25 DAYS OF CHRISTMAS REVIEW: SLEEPY HOLLOW – THE GOLEM

CAST

Tom Mison (venus)
Nicole Beharie (The Good Wife)
Orlando Jones (Bedazzled)
Katia Winter (Arena)

GUEST CAST

John Noble (Lord of The Rings)
Jill Marie Jones (Ash vs Evil Dead)

“The Golem” had some deeply unsettling moments, a running undercurrent of humor, answers to vital questions and some straight-ahead scares.   All these disparate elements mixed together comfortably, as they have since the pilot, and it looks so simple.  But the fact of the matter is that what Sleepy Hollow has been able to pull off in this first season is remarkable, as it has kept its high-degree-of-difficulty tone while never losing sight of the characters that make us come back each week.  As if there were any doubt, it began and ended with the most important relationship on the show, as Abbie and Ichabod worked through his emotions about having a son and shared the anxiety about Moloch coming for them.   The groundwork that the writers and actors have done made these two characters seem naturally close as they get to know one another better with every week.  The wonderful opening scene (and Crane’s explanation of the origins of eggnog) served as a lovely reminder that even as their team might expand it’s all about the two of them.

Of course, in between those bookends we had the marvelous John Noble returning as Henry the Sin Eater.  You would think that Noble showing up to guest star would overwhelm the proceedings and be desperately missed when he’s gone, but instead he fits right in with this show.  Here we found out that Henry isn’t just a one-trick pony, as his talents extend to sensing sin and providing valuable exposition on the miserable childhood of Ichabod and Katrina’s son.  Still, the coolest bit for me was his making the librarian with ease: “Lying is a sin. I can sense a sin a mile away.”

Meanwhile, Frank went back to the city to visit his daughter.  It might be that his story seems drab compared to the wild stuff going on elsewhere, but at the moment his ex-wife and daughter feel more like plot devices than actual characters.  It’s not something I’m all that concerned about, given this show’s brief track record, but tonight they were simply time-fillers to get us to that super creepy vendor in the park.  That last “we have one, too” delivered by the possessed woman might have been the freakiest thing in an episode that also featured a gigantic killer doll. As for the doll itself, they did a great job showing the violence he was capable of, and tying it into Jeremy’s rage made it all the more disturbing.


This was a Sleepy Hollow episode that covered a lot of ground and also managed to be alternately creepy, disturbing, scary and funny.

REVIEW: STARGATE SG.1 – SEASON 9

Starring

Ben Browder (Farscape)
Amanda Tapping(Sanctuary)
Christopher Judge (The Dark Knight Rises)
Michael Shanks (Smallville)
Beau Bridges (My Name Is Earl)

Ben Browder in Stargate SG-1 (1997)

RECURRING / NOTABLE GUEST CAST

Claudia Black (Pitch Black)
Richard Dean Anderson (MacGyver)
Obi Ndefo (Star Trek: DS9)
Gary Jones (The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina)
Bill Dow (Izombie)
Matthew Walker (Alone In The Dark)
April Telek (Rogue)
Lexa Doig (Arrow)
Julian Sands (What/If)
Wallace Shawn (Young Sheldon)
Barclay Hope (Final Destination 3)
Maury Chaykin (My Cousin Vinny)
Louis Gossett Jr. (Enemy Mine)
Cliff Simon (Project Eden)
Kendall Cross (X-Men 2)
Peter Flemming (Staragte: Atlantis)
Sonya Salomaa (Watchmen)
Chilton Crane (The 4400)
Jason George (Fallen)
Jarvis W. George (Gamer)
William B. Davis (The X-Files)
Tony Todd (Candyman)
Neil Jackson (Blade: The Series)
Robert Picardo (The Orville)
Panou (Flash Gordon)
Ty Olsson (War For TPOTA)
Cameron Bright (Birth)
Garry Chalk (Arrow)
Don S. Davis (Twin Peaks)
Anna Galvin (Tin Man)
William Atherton (Ghostbusters)
JR Bourne (The 100)
Teryl Rothery (Arrow)
Reed Diamond (Agents of Shield)
Dakin Matthews (Child’s Play 3)
Veena Sood (Timecop)
Eric Breker (Scary Movie 3)
Matthew Bennett (Battlestar Galactica)
John Aylward (Alias)
Ernie Hudson (Ghostbusters)
Chelah Horsdal (You Me Her)
Peter Shinkoda (Daredevil)
Matthew Glave (Argo)
Eric Steinberg (Supergirl)
Tamlyn Tomita (The Eye)
Tim Guinee (Iron Man)
Daniella Evangelista (Ripper)
Michael Ironside (Total Recall)
John Noble (Sleepy HOllow)
Katharine Isabelle (Ginger Snaps)
Noah Danby (Bitten)

Claudia Black and Ben Browder in Stargate SG-1 (1997)Avalon, Part 1 is a great season opener, introduces  new kid on the block Ben Browder,  as the season progresses the character is definitely fleshed out more and he soon fits in nicely with the tightly-knit S.G.1 team.Ben Browder and Michael Shanks in Stargate SG-1 (1997)However, the bottom line is that this is still a character who bares a striking similarity in disposition to Browder’s other well-known TV personality- Farscape’s John Crichton- with that same irreverent humor and easy-going attitude, but it’s a style that clearly works for Browder and it’s difficult not to find that likable. Beau Bridges’ introduction is made with equally good fanfare, his character is one who I found myself liking more readily- he approaches the role of the General of the base differently to Don S. Davis, with more of an every man approach, although he never hesitates to exert the full force of his office against unfriendly aliens, or humans when required.Mark Houghton in Stargate SG-1 (1997)Largely thanks to the development of this season’s main story-arc with the introduction of God-wannabes the Ori and their powerful minions known as Priors, this ninth season becomes surprisingly mesmerising in very short order. Beginning with the concluding part and then into episode 3- `Origin’, this season soon establishes itself as one of the best `Stargate: S.G.1′ offerings in years. The use of Arthurian legend in this season is spread pretty thickly in the beginning and had me worried that this fantasy element might not work in a predominantly science-fiction-oriented series, but very soon the parallels the writers draw between the Arthurian myth and the familiar Stargate set-up, become very inventive and come to work surprisingly well at contrasting against the new and growing force of evil spreading through the galaxy. In the first five episodes that other recognizable `Farscape’ regular Claudia Black and her seductively disobedient alter-ego Vala are another reason to be enchanted by this season. Vala brings such humor and life to the series that I was really disappointed when she parted company with S.G.1, despite the welcome return of Sam Carter following her brief career change. Thankfully Vala returns towards the end of the season and here’s hoping it’s not the last we see of her.Larry Cedar in Stargate SG-1 (1997)This season’s other major success is in its stand-alone stories that continue to present unique, punchy and creative sci-fi ideas to its audience. In particular episode 9- `Prototype’ and episode 13- `Ripple Effect’ are a couple of my favourites, the first of which concerns the discovery of a prodigy of Anubis frozen on a distant planet and the second has multiple S.G.1 teams pouring through the Stargate from diverse alternate realities , both of which had me glued to my seat

REVIEW: SUPERMAN UNBOUND

CAST (VOICES)

Matt Bomer (Tru Calling)
Stana Katic (Heroes)
John Noble (Sleepy Hollow)
Molly C. Quinn (Castle)
Diedrich Bader (Batman: The Brave and The Bold)
Jason Beghe (X-Men:First Class)
Frances Conroy (How I Met Your Mother)
Melissa Disney (In A World)
Alexander Gould (Weeds)
Will Yun Lee (The Wolverine)
Stephen Root (King of The Kill)
Wade Williams (Gangster Squad)

v-wars-3-e1572876496671Offering herself as a hostage, Lois Lane is caught in an aerial confrontation between her terrorist captors and the unpredictable Supergirl before Superman arrives to save the day. Soon after, knowing Superman’s civilian identity, Lois attempts to get Clark Kent to make their relationship public despite his fear of the consequences, but their argument is halted by a Daily Planet staff meeting before Kent leaves after being alerted to an approaching meteor.v-wars-3-e1572876496671Intercepting it, Superman learns the meteor is actually a robot that he promptly defeats before activating its beacon and taking it to the Fortress of Solitude. With help from a fearful Supergirl, Superman learns the robot is actually a drone controlled by a being named Brainiac, a Coluan scientist who subjected himself to extensive motor, skeletal and cybernetic enhancements, turning him from a human like, thin, and hairless being to a muscular, red eyed giant with computer like components and enhanced physical abilities compatible to Superman’s. Supergirl, horrified at seeing Brainiac, reveals from her experience with the monster. Brainiac seized and miniaturized Krypton’s capital city of Kandor prior to the planet’s destruction with her father and mother attempting to track him down before they mysteriously lost contact with Krypton. She is now worried that Brainiac will do to the world what he did to Kandor.
v-wars-3-e1572876496671Fearing more drones would come, Superman flies through the galaxy with a Kryptonian spacecraft in an attempt to track down Brainiac before finding his drones attacking a planet. Though he attempts to stop them, Superman witnesses Brainiac capture the planet’s capital like he did with Kandor before firing a Solar Aggressor missile to consume the planet in its exploding sun. The explosion knocks Superman unconscious and he is brought on board Brainiac’s skull shaped, tentacled ship. Coming to in the examination room, he fights his way through the vessel before he discovers a room full of bottled cities prior to being attacked by Brainiac. At this point, confirming that he spared Krypton because of its eventual destruction, Brainiac is shown that he has been collecting information on all the planets he visited and uploading it into his neural core before destroying them.v-wars-3-e1572876496671Using Superman’s spacecraft and his telepathic abilities, Brainiac discovers that he has been living on Earth. Brainiac decides to chart a course to Earth while sending Superman into Kandor. Inside Kandor, his strength waning due to the artificial red sun, Superman meets his uncle Zor-El and aunt Alura. They explain that Brainiac was instructed to learn all that is knowable about the galaxy. Being a cyborg, Brainiac interpreted his directive literally and realized that he could not achieve this goal because life keeps changing. His knowledge of one world would become out-of-date as soon as he moved on to the next world. Brainiac therefore destroys civilizations after studying them so that they cannot change further, thus leaving him with a literally complete and up-to-date knowledge of them. Superman formulates a plan and escapes Kandor using the subjugator robots. From there, Superman disables Brainiac’s ship and takes Kandor with him back to Earth. At that time, Lois learns from Supergirl why Superman left and alerts the Pentagon of a possible invasion by Brainiac, who eventually repairs his ship and arrives in Metropolis.
Despite everyone, including Supergirl, doing their best to fend his drones off, Metropolis is encased in a bottle and both Superman and Supergirl are captured. Having hooked Superman up to his ship, Braniac reveals that Earth offers nothing to him, tortures Superman by overloading his mind with data to obtain Kandor and attempts to destroy the planet. However, telling his captor what Earth means to him, Superman breaks free and then frees Supergirl and convinces her to stop the Solar-Aggressor from hitting the sun. Remembering Zor-El’s words about Brainiac’s ideals, Superman knocks him out of the ship and they crash into a swamp. As he fights Braniac, Superman forces the cyborg to experience the chaos of life itself outside of the safe, artificial environments he has created. Eventually, the combined mental and physical strain takes its toll on Brainiac and he combusts and is reduced to ash and molten machinery. After restoring Metropolis, taking Kandor to another planet to restore its normal size and establishing a Kryptonian colony, Superman makes his love life with Lois as Kent public with a marriage proposal. However, placed in the Fortress of Solitude, Brainiac’s remains glow, indicating that Braniac still has some degree of his power.file_204535_4_Black_Moon_Rising_Tommy_Lee_JonesThe movie has plenty of action not just between Superman and Supergirl vs. Braniac; but the people of Earth and Krypton fighting back as well. I like that fact that Brainiac is one of the villains that can match Superman physically

REVIEW: RUNNING SCARED

 

CAST

Paul Walker (Hours)
Cameron Bright (Juno)
Vera Farmiga (Bates Motel)
Chazz Palminteri (Analyze This)
Karel Roden (Hellboy)
Johnny Messner (Tears of The Sun)
Ivana Milicevic (Vanilla Sky)
Michael Cudlitz (The Walking Dead)
Elizabeth Mitchell (V)
John Noble (Sleepy Hollow)
Arthur J. Nascarella (Billions)

MV5BMTM0MzU1NjI0OF5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTcwNTI4NjU0NA@@._V1_SY1000_CR0,0,1539,1000_AL_Joey (Paul Walker) is a small-time mobster hired to dispose of ‘hot’ guns for his bosses. One of these weapons (with particular value over all the others) falls into the hands of his son’s best friend and is used to startling effect. Here is where the real fun starts. Joey can find neither the child nor the weapon in question, and he has only 18 hours before either the police, the Russian mafia or his own employers catch up with him.

Walker is surprisingly impressive, here he plays Joey as someone well aware of his impending death should he fail, and throughout he is totally watchable and believable. The story occasionally flags, particularly in the middle of the film, but Kramer is not afraid to play with the camera-work to keep the audience’s attention – whip-pans, CSI-style extreme close-ups, super slow-motion, sepia filters and colour bleaching are all used to give the film a gritty and somewhat unique look.MV5BMTYwOTY4OTY3Ml5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTcwNzI4NjU0NA@@._V1_SY1000_CR0,0,1539,1000_AL_The film’s charcoal-dark tone may be too relentless for some viewers, and the paedophilia subplot could be considered as taking things one step too far, but as long as you’ve got a strong stomach and can face hearing lashings of creative swearing, there’s a lot of enjoyment to be found here.