REVIEW: DEATH NOTE (2017)

CAST

Nat Wolff (Paper Towns)
Margaret Qualley (The Leftovers)
Keith Stanfield (The Purge: Anarchy)
Paul Nakauchi (Dark Metropolis)
Shea Whigham (Agent Carter)
Willem Dafoe (American Psycho)
Masi Oka (Heroes)
Michael Shamus Wiles (Breaking Bad)
Paul McGillion (Stargate: Atlantis)

In Seattle, Light Turner, while doing other high school students’ homework in exchange for money, encounters a notebook marked “Death Note” as it falls from the sky next to him, alongside the rain. Placing the book in his bag, he attempts to stop Kenny, an oft-held-back student, from assaulting Mia Sutton, getting knocked out in the process. Upon waking, Light is sent to detention for doing other students’ homework, their papers having been knocked from his bag. In detention, while the supervisor leaves on an errand, Light encounters the death god Ryuk after reading some of the Death Note’s rules, leaving him in a state of terror. Believing himself to be dreaming, Light absentmindedly puts Kenny’s name into the Death Note after Ryuk pressures him to. Requesting he write a cause of death, Light writes “decapitation”. Looking out the window, Light witnesses Kenny’s death, shocking him.At home, Light, after a conversation with his father about justice, and upon learning of the rules of the Death Note from Ryuk, writes the name of the man who ran down his mother in the Death Note, who had gone unprosecuted due to his criminal connections. Elsewhere, the man is killed after falling upon his steak knife at a restaurant. The following morning, Light’s father receives news of this. Despite previous comments regarding the matter, he is glad of the man’s death.The following day, in the gym, Mia approaches Light, asking him what the book (Death Note) he’s holding is. Light brings Mia to the school library and tells her about Ryuk and the Death Note, demonstrating its power on a man holding his family hostage nearby. The two read through the Death Note, noting that previous users had used it for either profit or personal revenge. Mia and Light decide to kill criminals worldwide to improve society under the guise of a “god”, which Light decides to name Kira, being Russian for light, as well as Japanese for “Killer”. Upon having their first victims, the contents of the “Top 10 World’s Most Wanted” list, sign “Kira” in perfect Japanese on their walls, Mia and Light leave the world believing Kira to be Japanese.Kira becomes loved by the public and the majority of law enforcement officials. Mia and Light become lovers. In Japan, the enigmatic detective known only as “L” successfully deduced that Kira is a citizen of Seattle, having leaked information about obscure Japanese criminals to the Seattle Police Department, and having identified the third person killed by Light with the Death Note as having been killed by Kira. L, alongside his assistant/father figure Watari, travel to Seattle.As a fan of the Japanese films this new one is actually good, if u have not seen it yet watch it and judge it for yourselves regardless of what others say. I enjoyed it very much.

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REVIEW: LEGALLY BLONDE 2

CAST

Reese Witherspoon (Cruel Intentions)
Sally Field (The Amazing Spider-Man)
Bob Newhart (The Big Bang Theory)
Regina King (Ray)
Jennifer Coolidge (2 Broke Girls)
Bruce McGill (Collateral)
Dana Ivey (Two Weeks Notice)
Mary Lynn-Rajskub (24)
Jessica Cauffiel (White Chicks)
Alanna Ubach (Waiting…)
Stanley Anderson (Spider-Man)
Bruce Thomas (Army of Darkness)
Luke Wilson (Old School)
Jack McGee (The Fighter)
Octavia Spencer (Insurgent)
Tane McClure (Go)
Masi Oka (Heroes)

Elle Woods wants her Chihuahua, Bruiser, to reunite with his mother, because she would like Bruiser’s mom to attend Elle and Emmett’s wedding. Elle hires a detective to find Bruiser’s mother, only to discover that the owner of her dog’s mother is C’est Magnifique, a cosmetics company that uses Bruiser’s mother for “testing”. She finds out that her law firm represents the C’est Magnifique Corporation.Elle decides to leave Boston, where she and Bruiser have settled with her fiancé Emmett, and go to Washington, D.C., to work on Bruiser’s Bill. Elle is upset that her dog’s mother is in a make-up testing laboratory, and decides to take it upon herself to be the “voice for those who can’t speak” and to outlaw animal testing.While working for Congresswoman Victoria Rudd, Elle is met with skepticism and other barriers common to Washington politics. Rudd’s member of staff, Timothy, sarcastically calls her “Capitol Barbie”. After a variety of ups and downs including a failed attempt to improve her work environment by having her co-workers write compliments about one another and place them in the “snap cup”, Elle starts to lose her faith in Washington politics.As the story moves along, Elle discovers that Bruiser is actually gay, after she is paged by “The Paws that Refreshes: A Doggy Day Spa”. Bruiser has been affectionate with Leslie, a Rottweiller owned by Congressman Stan Marks, the Chairman of the Committee on Energy and Commerce which has jurisdiction over Bruiser’s Bill. Elle also finds that Congresswoman Libby Hauser, the Ranking Member of the same committee, was a member of Elle’s sorority Delta Nu. As a result, both Marks and Hauser warm to Elle and eventually come to support Bruiser’s Bill.Elle also discovers that Congresswoman Rudd has actually been working against her. Rudd has been doing so in an effort to satisfy the interests of a major campaign donor named “Bob” (who is never seen, but with whom Rudd has several telephone conversations). However, Rudd is eventually blackmailed into supporting Elle’s petition, because Rudd’s Chief of Staff, Grace Rossiter, eavesdrops on a recorded conversation during which Rudd admits to Elle that she has been working against Bruiser’s Bill in order to help Rudd’s sponsors who want to continue with tests on animals. As Grace is appalled that Rudd lied to Elle and blamed it on her, Grace and Elle eventually reach a place of mutual respect, especially after Grace admits she came to Washington D.C. with an enthusiasm not unlike Elle’s, but later lost that idealism when she discovered how dirty politics could really be.With the help of her friends, Elle’s discharge petition is successful, and Bruiser’s Bill is brought to the floor of the House. Bruiser’s mother and the rest of the dogs are released by C’est Magnifique Corporation. Elle and Emmett get married in a park in D.C., albeit not at Fenway Park as they had planned, but standing on the home plate which has been delivered to D.C. by the UPS Guy. In the final scene, Emmett asks Elle whether they want to live in Beverly Hills, Washington D.C., or Boston. As Elle has many legal and political job offers after the successful discharge hearing, she responds, “Oh, I think I know just the place,” and winks as they drive by the White House.Not as good as the original but still a good flick. Still some good laugh and well worth a watch.

 

REVIEW: HEROES – THE UNAIRED PILOT

Image result for heroes tv logo
CAST
Milo Ventimiglia (Gotham)
Hayden Panettiere (Bring it on 3)
Jack Coleman (Kingdom Hospital)
Tawny Cypress (Supergirl)
Leonard Roberts (Buffy: The Vampire Slayer)
Santiago Cabrera (Merlin)
Masi Oka (Get Smart)
Greg Grunberg (Alias)
Adrian Pasdar (Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D)
Noah Gray-Cabey (My Wife and Kids)
Ali Larter (Final Destination 1 & 2)
Sendhil Ramamurthy (Beauty and the Beast)
Image result for heroes SEASON 1
GUEST CAST
Ashley Crow (The Secret Circle)
Cristine Rose (How I Met Your Mother)
Thomas Dekker (Terminator: TSCC)
Richard Roundtree (Shaft)
watching the unaired pilot of Heroes was like watching a different episode, except not entirely.
I’m glad they didn’t stick with the terrorist storyline, it would’ve been too intense for an introductory of a new show, considering there are plenty of other shows out there that deal with terrorism head-on and Heroes isn’t one of those kinds of shows. Besides, the connection of a man with radioactive abilities and him being in a terrorist group would’ve been too obvious. Although, I have to say the setup was certainly interesting. Then again, too powerful and intense for a pilot episode. The show does have the prophecy of the explosion in New York and some mentioning of terrorism here and there, but it’s not blatantly obvious like what was shown here. I’m not saying that there aren’t people in such organizations or situations that won’t have abilities, but Heroes essentially is a show about hope, and having a terrorism tie-in wouldn’t really give the audience much comfort in that regard. So yeah, I’m glad that got replaced with the Ted Sprague storyline.
Though, another tie-in was Matt Parkman. Originally he wasn’t introduced until the second episode, with the Walker family crime. The unaired pilot showed him finding a hiding terrorist from hearing his Arabic thoughts instead of Molly Walker hidden away in fear. This also shows that Matt wanted to be on the S.W.A.T. team instead of becoming a detective, which is plausible if they’d kept with the terrorist storyline. I find it interesting that they kept how he approached his abilities in both versions: on a crime scene, hears the thoughts of someone, enters crime scene without authorization and finds the person hiding, but ends up getting questioned for his act of heroism. So they had the idea of what to do with Matt’s character from the start, it was the matter of getting the right storyline in. Also, I liked the surprised interaction between him and the radioactive man. They knew each other, and now we’ll never know how or why.
There was also the trouble with Matt’s marriage, which seemed a bit more unbearable for either of them as they were going to marriage counseling. Watching this, I’ve concluded I like his current wife better than the original one. But then again, I’ve always liked her on the show. She does have her flaws but overall is sweet and supportive of Matt, whereas this woman seen here is just bitchy. Now, there’s the Sylar storyline, which I have to admit freaked me out. I knew that they originally wanted Sylar to be a middle-aged man who was deeply religious and once being contacted by Chandra was conflicted and questioning whether his ability was a gift from God (or the Devil) and started using it for that purpose. But actually watching it all unfold in this really made a different impression on me, because as soon as Mohinder walked (er, more like broke into through the window) into Sylar’s apartment I just…I was like “whoa…” Definitely different from Gabriel Gray, which I am so happy they changed Sylar’s storyline. And in the end with Mohinder about to leave and then suddenly a dark-claded figure with a hat stood before him, and Mohinder uttering the word, “Sylar” in somewhat surprise and fear…I freaked the hell out. Seriously, it was a “Frak me!” moment, the same with the audio-recording of Sylar and Chandra talking, again completely different from their interaction we see later and just the deep and hoarseness of Sylar’s voice really scared me (besides, we now know why Chandra called him Mr. Sylar, because originally his name was supposed to have been Paul E. Sylar, not Gabriel Gray who just took the alias from the watch he’d been working on.
I liked, however, that they kept the religious undertone with Sylar’s character, as we revisit that scene with the “Forgive Me; I have sinned” writing in blood in the third episode when Mohinder and Eden enter his apartment, then again with he visits his mother. It’s still there, just subtly, which I think was a good thing. Adds the complexity of his character I think, instead of letting it known that he is just this whacked out religious dude trying to justify his actions on God. Other than that, nothing much else was changed. There were some extended scenes as seen in the pilot episode we know, such as Peter’s dream featuring him falling off the building and Nathan appearing there (which would’ve given it away from the beginning), an extended conversation between Claire and Zach along with Claire seeing the truck with terrorist hidden inside, which had to be taken out because that storyline was being cut indefinitely from the show; more of the Simone and Isaac interaction, including him going cold turkey from using the drugs and later cutting off his own hand. There was also a minor change with the Sanders’ scenes, mainly Micah taking $300 and leaving to visit his father in prison, although they decided to not go that route.
So the unaired pilot really was interesting, and makes me wonder what kind of show it would’ve turned out to be if they’d stuck with the things they didn’t change, especially keeping the original ideas for Sylar and the terrorist storylines in particular. The show would’ve gone in a completely different direction, and I don’t know whether good or bad. They had some heavy religious themes, and I don’t think it would’ve been received well by audiences. It was interesting nonetheless, but still I think too intense for a beginning episode and thankfully they tamed it and took out the unnecessary points which would’ve been questionable. Because really, there are so many terrorist plotpoints in other shows as I mentioned before, that it would’ve been cliche to add it to Heroes.

REVIEW: BALLS OF FURY

CAST
Dan Folger (Hannibal)
Christopher Walken (The Prophecy)
George Lopez (Spare Parts)
Maggie Q (Divergent)
James Hong (Blade Runner)
Terry Crews (Serving Sara)
Robert Patrick (Terminator 2)
Diedrich Bader (Vampires Suck)
Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa (Mortal Kombat Legacy)
Jason Scott lee (Soldier)
Patton Oswalt (Two and A Half men)
Mather Zickel (Bones)
Masi Oka (Heroes)

Eleven year old Randy Daytona becomes anxious when he learns that his father Peter has bet on his performance in the 1988 Summer Olympics table tennis finals. During his first game between his opponent Karl Wolfschtagg from the German Democratic Republic, Daytona has an accident and suffers an injury. Unable to continue, he loses the match. Loan sharks in the employ of criminal mastermind Feng murder his father, and Daytona leaves competitive ping-pong.
Nineteen years later, Daytona is dismissed from the Peppermill casino and meets FBI agent Ernie Rodriguez, who requests his assistance in arresting Feng for running guns. Feng’s hidden jungle hideout hosts a black-market Ping-Pong tournament, and Daytona’s invitation is a way for the FBI to infiltrate Feng’s organization. When Daytona agrees, Rodriguez tells him to win enough championships that Feng’s scouts notice him. After losing a local tournament, Daytona is apprenticed to a blind man in Chinatown named Wong, who was Feng’s former mentor. Daytona also meets Wong’s niece, Maggie. When locals vandalize Master Wong’s house for violating their edict against teaching white people ping pong, Daytona is forced to play against “The Dragon”, a young girl, in exchange for Wong’s right to stay. After Daytona beats the Dragon, Feng’s men take notice of his win and bring Daytona, Rodriguez, and Wong to Feng’s facility.
Daytona handily beats his first opponent, Freddy “Fingers” Wilson, though he is unnerved to learn that the tournament is literally sudden death—the loser is killed by a poisoned dart delivered by Feng’s majordomo, Mahogany. After Daytona attempts unsuccessfully to escape, Feng invites him to join his side and reveals that he only finished half of Wong’s training. He says it would be the ultimate satisfaction to win Daytona away from Wong. Feng also shows Daytona his specially modified ping-pong table. It is wired to special vests that give increasingly powerful and fatal electrical shocks for failure. Daytona informs Rodriguez of a hidden cache of illegal guns that are sufficient to put Feng in jail. While Rodriguez investigates the hidden facilities, Daytona defeats numerous opponents for his life.
Upon learning that Wolfschtagg is his last opponent, Daytona requests extraction. Rodriguez comes up with a plan to brutally injure Daytona, so that he has to quit. Rodriguez breaks Daytona’s arm before Daytona can tell him that he has changed his mind. Feng discovers Rodriguez’s attempts to contact the FBI and forces Daytona to face Wolfschtagg, then substitutes Maggie. When Wolfstagg protests, Feng kills him. Daytona plays one-handed and tries to stall for time. Maggie tries to lose on purpose to sacrifice herself. However, Daytona uses his ping-pong expertise to hit Maggie with the ball. While this goes on, they escape together. Enraged, Feng orders them both executed. Mahogany shoots a poisonous dart at Daytona, but Maggie defends him with the ping-pong paddle. Daytona then throws the poisoned paddle back at Mahogany, killing her. The FBI swarms the place, during which the heroes attempt to escape, but Daytona’s attempts to rescue Feng’s sex slaves causes their capture. Feng plays Daytona to determine which of Wong’s students is the superior ping pong player.
During the game, the facility’s self-destruct sequence is activated, and Feng reveals there is no off-switch. He also states that he changed the rules so that the ball can now be bounced off any surface once and still be in play. As the self-destruct sequence countdown progresses, the game moves through several buildings and finally onto a bridge over a nearby river. After Wong informs Daytona that Feng has a weak backhand, Daytona exploits his weakness, and Feng is electrocuted, falling into the river. Daytona and his friends, along with Feng’s slaves, escape in Wong’s boat. Two months later, the major characters are reunited for the reopening of Master Wong’s rebuilt Mushu shop.
The plot is predictable enough but with a very well written script and plenty enough twists and parodying of the martial arts genre to make it worth a second watch.

REVIEW: ALONG CAME POLLY

CAST

Ben Stiller (Dodgeball)
Jennifer Aniston (Rumor Has It..)
Philip Seymour Hoffman (The Ides of March)
Debra Messing (The Wedding Date)
Alec Baldwin (Mission Impossible 5)
Hank Azaria (The SImpsons)
Bryan Brown (Australia)
Jsu Garcia (A Nightmare On Elm Street0
Michele Lee (Knots Landing)
Masi Oka (Heroes)
Missi Pyle (Big Fish)
Kevin  Hart (Ride Along)
Cheryl Hines (Waitress)
Todd Stashwick (The Originals)

Reuben Feffer (Ben Stiller), an insurance actuary, is celebrating his honeymoon with newlywed wife, Lisa Kramer (Debra Messing), on the island of St. Barts, but catches her having sex with Claude (Hank Azaria), a French scuba instructor. Returning home to New York alone, he attempts to piece his life back together. Reuben goes to an art gallery with his friend, Sandy Lyle (Philip Seymour Hoffman), where he runs into former junior high school classmate Polly Prince (Jennifer Aniston).

Reuben and Polly begin dating, with her introducing him to activities he once wrote off as “too risky”, such as eating at a Moroccan restaurant and salsa dancing, which culminates with the pair enthusiastically sleeping together, with Reuben shouting “50” as he orgasms. The contrast between their two personalities is a source of comedy throughout the film until Lisa returns and tells him she wants to reconcile their relationship. Meanwhile, Sandy, a self-centered, former teen idol, is trying to make a comeback by having a documentary filmed about his starring role as Judas in an amateur production of Jesus Christ Superstar. Reuben is torn between the free-spirited Polly and the safe and familiar Lisa. To solve this issue, he enters information about Polly and Lisa into a computer insurance program which measures risk. The computer tells him that, despite his numerous blunders with her, Polly is the best choice for him. Polly joins Reuben on a sailing trip he is going on, to inspect Leland Van Lew (Bryan Brown), a high-risk client, but gets offended when she sees his risk analysis of herself and rejects his proposal to move in together, telling him that he would be better off going back to Lisa.

Back home, Reuben tries talking to Polly, but to no avail. He eventually invites Lisa to Sandy’s opening show, where he learns that Polly is leaving New York for Cincinnati in a few hours. After a speech given by his father, Irving (Bob Dishy), to Sandy about not living in the past, Reuben realizes he wants to be with Polly and not Lisa, and he rushes to her apartment to stop her from leaving. Polly is not convinced she should stay with him, so Reuben eats food off the ground to prove he is capable of taking risks.  Reuben and Polly go on holiday to the same beach where Lisa and he had their honeymoon. Reuben again encounters Claude, but instead of being angry, he thanks Claude, and then heads into the water with Polly to join Van Lew on his new boat.

Along Came Polly was an entertaining film, but just wasn’t an amazing one. Ben Stiller has made some good films in the past. However I thought that the plot was a little weak. I think Ben Stiller’s character should have played out to a larger extent, the fact that he analysed every situation no matter how trivial. I really did not see much point in the ferret! And the romance which was the main feature of the film did not really bowl you over either. The film itself was actually very short aswell. Overall it is a film worth seeing but not one you will particulary want to see again or one you will particularly remember

 

REVIEW: HEROES: THE COMPLETE COLLECTION (BLU-RAY)

CAST
Milo Ventimiglia (Gotham)
Hayden Panettiere (Bring it on 3)
Jack Coleman (Kingdom Hospital)
Tawny Cypress (Supergirl)
Leonard Roberts (Buffy: The Vampire Slayer)
Santiago Cabrera (Merlin)
Masi Oka (Get Smart)
Greg Grunberg (Alias)
Adrian Pasdar (Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D)
Noah Gray-Cabey (My Wife and Kids)
Ali Larter (Final Destination 1 & 2)
Sendhil Ramamurthy (Beauty and the Beast)
NOTABLE / RECURRING GUEST CAST
James Kyson Lee (Hawaii Five-O)
Zachary Quinto (Hitman: Agent 47)
Ashley Crow (The Secret Circle)
Jimmy Jean-Louis (Arrow)
Cristine Rose (How I Met Your Mother)
Thomas Dekker (Terminator: TSCC)
Lisa Lackey (Bones)
Matthew John Armstrong (American Dreams)
Christopher Eccleston (Doctor Who)
Nora Zehetner (Brick)
Clea DuVall (The Lizzie Borden Chronicles)
Randall Bentley (Upside)
Missy Peregrym (Smallville)
Danielle Savre (Boogeyman 2)
Eric Roberts (The Dark Knight)
Adair Tishler (Dollhouse)
Rena Sofer (Traffic)
Malcolm McDowell (Halloween 1 & 2)
George Takei (Star Trek)
Jayma Mays (Ugly Betty)

Heroes Season 1 is an ensemble cast show that became a very large success based on how well it translated the comic book world to the small screen. Set on present day Earth, the show details how a growing number of people are developing special abilities outside of government control with a variety of consequences to them and the population at large. Unlike the truncated second season, the first had a full 23 episodes to explore the concept, resulting in a number of smaller, multi-episode arcs that all built toward a bigger picture as the season progressed. Unlike the old style of comic books though, the cast is made up of all sorts of regular people that start to notice they are”special, some of whom learn to increase their abilities with concentration or training, stumbling at times but honing said powers in numerous ways.

In overall terms, the story uses the Human Genome Project as something of a starting point, using scientist Mohinder Suresh (Sendhil Ramamurthy) as a focal point for identifying gifted people as he follows a trail set forth by his father, a formerly distinguished geneticist that chased what were considered crazy ideas about human evolution until he was killed. Mohinder discovers that certain trace markers in human DNA predict people with abilities and having observed firsthand exactly how gifted some of these people are, he ends up trying to warn them of a serial killer named Sylar (Zachary Quinto) and what appears to be secret agents out to capture them. Needless to say, his efforts are not universally appreciated and he himself is cast into the mix as a pawn, forced to face both powered and mundane humans out to stop him. The show also uses a dozen or so other main characters that either have powers or interact heavily with them, many seemingly patterned after specific comic book characters in terms of abilities, though not so much in terms of their personalities.

Take Hiro Nakamura (Masi Oka) for example, he can bend the space time continuum if he concentrates hard enough, the Japanese office worker slaving away at his father’s corporation while dreaming of his special destiny. The guy is a stereotypical science fiction/comic book nerd too, wanting more than anything to become a hero rather than follow the path laid out for him by his father Kaito (George Takei of Star Trek fame). His hit or miss attempts to control his powers provide some of the comic relief of the show but he also serves as someone genre fans can identify with as he tries to uncover his own future with the help of his best friend, the mundane Ando Masahashi (James Kyson Lee). Then there was Claire Bennet (hotty Hayden Panettiere), a gal with Wolverine-like healing powers who figures out she will regenerate no matter what happens to her, the gal finding out her adopted father Noah (Jack Coleman) is working for an agency with special plans for anyone with her kind of talents. The Texas high school cheerleader becomes an integral part of the main picture as she is stalked by Sylar, a man with the ability to take special powers by decapitating those he encounters, their showdown predicted long before by Isacc Mendez (Santiago Cabrera), a precognitive that draws the future while under the influence of heroin.

The cast also included internet stripper Niki Sanders (hotty Ali Larter) whose multiple personality disorder grants her alias Jessica super strength, Nathan Petrelli (Adrian Pasdar) a district attorney running for Congress that can fly, his brother Peter (Milo Ventimiglia) that finds out his ability is especially powerful as time moves forward, Matt Parkman (Greg Grunberg) a street cop that can read minds, and DL Hawkins (Leonard Roberts) who can become intangible at will. Some of them try to keep their secret, like Nathan since he is running for office, while others are on the run from the agency searching such folks out (their point man being Noah with the aid of a Haitian that can negate powers and erase minds played by Jimmy Jean Louis), the conspiracy something straight out of shows like The X-Files, Jericho, or Angel. The interactions of the cast make the show quite special too, capturing the spirit of modern comic books better than anything else I have seen to date.Particularly appealing is the manner in which most of the powers are not overly flashy, the dramatic elements allowed to keep the science fiction elements present but downplayed so that a larger audience won’t be alienated.

CAST
Milo Ventimiglia (Gotham)
Jack Coleman (Kingdom Hospital)
Masi Oka (Get Smart)
Greg Grunberg (Alias)
Adrian Pasdar (Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D)
Hayden Panettiere (Bring it on 3)
Noah Gray-Cabey (My Wife and Kids)
Ali Larter (Final Destination 1 & 2)
Sendhil Ramamurthy (Beauty and the Beast)
David Anders (Izombie)
Kristen Bell (Veronica Mars)
Dania Ramirez (American Pie: Reunion)
Dana Davis (Prom Night)
James Kyson Lee (Hawaii Five-O)
Zachary Quinto (Hitman: Agent 47)
NOTABLE / RECURRING GUEST CAST
Jimmy Jean-Louis (Arrow)
Adair Tishler (Dollhouse)
Stephen Tobolowsky (Groundhog Day)
Shalim Ortiz (Silver Case)
Nicholas D’Agosto (Gotham)
Katie Carr (Dinotopia)
Eriko (Dragon Evolution)
Ashley Crow (The Secret Circle)
Randall Bentley (Upside)
Cristine Rose (How I Met Your Mother)
Dianna Agron (I Am Number Four)
Mark Christopher Lawrence (Chuck)

Heroes Season 2 picked up four months after the events of Season One with the characters having moved on from the explosive finish. The prophecy thwarted at great cost and Sylar stopped, the clock was reset in many ways for those that survived. Peter is missing, Nathan has become a recluse, Hiro is stuck in Medieval Japan, and the Bennett family is on the run from the Company. Some characters die off-screen or are greatly downplayed and new people are introduced, the major players added in being Maya and Alejandro from Central America. Maya has an uncontrollable ability to infect people with some form of fast acting disease and only her brother seems able to calm her down to reverse the effects. They are on the run for murder (the authorities are not really particular about “how” the deaths occurred so much as “who” was responsible) and head to New York City to meet Dr. Suresh in hopes of finding a cure, not knowing he was murdered. Along the way, they pick up a helpful hitchhiker named Gabriel (guess who) and trouble ensues but that is only one thread of many the show goes back to.Image result for heroes season 2Of much greater interest to me was the Bennett family, particularly Noah in his efforts to destroy the Company, and Claire, as she struggles with her powers, puberty, and origins. Hiro’s trip to Japan circa the Seventeenth century where he meets his childhood hero, Takezo Sensei, proves to be a disaster when he screws up the timeline and must repair it lest the fate of the world be irreparably altered. Sadly, the quirky journey he goes through was arguably the most impacted part of the WGA writer strike that shortened the season to a mere eleven episodes  Takezo finding out that he is special too, though no explanation given. How he deals with his father upon his return and his own shame at his betrayal of his hero provided some relief from the admittedly weak storyline but not nearly enough to compensate for some of the worst writing seen on the show that has just started season three.

Another new chapter in the saga revolved around a relative of Micah named Monica, the Katrina refugee with an uncanny ability to mimic anything she watches on television. This was a thread that had a bit of potential, largely because it contained Micah and Niki, but felt the sting of the shortened season as well, the gal trying to become a heroine and falling short of the mark out of stupidity. Parkman has lost his wife and identity only to start over again in New York, having learned to keep quiet about his abilities and use them serendipitously to advance himself to detective. He and Suresh take in Molly but soon have to face a powerful telepath that is hurting her, the piece of the puzzle unveiled to the bigger picture of a long time conspiracy by the founders of the Company that include the parents of most of the players currently focused on in the series. Suresh ends up working directly for the company too, racing to uncover the secrets of the genetic component that gives the cast their powers but also an engineered virus (the Shanti Virus) that threatens not only the metahumans but the rest of the populace as well.

Perhaps most curious in the season for me, aside from the arcs starring Peter and Sylar of course, are those leading to Bob (the current head of the organization) and his daughter Elle, a gal with electrifying powers that shows what Claire would have become had Noah truly been unattached to her as he was supposed to have been. A psychopathic killer on a short leash, Elle does the dirty work to seek her father’s approval, the contrast between her and Claire referred to time and again by those around them. The introduction of “Adam”, the first person with powers and a founding member of the Company with a huge grudge against humanity, was also kind of abrupt and his use of Peter to try and destroy the world (“resetting the clock on humanity”) had a lot of untapped potential too.

To me, the writers should have pared down the new characters and tied up things like the Hiro saga much sooner given the strike and shortened season. They should have also kept in mind the show has a devoted following so making the characters act outside of their established norms or contrary to what they would have done given the way they acted in the first season weakened it as well. That the major threads employed cheap plot devices used in the past certainly did not help either  but this was indicative of the major problem of the season for me, the pacing. Every book, television show, and movie has an internal rhythm and pace that fans get used to. The WGA strike forced the slowly escalating pace of the show to be accelerated well beyond normal and leave off all the suspense of Season One behind it.

CAST
Milo Ventimiglia (Gotham)
Adrian Pasdar (Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D)
Jack Coleman (Kingdom Hospital)
Sendhil Ramamurthy (Beauty and the Beast)
Cristine Rose (How I Met Your Mother)
Zachary Quinto (Hitman: Agent 47)
Hayden Panettiere (Bring it on 3)
James Kyson Lee (Hawaii Five-O)
Masi Oka (Get Smart)
Greg Grunberg (Alias)
Ali Larter (Final Destination 1 & 2)
NOTABLE / RECURRING GUEST CAST
Brea Grant (Battle Planet)
Ashley Crow (The Secret Circle)
Zeljko Ivanek (The Bourne Legacy)
Jamie Hector (Lie To Me)
Ntare Mwine (Blood Diamond)
Blake Shields (Carnivale)
Robert Forster (Jackie Brown)
David H. Lawrence XVII (Lost)
Kristen Bell (Veronica Mars)
Randall Bentley (Upside)
Jessalyn Gilsig (Nip/Tuck)
Jimmy Jean-Louis (Arrow)
Malcolm McDowell (Halloween I & II)
David Anders (Children of the Corn)
Alan Blumenfeld (In Her Shoes)
George Takei (Star Trek)
Dan Byrd (Firestarter 2)
Francis Capra (Veronica Mars)
Noah Gray-Cabey (My Wife and Kids)
Lisa Lackey (Bones)
Eric Roberts (The Dark Knight)
Adair Tishler (Dollhouse)
Stephen Tobolowsky (Groundhog Day)

The first volume of the third season, Villains, brought back what made the show so good in its first season, with shadowy bad guys and intricate conspiracies, in a storyline that explored what the line is between a hero and a villain. The return of the Petrelli patriarch Arthur (played with quiet badass-ness by Robert Forster) created an us-or-them scenario where characters had to choose sides and decide how far they would go to get what they want

The other key storyline surrounds Mohinder (Sendhil Ramamurthy) and his efforts to understand where the Heroes’ powers come from. The race to discover how to give and take away powers, which involves a hidden formula and an element known as the catalyst, which is key to the granting of special powers. Mohinder grants himself powers, which creates what could be gently described as an homage to The Fly and the distribution of powers becomes sctattershot, as powers change and mutate with each episode, creating characters who suffered from the Superman syndrome, as they were simply too powerful to be defeated in a realistic way.

The newcomers from season 2 have mostly disappeared, with only Elle and Maya sticking around, with Maya in  a somewhat minor role. The additions this time around are much better, including the ultra-creepy Puppet Master; Daphne, the morally-ambivalent Flash of the Heroes universe, and Utusu, an African version of Isaac Mendez, capable of painting the future on big rocks. Though they are, in some ways, repetitions of other characters, they bring enough to the show to be interesting, especially Brea Grant’s speedster, who has a memorable conflict with Hiro (Masi Oka) and a starcrossed relationship with Matt (Greg Grunberg.) There are a handful of other newcomers, including some thuggish bad guys and yet another  role for Ali Larter.


The first arc ended with a bit of a thud, as is probably the only way a battle with a ruthless, all-powerful villain can end, but it was followed up with the Fugitives arc, which tried a bit too hard to have real-world relevance. Guided by a questionably-motivated Nathan (Adrian Pasdar), the government has begun to round-up super-powered people for Guantanamo Bay-style imprisonment, including all our favorite heroes. It puts all the big-names wither in shackles or on the run, a situation that could have been promising, but instead just peters out, as the motivation for each character’s actions is no wildly different from what we know of them that it makes sense. Nathan is all over the ballfield in how he conducts his hunt for his fellow kind, while Sylar has more personality changes than could be explained by the supposed psychotic break he’s experiencing.

The show consistently is one of the finest-looking series on TV, with gorgeous photography and special effects, and from time to time, there are bits of inspired creativity, like the origin story in “1961,” which makes a terrific call-back all the way to a small-bit of dialogue in the pilot, Larter’s character’s powerful outburst in “Cold Snap” and the realistic rage the otherwise moral Matt Parkman (Greg Grunberg) experiences in “Trust and Blood.” And maybe I’m a bit blind, but I didn’t see foresee the identity of the anonymous underground agent helping the heroes in Fugitive and found it a smart re-use of characters.

CAST
Hayden Panettiere (Bring it on 3)
Robert Knepper (Cult)
Jack Coleman (Kingdom Hospital)
Zachary Quinto (Hitman: Agent 47)
Milo Ventimiglia (Gotham)
Masi Oka (Get Smart)
Greg Grunberg (Alias)
Adrian Pasdar (Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D)
James Kyson Lee (Hawaii Five-O)
Sendhil Ramamurthy (Beauty and the Beast)
Ali Larter (Final Destination 1 & 2)
NOTABLE / RECURRING GUEST CAST
Dawn Olivieri (The Vampire Diaries)
Madeline Zima (The Hand That Rocks The Cradle)
Ray Park (Star Wars – Episode I)
Deanne Bray (2 broke Girls)
Elisabeth Röhm (American Hustle)
Jimmy Jean-Louis (Arrow)
Lisa Lackey (Bones)
Todd Stashwick (The Originals)
David H. Lawrence XVII (Lost)
Ashley Crow (The Secret Circle)
Sasha Pieterse (X-Men: First Class)
Saemi Nakamura (Jury Duty)
Jayma Mays (Ugly Betty)
Tessa Thompson (Veronica Mars)
Rick Worthy (Collateral Damage)
Kate Vernon (Battlestar Galactica)
Louise Fletcher (Star Trek: DS9)
Ernie Hudson (Ghostbusters)
Željko Ivanek (Hannibal)
Swoosie Kurtz (Mike & Molly)
Richard Roundtree (Shaft)
George Takei (Star Trek)
Tamlyn Tomita (Highlander: The Series)

The big storyline this time out centers around Samuel Sullivan and his family of superpowered carnies. Samuel is busy building the group, recruiting various super-powered individuals to join them, in an effort to form a homeland of their own  As is usually the case with any story on Heroes, thanks to the need to add twists and turns to pad out episodes, it’s not that simple, and, of course, all of the show’s main characters will be drawn into the tale. It seems that the Heroes have the best contact system known to man, as no one misses an e-mail or call to get together. At some point, coincidence and contrived are very similar. Either way, the show tries to have it both ways with Samuel, attempting to make him both pure evil and a sympathetic soul, like they did with Sylar. While the inexplicably coincidental familial concerns of the Petrelli clan keep going for yet another run of episodes, adding in a new super-powered love interest for Peter, the relationship between Claire and her father Noah is the show’s secondary focus, as Claire goes off to college in an attempt to live a normal life, and ends up in a lesbian couple, while displaying her trademark poor judgment and weakly-motivated rebelliousness. Meanwhile, Dad’s whole world is falling apart in a super-midlife crisis.

The rest of the old crew are still around as well, including erstwhile samurai Hiro, who’s battling a terminal illness and trying his hand at being a hero-for-hire, and Matt Parkman and Sylar, who get closer than they’d really like to be in the aftermath of Season Three. Though the conflict between them is one of the better tales told, and Sylar  remains one of the most interesting characters in recent TV history.

The worst part of the season though has to be the ending. After you’ve sat through 18 episodes, Claire outs herself to the world on camera demonstrating her powers for all the world to see, then the iconic words to be continued appear….. The show was cancelled.

Perhaps the upcoming Heroes Reborn mini series will qive answers to what the aftermath will be.

REVIEW: HEROES REBORN

CAST
Jack Coleman (Kingdom Hospital)
Zachary Levi (Thor: The Dark World)
Robbie Kay (In Bruges)
Danika Yarosh (Shameless USA)
Kiki Sukezane (Death Yankees 2)
Ryan Guzman (Pretty Little Liars)
Rya Kihlstedt (Deep Impact)
Gatlin Green (Criminal Minds)
Henry Zebrowski (The Wolf of Wall Street)
Judith Shekoni (Garfield 2)
NOTABLE / RECURRING GUESTS
Sendhil Ramamurthy (Beauty and The BEast)
Jimmy Jean-Louis (Arrow)
Cristine Rose (How I Met Your Mother)
Greg Grunberg (Alias)
Masi Oka (Get Smart)
Noah Gray-Cabey (My Wife and Kids)
Francesca Eastwood (Final Girl)
Pruitt Taylor Vince (Constantine)
Peter Mooney (Rookie Blue)
Eve Harlow (Bitten)
Aislinn Paul (Degrassi: The Next Generation)
Carlos Lacamara (Independance Day)
Nazneen Contractor (Star Trek Into Darkness)
Dylan Bruce (Unstoppable)
Clé Bennett (Flashpoint)
Lucius Hoyos (What If)
Krista Bridges (Land of the Dead)
Hiro Kanagawa (The Secret Circle)
Michael Therriault (Reign)
A year ago, a terrorist attack in Odessa, Texas, left the city decimated. Blamed for the tragic event, those with extraordinary abilities are in hiding or on the run from those with nefarious motives.

Tim Kring pulled off a minor miracle, reviving the Heroes franchise after it sank so far during its first four seasons. In those seasons, there were elements of each that I really liked, but the overall story quality seemed to become more disconnected and surreal. Heroes truly has been reborn.

Kring and the Heroes crew have revived a universe of mystery and wonder. These people–these “evos”–do things that no human body could physically do, like the miracles of old. It gives us hope. They call them “evolved ones” or “evos,” but there is something wonderfully spiritual about this. We have new characters, new abilities, new mysteries and new challenges. I call it a “minor miracle,” because the hot potential Kring originally created, was always there, heavily squandered in seasons 3 and 4. Here, I like what they’ve done. I’m enjoying these new friends and enemies. I especially like how they portray the enemy as unknowingly selfish and arrogant, but who also accuse others of being selfish for wanting to save their own lives. There is so much of that going on in the American government these days, as it did in Nazi Germany nearly a century ago. The parallels are chilling. Yet, the promise of the heroes is gratifying.

The fact that Earth’s magnetic field goes to zero and leaves the planet vulnerable to a violent, civilization-ending solar storm, is a wonderfully solid scenario — far better than the “2012” film’s neutrino absorption nonsense. It reminds me of the wonderfully upside-down deliciousness perpetrated by the UN, NASA, governments and the Corporate mainstream media — turning science into a popularity circus (“consensus”) and stifling debate with cute catch phrases like “settled science” and “deniers,” all the while distracting people from the real horror story that Global Cooling is bad and Global Warming is good. Why? Because we’re in an Ice Age. When the Holocene ends, 7+ Billion people will be in jeopardy, just as they are in this mini-series. Art mimicking reality, despite all the propaganda to keep us from seeing that reality. Nice when entertainment can wake some people up, instead of making them brain dead. The show has some flaws but all in all its a decent mini series with the only problem being the cliffhanger ending knowing that this is just a one off season.