REVIEW: GAMER

CAST

Gerard Butler (300)
Michael C. Hall (Dexter)
Amber Valletta (The Spy Next Door)
Logan Lerman(Fury)
Terry Crews (Scary Movie 5)
Kyra Sedgwick (Man on a Ledge)
Alison Lohman (Drag Me to Hell)
Ludacris (2 Fast 2 Furious)
Aaron Yoo (Friday the 13th)
John Leguizamo (Spawn)
Zoë Bell (The Hateful Eight)
Milo Ventimiglia (Heroes)
Jonathan Chase  (Egale Eye)
Keith David (Pitch Black)
Johnny Whitworth (Ghost Rider 2)
Maggie Lawson (Two and a Half Men)
Sam Witwer (Smallville)
Lloyd Kaufman (Terror Firmer)

In 2034, inventor and professional computer programmer Ken Castle unveils self-replicating nanites that, by acting like brain cells, allow one person to completely sense the environment and interact with it using another person’s body. Castle’s first application of this technology, dubbed Nanex, is a game called Society, which allows gamers to control a real person in a pseudo community (much like The Sims or Second Life). This allows players to engage in all manner of debauchery, such as deliberately injuring their “characters” and engaging in rough sex with random people. People who work as “characters” in Society (having nanites in their brain) are very well compensated.
Castle amasses a fortune that surpasses that of Bill Gates virtually over-night, and soon follows up his success with Slayers, a first-person shooter where the “characters” in this game are death-row or life imprisoned inmates, who use real weapons to fight televised battles on specially created arenas. Any inmate who survives 30 matches earns his freedom. The player controls the character’s movement, while the character decides when to shoot, and no communication is allowed between the two. The game is known for a lag problem, called the “ping”, a small but dangerous delay between the player’s command and character’s action. John “Kable” Tillman is the crowd’s favorite, having survived a record 27 matches, where all others have only managed to survive ten matches at most. He is exclusively controlled by Simon, a seventeen-year-old superstar gamer from a wealthy family. The technology and the games are not without controversies, and an activist organization called “Humanz” claims that Castle will one day use Nanex to control people against their will. During a talk-show interview, Castle is confronted with questions about a potentially rigged vote which gave Castle control over the U.S prison system and allowed him to operate the Slayers game. In the middle of the broadcast, the network is hacked by the Humanz, which Castle finds amusing. Later, Society is also hacked and gameplay is interrupted, which costs Castle millions, but even then Castle sees it as trivial. However, Castle feels threatened by Kable’s pending release, and introduces a new “character” into Slayers named Hackman, who committed several murders and then surrendered in order to be able to participate in Slayers, in the hopes he will get rid of Kable and become the new fan champion of Slayers.
Meanwhile, Kable’s wife Angie is working as an “actress” (someone who voluntarily becomes a “character”), and attempts to gain custody of their daughter Delia, but is denied and informed that she has been placed with a wealthy family. Hackman taunts Kable, saying he has no player to control him, and threatens to kill Kable’s wife and daughter once he is freed. Kable is warned by a Humanz activist that Castle has no intention of letting him survive his last match, and that escaping is the only option. The activist takes a sample of his blood. Meanwhile, Simon is contacted by the activist, who provides him with illegal mods allowing him to talk to Kable during the game and to relinquish control over his character. In Kable’s 30th game, he convinces Simon to let him control himself, and escapes the arena. News outlets report that Kable has been fragged, which puts Simon in a difficult position: he is labelled a “cheater”, locked out of his bank account, and under police investigation for helping Kable escape.
Tillman is found by Humanz activist Trace, the person contacting him in prison. She takes him to the Humanz leader Brother and Dude. They explain to him the danger of Castle’s technology, as acceptance of the Nanex technology will eventually grant Castle unlimited power over the populace. Tillman refuses to aide them in their fight against Castle, but Brother informs him of his wife Angie’s location as a character in Society. Tillman goes to rescue Angie and becomes involved in a fire-fight with Hackman and Society’s security forces. At the last minute Tillman and Angie are rescued by Gina, a talk-show host/reporter who wishes for Tillman and the Humanz reveal the truth about Castle. They return to the Humanz who deactivate the nanites in Angie’s brain as well as Tillman’s. It is then revealed that Tillman was part of the original Nanex experiments while in the military, being told it was to replace brain matter with synthetic tissue to improve mental function. Using experimental technology to view Tillman’s memories, they learn that in a session designed to test Nanex’s capacity for control, Tillman (controlled by Castle) fatally shot his friend and ended up on death row. Tillman volunteered for “Slayers”, hoping to earn his freedom.
Upon learning that Castle adopted Delia, Tillman infiltrates his mansion to get her back. He locates Castle, who taunts him and reveals that his henchmen have killed Trace, Brother and Dude. He then controls several inmates to attack Tillman, who kills them all. Castle reveals that he replaced 90% of his own brain with Nanex, but his allows him to control others who are “wired” as long as they are within the range of his control. He plans to release an air-borne version of Nanex which will infect the entire population within six months, giving him ultimate control. Tillman then faces Hackman, now under Castle’s control, and easily kills him. However, Castle explains his men have reactivated both his and Angie’s Nanex, and savagely beats him while Tillman forced to remain defenseless. Angie and Delia are brought in to witness the scene. Castle tries to force Tillman to kill his own daughter, but he resists the command. Unbeknownst to Castle, Trace and Gina escaped his henchmen, and broadcasts their confrontation across the country, exposing Castle and his plans. Simon witnesses the broadcast and his control over Tillman is returned. At the last second, Simon forces Tillman to drive his knife into the floor before trying to attack Castle. Castle wrestles for control over Tillman, but Tillman tells Castle to imagine the knife going into his own stomach. Castle unconsciously does so, and it allows Tillman to kill him. Before they leave, Tillman convinces Castle’s men to deactivate Nanex, one of them commenting “Well played, Kable”. The film closes with the Tillman family taking a trip down a country road, ending with the words “Game Over”.The effects are decent, the acting is pretty cheesy and the story is utterly implausible. And I don’t care, because this film is great fun. It’s mindless entertainment, and sometimes that’s what were all in the mood for.

Advertisements

REVIEW: SMALLVILLE – SEASON 1-10

CAST

Tom Welling (The Fog)
Kristin Kreuk (Beauty and the Beast)
Michael Rosenbaum (Urban Legend)
Eric Johnson (Flash Gordon)
Sam Jones III (Glory Road)
Allison Mack (Superman/Batman: Public Enemies)
Annette O’ Toole (IT)
John Schneider (Desperate Housewives)
John Glover (Robocop 2)
Erica Durance (The Butterfly Effect 2)
Jensen Ackles (Supernatural)
Aaron Ashmore (The Skulls 2)
Justin Hartley (Chuck)
Laura Vandervoort (Bitten)
Cassidy Freeman (Yellowbrickroad)
Sam Witwer (Being Human)
Callum Blue (Dead Like Me)

RECURRING / NOTABLE GUEST STARS

Sarah-Jane Redmond (V)
Chad Donella (Final Destination)
Gabrielle Rose (Catch and Release)
Jason Connery (Wishmaster 3)
Hiro Kanagawa (Heroes Reborn)
David Paetkau (Flashpoint)
Lizzy Caplan (Cloverfield)
Mitchell Kosterman (White Noise)
Michael Coristine (Get Over It)
Eric Christian Olsen (Tru Calling)
Jackie Burroughs (The Dead Zone)
George Murdock (Star Trek V)
Amy Adams (Batman V Superman)
Malcolm Stewart (Timecop)
Joe Morton (Terminator 2)
Robert Wisden (Watchmen)
Tony Todd (Chuck)
Kelly Brook (The Italian Job)
Azura Skye (Red Dragon)
Rick Peters (Veronica Mars)
Kevin McNulty (Elektra)
Tom O’Brien (The Accused)
Shawn Ashmore (X-Men)
Kavan Smith (Stargate SG.1)
Evangeline Lilly (Lost)
Corin Nemec (Parker Lewis Can’t Lose)
Cameron Dye (Valley Girl)
Eric Breker (Walking Tall)
Jud Tyler (That 70s Show)
Nicki Clyne (Saved)
Ryan Kelley (Teen Wolf)
Brandy Ledford (Andromeda)
Rekha Sharma (Dark Angel)
Tiffany Lyndall-Knight (Wolf Creek: The Series)
Marguerite Moreau (Easy)
Shonda Farr (Crossroads)
Adam Brody (The OC)
Kevan Ohtsji (Godzilla)
Aaron Douglas (Battlestar Galactica)
Krista Allen (The Final Destination)
Sara Downing (Roswell)
Sean Faris (The Brotherhood 2)
Richard Moll (Scary Movie 2)
Gwynyth Walsh (Star Trek: Generations)
Maggie Lawson (Two and a Half Men)
George Coe (The Entity)
Richard Gant (Rocky V)
Neil Grayston (Wonderfalls)
Patrick Cassidy (Lois & Clark)
Martin Cummins (Dark Angel)
William B. Davis (The X-Files)
Jonathan Taylor Thomas (Home Imporvement)
Emmanuelle Vaugier (Two and a Half Men)
David Richmond-Peck (V)
Tamara Feldman (Hatchet)
Gordon Tootoosis (Legends of The Fall)
Byron Mann (Arrow)
Adrianne Palicki (Agents of Shield)
Colin Cunningham (Elektra)
Jill Teed (Highlander: The Series)
Paul McGillion (Stargate: Atlantis)
Rob LaBelle (Jack Frost)
Paul Wesley (The Vampire Diaries)
Cristopher Reeve (Superman: The Movie)
Camille Mitchell (Caprica)
Steve Bacic (Andromeda)
Michael Adamthwaite (Sucker Punch)
Zachery Ty Bryan (Fast and Furious 3)
Neil Flynn (Scrubs)
Jodelle Ferland (Kingdom Hospital)
Terence Stamp (Superman 1 & 2)
Rutger Hauer (Blade Runner)
Ryan Robbins (Arrow)
Francoise Yip (Robocop: Prime Directives)
Jesse Metcalfe (Dallas)
Katharine Isabelle (Ginger Snaps)
Christopher Shyer (V)
John DeSantis (The New Addams Family)
Michael McKean (This Is Spinal Tap)
Lorena Gale (Battlestar Galactica)
Kendall Cross (X-Men 2)
Michael Dangerfield (Catwoman)
Ian Somerhalder (The Vampire Diaries)
Missy Peregrym (Heroes)
Meghan Ory (Dark Angel)
Ryan Merriman (Final Destination 3)
Sarah Carter (D.O.A.)
Lynda Boyd (Power Rangers In Space)
Tahmoh Penikett (Battlestar Galactica)
Gary Hudson (Mutant X)
Teryl Rothery (Stargate SG.1)
Nathaniel Arcand (Pathfinder)
Amber Rothwell (Andromeda)
Brandon Jay McLaren (Power Rangers SPD)
Margot Kidder (The Amityville Horror)
Ona Grauer (V)
Michael Ironside (Scanners)
Amanda Walsh (Disturbia)
Kyle Gallner (Veronica Mars)
Trent Ford (The Island)
Jane Seymour (Wedding Crashers)
Cobie Smulders (How I Met Your Mother)
John Pyper-Ferguson (Caprica)
Derek Hamilton (Ripper)
Peyton List (The Flash)
Chris Carmack (Into The Blue 2)
John Novak (Wishmaster 3 & 4)
Nolan Gerard Funk (Arrow)
Peter Wingfield (Highlander: The Series)
Beatrice Rosen (Chasing Liberty)
Kandyse McClure (Battlestar Galactica)
Jonathan Bennett (Veronica Mars)
Tom Butler (Blade: The Series)
Steven Grayhm (White Chicks)
David Orth (The Lost World)
James Marsters (Buffy)
Leonard Roberts (Heroes)
Alana De La Garza (Scorpion)
Kenny Johnson (Bates Motel)
Johnny Lewis (Felon)
Alan Ritchson (Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles)
Carrie Fisher (Star Wars)
Erica Cerra (The 100)
Brooke Nevin (Infestation)
Top Wopat (Django Unchained)
Noah Danby (Bitten)
Alisen Down (Case 39)
Adrian Holmes (Arrow)
Jorge Vargas (Power Rangers Ninja Storm)
Annie Burgstede (CSI)
Sarah Lind (Wolfcop)
Denise Quinones (Aquman 2006)
Lee Thompson Young (Flashforward)
Nichole Hiltz (Bones)
Mackenzie Gray (Man of Steel)
Emily Hirst (Blade: The Series)
Anne Marie Deluise (Goosebumps)
Callum Rennie (Legends of Tomorrow)
Ian Tracey (Bates Motel)
Alex Scarlis (8mm 2)
Jody Thompson (Flash Gordon)
Pascale Hutton (Sanctuary)
Lochlyn Munro (Little man)
Amber McDonald (Gloria)
Lucas Grabeel (Milk)
Bow Wow (Like Mike)
Dave Bautista (Guardians of The Galaxy)
Mike Dopud (Stargate Universe)
Phil Morris (Meet The Spartans)
Tori Spelling (Scary Movie 2)
Matthew Walker (Alone In The Dark)
Greyston Holt (Bitten)
Benjamin Ayres (The Vampire Diaries)
Lynda Carter (Wonder Woman)
Emily Holmes (Dark Angel)
Gerard Plunkett (Sucker Punch)
Anna Galvin (Caprica)
Michael Cassidy (Batman V Superman)
Tom McBeath (Bates Motel)
Peter Bryant (Dark Angel)
Kim Coates (The Amityville Curse)
Christina Milian (be Cool)
Christopher Jacot (Mutant X)
Helen Slater (Supergirl)
Christopher Heyerdahl (Sanctuary)
Elyse Levesque (Stargate Universe)
Tim Guinee (Stargate SG.1)
Marc McClure (Superman: The Movie)
Alaina Huffman (Painkiller Jane)
Gina Holden (Flash Gordon)
Anne Openshaw (The Grey)
Robert Picardo (Star Trek: Voyager)
Ari Cohen (Gangland Undercover)
Donnelly Rhodes (Battlestar Galactica)
Sara Canning (The Vampire Diaries)
Jessica Parker Kennedy (The Secret Circle)
Charlotte Sullivan (Defendor)
Anna Williams (Blonde and Blonder)
Kyle Schmid (Arrow)
Ryan Kennedy (Caprica)
Alexz Johnson (Devil’s Diary)
Calum Worthy (Daydream Nation)
Dario Delacio (War)
Ty Olsson (Izombie)
Alessandro Juliani (Man of Steel)
Ted Whittall (Beauty and The Beast)
Chris Gauthier (Watchmen)
Stephen Lobo (Painkiller jane)
Serinda Swan (Tron Legacy)
Connor Stanhope (American Mary)
Dominic Zamprogna (Odyssey 5)
Nels Lennarson (Sanctuary)
Brendan Flecther (Bloodrayne 3)
Anna Mae Wills (2012)
Monique Ganderton (American Ultra)
Sharon Taylor (Stargate: Atlantis)
Brian Austin Green (Termiantor: TSCC)
Steph Song (War)
Elise Gatien (Izombie)
Emilie Ullerup (Sanctuary)
Julian Sands (Gotham)
Dean Cain (Lois & Clark)
Allison Scagliotti (Warehouse 13)
Dylan Neal (Arrow)
David Gallagher (Super 8)
Anita Torrance (Caprica)
Pam Grier (jackie Brown)
Michael Shanks (Stargate SG.1)
Brent Stait (Androemda)
Britt Irvin (V)
Wesley MacInnes (Warcraft)
Jim Shield (Final Destination 3)
Roger Haskett (Paycheck)
Ken Lawson (Descendants)
Erica Carroll (Apollo 18)
Crystal Lowe (Poison Ivy 4)
Sean Rogerson (Bitten)
Odessa Rae (Hard Candy)
Jonthan Walker (Red)
Gil Bellows (Flashforward)
Blu Mankuma (Robocop: The Series)
Keri Lynn Pratt (Cruel Intentions 2)
Bradley Stryker (The Lizzie Borden Chronicles)
Sahar Biniaz (Watchmen)
Lexa Doig (Andromeda)
Christine Willes (Dead Like me)
Steve Byers (Mutant X)
Teri Hatcher (Lois & Clark)
Lindsay Hartley (All My ChildreN)
Michael Hogan (Battlestar Galctica)
James Kidnie (Arrow)
Aleks Paunovic (Mutant X)
Sebastian Spence (First wave)
Aliyah O’Brien (If I Stay)

Maybe it is that Superman is truly indestructible or that the Man of Steel, who was picked recently as one of the Top 10 American pop culture icons, is so respected that not even Hollywood would dare tug on his cape, because “Smallville” is another successful small screen version of the strange visitor from another planet. Of course, the great irony is that this time around there is no cape to tug on because this television series is about Clark Kent, years before he put on the suit with the big red “S,” when he was still in high school, his powers were just starting to kick in, and the girl in his life with the double L name was Lana Lang.


Keep in mind that when Joe Shuster and Jerry Siegel created the Man of Steel in 1939 there was no Superboy until 1949, when he began part of the futuristic Legion of Super-Heroes. All we knew about the early days is that just before the doomed planet Krypton exploded to fragments, a scientist placed his infant son within an experimental rocket ship, launching it toward earth. When the vessel reached our planet, the child was found by an elderly couple, the Kents. They adopted the super tyke and with love and guidance shaped the boy’s future. As he grew older Clark Kent learned to hurdle skyscrapers, leap an eighth of a mile, raise tremendous weights, run faster than a streamline train, and that nothing less than a bursting shell could penetrate his skin. When his foster parents passed away, Clark decided he must turn his titanic strength into channels that would benefit mankind. The key part of “Smallville” is that creators Alfred Gough and Miles Millar go back to the simple beginning, with young Clark (Tom Welling) growing up on the Kent farm with Martha (Annette O’Toole) and Jonathan (John Schneider). From the “Superboy” comic books the series borrows the characters of girl next-door Lana Lang (Kristin Kreuk) and best buddy Pete Ross (Sam Jones III). But in addition to covering the basics, Gough and Millar come up with a key triad of additions to the original Smallville mythos.


First, they add young Lex Luthor (Michael Rosenbaum) to the mix, knowing that he and Superman are fated to be (im)mortal enemies, but that for the present he and Clark are friends (after Clark saves Lex’s life in a car accident that should have killed them both). The key thing is that they truly are friends and that “Smallville” is as much about how Lex would become a super villain as it is about how Clark would become a super hero. Throw into the mix Daddy Dearest in the form of Lionel Luthor (John Glover), and Lex would have already pulled all of his hair out if it were not for what happened that fateful day in Smallville.


Second, is the brilliant reconceptualization of Superman’s arrival on earth where the small spacecraft shows up in the middle of a shower of glowing green meteors that are all that remains of the planet Krypton. As much as the little boy in that spaceship, those meteors change Smallville forever, turning a little girl into an orphans and a young boy bald, and the small Kansas town into the self proclaimed meteor capital of the world. More importantly, those little green rocks will have continue to have an impact as they cause a series of mutations with which young Clark will have to contend. This also accounts for the great in-joke that Clark always becomes a bumbling idiot around Lana because she wears a locket made of kryptonite. Third, there is the multi-purpose character of Chloe Sullivan (Allison Mack). The driving force of the Smallville High School student newspaper her “Wall of the Weird” documents all the strange things that have happened around Smallville since the meteor shower, making her the show’s resident mistress of exposition.

But she is also the tragic figure who longs for Clark the way he casts puppy dog glances at Lana, creating a nice example of teenage love triangle pathos. Overall, Miller and Gough had created an extremely solid premise for their series, which creates multi-dynamics for all of the plotlines. The first season (2001) is book ended by some great special effects, with the devastating arrival of the meteors in the pilot and the three twisters becoming one in the thrilling cliffhanger finale. My only serious complaint is that Schneider’s Jonathan Kent has too much of an angry edge, which takes away from his font of parental wisdom. Martha really needs to mellow him out so that he cuts Clark some slack. I understand that Jonathan is motivated by fears and concerns about his son, but I always liked the gentle influence personified by Glenn Ford in the first Christopher Reeve “Superman” film. Turning adolescent traumas into mutant monsters of the week is a hit and miss proposition, but that was true of the first season of “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” as well, and look at how well that series turned out. Yes, we can also throw into the mix that Clark and Lana are played by a couple of cute young actors. Welling is not too serious as the kid who is going to grow up to be the hero who stands for truth, justice, and the American way, and I was going to say Kruek was the WB’s new Katie Holmes except after her soft-core Lana scene in the school swimming pool goes way beyond the world’s biggest collection of midriff revealing tops. But the bottom line here is that either the Clark-Lana or the Clark-Lex would be enough to make this a good show and “Smallville” has both of them and a lot more, including the brilliant metaphor of the scarecrow immortalized in the DVD collection’s cover shot.

Starting a moment after the season one finale Smallville continues the story of Clark’s younger years. This season really stands out in memory, the sheer quality of the episodes is amazing, there are more memorable episodes in this series than in any other combined. Furthermore there is a movement away from “freak of the wekk” episodes, with several episodes reveolving around the characters and their backstory, not monsters and threats to them. Clark’s identity (as Kal-Ell is revealed to him, as is the fate of Krypton), Pete find oout about Clark’s secret, Red K causes havoc turning Clark into a moralless teenager, secrets about Clark’s adoption and Lex’s brother are revealed, Clark lays on his deathbed and Clark is told to leave Smallville and complete his father’s quest to rule the planet.

Along with these arks, there is the continuing storyline of Chloe and Clark, that was left hanging in Tempest, this slops both Clark and Lana coming closer as Chloe looks on sadly. Clark’s adoption is revealed to have been organised by Lionel Luthor (who is also blinded at the beginning of the season), Lionel and Lex jokel against each other as Lionel quashes Lexcorp, and Clark is appauled by the intrustions of his father. This is one of my favourite season, as it was for the viewing figures (check wiki), characters continue to eveolve and change, and leaving a fantastic cliifhanger which I won’t spoil. If you liked Season 1 you’ll love this, if you loved season 1 you’ll be overjoyed

Season 3 veers constantly between dark and light – light: Perry White arrives in Smallville – played fabulously and hilariously by Annette O’Toole’s real-life husband Michael McKean (note that they have no scenes together), the fact that Jor-El chose the Kents to raise his son; dark: Clark’s antics on Red Kryptonite resulting in serious health issues for Jonathan Kent, Lex’s forays into insanity and back again. There are mainly stand-alone stories this year, although there is the double-headed cliffhanger of Chloe’s apparent death and Clark being stripped of his humanity to be reborn as Kal-El. The actors continue to raise their game, although Sam Jones III seems to be phased out as the season progresses: a sure sign of his departure before the finale.

Also this year Terence Stamp features more prominently as “The Voice of Jor-El” – an intense presence whose determination to enforce his will over his son clashes with the mortal man who raised him. The only drawback of this season is the lingering Clark & Lana love story – will-they, won’t they is fast becoming do they have to? This DVD set features a couple of commentaries although the blooper reel doesn’t contain as many gems as the one featured on series 2. Favourite episodes: Phoenix, Extinction, Perry, Relic, Whisper, Delete, Hereafter, Crisis, Truth, Memoria & Talisman.

In this season there are no stand-alone stories as all 22 episodes provide a piece of the puzzle which is finally revealed in the finale. Tom Welling transcends his previous work on the show as he begins to build his most successful on-screen partnerships – with Allison Mack’s Chloe who returns from the dead to become privy to Clark’s powers and takes the inital steps towards becoming his sidekick and confidante, and Erica Durance’s Lois Lane who crashes into his world and turns it completely upside down.

There are sparks aplenty between Welling & Durance – her face when confronted with her naked co-star in the opening episode is priceless – but the enduring Clark & Lana storyline continues to flare so the viewers have to make do with their hilarious banter and feigned dislike of each other. The only lowlight as far as Welling is concerned this year is Clark’s bewilderment that Lana could possibly move on from him – a trait resumed in Seasons 5 and 6 as Lana moves on yet again and Clark remains stuck in the “Clana mud”. Annette O’Toole also shines this year as Martha Kent steps into the spotlight to save her son. The rest of the cast also continue to shine and the calibre of guest stars keeps on rising, particularly in the season premiere when actress Margot Kidder cameos – ironically in the same episode Smallville’s incarnation of Lois Lane is launched. Favourite episodes: Crusade, Gone, Facade, Devoted, Bound, Pariah, Recruit, Krypto, Lucy, Blank & Commencement.

In the fifth season of Smallville, one chapter ends as another new and exciting chapter begins as Smallville is taken to new heights as the DC Universe is finally blown open as new characters make their appearances felt.


In season five, Clark’s relationship with Lana is at its peak, his friendship with Chloe has never been stronger, and he is finally coming to terms with the discovery of his Kyptonian heritage. But things in Smallville are about to change with the arrival of the mysterious Milton Fine (James Marsters) along with 2 Kryptonians bearing the symbol of ZOD. Whilst his relationship with his friends has never been stronger, Clark finds himself in direct confrontation with Lex Luthor as he is now forced to question whether he and the younger Luthor were ever friends.


Alongside the great continuity drama with the regular leads, this season also sees the arrival of 2 familiar faces from the DC Universe in form of Aquaman and Cyborg who cameo in this season alongside DC villain Brainiac.


James Marsters is a very welcome addition to the cast and plays Fine with confidence and arrogance while Michael Rosenbaum continues to steal the show. The pinnacle moment of the season also sees the very sad departure of a long staning term cast member in what still rates as Smallville’s saddest moment and greatest tear-jerker.

They say timing is everything, and for me the timing of watching season 6 of Smallville for the first time was perfect. Why is that? Because this was the season that introduced their take on Oliver Queen, aka Green Arrow, and I got hooked on the new show about him this last season on TV.

Of course, before we can get to new characters, we have a few cliffhangers to resolve. While all kinds of chaos is reigning down on the citizens of Earth thanks to the evil force that has taken over Lex Luther’s body (Michael Rosenbaum), Clark Kent (Tom Welling) can’t do much about it since he’s trapped in the Phantom Zone. While he does escape and manage to save the day, he unwittingly releases the evil prisoners from the Phantom Zone and must spend some time tracking them down this season. As things return to normal, characters explore new options. Lois Lane (Erica Durance) and Chloe Sullivan (Allison Mack) become roommates and Lois starts a new career as a reporter for a tabloid. They also both get new boyfriends in the two new characters that are introduced. Lois starts dating the previously mentioned Olive Queen (Justin Hartley) while Chloe falls for Jimmy Olsen (Aaron Ashmore), a young photographer at The Daily Planet. Lana Lang (Kistin Kreuk), meanwhile, has moved in with Lex and their relationship becomes more serious when she finds out she is pregnant. Chloe learns a very surprising secret and is reunited with her mom as played by TV’s Wonder Woman herself, Lynda Carter.

Other storylines of the season involve Clark and Oliver’s clashes over how to use their powers for good. Lex is collecting and hiding people with abilities. Those storylines clash when we see the first glimpse of the Justice League Smallville style.
This season is really about the young adults. No one is in college any more (did they all drop out after one season or did they all graduate at lightning speed?) While Lionel Luther (John Glover) is still around being unclear in his intensions, Martha Kent (Annette O’Toole) is given very little to do. And before the season is over, one character makes an exit from the show.

Season 7 demonstrates a real maturity in terms of the characters and the wider Smallville universe. For the characters themselves we obviously have to start with Clark and Lex.

What I love about this series is that you don’t notice subtle changes that are going – its only when there is a sudden abrupt change that you realise that it had been going on for ages and you find yourself saying “Ah!”. Clark in this season is gradually waking up to the fact that his old life is practically gone – most friends and family have moved on. This really hits home with an episode that sees the (thankfully brief) return of Pete. This was a subtle episode that demonstrated that Pete and Clark are very different now – they are friends but have both moved on. Clark towards his greater destiny – Pete to his, well, lesser destiny. But the real tear jerker that forces Clark to face the changes is the video left by Lana in the series finale. Understated and brief – its all the more powerful. Lana functioned as a sort of bubble for Clark – a link back to his carefree past – her leaving all but cuts this.

For Lex – wow. Smallville always managed to avoid having him as a cartoon baddie. What really took off on this season was Lex rushing towards his destiny as the powerful enemy of the “Traveller”. We get to see the childhood of Lex and his inner struggles. The moment that he and Lionel have their final encounter – powerful stuff. But what really hits viewers is Lex’s view of what his destiny was. The link he has with the Traveller, the impact that has had on his life and how it will ultimately play out – this was biblical stuff.

For the overarching storylines of the series. Well a special mention goes to the Veritas saga. Debate rages on message boards across the land about whether or not writers had planned this from the start of the series. Regardless if they did – the Veritas storyline weaves together almost 7 years of storylines. Smallville has always managed to pull of the secret legends stories, particularly in Season 4 and 7. But there is a real epic storylines going in season 7. Other storylines worthy mention: the return of Brainiac – always a joy. Bizzaro is also great fun. Tom welling clearly enjoys playing a baddy instead of straight-laced Clark. That and he gets to wear a blue jacket and red tshirt, instead of vice versa. And Lionel finally meets his maker.

Technically this season shouldn’t have worked; the show’s main villain and arguably most popular character, Lex Luthor (Michael Rosenbaum) has now departed; secondly they were introducing a villain which was virtually impossible to bring to the big screen never mind a television series in Doomsday. However whilst a massive void had been created by Rosenbaum’s departure, it was filled suprisingly very well by the main cast of heroes who finally come into their own this season with performances and stories which intelligently test those who have big destinies to embrace in the Superman era to come. Tom Welling finally begins to take his final steps to becoming Superman and is starting to demonstrate how capapble as lead he is while bringing a new found presence to Clark Kent. There is also an increased number of on-screen scenes between Welling and Erica Durance’s Lois Lane and the result is a relationship which is as funny as it is touching and believable.

Likewise other support characters like Chloe and Jimmy are tested by the new villain in town, Sam Witwer’s Davis Bloome who is a great unique character to the series who undergoes a menacing and horrific transformation as the season unfolds. There is also a welcome return from Justin Hartley’s Oliver Queen who now becomes a series regular after a successful stint in the sixth season and a brief cameo in the seventh. Queen’s character is also successful to the season’s story as his questionable methods bring him into conflict with Clark who is now trying to figure out what sort of hero he wants to become.
The Doomsday story is a well written one in itself and Doomsday is interpreted in a way which is both unique in style yet never undermines the characters standing in the mythology. Sam Witwer is more than capable playing the villain, he lacks perhaps the charisma and flair of Rosenbaum, but the horror given off by his transformations is more than projected out of the screen. The same cannot be said for Cassidy Freeman whose Tess Mercer is terribly aimless and lacking in focus, in terms of a series villain, Rosenbaums absence is felt though not quite fatal.


The season is very well executed in tone, humour and story. There are many episodes which take the series much further and there are some more characters from the D.C Universe in episodes such as ‘Instinct’, ‘Legion’ and ‘Hex’. ‘Bride’, ‘Eternal’ and ‘Beast’ are also exceptional drama episodes featuring Doomsday which keeps building up the season to a final climatic battle.


It is unfortunate therefore that what prevents the season from achieving pure greatness is a series of misjudged stories which threaten to undermine every bit of progress Smallville made this season. The brief reintroduction of an old character in ‘Power’ and ‘Requiem’ was a terrible mistake and unpopular with viewers, as was the apparent demise of another important character. Also while the season does a sensational job in building up the tension towards the final episode, the final episode of the season itself is very weak and sadly anti-climactic. This is a shame since many may feel cheated by a poor resolution but on the plus side, the drama remains top notch throughout and the themes explored this season are never forgotten and never betrayed, even in the finale. Smallville has enjoyed a fantastic return to form overall this season and many fans will be left feeling hopefull of the action and drama to come in the ninth season. Well worth buying though this eighth season.

Season nine is the single greatest season Smallville has ever produced. The show has fully reached its potential and has created a tense, exciting, beautifully shot, clever and romantic season. One with interesting villains; conflicting needs; searching for the right questions; searching for the truth; love and hate and the fine line between it all; finding yourself and finding others. All with the strong undercurrent of destiny. There are around two ‘not so well executed’ episodes that fall short of their goals, but even those are not awful. The four or so main arcs of the season are: the return of a weirdly attractive and charismatic Zod, the blossoming relationship between Lois and Clark, the development of the Blur and the Justice Society. This is a season of triangles. Many carefully subtle and symbolic in nature: triangles between friends, triangles between enemies, the triangle for two. There was a distinct sense of care to this season, unlike the others — it actually felt as if the writers paid close attention to the small things which made the writing feel more cohesive. It’s certainly the case, because something as small as a hand gesture in one episode became a very significant thing later on.

The season opens with ‘Saviour’, as Lois miraculously returns without memory of where she’s been. The only thing hinting at a darker side to this is random flashes and visions, confusing memories. Are they dreams? Visions of a not-so-distant future? This is one of the mysteries of the first half of the season. I love this show but they I’ve never been so engaged as I have when Lois had those first flashes. It was well done and it was gratifying to see Smallville put together a coherent story arc which flowed into other arcs as the previous ones drew to a close. First time ever that I’d been excited to see where the mainplot went!

Tom Welling is now an executive producer so having more creative control over his character is obvious this season — it has a very positive impact on Clark. Clark finds himself being tested. Learning to cope with juggling an overly-inquisitive Lois, an alter-ego as the Blur whilst swiftly returning to his desk at the bullpen. But ultimately, a key theme of this season is his struggle to maintain a balance between who he is and what he could become. This season firmly asks: who will he become? There was some fantastic development for Clark as a character and his relationship with Lois Lane is centre stage the entire time. The writing for them is careful, precise, intimate and is wonderfully nuanced thanks to the actors. It was well established last season that Lois is in love with Clark, and Clark spends this season rightly demonstrating that he loves her back. The Lois and Clark relationship is one of my favourite arcs in season nine. It was so satisfying to see their romantic relationship moved forward without a painfully slow draw-out. There’s a lot of beautiful scenes shared between them and the writers do a brilliant job of showing (yes ‘showing’, not telling) exactly why Lois is the one for Clark.

Zod (Callum Blue) is a fantastic and compelling villain. His dalliances with Tess Mercer are mesmerising to watch. Oliver Queen returns, having hit rock bottom and kept going since the previous finale. There’s a triangle early in the season between Clark, Lois and Oliver. It’s very subtle and one can only be picked up on in a few frames a lot of the time — not something I’ve come to expect from Smallville, whose usual idea of ‘subtle’ is huge honking anvils landing on you when trying to convey something. It peeters away as Oliver grows and changes out of this darker period in his life. Lois develops as a reporter and finds a purpose in life she didn’t dream of before; her character arc was excellent and benefitted from Erica Durance appearing in 18 episodes instead of the usual 13 (yay!). We see the return of many superheroes as well as meet some new ones. I loved this as it’s one of my favourite parts of the series. I liked seeing Bart and Black Canary back in particular. Star Girl was awesome! The superhero epic Absolute Justice (two episodes smooshed together as one) was a highlight of the season and will surely make comic book fans happy. The finale, ‘Salvation’ was a fast paced good quality closing chapter. It set up the next season and moved the story forward at the same time as closing it. The finale fight scene also did not disappoint! For once! Salvation was very much a juggernaught of emotion which wasn’t cheap and empty like Doomsday, but had the weight of a great season of storytelling behind it. It really made all the difference.

This season is well structured with a fascinating story arc which sees time travel as a central concept. In many ways this plotline held far more tension and anticipation than the whole of the Doomsday arc did. I enjoyed feeling fascinated by Zod, insanely wanting answers as to what had happened to Lois when she disappeared, and could barely contain myself when all was revealed in the episode ‘Pandora’. Truly one of the best episodes of the series.

Smallville Season 10 is the culmination of a 10 year journey which set out to follow the life of a young Clark Kent as he accepts his destiny and becomes Superman. So did Smallville go out with a bang or a whimper?

I for one love the final season of Smallville….whenever you are trying to finish off a story it can be difficult especially with a character as iconic as Superman and with the weight of 10 years of expectation but amazingly it manages to produce an end that is befitting of a superman. This season really is all about how Clark Kent finally becomes Superman and almost every episodes deals with this acceptance of destiny. The season kicks of where season 9 ended with Clark Kent falling to his apparent death….this episode kicks off the season on the right note, with nods to the past seasons as well as hints for what the future holds. This season has so many memobrable episodes such as Homecoming, the 200th episode that is one of the best episodes have ever produced, other highlights include: Supergirl, Harvest, Abandoned, Luther, Icarus, Fortune (one of the funniset Smallville episodes ever!), Kent and Booster. You can see just by the number of episodes listed just how good the final season was.


However, what could make of break this season was the two part Finale in which we fianlly see Clark Kent embrace his destiny. I believe that this episode is one of the best finales ever produced, it is important to remember that Smallville is more about Clark Kent then Superman and as such this character takes the focus for the majority of the episode and it benifits for it. These episodes also include the return of Lex Luthor and I think that the scenes between him and Clark are perfect. Also, when Clark finally puts on the suit we get to see more Superman action then I’m sure anyone was expected. And the final scene is a perfect way to finsih the story.


Tom Welling has played Clark Kent for 10 years and every season we have seen him grow as and actor and a director and I think that he has managed to bring new life into this character and took him in a truely unique direction. Although, this show wouldn’t be what it is/was if it wasn’t for the rest of the supporting cast especially Erica Durance who in my mind is the best Lois Lane that the screen has seen and thanks to her acting she has become just as much of the Smallville story as Clark Kent himself.Thank you Smallville for 10 great years and for breathing new life into a an inconic character…you will be missed!

REVIEW: STILL WAITING…

CAST

Adam Carolla (Family Guy)
John Michael Higgins (Bad Teacher)
Rob Benedict (Birds of Prey)
Steve Howey (Bride Wars)
Alanna Ubach (Legally Blonde)
Chi McBride (Pushing Daises)
Luis Guzmán (Boogie Nights)
Tania Raymonde (Texas Chainsaw)
Justin Long (Jeepers Creepers)
Danneel Ackles (one Tree Hill)
Maggie Lawson (Two and a Half Men)

The film describes the misadventures of the staff at the fictional chain restaurant Shenaniganz as they cope with competition from a Hooters-esque restaurant called Ta-Tas Wing Shack.


On the last night of the fiscal quarter, Dennis, Shenanigan’s manager, will be promoted to district manager if they have a $9000 day. To motivate the crew, he tells them the restaurant will close if they don’t meet this goal. His competition is next door: Ta-Ta’s, a bar with scantily clad waitresses, managed by the newly self-confident Calvin, from the original movie. At Ta-Ta’s, it’s Allison’s first day; she’s nervous. At Shenanigan’s, Mason, a cook, is trying his best to be cool, without success. As the shift wears on, each employee faces his worst fears, and Dennis tries to learn how to attract women. Next door, Calvin and Allison make self discoveries. It all ends at the post-shift party.

the film is still enjoyable, if not a bit redundant. Luis Guzman, Chi McBride, David Koechner, Rob Benedict, Andy Milonakis, Max Kasch and Vanessa Lengies all return, but it is Alanna Ubach — reprising the role of the in-conquerable Naomi — who really steals the show. Thankfully, she’s a big character in the film, and if it weren’t for her return, this movie wouldn’t be half as great as it is. Justin Long, pops in briefly to drag down the mood, but to also take a jab at the character he played in the first film, as well as any other film he’s been in. The film is filled with plenty of food-service in-jokes and enough gross-out humor to satisfy, even if it drops the ball on telling an interesting story with it’s new characters. Thanks to a returning cast, as well as solid direction by Jeff Balis (who served as a producer for the first film), “Still Waiting…” is a worthy refill. It’s nowhere near as potent as “Waiting…” but in comparison to other DTV fair, it’s worth watching.

REVIEW:TRU CALLING – SEASON 1 & 2

MAIN CAST

Eliza Dushku (Wrong Turn)
Shawn Reaves (Shadowheart)
Zach Galifianakis (The Hangover)
A.J. Cook (Final Destination 2)
Jessica Collins (Lois & Clark)
Benjamin Benitez (True Detective)
Jason Priestley (Beverly Hills, 90210)

Image result for tru calling
RECURRING / NOTABLE GUEST CAST

Matthew Bomer (Chuck)
Kristopher Polaha (Ringer)
Hudson Leick (Xena)
Heath Freeman (Bones)
John Newton (Superboy)
Callum Rennie (Flashforward)
Michael Trucco (Battlestar Galactica)
Missy Peregrym (Heroes)
Cobie Smulders (How I Met YOur Mother)
Joe Flanigan (Stargate: Atlantis)
Leonard Roberts (Smallville)
Kal Penn (Van Wilder)
Alaina Huffman (Stargate Universe)
Brendan Fletcher (News Movie)
Evangeline Lilly (Lost)
Ryan Kwanten (True Blood)
Mary Elizabeth Winstead (10 Cloverfield Lane)
Garwin Sanford (Stargate SG.1)
Chris William Martin (The Vampire Diaries)
Christina Hendricks (Mad Men)
Emily Holmes (Dark Angel)
Jodi Lyn O’Keefe (The Vampire Diaries)
Jennifer Spence (Stargate Universe)
Devon Gummersall (Roswell)
Sarah Deakins (Andromeda)
Clare Kramer (Buffy)
Alexandra Holden (The Hot Chick)
Michelle Harrison (The Flash)
Erica Durance (Smallville)
Rachel Hayward (Jingle All The Way 2)
Cotter Smith (Alias)
Wade Williams (Gangster Squad)
Jeffrey Dean Morgan (Watchmen)
Agam Darshi (Sanctuary)
Alec Newman (Dune)
Jesse Moss (Ginger Snaps)
Derek Hamilton (Disturbing Behavior)
Nick Wechsler (Roswell)
Daivd Lipper (Full house)
John Reardon (The Killing)
Carly Pope (Arrow)
Liz Vassey (Two and a Half Men)
Eric Christian Olsen (Not Another Teen Movie)
Lizzy Caplan (Cloverfield)
Parry Shen (Hatchet)
Erick Avari (Stargate)
Dominic Zamprogna (Odyssey 5)
Maggie Lawson (Two and a Half Men)
William Sadler (Iron Man 3)

Image result for tru callingAfter the grant sponsoring her internship loses funding, an aspiring medical student (Tru Davies) takes a job at the local morgue. On her first day of work, incidentally the 10th anniversary of her mother’s death, one of the bodies from the crypt springs to life for a brief moment and asks her for help. Instantly, her day “rewinds” and she quickly realizes that it’s her responsibility to try and save the woman who called out to her from a death that should not have happened, all the while trying to repair the lives of her immature brother and drug-addicted sister. With the help of her clumsy but loveable boss at the morgue, Tru strives to put right what once when wrong and hoping each time that her next leap will be the leap home.

Eliza Dushku played prominent characters in a few popular films before Buffy the Vampire Slayer, but it was her portrayal of Faith in the 3rd season of the popular television show that helped set her on the path to becoming a star. It’s understandable, then, that fans of the show were not particularly happy with her when she turned down a chance for a television series based around the Faith character in favor of Tru Calling. However, it’s equally understandable that as an actor, she would want to try new things, and carrying an unproven series with a new character offered her that opportunity.

On the surface, Tru Calling is a formula show. Borrowing elements from Quantum Leap, Early Edition and Goundhog Day, each episode follows a similar pattern. A body arrives in the morgue and asks for help triggering a rewind before the opening titles, and Tru spends the rest of the episode trying to piece together what caused the death and how to prevent it. The premise sounds interesting enough, but without clever writing and entertaining characters, such a concept could get stale very quickly, especially over an entire television season. Thankfully, the show’s creators appear to recognize this early on and make efforts to tweak the formula just enough to keep the stories fresh and interesting.

As with any show that hopes to build an audience, Tru Calling is not just about the “Death of the Week.” While it is the focus of each episode, not every day is a rewind, and Tru still has a life of her own and a family she cares about. The death of their mother and subsequent remarriage and general absence of their father has made things difficult on the Davies family, and Tru is struggling to keep them together. This is not an easy task as her sister Meredith (Jessica Collins) is a fast-paced businesswoman in denial over her drug habit, and her brother Harrison (Shawn Reaves) has a bit of a responsibility problem. And what superhero story would be complete without the lead character’s romantic relationships suffering from the strains of a secret double-life? Certainly not this one. All the pieces are there, including the loveable but awkward mentor (Zach Galifianakis) who always seems to know just a little more than he lets on.

The character of Tru is likeable and well meaning, and as she comes to empathize with those she is trying to help, the audience cannot help but do the same. Offsetting much of the dramatic tension is quite a bit of humor with Shawn Reaves’s performance as Harrison. He’s a complete screw-up, but he’s so charming and creative (not to mention very loyal to Tru) that his misadventures are a continuing source of entertainment. Equally effective is Davis who, although clumsy in his interactions with others, serves as a surrogate older brother and sounding board for Tru, something she desperately needs considering the double burden she carries.

Tru Calling is an excellent example of a television series that can flourish if given time to grow. Many of the early episodes aren’t anything special. They’re a bit predictable and formulaic, but underneath them is a level of quality worth exploring. As they find their rhythm and tweak the show a bit, everything falls into place, and by the season finale, it’s a pretty darn good show. While Eliza Dushku is a capable actress and portrays Tru very well, much of the show’s quality can be attributed to outstanding performances by the supporting cast, most notably Zach Galifianakis and Shawn Reaves, as well as the addition of Jason Priestley, who elevates the show to another level. What he brings to the character and the show is both nuanced and compelling, and it’s fascinating to watch him on screen.

The second season only offered a very brief six episodes before being pulled.  Once again, the season continues to improve over the early goings, ratcheting up the tension between Jack and Tru, which is effective due to the chemistry between the two and the fact that Priestley’s menacing performance is his finest work. It’s really too bad that the series couldn’t have at least finished out this second season, as it continued to improve and the final episode here really isn’t much of a conclusion.

REVIEW: TWO AND A HALF MEN – SEASON 9-12

 

MAIN CAST

Ashton Kutcher (That 70s Show)
Jon Cryer (Superman 4)
Angus T. Jones (Bringing Down The House)
Marin Hinkle (I Am Sam)
Holland Taylor (D.E.B.S.)
Conchata Ferrell (Krampus)
Amber Tamblyn (Django Unchained)
Edan Alexander (Emily & Tim)

RECURRING / NOTABLE GUEST CAST

Jenna Elfman (EdTV)
Thomas Gibson (Criminal Minds)
John Stamos (Full House)
Tricia Helfer (Battlestar Galactica)
Katherine LaNasa (Lie To Me)
Jenny McCarthy (Scary Movie 3)
Jodi Lyn O’Keefe (The Vampire Diaries)
Missi Pyle (Dodgeball)
Jeri Ryan (Star Trek: Voyager)
Jennifer Taylor (Rumor Has It…)
Liz Vassey (tru Calling)
Emmanuelle Vaugier (Human Target)
Melanie Lynskey (Up In The Air)
Ryan Stiles (Hot Shots)
Joel Murray (Mad Men)
Martin Mull (Sabrina: TTW)
Stephanie Jacobsen (Terminator: TSCC)
Judy Greer (Jurassic World)
Nicholas Gonzalez (Sleepy Hollow)
Courtney Thorne-Smith (Melrose Place)
Jane Lynch (Glee)
Joe Manganiello (How I Met Your Mother)
Macey Cruthird (Deeply Irresponsible)
Taylor Cole (Heroes)
Rebecca McFarland (Faking It)
Gary Busey (Predator 2)
Vernee Watson (The Big Bang Theory)
Sophie Winkleman (The Chronicles of Narnia)
Jonathan Banks (The Lizzie Borden Chronicles)
Jim Piddock (The Man)
Mimi Rogers (Ash Vs Evil Dead)
Jane Carr (The Five-Year Engagement)
Travis Van Winkle (Meet The Spartans)
Matthew Marsden (Rambo)
Talyan Wright (The Secret Life of Me)
Patton Oswalt (Caprica)
Georgia Engel (Grown Ups 2)
Kathy Bates (Tammy)
Graham Patrick Martin (MAjor Crimes)
Michael Bolton (Glee)
Brit Morgan (Supergirl)
Miley Cyrus (Big Fish)
Lindsay Price (Club Dread)
Steven Krueger (The Originals)
Brooke D’Orsay (The Skulls 3)
Rebecca Marshall (Raze)
Willie Garson (Stargate SG.1)
Jaime Pressly (Mom)
Elaine Hendrix (Anger Management)
Mikaela Hoover (Super)
Emily Osment (Mom)
Jessica Lundy (Single White Female)
Amanda Detmer (Final Destination)
George Coe (Smallville)
Marilu Henner (The Crazy Ones)
Hilary Duff (Agent Cody Banks)
April Bowlby (Mom)
Jason Alexander (Shallow Hal)
Carl Reiner (The Cleveland Show)
Shanti Lowry (The Game)
D.B. Sweeney (Mountain men)
Lynda Carter (Woman Woman)
Spencer Locke (Monster House)
Paula Marshall (Veronica Mars)
Kate Miner (Fifty Shades of Black)
Diane Farr (Roswell)
Aly Michalka (Izombie)
Odette Annable (The Unborn)
Clarke Duke (Kick-Ass)
Brooke Lyons (2 Broke Girls)
Marion Ross (Happy Days)
Garry Marshall (Pretty Woman)
Kimberly Williams-Paisley (Father of The Bride)
Mila Kunis (Ted)
Diedrich Bader (Bones)
Maggie Lawson (Pleasantville)
Alessandra Torresani (Caprica)
Gwendoline Yeo (The Batman)
Bill Smitrovich (Ted)
Arnold Schwarzenegger (Total Recall)
Christian Slater (True Romance)

 

This season focus on Alan (Jon Cryer) and his son Jake (Angus T. Jones) moving on with their lives after Charlie Harper (Charlie Sheen) unexpectedly dies off-screen due to a subway train while in Paris with Rose with the help of their new housemate, internet billionaire Walden Schmidt (Ashton Kutcher), who buys the Malibu Beach House which was put up for sale by Alan and Jake Harper. Walden, who is a dot-com billionaire, is in the process of being divorced by his wife.

Alan temporarily moved in with his and Charlie’s mother Evelyn after Charlie’s beach house was sold to Walden. Alan and Jake were invited to move back into Charlie’s beach house by Walden after Alan with the help of Walden’s ex-wife Bridget saved him from a con-artist. Walden, Alan and Jake eventually bond and formed a surrogate family unit. Walden starts to date Zoey, a British woman he met at The Malibu Grocery Store. Charlie pays Alan a visit from the afterlife, as a ghost trapped in a woman’s body (Kathy Bates) but his intentions for coming back are rather suspicious. Jake approaches adulthood fast pending his graduation from high school. Jake joins the army after graduation and leaves Malibu at the end of the season.

Although season 9 takes some getting use to without Charlie Sheen, I think Ashton Kutcher adds a freshness to the show, with his child like nature and blossoming friendship with Alan makes this season worth while. Waldans relationship with Zoey is just adorable and its nice to see her in several episodes

Walden is still dating Zoey and plans a big surprise for her Birthday dinner. Walden takes her out to eat where he has Michael Balton perform and he proposes marriage to her. Zoey refuses and breaks up with Walden revealing she has met someone else. After a night of binge drinking, Walden has some of Berta’s pot filled brownies and picks up a drunk girl. Walden brings her home to have sex, but he starts hallucinating his Zoey, his ex-wife, Bridget, his mother, Robin, and Michael Balton, and drives his date away. Meanwhile, Jake adjusts to life in the military, sporting a shaved head, and Alan is on edge because any permanent relationship between Walden and Zoey will lead to his eviction from the house and inevitable homelessness.

Walden doesn’t take his break up from Zoey pretty well and releases his anger on Alan, Robin, and his business partner Billy. After a slight intervention, Walden runs away from the beach house and returns the following day with a dog. After the dog destroys his home, he goes to Zoey’s apartment and gives her daughter, Ava, the dog as a birthday present which she names Walden.

Alan and Lyndsey decide to progress their relationship by having a threesome. Alan likes the idea at first, but he soon learns that she wants to have two guys and one girl. Alan only agrees if they can have a threesome with two girls and one guy afterward. The first threesome involves Walden, but after he can’t go through with it and starts crying over loosing Zoey, Alan and Lyndsey move on to Alan’s version of a threesome. They pick up a woman at a bar, but before they can have the threesome, she meets Walden, and Alan and Lyndsey spend the night listening to them have sex.

Walden begins to feel his age when a family friend of his, Missi (Miley Cyrus), comes to visit. He mistakes her advances for flirtation, only to find that she really wants to set up Walden with her mother. Missi is revealed early-on to be very talkative, not giving others a chance to get a word in. Jake comes home on a weekend leave from the Army, meets Missi, and is smitten right away. They begin a short affair, but as Jake is leaving to return to base, Missi reveals to him that she has a boyfriend. This leaves Jake wondering how he can compete, but also wishing he “did it” more with her.

After a few weeks in the relationship, Walden asks Rose to move in so they can spend more time together. The next day, however, Walden gets a call from Zoey, and the two go out for coffee, where Zoey confesses that she still loves Walden and wants to give the relationship another try. Walden agrees, but does not know how to tell Rose, as she has already moved in. That night, on the deck, Walden tells Rose about Zoey and that he wants to get back together with her. Rose seemingly understands and accepts the decision, but as Walden begins to feel comfortable, Rose sends her ferrets to attack him. She later shows up at Zoey’s place and makes it look like Walden knocked her [Rose] up. Zoey confronts Walden about this and, despite Walden telling her the entire true story, ends up leaving him again after finding out that Rose moved in. Later, Alan borrows Walden’s car and is attacked by two of Rose’s ferrets that she had planted in the car.

Alan gets a visit from his hot second ex-wife, Kandi (April Bowlby), who became a famous actress in the CSI-parody Stiffs and, to the surprise of Walden (who loves the actress and finds her very attractive), wants to get back together with Alan. However, being in a committed relationship with Lyndsey, Alan tries to do the right thing by turning down Kandi and telling Lyndsey. Lyndsey is happy and tearful that Alan turned down a hot celebrity for her, and she engages in an incredibly wild night of sex with him. Lyndsey later sees paparazzi photos of Alan and Kandi looking like they were having sex, when Alan was really trying (successfully) to thwart Kandi’s seduction attempt. After Alan fails to clear up the misunderstanding with Lyndsey, Kandi goes over to her house to explain the truth. The two women for no apparent reason end up having sex, which they agree should never be revealed to Alan. Meanwhile, Walden visits Berta on her birthday with a marijuana-laced cupcake, and they get stoned beyond humanly possible. Walden surprises Berta with a new luxury sports car for her birthday, and they mirror the Kandi-Lyndsey agreement by declaring they cannot let Alan (who has a rundown vehicle) know about the gift. Lyndsey, now knowing the truth and rejuvenated from cheating on Alan with Kandi, forgives Alan, while Berta prepares to cheerfully let Alan know of her “good fortune”.

Walden has tired of dating or even meeting women who are only interested in his vast fortune; he decides to create an online persona as a poor schlub named “Sam Wilson” who is very much like Alan Harper (no job, no prospects, and no charm). When he goes shopping for discount clothing, he meets a wannabe fashion designer named Kate (Brooke D’Orsay) who is currently a salesperson at the store. She agrees to go to dinner with him, and they really hit it off. Kate later meets Alan, after “Sam” tells her that Alan owns the house he lives in. Alan immediately takes on a rich man’s persona, and acts like a jerk to both Kate and “Sam”. After two weeks of a budding relationship, Kate suggests that “Sam” get out from under Alan’s influence and move in with her until he can get on his feet, so Walden heads off and leaves a gleeful Alan at the beach house. While cuddling together, Kate asks “Sam” that they have no secrets or lies between each other. So Walden tells her he is a billionaire, but she does not believe him and laughs off his “joke”. Meanwhile, Alan ends up getting drunk and ordering people off his “private beach” while wandering around in an expensive bathrobe and no pants.

Still pretending to be the poverty-stricken “Sam Wilson”, Walden spends Christmas with Kate, who urges him to get a job. He then gets a call from his internet business partner Billy, who tells him that they have been offered $800 million for their “electronic suitcase”. Billy wants to sell, but Walden wants to hold out for a higher price. “Sam” gets a job selling Christmas trees, which he takes to immediately and enjoys. Billy stops by the Christmas tree lot multiple times with new offers, urging Walden to sell, but Walden repeatedly shoos him away, saying he will not sell for less than $1.4 billion. Just as “Sam” closes a $40 deal with a Christmas tree customer, Walden and Billy close a deal to sell their electronic suitcase for $1.2 billion. After Kate’s sewing machine breaks, Walden uses his Christmas tree commissions to buy her a new one for Christmas. Walden feels much happier with Kate in his new blue collar world. Meanwhile, Alan plans to spend Christmas Eve with Evelyn, Jake and Lyndsey, but none of them are able to come. Jake plans to spend Christmas with his girlfriend and her children, Evelyn is having plastic surgery, and Lyndsey has to go to Cleveland to help her grandmother, who broke her hip. Alan begins to feel alone and miserable, until a less-than-willing Berta comes to seemingly comfort him.

Kate falls into depression after failing to achieve her dream of becoming a fashion designer, so Walden tries to help out. He gives Alan $100,000 to invest in Kate’s fashion line, which Alan takes a disliking to, but invests anyway. Meanwhile, Walden’s stress of being himself and “Sam Wilson” begins to get to him, causing him to lose his hair, and making him unable to sleep or get an erection. Alan tries to help him with his erection problem by taking him to Charlie’s pharmacist, Russell (Martin Mull), who offers weird solutions. After Kate leaves for a fashion show in New York City, Walden decides he will abandon his “Sam” persona and reveal to her who he really is. Stressed about how he is going to do it, Walden spends the next three weeks at Kate’s apartment gorging himself with junk food, and becoming fat.

Kate is having a fashion show in New York City. Walden, now fed up with his double-life and feeling that Kate might be “the one”, finally decides that he should throw away his “Sam Wilson” alias and confess to her who he really is. Walden decides that he and Alan must go to the show so that “Sam” can tell Kate the truth in person. Alan is relishing the trip, and hoping to convince Walden to take him to a Broadway musical. Despondent over Kate’s reaction when Walden confesses his lies, the musical comes to them (“You’re a Douche”).

After Lyndsey waits outside the beach house for an hour before Alan gets home (forcing her to urinate in the shrubs), she gets upset with Alan when he refuses to give her a key to the house. Alan reasons that he cannot give her a key because the house belongs to Walden. When Alan goes to apologize, he discovers that she is going on a date with her gynecologist, Steven Staven (Willie Garson). Meanwhile, Walden is despondent over his breakup with Kate and Billy gets dumped by Walden’s ex-wife Bridget. They also run into Herb, who reveals that Judith left him after she caught him cheating on her with his receptionist. The four, bonding over their relationships-gone-bad, go for a night out without picking up any women. While in the hot tub at Herb’s place, Walden, Billy and Herb ridicule Alan’s reason for leaving Lyndsey, and encourage him to get her back, as he is the only one of the group who has a chance. Walden has no problem with her having a key, and Alan admits he really just wanted some occasional space from Lyndsey. With help from the others, who grab Steven, Alan gives Lyndsey a key and confesses that while she can do better than him, he cannot do better than her. The two reconcile. Steven reveals to the others that it would not have worked out with him and Lyndsey anyway, and they end up running from a rottweiler, leaving Herb behind.

Jake brings home his 36-year-old girlfriend, Tammy (Jaimie Pressley), and Alan becomes concerned about her and Jake, due to her job as a tattoo artist, her kids and time in prison. Despite her appearance, Tammy is a good-hearted woman, who knows how Alan feels about her and her relationship with Jake. Meanwhile, Jake tells Walden that he plans to marry Tammy in Las Vegas right away, but tells him not to tell Alan. Unfortunately, Walden spills the beans during dinner and Alan and Jake have a falling out over Jake’s decision to get married. As they pack for Vegas, Tammy tells Jake she wants their families to be there when (and if) they do get married and tells Jake to make amends with Alan. He does so, and Alan also apologizes, saying he just wants him to be happy. He is relieved that they are not getting married right away and thanks Tammy.

These are just some of the highlights of a great season, now were use to Ashton Kutcher, the show can move forward, this would be Jakes last appearance till the final episode (in season 12). The show continues to grow and bring in new recurring characters.

The creators  decided to spice things up and give Charlie’s daughter Jennifer a prominent role in the series. Yes, apparently one time, Charlie wasn’t careful enough when he was dating a certain woman and so along came ‘Jenny’ (Amber Tamblyn). The minute she appears on the show, you can clearly see why the makers of Two and a Half Men decided to bring her along for the ride. She’s just another Charlie, but in the form of a lesbian girl. And she’s just as hilarious as her late father.

Twoandahalfmen

Besides Jenny, there’s another new recurring character who’s called Barry Foster (Clark Duke). Barry is a typical geek: very naïve, not that good with the ladies and a bit socially awkward. The newcomers are a much needed fresh wind in the series and they add a lot to the creation of hilarious moments. Besides those newcomers, you’ll see a lot more from Alan and Charlie’s mother Evelyn (Holland Taylor) as she has found a new lover (not coincidentally a very old man with lots and lots of money). Although Evelyn herself isn’t such a caricature like, for example, Alan or Jenny; she always succeeds in waiting for the right moment to drop sarcastic and ironic one-liners. As her screen time is mostly quite brief, it’s fantastic to notice how much of an impression she leaves behind every single time she crosses paths with the main actors. The same can be said of the-always-napping-housekeeper Berta (Conchata Ferrel) for that matter.

Twoandahalfmen2

Story wise, season 11 offers a lot of variety which keeps the viewer from getting bored with the plot. Acting performances are pretty good. Especially newcomer Amber Tamblyn knows how to put down a very likeable character without getting annoying. It’s great to see how Charlie’s role has been transferred to his daughter and it really fits the show perfectly. Kutcher too does a fantastic job with his Walden personage and of course, Two and a Half Men wouldn’t be the same without Jon Cryer.

Walden has a near-death experience, which causes him to take a good, long look at his life. Realizing his life has amounted to a whole lot of nothing so far, he tells Alan that he would like to adopt a child in order to add some meaning to his life. Walden soon discovers that it is next to impossible to adopt a child as a single dad, so he proposes to his roommate and long-time friend, Alan, and the two pose as a gay couple and ultimately adopt Louis. Of course, it wouldn’t be a season of Two and a Half Men if our guys didn’t behave badly, so it’s not long before Walden and Alan are scrambling to keep their secret while figuring out how to have some manly fun with the women in their lives!

The Season story is mostly about the adoption of Louis, its a nice heartfelt story of two men trying t oraise an adoptive child, whilst trying to hide the fact they are both straight. When we get to the last few episodes we see both men in happy relationships, but the main event is obviously the last episode which features great guest stars such as Arnold Schwarzenegger, Christian Slater, and a whole host of returning cast members including, Jake. after 12 season the show still surprises and the final episode is a worth while conclusion to a show that has been on the air for 12 years.

REVIEW: PLEASANTVILLE

 

CAST

Tobey Maguire (Spider-Man)
Reese Witherspoon (This Means War)
William H.Macy (The Cooler)
Jeff Daniels (Allegiant)
Joan Allen (Manhunter)
J.T. Walsh (A Few Good men)
Don Knotts (Three’s Company)
Marley Shelton (Planet Terror)
Jane Kaczmarek (Malcolm In The Middle)
Giuseppe Andrews (Cabin Fever)
Jenny Lewis (Bolt)
Marissa Ribisi (100 Girls)
Justin Nimmo (Power Rangers In Space)
Jason Behr (Roswell)
Paul Walker (The Fast and The Furious)
Maggie Lawson (Two and a Half Men)
Marc Blucas (Buffy)
Danny Strong (3rd Rock From The Sun)

Distinctively here in Pleasantville, there is a journey which starts with materializing a TV-series into life and ends up with materializing the life into this TV-series. The cheerful 1950s’ TV sit-com Pleasantville is revived in the ’90s on cable. A homebody teen, David Wagner, escapes from the daily rush of the real unpleasant world by watching this show. He doesn’t even miss the reruns, memorizes the scripts and speaks them out before the actors in the show say their part. One day after school, he and his sister Jennifer can’t agree on the right TV channel to watch. Then they fight over the remote control and it breaks. The new remote, which will zap them inside Pleasantville, given to them by a strange TV-repairman.

When they entered Pleasantville, they become the part of the show and turn to black-and-white as the TV show displays. David and Jennifer take up residence as the son and the daughter of the sit-com family. Soon, they realize that there the life is always pleasant; the temperature is always lukewarm and the seasons are always spring with no rain no snow no hot no cold weather, books have no words, roads end where they start, nothing burns and matches are useless, married couples sleep in twin beds, sex does not exist, nobody gets sick, nobody gets hurt and nobody ever questions this hassle-free life. David fits right in as he always dreamt to be, while her sister persists on him to try to figure out what should they do to escape from there. Though she changes her mind when he gets a boyfriend from school. Her attempts of putting her lifestyle on effect causes Pleasantville gets colors. Thus wonderful and frightening changes start to take place.

Pleasantville is a truly original film that soars with dynamism and aesthetic. From a social and deeply political perspective; it has deep meaning and relevance in today’s society.

Cast Includes: Tobey Maguire, Reese Witherspoon, Jeff Daniels, William H. Macy, Joan Allen, J. T. Walsh, Paul Walker, Marley Shelton, Don Knotts and  Maggie Lawson