REVIEW: HOW I MET YOUR MOTHER – SEASON 5

Starring

Josh Radnor (The Hunt)
Jason Segel (Sex Tape)
Cobie Smulders (Avengers: Endgame)
Neil Patrick Harris (Gone Girl)
Alyson Hannigan (Buffy: The Vampire Slayer)
Bob Saget (Full House)

Neil Patrick Harris and Jason Segel in How I Met Your Mother (2005)

RECURRING / NOTABLE GUEST CAST

Joe Manganiello (Justice League)
Rizwan Manji (The Dictator)
Lindsay Sloane (Sabrina: TTW)
Lyndsy Fonseca (Kick-Ass)
David Henrie (Paul Blart Mall Cop 2)
Olga Fonda (The Vampire Diaries)
Marshall Manesh (Will & Grace)
Julianna Guill (Captain America: Civil War)
Alan Thicke (Growing Pains)
April Bowlby (Doom Patrol)
Matt Jones (Mom)
Eva Amurri Martino (Saved!)
Sarah Wright (American Made)
Chris Elliott (The Abyss)
Christina Pickles (Masters of The Universe)
Bill Fagerbakke (Spongebob Squarepants)
Suzie Plakson (Disclosure)
JoAnna Garcia Swisher (The Internship)
Charlene Amoia (American Pie: Reunion)
Matthew Moy (2 Broke Girls)
Benjamin Koldyke (The Finest Hours)
Bob Odenkirk (Better Call Saul)
Harvey Fierstein (Mrs. Doubtfire)
Rachel Bilson (Jumper)
Stacy Keibler (The Comebacks)
Joe Nieves (Stuck In The Middle)
Amanda Peet (Identity)
Larry Poindexter (17 Again)
Taran Killam (12 Years a Slave)
Bar Paly (Pain & Gain)
David Burtka (Neil’s Puppet Dreams)
Carrie Underwood (Soul Surfer)
Jennifer Lopez (The Cell)
Laura Prepon (That 70s Show)
Brooke Nevin (Scorpion)
Anne Dudek (Mad Men)
Cristine Rose (Heroes)
Harry Groener (Buffy: TVS)
Arianna Huffington (The Cleveland Show)
Michael York (Logan’s Run)
Malin Akerman (Watchmen)
Judy Greer (Ant-Man)
Chris Kattan (Undercover Brother)

Alyson Hannigan and Jason Segel in How I Met Your Mother (2005)Ted begins his job as a professor of architecture, standing in the middle of a classroom – although the mother was present, it turns out to be an economics class as he’s in the wrong lecture hall. Barney and Robin have had a sexual relationship throughout the summer and Lily locks them in a room, forcing them to come to terms with their relationship. After a rough patch they decide to break up. Robin describes it instead as “two friends getting back together.” Barney immediately goes back to his old ways, using the playbook to score with women. Throughout the season Barney and Robin show feelings of regret over their break-up.Neil Patrick Harris and Josh Radnor in How I Met Your Mother (2005)Ted dates a graduate student named Cindy (Rachel Bilson) and it is revealed her roommate is his future wife. Robin meets Don Frank (Benjamin Koldyke), her new co-anchor on her 4 AM TV show. Though she initially dislikes him, the two start dating and eventually she moves in with him. At the end of the season they break up when Don takes a job in Chicago — a job which Robin had previously turned down to stay in New York with Don. Marshall uses his fourth slap on Barney, once again at Thanksgiving. Ted buys a house, which needs to be fixed up badly, but is later revealed to be the future home for Ted and his children.Neil Patrick Harris and Cobie Smulders in How I Met Your Mother (2005)Lily and Marshall are still unsure about having children. After watching four doppelgangers of their group (Lesbian Robin, Moustache Marshall, Stripper Lily and Mexican Wrestler Ted) they decide to leave the big decision to the universe’s “infinite wisdom” and start trying when they have seen Barney’s Doppelganger. In the season finale, Barney disguises himself to have sex with a girl from every country in the world, and Lily and Marshall mistake him for the final doppelganger. When Marshall finds out, he decides not to tell Lily, fearing she will want to wait even longer to have children. Lily eventually finds out and decides to wait. In the season finale, Lily thinks she sees Barney’s doppelganger as a hot dog vendor, which causes the group to realize she is seeing what she wants to see, and play along. Eventually Barney agrees having babies is not a stupid idea and Lily and Marshall should go forth. The season ends with Lily asking Marshall to “put a baby in my belly”.Neil Patrick Harris, Alyson Hannigan, Jason Segel, Josh Radnor, and Cobie Smulders in How I Met Your Mother (2005)Another great season which leaves you wanting to find out what happens next in season 6.

 

 

REVIEW: WANDRLUST

Starring

Paul Rudd (Ant-Man)
Jennifer Aniston (Bruce Almighty)
Justin Theroux (Tropic Thunder)
Malin Åkerman (Watchmen)
Lauren Ambrose (The Other Woman)
Joe Lo Truglio (Paul)
Alan Alda (The Aviator)
Kathryn Hahn (Bad Moms)
Ken Marino (Veronica Mars)
Jordan Peele (Get Out)
Kerri Kenney-Silver (Downsizing)
Michaela Watkins (Enough Said)
Linda Lavin (Whitewash)
Ray Liotta (Hannibal)
Jessica St. Clair (American Hosuewife)
Mather Zickel (Bones)

Joe Lo Truglio and Paul Rudd in Wanderlust (2012)George and Linda Gergenblatt are an urban married couple who purchase a micro-loft in New York after much hesitation. George is expecting a promotion while Linda is trying to sell a documentary to HBO. Soon after purchasing their home, George learns that his company has folded, overnight, while HBO rejects Linda’s documentary. With both out of work, they are forced to sell their apartment and drive to Atlanta to live with George’s arrogant brother Rick and his wife Marisa after Rick offers George a job.Jennifer Aniston, Malin Akerman, and Paul Rudd in Wanderlust (2012)After many hours on the highway, Linda demands they stop to rest. The closest place to stop appears to be a bed and breakfast hotel named Elysium. After exiting the highway, as they approach, they are surprised to see a naked man walking ahead of them. He approaches them. Startled and apprehensive, George tries to back up to the highway, but accidentally flips the car over. The nude man, Wayne Davidson, helps them out of the car, and they are forced to stay at the hotel. They meet several colorful guests, and then go to bed. While trying to sleep, they are distracted by noises downstairs. When they go to investigate, they learn that Elysium is a hippie commune. They meet various eccentric residents of Elysium, including Seth, Eva, and Elysium’s owner Carvin. George and Linda spend the night feeling more alive than before. In the morning, everyone helps flip the car back upright so they can leave, as Seth urges them to stay, but they continue on to Atlanta.Jennifer Aniston and Paul Rudd in Wanderlust (2012)George and Linda arrive at Rick’s house and find the atmosphere chaotic. George quickly reaches a breaking point with Rick and takes Linda back to Elysium, where they are welcomed back. George is excited about the simpler lifestyle while Linda is hesitant. They decide to stay and give the place a two-week trial run. After a few days, Linda starts feeling enlightened after drinking some drug laced tea in the truth circle, while George begins having second thoughts. George and Linda soon learn that ‘free love’ is strongly encouraged as Seth and Eva want to seduce Linda and George, respectively. Both George and Linda rebuff the notion of free love, and several crazy situations arise during that period, bizarre and otherwise.Jennifer Aniston, Paul Rudd, and Justin Theroux in Wanderlust (2012)At the same time, Elysium is being targeted by property developers to build a casino on the property, as title to the property is disputed, and Carvin has misplaced the deed to the land. After the developers arrive with a bulldozer, to make a TV reporting-crew take more interest, Linda scares them off by flashing them her breasts, and many of the other residents join her, which gets sensationalized coverage, and halts the proceeding. Linda is lauded as a hero by the commune. The two weeks are up, and George demands that they leave, saying that if they stay, they would have to give in to ‘free love’. Linda wants to stay and has sex with Seth. George is pressured to have sex with Eva, but he becomes uncomfortable and drives her away with his awkward and bizarre behavior. The next morning, George reaches a breaking point, again, stating that he dislikes the rules of Elysium and wants to leave. Linda wants to stay, so George goes back to Rick’s house alone.Jennifer Aniston and Paul Rudd in Wanderlust (2012)Seth believes he has found his soul mate in Linda and searches for the deed to Elysium, which he finds and sells to the property developers, for $11,000, to start a new life with Linda, betraying the commune. A child from the commune witnesses the burning of the deed by Seth and the man that wants to build the casino. Seth tells Linda he wants them to leave Elysium behind, together, and that the others can look after themselves. Linda refuses. In the meantime, George realizes he loves Linda and comes back to find her, getting into a fight with Seth while the commune looks on and tries to help ‘non-violently’. The child that witnessed the burning of the deed by Seth tells the commune what happened and George punches Seth in the jaw.Jennifer Aniston, Malin Akerman, Lauren Ambrose, Kerri Kenney, Joe Lo Truglio, Paul Rudd, Justin Theroux, Peter Salett, Kathryn Hahn, and Jordan Peele in Wanderlust (2012)In the aftermath, the news show that visited Elysium does a follow-up story about the commune. George and Linda start a publishing company, with their first book being a political thriller novel written by Wayne. The novel is then fast-tracked into a film adaptation starring Ray Liotta. Carvin reclaims his rights to Elysium after he is reunited with all the original founders of Elysium, one of whom had another copy of the deed. In a post-credits scene, Marisa is a cast member of the television reality show The Real Housewives of Atlanta.Jennifer Aniston, Malin Akerman, Kerri Kenney, Paul Rudd, Justin Theroux, and Peter Salett in Wanderlust (2012)Take this film at face value and suspend your disbelief, take off your critic hat and just enjoy!

REVIEW: EARTH: FINAL CONFLICT – SEASON 1

Starring

Kevin Kilner (Dollhouse)
Lisa Howard (Highlander: The Series)
Von Flores (Never Cry Werewolf)
Richard Chevolleau (Hannibal)
Leni Parker (Screamers)
David Hemblen (La Femme Nikita)

Earth: Final Conflict (1997)

RECURRING / NOTABLE GUEST CAST

Michael Filipowich (24)
Lisa Ryder (Andromeda)
John Evans (Street Legal)
Majel Barrett (Star Trek: TNG)
Miranda Kwok (Jane Doe)
Shary Guthrie (Highlander: The Raven)
Malin Akerman (Watchmen)
Emily Hampshire (12 Monkeys)
Peter Krantz (Exotica)
David Calderisi (Flashpoint)
Richard McMillan (Cube Zero)
Patrick Gallagher (Sideways)
Colette Stevenson (Mutant X)
Anita La Selva (Dead End Road)
Jonathan Potts (Rupture)
Claudette Mink (Paycheck)
Nigel Bennett (The Shape of The Water)
Maurice Dean Wint (Cube)
Damon D’Oliveira (Relic Hunter)
Sonia Dhillon Tully (Taken)
Kari Matchett (Cypher)
Jody Racicot (Flash Gordon)
Shauna MacDonald (Hemlock Grove)
Kristin Lehman (The Chronicles of Riddick)
Peter Mensah (Sleepy Hollow)
Blu Mankuma (2012)
Patricia Gage (American Psycho)
William deVry (Stargate SG.1)
Kate Trotter (Covert Affairs)
Paul Johansson (Van Helsing)

Horizon_zero_01I started watching this with rather low expectations — everything with Roddenberry’s name on it, other than Star Trek , has been a bit of a flop. So I was pleasantly surprised that this story of alien contact with a hidden ulterior motive is done quite well.efe2f80f2d4219ea2683df4e134d1cb1--kevin-oleary-finalsThe Taelons arrived on Earth three years ago, and have helped eliminate much poverty and hunger. Selected members of their race — Companions — live on earth, and are aided by human agents implanted with a CVI, an alien virus that increases intelligence and has a motivational imperative to be loyal to the Taelons. But the Taelons are secretive, and not all humans are convinced of their good intentions. A Resistance sets up, and they place an agent, William Boone, with a modified CVI that has no such motivational imperative. The series follows Boone’s adventures as he tries to find out what the Taelons are up to, without blowing his cover.61e9bec633b987021515c8c2da512249That the Talons do have a secret purpose becomes clearer as the season progresses, but what it is precisely remains a mystery. The uncovering of the secrets, and the story arcs, are well handled. The Taelons come across as an interestingly conflicted race, some more pro-human, and less happy with whatever it is they are up to, than others. And the Resistance is nicely complex, too — sometimes seeming to be irrationally fanatic, sometimes seeming to be Earth’s last best hope for freedom. Boone does the agonised man trapped between two worlds bit quite well.maxresdefaultThere is thankfully very little techno-babble, although some implausible technology rears its head (yet another case of whipping up an antidote to a disease in less than an episode — and a DNA sequence alone is not sufficient to recreate an adult person — and if the Taelons simply monitored Boone’s video phone, they’d get a nasty shock!) Yet, minor quibbles aside, this has been a fun journey.

REVIEW: WATCHMEN

 

CAST

Malin Ackerman (The Heartbreak Kid)
Billy Crudup (Almost Famous)
Matthew Goode (Match Point)
Jackie Earle Haley (Human Target)
Jeffrey Dean Morgan (The Losers)
Patrick Wilson (The Conjuring)
Carla Gugino (Sin City)
Matt Frewer (Jailbait)
Stephen McHattie (300)
Rob Labelle (Jack Frost)
Garry Chalk (Dark angel)
Chris Gauthier (Smallville)
Patrick Sabongui (The Flash)
Agam Darshi (Sanctuary)
Danny Woodburn (Mirror Mirror)
Laura Mennell (Van Helsing)
Robert Wisden (Highlander: The Series)
Jerry Wasserman (I, Robot)
Don Thompson (Slither)
Michael Kopsa (Fantastic Four)
Fulvio Cecere (Valentine)
Mark Acheson (Elf)
Jay Brazeau (Bates Motel)
Niall Matter (The Predator)
Apollonia Vanova (Man of Steel)
Carrie Genzel (Jennifer’s Body)
Frank Cassini (Timecop)
Sonya Salomaa (The Collector)
Michael Eklund (Arrow)
John Tench (Andromeda)
Jason Schombing (Sanctuary)
Colin Lawrence (Virgin River)
Alessandro Juliani (Smallville)
Sahar Biniaz (Blade: The Series)
Tom McBeath (Stargate SG.1)
Kevin McNulty (Snakes on a Plane)
Michael Adamthwaite (Supergirl)

66262-ycoiuhbnkq-1503295178Watchmen was easily the most hotly awaited picture of the first half of 2009, and I’ll readily admit that the dynamic yellow-and-red poster billboards around town generated a charge of anticipation that Savant hasn’t felt in years. That the film was not considered a runaway success doesn’t surprise me. A movie about superheroes that is neither consistently feel-good nor entertainingly funny is a hard sell. Other writers have noted that the Watchmen are relative unknowns in comparison to icons like Spiderman and Superman; there’s less of a built-in audience for them. Describing the Watchmen movie also suggests expressions like “intellectual puzzle” and “non-linear”. Large segments of the audience have little use for narrative complexities and historical irony.

What movie audiences do care about is action, and to compensate Watchmen ratchets up the graphic novel’s considerable violence. Bloody content limited to a single comic panel or two, looks like gore porn when turned into a film sequence.  Even with a few subplots deleted, Watchmen is so complicated that it bears comparison with David Lynch’s noble 1984 attempt to film Dune. Lynch got lost in wall-to-wall exposition and characters reduced to walk-ons. Watchmen avoids the same fate by closely following the original’s highly cinematic structure. Moore and Gibbons’ comic book panels made heavy use of devices familiar to moviegoers — parallel cutting, associative transitions.Watchmen is a multi-generational story of costumed superhero crime fighters. They got their start in the 1940s as “The Minutemen”, later formed another association called “The Watchmen” and then were outlawed in the early 1980s. Most have kept their anonymity in retirement. Nite Owl (Patrick Wilson), Silk Spectre (Malin Ackerman), Rorschach (Jackie Earle Haley), Ozymandias (Matthew Goode) and The Comedian (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) have no super-powers. The one Watchman who does is Dr. Manhattan (Billy Crudup), an “atomic man” who glows a soft blue color. A research scientist transformed into a near demigod by an experiment gone wrong, Dr. Manhattan wins the Vietnam War for Richard Nixon, allowing the President to run for a third term by popular demand. Most of Watchmen plays out as a science fiction alternate history tale, although the film drops a major Sci-Fi element from the final act.In 1985 an unknown assailant murders The Comedian. Defying the ban on costumed vigilantes, Rorschach warns the other Watchmen and puts pressure on the underworld to find out who is responsible. Dr. Manhattan breaks up with Laurie Jupiter (secretly the Silk Spectre) and abandons humanity to meditate on Mars. The Cold War goes into panic mode, as the U.S. and the Soviets are already at the brink of nuclear war, and Dr. Manhattan was America’s defense insurance policy. Laurie and Dan Dreiburg (secretly the Nite Owl) become an item. Frustrated by all the bad news, they ignore the ban and reassume their roles as crime fighters. Laurie and Dan spring Rorschach from prison and begin an investigation that leads to the activities of the millionaire technocrat Adrian Veidt, formerly Ozymandias.That synopsis doesn’t begin to touch the intricacies of Watchmen or its pleasing assortment of superheroes, that collectively flesh out a pantheon of comic book traditions. The Nite Owl is a kinder Batman type, a quiet millionaire who has engineered a flying vehicle and other crime-fighting gadgets. He’s actually following in the footsteps of the original Nite Owl, a two-fisted hero from the 1940s. The Silk Spectre is a Wonder Woman- like beauty with identity issues. She was pushed into her role by her flamboyant mother, the Silk Spectre of the Minuteman years. The corrupt Comedian lost sight of his crimefighting ethics and became a murderer, war criminal, rapist and dirty ops agent for Dick Nixon. The highly intelligent Ozymandias is also a fabulously wealthy international businessman under the name Adrian Veidt; he’s put his crime-fighting past on the public record and even sells Ozymandias toy action figures. Veidt considers himself a modern Alexander the Great.The most interesting Watchman is Rorschach, a seedy misanthrope who wears a strange mask that forms mysterious symmetrical patterns identical to a psychologist’s inkblot test. Now considered an outlaw vigilante, Rorschach keeps a bitter Travis Bickle-like diary and refuses to compromise on his mission to slay criminals. Between them the Watchmen cover numerous approaches to the concept of “masked crusaders” trying to function in a complex world. Director Zack Snyder  epitomizes the modern director who prepares computerized pre-visualization sequences, directs the live action, and waits for his technician-artisans to deliver test composites to critique. Elements that the director once had to make “come together” before a real camera on a real set can now be added, subtracted or altered almost indefinitely; the director of an effects-heavy film now functions as a creative manager. Snyder openly admits that his goal is to faithfully replicate the visions of other artists, which has prompted some to question exactly what he contributes artistically to the show. To the extent that Snyder still casts and directs the actors and decides when and when not to follow the graphic novel, he is actually much more “involved” than were many old-school studio directors. Even the biggest Hollywood names sometimes worked from locked scripts and often had little contact with projects before or after the actual filming. Considering how little opportunity for personal expression the Watchmen assignment afford, Snyder’s done a fine job.In this case, closely following the original was Snyder’s only choice. CGI allows the presentation of almost any visual, and the leagues of Watchmen fans wouldn’t have tolerated detours from their story. Most of Snyder’s adjustments are good ones. The strange sidebar tangent involving a “Black Freighter” horror comic has wisely been spun off into a separate direct-to-video production. To get out from under a mountain of plot complications, Snyder drops Adrian Veidt’s elaborate hoax on humanity that involves murdering an army of technicians that mock up the corpse of a gigantic space alien.Watchmen was somewhat overpowering in the movie theater, precisely because it is so close to the original. Instead of being taken in a new direction, I felt like Snyder was holding the book in front of my eyes and turning the pages for me. But movies of this kind are no longer made to be seen only once, and on a second viewing it was easier to simply watch what was happening, admire the classy designs and marvel at the excellent casting.