REVIEW: THE ORVILLE – SEASON 2

Starring

Seth MacFarlane (Sing)

Adrianne Palicki (Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.)

Penny Johsnon Jerald (Star Trek: DS9)

Scott Grimes (American Dad)

Peter Macon (Shameless)

Halston Sage (Goosebumps)

J. Lee (Family Guy)

Mark Jackson (The Royal Today)
Jessica Szohr (Piranha 3D)

Seth MacFarlane and Adrianne Palicki in The Orville (2017)

Recurring / Notable Guest Cast

Will Sasso (Mom)
Mike Henry (The Cleveland Show)
Chris Johnson (The Vampire Diaries)
Jason Alexander (Shallow Hal)
Rachael MacFarlane (American Dad)
Chad L. Coleman (Arrow)
Lesley Fera (Pretty Little Liars)
Candice King (The Vampire Diaries)
Robert Picardo (Star Trek: Voyager)
John Billingsley (Star Trek: Enterprise)
Kerry O’Malley (Annabelle: Creation)
Patrick Warburton (Ted)
Molly Hagan (No Good Nick)
Norm MacDonald (Dr. Dolittle)
Michaela McManus (SEAL Team)
Fred Tatasciore (Hulk Vs)
Ted Danson (The Good Place)
John Rubinstein (Angel)
Kevin Daniels (Atypical)
Wren T. Brown (Whoopi)
Bruce Willis (Glass)
Nick Chinlund (Training Day)
Mackenzie Astin (The Magicians)
Leighton Meester (The Roommate)
Tim Russ (Star Trek: Voyager)
Sarah Scott (The Artist)
F. Murray Abraham (Amadeus)
Rena Owen (Siren)
Kelly Hu (Arrow)
Tony Todd (Candyman)
Marina Sirtis (Star Trek: TNG)

Penny Johnson Jerald and Mark Jackson in The Orville (2017)It would be profoundly unfair at this point to keep comparing The Orville to Star Trek: The Next Generation. But the parallels are pretty obvious. The titular Orville has the same ‘Giant Conference Hotel’ in space look that the old Star Trek show did; the Union has a similar aesthetic as The Federation, and so on. But all of this is shorthand; we know Star Trek, so all the visual clues are really just there to quickly get the viewer up to speed.Seth MacFarlane in The Orville (2017)Season 1 of The Orville worked pretty hard to establish its own world. This was an optimistic yet militaristic future in which people still behaved like people. They got drunk, they made dirty jokes, they had affairs, they got divorced. The central relationship of the show is that the First Officer is the Captain’s ex-wife, after all. Season 1 had a lot of missteps and frequently fell flat. Season 2 addresses these issues by simply being more straight forward and blunt.Halston Sage in The Orville (2017)For a start, it’s more obvious that the various prominent alien races in the show represent various social issues. Stories that feature the ‘All-Male’ Moclus tend to focus on sex, identity, and gender. It helps a lot that Peter Macon plays the role of Bortus brilliantly. He can switch from sombre and serious to physical comedy extremely well and is perhaps one of the most under-rated characters in the show. The war-like Krill allow the show to reflect on religious intolerance and the mechanical Kaylon serve a general cypher for the human experience. None of these ‘issue’ stories are subtle, but they are fun and filled with humour.Seth MacFarlane in The Orville (2017)The show’s twists and turns are also pretty significant, and from the outset there are plenty of them. The Orville isn’t afraid to use story arcs, and the ‘reset’ button is rarely used here. Mistakes and tragedies are permanent. Certainly the last few episodes of the series feel like a promise. The past is another country and that even the slightest thing can have ruinous consequences.Penny Johnson Jerald and Seth MacFarlane in The Orville (2017)The special effects budget has also gotten a significant bump. Though there are plenty of ‘people standing around talking’-type scenes, when the action gets underway it really does go for it, reminding the viewer that this show is versatile enough to do both action and drama very well.Penny Johnson Jerald and Mark Jackson in The Orville (2017)Despite the short second season, it seems that Fox is very fond of its very marketable sci-fi show. Season 2 is occasionally a bumpy ride for its changes in story and pacing, but it’s well worth the journey.

HALLOWEEN OF HORROR REVIEW: KILLER MOVIE

CAST

Paul Wesley (The Vampire Diaries)
Kaley Cuoco (The Big Bang Theory)
Nestor Carbonell (Bates Motel)
Leighton Meester (The Roommate)
Jason London (Carrie 2)
Torrey DeVitto (The Rite)
Gloria Votsis (White Collar)
Cyia Batten (Cookers)
Robert Buckley (Izombie)

41992199_1955607841164745_1867220934398574592_nKiller Movie tells the story of a reality television shoot that goes awry when its crew finds itself stranded in a remote Northern town. A killer is on the loose, stalking cast and crew members one by one. As past suspicions, betrayals and secrets inexplicably come into play, the nightmare of shooting this reality show becomes all too real for Jake, the show’s director, his crew and Hollywood starlet Blanca Champion.Killer Movie is just a ridiculous amount of fun. It helps that this reality TV riff is written and directed by Jeff Fisher, a guy with eight years of shows like The Simple Life and The Real World/Road Rules Challenge under his belt. This is Fisher’s first time fielding something that’s scripted and feature-length, but there’s a confidence that still really comes through. He doesn’t hide behind hypercaffeinated quick cutting or overly gimmicky camerawork, and Fisher clearly knows how to coax the best out of his actors. The reality TV framework helps the storytelling flow along extremely smoothly — why settle for clunky exposition when you can chuck out another confessional? — and it sports a pretty terrific sense of humor. The comedy’s kind of understated.The Cast of actors include: Lost’s Nestor Carbonell as a seasoned Hollywood agent who knows how to yank his clients’ strings to nudge ’em in the right direction, Gossip Girl’s Leighton Meester, Al Santos from Grosse Pointe, Adriana DeMeo off an episode of Veronica Mars. One Tree Hill’s Torrey DeVitto, and Jason London from Dazed and Confused as a prickly local working sound for the show. ‘Course, the most recognizable face is The Big Bang Theory’s Kaley Cuoco, and she stars as a Paris Hilton/Lindsay Lohan type trying to claw her way out of the tabloids by trying the whole method acting thing as a celebrity P.A.paulwesley_1273768622The real star of the movie, even though he doesn’t actually score billing on the cover, is Paul Wesley (The Vampire Diaries), and he plays a director still reeling from cancellation and he’s intrigued by the smalltown-hockey-underdog angle. I’m not going to say that Killer Movie is a lush character piece or anything, but quite a few of its characters really do have an enormous amount of personality, and it helps that the movie has a bunch of experienced, instantly likeable actors

REVIEW: VERONICA MARS – SEASON 1

Starring

Kristen Bell (The Good Place)
Teddy Dunn (Jumper)
Jason Dohring (The Originals)
Percy Daggs III (Detention)
Sydney Tamiia Poitier (Death Proof)
Francis Capra (Izombie)
Enrico Colantoni (Flashpoint)

Kristen Bell in Veronica Mars (2004)

RECURRING / NOTABLE GUEST CAST

Michael Muhney (The Young and The Restless)
Corinne Bohrer (The Flash 90s)
Amanda Seyfried (Les Miserables)
Lisa Thornhill (Agter The Sunset)
Kyle Secor (The Purge: Election Year)
Daran Norris (Izombie)
Brandon Hillock (Villains)
Bradley Joseph (Stone & Ed)
Patrick Wolff (Mighty Morphin Power Rangers)
Duane Daniels (Fashion House)
Jonathan Chesner (Bones)
Christian Clemenson (Apollo 13)
Aaron Ashmore (Smallville)
Wilmer Calderon (Fast & Furious)
Paris Hilton (House of Wax)
Ryan Hansen (2 Broke Girls)
Bobby Edner (The Amanda Show)
Paula Marshall (Murder In The First)
Alison MacInnis (Power Rangers Lightspeed Rescue)
Kyla Pratt (Dr. Dolittle)
Adam Wylie (Child’s Play 2)
Robert Baker (Supergirl)
Sam Huntington (Superman Returns)
Melissa Reneé Martin (The Secret Craft)
Lisa Rinna (Days of Our Lives)
Jane Lynch (Glee)
Harry Hamlin (Clash of The Titans)
Amanda Noret (Bunny Whipped)
Jessica Chastain (Zero Dar Thirty)
Adam Kaufman (Buffy: TVS)
Steven Williams (Jason Goes To Hell)
Bonita Friedericy (Chuck)
Alona Tal (Cult)
Tina Majorino (Scorpion)
Erica Gimpel (God Friended Me)
Anastasia Baranova (Z Nation)
Jonathan Bennett (Mean Girls)
Chris William Martin (The Vampire Diaries)
Megalyn Echikunwoke (That 70s Show)
Kevin Sheridan (Heart of Dixie)
Emmanuelle Vaugier (Two and a Half Men)
Max Greenfield (New Girl)
Aaron Paul (Breaking Bad)
Christopher B. Duncan (Legacies)
Katie Leclerc (The Big Bang Theory)
Bridget Hoffman (Total Recall)
Anthony Anderson (Transformers)
Jowharah Jones (Ugly Betty)
Ken Merckx (Masked Rider)
Christine Lakin (Family Guy)
Adam Scott (Krampus)
Leighton Meester (The Roommate)
Alyson Hannigan (Buffy: TVS)
Cynthia LaMontagne (Austin Powers)
Zachery Ty Bryan (Home Improvement)
Erin Chambers (Stargate: Atlantis)
Ken Marino (Agent Carter)
Jonathan Taylor Thomas (Last Man Standing)
Theo Rossi (Luke Cage)
Joey Lauren Adams (Chasing Amy)
Roy Werner (Power Rangers Time Force)
Kyle Gallner (American Sniper)

Veronica Mars is set in Neptune, California, a town without a middle-class. Everyone’s either a millionaire or works for one, and the man largely responsible for Neptune’s unparalleled success is Jake Kane (Kyle Secor), the resident billionaire software mogul. Kane and his family are still reeling from the murder of his daughter Lilly (Amanda Seyfried) some months earlier, and as if that loss wasn’t enough, the beloved Kane family was doggedly pursued by a county sheriff convinced that they were hiding something. Public sentiment turned against Sheriff Keith Mars (Enrico Colantoni), who was ousted from office and abandoned by his wife.Kristen Bell and Jessica Chastain in Veronica Mars (2004)Cue the title character. His daughter Veronica (Kristen Bell) had already lost her best friend with Lilly’s death, but standing by her father also cost Veronica her friends, her social status, her house…even her mother. Veronica had already been unceremoniously dumped by Lilly’s brother Duncan (Teddy Dunn) shortly before her friend’s murder, and a defiant visit to face her former friends at a party weeks later led to Veronica being drugged and raped. Despite having lost so much, Veronica is resilient enough to move on with her life, and as her father struggles to stay afloat as a private eye, Veronica puts her smarts and determination to work to help ease the caseload at Mars Investigations. She also puts her talents to use to help her classmates with their troubles — for a price, of course. To cap it all off, Veronica’s faced with a couple of her own mysteries to solve. What convinced Lianne Mars to abandon her family, and where is she now? Who was it who drugged and raped Veronica last December? Also, is her father right — did someone other than disgruntled Kane Software employee Abel Koontz murder Lilly? If there is, who orchestrated the conspiracy that led to Koontz’ confession and why?Kristen Bell in Veronica Mars (2004)The dialogue in Veronica Mars has the same sparkle as Joss Whedon’s work…arguably better, even, since Buffy sometimes sounded like a deliberate attempt to be hip, whereas Veronica Mars manages to be witty and clever without feeling quite so forced. The writing doesn’t skew as young as one might expect from a TV show set in a high school. If anything, the target audience seems to be twentysomething — I don’t know how many fifteen year olds would be able to appreciate references to Archie comics or 21 Jump Street, f’r instance. Characterization is another strength of the series, and part of the reason Veronica Mars works as well as it does is that the audience truly does care about the characters. Despite having a seemingly endless array of talents, Veronica isn’t some sort of idyllic Mary Sue. She’s not always right. Her investigations frequently take morally questionable turns. Things don’t always go the way she wants. Not every episode has a happy ending.Kristen Bell in Veronica Mars (2004)Along with the cases that are solved in the space of forty minutes and change every week, a couple of mysteries are introduced in the pilot that are gradually explored throughout the entire length of the season. That’s right — unlike the hydra that is Lost, where answering one question spawns ten more, all of Veronica Mars’ mysteries are resolved by the time the season finale rolls around. (The finale tosses out a couple questions of its own, but if a second season hadn’t gotten the green light, it still would’ve been a fitting end to the series.)Veronica Mars has a capable cast to match the quality of the writing. Veronica is strong and cynical…bright and sarcastic…and even though all of the trauma she’s suffered over the past year has aged her somewhat, she’s still an emotionally vulnerable teenage girl.Kristen Bell and Alona Tal in Veronica Mars (2004)That’s a lot to juggle, but Kristen Bell is talented enough to make such a colossal task seem effortless and captivating enough to carry a show on her shoulders. Of course, Bell is joined by a strong enough supporting cast that she doesn’t have to shoulder it all herself.VM-S2D2_04After cutting down Wallace (Percy Daggs III), the new kid at school, who’d been stripped naked and duct taped to a flagpole, he and Veronica become best friends. In teen-TV land, it’s an immutable rule that people of different genders can’t just be pals…there’s this endless temptation to couple everyone. Veronica Mars manages to resist, resulting in one of the few platonic friendships like this left on television.Enrico Colantoni, who plays Veronica’s father, is another fan favorite, able to shift from warm, loving, and borderline-goofy to secretive and deadly serious when the situation calls for it. There’s also Eli “Weevil” Navarro (Francis Capra), the leader of a local biker gang from the wrong side of the tracks who engages in some mutual backscratching with Veronica.Kristen Bell in Veronica Mars (2004)The character who stands out the most — aside from Veronica, of course — is Logan Echolls (Jason Dohring). Like Kristen Bell, Dohring is endlessly engaging. He’s introduced as an “obligatory psychotic jackass”, but as the season progresses, Logan’s humanized without being watered-down; even when he’s doing something as thoroughly loathesome as bribing a homeless vet to join in on his homebrew Bumfights video, there’s an undercurrent of understanding why Logan is the way he is. The character changes throughout the season, but the shift feels deserved and natural, not just because that’s what’s scrawled on the whiteboard in the writing room.Other guest stars throughout the season include Napoleon Dynamite’s Tina Majorino as computer whiz Mac, Aaron Ashmore as a love interest with a shady past, Logan’s movie star family (played by Harry Hamlin, Lisa Rinna, and Alyson Hannigan), Anthony Anderson, Zachary Ty Brian, Joey Lauren Adams, Jonathan Taylor Thomas, and, in a shameless bit of stuntcasting, Paris Hilton. Kristen Bell and Francis Capra in Veronica Mars (2004)The fact that the second episode of Veronica Mars manages to be really good despite a Paris Hilton guest spot really is a testament to how good a series this is. Oh, and, in true Laura Palmer fashion, just because Lilly Kane is dead doesn’t mean that Amanda Seyfried can’t rear her head in nearly every other episode.The conclusion to most of the mysteries caught me by surprise. Throughout the entire season, the only time I correctly guessed the culprit was in “Lord of the Bling”, and even then, the motivation and execution were well out of my reach. The many twists the stories take are clever, and watching these episodes a second time, I could spot all sorts of clues and hints that didn’t seem that important the first time through. Veronica Mars is a series that’s easy to dive into as a marathon, but for viewers catching these episodes for the first time, I’d recommend drawing it out a bit.

REVIEW: DATE NIGHT

CAST
Steve Carrell (Evan Almighty)
Tina Fey (Mean Girls)
Mark Wahlberg (Rock Star)
Taraji P. Henson (The Karate Kid)
Jimmi Simpson (White House Down)
Common (Terminator Salvation)
William Fichtner (The Dark Knight)
Leighton Meester (The Roommate)
J.B. Smoove (The Sitter)
Kristen Wiig (The Martian)
Mark Ruffalo (The Avengers)
James Franco (This Is The End)
Mila Kunis (Ted)
Olivia Munn (Iron Man 2)
Gal Gadot (Wonder Woman)
Jon Bernthal (Daredevil)
Ari Graynor (For A Good Time Call..)
Will.i.am (X-Men Origins)
Bill Burr (Zombeavers)
Stacey Scowley (The Brotherhood 2)
Nick Kroll (Sing)
Gillian Vigman (The Hangover)
Ray Liotta (Hannibal)
Phil and Claire Foster (Steve Carell and Tina Fey) are a married couple from New Jersey with two children and whose domestic life has become boring and routine. Phil is a tax lawyer while Claire is a realtor. They are motivated to reignite their romance after learning that their best friends, Brad and Haley (Mark Ruffalo and Kristen Wiig), are planning to divorce to escape the married-life routine and to have more excitement in their lives.
To avoid the routine that had become their weekly “date night”, Phil decides that he will take Claire to a trendy Manhattan restaurant, but they cannot get a table. Phil takes a reservation from a no-show couple, the Tripplehorns, despite Claire’s misgivings. While eating they are approached by two men, Collins (Common) and Armstrong (Jimmi Simpson), who question them about a flash drive they believe Phil and Claire stole from mobster boss Joe Miletto (Ray Liotta). Phil and Claire explain that they are not the Tripplehorns, but the men threaten them at gunpoint. Not seeing any other way out, Phil tells them it is in a boathouse in Central Park.
At the boathouse, Claire pretends to search; while Collins and Armstrong’s backs are turned, Phil hits them with a paddle and escapes with Claire on a boat. At a police station, Phil and Claire talk with Detective Arroyo (Taraji P. Henson), but discover Collins and Armstrong are also detectives, presumably on Miletto’s payroll. Realizing they cannot trust the police, they decide to find the real Tripplehorns. They return to the restaurant and find the cellphone number of the Tripplehorns.
Claire remembers a former client, Holbrooke Grant (Mark Wahlberg), is a security expert and James Bond-like action hero. He is consistently seen never wearing a shirt. At his apartment, Grant traces the cellphone signal to an apartment owned by Tom Felton. Collins and Armstrong arrive, but Phil and Claire escape in Grant’s Audi R8.
They arrive at Felton’s apartment and break in. They question Felton, nicknamed “Taste” (James Franco), and his wife “Whippit” (Mila Kunis) about the flash drive and Joe Miletto. It turns out that they went to the restaurant, but left when they spotted Collins. Realizing they are in danger, the couple give the flash drive to Phil and flee. When Phil and Claire get back in the Audi, Armstrong and Collins shoot at them. Phil and Claire crash the Audi head-on into a Ford Crown Victoria taxicab, resulting in their Audi and the Ford being attached at the bumpers. Phil and the cab driver (J. B. Smoove) decide to drive off to get away. Phil climbs into the Ford to navigate while Claire navigates the Audi. Phil checks the flash drive on the driver’s Amazon Kindle and finds pictures of district attorney Frank Crenshaw (William Fichtner) with prostitutes (early in the film, a press conference shows Crenshaw highlighting his integrity platform). After evading Collins and Armstrong, they are eventually hit and are separated by an SUV. The cab falls into the river; Phil and the driver escape, but without the flash drive.
In a subway, Phil determines that Felton obtained the flash drive to blackmail Crenshaw. They return to Grant’s apartment, and Grant is reluctant to help after becoming exhausted by their incompetence, but Phil begs and he agrees. Phil and Claire go to an illegal strip club that Crenshaw frequents, with Claire under the guise of a new prostitute and Phil as her pimp. After doing a pole dance for Crenshaw, they confront him and tell him they are the Tripplehorns. Collins and Armstrong come in and hold them at gunpoint and take them up to the roof with Crenshaw. Miletto arrives with henchmen and it is revealed that Crenshaw has been paid by Miletto to keep him out of jail. When Phil mentions the photos, a feud escalates between the mobsters and Crenshaw, Collins and Armstrong. Phil asks Claire to count to three (her typical method of calming their children). When she does, a helicopter appears and Arroyo and the SWAT team come onto the roof to arrest Miletto, Crenshaw, and everyone else. It is revealed that Phil was wearing a wire courtesy of Grant, who informed Arroyo of the situation.
After being declared heroes, Phil and Claire enjoy breakfast at a diner, where Phil admits he would marry Claire and have their kids all over again if given the chance. When they return home, they make out on the front lawn.
This is a real laugh out loud movie and even though it looks like a chick flick it suits both sexes! Very amusing escapades of a normal, bored couple who decide to do something different for date night and the story begins….a great watch!

REVIEW: THE ROOMMATE

 

CAST

Leighton Meester (Gossip Girl)
Minka Kelly (500 Days of Summer)
Cam Gigandet (Easy A)
Aly Michalka (Izombie)
Danneel Ackles (Fired Up!)
Frances Fisher (Titanic)
Tomas Arana (Gladiator)
Billy Zane (Zoolander)
Nina Dobrev (The Vampire Diaries)
Matt Lanter (90210)
Kat Graham (Honey 2)
Nathan Parsons (The Originals)

Sara Matthews (Kelly) is starting her freshman year of college. She meets Tracy (Michalka), Stephen (Gigandet) – her love interest, and Rebecca (Meester) – her college roommate, the girls begin to bond and Rebecca learns that Sara had an older sister, Emily, who died when Sara was 9, and an ex-boyfriend, Jason (Lanter), who keeps calling her in attempts to reconcile. As time goes on, Rebecca’s obsession with Sara grows, which causes her to drive away anyone who could come between them.Rebecca attacks Tracy in the shower, pinning her down and ripping out her belly-button ring, and threatens to kill her unless she stays away from Sara. Tracy moves to another dorm, fearful of Rebecca. An old friend of Sara’s named Irene (Harris), who is a lesbian, invites Sara to move in with her when Sara’s cat Cuddles is discovered. Rebecca then kills Cuddles by putting her in the dryer. She then lies to Sara that the cat ran away. Rebecca then inflicts injuries upon herself and says she was assaulted by a thug. Sara feels bad for her and decides to spend the Thanksgiving with Rebecca. When Sara’s philandering fashion design professor, Roberts (Zane), kisses her, Rebecca plans to get the professor out of the picture by seducing him while recording their dialogue on a tape recorder to make it sound like he was trying to rape her.During her stay, Sara overhears a conversation between Rebecca and her father (Arana), hinting Rebecca has had trouble making friends in the past. Rebecca’s mother (Fisher) mentions that Rebecca is supposed to be taking medication. She and Stephen later find a bottle of Zyprexa pills, used to treat schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. But the bottle is full, implying that Rebecca hasn’t been taking the pills. Sara, worried about what would happen, decides to move in with Irene. Irene goes to a club where she sees Rebecca. They make out in the club’s bathroom and Irene, not knowing that Rebecca is Sara’s roommate, takes Rebecca back to her place. The following morning, Sara goes to Irene’s apartment but she’s not there.Rebecca gets Sara’s sister’s name tattooed in the same place on her breast as Sara, saying that Sara can now think of Rebecca as her sister. A shocked Sara realizes that Rebecca is obsessed with her and packs all her things, except her sister’s necklace, which she can’t find (being later revealed that the necklace had been stolen from her by Rebecca). Jason arrives at Sara’s dorm and slips a note under her door, saying that he wants to see her. Rebecca reads the note, impersonates Sara with her sister’s necklace and tattoo, and dyes her hair to look like Sara. She then goes to Jason’s hotel room and stabs him to death.Later, Sara gets a text from Irene, saying she needs her right away. Sara informs Stephen she will be at Irene’s place. When she gets there, she finds Irene held hostage by Rebecca with a revolver. Rebecca reveals that she was responsible for what happened to Tracy, Cuddles, Professor Roberts, and Jason and that she did it all to win Sara’s friendship. Rebecca wants to kill Irene in order to finally have Sara all to herself. Stephen arrives just in time to help stop Rebecca from pulling the trigger on Irene. Sara reaches for the revolver to shoot Rebecca, however, the cartridge is empty. Enraged at this, Rebecca picks up Sara and tries to strangle her to death, but Sara stabs Rebecca in the back with a boxcutter, which kills her.Sara moves back into her dorm and moves the extra bed out of her room with the help of her boyfriend Stephen, proclaiming that she does not want a roommate for a while.This is a fairly enjoyable, though predictable, thriller, very much in the style of Single White Female (Bridget Fonda. It’s an average thriller that will pass the time.