REVIEW: CHRONICLE

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CAST

Dane DeHaan (The Amazing Spider-Man 2)
Alex Russell (Bait)
Michael B. Jordan (Fantastic Four)
Michael Kelly (Man of Steel)
Ashley Hinshaw (LOL)
Anna Wood (Negative Space)

In February 2012, Seattle teenager Andrew Detmer starts videotaping his life; his mother Karen is dying of cancer and his alcoholic father Richard, a former firefighter, is verbally and physically abusive. At school, Andrew is frequently bullied.Andrew’s cousin Matt Garetty invites him to a party to help him meet people, but Andrew’s filming causes an altercation with an attendee and he leaves disappointed. He is persuaded by popular student Steve Montgomery to record something strange that he and Matt have found in the woods. The trio enter a hole in the ground, where they hear a loud strange noise and discover a large glowing blue crystalline object which turns red, and gives them painful nosebleeds. As the crystalline object begins to react violently, the camera cuts out. Weeks later, Andrew, Matt, and Steve record themselves as they display telekinetic abilities, but begin bleeding from their noses when they overexert themselves. They develop a close friendship and begin using their abilities to play pranks, but when Andrew telekinetically pushes a rude motorist off the road and into a river, Matt insists that they restrict the use of their powers, particularly against living things.When they discover flight abilities, they agree to fly around the world together after graduation. Andrew wants to visit Tibet because of its peaceful nature. Steve encourages him to enter the school talent show to gain popularity. Andrew amazes his fellow students by disguising his powers as an impressive magic act. After the show, Andrew, Matt and Steve celebrate at a house party where Andrew becomes the center of attention. After drinking with his classmate Monica, she and Andrew go upstairs to have sex, but he vomits on her, humiliating both of them. Andrew becomes increasingly withdrawn and aggressive, culminating when his father, Richard, attacks him and Andrew uses his powers to overwhelm him. His outburst is so extreme that it inflicts psychically connected nosebleeds on Steve and Matt. While Matt ignores the nosebleed, Steve flies up to Andrew in the middle of a storm and tries to console him. However, Andrew grows increasingly frustrated, and Steve is suddenly struck by a lightning bolt and killed. At Steve’s funeral, Matt confronts Andrew about the suspicious circumstances of Steve’s death. Andrew denies responsibility to Matt, but he privately begs for forgiveness at Steve’s grave.Andrew grows distant from Matt and again finds himself ostracized at school. After being bullied, he uses his powers to rip a few teeth out of a bully’s mouth. Andrew begins to identify himself as an apex predator, rationalizing that he should not feel guilt for using his powers to hurt those weaker than himself. When his mother’s condition deteriorates, Andrew uses his powers to steal money for her medicine. After mugging a local gang, he robs a gas station where he inadvertently causes an explosion that puts him in the hospital with significant burns, and under police investigation. At his bedside, his father informs the unconscious Andrew that his mother has died, and he angrily blames Andrew for her death. As his father is about to strike him, Andrew awakens and the wall of his hospital room explodes.At a birthday party, Matt experiences a nosebleed and senses Andrew is in trouble. He and his girlfriend, Casey, go to the hospital, where Andrew is floating outside. After saving Richard when Andrew attempts to kill him, Matt confronts his cousin at the Space Needle and tries to reason with him, but Andrew grows hostile and irrational at any perceived attempt to control him. Andrew attacks Matt and the pair fight across the city, crashing through buildings and hurling vehicles. When police shoot Matt in the arm, Andrew throws dozens of police (and their cars) through the air, and then uses his powers to destroy the buildings around him, threatening hundreds of lives. Unable to get through to his cousin and left with no other choice, Matt then kills Andrew by telekinetically impaling him with a spear from a nearby statue. The police soon surround Matt but he flies away. Later, Matt lands in Tibet with Andrew’s camera. Speaking to the camera while addressing Andrew, Matt tearfully vows to use his powers for good and to find out what happened to them in the hole. He positions the camera to view a Tibetan monastery in the distance before flying away, leaving the camera behind.It is a great little film with some unexpected surprises along the way, one definitely worth getting the popcorn out for and you will be glued to it.

 

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REVIEW: THAT AWKWARD MOMENT

CAST

Zac Efron (Bad Neighbours 1 & 2)
Michael B. Jordan (Creed)
Miles Teller (Divergent)
Imogen Poots (28 Weeks Later)
Mackenzie Davis (Black Mirror)
Jessica Lucas (Gotham)
Addison Timlin (Derailed)
Josh Pais (Ray Donovan)
D.B. Woodside (24)

Jason (Zac Efron) is sitting on a bench in New York City waiting for someone to arrive. A voiceover explains that he has been waiting for a long time, but to explain why, he needs to go back to the beginning. Jason begins by telling the audience that every relationship reaches the “So…” moment, where someone in the relationship will want to take the relationship to a more serious place. At that point, Jason knows the relationship is over, as he is not ready to start dating.Jason is currently working with his best friend Daniel (Miles Teller) at a publishing house designing book covers. Their friend Mikey (Michael B. Jordan), a young doctor who has been married to Vera (Jessica Lucas) since the end of college, comes to them after Vera requests a divorce. The three decide to go out to a bar and celebrate being single. The group meets up with Daniel’s female wingman, Chelsea (Mackenzie Davis), as they try to get Mikey’s mind off of his wife. Mikey meets a girl with glasses (Kate Simses), while Jason meets Ellie (Imogen Poots), and hits it off with her after teasing another man that was trying to buy her a drink. Mikey gets the girl’s number, but decides not to call, resolving to work it out with his wife. Jason sleeps with Ellie, but escapes her apartment when he discovers circumstantial evidence that she may be a prostitute.The next day, Jason and Daniel make a book cover pitch to a new author, who happens to be Ellie. Jason is able to explain himself and the two begin seeing each other on a regular basis. Meanwhile, Daniel begins to fall for Chelsea, and the two begin seeing one another. Additionally, Mikey meets with his estranged wife, and when she claims that the reason their marriage fell apart is because he is not spontaneous enough, Mikey kisses her, and the two sleep together in the hospital, reigniting their romance. All three friends attempt to keep their relationships a secret, due to their earlier agreement that they would stay single. The relationships all come to a head during Thanksgiving, a time that the three friends usually spend together, but varying circumstances keep them apart. Jason agrees to attend a funeral for Ellie’s recently passed father, Mikey plans a Thanksgiving dinner with his wife, and Daniel attends the traditional Thanksgiving feast with Chelsea, free to openly tell the guests about their relationship.Jason ultimately decides not to attend the funeral, not ready to fully commit to Ellie, and their relationship falls apart. Mikey has a serious conversation with his wife during their dinner, causing her to admit that she no longer loves him. Jason and Mikey head to the dinner where they discover Daniel’s relationship with Chelsea, and when he denies that they are dating, his relationship falls apart as well. Although the three fight about keeping their relationships secret, they repair their friendship and try to recover their relationships.Mikey calls the glasses girl from the bar, setting up a date, and Daniel reunites with Chelsea after being hit by a taxi and ending up in the hospital. However, two months later, Jason has still not reconciled with Ellie, despite still being in love with her. Mikey and Daniel help Jason by encouraging him to tell her of his love at her weekly book readings, which are sparsely attended. However, upon their arrival, the reading is full and Jason is unable to figure out a way to talk with her. He decides to make a scene by improvising a book reading, referencing their first meeting and requesting that they start over by meeting in Gramercy Park.Returning to the beginning, Jason is waiting for Ellie in Gramercy Park. Ellie arrives and sits on the bench with him, where Jason starts their talk, beginning with, “So…”It is definitely not comparable laughter-wise to movies such as This Is The End or 21 & 22 Jump Street, but it is very good. The type of humor may not be for everyone, but I found it to be very funny.

REVIEW: FANTASTIC FOUR (2015)

CAST
Miles Teller (Divergent)
Michael B. Jordan (Creed)
Kate Mara (Iron Man 2)
Jamie Bell (King Kong)
Toby Kebbell (Dawn of The Planet of The Apes)
Reg E.Cathey (Seven)
Tim Blake Nelson (The Incredible Hulk)
Dan Castellaneta (The Simpsons)
Friends Reed Richards and Ben Grimm have worked together on a prototype teleporter since childhood, eventually attracting the attention of Professor Franklin Storm, director of the Baxter Foundation, a government-sponsored research institute for young prodigies. Reed is recruited to join them and aid Storm’s children, scientist Sue Storm and the somewhat reckless technician Johnny Storm, into completing a “Quantum Gate” designed by Storm’s wayward protégé, Victor von Doom, who begrudgingly agrees to help due to his unrequited feelings for Sue.
The experiment is successful, and the facility’s supervisor, Dr. Allen, plans to send a group from NASA to venture into a parallel dimension known as “Planet Zero”. Disappointed at being denied the chance to join the expedition, Reed, Johnny, and Victor along with Ben use the Quantum Gate to embark on an unsanctioned voyage to Planet Zero, which they learn is a world filled with otherworldly substances. Victor attempts to touch the green-lava like substance, causing the surface they are on to collapse and the ground to erupt. Reed, Johnny, and Ben return to their shuttle just as Sue brings them back to Earth. Victor is left behind after he falls into the collapsing landscape. The machine explodes, altering Reed, Sue, Johnny, and Ben on a molecular-genetic level, affording them superhuman conditions and abilities beyond their control: Reed can stretch like rubber, Sue can become invisible and generate force fields of energy, Johnny can engulf his entire body in flames and fly, and Ben becomes bigger and develops a rock-like hide which gives him enhanced strength and durability. They are then placed in government custody and confinement to be studied and have their conditions and abilities tested. Blaming himself for the accident, Reed escapes from the facility and tries to find a cure for their changes.
One year later, Reed is now a fugitive and has built a suit that is able to adapt to his body’s plasticity and also helps him control his ability. Hiding in Central America, he is eventually found by the United States military with Sue’s help and captured by Ben, who has become a military asset along with Johnny and Sue. Johnny and Sue have been outfitted with specialized suits designed to help them stabilize and control their abilities. Reed is brought to Area 57, where Dr. Allen conscripts him to open another portal to Planet Zero in exchange for giving Reed the necessary resources to find a cure. Arriving in Planet Zero, Dr. Allen’s explorers find Victor, who has been fused to his spacesuit and can now control the elements, as well as having telekinetic abilities, and bring him back to Earth. Believing the human race needs to be destroyed so he can rebuild Planet Zero in his image, Victor kills scientists and soldiers in the base including Dr. Allen and Professor Storm and returns to Planet Zero using the Quantum Gate, with Ben, Johnny, Reed, and Sue in pursuit.
Now dubbing himself “Doom”, Victor activates a portal on Planet Zero using a structure he made while in the realm, that begins consuming the landscape of the Earth. He is confronted by the four and, after a destructive battle, Ben punches Doom into the portal’s energy beam, disintegrating him, while Johnny closes the portal. Returning to Earth, the group is rewarded for their heroics by being given a new base of operations by the US military. They decide to use their powers to help people and adopt the mantle of the “Fantastic Four”.

It’s certainly different from the comics, so if you go into it with an open mind you may find a better experience than if you want it to remain the same. It’s inventive, there’s an engaging cast, the Marco Beltrami/Philip Glass score is wonderful, but ultimately it goes against a lot of the superhero conventions. The big action setpieces had to be scrapped due to budgetary concerns and it shows. It’s a slow moving film but that doesn’t mean it isn’t worth checking out. It’s notably darker with some elements of Cronenberg-esque body horror, yet it still has elements of humour and the ending isn’t really that bad. Some aspects could have been developed better and some of the reshoots are laughably bad – like with Reed asking Sue if she’s adopted. But it’s definitely worth watching even just to see what aspects didn’t work so well or to see the elements that do work. Because the elements that work are really gripping, and it’s very interesting to see superheroes reduced to test subjects in Area 57 and government stooges. It’s just unfortunate the good elements are often only glimpses. But if you can put up with that it’s a nice contrast to Marvel Studios’ output.

REVIEW: LIE TO ME – SEASON 1-3

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MAIN CAST

Tim Roth (The Incredible Hulk)
Kelli Williams (Army Wives)
Brendan Hines (Terminator: TSCC)
Monica Raymond (Chicago Fire)
Hayley McFarland (The Conjuring)
Mekhi Phifer (Divergent)

RECURRING / NOTABLE GUEST CAST

Jake Thoams (A.I.)
Tim Guinee (Iron Man)
Nolan Gerard Funk (Arrow)
David Anders (Izombie)
Rance Howard (A Beautiful Mind)
Anthony Ruivivar (Scream: The Series)
Isabella Hoffman (Legends of Tomorrow)
Sasha Roiz (Caprica)
Kristen Ariza (Startup)
Mekenna Melvin (ChucK)
Sean Patrick Thomas (Save The Last Dance)
Deidre Lovejpy (Bones)
Carlos Lacamara (Heroes Reborn)
Megan Follows (Reign)
Christine Adams (Agents of SHIELD)
Ajay Mehta (Anger Management)
Shea Whigham (Agent Carter)
Cheryl White (Major Crimes)
Virginia Williams (Fairly Legal)
Pej Vahdat (Bones)
Jennifer Beals (Flashdance)
Kevin Tighe (Lost)
Currie Graham (Stargate: The Ark of Truth)
D.B. Woodside (Buffy)
Jason Beghe (Californication)
Clea DuVall (The Faculty)
Mageina Tovah (Spider-Man 2 & 3)
Melissa Tang (Mom)
Jonathan Banks (The Lizzie Borden Chronicles)
Erika Christensen (Flightplan)
John Pyper-Ferguson (Caprica)
James Marsters (Buffy)
Gretchen Egolf (Roswell)
Marc Blucas (Red State)
David Kaufman (Superman: TAS)
Karina Logue (Bates Motel)
Sean O’Bryan (The Princess Diaries)
Garret Dillahunt (Terminator: TSCC)
Lennie James (The Walking Dead)
Alicia Coppola (Another World)
Roy Werner (Weeds)
Jason Gedrick (Beauty and The Beast)
April Grace (Lost)
Todd Stashwick (The Originals)
Ricky Jay (Flashforward)
Miguel Ferrer (Robocop)
Felicia Day (Dr. Horrible)
Jason Dohring (Veronica Mars)
Ashley Johsnon (Dollhouse)
Howard Hesseman (That 70s Show)
Mark Harelik (The Big Bang Theory)
Melissa George (Triangle)
Max Greenfield (Veronica Mars)
Bruce Weitz (General Hospital)
Enver Gjokaj (Agent Carter)
Alona Tal (Cult)
Khary Payton (Teen Titans)
Michael Beach (The Abyss)
Yara Shahidi (Ugly Betty)
Alyssa Diaz (The Vampire Diaries)
Kenneth Mitchell (Odyssey 5)
Richard Burgi (Chuck)
Conor O’Farrell (Stir of Echoes)
Catherine Dent (Termiantor: TSCC)
Kenny Johnson (Cold Case)
Erick Avari (Stargate)
Carmen Argenziano (Stargate SG.1)
Natalie Dreyfuss (The Originals)
Tiffany Hines (Bones)
Haley Ramm (X-Men 3)
Monique Gabriela Curnen (The Dark Knight)
Jennifer Marsala (Hart of Dixie)
Shawn Doyle (Reign)
Jamie Hector (Heroes)
Audrey Marie Anderson (Arrow)
Brent Sexton (Birds of Prey)
Katherine LaNasa (The Campaign)
Daniela Bobadilla (Anger Management)
Tricia Helfer (Battlestar Galactica)
Kathleen Gati (Arrow)
Noel Fisher (Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles)
Maury Sterling (The A-Team)
Jessica Parker Kennedy (The Secret Circle)
Brandon Jones (Pretty Little Liars)
Jim Beaver (Mike & Molly)
Barry Shabaka Henley (Heroes)
John Diehl (Stargate)
Keith Robinson (Power Rangers Lightspeed Rescue)
Michael B. Jordan (Fantastic four)
Frankie Faison (The Silence of The Lambs)
Paula Malcomson (The Hunger Games)
Victoria Pratt (Mutant X)
Adam Godley (Powers)
Dylan Minnette (Goosebumps)
Annabeth Gish (Flashforward)
Alexandra Lydon (Mockingbird)
Ashton Holmes (A History of Violence)

We have all told a lie at one point in our lives. While our the lies we have told may be small, one needs to look no further than his or her local news to see that not all lies are harmless. Sometimes though lies seem like a last resort and getting the truth isn’t as simple as a lie detector. Dr. Cal Lightman (Tim Roth) would be the first to tell you a lie detector is garbage and he illustrates this point in an early episode in the series.  A lie detector establishes a baseline for truthful statements and then measures body factors like pulse rate, skin conductivity and temperature; any changes from the baseline readings indicates a lie. The problem is as Dr. Lightman shows in his trademark sardonic fashion, do something as simple as introduce an attractive woman in the room and the most honest man will instantly be a liar to the machine. His solution? Himself.


Lie to Me throws viewers into the world of human lie detector, Cal Lightman. His lie detecting skills rely on universal facial expressions and how a well-trained individual can detect a liar from reading “micro expressions.” Lightman heads up the private deception detection firm The Lightman Group and throughout the course of Lie to Me’s thirteen freshman episodes, Lightman and his associates Dr. Gillian Foster, Eli Loker, and new protégé Ria Torres will put their finely trained skills to the test as their group is hired from clients ranging from billionaires worried about potential gold diggers to law enforcement in stopping a copycat serial rapist. As absurd as the notion of Lightman being able to read facial expressions to determine whether a person is lying is, prepare to be blown away, as it’s all based on the very real and groundbreaking research of Dr. Paul Ekman.


Dr. Ekman pioneered the study of micro expressions and universal emotion and serves as a creative inspiration for Roth’s character. The creators have kept Ekman in the loop throughout the creative process and Fox allows Ekman to blog about what is factual and what is exaggerated on the show’s website, which earns this new series bonus points for giving viewers something to think about once the episode ends.

Once Roth is able to establish himself in the role of Lightman and we get bits and pieces of his human side (his relationship with Dr. Foster as well as his teenage daughter). Fortunately, the formula of the show does allow for Lightman’s other colleagues to hold their own as there is almost always a secondary case assigned to the pair not working with Lightman on the primary case. This allows for character bonds to be formed, in some cases from scratch as Monica Raymund’s character, Ria Torres, is a new addition to the team and provides some great dramatic tension from time to time as her ability is natural, which often draws the ire and jealousy of her brilliant boss.


Finally, the most unique positive aspect of Lie to Me comes from viewers being able to play along at home. As we learn little explanations of micro expressions from Lightman, in later episodes it’s fun to try and spot character motivations before they are revealed to us by one of the team.

Back for a second longer season, this show is every bit the show that I so enjoyed in the first season and even a little bit more. As with all shows, the first season suffers from a few growing pains. Actors need to settle into their roles, writers need to discover their characters’ true personalities and basically the show needs to settle. Thats why the second season is often a bit better than the first and Lie to me is no exception to that. The show was smoother, the acting more comfortable and the character relationships had chance to really blossom in a believable manner.

In this second season Cal seems to be much more lively, a great deal more fun to watch. HIs mock nervous energy, dry sense of humour and heart of gold is a more likeable. The other key element I liked in this series was the advancement of the relationships. There’s not any major romantic steps forward in this season, but Cal’s relationship with his daughter is a real high point of the show, as are his relationships with Foster and the rest of the gang. Every character seems to enjoy real chemistry with the others and that’s rare in any show, yet alone a procedural drama.

Overall this is another strong season. The show is funny when it needs to be, fast paced and action packed when thats called for, and finally it is interesting enough to more than keep your attention with every episode. Quite frankly, by the end of this season I would normally be hooked for the long hall. Shame then that there’s only one season left to watch

I was aware going in that this was going to be the final season of the show however it quickly becomes apparent that show runners weren’t similarly informed . The series really didn’t have the feel of a final season and indeed the show seemed to be picking up pace as it approached its final episode with new characters getting screen time and relationships moving forward with the usual pace of a procedural show finding its feet.

Because of this not only did the season not feel like a final season, the finale lacked any kind of closure whatsoever. It’s a shame as this show deserved more than just to fizzle out in what felt like a mid-season break rather than a complete end.

All I can say to finish is that once again a good show has been cancelled early while so many bad shows remain, which is a real shame. However, don’t let the poor ending to this show put you off.