola that she wants her to stay, too, on one condition: if Viola accepts the boundaries Charlie needs, if she is present at any family event, and if she treats her children with love. Charlie and Kevin then get married and when Charlie throws her wedding bouquet, Viola catches the flowers. As Charlie and Kevin drive away to their honeymoon, the film ends as Viola and Ruby walk out of the celebration.

Jennifer Lopez - monster-in-law Photo

The two central characters are both strong women so it makes for some big confrontations and funny moments as they try to get one-up on each other. There is a good support cast too. It is very enjoyable to watch on repeat viewings.

REVIEW: HEROES: THE COMPLETE COLLECTION (BLU-RAY)

CAST
Milo Ventimiglia (Gotham)
Hayden Panettiere (Bring it on 3)
Jack Coleman (Kingdom Hospital)
Tawny Cypress (Supergirl)
Leonard Roberts (Buffy: The Vampire Slayer)
Santiago Cabrera (Merlin)
Masi Oka (Get Smart)
Greg Grunberg (Alias)
Adrian Pasdar (Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D)
Noah Gray-Cabey (My Wife and Kids)
Ali Larter (Final Destination 1 & 2)
Sendhil Ramamurthy (Beauty and the Beast)
NOTABLE / RECURRING GUEST CAST
James Kyson Lee (Hawaii Five-O)
Zachary Quinto (Hitman: Agent 47)
Ashley Crow (The Secret Circle)
Jimmy Jean-Louis (Arrow)
Cristine Rose (How I Met Your Mother)
Thomas Dekker (Terminator: TSCC)
Lisa Lackey (Bones)
Matthew John Armstrong (American Dreams)
Christopher Eccleston (Doctor Who)
Nora Zehetner (Brick)
Clea DuVall (The Lizzie Borden Chronicles)
Randall Bentley (Upside)
Missy Peregrym (Smallville)
Danielle Savre (Boogeyman 2)
Eric Roberts (The Dark Knight)
Adair Tishler (Dollhouse)
Rena Sofer (Traffic)
Malcolm McDowell (Halloween 1 & 2)
George Takei (Star Trek)
Jayma Mays (Ugly Betty)

Heroes Season 1 is an ensemble cast show that became a very large success based on how well it translated the comic book world to the small screen. Set on present day Earth, the show details how a growing number of people are developing special abilities outside of government control with a variety of consequences to them and the population at large. Unlike the truncated second season, the first had a full 23 episodes to explore the concept, resulting in a number of smaller, multi-episode arcs that all built toward a bigger picture as the season progressed. Unlike the old style of comic books though, the cast is made up of all sorts of regular people that start to notice they are”special, some of whom learn to increase their abilities with concentration or training, stumbling at times but honing said powers in numerous ways.

In overall terms, the story uses the Human Genome Project as something of a starting point, using scientist Mohinder Suresh (Sendhil Ramamurthy) as a focal point for identifying gifted people as he follows a trail set forth by his father, a formerly distinguished geneticist that chased what were considered crazy ideas about human evolution until he was killed. Mohinder discovers that certain trace markers in human DNA predict people with abilities and having observed firsthand exactly how gifted some of these people are, he ends up trying to warn them of a serial killer named Sylar (Zachary Quinto) and what appears to be secret agents out to capture them. Needless to say, his efforts are not universally appreciated and he himself is cast into the mix as a pawn, forced to face both powered and mundane humans out to stop him. The show also uses a dozen or so other main characters that either have powers or interact heavily with them, many seemingly patterned after specific comic book characters in terms of abilities, though not so much in terms of their personalities.

Take Hiro Nakamura (Masi Oka) for example, he can bend the space time continuum if he concentrates hard enough, the Japanese office worker slaving away at his father’s corporation while dreaming of his special destiny. The guy is a stereotypical science fiction/comic book nerd too, wanting more than anything to become a hero rather than follow the path laid out for him by his father Kaito (George Takei of Star Trek fame). His hit or miss attempts to control his powers provide some of the comic relief of the show but he also serves as someone genre fans can identify with as he tries to uncover his own future with the help of his best friend, the mundane Ando Masahashi (James Kyson Lee). Then there was Claire Bennet (hotty Hayden Panettiere), a gal with Wolverine-like healing powers who figures out she will regenerate no matter what happens to her, the gal finding out her adopted father Noah (Jack Coleman) is working for an agency with special plans for anyone with her kind of talents. The Texas high school cheerleader becomes an integral part of the main picture as she is stalked by Sylar, a man with the ability to take special powers by decapitating those he encounters, their showdown predicted long before by Isacc Mendez (Santiago Cabrera), a precognitive that draws the future while under the influence of heroin.

The cast also included internet stripper Niki Sanders (hotty Ali Larter) whose multiple personality disorder grants her alias Jessica super strength, Nathan Petrelli (Adrian Pasdar) a district attorney running for Congress that can fly, his brother Peter (Milo Ventimiglia) that finds out his ability is especially powerful as time moves forward, Matt Parkman (Greg Grunberg) a street cop that can read minds, and DL Hawkins (Leonard Roberts) who can become intangible at will. Some of them try to keep their secret, like Nathan since he is running for office, while others are on the run from the agency searching such folks out (their point man being Noah with the aid of a Haitian that can negate powers and erase minds played by Jimmy Jean Louis), the conspiracy something straight out of shows like The X-Files, Jericho, or Angel. The interactions of the cast make the show quite special too, capturing the spirit of modern comic books better than anything else I have seen to date.Particularly appealing is the manner in which most of the powers are not overly flashy, the dramatic elements allowed to keep the science fiction elements present but downplayed so that a larger audience won’t be alienated.

CAST
Milo Ventimiglia (Gotham)
Jack Coleman (Kingdom Hospital)
Masi Oka (Get Smart)
Greg Grunberg (Alias)
Adrian Pasdar (Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D)
Hayden Panettiere (Bring it on 3)
Noah Gray-Cabey (My Wife and Kids)
Ali Larter (Final Destination 1 & 2)
Sendhil Ramamurthy (Beauty and the Beast)
David Anders (Izombie)
Kristen Bell (Veronica Mars)
Dania Ramirez (American Pie: Reunion)
Dana Davis (Prom Night)
James Kyson Lee (Hawaii Five-O)
Zachary Quinto (Hitman: Agent 47)
NOTABLE / RECURRING GUEST CAST
Jimmy Jean-Louis (Arrow)
Adair Tishler (Dollhouse)
Stephen Tobolowsky (Groundhog Day)
Shalim Ortiz (Silver Case)
Nicholas D’Agosto (Gotham)
Katie Carr (Dinotopia)
Eriko (Dragon Evolution)
Ashley Crow (The Secret Circle)
Randall Bentley (Upside)
Cristine Rose (How I Met Your Mother)
Dianna Agron (I Am Number Four)
Mark Christopher Lawrence (Chuck)

Heroes Season 2 picked up four months after the events of Season One with the characters having moved on from the explosive finish. The prophecy thwarted at great cost and Sylar stopped, the clock was reset in many ways for those that survived. Peter is missing, Nathan has become a recluse, Hiro is stuck in Medieval Japan, and the Bennett family is on the run from the Company. Some characters die off-screen or are greatly downplayed and new people are introduced, the major players added in being Maya and Alejandro from Central America. Maya has an uncontrollable ability to infect people with some form of fast acting disease and only her brother seems able to calm her down to reverse the effects. They are on the run for murder (the authorities are not really particular about “how” the deaths occurred so much as “who” was responsible) and head to New York City to meet Dr. Suresh in hopes of finding a cure, not knowing he was murdered. Along the way, they pick up a helpful hitchhiker named Gabriel (guess who) and trouble ensues but that is only one thread of many the show goes back to.Image result for heroes season 2Of much greater interest to me was the Bennett family, particularly Noah in his efforts to destroy the Company, and Claire, as she struggles with her powers, puberty, and origins. Hiro’s trip to Japan circa the Seventeenth century where he meets his childhood hero, Takezo Sensei, proves to be a disaster when he screws up the timeline and must repair it lest the fate of the world be irreparably altered. Sadly, the quirky journey he goes through was arguably the most impacted part of the WGA writer strike that shortened the season to a mere eleven episodes  Takezo finding out that he is special too, though no explanation given. How he deals with his father upon his return and his own shame at his betrayal of his hero provided some relief from the admittedly weak storyline but not nearly enough to compensate for some of the worst writing seen on the show that has just started season three.

Another new chapter in the saga revolved around a relative of Micah named Monica, the Katrina refugee with an uncanny ability to mimic anything she watches on television. This was a thread that had a bit of potential, largely because it contained Micah and Niki, but felt the sting of the shortened season as well, the gal trying to become a heroine and falling short of the mark out of stupidity. Parkman has lost his wife and identity only to start over again in New York, having learned to keep quiet about his abilities and use them serendipitously to advance himself to detective. He and Suresh take in Molly but soon have to face a powerful telepath that is hurting her, the piece of the puzzle unveiled to the bigger picture of a long time conspiracy by the founders of the Company that include the parents of most of the players currently focused on in the series. Suresh ends up working directly for the company too, racing to uncover the secrets of the genetic component that gives the cast their powers but also an engineered virus (the Shanti Virus) that threatens not only the metahumans but the rest of the populace as well.

Perhaps most curious in the season for me, aside from the arcs starring Peter and Sylar of course, are those leading to Bob (the current head of the organization) and his daughter Elle, a gal with electrifying powers that shows what Claire would have become had Noah truly been unattached to her as he was supposed to have been. A psychopathic killer on a short leash, Elle does the dirty work to seek her father’s approval, the contrast between her and Claire referred to time and again by those around them. The introduction of “Adam”, the first person with powers and a founding member of the Company with a huge grudge against humanity, was also kind of abrupt and his use of Peter to try and destroy the world (“resetting the clock on humanity”) had a lot of untapped potential too.

To me, the writers should have pared down the new characters and tied up things like the Hiro saga much sooner given the strike and shortened season. They should have also kept in mind the show has a devoted following so making the characters act outside of their established norms or contrary to what they would have done given the way they acted in the first season weakened it as well. That the major threads employed cheap plot devices used in the past certainly did not help either  but this was indicative of the major problem of the season for me, the pacing. Every book, television show, and movie has an internal rhythm and pace that fans get used to. The WGA strike forced the slowly escalating pace of the show to be accelerated well beyond normal and leave off all the suspense of Season One behind it.

CAST
Milo Ventimiglia (Gotham)
Adrian Pasdar (Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D)
Jack Coleman (Kingdom Hospital)
Sendhil Ramamurthy (Beauty and the Beast)
Cristine Rose (How I Met Your Mother)
Zachary Quinto (Hitman: Agent 47)
Hayden Panettiere (Bring it on 3)
James Kyson Lee (Hawaii Five-O)
Masi Oka (Get Smart)
Greg Grunberg (Alias)
Ali Larter (Final Destination 1 & 2)
NOTABLE / RECURRING GUEST CAST
Brea Grant (Battle Planet)
Ashley Crow (The Secret Circle)
Zeljko Ivanek (The Bourne Legacy)
Jamie Hector (Lie To Me)
Ntare Mwine (Blood Diamond)
Blake Shields (Carnivale)
Robert Forster (Jackie Brown)
David H. Lawrence XVII (Lost)
Kristen Bell (Veronica Mars)
Randall Bentley (Upside)
Jessalyn Gilsig (Nip/Tuck)
Jimmy Jean-Louis (Arrow)
Malcolm McDowell (Halloween I & II)
David Anders (Children of the Corn)
Alan Blumenfeld (In Her Shoes)
George Takei (Star Trek)
Dan Byrd (Firestarter 2)
Francis Capra (Veronica Mars)
Noah Gray-Cabey (My Wife and Kids)
Lisa Lackey (Bones)
Eric Roberts (The Dark Knight)
Adair Tishler (Dollhouse)
Stephen Tobolowsky (Groundhog Day)

The first volume of the third season, Villains, brought back what made the show so good in its first season, with shadowy bad guys and intricate conspiracies, in a storyline that explored what the line is between a hero and a villain. The return of the Petrelli patriarch Arthur (played with quiet badass-ness by Robert Forster) created an us-or-them scenario where characters had to choose sides and decide how far they would go to get what they want

The other key storyline surrounds Mohinder (Sendhil Ramamurthy) and his efforts to understand where the Heroes’ powers come from. The race to discover how to give and take away powers, which involves a hidden formula and an element known as the catalyst, which is key to the granting of special powers. Mohinder grants himself powers, which creates what could be gently described as an homage to The Fly and the distribution of powers becomes sctattershot, as powers change and mutate with each episode, creating characters who suffered from the Superman syndrome, as they were simply too powerful to be defeated in a realistic way.

The newcomers from season 2 have mostly disappeared, with only Elle and Maya sticking around, with Maya in  a somewhat minor role. The additions this time around are much better, including the ultra-creepy Puppet Master; Daphne, the morally-ambivalent Flash of the Heroes universe, and Utusu, an African version of Isaac Mendez, capable of painting the future on big rocks. Though they are, in some ways, repetitions of other characters, they bring enough to the show to be interesting, especially Brea Grant’s speedster, who has a memorable conflict with Hiro (Masi Oka) and a starcrossed relationship with Matt (Greg Grunberg.) There are a handful of other newcomers, including some thuggish bad guys and yet another  role for Ali Larter.


The first arc ended with a bit of a thud, as is probably the only way a battle with a ruthless, all-powerful villain can end, but it was followed up with the Fugitives arc, which tried a bit too hard to have real-world relevance. Guided by a questionably-motivated Nathan (Adrian Pasdar), the government has begun to round-up super-powered people for Guantanamo Bay-style imprisonment, including all our favorite heroes. It puts all the big-names wither in shackles or on the run, a situation that could have been promising, but instead just peters out, as the motivation for each character’s actions is no wildly different from what we know of them that it makes sense. Nathan is all over the ballfield in how he conducts his hunt for his fellow kind, while Sylar has more personality changes than could be explained by the supposed psychotic break he’s experiencing.

The show consistently is one of the finest-looking series on TV, with gorgeous photography and special effects, and from time to time, there are bits of inspired creativity, like the origin story in “1961,” which makes a terrific call-back all the way to a small-bit of dialogue in the pilot, Larter’s character’s powerful outburst in “Cold Snap” and the realistic rage the otherwise moral Matt Parkman (Greg Grunberg) experiences in “Trust and Blood.” And maybe I’m a bit blind, but I didn’t see foresee the identity of the anonymous underground agent helping the heroes in Fugitive and found it a smart re-use of characters.

CAST
Hayden Panettiere (Bring it on 3)
Robert Knepper (Cult)
Jack Coleman (Kingdom Hospital)
Zachary Quinto (Hitman: Agent 47)
Milo Ventimiglia (Gotham)
Masi Oka (Get Smart)
Greg Grunberg (Alias)
Adrian Pasdar (Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D)
James Kyson Lee (Hawaii Five-O)
Sendhil Ramamurthy (Beauty and the Beast)
Ali Larter (Final Destination 1 & 2)
NOTABLE / RECURRING GUEST CAST
Dawn Olivieri (The Vampire Diaries)
Madeline Zima (The Hand That Rocks The Cradle)
Ray Park (Star Wars – Episode I)
Deanne Bray (2 broke Girls)
Elisabeth Röhm (American Hustle)
Jimmy Jean-Louis (Arrow)
Lisa Lackey (Bones)
Todd Stashwick (The Originals)
David H. Lawrence XVII (Lost)
Ashley Crow (The Secret Circle)
Sasha Pieterse (X-Men: First Class)
Saemi Nakamura (Jury Duty)
Jayma Mays (Ugly Betty)
Tessa Thompson (Veronica Mars)
Rick Worthy (Collateral Damage)
Kate Vernon (Battlestar Galactica)
Louise Fletcher (Star Trek: DS9)
Ernie Hudson (Ghostbusters)
Željko Ivanek (Hannibal)
Swoosie Kurtz (Mike & Molly)
Richard Roundtree (Shaft)
George Takei (Star Trek)
Tamlyn Tomita (Highlander: The Series)

The big storyline this time out centers around Samuel Sullivan and his family of superpowered carnies. Samuel is busy building the group, recruiting various super-powered individuals to join them, in an effort to form a homeland of their own  As is usually the case with any story on Heroes, thanks to the need to add twists and turns to pad out episodes, it’s not that simple, and, of course, all of the show’s main characters will be drawn into the tale. It seems that the Heroes have the best contact system known to man, as no one misses an e-mail or call to get together. At some point, coincidence and contrived are very similar. Either way, the show tries to have it both ways with Samuel, attempting to make him both pure evil and a sympathetic soul, like they did with Sylar. While the inexplicably coincidental familial concerns of the Petrelli clan keep going for yet another run of episodes, adding in a new super-powered love interest for Peter, the relationship between Claire and her father Noah is the show’s secondary focus, as Claire goes off to college in an attempt to live a normal life, and ends up in a lesbian couple, while displaying her trademark poor judgment and weakly-motivated rebelliousness. Meanwhile, Dad’s whole world is falling apart in a super-midlife crisis.

The rest of the old crew are still around as well, including erstwhile samurai Hiro, who’s battling a terminal illness and trying his hand at being a hero-for-hire, and Matt Parkman and Sylar, who get closer than they’d really like to be in the aftermath of Season Three. Though the conflict between them is one of the better tales told, and Sylar  remains one of the most interesting characters in recent TV history.

The worst part of the season though has to be the ending. After you’ve sat through 18 episodes, Claire outs herself to the world on camera demonstrating her powers for all the world to see, then the iconic words to be continued appear….. The show was cancelled.

Perhaps the upcoming Heroes Reborn mini series will qive answers to what the aftermath will be.

REVIEW: HEROES REBORN

CAST
Jack Coleman (Kingdom Hospital)
Zachary Levi (Thor: The Dark World)
Robbie Kay (In Bruges)
Danika Yarosh (Shameless USA)
Kiki Sukezane (Death Yankees 2)
Ryan Guzman (Pretty Little Liars)
Rya Kihlstedt (Deep Impact)
Gatlin Green (Criminal Minds)
Henry Zebrowski (The Wolf of Wall Street)
Judith Shekoni (Garfield 2)
NOTABLE / RECURRING GUESTS
Sendhil Ramamurthy (Beauty and The BEast)
Jimmy Jean-Louis (Arrow)
Cristine Rose (How I Met Your Mother)
Greg Grunberg (Alias)
Masi Oka (Get Smart)
Noah Gray-Cabey (My Wife and Kids)
Francesca Eastwood (Final Girl)
Pruitt Taylor Vince (Constantine)
Peter Mooney (Rookie Blue)
Eve Harlow (Bitten)
Aislinn Paul (Degrassi: The Next Generation)
Carlos Lacamara (Independance Day)
Nazneen Contractor (Star Trek Into Darkness)
Dylan Bruce (Unstoppable)
Clé Bennett (Flashpoint)
Lucius Hoyos (What If)
Krista Bridges (Land of the Dead)
Hiro Kanagawa (The Secret Circle)
Michael Therriault (Reign)
A year ago, a terrorist attack in Odessa, Texas, left the city decimated. Blamed for the tragic event, those with extraordinary abilities are in hiding or on the run from those with nefarious motives.

Tim Kring pulled off a minor miracle, reviving the Heroes franchise after it sank so far during its first four seasons. In those seasons, there were elements of each that I really liked, but the overall story quality seemed to become more disconnected and surreal. Heroes truly has been reborn.

Kring and the Heroes crew have revived a universe of mystery and wonder. These people–these “evos”–do things that no human body could physically do, like the miracles of old. It gives us hope. They call them “evolved ones” or “evos,” but there is something wonderfully spiritual about this. We have new characters, new abilities, new mysteries and new challenges. I call it a “minor miracle,” because the hot potential Kring originally created, was always there, heavily squandered in seasons 3 and 4. Here, I like what they’ve done. I’m enjoying these new friends and enemies. I especially like how they portray the enemy as unknowingly selfish and arrogant, but who also accuse others of being selfish for wanting to save their own lives. There is so much of that going on in the American government these days, as it did in Nazi Germany nearly a century ago. The parallels are chilling. Yet, the promise of the heroes is gratifying.

The fact that Earth’s magnetic field goes to zero and leaves the planet vulnerable to a violent, civilization-ending solar storm, is a wonderfully solid scenario — far better than the “2012” film’s neutrino absorption nonsense. It reminds me of the wonderfully upside-down deliciousness perpetrated by the UN, NASA, governments and the Corporate mainstream media — turning science into a popularity circus (“consensus”) and stifling debate with cute catch phrases like “settled science” and “deniers,” all the while distracting people from the real horror story that Global Cooling is bad and Global Warming is good. Why? Because we’re in an Ice Age. When the Holocene ends, 7+ Billion people will be in jeopardy, just as they are in this mini-series. Art mimicking reality, despite all the propaganda to keep us from seeing that reality. Nice when entertainment can wake some people up, instead of making them brain dead. The show has some flaws but all in all its a decent mini series with the only problem being the cliffhanger ending knowing that this is just a one off season.

REVIEW: HOLLYWOOD HOMICIDE

CAST
Harrison Ford (Indiana Jones)
Josh Hartnett (Lucky Number Sleven)
Lena Olin (Alias)
Bruce Greenwood (Star Trek)
Isaiah Washington (Bionic Woman 2007)
Lolita Davidovich (Santa Fe)
Keith David (The Cape)
Lou Diamond Phillips (Stargate Universe)
Alan Dale (Lost)
Martin Landau (Ed Wood)
Eric Idle (Shrek The Third)
Robert Wagner (Austin Powers)
Anthony Mackie (The Hurt Locker)
Valerie Rae Miller (Dark Angel)
Meredith Scot Lynn (Legally Blonde)
Christopher Wiehl (Cold Hearts)
Jimmy Jean-Louis (Heroes)
Sergeant Joe Gavilan (Harrison Ford) is a financially strapped Hollywood homicide detective who began moonlighting as a real estate broker seven years ago. His partner is K. C. Calden (Josh Hartnett), a much younger officer who teaches yoga on the side and wants to be an actor. The duo are assigned to investigate the murders of four men, members of a rap group called H2OClick who were gunned down in a nightclub by two unidentified assailants. While investigating the murders, the detectives discover there had been a witness in the nightclub who later escaped unnoticed, and work together to track him down. In the midst of it all, Gavilan has to deal with a looming real estate deal that may be the key to getting out of debt, while Calden further pursues his dreams of acting by trying to be scouted by talent agents.
Unknown to the two detectives, Antoine Sartain (Isaiah Washington), the manager and producer of H2OClick, has his head of security eliminate the two hitmen they had hired to carry out the murders of the group, and also reveals to have hired them to kill Klepto, a rapper whom he’d also managed and produced, whose murder case is still open. Initially, Gavilan and Calden had believed the murders were gang-related, but Calden later sees the bodies of the hitmen at the morgue and puts two-and-two together to conclude that the murders were being calculated by someone else. The detectives also notice some eerie similarities between the H2OClick and Klepto homicides and figure that the two cases are connected. Gavilan learns from an undercover officer posing as a prostitute that the songwriter for H2OClick, a man named K-Roc, had suddenly gone missing, and Gavilan believes he is the murder witness they had been tracking. However, it proves difficult to track down K-Roc when they cannot determine his real name, but it is later discovered that K-Roc is Oliver Robideaux, the son of Olivia Robideaux (Gladys Knight), a former Motown singer.
Meanwhile, the arrival of Lieutenant Bernard “Bennie” Macko (Bruce Greenwood) at headquarters unnerves Gavilan—both have had a bad history with one another ever since Gavilan proved him wrong on a case years ago. It also turns out that Gavilan’s love interest, a psychic named Ruby (Lena Olin), used to date him. Macko is intent on taking away Gavilan’s badge, going so far as to try to frame him and place both detectives in interrogation. After they are released, Gavilan and Calden seem to have formed a closer bond, and Gavilan offers to help the latter when he reveals that his father Danny Calden who had also been a cop had been mysteriously gunned down during a sting operation gone wrong. His partner at the time, Leroy Wasley, was implicated in the murder, but later released on lack of evidence.
Gavilan and Calden continue the investigation—they track down K-Roc to his home, where Olivia Robideaux professes her son’s innocence and that Antoine Sartain, the manager of the group, was the real culprit. Sartain had been embezzling money from both Klepto and the members of H2OClick for years, and when they later found out, they threatened to hire lawyers to nullify their contracts. Enraged, Sartain had ordered the murders that were later carried out by the hitmen as a “lesson” to all the other members under his record label. It also turns out that Sartain’s head of security is none other than Leroy Wasley, and that Macko is also in league with him as well.
They prepare to arrest Sartain and Wasley, but can’t seem to find their location. Desperate, Gavilan enlists the help of Ruby, who, after a brief meditating session, leads the two detectives to a clothing store. Just then, Sartain and Wasley happened to drive by the store, and Gavilan and Calden follow suit in a wild car chase that leads them through the streets of Los Angeles, that later separates and pits them against Sartain and Wasley, respectively. While struggling against Sartain, Gavilan manages to overthrow him, and Sartain winds up falling from the top of a building to his death in a dumpster. Meanwhile, Wasley has a gun drawn on Calden and admits to killing his father. But Calden utilizes his acting skills to distract Wasley just as he is about the pull the trigger, incapacitates him, and overcoming his desire to kill the man who murdered his father, arrests him. Gavilan and Calden reunite as LAPD officers swarm the scene in the background, but Macko appears and calls for the arrests of the two officers. However, Macko winds up being the one led away in handcuffs for his affiliations with Sartain and Wasley.
 The next scene shows Gavilan and Ruby (wearing the dress she bought at the clothing store) attending a production of A Streetcar Named Desire, in which Calden was playing a lead role. It is implied that Gavilan successfully brokered the real estate deal, and Calden is giving his all in the pursuit of his acting dream. However, both of them receive calls from police headquarters and leave in the middle of the play. In the end, Gavilan is heard ordering a cheeseburger, saying it would be “a long night”.
The movie succeeds at what it intends to be, a buddy-cop comedy where the cops actually feel like buddies and not hot-headed partners always at each other’s throats over trivial matters. Such an approach may be what you’re expecting, but believe me, the movie feels much fresher the way it is and is all the more enjoyable for that reason

REVIEW: THE BOURNE IDENTITY

CAST

Matt Damon (Oceans Eleven)
Franka Potente (Creep)
Chris Cooper (The Muppets)
Clive Owen (Sin City)
Brian Cox (Manhunter)
Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje (Lost)
Gabriel Mann (Josie and The Pussycats)
Julia Stiles (10 Things I Hate About You)
Jimmy Jean-Louis (Joy)
In the Mediterranean Sea, Italian fishermen rescue an unconscious American man (Matt Damon) floating adrift with two gunshot wounds in his back. They tend to his wounds, and when the man wakes, they find he suffers from dissociative amnesia: he has no idea of his identity but is aware of advanced combat skills and fluent in several languages. The skipper finds a tiny laser projector under the man’s skin that, when activated, gives a number of a safe deposit box in Zürich. Upon landing, the man heads to investigate the box. Arriving at the bank, the man finds the box contains a large sum of money in various currencies, numerous passports and identity cards, and a handgun; the man takes everything but the gun, and leaves, opting to use the name on the American passport, Jason Bourne.
A bank employee contacts Operation Treadstone, a CIA black operation program after Bourne’s departure. Treadstone’s head, Alexander Conklin (Chris Cooper), contacts CIA Deputy Director Ward Abbott (Brian Cox) about the reappearance of Bourne. Abbott warns that Bourne, a CIA agent, had been assigned to silently assassinate exiled African dictator Nykwana Wombosi (Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje), but the attempt failed, and Bourne must be dealt with. Conklin activates three agents to take down Bourne: Castel (Nicky Naude), Manheim (Russell Levy), and the Professor (Clive Owen), while also issuing alerts to local police to capture Bourne.
Bourne attempts to get more information from the U.S. consulate, but he is discovered by guards. He evades capture, leaves the embassy, and gives a German woman, Marie Helena Kreutz (Franka Potente), $20,000 to drive him to an address in Paris listed on his French driving license. At the address, an apartment, he hits redial on the phone and reaches a hotel. He inquires about the names on his passports there, learning that a “John Michael Kane” had been registered but died two weeks prior in a car accident. Castel ambushes them in the apartment, but Bourne gets the upper hand. Instead of allowing himself to be interrogated, Castel throws himself out a window to his death. Kreutz finds wanted posters of Bourne and herself, and agrees to continue to help Bourne.
Meanwhile, Wombosi approaches the police about the attempt on his life. Conklin, having anticipated this, had planted a body in the Paris morgue to appear as the assailant, but Wombosi is not fooled and threatens to report this. The Professor assassinates Wombosi on Conklin’s orders. Bourne, posing as Kane, learns about Wombosi’s yacht, and that the assailant had been shot twice during the escape; Bourne now considers himself to have been the assailant. He and Kreutz take refuge at the French countryside home of her ex-lover Eamon (Tim Dutton) and his children. Conklin tracks their position and sends the Professor there, but Bourne is able to mortally wound him. The Professor reveals their shared connection to Treadstone before dying. He sends Kreutz, Eamon and his children away for their protection, and then contacts Conklin via the Professor’s phone to arrange a meet. From a rooftop near the arranged location in Paris, Bourne sees Conklin has brought backup, so abandons the meeting but uses the opportunity to place a tracking device on his car, leading him to the Treadstone’s safe house.
Bourne breaks in and holds Conklin and logistics technician Nicolette “Nicky” Parsons (Julia Stiles) at gunpoint. Bourne starts to fully recall the assassination attempt through successive flashbacks. As Kane, and working under orders from Treadstone, Bourne infiltrated Wombosi’s yacht but could not bring himself to kill Wombosi while Wombosi’s children were present, and instead fled, being shot at during his escape. Bourne announces he is resigning from Treadstone and not to be followed. As agents descend on the safehouse, Bourne fights his way free. Meanwhile, when Conklin goes to leave the safe house, he is killed by Manheim, who was ordered to terminate Treadstone by Abbott.
Abbott reports on the dismissal of Treadstone before an oversight committee but announces a new project codenamed “Blackbriar”. Some time later, Bourne finds Kreutz renting out scooters to tourists on Mykonos, and the two reunite.
This edition is the best one to have.  Well acted, well scripted, and filmed at real European locations make this movie really enjoyable