REVIEW: TERMINATOR: DARK FATE

Starring

Linda Hamilton (Chuck)
Arnold Schwarzenegger (Commando)
Mackenzie Davis (Blade Runner 2049)
Natalia Reyes (Pick Pockets)
Gabriel Luna (Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.)
Diego Boneta (Scream Queens)
Tristán Ulloa (Crash test Aglaé)
Alicia Borrachero (The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian)
Tom Hopper (The Umbrella Academy)
Edward Furlong (Terminator 2)

Linda Hamilton in Terminator: Dark Fate (2019)In 1998, three years after averting the threat of Skynet, Sarah and John Connor are enjoying life by a beach in Livingston, Guatemala, when they are suddenly attacked by a T-800 Terminator. Sent back through time by Skynet prior to its erasure, the Terminator kills John before leaving.Linda Hamilton and Arnold Schwarzenegger in Terminator: Dark Fate (2019)In 2020, an advanced Terminator, the Rev-9, is sent back in time to Mexico City, to murder Daniella “Dani” Ramos, who will become a threat to the machines in the future. A cybernetically enhanced soldier, Grace, is sent from 2042 to protect her. The Rev-9, disguised as Dani’s father, infiltrates the automobile assembly plant where Dani and her brother Diego work, but is thwarted by Grace, who escapes with the siblings. The Rev-9, revealing its ability to split into its cybernetic endoskeleton and shape-shifting liquid metal exterior, pursues them, killing Diego and cornering Grace and Dani. However, Sarah arrives and temporarily disables the Terminator with explosives.Natalia Reyes and Mackenzie Davis in Terminator: Dark Fate (2019)Dani, Grace, and Sarah retreat to a motel. Sarah reveals that she found them because, in the years since John’s death, she has received encrypted messages detailing the locations of arriving Terminators, each ending with “For John”. Grace notes that neither Skynet nor John exists in her timeline. Instead, humanity is threatened by an AI called Legion, originally developed for cyberwarfare. When Legion became a threat to humans, an attempt was made to neutralize it with nuclear weapons, resulting in a nuclear holocaust and the AI creating a global network of machines to terminate the human survivors.Arnold Schwarzenegger and Gabriel Luna in Terminator: Dark Fate (2019)Grace traces Sarah’s messages to Laredo, Texas. Barely evading the Rev-9 and the authorities while crossing the Mexico–United States border, they arrive at their source, where they discover the same T-800 that murdered John. Having fulfilled its mission and with Skynet no longer existing, the T-800 was left aimless. Through learning however, it became self-aware. During that time, it learned from humanity and developed a conscience, taking the name “Carl” and adopting a human family. After learning how its actions affected Sarah and being able to detect temporal displacements, Carl decided to forewarn her of them to give her purpose. Carl offers to join them against the Rev-9, and they make preparations to destroy it. Sarah begrudgingly agrees to work together for Dani’s sake. Anticipating the Rev-9’s arrival, Carl bids its family farewell and tells them to escape. The group gives Dani tactical weapons training and plans on how to ambush the Rev-9.Arnold Schwarzenegger in Terminator: Dark Fate (2019)To do so, they seek out a military-grade electromagnetic pulse (EMP) from an acquaintance of Sarah’s. The Rev-9 catches up with them, forcing them to steal a C-5 Galaxy to escape, though the EMP’s are destroyed in the resulting shootout. During the flight, Grace reveals that Dani becomes the future founding commander of the Resistance, as well as her rescuer. The Rev-9 boards their airplane via a KC-10 Extender and temporarily subdues Carl, forcing Grace, Sarah, and Dani to jump from the plane into a river near a hydro-power plant, with Carl and the Rev-9 following close behind.Linda Hamilton, Natalia Reyes, and Mackenzie Davis in Terminator: Dark Fate (2019)Bludgeoned, the group makes their stand inside the plant. In the ensuing battle, Carl and Grace force the Rev-9 into a spinning turbine, causing an explosion that critically damages the two Terminators and mortally wounds Grace. The blemished Rev-9’s endoskeleton incapacitates Sarah, forcing Dani to confront it herself. A dying Grace tells Dani to use her power source to destroy the Rev-9. Dani tries to fight the Rev-9, but is quickly overpowered. Carl reactivates itself and restrains the Rev-9, allowing Dani to stab it with Grace’s power source. Carl drags itself and the Rev-9 over a ledge and tells Sarah, “For John”, right before the power core explodes, destroying them both. Sometime later, Dani and Sarah watch over a ten-year-old Grace at a playground with her family, the former determined to avert Grace’s death. Sarah then tells Dani she needs to get ready, with Grace watching as the pair drives off.Linda Hamilton in Terminator: Dark Fate (2019)I really enjoyed this movie. I thought the story could have been better, but I thought the acting, action sequences and humor made up for it. This movie isn’t perfect but it’s a fun movie to go watch that has some heart to it. I recommend this movie to anyone who wants to have a good time.

REVIEW: TERMINATOR SALVATION

CAST

Christian Bale (The Dark Knight)
Sam Worthington (Avatar)
Anton Yelchin (Star Trek)
Moon Bloodgood (Faster)
Bryce Dallas Howard (Jurassic World)
Common (Wanted)
Helena Bonham Carter (Darkk Shadows)
Terry Crews (Training Day)
Linda Hamilton (ChucK)
Jane Alexander (The Ring)
Chris Browning (Cowboys & Aliens)
Jadagrace (The Jadagrace Show)
Michael Ironside (Total Recall)
Michael Papajohn (Spidr-Man)
Zach McGowan (The Scorpion King 5)

In 2003, Dr. Serena Kogan (Carter) of Cyberdyne Systems convinces death row inmate Marcus Wright (Worthington) to sign over his body for medical research following his execution. Sometime later, the automated Skynet system is activated, becomes self-aware; perceiving humans as a threat to its existence, it starts a nuclear holocaust to eradicate them in the event known as “Judgment Day”. In 2018, John Connor (Bale) leads an attack on a Skynet base, where he discovers human prisoners and schematics for a new type of Terminator, incorporating living tissue, the T-800. Connor survives a violent assault on the base, which is destroyed. Following Connor’s departure, Wright emerges from the base’s wreckage and begins walking towards Los Angeles.Connor returns to the Resistance headquarters located aboard a nuclear submarine and is briefed by General Ashdown (Ironside) that the Resistance has discovered a hidden signal containing a code protocol which they believe can initiate a permanent shutdown of Skynet’s machines. Working on this intelligence, the human militia plan to launch an offensive against the Skynet base in San Francisco. It is decided among the Resistance that the offensive will commence in four days, due to an intercepted kill-list created by Skynet, which plans to terminate the Resistance’s command staff within the same time frame. Connor learns he is second on this list, following Kyle Reese (Yelchin). The Resistance leaders are unaware of Reese’s importance, but Connor knows Reese will eventually travel back in time and become his father, and realizes that Skynet has learned of this fact.Arriving at the ruins of Los Angeles, Wright encounters Reese and a mute child named Star (Berry) during a violent skirmish with Terminators. Reese and Star are subsequently abducted and taken prisoner by Skynet. Later, two Resistance A-10 airplanes are shot down while trying to intercept a machine transport. Wright locates downed pilot Blair Williams (Bloodgood), as they make their way to Connor’s base, where thereafter, Wright is wounded by a magnetic land mine. Attempting to save his life, the Resistance fighters discover that Wright is indeed a cyborg, with a mechanical endoskeleton and a partially artificial cerebral cortex. Although Wright believes himself to be human, Connor and his wife think that Wright has been sent to execute him and orders him to be killed. Williams helps Wright escape. During the pursuit, Wright saves Connor’s life from Skynet’s hydrobots and the two make a bargain; Wright will enter Skynet’s headquarters in San Francisco, to help Connor rescue Reese and the other prisoners, if he lets him live.Connor pleads with General Ashdown to delay the offensive so he can formulate a plan to extract the human captives, but Ashdown refuses and relieves Connor of his command. However, the Resistance disobey Ashdown’s orders and instead, await Connor’s signal. Wright enters the base, interfaces with the computer, and disables perimeter defenses so that Connor can infiltrate the cellblock and release human prisoners. Wright learns from Skynet (which assumes the form of Dr. Kogan on a screen), that he was created and built from the original Wright’s corpse to lure Connor to the base; when the Resistance launches its attack, Connor will be killed, achieving the goal that Skynet had failed to accomplish in the past. The hidden signal that the Resistance received earlier is revealed to have been a ruse, and Skynet uses it to track down and destroy the command submarine with the Resistance’s leaders aboard.

Wright tears out the hardware linking him to Skynet and assists Connor in battling the new T-800 (Model 101) Terminator (Kickinger). Wright is soon outclassed in strength and temporarily disabled until Connor comes to his aid. Wright eventually defeats the T-800 while Connor destroys the Skynet base by rigging together explosives. Connor, Wright, Reese, and Star are airlifted out. Connor though was seriously wounded during the assault with a life-threatening injury to his heart. Wright offers his own heart for transplantation, sacrificing himself to save Connor. As he recovers, Connor radios to other Resistance fighters that, although this battle has been won, the war is still not over.

Basically there are a few of loopholes and inconsistencies which could bring you down if you linger too long on them, but if you are able to get past that it is definitely worth watching. Not the best Terminator film, but not as bad the haters say.

 

REVIEW: TERMINATOR 2: JUDGEMENT DAY

CAST

Arnold Schwarzenegger (Maggie)
Linda Hamilton (Chuck)
Edward Furlong (American History X)
Robert Patrick (D-Tox)
Earl Boen (Marked For Death)
Michael Biehn (Cherry Falls)
Joe Morton (Speed)
S. Epatha Merkerson (Black Snake Moan)
Jenette Goldstein (Aliens)
Xander Berkeley (Justice)
Nikki Cox (Las Vegas)
Dean Norris (Breaking Bad)
Mark Christopher Lawrence (Chuck)
Sven-Ole Thorsen (Mallrats)

In 1995, John Connor is living in Los Angeles with foster parents. His mother Sarah Connor had been preparing him throughout his childhood for his future role as the Human Resistance leader against Skynet – the artificial intelligence that will be given control of the United States’ nuclear missiles and initiate a nuclear holocaust called “Judgment Day” on August 29, 1997 – but was arrested and imprisoned at a mental hospital after attempting to bomb a computer factory. Skynet sends a new Terminator, designated as T-1000, back in time to kill John. The T-1000 is an advanced prototype made out of mimetic polyalloy (referred to as “liquid metal”) that gives it the ability to take on the shape and appearance of almost anything it touches, as well as knives and other stabbing weapons. The T-1000 arrives under a freeway, kills a policeman and assumes his identity. Meanwhile, the future John Connor has sent back a reprogrammed T-800 (Model 101) Terminator to protect his young counterpart.The Terminator and the T-1000 converge on John in a shopping mall, and a chase ensues after which John and the Terminator escape together on a motorcycle. Fearing that the T-1000 will kill Sarah in order to get to him, John orders the Terminator to help free her. They encounter Sarah as she is escaping from the hospital, although she is initially reluctant to trust the T-800. After the trio escapes from the T-1000 in a police car, the Terminator informs John and Sarah about Skynet’s history. In addition, it would create machines that will hunt and kill the remnants of humanity. Sarah learns that the man most directly responsible for Skynet’s creation is Miles Bennett Dyson, a Cyberdyne Systems engineer working on a revolutionary new neural net processor that will form the basis for Skynet.Sarah gathers weapons from an old friend and plans to flee with John to Mexico, but after having a nightmare about Judgment Day, she instead sets out to kill Dyson in order to prevent Judgment Day from occurring. Finding him at his home, she wounds him but finds herself unable to kill him in front of his family. John and the Terminator arrive and inform Dyson of the future consequences of his work. They learn that much of his research has been reverse engineered from the damaged CPU and the right arm of the previous Terminator. Convincing him that these items and his designs must be destroyed, they break into the Cyberdyne building and retrieve the CPU and the arm. The police arrive and Dyson is shot, but he manages to trigger several explosives, destroying the lab and his research while sacrificing himself. The T-1000 relentlessly pursues the surviving trio, eventually cornering them in a steel mill.The T-1000 and the Terminator engage in physical combat, with the advanced model severely damaging its adversary. The T-800 is seemingly shut down until its emergency back-up system brings it back online. The T-1000 nearly kills John and Sarah until the T-800 appears and shoots it into a vat of molten steel with an M79 grenade launcher, destroying it. John tosses the arm and CPU of the original Terminator into the vat as well. As Sarah expresses relief that the ordeal is over, the Terminator explains that to ensure that he is not used for reverse engineering he must also be destroyed. It asks Sarah to assist in lowering it into the vat of molten steel, since it is unable to “self-terminate”, although John begs the Terminator to reconsider his decision. It bids them farewell as it is lowered into the vat. The Terminator gives a tearful John a final thumbs-up as it disappears into the molten steel and shuts down. Sarah looks to the future with hope, musing that “if a machine … can learn the value of human life, maybe we can too.”Arguably the finest film of its kind, Terminator 2: Judgment Day captured Arnold Schwarzenegger at the very apex of his Hollywood celebrity and James Cameron at the peak of his perfectionist directorial powers. Nothing the star did subsequently measured up to his iconic performance here, spouting legendary catchphrases and wielding weaponry with unparalleled cool; and while the director had an even bigger hit with the bloated and sentimental Titanic, few followers of his career would deny that Cameron’s true forte has always been sci-fi action. With an incomparably bigger budget than its 1984 precursor, T2 essentially reworks the original scenario with envelope-stretching special effects and simply more, more, more of everything. Yet, for all its scale, T2 remains at heart a classic sci-fi tale.

REVIEW: THE TERMINATOR

CAST

Arnold Schwarzenegger (Maggie)
Michael Biehn (Cherry Falls)
Linda Hamilton (Chuck)
Paul Winfield (Star Trek II)
Lance Henriksen (Aliens)
Earl Boen (Marked For Death)
Bess Motta (New Monkees)
Rick Rossovich (Top Gun)
Dick Miller (Gremlins)
Bill Paxton (True Lies)
Brian Thompson (Hired To Kill)
Marianne Muellerleile (Thank You For Smoking)

In 1984 Los Angeles, a cyborg assassin known as a Terminator arrives from 2029 and steals guns and clothes. Shortly afterward, Kyle Reese, a human soldier from 2029, arrives. He steals clothes and evades the police. The Terminator begins systematically killing women named Sarah Connor, whose addresses he finds in the telephone directory. He tracks the third Sarah Connor to a nightclub, but Kyle rescues her. The two steal a car and escape with the Terminator pursuing them in a police car.As they hide in a parking lot, Kyle explains to Sarah that an artificial intelligence defense network, known as Skynet, will become self-aware in the near future and initiate a nuclear holocaust. Sarah’s future son John will rally the survivors and lead a resistance movement against Skynet and its army of machines. With the Resistance on the verge of victory, Skynet sent a Terminator back in time to kill Sarah before John is born, to prevent the formation of the Resistance. The Terminator is an efficient killing machine with a powerful metal endoskeleton and an external layer of living tissue that makes it appear human.Kyle and Sarah are apprehended by the police after another encounter with the Terminator. Criminal psychologist Dr. Silberman concludes that Kyle is paranoid and delusional. The Terminator repairs his body and attacks the police station, killing many police officers in his attempt to locate Sarah. Kyle and Sarah escape, steal another car and take refuge in a motel, where they assemble pipe bombs and plan their next move. Kyle admits that he has been in love with Sarah since John gave him a photograph of her, and they have sex.The Terminator kills Sarah’s mother and perfectly impersonates her when Sarah, unaware of the Terminator’s ability to mimic victims, attempts to contact her via telephone. The Terminator thus deduces their location, and when they realize he has reacquired them, they escape in a pickup truck. In the ensuing chase, Kyle is wounded by gunfire while throwing pipe bombs at the Terminator. Enraged‚ Sarah knocks the Terminator off his motorcycle but loses control of the truck, which flips over. The Terminator hijacks a tank truck and attempts to run down Sarah, but Kyle slides a pipe bomb onto the tanker, causing an explosion that burns the flesh from the Terminator’s endoskeleton. It pursues them to a factory, where Kyle activates machinery to confuse the Terminator. He jams his final pipe bomb into the Terminator’s abdomen, blowing the Terminator apart, injuring Sarah, and killing Kyle. The damaged Terminator reactivates and grabs Sarah. She breaks free and lures it into a hydraulic press, crushing it. Months later, a pregnant Sarah is traveling through Mexico, recording audio tapes to pass on to her unborn son, John. She debates whether to tell him that Kyle is his father. At a gas station, a boy takes a Polaroid photograph of her which she purchases—the same photograph that John will eventually give to Kyle.The Terminator was the film that cemented Arnold Schwarzenegger’s place in the action-brawn firmament, and both his and the movie’s subsequent iconic status are well deserved. He’s chilling as the futuristic cyborg that kills without fear, without love, without mercy. James Cameron’s story and direction are pared to the bone and are all the more chillingly effective for it. But don’t overlook the contribution of Linda Hamilton, who more than holds her own as the Terminator’s would-be victim, Sarah Connor, thus creating–along with Sigourney Weaver in Alien–a new generation of rugged, clear-thinking female action stars. The film’s minimalist, malevolent violence is actually scarier than that of its far more expensive, more effects-laden sequel.

25 DAYS OF CHRISTMAS REVIEW: BEAUTY AND THE BEAST (1989) – GOD BLESS THE CHILD

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MAIN CAST

Linda Hamilton (The Terminator)
Ron Perlman (Hellboy)
Roy Dotrice (Game of Thrones)
Jay Acovone (Stargate SG.1)

GUEST CAST

Katy Boyer (Minority Report)

After meeting with a pregnant former prostitute named Lena who called a help line, Catherine convinces Vincent and Father to welcome her to the “World Below” where she can have her baby and be part of the community. Before actually meeting Vincent, Lena hears stories about him and once she encounters him in person, a crush develops into something more for her. After the baby is born, she offers her love to Vincent, who rejects her advances gently but firmly. She runs away, leaving her child behind. Catherine tracks her down and convinces her to return to her new home, where in a naming ceremony Lena calls the baby girl after Catherine.9685TunicGodBlessTheChildA great thing about this episode, is that it allows the viewer to vicariously experience what it would be like to go into Vincent’s world and be accepted. Like Catherine once said on the show, Vincent’s world gave her the family she always wanted. That happened to Lena, too. And the viewer gets to experience it in this episode. There is a part of all of us who would love to go live In Vincent’s world. An excllent christmas episode.

 

HALLOWEEN OF HORROR REVIEW: CHUCK VERSUS THE AISLE OF TERROR

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CHUCK VERSUS THE AISLE OF TERROR

 

CAST

Zachary Levi (Heroes Reborn)
Yvonne Strahovski (Batman: Bad Blood)
Adam Baldwin (Firefly)
Joshua Gomez (Invasion)
Sarah Lancaster (Saved By The Bell: The New Class)
Ryan McPartlin (J. Edgar)
Mark Christopher Lawrence (Halloween II)
Scott Krinsky (Transformers 3)
Vik Sahay (eXistenZ)
Bonita Friedericy (Veronica Mars)

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GUEST CAST

Linda Hamilton (The Terminator)
Robert Englund (A Nightmare on Elm Street)
Morgan Fairchild (Roswell)

Image result for chuck versus the aisle of terrorDr. Stanley Wheelwright (Robert Englund) walks through a secured area at Volkoff Industries. When a guard (Roland Kickinger) stops him, Wheelwright claims he is just looking for the fitness centre, but the guard grabs him and demands identification. Wheelwright feigns an asthma attack, and uses his “inhaler” to spray a toxin into the guard’s face. Wheelwright reveals to a security camera that his nerve gas, Atroxium, is fully functional and can send people into permanent nightmares. An observer, Mary Bartowski (Linda Hamilton), walks out and claims that she knows a buyer in Los Angeles.
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Two weeks later, immediately after “Chuck Versus the Couch Lock”, Mary calls her son Chuck and they arrange to meet for the first time in years at Griffith Park. As Chuck walks toward the playground, Mary sneaks up on his backup, Sarah Walker, and they hold each other at gunpoint. Chuck introduces them as his mother and girlfriend, and Mary reveals that she is deep undercover in the Volkoff organization. She claims that there is no evidence of this, because her CIA records were expunged when she went undercover in Project Isis. She informs them that she broke cover so the CIA could obtain Wheelwright and the Atroxium, telling Chuck to explain the information to General Beckman by telling her he flashed on Wheelwright. Chuck is arranged to pose as Volkoff’s most trusted buyer, so Wheelwright can be taken into custody when he tries to sell the Atroxium. Beckman approves the mission, and Casey lets Morgan join the team after his help in “Chuck Versus the Couch Lock”. Later, Chuck informs Casey and Morgan that he has found his mother.
Image result for chuck versus the aisle of terrorChuck, using his usual cover of “Charles Carmichael”, meets Wheelwright at a restaurant. As Wheelwright starts to talk about price, Mary arrives unexpectedly. To keep her cover intact, Mary reveals Chuck as a CIA agent. Knowing that Chuck is wearing a ballistic vest, Mary shoots at his heart. Sarah approaches them, but Mary shoots at her, as well as a security camera (disabling Morgan and Casey’s security feed on her), and she and Wheelwright escape with the Atroxium.
Image result for chuck versus the aisle of terrorMary later returns at the Buy More and kidnaps Chuck at gunpoint. As he enters her car, he activates a tracking device on his phone. While she drives, she reveals that although she had to sabotage the mission and kidnap Chuck to maintain her cover, she will still give them Wheelwright, as he is too dangerous. She leads Chuck to Wheelwright’s portable laboratory, where both he and the atroxium are hidden. Mary finds out that Chuck has activated his distress tracking device and flees, and Sarah and Casey arrive to find Chuck, an unconscious Wheelwright, and the Atroxium.
Image result for chuck versus the aisle of terrorWith Wheelwright in custody at Castle, Chuck and Sarah starts dismantling the atroxium’s container. Suddenly, a timer starts counting down from five minutes. Wheelwright reveals that the only way to disarm it is with his thumbprint. Although he initially refuses to give it, they hold him at gunpoint and point out that he too would be affected if the atroxium where released. He reluctantly gives his thumbprint, but it instead accelerates the countdown, and the toxin is released. Wheelwright reveals that, having been the human test subject for his own toxin, he has learned to suppress fear. Chuck locks down Castle, sealing Sarah safely in a holding cell and chases Wheelwright to the Buy More. Chuck then puts the store on lock-down, but Wheelwright then drugs him with a more concentrated dose from his inhaler which then makes Chuck see even more horrifying visions.
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As Chuck runs through the store, he is further terrorized by the various Halloween decorations. Chuck hallucinates that Mary kills Sarah when Wheelwright finds him and they stumble upon the “Aisle of Terror”, which the scientist uses to torture Chuck into unlocking the store. However, Chuck gains control of the situation and displays various terror-inducing images(for mentally ill patients), making the scientist again susceptible to fear. Wheelwright runs out the aisle and is clothes-lined by Sarah. Chuck manages to suppress the fear by closing his eyes, until Wheelwright gives up the antitoxin. Wheelwright is again taken into custody.
Image result for chuck versus the aisle of terrorMeanwhile, Casey searches for information on Project Isis with Pierce, an expert on expunged missions. Casey informs Morgan that Mary was telling the truth, just to keep Morgan from telling Chuck the real truth: Project Isis was ended 20 years ago after Mary went rogue. As Mary goes to meet Chuck and Ellie, she is captured by several masked individuals. Chuck attempts to rescue her, and he unmasks one of the captors, revealing her to be Sarah. Sarah tells him that she is protecting his “blind spot” (Chuck’s influenced judgement about his mother), and Mary is taken away. Chuck then reveals to Ellie the truth about Mary being a spy.Image result for chuck versus the aisle of terrorAs a huge Nightmare on Elm Street fan growing up, I loved seeing Robert Englund, who in the opening few minutes, had me wishing he could play Freddy again, as we saw the effects of Wheelwright’s toxin, which caused “a gigantic nightmare you never wake up from!” The visual of Englund’s jaw opening wide even evoked a similar image in Wes Craven’s New Nightmare. Englund was a lot of fun switching from the bumbling, soft-spoken doctor to the more openly evil, and sadistic villain Wheelwright truly was. Another classic Halloween themed epsiode.

HALLOWEEN OF HORROR REVIEW: BEAUTY AND THE BEAST (1987) – MASQUES

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MAIN CAST

Linda Hamilton (Chuck)
Ron Perlman (Hellboy)
Roy Dotrice (Hercules: TLJ)

GUEST CAST

Michael Bacall (Urban Legends 2)
John McMartin (As The World Turns)
Kimberly McCullough (General Hospital)

MASQUES

It does seem at times as though the stars were aligned against this show. Doing a big Halloween episode was going to be a tradition, but the 1988 writers’ strike scuttled the second season’s attempt, and Hamilton’s departure the third. Which is a pity, as “Masques” is a breath of fresh air against the sometimes stifling romanticism of the show’s interiors. And watching Vincent and Catherine wander around above ground and mostly content is a rare treat.

 “Masques” does have an awkwardly grafted-on subplot about The Troubles—which, amazingly, was insisted on by the producers, as credited co-writer George R.R. Martin was content to leave doom and gloom at home and just have an evening of the two wandering the city having various adventures. It’s not too much of a strain at least, with Caitlin O’Heaney making an appealing heroine as a Northern Irish peace activist who finds herself at the center of a would be assassination plot.
Vincent and Catherine come to her rescue and reunite her with her ailing father in the bargain. Taking to heart her words to make the the most of the time they have, Catherine and Vincent wander through a montage of NYC at night and greet the sunrise at a bench overlooking the Brooklyn Bridge. We get our first “they’re about to start making out like teenagers, but…” moment when they are interrupted by a startled jogger and Vincent decides to make his goodbyes instead. Catherine watches him go with a wistful expression and we get one of thew few episodes that feels fully fleshed out in the terms of the richness of both the glittering city high life and the smoke and mystery Below.

REVIEW: BEAUTY AND THE BEAST (1987) – SEASON 3

MAIN CAST

Ron Perlman (Hellboy)
Linda Hamilton (The Terminator)
Roy Dotrice (Game of Thrones)
Jay Acovone (Stargate SG.1)
Stephen McHattie (300)
Edward Albert (Power Rangers Time Force)
Jo Anderson (Roswell)

2

RECURRING / NOTABLE GUEST CAST

Mitchell Laurance (Cop Rock)
Kenneth Kimmins (Lois & Clark)
Richard Roundtree (Shaft)
Bill Calvert (Spider-Man)
David Greenlee (Fame)
Stanley Kamel (Domino)
Patrick St. Esprit (Green Zone)
Lance Henriksen (The Terminator)
Armin Shimerman (Buffy: TVS)
Suzie Plakson (Disclosure)
Tony Plana (Ugly Betty)
Miguel Sandoval (Medium)
Fionnula Flanagan (Lost)
Jeff Corey (Little Big man)
John Pleshette (Rocky II)

26aefdfe75e396171a91adf55d86b177The 3rd season of Beauty and the Beast definitely takes the series in a very different direction. As the new opening reveals, once Vincent gets past Catherine’s murder he will dedicate his life to avenging injustice – in other words, he has been recast here as a sort of beastly Batman, searching the skies for the Beast Signal which will let him know that his services are needed. Much of the first five or six episodes are focused more on the gritty world Above than on Vincent’s world in the tunnels – the photography is very different, with a sharper, darker overcast (much of the warmth associated with the tunnel worlds is lost). Additionally, character inconsistencies (especially with Roy Dotrice’s “Father”) undermine the overall fabric of the story for those of us who followed it closely the first two seasons. This is a much more violent show now, and it’s much more “black and white.” The new villain, Gabriel, who dominates many of the episodes, is simply evil personified – there is no development of his character, no understanding of his motivations. He is simply evil, and Vincent becomes the force of good which will win in the end. Gabriel is Paracelsus without the poetry, without the history that made his demonic persona work. There was always a hint with Paracelsus that what he really wanted was to be part of the tunnel community again, but he just couldn’t figure out a way to do it. The only thing we know about Gabriel is that he’s a monster.screen-shot-2011-12-30-at-7-38-41-pm.pngCatherine’s death itself is not what changed this series – actually, Diana’s character could very easily have become a new “Beauty” for Vincent, had the relationship been given a chance to develop. The problem is the new tone, the darker perspective, the shift away from the tunnel community that had dominated the second season, and the fans’ resistance to anything that even suggested that Vincent could move beyond his bond with Catherine and love another woman. The message of the first two seasons is clearly the power of love to conquer hate and fear; this would imply that Catherine’s love for Vincent should enable him to love again – after all, that’s what he always told her about the nature of love. Here, in Season Three, Vincent’s grief is palpable, and Ron Perlman does an amazing job demonstrating what it is to feel loss. But there are subtle moments between him and Diana that are hopeful and beautiful – and I, as a fan of the series, find solace in such hope.1202175761_1While watching the first episode (Though Lovers be Lost) is not easy, know that there are things beyond it of great value. Elliot Burch’s character, especially, is given both a chance to redeem himself and chance to give Catherine a beautiful gift. Diana becomes a fascinating and original character whose own connection to Vincent is believable and real – she is not Catherine, but rather an independent and introspective woman who may have much more in common with Vincent spiritually than Catherine ever did. It would be so easy to see Diana becoming a part of Vincent’s world. So, suffer through the difficult death and grieving scenes, be prepared for the shift in focus, but enjoy the new stories being told here about Vincent and the two worlds in which he lives. Yes, it’s flawed – but there is still enough beauty to justify a return visit.

REVIEW: BEAUTY AND THE BEAST (1987) – SEASON 2

MAIN CAST

Ron Perlman (Hellboy)
Linda Hamilton (The Terminator)
Roy Dotrice (Game of Thrones)
Jay Acovone (Stargate SG.1)

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RECURRING / NOTABLE GUEST CAST

David Greenlee (Fame)
Armin Shimerman (Buffy: TVS)
Tony Jay (Lois & Clark)
Joseph Campanella (Hangar 18)
Adrian Paul (Highlander: The Series)
Katy Boyer (The Island)
Tim Russ (Star Trek: Voyager)
Bill Calvert (Spider-Man)
Cyd Strittmatter (Gone Girl)
Bruce Abbott (The Net)
Remy Ryan (Robocop 3)
Don Stark (That 70s Show)
Piper Laurie (Carrie)
John McMartin (No Reservations)
Elyssa Davalos (MacGyver)
Kelli Williams (Lie To Me)
Rosemary Dunsmore (Orphan Black)
Edward Albert (Power Rangers Time Force)
Dean Norris (Breaking Bad)
Gary Hudson (Road House)
Richard Roundtree (Shaft)

26aefdfe75e396171a91adf55d86b177Though set in the late-1980s, Beauty and the Beast plays like something from another era. There’s no irony, cynicism, or hip quips to break the spell of the fantasy (though a little humor would’ve been nice). Catherine (Linda Hamilton) loves the beastly, if beneficent Vincent (Ron Perlman) with all her heart–and vice versa. Together, they’re TV’s most soft-hearted crime fighters. To the show’s credit, however, they aren’t infallible, and there are a few problems they’re unable to solve, whether the issue is drug addiction (“Chamber Music”), infectious disease (“Ashes, Ashes” with Highlander‘s Adrian Paul), or murder (“The Hollow Men”).

2In retrospect, it’s clear that Beauty and the Beast was a reaction to the “greed is good” era. Vincent and his cave-dwelling compatriots represent a more compassionate alternative to “topsider” corruption. Yet all is not harmonious below either. Seriously injured the previous year, Paracelsus (Tony Jay) becomes a Phantom of the Opera-type figure, who aims to destroy Vincent’s candle-lit utopia. In addition, a less civilized group of outcasts arrives in “The Outsiders.” Fortunately, Vincent has Father (Roy Dotrice), Mary (Ellen Geer), Mouse (David Greenlee), and Pascal (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine‘s Armin Shimerman) on his side.maxresdefaultUnfortunately, they won’t be able to prevent the tragedy that occurs in “The Rest Is Silence.” Suffice to say, the season finale sets the scene for a new direction (more is revealed in the third-season opener). Consequently, Beauty and the Beast was canceled the following year, but still managed to rack up 18 Emmy nominations (winning six), spawning a soundtrack, and even inspiring some Saturday Night Live spoofing–a sure sign it had struck a chord. While the first season was devoid of extras, Perlman and Hamilton introduce six key episodes on this set..2Being a big B&B fan, I can find no wrong with this Season 2. Loved every episode. This entire series has so much soul, that you will dwell on each episode long after they are over. Can’t go wrong with this one.

 

REVIEW: BATMAN BEYOND – SEASON 1

Main Cast

Will Friedle (Batman Ninja)
Kevin Conroy (Batman: TAS)
Cree Summer (Bambi II)
Frank Welker (Transformers)

Terry_and_Bruce

Recurring / Notable Guest Cast

Teri Garr (After Hours)
Michael Gross (Tremors)
Sherman Howard (Sueprboy)
George Takei (Star Trek)
Ryan O’Donohue (Toy Story)
Lauren Tom (Bad Santa)
Seth Green (Family Guy)
Sam McMurray (Raising Arizona)
CCH Pounder (Avatar)
Clyde Kusatsu (Midway)
Corey Burton (Critters)
Shannon Kenny (7th Heaven)
Stockard Channing (Grease)
Mari Devon (Digimon)
Kevin Michael Richardson (The Cleveland Show)
Melissa Disney (Superman vs The Elite)
Bill Smitrovich (Ted)
Gregg Berger (Transformers)
Pauley Perrette (NCIS)
Linda Hamilton (The Terminator)
Michael Ansara (The Message)
Tress MacNeille (Futurama)
Robert Davi (The Goonies)
Kevin Dunn (Transformers)
Jeff Bennett (Enchanted)
Chris Mulkey (Cloverfield)
Olivia d’Abo (Conan The Destroyer)
George Lazenby (Gettysburg)
Amanda Donohoe (Liar Liar)
Brian George (The Big Bang Theory)
Peter Jason (They Live)
Ian Ziering (Sharknado)
Larry Drake (Darkman)
Jon Cypher (Masters of The Universe)
Vernee Watson (The Kid)
Dorian Harewood (Terminator: TSCC)
William H. Macy (Shameless)
Kimmy Robertson (Speed 2)
Barry Dennen (The Dark Crystal)
Victor Raider-Wexler (Minority Report)
Paul Winfield (The Terminator)
Miguel Sandoval (Medium)
Cary Elwes (Saw)

MV5BZTIyYjQ5OWQtNjVjNC00ZGY2LWI4NmItNjRiOTZlMzA1NWJmXkEyXkFqcGdeQXVyMzExODYzNzc@._V1_SY1000_CR0,0,1333,1000_AL_Fifty years after Batman: The Animated Series came to a close, Gotham City is without a protector. Failing health and a chilling act of desperation prompted Bruce Wayne to give up Batman’s cape and cowl, and the corporation that had stayed in his family for generations has been wrest from him by a corporate raider named Derek Powers. Never married and abandoned by his sidekicks, the elderly, embittered Wayne lurks inside a sprawling mansion that seems more like a mausoleum than the stately manor of old. Derek Powers is using the remnants of WayneCorp to illegally manufacture an endlessly destructive but extremely profitable nerve gas, a secret that Wayne/Powers employee Warren McGinnis stumbles upon and pays for with his life.DziRsC4XQAEU01AHis troubled son Terry blames himself for the murder, but a chance encounter with Bruce Wayne results in the theft of a Batman suit brimming with cutting-edge technology and the revelation of the man truly responsible for his father’s death. By the time the two-part episode “Rebirth” is over, Bruce Wayne has agreed to guide Terry as the new Batman, and an irradiated Derek Powers is a walking fusion reactor.batman-beyondBatman: The Animated Series, Superman, and Justice League all drew heavily from the established mythos, but Batman Beyond is a largely original creation. Sure, there are quite a few nods to the original series — it’s still set in Gotham City, Barbara Gordon has taken the mantle of police commissioner, and there are winks to fans like the Grey Ghost costume in the Batcave.MV5BMjI4Nzg0NTQ4OV5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTgwNzY5OTQ1MjE@._V1_Terry McGinnis is a very different lead character than Bruce Wayne was in Batman: The Animated Series. In the previous series, it seemed more as if Batman was who this man really was and Bruce Wayne was just an occasionally convenient mask for him to wear. Terry is seen out of costume much more frequently than Bruce ever was and feels like more of a fleshed-out character. He has friends, he has family, and he has a life outside of the pointy-eared hood. Gotham City is still teeming with bad guys, but even though Batman has been transplanted to the future, he’s not squaring off against Joker II or The Riddler Redux. The rogue’s gallery of this futuristic Batman doesn’t lift much from the previous animated series or even from the comics. The only familiar faces are Mr. Freeze, The Royal Flush Gang, and, briefly and unrecognizably, Bane. The other villains are original creations with some striking character designs, such as the amorphous corporate saboteur Inque, sound-engineer-with-a-power-suit Shriek, and the hypnotic Spellbound. This season also doesn’t rehash the same villains over and over again, with Inque being the only baddie other than Derek Powers’ Blight to strike more than once.MV5BMTQ0ODcyNjYwOF5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTgwOTU5OTQ1MjE@._V1_Several of the supervillains aren’t costumed-threats-of-the-week, but ordinary people in extraordinary situations: Willie Watt in “Golem” is a nerdy high schooler who seizes control of a two-story-tall construction robot to exact revenge on the bullies who torment him, and “The Winning Edge” is about high school athletes using steroids yet deftly avoids playing like ‘a very special episode of Batman Beyond’. One thing Batman’s adversaries, costumed and plainclothes alike, have in common is their origins. Nearly all of the villains in Batman Beyond are born of tragedy or greed, and that gives these episodes more of a resonance than something like The Joker pumping Gotham City with laughing gas for no reason in particular.AscensionAnother stand-out is “Shriek”, pitting Batman against an enemy whose technology enables him to manipulate sound. One of the most inventive sequences in the entire run of the series is set in a car factory where Batman starts setting off every piece of equipment in arm’s reach as a distraction. Shriek uses his technology to block out the noise and isolate Batman’s movements, resulting in an almost entirely silent battle with no dialogue, few sound effects, and a sparse, subtle score.126915This first season of Batman Beyond is remarkably consistent, offering perhaps the strongest debut of any DC animated series to date.