REVIEW: TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES (2012) – SEASON 4.2

MAIN CAST (VOICES)

Seth Green (Family Guy)
Sean Astin (Lord of The Rings)
Greg Cipes (Teen Titans)
Rob Paulsen (Animaniacs)
Mae Whiteman (Independence Day)
Kevin Michael Richardson (The Cleveland Show)
Josh Peck (Drake & Josh)
Hoon Lee (Banshee)

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RECURRING / NOTABLE GUEST CAST

David Tennant (Jessica Jones)
Peter Stormare (22 Jump Street)
Michael Dorn (Ted 2)
Clancy Brown (Highlander)
Corey Feldman (The Lost Boys)
Eric Bauz (Ben 10)
Tom Kenny (Spongebob Squarepants)
Nolan North (TMNT)
Kelly Hu (Arrow)
Christian Lanz (Rune)
Gwendoline Yeo (American Crime)
J.B. Smoove (Date Night)
Andrew Kishino (Batman: The Killing Joke)
Fred Tatasciore (Hulk Vs)
Phil LaMArr (Free Enterprise)
Peter Lurie (Marvel Disk Wars)
Robbie Rist (Bako)
Brian Bloom (The A-Team)
Daran Norris (Izombie)
Jeff Bennett (Enchanted)
Jeffrey Combs (Re-Animator)
Minae Noji (Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 2014)Season 4 coninutes  with thise awesome 2 disc volume.  With the last fragment of the Black Hole Generator in the Triceraton’s possession, the Turtles race back to New York City for a final showdown against the alien threat. But even if they save Earth from total annihilation, will their city ever be the same.teenage-mutant-ninja-turtles-the-everburning-fire-review_1EPISODES ON DISC INCLUDE

4.13) THE EVER-BURNING FIRE

tmnt-revenge-of-the-triceratons-1280jpg-68443a_1280wThe Turtles must overcome impossible odds like the Triceratons and Lord Dregg in order to obtain the final Black Hole Generator piece that is located on the lava planet of Magdomar, guarded by the cosmic alligator snapping turtle-like beast Tokka. In the end, they lose all three pieces and Mozar calls them at the end saying they are going to use the black hole generator on Earth.

4.14) EARTH’S LAST STAND

As the team finally reaches Earth, the Fugitoid reveals a horrible secret about his past. He reveals that he was the creator of the Heart of Darkness. At the end of the episode, the turtles warn Splinter about Shredder’s betrayal, while Fugitoid flies himself and his ship into the Triceraton mothership along with the Heart of Darkness to destroy it; taking the Triceratons and himself down with it. The Turtles, April and Casey mourn his ultimate sacrifice for their world. However, at the end of the episode, his head reactivates in the Triceraton rubble.

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4.15) CITY AT WAR

Weeks after the Triceratons were stopped, the Turtles now celebrates April’s full transition as a kunoichi. They find out Karai has returned and she vowed to restore the Foot Clan and undo the damage the Shredder has done to the Clan with the help of her old friend from Japan, Shinigami. It is revealed that Shredder is alive but gravely injured from the previous episode who now uses mutagen provided by Stockman to speed up his recovery and to further increase his strength.

4.16) BROKEN FOOT

When Leonardo secretly allies himself with Karai who now has Foot Soldiers of her own he gets himself into deeper danger than he could have realized, such as Donatello getting injured from explosives and the Turtles and Karai close to death in the Foot Soldier Factory. In the end Karai no longer wants to go after Shredder’s belongings but she wants to go after Shredder himself.

4.17) THE INSECTA TRIFECTA

Raphael must overcome his fear of insects to help the team when they are forced to battle Stockman-Fly’s new insect minions Scumbug and Antrax, who have captured Casey Jones at the time when Shredder was recuperating.

4.18) MUTANT GANGLAND

With the Shredder missing from the city, Don Vizioso desires to take over by having his gangster engineer highly advanced anti-mutant weapons that have been designed to incapacitate the Turtles and their fellow mutants. When Mondo Gecko and Donnie are abducted, it is up to Leo, Mikey, Raph, Slash, Leatherhead, and Dr. Rockwell to save them from being taken apart for the amusement of Don Vizioso. However, they must also deal with Don’s strongest and most lethal of minions: Hammer.

4.19) BAT IN THE BELFRY

Donnie experiments with April’s crystalline fragment of the mystical Sol Star (which she is becoming quite obsessed with, due to its mighty power further developing and rapidly increasing her psychic abilities to tremendous levels), but accidentally supercharges it with electricity, that stirs sudden sentience and autonomy in the crystal fragment. It then uses this to bring four of the main characters from Mikey’s favorite comic book to life.  Mikey easily befriends the heroes Wingnut and Screwloose, and he and Casey join them in stopping crime. But when they tell the two superheroes about the fact that they’re fictional characters, and show them the mystical Sol Star, it causes Wingnut and Screwloose to transform into insane monstrous forms. Meanwhile, Donatello becomes incessantly worried that the Sol Star fragment is gradually affecting April’s mental stability.

4.20) THE SUPER SHREDDER

For the first time, the Turtles encounter something they cannot defeat – the Super Shredder! Now far stronger and more vicious than ever, Shredder has returned to put an end to Splinter and the Turtles once and for all. He captures Karai and challenges Splinter to another duel to the death. Meanwhile, the Turtles and April have to deal with Tiger Claw, Rahzar, and Fishface. In the Undercity, the duel between Splinter and Super Shredder begins to heat up; particularly when Shredder’s right arm begins to go out of control as a dangerous side effect of the highly unstable mutagen dosages Stockman-Fly had warned him of. The Turtles, April and Karai show up to assist Splinter, but are held up Chrome Domes. As Super Shredder prepares for the final blow, Splinter throws a knife at some smoke bombs, which causes the ledge to crumble and collapse, resulting in the longtime rivals to fall 1,000 feet into the abyss below; presumably to their deaths.

4.21) DARKEST PLIGHT

The Turtles (along with April, Casey, and Karai) desperately hunt for Splinter, as Super Shredder is seen to have survived and has Bebop and Rocksteady make sure that Splinter is truly destroyed. Donnie, Mikey, Raph and Casey go to search the Undercity for Splinter with their grappling hooks; unaware that Bebop and Rocksteady are not far. Meanwhile Leo, Karai and April lure Tiger Claw and Super Shredder to the surface. Leo is separated from the two girls and left to battle Super Shredder all on his own. Fortunately, April uses her extraordinarily powerful telekinetic abilities against Super Shredder and succeeds in saving Karai from being crushed by a truck that contains sulfuric acid (thanks to the mystical Sol Star fragment further amplifying her psionic abilities), her eyes glow a bright blue and she smiles malevolently as she hurls it right back at Super Shredder.In the depths of the Undercity, a gravely injured and weakened Splinter is shocked to find the Rat King, who wants him back under his control. But is revealed to have been nothing more than hallucinations due to his fever. He is then rescued by a joyous Donnie and Mikey. At his new lair, Super Shredder demands more mutagen, which Tiger Claw adamantly refuses to allow, as it will destroy his entire being. However, he forces Stockman-Fly to inject the remaining dosages of the unstable mutagen into his system as Tiger Claw watches in terror and fear.tmnt-100th-episode.png

4.22) THE POWER INSIDE HER

Despite Leonardo’s uncertainty, Donatello decides to do tests on April, but only ends up in further increasing her psionic abilities and being possessed by the corrupted spirit of an almighty elder Aeon from within the Sol Star fragment, by the name of Za-Naron. In the end, April succeeds in regaining control, putting an end to Za-Naron and breaking the Sol Star fragment. She apologizes for not listening to what they had warned her about the influence the crystal fragment had on her; particularly Donnie. She assures everyone that even though she can no longer harness the great mystical power of the Aeons, she now has a better understanding of how to control her increasingly powerful psionic abilities on her own.tumblr_inline_okx05xknnz1u81y09_1280

4.23) TOKKA VS. THE WORLD

Tokka, who is shown to have survived the colossal implosion of the dwarf star in “The Ever-Burning Fire”, returns and discovers that her baby boy (whom Raphael adopted as Chompy Picasso) is missing. Determined to get him back, she crash lands on Earth; leading up to an intense battle between her, the Earth Protection Force, and the Turtles who meet up with Bishop, who aids E.P.F. in advancing Earth’s defenses against more extraterrestrial invasions. Raph manages to approach Tokka and explains that he only took her baby because he believed that she had perished, leaving Chompy motherless. Touched by this, Tokka leaves Chompy in Raph’s care and returns to Magdomar. Splinter wonders what Raph will do once Chompy becomes full grown, to which Raph replies that he knows that Chompy is fated to return to the stars one day but will always look out for him until that day comes.Totc

4.24: THE TALE OF TIGER CLAW

A dangerous female assassin and fox-mutant, by the name of Alopex, with super speed, appears who is bent on taking down her own brother, Tiger Claw, with the cursed Blades of Vengeance. The Turtles, April and Casey try to befriend her, but she turns on them and furiously goes after Tiger Claw alone, but not before she curses Casey with the blades. Unfortunately, for her, Tiger Claw has well prepared for her arrival. The Turtles make the scene and distract Tiger Claw while April uses her tanto to break the M.O.U.S.E.R. cage that traps her. In gratitude, Alopex returns one of the blades to Casey, and April uses her telekinetic abilities to borrow Tiger Claw’s ice gun so Casey can destroy them, thus breaking their curse. Alopex pins Tiger Claw and seems prepared to kill him again but decides against it as it is not honorable. Tiger Claw shoots her from behind, but Alopex anticipates this and dodges the blast and slices off his right arm; an act that shocks even the Turtles. As Bebop and Rocksteady take the mutilated Tiger Claw away, Alopex takes off to the city rooftops again.

4.25) REQUIEM

When the Mutagen serum that Super Shredder used to mutate himself had been stabilized, Super Shredder is rid of his weaknesses and he is ready to hunt down Splinter and the Turtles and finish the fierce battle between him and his enemies and he finishes off Splinter by stabbing him and throwing him off the rooftop of the Wolf Hotel where the turtles first fought Shredder. April then uses a psychic blast to throw Super Shredder off the roof and into a garbage truck and Casey seemingly kills him by turning on the crusher. The grieving turtles then carry Splinter’s body to the Shellraiser and depart to lay him to rest. Super Shredder’s hand bursts through the top of the truck, still very much alive.Screen-Shot-2017-02-26-at-1_54_42-PM

5.26) OWARI

After Splinter is buried on the O’Neil farm, his spirit informs Leonardo that Super Shredder is still alive and needs to be stopped. The Turtles, April, and Casey ambush Shredder’s hideout after finding out the location from the injured Karai. They defeat Super Shredder’s henchmen (even turning Baxter Stockman back to normal in the process) before confronting Saki on the roof of the hideout. After Super Shredder knocks almost everyone off the building, Leonardo finally defeats the Shredder and finishes him off. The Turtles return to New York victorious as they prepare for the next imminent threat.tmnt-426-16x9An excellent end to season 4, leaves you wanting more… Roll on Season 5.

 

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REVIEW: TED 2

CAST

Seth MacFarlane (Family Guy)
Mark Wahlberg (The Other Guys)
Amanda Seyfried (Pan)
Jessica Barth (Next)
Giovanni Ribisi (Avatar)
Morgan Freeman (The Dark Knight)
John Slattery (Mad men)
Patrick Warburton (Get Smart)
Michael Dorn (Star Trek: Ds9)
Bill Smitrovich (The Phantom)
Cocoa Brown (Big Fat Important Movie)
John Carroll Lynch (The Founder)
Jessica Szohr (Love Bite)
Tara Strong (Batman: The Killing Joke)
Sam J. Jones (Flash Gordon)
Sebastian Arcelus (Split)
Dennis Haysbert (Heat)
Liam Neeson (Batman Begins)
Patrick Stewart (Ameircan Dad)
Nana Visitor (Star Trek: Ds9)
Ralph Garman (The Lego Batman Movie)
Ron Canada (Wedding Crashers)
Maggie Geha (Gotham)
Rachael MacFarlane (American Dad)

John Bennett (Mark Wahlberg) has been divorced from Lori Collins for six months. Meanwhile, his best friend Ted (Seth MacFarlane), marries his girlfriend, Tami-Lynn (Jessica Barth). One year later, with their marriage is beginning to break-down so they decide to have a child. As Ted can not have children, John agrees to help Ted find a sperm donor, They asked Sam J. Jones but he refuses due to a low sperm count, they try unsuccessfully to break into Tom Brady’s house and steal his sperm. Ultimately, John offers to donate his sperm.Despite Ted and John’s efforts, Tami-Lynn’s historical drug use has rendered her infertile and the couple decide to adopt. As background checks are carried out, Ted brings his legal status as a person into question. The state authorities of Massachusetts declare Ted property rather than a person, resulting in the loss of his job at a grocery store – shortly after reassuring a customer (Liam Neeson) that buying a box of Trix, as an adult, will not bring him to any harm. Furthermore, his marriage to Tami-Lynn is annulled.John suggests that they take the state to court, and their case is assigned to a novice lawyer pro-bono, Samantha Leslie Jackson (Amanda Seyfried). The three bond over their love of marijuana as they prepare to present the case.Meanwhile, Donny (Giovanni Ribisi), Ted’s life-long stalker and would-be abductor, is now employed as a janitor at the headquarters of toy company Hasbro, in New York City. He convinces the company CEO to hire an expert attorney (John Slattery) to ensure that Ted maintains his status as property, therefore leaving him open to seizure by the firm to create more living teddy bears.Despite Samantha’s best efforts, the court rules against Ted. Disheartened but desperate, the trio contact Patrick Meighan (Morgan Freeman), a highly respected civil rights attorney, hoping he’ll take the case and overturn the court’s decision. Driving to Manhattan to meet him, Ted crashes into a hidden marijuana patch, where Samantha and John realize their attraction for each other. The next day, the trio meet Meighan, who is sympathetic to Ted’s plight but ultimately refuses the case, as he believes he has not significantly contributed to humanity due to his juvenile slacker lifestyle.Ted, angry at the injustice and jealous of Samantha and John’s new relationship, runs off. Donny follows him as he wanders into the New York Comic-Con. Once inside, Donny attempts to kidnap Ted, who flees and contacts John for help. John and Samantha arrive at Comic-Con and search for Ted, arriving as Donny is about to cut him open. As they make their escape, Donny cuts the cables holding up a model of the USS Enterprise and it swings towards Ted. John pushes Ted out of the way, takes the hit, and is knocked unconscious. Ted identifies Donny and he is arrested.At the hospital, Samantha, Ted and Tami-Lynn rejoice when John recovers. Patrick Meighan decides to take the case, telling them he has been inspired by John’s selflessness and Ted’s emotions over his fallen friend. Meighan gets the ruling overturned by demonstrating that Ted is self-aware, that he feels complex emotions, and is capable of empathy. Outside the court, Ted re-proposes to Tami-Lynn. After they are re-married, Ted and Tami-Lynn, adopting the surname of “Clubberlang”, adopt a baby boy, whom they name Apollo Creed, while John and Samantha happily pursue their own relationship.A good laugh, even  better than the original in my opinion. If you like Ted/Family Guy/other Seth Macfarlane shows, I’d definitely recommend this

 

REVIEW: SHADOW HOURS

CAST

Balthazar Getty (Alias)
Peter Weller (Robocop)
Rebeca Gayheart (Dead Like Me)
Peter Greene (The Mask)
Frederic Forrest (Apocalypse Now)
Brad Dourif (Curse of Chucky)
Michael Dorn (Star Trek: DS9)

1

The devil feeds from your weaknesses and enstills good in temptation. “Shadow Hours” definitely understands this, and shows an interesting Lucifer who dwells in the seedy underworld of Los Angelos.  To say the least, I wasn’t blown away by the story’s originality, but director Isaac H. Eaton has some brilliant style tricks to keep it fun and intriguing. He is an adroit director working with a mediocre script, and the results are surprisingly good.

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Balthazaar Ghetty plays Michael Halloway, a recovering alcoholic who tries to support himself as well as his wife Chloe by working at a seedy gas station on graveyard shift. In this environment, he’s bound to see some interesting things. It seems everyone who comes through has exhausted themselves with something…most likely some sort of sin. They are all running on empty as they scurry through the night. There are wonderful sequences where gas meters rise as different things happen, communicating this theme perfectly.  Anyway, he runs into a mugger and a homeless man (who symbolizes his bottom of the barrel outlook), but most importantly, a writer named Stuart Chappell (played by Peter Weller, in easily one of his best performances). Chappell has a strange fixation on Michael, and he takes care of him, clothing him with nice suits, and giving him tons of money to gamble. From the start, it is obvious this guy’s a little shady, however. He neglects the fact that Michael is recovering on AA and influences him to start drinking again. Soon, he plunges Michael into a truly harrowing underworld of fight clubs, gambling, drugs and sex.

3

In one of the most disturbing scenes of recent memory, they go to a bondage club where people get sadomasochistic pleasure from torture. At first, I was angry that Eaton would use this smut to manipulate his audience into feeling shocked (like how Todd Solondz did in his terrible film “Happiness”). Then I realized, Chappell, a satan figure, is indeed masochistic in that he feeds off his victim’s pain. Little did Michael know as he looked at these twisted acts, that he was being used as a partner to Chappell’s atrocity.  When Michael becomes closer with Chappell, he realizes how much of a lie this man really is. But the perks of being with him are too great, and soon Michael goes too deep into the dark side, hurting Chloe and damaging the new life he forged after leaving AA. I didn’t like how the film ends. It takes an easy (and largely taken) way out, keeping itself on a level of simplicity. I believe Eaton is a genius director, but he sells himself short in “Shadow Hours”.

2

I did like a lot of things in this film. I loved the performances by Getty (who also produced), and more so Peter Weller. He plays Stuart as attractive, fun and seemingly caring, but always dark somewhere deep. I liked how the story was paced and told, but it is lacking in overall freshness.

12 DAYS OF CHRISTMAS REVIEW: ARROW – WHAT WE LEAVE BEHIND

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MAIN CAST

Stephen Amell (The Vampire Diaries)
David Ramsey (Con Air)
Willa Holland (Legion)
Emily Bett Rickards (Brooklyn)
Echo Kellum (Ben and Kate)
Josh Segarra (Trainwreck)

RECURRING / NOTABLE GUEST CAST

Rick Gonzalez (Pulse)
Joe Dinicol (Scott Pilgrim vs The World)
Maddison McLaughlin (Chicago P.D.)
Tyler Ritter (The McCarthys)
Carly Pope (Popular)
Katie Cassidy (Black Xmas)
Audrey Marie Anderson (The Unit)
Michael Dorn (Ted 2)

The Mid-Season finale of Arrow was a great way to cap off the first half of a season that’s been all about rebuilding, regrouping and looking to the past in order to shape the future. There was plenty of progress on the Prometheus front, all of which fueled a suitably dark and depressing ending that suggests things are going to get a lot worse before that light at the end of the tunnel appears for Team Arrow.
One of the few things the Arrow producers have revealed about this year’s big villain is that he has ties to Oliver Queen’s past. Those ties became much more clear in this episode, which featured one of the more memorable uses of flashbacks in the show’s history. In the last couple seasons, there’s been an odd obsession with drawing as many direct parallels between past and present, usually to the detriment of the flashback scenes. But here that approach made sense. In effect, the flashbacks were giving us a glimpse of a lost, early Season 1-era episode, one that also served as the beginning of Prometheus’ origin story.

On one hand, it was fun just to go back and revisit that simpler time. All the details were recreated perfectly, from Ollie’s original, mask-less costume and lair to his goofy interplay with a pre-sidekick Felicity to Diggle being the nonplussed bodyguard. On another, these flashbacks really emphasized how much Ollie has changed as a person and a vigilante over the course of four years. He may flirt with killing now, but back then he was a veritable murder machine. It was chilling watching him mow down those guards with impunity. Enough so that you can’t help but empathize with Prometheus a bit. Maybe Ollie had all of this coming. The way in which this episode regularly bounced between past and present helped build the tension leading into Ollie’s final showdown with Prometheus.

But before getting to that, it’s worth discussing the lead-up to that final showdown. This episode built up an engaging mystery as Prometheus attacked Curtis and then sent Team Arrow on a quest to uncover his identity and motives. There’s still plenty we don’t know about this villain. The implication is that he’s the bastard son of Justin Clayborne (Get Carter’s Garwin Sanford), one of the Hood’s first victims, though even that can’t be taken for granted yet. But even if that is the case, Prometheus’ actual identity remains a mystery. What we do know is that he harbors a serious grudge, and not an entirely unwarranted one, at that. Whomever is under the mask, Prometheus is one who will force Ollie to atone for his mistakes he made when he was still a killer, not a hero.
So after much soul-searching and one early brawl with Prometheus, Ollie finally confronted his foe at the exact spot where he shot down Clayborne four years earlier. And that’s where Prometheus really upped his game. He delivered quite the blow by tricking Ollie into killing Billy. But again, you can see Ollie proving Prometheus point for him. If he wasn’t so reckless and so quick to pull the trigger, Ollie wouldn’t have fallen for that ruse. He tried the killing game again, and this is where it led him. All of this makes Prometheus a more compelling villain because it’s so easy to understand his point of view. He may not be the hero of this story, but he makes a strong case for the idea that Ollie isn’t either. That, more than anything, is what’s distinguishing Prometheus from the rest of the show’s major villains.

That dramatic twist led to a terrifically emotional scene as Ollie felt the crushing weight of his mistakes bearing down on him. To his credit, he didn’t try to hide the truth from Felicity, which is another sign of how much he’s matured in the past four years. But it was quite a depressing way to cap off the first half of the season. The montage where Ollie reflected on his knack for ruining lives while Curtis, Felicity and Diggle all dealt with their new tragedies was an extremely effective way of highlighting the darker turn the season is taking. Echo Kellum in particular gave a terrifically raw performance during Curtis’ breakup with his husband.  It’s funny to compare this episode to the mid season finale of Flash (Season 3). Both leaned pretty heavily on the Christmas motif towards the end, but where Flash tried to find room for hope and optimism in the midst of a dark new threat, Arrow just went all-in on the depressing darkness. But honestly, optimism probably would have felt forced given everything that happened tonight. The final scene was a shocking way to end the episode, seeing Laurel show up at the Arrowcave gives the episode one last WTF moment to see us into 2017.

Arrow has steadily been building steam over the course of Season 5, and that trend continued in the mid-season finale. This episode capped off 2016 on a fittingly dark and gloomy note. Viewers were given more insight into Prometheus’ background and motivations, while also getting the chance to revisit the show’s Season 1 status quo. Things are looking up for the series as it moves into the new year.

REVIEW: STAR TREK: NEMESIS

CAST

Patrick Stewart (X-Men)
Jonathan Frakes (Roswell)
Brent Spiner (Dude, Where’s My Car?)
LeVar Burton (Roots: The GIft)
Michael Dorn (Ted 2)
Gates McFadden (Crowned and Dangerous)
Marina Sirtis (The Grudge 3)
Tom Hardy (Mad Max:Fury Road)
Ron Perlman (Hellboy)
Shannon Cochrane (The Ring)
Dina Meyer (Birds of Prey)
Alan Dale (Lost)
Kate Mulgrew (Orange Is The New Black)
Wil Wheaton (Powers)
Majel Barrett (Earth: Final Conflict)
Whoopi Goldberg (Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles)

On Romulus members of the Romulan Imperial Senate debate whether to accept the terms of peace and alliance with the Reman rebel leader Shinzon. The Remans are a slave race of the Romulan Empire, used as miners and as cannon fodder. A faction of the military is in support of Shinzon, but the Praetor and senate are set against it. After rejecting the motion, the Praetor and remaining senators are disintegrated by a device left in the room by a military-aligned senator.

Meanwhile, the crew of the USS Enterprise-E prepare to bid farewell to first officer Commander William Riker and Counselor Deanna Troi, who are being married on Betazed. En route, they discover a positronic energy reading on a planet in the Kolaran system near the Romulan Neutral Zone. Captain Jean-Luc Picard, Lieutenant Commander Worf, and Lieutenant Commander Data land on Kolarus III and discover the remnants of an android resembling Data. When the android is reassembled it introduces itself as B-4. The crew deduce it to be a less-advanced, earlier version of Data.

Picard is contacted by Vice-Admiral Kathryn Janeway and orders the ship on a diplomatic mission to nearby Romulus. Janeway explains that the Romulan Empire has been taken over in a military coup by Shinzon, who says he wants peace with the Federation and to bring freedom to Remus. On arrival, they learn Shinzon is a clone of Picard, secretly created by Romulans to plant a high-ranking spy into the Federation, but the project was abandoned and Shinzon left on Remus as a child to die as a slave. After many years, Shinzon became a leader of the Remans, and constructed his heavily armed flagship, the Scimitar. Initially, diplomatic efforts go well, but the Enterprise crew discover that the Scimitar is producing low levels of thalaron radiation, which had been used to kill the Imperial Senate and is deadly to nearly all life forms. There are also unexpected attempts to communicate with the Enterprise computers, and Shinzon himself violates Troi’s mind through the telepathy of his Reman viceroy.

Dr. Crusher discovers that Shinzon is aging rapidly because of the process used to clone him, and the only possible means to stop the aging is a transfusion of Picard’s own blood. Shinzon kidnaps Picard from the Enterprise, as well as B-4, having planted the android on the nearby planet to lure Picard to Romulus. However, Data reveals he has swapped places with B-4, rescues Picard, and returns with Picard to the Enterprise. They have now seen enough of the Scimitar to know that Shinzon plans to use the warship to invade the Federation using its thalaron-radiation generator as a weapon, with the eradication of all life on Earth being his first priority.

The Enterprise races back to Federation space but is ambushed by the Scimitar in the Bassen Rift, a region that prevents any subspace communications. Two Romulan Warbirds come to the aid of the Enterprise, as they do not want to be complicit in Shinzon’s genocidal plans, but Shinzon destroys one and disables the other. Recognizing the need to stop the Scimitar at all costs, Picard orders the Enterprise to ram the other ship. The collision leaves both ships heavily damaged and destroys the Scimitar’s primary weapons. To assure their mutual destruction, Shinzon activates the thalaron weapon. Picard boards the Scimitar to face Shinzon alone, and eventually kills him by impaling him on a metal strut. Data jumps the distance between the two ships with a personal transporter to beam Picard back to the Enterprise, and then fires his phaser on the thalaron generator, which destroys the Scimitar, and Data, while saving the Enterprise. The crew mourn Data, and the surviving Romulan commander offers them her gratitude for saving the Empire.

The Enterprise returns to Earth for repairs. Picard bids farewell to newly promoted Captain Riker, who is off to command the USS Titan and begin a possible peace-negotiation mission with the Romulans. Picard meets with B-4, discovering that Data had copied the engrams of his neural net into B-4’s positronic matrix before he “died”. Though B-4 does not yet act as Data, Picard is assured that he will become like his friend in time.A great film seeing the end for one of the crew as the rest embark on their new positions. The action is great and riveting from beginning to end.

REVIEW: STAR TREK: INSURRECTION

CAST

Patrick Stewart (X-Men)
Jonathan Frakes (Roswell)
Brent Spiner (Dude, Where’s My Car?)
LeVar Burton (Roots: The GIft)
Michael Dorn (Ted 2)
Gates McFadden (Crowned and Dangerous)
Marina Sirtis (The Grudge 3)
F. Murray Abraham (Amadeus)
Donna Murphy (Spider-Man 2)
Anthony Zerbe (American Hustle)
Gregg Henry (Guardians of The Galaxy)
Michael Welch (Twilight)
Rick Worthy (The Vampire Diaries)
D. Elliot Woods (Agents of SHIELD)
Jennifer Tung (Masked Rider)

Lieutenant Commander Data (Brent Spiner) is temporarily transferred to an undercover mission observing the peaceful Ba’ku people. While on their planet, he malfunctions and reveals the presence of the joint Federation–Son’a task force observing the Ba’ku. Admiral Matthew Dougherty (Anthony Zerbe) contacts the USS Enterprise-E to obtain Data’s schematics but adamantly states the presence of the Enterprise is not needed. Captain Picard decides to ignore these orders and takes the Enterprise to capture Data. After stopping Data, Captain Jean-Luc Picard (Patrick Stewart) becomes suspicious of Dougherty’s insistence that the Enterprise is no longer needed. His crew investigates the cause of Data’s malfunction.They discover that the Ba’ku have advanced technology, but have rejected its use to live simpler lives. Due to unique radiation or “metaphasic particles” emanating from their planet’s rings, they are effectively immortal. Dougherty’s allies, the Son’a, are a decrepit race who use medical techniques to prevent death; their excessive use of cosmetic surgery gives them a mummified appearance. The Enterprise crew also begin to experience the rejuvenation effects of the planet: Lt. Commander Geordi La Forge (LeVar Burton) finds his eyes have regenerated and he no longer requires ocular implants; Commander William Riker (Jonathan Frakes) and Counselor Deanna Troi (Marina Sirtis) rekindle their long-abandoned relationship; and Picard develops a romantic relationship with the Ba’ku woman Anij (Donna Murphy).

Data and Picard discover a submerged and cloaked Federation ship containing a gigantic holodeck set up to recreate the Ba’ku village. Data’s malfunction stems from a Son’a attack, received when he discovered the vessel. Picard confronts Dougherty and learns that top Federation officers and the Son’a secretly planned to deceptively move the Ba’ku to the ship and forcibly relocate them to another planet, allowing the Son’a to collect the rejuvenating radiation (but poisoning the planet in the process). Dougherty orders the Enterprise to leave. Picard states the rejuvenation benefit of the radiation does not justify Dougherty’s plans for the Ba’ku and violates the Prime Directive. He plans to alert the Federation of the forced relocation.

Picard is joined by some of his crew to help the Ba’ku escape from being abducted while Riker takes the Enterprise to a transmission range and communicate the violation to Star Fleet. The Son’a send robotic probes to locate and capture the fleeing Ba’ku. The Son’a leader, Ahdar Ru’afo (F. Murray Abraham), convinces Dougherty to allow two Son’a ships to attack the Enterprise. Riker defeats the attacking ships and the Enterprise escapes. Their plan exposed, Ru’afo insists upon harvesting the radiation source immediately. Picard, Anij, and several Ba’ku are transported as prisoners onto the Son’a ship. Picard reveals to Dougherty that the Son’a and the Ba’ku are the same race and involving the Federation in a blood feud. The Son’a are a splinter faction of Ba’ku who gave up their bucolic existence a century earlier to embrace the use of technology. They attempted to seize power but failed, and the Ba’ku elders exiled them from the planet, denying them the rejuvenating effects of the rings. The Son’a developed an artificial and imperfect means to extend their lives at the cost of disfigurement. Ru’afo kills Admiral Dougherty when he backs out of the plan and Ru’afo proceeds with his plan.

While Picard is escorted to be executed, he convinces the Son’a Gallatin (Gregg Henry) to help him stop Ru’afo. Picard masterminds a ruse to transport Ru’afo and his bridge crew to the holoship and shutdown the harvester. Ru’afo discovers the deception and transports to the radiation harvester ship to manually restart the process. Picard follows and sets the harvester to self-destruct, which kills Ru’afo while Picard is rescued by the Enterprise. The remaining Son’a are forgiven and welcomed back by the Ba’ku. Picard arranges a meeting between Gallatin and his Ba’ku mother. The Enterprise crew take a moment to enjoy their rejuvenated selves before returning to their previous mission.After the excitement and action of First Contact, things slowed down a bit for this next film in the star trek series, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing. there’s a little more time for some character development,humor and some wonderful plot developments (Riker and Troi rekindling their romance for instance). it does drag a bit at times, but the pace picks up nicely in the second half to an exciting climax.

REVIEW: STAR TREK: FIRST CONTACT

CAST

Patrick Stewart (X-Men)
Jonathan Frakes (Roswell)
Brent Spiner (Dude, Where’s My Car?)
LeVar Burton (Roots: The GIft)
Michael Dorn (Ted 2)
Gates McFadden (Crowned and Dangerous)
Marina Sirtis (The Grudge 3)
Alfre Woodard (Luke Cage)
James Cromwell (Species II)
Alice Krige (Silent Hill)
Neal McDonough (Arrow)
Robert Picardo (Stargate: Atlantis)
Dwight Schultz (The A-Team)
Adam Scott (Krampus)
Jack Shearer (End of Days)
Eric Steinberg (Stargate SG.1)
Patti Yasutake (Gung Ho)
Majel Barrett (Earth: Final Conflict)
Don Stark (That 70s Show)
Ethan Phillips (Bad Santa)

Captain Jean-Luc Picard wakes from a nightmare in which he relived his assimilation by the cybernetic Borg six years earlier (shown in the television episode “The Best of Both Worlds”). Starfleet informs him of a new Borg attack against Earth, but orders the USS Enterprise-E to patrol the Romulan Neutral Zone so as not to introduce an “unstable element” to the fight. Learning that the fleet is losing the battle, the Enterprise crew disobeys orders and heads for Earth, where a single, damaged Borg Cube opposes a group of Starfleet vessels. The Enterprise arrives in time to save the crew of the USS Defiant, which is being commanded by Lieutenant Commander Worf. After Picard hears Borg communications in his mind, he orders the fleet to concentrate its firepower on a seemingly non-vital section of the Borg ship. The Cube is destroyed after launching a smaller sphere ship towards the planet.

The Borg sphere generates and enters a temporal vortex. As the Enterprise is enveloped in the vortex, the crew briefly glimpses an Earth populated entirely by Borg. Picard realizes that the Borg have used time travel to change history, and orders the Enterprise to follow. The Enterprise arrives in the past, on April 4, 2063, the day before humanity’s first encounter with alien life after Zefram Cochrane’s historic warp flight. The Borg sphere fires on the planet; the Enterprise crew then destroy the sphere and, realizing that the Borg were trying to prevent first contact, send an away team to the Montana missile complex where Cochrane is building his ship, the Phoenix, to look for survivors. Picard sends Cochrane’s assistant Lily Sloane to the Enterprise for medical attention, then returns to the ship and leaves Commander William Riker on Earth to make sure the Phoenix’s flight proceeds as planned. The Enterprise crew sees Cochrane as a legend, but the real man is reluctant to assume his historical role.

Borg survivors invade the Enterprise, and begin to assimilate its crew and modify the ship, planning to use it to attack and conquer Earth. Picard and a team attempt to reach engineering to disable the Borg with corrosive coolant used in the warp core, but the android Data is captured and meets the queen of the Borg Collective, who gains his trust by giving part of him human skin. A frightened Sloane seizes the captain but he gains her trust, and they escape the Borg-infested area of the ship by using the holodeck. Picard, Worf, and the ship’s navigator, Lieutenant Hawk, stop the Borg from calling reinforcements with the deflector dish, but Hawk is assimilated. As the Borg continue to assimilate, Worf suggests destroying the ship, but Picard angrily calls him a coward and vows to continue the fight. Sloane confronts the captain and, reminding him of Moby-Dick’s Captain Ahab, makes him realize his own irrational behavior. Picard activates the ship’s self-destruct mechanism, orders the crew to abandon ship, and then apologizes to Worf. While the crew heads to escape pods, Picard remains aboard to rescue Data.

As Cochrane, Riker, and engineer Geordi La Forge prepare to activate the warp drive on the Phoenix, Picard confronts the Borg Queen and discovers she has grafted human skin onto Data, giving him an array of new sensations. She has presented this modification as a gift to the android, hoping to obtain his encryption codes to the Enterprise computer. Although Picard offers himself in Data’s place, the android refuses to leave. He deactivates the self-destruct sequence and fires torpedoes at the Phoenix, but they miss and the Queen realizes Data has betrayed her. Data ruptures a coolant tank, and the corrosive substance fatally dissolves the Borg’s biological components. Cochrane completes his warp flight, and that night, April 5, 2063, the crew watches as Vulcans, attracted by the Phoenix warp flight, land and greet Cochrane. Having repaired history, the Enterprise crew returns to the 24th century.This film has it all. A well-conceived, intricate and dramatic plot, excellent acting, fantastic special effects, and real emotion on-screen. Picard’s chilling “the line must be drawn here” monologue to Lily represents a scene with such dramatic quality that is rarely seen in science-fiction films. You can completely suspend disbelief and feel the anger, the pain, the sheer hunger for revenge in this broken man. You are there with him, the future of humanity is on the line, and not for a second will you think otherwise.