HALLOWEEN OF HORROR REVIEW: 30 DAYS OF NIGHT: DARK DAYS

CAST

Kiele Sanchez (The Purge: Anarchy)
Rhys Coiro (The Unborn)
Diora Baird (Transit)
Mia Kirshner (The Vampire Diaries)
Monique Ganderton (Smallville)
Harold Perrineau (Constantine)
Katharine Isabelle (Ginger Snaps)
Ben Cotton (Stargate: Atlantis)
John DeSantis (Arrow)
Jody Thompson (The 4400)
Sarah-Jane Redmond (Smallville)

Photography by Chris LargeA year after the Alaskan town of Barrow’s population was decimated by vampires during its annual month-long polar night, Stella Oleson (Kiele Sanchez) travels the world trying to convince others that vampires exist. She is fully aware of the risk to her life that her work could bring, but does not care due to her grief over the death of her husband, Eben.30-days-of-night-dark-days-01

Following instructions from a mysterious individual named Dane, she travels to Los Angeles to give a lecture on the existence of vampires. Aware that vampires are in attendance when she speaks, she activates overhead ultraviolet lamps that incinerate several of the vampires in the audience, in front of the humans. She is quickly arrested and harassed by Agent Norris, who she learns is one of the human followers of the vampires, charged with keeping their activities covered up. After her release from custody, she returns to her hotel to find Paul (Rhys Coiro), Amber (Diora Baird) and Todd (Harold Perrineau), sent by Dane to recruit her to hunt the vampire queen, Lilith. As Lilith is responsible for the vampires’ every move and for keeping them hidden, the hunters are convinced that once she is eliminated, the vampires will fall into dormancy. When Stella learns that Lilith was responsible for the slaughter at Barrow, she agrees to meet Dane (Ben Cotton), and is shocked to discover that he too is a vampire. Due to a superficially inflicted wound, he has maintained a grasp of humanity, only drinking blood from packaged hospital stocks he keeps. Stella hesitates to join a plan to attack a vampire nest, but Paul eventually convinces her, revealing that vampires were responsible for his daughter’s death and the resulting divorce from his wife.30-days-of-night-dark-days-ending-stella-oleson-blood-bath-kiele-sanchez

The following day, the four hunters enter a vampire nest, only to be ambushed by a group of them. During their attempt to flee, Todd is bitten. After the four lock themselves in a cellar, Todd turns into a vampire. When Paul hesitates to act against his friend, Stella kills him by smashing in his head with a cinder block. The trio decide to wait for nightfall, when the vampires leave to feed, in order to make their escape. After night falls, Dane comes and frees them. On their way out, they capture a vampire and interrogate him with the ultraviolet lamps, eventually following him back to another nest. They invade the nest and rescue Jennifer, a captive being used as a feeding station. Jennifer’s knowledge of Lilith’s lair being aboard a ship in the bay allows the hunters to plan an attack on Lilith directly. Returning to Dane’s place, Stella and Paul become intimate. Meanwhile, Lilith (Mia Kirshner) decides that Agent Norris should prove his worth to become a vampire (in order to cure the cancer he has been suffering from). He bites the neck of a captive girl, Stacey (Katharine Isabelle), drinking her blood until dead. Satisfied, Lilith turns him to hunt Stella and the others.maxresdefaultNorris kills Dane and the others flee with Jennifer to a boat yard where Jennifer points out the boat that the vampires are set to sail to Alaska in for another 30-day feeding period. After telling Jennifer to leave, the three hunters stow away on the ship where they discover that they can be resurrected after death if they are fed human blood. At gunpoint, they confront the human captain who says he is cooperating because the vampires had threatened his family. Amber is suddenly pulled away from behind, causing her gun to fire and kill the captain. Stella and Paul are too late to save her from being eaten and are quickly captured by Norris and Lilith who orders that they be bled dry. Stella manages to free herself when they are alone with Norris and kills him, but they are subsequently attacked by Lilith when attempting to sabotage the ship and Paul is killed. After being outmatched in hand-to-hand combat, Stella hides from Lilith and when the queen comes looking for her, Stella emerges from her tub of blood and manages to decapitate her. The other vampires appear, but seeing that she killed Lilith, they quietly stand aside and let her pass without a fight, and she returns to Barrow.VIwWP7lHvrIjAz_2_hd

Stella digs up Eben’s grave and recovers his body to feed him her own blood. It appears not to work and she lies down slowly dying from blood loss. After a time, she sees Eben has returned to his former health and she stands to greet him with a hug. As they embrace, Eben pulls back her shoulder and his sharp teeth come down on her neck before the screen goes dark.2826

Once the film moves past exposition and into bat country, “Dark Days” ramps up the fear factor, kicking off a series of encounters that take advantage of all the low-budget  Heavily armed and ready for a fight, our heroes proceed to blast their way into the vampire hive, creating a few hearty sequences of splattery chaos. Criminally, Ketai elects to mimic original director David Slade’s infuriating obsession with shaky-cam, slamming the camera and lights around to create a blizzard of violence.

REVIEW: AVENGERS: ENDGAME

 

Starring

Robert Downey Jr. (Sherlock Holmes)
Chris Evans (Scott Pilgrim vs The World)
Mark Ruffalo (Just Like Heaven)
Chris Hemsworth (Rush)
Scarlett Johansson (Lucy)
Jeremy Renner (The Bourne Legacy)
Don Cheadle (Talk To Me)
Paul Rudd (Anchorman)
Brie Larson (Kong: Skull Island)
Karen Gillan (Jumanji: welcome To The Jungle)
Benedict Wong (The Wrong Mans)
Jon Favreau (Couples Retreat)
Bradley Cooper (The Hangover)
Gwyneth Paltrow (Shallow Hal)
Josh Brolin (Deadpool 2)
Benedict Cumberbatch (The Grinch)
Chadwick Boseman (Gods of Egypt)
Tom Holland (How I Live Now)
Zoe Saldana (Avatar)
Elizabeth Olsen (Godzilla)
Anthony Mackie (The Night Before)
Sebastian Stan (I, Tonya)_
Tom Hiddleston (Crimson Peak)
Pom Klementieff (Delicacy)
Dave Bautista (Blade Runner 2049)
William Hurt (A.I.)
Danai Gurira (The Walking Dead)
Cobie Smulders (How I Met Your Mother)
Letitia Wright (Ready Player One)
Winston Duke (Us)
Tom Vaughan-Lawlor (The Cured)
Jacob Batalon (Every Day)
Vin Diesel (XXX)
Chris Pratt (Jurassic World)
Samuel L. Jackson (Shaft)
Ross Marquand (The Walking Dead)
Michael James Shaw (Limitless TV)
Terry Notary (War For TPOTA)
Monique Ganderton (Smallville)
Evangeline Lilly (Lost)
Tessa Thompson (Westworld)
Rene Russo (Get Shorty)
John Slattery (Mad men)
Tilda Swinton (Constantine)
Hayley Atwell (Cinderella)
Marisa Tomei (The Fighter)
Angela Bassett (Green Lantern)
Michael Douglas (Wall Street)
Michelle Pfeiffer (Batman Returns)
Linda Cardellini (Dead To Me)
Maximiliano Hernández (Stargirl)
Frank Grillo (Beyond Skyline)
Robert Redford (A River Runs Through it)
Callan Mulvey (Batman V Superman)
Ty Simpkins (Jurassic World)
Sean Gunn (Super)
Natalie Portman (No Strings Attached)
Hiroyuki Sanada (Westworld)
James D’Arcy (Agent Carter)
Emma Fuhrmann (Blended)
Stan Lee (Trial of The Incredible Hulk)
Ken Jeong (The Hangover)
Yvette Nicole Brown (Yellowbird)
Robert Pralgo (The Vampire Diaries)

Gwyneth Paltrow, Zoe Saldana, Evangeline Lilly, Danai Gurira, Tessa Thompson, Karen Gillan, Pom Klementieff, and Letitia Wright in Avengers: Endgame (2019)Twenty-three days after Thanos used the Infinity Gauntlet to disintegrate half of all life in the universe, Carol Danvers rescues Tony Stark and Nebula from deep space and returns them to Earth, where they reunite with the remaining Avengers—Bruce Banner, Steve Rogers, Thor, Natasha Romanoff, and James Rhodes—and Rocket. Locating Thanos on an otherwise uninhabited planet, they plan to retake and use the Infinity Stones to reverse “the Snap”, but Thanos reveals he destroyed the Stones to prevent their further use. Enraged, Thor decapitates Thanos.Robert Downey Jr. in Avengers: Endgame (2019)Five years later, Scott Lang escapes from the quantum realm. At the Avengers compound, he explains to Romanoff and Rogers that he experienced only five hours while trapped. Theorizing the quantum realm could allow time travel, the three ask Stark to help them retrieve the Stones from the past to reverse Thanos’ actions in the present. Stark refuses, thinking of his wife, Pepper Potts, and daughter, Morgan, but relents after looking at a picture of himself and the late Peter Parker. Stark and Banner, who has since merged his intelligence with the Hulk’s strength, build a time machine. Banner notes changing the past does not affect their present; any changes instead create branched alternate realities. He and Rocket visit the Asgardian refugees’ new home in Norway—New Asgard—to recruit Thor, now overweight and drinking heavily, despondent over his failure to stop Thanos. In Tokyo, Romanoff recruits Clint Barton, now a vigilante subsequent to the disintegration of his family.Don Cheadle, Robert Downey Jr., Gwyneth Paltrow, Vin Diesel, Taika Waititi, Bradley Cooper, Chris Evans, Elizabeth Olsen, Chris Pratt, Paul Rudd, Mark Ruffalo, Benedict Wong, Anthony Mackie, Chris Hemsworth, Dave Bautista, Benedict Cumberbatch, Evangeline Lilly, Chadwick Boseman, Sebastian Stan, Tessa Thompson, Pom Klementieff, Letitia Wright, Tom Holland, and Winston Duke in Avengers: Endgame (2019)Banner, Lang, Rogers, and Stark travel to New York City in 2012. Banner visits the Sanctum Sanctorum and convinces the Ancient One to give him the Time Stone. At Stark Tower, Rogers retrieves the Mind Stone, but Stark and Lang’s attempt to steal the Space Stone fails, allowing 2012 Loki to escape with it. Rogers and Stark travel to S.H.I.E.L.D. headquarters in 1970, where Stark obtains an earlier version of the Space Stone and encounters his father, Howard, while Rogers steals Pym Particles from Hank Pym to return to the present. Meanwhile, Rocket and Thor travel to Asgard in 2013, extracting the Reality Stone from Jane Foster[N 4] and retrieving Thor’s hammer, Mjolnir. Nebula and Rhodes travel to Morag in 2014 and steal the Power Stone before Peter Quill can. Rhodes returns to the present with the Power Stone, but Nebula becomes incapacitated when her cybernetic implants link with those of her past self. Through this connection, 2014 Thanos learns of his future success and the Avengers’ attempts to undo it. He captures Nebula and sends 2014 Nebula to the present in the former’s place. Barton and Romanoff travel to Vormir in 2014, where the Soul Stone’s keeper, the Red Skull, reveals it can only be acquired by sacrificing someone they love. Romanoff sacrifices herself, allowing Barton to obtain the Soul Stone.Josh Brolin in Avengers: Endgame (2019)Reuniting in the present, the Avengers place the Stones into a Stark-created gauntlet, which Banner, the most resistant to the Stones’ gamma radiation, uses to reverse the disintegrations. Meanwhile, 2014 Nebula uses the time machine to transport 2014 Thanos and his warship to the present, where he attacks the Avengers’ compound, planning to destroy and rebuild the universe with the Stones. Nebula convinces 2014 Gamora to betray Thanos, but fails to convince 2014 Nebula and is forced to kill her. Stark, Thor, and a Mjolnir-wielding Rogers fight Thanos but are outmatched. Thanos summons his army from his warship to devastate Earth, but a restored Stephen Strange arrives with other sorcerers, the restored Avengers and Guardians of the Galaxy, the Ravagers, and the armies of Wakanda and Asgard to fight Thanos and his army, alongside Danvers who destroys Thanos’ warship as she arrives. After overpowering the heroes, Thanos seizes the gauntlet, but Stark steals the Stones back and uses them to disintegrate Thanos and his army, at the cost of his life.Gwyneth Paltrow, Brie Larson, Elizabeth Olsen, Tessa Thompson, Pom Klementieff, and Letitia Wright in Avengers: Endgame (2019)Following Stark’s funeral, Thor appoints Valkyrie as the new ruler of New Asgard and joins the Guardians of the Galaxy. Rogers returns the Infinity Stones and Mjolnir to their original timelines and remains in the past to live with Peggy Carter. In the present, an elderly Rogers passes his shield and mantle on to Sam Wilson.Robert Downey Jr. in Avengers: Endgame (2019)This movie is absolute perfection. The ending of this movie is what we and the characters deserved. It gives a perfect balance for all these past 10 years. Epic and perfect ending, I was not disappointed at all. This movie was completely emotional and visually stunning. Now I get it why the Russo Brothers told us to do a Marvel Movie marathon before watching Endgame because this movie had everything to accomplish what left behind before all of this.

 

REVIEW: MUTANT X – SEASON 1

 

Starring

Forbes March (As the World Turns)
Victoria Pratt (Cleopatra 2525)
Lauren Lee Smith (The Shape of Water)
Victor Webster (The Scorpion King 3 & 4)
John Shea (Lois & Clark)

Recurring / Notable Guest Cast

Douglas O’Keeffe (The Andromeda Strain)
Cedric Smith (X-Men: TAS)
Tom McCamus (Street Legal)
Dylan Bierk (Andromeda)
Ross Hull (Are You Afraid of The Dark?)
Laura Vandervoort (Bitten)
Monique Ganderton (Smallville)
Anthony Lemke (White House Down)
Kevin Jubinville (Miss Sloane)
Reagan Pasternak (Sharp Objects)
Joy Tanner (House at The End of the Street)
Greg Bryk (Bitten)
Deborah Odell (Godsend)
Ralf Moeller (Gladiator)
Andrew Gillies (Orphan Black)
Anne Openshaw (Narc)
Guylaine St-Onge (Earth: Final ConflicT)
Sarah Gadon (Dracula Untold)
Art Hindle (Black Christmas)
Emily Hampshire (12 Monkeys)
Larissa Laskin (John Q)
Chris Owens (The X-Files)
Paul Popowich (Cracked)
Callum Keith Rennie (Jessica Jones)
Michael Anthony Rawlins (Blade: Trinity)
Louis Ferreira (Stargate Universe)
Krista Allen (The Final Destination)
Ted Whittall (Suicide Squad)
Jim Codrington (The Ladies Man)
James Gallanders (Bride of Chucky)
Michael Easton (Total Recall 2070)
Kim Schraner (Saw 3D)

Victoria Pratt in Mutant X (2001)Mutant X was a brilliant, and totally original, syndicated series that had genre fans tuning in faithfully week after week. Drawing from the timely topic of genetic research and engineering and experimentation on human DNA, Mutant X tells the completely original story of a group of outcasts with genetically engineered super-human powers and abilities and their attempts to evade capture or destruction by the ultra-secret, evil government agency which created them.Lauren Lee Smith in Mutant X (2001)Mutant X is the highly litigated syndicated series, created by comics veteran Howard Chaykin (writer for Earth: Final Conflict and Viper) and Avi Arad (executive producer of X-Men). With a totally straight face, they insist that this new show has absolutely nothing whatsoever to do with the X-Men. Both of these guys know the comic industry and Arad obviously is familiar with X-Men, and yet they expect us to believe that cashing in on the popularity of the X-Men wasn’t in their minds at all while developing this series. They can’t even seem to recognize the similarity. Heck, forget similarity. Try blatant rip-off.Forbes March and John Shea in Mutant X (2001)The main difference in plot line deals with the fact that the powers that the Mutant X mutants possess were a result of human intervention through science rather than a naturally-occurring genetic mutation, as in the X-Men. Apart from this very minor difference, the sky is the limit when it comes to Mutant X – X-Men similarities. The leader of the Mutants is Adam, a wealthy scientist who headed up the government project that created the Children of Genomex (a.k.a. the Mutants). He has seen the error of his ways and now is engaged in a crusade to locate, protect, and train the Mutants. He doesn’t actually own a school or have mutant powers himself, but this is the Professor X of the group.ss_9bd0fd40968d7f87f429b56aaf3950983ea3b32a.1920x1080The leader of the evil, covert government agency is Mason Eckhart, played by Andy Warhol as himself. This guy, complete with white hair and chunky glasses, wants to either use the Mutants for evil purposes or see them all destroyed. He’s sort of the Magneto of Mutant X without the overwhelming desire to see the Mutants rule the earth. Eckhart doesn’t have any super powers, unless you count just plain being evil, but his right hand man has telekinetic abilities.Victoria Pratt in Mutant X (2001)Very few actual Mutants were introduced in the premiere and even fewer of their powers were revealed, and just to make sure that no one mistakes Mutant X for the X-Men, these mutants have code names. Shalimar Fox (a.k.a. Shadowfox) seems to have Dark Angel type powers, stemming from animal DNA manipulation, yet that doesn’t explain all the apparent levitation she does. Jesse (a.k.a. Synergy) has the power to control his molecular density, which means that he gets all misty when he allows a car to pass right through him and has a more crackly appearance when he becomes solid enough to stop bullets in their tracks. Emma (a.k.a. Rapport) has telempathic abilities revolving around the sensing and sending of strong emotional images. Brennan (a.k.a. Fuse) can send out electrical blasts from his hands.Lauren Lee Smith in Mutant X (2001)If you’re interested in the whole genetic mutant outcast kind of story, I suggest that your time would be better served either renting the X-Men movie or picking up some of the multitudinous X-Men comics out there. Marvel knows how to do the stories and characters right, since, after all, they are the ones who created the idea in the first place.

REVIEW: SMALLVILLE – SEASON 9

Starring

Tom Welling (Lucifer)
Allison Mack (Wilfred)
Justin Hartley (This Is Us)
Erica Durance (Supergirl)
Cassidy Freeman (The Vampire Diaries)
Callum Blue (Dead Like Me)

Callum Blue in Smallville (2001)

Recurring / Notable Guest Cast

Brian Austin Green (Terminator: TSCC)
Terence Stamp (Superman II)
Akessandro Juliani (Chilling Adventures of Sabrina)
Monique Ganderton (American Ultra)
Sharon Taylor (Stargate: Atlantis)
Adrian Holmes (Arrow)
Mike Dopud (Stargate Universe)
Stephen Lobo (Painkiller Jane)
Ryan McDonell (The Crossing)
Cameron Bancroft (Legends of Tomorrow)
Jody Thompson (The 4400)
Chris Gauthier (Watchmen)
Steph Song (War)
Elise Gatien (Ghost Wars)
Emilie Ullerup (Sanctuary)
Michael Adamthwaite (Stargate SG.1)
Sahar Biniaz (Blade: The Series)
Julian Sands (Gotham)
David Gallagher (Super 8)
Allison Scagliotti (The Vampire Diaries)
Dylan Neal (Arrow)
Anita Torrance (Caprica)
Steve Bacic (Andromeda)
Pam Grier (Jackie Brown)
Phil Morris (Doom Patrol)
Brent Stait (Andromeda)
Michael Shanks (Stargate SG.1)
Britt Irvin (Hot Rod)
Wesley MacInnes (Power Rangers)
Jim Shield (Cold Pursuit)
Erica Carroll (Apollo 18)
Serinda Swan (Inhumans)
Crystal Lowe (Final Destination 3)
JR Bourne (Stargate SG.1)
Sean Rogerson (Bitten)
Odessa Rae (Hard Candy)
Elysia Rotaru (Arrow)
Jonathan Walker (Red)
Gil Bellows (Sanctuary)
Blu Mankuma (Robocop: The Series)
Mark Gibbon (Man of Steel)
Annette O’Toole (The Punisher)
Michael McKean (This Is Spinal Tap)

Brian Austin Green in Smallville (2001)Season nine is the single greatest season Smallville has ever produced. The show has fully reached its potential and has created a tense, exciting, beautifully shot, clever and romantic season. One with interesting villains; conflicting needs; searching for the right questions; searching for the truth; love and hate and the fine line between it all; finding yourself and finding others. All with the strong undercurrent of destiny. There are around two ‘not so well executed’ episodes that fall short of their goals, but even those are not awful. The four or so main arcs of the season are: the return of a weirdly attractive and charismatic Zod, the blossoming relationship between Lois and Clark, the development of the Blur and the Justice Society.Chris Gauthier and Tom Welling in Smallville (2001)This is a season of triangles. Many carefully subtle and symbolic in nature: triangles between friends, triangles between enemies, the triangle for two. There was a distinct sense of care to this season, unlike the others — it actually felt as if the writers paid close attention to the small things which made the writing feel more cohesive. It’s certainly the case, because something as small as a hand gesture in one episode became a very significant thing later on.Tom Welling and Erica Durance in Smallville (2001)The season opens with ‘Saviour’, as Lois miraculously returns without memory of where she’s been. The only thing hinting at a darker side to this is random flashes and visions, confusing memories. Are they dreams? Visions of a not-so-distant future? This is one of the mysteries of the first half of the season. I love this show but they I’ve never been so engaged as I have when Lois had those first flashes. It was well done and it was gratifying to see Smallville put together a coherent story arc which flowed into other arcs as the previous ones drew to a close. First time ever that I’d been excited to see where the mainplot went!Callum Blue, Adrian Holmes, Tom Welling, Erica Durance, and Cassidy Freeman in Smallville (2001)Tom Welling is now an executive producer so having more creative control over his character is obvious this season — it has a very positive impact on Clark. Clark finds himself being tested. Learning to cope with juggling an overly-inquisitive Lois, an alter-ego as the Blur whilst swiftly returning to his desk at the bullpen. But ultimately, a key theme of this season is his struggle to maintain a balance between who he is and what he could become. This season firmly asks: who will he become? There was some fantastic development for Clark as a character and his relationship with Lois Lane is centre stage the entire time. The writing for them is careful, precise, intimate and is wonderfully nuanced thanks to the actors. It was well established last season that Lois is in love with Clark, and Clark spends this season rightly demonstrating that he loves her back. The Lois and Clark relationship is one of my favourite arcs in season nine. It was so satisfying to see their romantic relationship moved forward without a painfully slow draw-out. There’s a lot of beautiful scenes shared between them and the writers do a brilliant job of showing (yes ‘showing’, not telling) exactly why Lois is the one for Clark.Michael Shanks in Smallville (2001)Zod (Callum Blue) is a fantastic and compelling villain. His dalliances with Tess Mercer are mesmerising to watch. Oliver Queen returns, having hit rock bottom and kept going since the previous finale. There’s a triangle early in the season between Clark, Lois and Oliver. It’s very subtle and one can only be picked up on in a few frames a lot of the time — not something I’ve come to expect from Smallville, whose usual idea of ‘subtle’ is huge honking anvils landing on you when trying to convey something. It peeters away as Oliver grows and changes out of this darker period in his life. Lois develops as a reporter and finds a purpose in life she didn’t dream of before; her character arc was excellent and benefitted from Erica Durance appearing in 18 episodes instead of the usual 13 (yay!). We see the return of many superheroes as well as meet some new ones. I loved this as it’s one of my favourite parts of the series. I liked seeing Bart and Black Canary back in particular.Phil Morris, Tom Welling, and Justin Hartley in Smallville (2001)Star Girl was awesome! The superhero epic Absolute Justice (two episodes smooshed together as one) was a highlight of the season and will surely make comic book fans happy. The finale, ‘Salvation’ was a fast paced good quality closing chapter. It set up the next season and moved the story forward at the same time as closing it. The finale fight scene also did not disappoint! For once! Salvation was very much a juggernaught of emotion which wasn’t cheap and empty like Doomsday, but had the weight of a great season of storytelling behind it. It really made all the difference.Britt Irvin and Brent Stait in Smallville (2001)This season is well structured with a fascinating story arc which sees time travel as a central concept. In many ways this plotline held far more tension and anticipation than the whole of the Doomsday arc did. I enjoyed feeling fascinated by Zod, insanely wanting answers as to what had happened to Lois when she disappeared, and could barely contain myself when all was revealed in the episode ‘Pandora’. Truly one of the best episodes of the series.

REVIEW: SMALLVILLE – SEASON 8

Starring

Tom Welling (Lucifer)
Allison Mack (Wilfred)
Justin Hartley (This Is Us)
Erica Durance (Supergirl)
Aaron Ashmore (Veronica Mars)
Cassidy Freeman (The Vampire Diaries)
Sam Witwer (Supergirl)

Alaina Huffman, Justin Hartley, and Alan Ritchson in Smallville (2001)

Recurring / Notable Guest Cast

Phil Morris (Doom Patrol)
Alaina Huffman (Stargate Universe)
Alan Ritchson (Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles)
Ari Cohen (IT)
Sara Canning (The Vampire Diaries)
Jessica Parker Kennedy (The Flash)
Mike Dopud (Arrow)
Charlotte Sullivan (Mary Kills People)
Bill Mondy (Blade: The Series)
David Lewis (Childs Play)
Kyle Schmid (Six)
Laura Vandervoort (Bitten)
Terence Stamp (Superman II)
James Marsters (Runaways)
Ryan Kennedy (Caprica)
Alexz Johnson (Final Destination 3)
Calum Worthy (Ameircan Vandel)
David Paetkau (Flashpoint)
Ty Olsson (Battlestar Galactica)
Alessandro Juliani (Man of Steel)
Ted Whittall (Suicide Squad)
Chris Gauthier (Watchmen)
Teryl Rothery (Stargate SG.1)
Stephen Lobo (Continuum)
Laura Mennell (Van Helsing)
Serinda Swan (Inhumans)
Dominic Zamprogna (Odyssey 5)
Nels Lennarson (Horns)
Brendan Fletcher (Arrow)
Kyle Gallner (Veronica Mars)
Monique Ganderton (American Ultra)

Tom Welling and Cassidy Freeman in Smallville (2001)Technically this season shouldn’t have worked; the show’s main villain and arguably most popular character, Lex Luthor (Michael Rosenbaum) has now departed; secondly they were introducing a villain which was virtually impossible to bring to the big screen never mind a television series in Doomsday. However whilst a massive void had been created by Rosenbaum’s departure, it was filled suprisingly very well by the main cast of heroes who finally come into their own this season with performances and stories which intelligently test those who have big destinies to embrace in the Superman era to come. Tom Welling finally begins to take his final steps to becoming Superman and is starting to demonstrate how capapble as lead he is while bringing a new found presence to Clark Kent. There is also an increased number of on-screen scenes between Welling and Erica Durance’s Lois Lane and the result is a relationship which is as funny as it is touching and believable.Justin Hartley and Cassidy Freeman in Smallville (2001)Likewise other support characters like Chloe and Jimmy are tested by the new villain in town, Sam Witwer’s Davis Bloome who is a great unique character to the series who undergoes a menacing and horrific transformation as the season unfolds. There is also a welcome return from Justin Hartley’s Oliver Queen who now becomes a series regular after a successful stint in the sixth season and a brief cameo in the seventh. Queen’s character is also successful to the season’s story as his questionable methods bring him into conflict with Clark who is now trying to figure out what sort of hero he wants to become. The Doomsday story is a well written one in itself and Doomsday is interpreted in a way which is both unique in style yet never undermines the characters standing in the mythology. Sam Witwer is more than capable playing the villain, he lacks perhaps the charisma and flair of Rosenbaum, but the horror given off by his transformations is more than projected out of the screen. The same cannot be said for Cassidy Freeman whose Tess Mercer is terribly aimless and lacking in focus, in terms of a series villain, Rosenbaums absence is felt though not quite fatal.Charlotte Sullivan and Tom Welling in Smallville (2001)The season is very well executed in tone, humour and story. There are many episodes which take the series much further and there are some more characters from the D.C Universe in episodes such as ‘Instinct’, ‘Legion’ and ‘Hex’. ‘Bride’, ‘Eternal’ and ‘Beast’ are also exceptional drama episodes featuring Doomsday which keeps building up the season to a final climatic battle.Tom Welling and Erica Durance in Smallville (2001)It is unfortunate therefore that what prevents the season from achieving pure greatness is a series of misjudged stories which threaten to undermine every bit of progress Smallville made this season. The brief reintroduction of an old character in ‘Power’ and ‘Requiem’ was a terrible mistake and unpopular with viewers, as was the apparent demise of another important character. Also while the season does a sensational job in building up the tension towards the final episode, the final episode of the season itself is very weak and sadly anti-climactic. This is a shame since many may feel cheated by a poor resolution but on the plus side, the drama remains top notch throughout and the themes explored this season are never forgotten and never betrayed, even in the finale. Smallville has enjoyed a fantastic return to form overall this season and many fans will be left feeling hopefull of the action and drama to come in the ninth season. Well worth buying though this eighth season.

REVIEW: X-MEN: APOCALYPSE

CAST

James McAvoy (Wanted)
Michael Fassbender (Prometheus)
Jennifer Lawrence (joy)
Oscar Isaac (Star Wars: The Force Awakens)
Nicholas Hoult (Warm Bodies)
Rose Byrne (Bad Neighbours)
Evan Peters (Kick-Ass)
Tye Sheridan (The Forger)
Sophie Turner (Game of Thrones)
Olivia Munn (The Babymakers)
Alexandra Shipp (House of Anubis)
Lucas Til (Macgyver)
Josh Helman (Mad Max: Fury Road)
Ben Hardy (Eastenders)
Lana Condor (Patriots Day)
Hugh Jackman (Pan)
Tómas Lemarquis (Snowpiercer)
Željko Ivanek (Heroes)
Kodi Smith-McPhee (The King)
Stan Lee (Avengers Assemble)
Monique Ganderton (Avengers: Endgame)

En Sabah Nur, a powerful mutant believed to be the first of his kind, rules ancient Egypt until he is betrayed by his worshippers, who entomb him alive. His four lieutenants die preserving him. Awakening in 1983, he believes humanity has turned to “false gods” in his absence. Aiming to save the world by destruction and remake it, he recruits Cairo pickpocket Ororo Munroe, who can control weather, and upgrades her power.

In East Berlin, shape-shifting mutant Raven investigates an underground fight club and discovers mutant champion Angel, who possesses a pair of large feathered wings on his back, and Kurt Wagner, who can teleport. Raven rescues Kurt and employs the services of black marketeer Caliban to transport him to America. En Sabah Nur recruits Caliban’s enforcer, Psylocke, who leads him to Angel. En Sabah Nur enhances both their powers, transforming Angel’s wings into metal wings.

Alex Summers discovers that his younger brother, Scott, is manifesting his mutation for shooting optic beams. Alex takes Scott to Professor Charles Xavier’s educational institute in Westchester County, New York in hopes that Xavier and Hank McCoy will teach him how to control his abilities. Scott meets the telepathic and telekinetic Jean Grey, and the two develop an attraction. Raven brings Kurt to the institute. Apocalypse’s powers cause disturbances around the world, leading Xavier and Alex to consult with CIA agent Moira MacTaggert, who has been researching the legend of Nur.

In Communist Poland, the metal-controlling mutant Erik Lehnsherr lives with his wife and their young daughter, Nina. He uses his powers to save a coworker, prompting militia to come capture him. When they accidentally kill Erik’s family, he retaliates by murdering them. En Sabah Nur later approaches the devastated Erik and tells him,”Come and see”. Next, Apocalypse takes him to Auschwitz where Erik’s power first manifested. Apocalypse reveals himself as the one true god variously dubbed “Elohim, Shen, Ra.” Erik destroys the camp and joins him.

En Sabah Nur enters Xavier’s mind while Xavier is using the mutant-locating computer Cerebro and, co-opting Xavier’s powers, forces all global superpowers to launch Earth’s entire nuclear arsenal into space to prevent interference. He and his new lieutenants arrive at the mansion and kidnap Xavier. Attempting to stop them, Alex accidentally causes an explosion that destroys the mansion. Peter Maximoff — having learned that he is Erik’s son, and hoping that Xavier can help to find him—arrives in time to use his super-speed to evacuate the students just before the explosion destroys the building, but Alex is presumed dead. Colonel William Stryker’s forces subsequently capture Hank, Raven, Peter, and Moira, and take them to a military facility for interrogation. Scott, Jean and Kurt covertly follow and liberate their comrades using Stryker’s mind-controlled and brainwashed experiment, Weapon X, whose memories Jean partially restores.

At En Sabah Nur’s behest, Erik uses his powers to control Earth’s magnetic poles, causing widespread destruction across the planet and mass casualties. En Sabah Nur plans to transfer his consciousness into Xavier’s body and use Xavier’s power to enslave the minds of every person on earth. Xavier secretly sends a telepathic distress call to Jean, and the others travel to Cairo to battle Apocalypse and his horsemen. They rescue Xavier, but he loses his hair as the process nears completion. Angel is defeated and incapacitated in the battle. Erik and Ororo are convinced to turn on En Sabah Nur and, with the help of Scott, they keep him occupied physically while Xavier fights him telepathically in the astral plane. Finally, Xavier encourages Jean to unleash the full extent of her powers, incinerating En Sabah Nur. In the ensuing chaos, Psylocke flees.

Xavier and Moira rekindle their relationship. Erik and Jean help reconstruct the school, but Erik refuses Xavier’s offer to stay and help teach. Peter decides not to tell Erik yet that he is Erik’s son. As the new X-Men, Hank and Raven train new recruits Scott, Jean, Ororo, Kurt and Peter.

In a post-credits scene, men in suits visit the Weapon X facility to retrieve data on Stryker’s mutant research, including an X-ray and a blood sample marked “Weapon X”, on behalf of the Essex Corporation.For some reason X men Apocalypse has taken a beating from critics and fans and to be honest I don’t really no why. I went to see this film with slightly lowered expectations following the early reviews and maybe that helped because I thoroughly enjoyed it. The cast was great. The old and the new the story was interesting and the villain serviceable. Perhaps it’s because now we get so many comic book movies that people compare too much but I wouldn’t compare the X men to anything else out there. It’s another solid entry in the franchise.

REVIEW: SUCKER PUNCH

 

CAST

Emily Browning (Sleeping Beauty)
Abbie Cornish (Limitless)
Jena Malone (Donnie Darko)
Vanessa Hudgens (Spring Breakers)
Jamie Chung (Once Upon A Time)
Carla Gugino (Watchmen)
Oscar Isaac (Star Wars: The Force Awakens)
Jon Hamm (Mad men)
Scott Glenn (The Silence of The Lambs)
Monique Ganderton (Smallville)
Peter Bryant (Dark Angel)
Patrick Sabongui (The Flash)
Chrstine Willes (Dead Like Me)
Ian Tracey (Bates Motel)
Gerard Plunkett (Travelers)
A.C. Peterson (Shooter)
Michael Adamthwaite (Stargate SG.1)

 

Like many men, when I saw the trailers appear for the film a number of things caught my eye immediately. First and foremost was the cast of hot scantily clad young women with cool sounding names like Baby Doll, Sweet Pea, Rocket, Amber, and Blondie. The next thing noticed was that it seemed to blend fantasy with a lot of ridiculously over the top action that involved zombie Nazis, fire-breathing dragons, robot samurai, and other entirely bizarre and irrational things that would surely only come out of the imagination of a weirdo who has a strong affection for anime, video games, and everything else considered genuinely bizarre: this was not the kind of thing I expected to see for a big-budget spectacle showpiece. The end result was that Sucker Punch ultimately looked to me like something that would only appeal to young men looking for thrills or pop-culture junkies. It seemed like it would have plenty of pretty images and little substance whatsoever. What could possibly be worthwhile about the film beyond some mere thrills.MV5BODk0MDI3NDI5N15BMl5BanBnXkFtZTcwNzc2MjA3NA@@._V1_SX1777_CR0,0,1777,825_AL_Sucker Punch begins with what essentially adds up to being a music video stylized opening that aims to bring audiences into the start of the story. Prepare to see a lot of this throughout the entire experience. I actually embraced it because it’s in part the kind of thing I always felt Snyder should be doing: making music videos or commercials. By placing an emphasis on the music and striking imagery I felt allowed to have a visceral experience that actually grabbed on to me and wouldn’t let me go. We discover early on that the girl we would soon know as Baby Doll (Emily Browning) was being sent to a mental institution by her stepfather. It’s no fault of her own mental health – she witnesses the murder of her younger sister who I presumed was also raped beforehand. The stepfather doesn’t stop there as he tries to rape and murder them both, and when Baby Doll fights back he somehow arranges it so that they believe the murder of her sister was why she was being committed into the mental institution in the first place.MV5BMTg1MjM1ODk3N15BMl5BanBnXkFtZTcwOTc2MjA3NA@@._V1_SX1777_CR0,0,1777,828_AL_Upon entering the mental institution Baby Doll enters a fantasy-world she creates where the storyline of Sucker Punch allows her to enter a dream within another dream state of mind (and this really made me wonder if this had anything to do with why Christopher Nolan picked Snyder for the Superman reboot). She visualizes the mental intuition as actually being a dance hall – but the truth of the fantasy is that the director of the asylum, Blue (Oscar Isaac), is really trying to prostitute the girls out to clients in his role as the owner of the dance hall. The doctor of the mental institution, Dr. Vera Gorski (Carla Gugino), is now seen as the dance instructor and every time one of the characters ‘dances’ they are actually entering a deeper fantasy world where all of the crazy video-game/anime like qualities truly step in to play (such as the dragons and robots – oh my!). The dancing in the film is never visualized in the way most men probably want or expect – there isn’t a lot of ‘sexy moves’ on display in these moments and to my disappointment I have heard some complaints about this as a detractor. The dances in this movie are not ordinary dances at all but are in fact moments when Baby Doll enters her deeper fantasy state.MV5BMjA1MzYxNDUwOV5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTcwNDY2MjA3NA@@._V1_SX1777_CR0,0,1777,829_AL_Baby Doll has met the other girls Rocket (Jena Malone), Amber (Jamie Chung), Sweet Pea (Abbie Cornish), and Blondie (Vanessa Hudgens). Eventually, the girls team up in each of these sequences. During the first ‘deep dream’ sequence Baby Doll encounters a seemingly wise old man (Scott Glenn) while alone. He informs her that in order to become free she must collect five items: a map, knife, fire, key, and another item that she must discover on her own. He also gives her a handgun and sword that can be used while inside her dream world. Over the course of the story, Baby Doll convinces the other girls that following this plan of action is the only way for them to escape. Some of the girls are on board with the idea while others (mainly Sweet Pea) seem against it.MV5BMTM0NjM2MjgxN15BMl5BanBnXkFtZTcwMDc3ODIxNA@@._V1_SX1500_CR0,0,1500,999_AL_I realized at some point that there began to be a correlation between the first layer of the fantasy world and the second one. Actions taking place within the dream-world fantasy affected the other. Characters died unexpectedly and the result was their death and removal from both of the fantasy plot-lines taking place. Towards the end of the film the items gathered are used for the last surviving girls to escape and they are used in the film . In concluding the story, Baby Doll realizes that the fifth thing needed for her to escape was simply her, and then she helps one of the other girls to find freedom while she stays behind. Upon entering into the reality of the situation – in the mental hospital – we find that Baby Doll is about to have a lobotomy. Dr. Gorski enters the room and talks to the man performing the lobotomy (Jon Hamm). She questions why such a thing is happening, and soon realizes that a forgery was done of her signature for someone to make the lobotomy occur. Yet it was already far too late as the operation had just been completed.Baby Doll is led away by some guards to a room where Blue awaits her. He tells her that he can now do anything with her that he wants to do. The guards seem reluctant; saying something about being sick of letting him do what he wants to these girls. Dr. Gorski breaks into the room and stops whatever was about to happen. In a scene that appears as an epilogue thereafter, we see the lone girl who escaped get onto a bus with the same old man from Baby Dolls dream world as the driver.The audience just got sucker punched. The conversation held between Dr. Gorski and the man performing the lobotomy revealed that Baby Doll had actually done some of the things the audience witnessed in the fantasy world she created. In other words, the film blends reality and fantasy in a way that makes it hard to state what moments were real and what moments weren’t. Some will call this a cop out. I actually disagree for once. It had my own imagination going rather wild.