REVIEW: TERMINATOR: THE SARAH CONNOR CHRONICLES – SEASON 2

Starring

Lena Headey (Game of Thrones)
Thomas Dekker (The Secret Circle)
Summer Glau (Firefly)
Richard T. Jones (Santa Clarita Diet)
Brian Austin Green (Anger Management)
Garret Dillahunt (12 Years a Slave)
Leven Rambin (The Hunger Games)
Shirley Manson (Top Wing)

Thomas Dekker in Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles (2008)

RECURRING / NOTABLE GUEST CAST

James Urbaniak (Suicide Squad: Hell To Pay)
Carlos Sanz (Runner Runner)
Max Perlich (Beautiful Girls)
Dean Winters (John Wick)
Dean Norris (Breaking Bad)
Zack Ward (Transformers)
Busy Philipps (White Chicks)
Sonya Walger (Lost)
Leah Pipes (The Originals)
Mackenzie Brooke Smith (A Winter Rose)
Jillian Armenante (Bad TEacher)
Jon Huertas (Castle)
Jonathan Jackson (Nashville)
Will Rothhaar (Battle Los Angeles)
Dorian Harewood (Full Metal Jacket)
Shane Edelman (Flightplan)
Stephany Jacobsen (Star-Crossed)
Derek Riddell (Gunpowder)
Emilio Rivera (Venom)
Richard Schiff (Man of Steel)
Adam Busch (Buffy: TVS)
Eddie Shin (Westworld)
Eric Steinberg (Stargate SG.1)
Todd Stashwick (The Originals)
Rebecca Creskoff (Bates Motel)
Samantha Krutzfeldt (A Mann’s World)
Carlos Jacott (Big Love)
Ned Bellamy (Twilight)
Barry Livingston (Argo)
Laura Regan (Dead Silence)
Connor Trinneer (Star Trek: Enterprise)
Jamison Jones (Hollywood Homicide)
Chad Lindberg (The Fast and The Furious)
Alanna Masterson (The Walking Dead)
Adam Wylie (Child’s Play 2)
Cyd Strittmatter (Gone Girl)
Michelle Arthur (Goldeneye)
Manny Montana (Conviction)
Julie Ann Emery (Better Call Saul)
Alex Carter (Out of Time)
Theo Rossi (Luke Cage)
Chad L. Coleman (The Orville)
Yuri Lowenthal (Young Justice)
Sabrina Perez (American Exit)
Joshua Malina (The Big Bang Theory)

Summer Glau in Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles (2008)I enjoyed the first season of Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles, despite its shortened season which fell victim to the writer’s strike, I was looking forward to what they had in store for Season Two. The first season had excellent performances and action sequences, appealing storylines, and show runner Josh Friedman was performing his job well. I expected things to fall in line for Season Two, however I had a small bit of apprehension: the addition of Shirley Manson, normally the lead singer of the band Garbage, to the cast.Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles (2008)I thought this was a dicey proposition. Manson had not done any real acting work before, and Friedman might have been overreaching. Granted, his casting masterstroke in Season One was Brian Austin Green, formerly of Beverly Hills 90210, now appearing as Derek Reese, brother of Kyle. As a brief overview for those unfamiliar with the mythology, Kyle is father to John Connor (Thomas Dekker, A Nightmare on Elm Street), leader of the resistance against Skynet and the cyborg army of terminators. John’s mother Sarah is played by Lena Headley (300). And of course, it wouldn’t be a show about terminators without one as a cast regular; enter Summer Glau (Firefly) as Cameron. More on all of them in a minute.Shirley Manson in Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles (2008)Back to the risky decision. Manson plays Catherine Weaver, CEO of a high-powered technology corporation called ZeiraCorp. Manson is a T-1000, similar to Robert Patrick in T2, and she assumes the life of the real Weaver, who died in a helicopter crash with her husband. Their daughter is still alive, which presents a unique challenge, as a terminator hasn’t been placed in a truly maternal role before. Oddly enough, Manson’s role as an emotionless being trying to figure out how to be a mother is one of the season’s better performances (in “The Tower Is Tall But The Fall Is Short”), and she proves to be a capable actress. This introspection from non-feeling machine against a motherly disposition is fascinating in how Manson can show her emotions and yet not reveal her hand, as it were.Summer Glau in Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles (2008)Fortunately, we see similar stories behind other characters. In the episode “Allison From Palmdale,” not only do we discover Cameron’s origins but also why her physical traits were used as a model for a terminator. The performance is not as deep as Manson’s, but Glau does admirably. The self-evaluation continues with John as he gets involved in a relationship with Riley (Leven Rambin), which is almost like the last part of teenaged life he’ll enjoy before his imminent future with the resistance, of which Sarah dutifully reminds him. Sarah continues to struggle with her mortality because of a possible illness, and Derek has a particular conflict with Jesse (Stephanie Jacobsen, Life on Mars), who also came back from the future with motives that appear to differ from Derek’s. The quality of guest stars improved as well: Dean Winters (Oz) and Garret Delahunt (No Country For Old Men) reprise their roles as Charley and Cromartie, respectively. As Agent Ellison, Richard T. Jones is a guy who questions his spirituality and later rationalizes it to believe that what he does is right, though we know otherwise. Some of the other faces in Season Two include former West Wing regulars Richard Schiff and Joshua Malina, and Dorian Harewood (Full Metal Jacket) plays a psychiatrist whose work affects several cast regulars, and has long-lasting impacts for future episodes.Brian Austin Green, Lena Headey, and Dean Winters in Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles (2008)But it’s not like any Terminator project is known for its ensemble work. This has the requisite amount of action sequences and visual effects, and that action helps emphasize the points the story is trying to tell. For a good CG illustration, Manson kills the staff of a warehouse before blowing it up, but normally most of the stunts are done practically and look convincing as a result.Brian Austin Green, Lena Headey, and Summer Glau in Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles (2008)Sadly though, I have to think that there weren’t enough people willing to take a leap of faith and give the show a chance because it wasn’t a big-budget action film. It told stories with each of its characters and did so well. I’m guessing that wasn’t appreciated. Additionally, the release of the fourth Terminator film in the summer of 2009 probably gave the show an over saturation point with the public which hampered any acceptance of it. So now the show’s gone from our televisions, and while we have a new crop of reality shows and sitcoms with retread stars to pore over, I’d encourage people to give The Sarah Connor Chronicles a second view. It’s funny, smart, suspenseful, intriguing and artistic. And yes, it’s a science fiction show. Further proof that the genre has some quality creative minds contributing to it.

REVIEW: CHARLIE’S ANGELS (2000)

CAST

Cameron Diaz (Bad Teacher)
Drew Barrymore (Poison Ivy)
Lucy Liu (Kill BIll)
Bill Murray (Groundhog Day)
Sam Rockwell (Iron Man 2)
Kelly Lynch (Road House)
Tim Curry (IT)
Crispin Glover (Alice In Wonderland)
Matt LeBlanc (Friends)
LL Cool J (Deep Blue Sea)
Tom Green (Road Trip)
Luke Wilson (That 70s Show)
Sean Whalen (Twister)
Melissa McCarthy (Spy)
Ned Bellamy (Terminator: TSCC)
John Forsythe (Scrooged)
Kevin Grevioux (Underworld)
Michael Papajohn (Spider-Man)

Drew Barrymore in Charlie's Angels (2000)Natalie Cook (Cameron Diaz) Dylan Sanders (Drew Barrymore) and Alex Munday (Lucy Liu) are the “Angels”, three talented, tough, attractive women who work as private investigators together for an unseen millionaire named Charlie (voiced by John Forsythe) Charlie uses a speaker in his offices to communicate with the Angels, and his assistant Bosley (Bill Murray) works with them directly when needed.Drew Barrymore, Cameron Diaz, and Lucy Liu in Charlie's Angels (2000)Charlie assigns the Angels to find Eric Knox (Sam Rockwell), a software genius who created a revolutionary voice-recognition system and heads his own company, Knox Enterprises. Knox is believed to have been kidnapped by Roger Corwin (Tim Curry), who runs a communications-satellite company called Redstar. The Angels infiltrate a party held by Corwin and spot a suspicious-looking man that they had previously seen from surveillance videos of Knox’s kidnapping. Dubbing him the “Thin Man” (Crispin Glover), the Angels chase him down and fight him; he gets away but the Angels find Knox, safely held nearby.Drew Barrymore, Cameron Diaz, and Lucy Liu in Charlie's Angels (2000)After the Angels reunite Knox with his business partner Vivian Wood (Kelly Lynch) Charlie explains that they must determine whether the Thin Man has stolen Knox’s voice-recognition software. The Angels infiltrate Redstar headquarters, fool the security system, and plant a device in the central computer that will enable them to explore it remotely. They retire for the night after giving Bosley the laptop computer that communicates with the Redstar computer. Dylan takes up Knox’s offer to spend the night with him, and they end up having sex. Afterwards, Knox betrays her; simultaneously, attacks are made on Natalie and Alex, Bosley is captured by Vivian, and Corwin is murdered by the Thin Man. Knox tells Dylan his kidnapping was all faked to get the Angels to help him access the Redstar satellite network. He plans to use it along with his voice recognition software to find and kill Charlie, who Knox asserts killed his father in the Vietnam War.The Angels are back on the chain gangDylan escapes and reunites with Natalie and Alex, all who survived their attacks. They approach Charlie’s offices just as the building explodes. They find a radio transmitter that Bosley is able to communicate through via a radio transmitter implanted in a tooth. Bosley provides enough information of his place of captive to allow Natalie to deduce its location, an abandoned lighthouse. With help from Dylan’s current boyfriend Chad (Tom Green) the Angels stealthily approach the lighthouse. They are too late from stopping Knox from determining Charlie’s location, but they rescue Bosley and defeat Vivian, the Thin Man, and some henchmen before Knox blows up the lighthouse. Knox flies an attack helicopter towards Charlie’s house, while Bosley helps the Angels board it. Alex reprograms the missile to have it shoot backwards, which blows up the helicopter and kills Knox while all of the Angels land safely together on the beach.The Angels get ready to rumble...Seeing the opportunity to finally meet Charlie in person, they enter the beach house that Knox had targeted the missile at, but Charlie has already left. He remotely congratulates the Angels on a job well done through another speaker, and treats them and Bosley to a vacation. Charlie tells them that Knox’s father was undercover; however, he was discovered and he was killed by someone else but not Charlie. When he speaks to the Angels unseen again by telephone on the beach, they ask if they could ever meet him in person. Dylan then suspects that she might be seeing him nearby talking into a cell phone, but she doesn’t tell the group.Cameron Diaz, Lucy Liu, and Bob Stephenson in Charlie's Angels (2000)There’s no intellectual challenges made in this movie’s plot, and that’s how it should be; the characters are only slightly more fleshed-out than any of the ones from the TV show, and that’s also not a bad thing – if you put too much seriousness into this kind of film, you wind up killing the roaring-good times to be had. What really makes the film work is the charisma ( & physical charms )of the 3 leading ladies, combined with well-choreographed action sequences and the tongue-in-cheek script. If you enjoy Diaz, Barrymore & Liu ( not to mention Bill Murray )when they’re on the screen, you’ll love this flick.

 

REVIEW: ANTITRUST

CAST

Ryan Phillippe (Cruel Intentions)
Rachael Leigh Cook (Texas Rangers)
Claire Forlani (Mallrats)
Tim Robbins (Mystic River)
Richard Roundtree (Shaft)
Yee Jee Tso (50/50)
Nate Dushku (Wolf Girl)
Ned Bellamy (Terminator: TSCC)
Tyler Labine (Rise of The Planet of The Apes)
Zahf Paroo (Andromeda)
Jonathan Young (Sanctuary)
Rick Worthy (The Vampire Diaries)
Nathaniel DeVeaux (The Core)
Eric Breker (Godzilla)
Colin Cunningham (Elektra)
JR Bourne (Stargate SG.1)
Sarah Deakins (Andromeda)

Working with his three friends at their new software development company Skullbocks, Stanford graduate Milo Hoffman is contacted by CEO Gary Winston of NURV (Never Underestimate Radical Vision) for a very attractive programming position: a fat paycheck, an almost-unrestrained working environment, and extensive creative control over his work. Accepting Winston’s offer, Hoffman and his girlfriend, Alice Poulson, move to NURV headquarters in Portland, Oregon. Despite development of the flagship product (Synapse, a worldwide media distribution network) being well on schedule, Hoffman soon becomes suspicious of the excellent source code Winston personally provides to him, seemingly when needed most, while refusing to divulge the code’s origin.MV5BMTU3ODM0OTQzMl5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTYwNTk4MTA3._V1_After his best friend, Teddy Chin, is murdered, Hoffman discovers that NURV is stealing the code they need from programmers around the world—including Chin—and then killing them to cover their tracks. Hoffman learns that not only does NURV employ an extensive surveillance system to observe and steal code, the company has infiltrated the Justice Department and most of the mainstream media. Even his girlfriend is a plant, an ex-con hired by the company to manipulate him. While searching through a secret NURV database containing surveillance dossiers on employees, he finds that the company has information of a very personal nature about a friend and co-worker, Lisa Calighan. When he reveals to her that the company has this information, she agrees to help him expose NURV’s crimes to the world. Coordinating with Brian Bissel, one of Hoffman’s friends from his old startup, they plan to use a local public-access television station to hijack Synapse and broadcast their charges against NURV to the world. However, Calighan turns out to be a double agent, foils Hoffman’s plan, and turns him over to Winston.

Hoffman had already confronted Poulson and convinced her to side with him against Winston and NURV. When it became clear that Hoffman had not succeeded, a backup plan is put into motion by Poulson, the fourth member of Skullbocks, and the incorruptible internal security firm hired by NURV. As Winston prepares to kill Hoffman, the second team successfully usurps one of NURV’s own work centers—”Building 21″—and transmits the incriminating evidence as well as the Synapse code. Calighan, Winston and his entourage are publicly arrested for their crimes. After parting ways with the redeemed Poulson, Hoffman rejoins Skullbocks.Antitrust is the best tech movie I have ever seen. The cast is perfect.  I recommend it to everyone I know in IT, and most anyone else too.

REVIEW: ED WOOD

40.1CAST

Johnny Depp (Into The Woods)
Martin Landau (North By Northwest)
Sarah Jessica Parker (Sex and The City)
Patricia Arquette (Stigmata)
Jeffrey Jones (Howard The Duck)
Vincent D’Onofrio (Daredevil)
Bill Murray (Ghostbusters)
Lisa Marie (Sleepy Hollow)
Juliet Landau (Buffy)
Maurice LaMarche (Futurama)
Ned Bellamy (Twilight)
Rance Howard (Universal Soldier)

In 1952, Ed Wood (Johnny Depp) is struggling to join the film industry. Upon hearing of an announcement in Variety magazine that producer George Weiss (Mike Starr) is trying to purchase Christine Jorgensen’s life story, Ed is inspired to meet Weiss in person. Weiss explains that Variety‍ ’s announcement was a news leak, and it is impossible to purchase Jorgensen’s rights. The producer decides to “fictionalize” the film, titled I Changed My Sex!. Ed tries to convince Weiss that he is perfect to direct I Changed My Sex! because he is a transvestite, but is unsuccessful since Weiss wants a director with experience. One day, Ed meets his longtime idol Bela Lugosi (Martin Landau), after spotting him trying out a casket. Ed drives Bela home and the two become friends. Later, Wood persuades Weiss to let him direct I Changed My Sex! by convincing him that having a star in the film would sell tickets, and they could sign Bela for a low price.

Ed and Weiss argue over the film’s title and subject matter: Weiss has already had the poster printed, which Ed changes to Glen or Glenda and writes the film about a transvestite rather than a sex change. In the end, Weiss allows Ed to shoot whatever he wants as long as the film meets the required length. Ed takes to film production with an unusual approach; usually shooting only one take per scene, giving actors very little direction, and using stock footage to fill in gaps. After filming, the movie is released to critical and commercial failure. Because of this, Ed is unsuccessful in getting a job at Screen Classics, but Ed’s girlfriend, Dolores Fuller (Sarah Jessica Parker), tells him that he should try financing his next film independently. Ed is unsuccessful in finding money for Bride of the Atom, but is introduced to the psychic The Amazing Criswell (Jeffrey Jones) who gives him advice on how to sell himself better.MV5BMTgwMjAxMDc2NV5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTgwMDgyMTcyMTI@._V1_At a bar, Ed meets Loretta King (Juliet Landau), who he thinks has enough money to fund Bride of the Atom and ends up casting her as the lead instead of Dolores as originally planned. Dolores was extremely angry about it. Filming begins, but is halted when it is revealed that Loretta is actually poor, and therefore Ed has no money to continue production. Ed convinces meat packing industry tycoon Don McCoy (Rance Howard) to take over funding the film, who agrees as long as the film stars his son Tony as the leading man and the film ends with an explosion. The filming of Bride of the Atom finishes, with the title being changed to Bride of the Monster, but Dolores breaks up with Ed after the wrap party because of his circle of friends, his work, and transvestism. Also, Bela, who is revealed to be highly depressed and a morphine addict, attempts to conduct a double suicide with Ed after the government cuts off his unemployment, but is talked out of it. Bela checks himself into rehab, and Ed meets Kathy O’Hara (Patricia Arquette), who is visiting her father at the same hospital. Ed takes her on a date and reveals to her his transvestism, which she accepts.

Ed begins to shoot a film with Bela outside his home. When Ed and company attend the premiere for Bride of the Monster, an angry mob chases them out of the theater. Sometime later, Bela passes away, leaving Ed without a star. Ed convinces a church leader named Reynolds that funding Ed’s script for Grave Robbers from Outer Space would result in a box office success, and generate enough money for Reynolds’ dream project (the Twelve Apostles films). Dr. Tom Mason (Ned Bellamy), Kathy’s chiropractor, is chosen to be Bela’s stand-in for resembling Lugosi (with half his face covered). However, Ed and the Baptists begin having conflicts over the title and content of the script which they want to have changed to Plan 9 from Outer Space along with Ed’s B movie directing style, his casting decisions and his transvestism. This causes a distressed Ed to leave the set and immediately take a taxi to the nearest bar, where he encounters his idol Orson Welles (Vincent D’Onofrio). Welles tells Ed that “visions are worth fighting for”, and filming for Plan 9 finishes with Ed taking action against his producers. The film ends with the premiere of Plan 9 with Ed believing it will be the film he “will be remembered for”, and Ed and Kathy taking off to Las Vegas to get married.

This is an immensely entertaining film, both comic and endearing. It masterfully portrays Wood in a humorous light, while not being demeaning or insulting. The strong acting, writing, and directing make this unique movie a film worth seeing