REVIEW: V-WARS – SEASON 1

Adrian Holmes and Ian Somerhalder in V-Wars (2019)

Starring

Ian Somerhalder (The Vampire Diaries)
Adrian Holmes (Smallville)
Jacky Lai (Shadowhunters)
Kyle Breitkopf (Wonder)
Peter Outerbridge (Saw VI)
Kimberly-Sue Murray (Crimson Peak)
Sydney Meyer (The Expance)
Kandyse McClure (Battlestar Galactica)
Laura Vandervoort (Bitten)

Ian Somerhalder in V-Wars (2019)

Recurring / Noable Guest Stars

Jessica Harmon (Izombie)
Michael Greyeyes (Passchendaele)
Greg Bryk (Bitten)
Nigel Bennett (Cypher)
Samantha Cole (The Dwelling)
Nikki Reed (Sleepy Hollow)
Ted Atherton (Max Payne)
Bo Martyn (Molly’s Game)
Laura de Carteret (Mean Girls)

MV5BM2Q3NDk3YTItMmZjMi00NmJiLWI2MzEtZjBmMjJmNDllZWMzXkEyXkFqcGdeQXVyOTg3NjI1MTg@._V1_Vampire mythology is something that’s been a constant fascination for mankind. From Dracula and Salem’s Lot through to the genre-defining Buffy The Vampire Slayer, these blood-sucking fiends have been a mainstay on the big and small screen for as long as I can remember. With such an illustrious pool of talent to contend with, it’s always hard for newcomers to stake their own claim on this genre and stand out. Despite a promising start, V-Wars descends into all the usual tropes you’d expect from a network TV show released in the early 2000’s, complete with expository-heavy dialogue, cliches and plenty of plot twists designed for dramatic tension rather that plot cohesion.MV5BZTE0MGU3ODItZmVlYi00YTk3LTk5MTAtY2FjMWI2MTVmNjhhXkEyXkFqcGdeQXVyMjYwNDA2MDE@._V1_The story itself revolves around Dr Luther, a scientist who accidentally brings an ancient virus back with his best friend Michael after a trip to a polar research station. Unfortunately, this results in Michael being turned into a blood-sucking vampire. As the infection spreads, Luther is forced to team up with National Security to bring his friend back from his murderous rampage and stop the infection from spreading. As the story progresses, several different subplots crop up, involving a vampire hunter called Bobby and sisters Dani and Mila who find their world turned upside down thanks to the infection. There are other characters here as well, all of which intertwining into the messy and slightly convoluted main conflict revolving around the Bloods and humankind.MV5BZTI5YzM2ZjctZjJhOC00MWI2LTg3Y2EtODg3ZTYxMTM1ODcxXkEyXkFqcGdeQXVyOTUxMzY0Njg@._V1_While the actual ideas are pretty good, the execution leaves a lot to be desired. I said it earlier in the review but V-Wars feels very network-TV-like in it’s approach and continues this way throughout the 10 episodes. The opening hour-long slice of drama is surprisingly good though, introducing vampires through a credible and believably written origin story. Unfortunately, from here the world never expands or feels that big, confining its main conflict and uprisings to news snippets about the infection on TV and keeping things rooted to several different main areas throughout the opening ten episodes. I say opening because the series sets things up with an almighty cliffhanger at the end which lays the foundations for a second season to follow. In doing so, subsequently pushing the story forward four months without a satisfying conclusion to any of the plot threads opened during this timelinetmp_UqTETi_941eb592eb89e030_VW_103-104_Unit_01300_R.The dialogue continues to spout exposition throughout the series too and some of the subplots, involving a romance for Mila, feel contrived and oddly half-baked. At worst, some of the character decisions feel oddly out of sync with what we’ve learnt up until that point too, including Luther’s ex-wife Rachel. Even worse still, there’s several different subplots that are introduced throughout the ten episodes and dumped unceremoniously and in an unsatisfying manner. The vampire hunter angle is all but wrapped up midway through, replaced by a different character instead, while the conflict between the Bloods and humans never reaches a dramatic climax thanks to another conflict cropping up and muddying the waters late on.v-wars-3-e1572876496671Of course, fans of The Vampire Diaries and other shows of its kind will immediately be drawn to The V-Wars (thanks in part to lead man Ian Somerhalder sinking his vampiric teeth into this one after staring in the aforementioned heavy hitter). There is a moreish feel to a lot of the episodes too and the different cliffhangers will almost certainly see you binge through this one in a few nights. Unfortunately V-Wars also suffers from a heavy dose of deus ex machina too because of this. Numerous times Luther is held up at gunpoint or seemingly about to die when a conveniently placed character or plot mechanic crops up and saves the day. Once or twice is fine but this feels like a constant recurring theme for a lot of the other characters too.netflix-v-wars-vampire-horror-tv-show-trailer-fb-ll315w46miDespite all this, V-Wars will find its audience. I do like a good vampire flick but this is a difficult one to recommend given the wealth of other options in this field. I could list dozens of vampire shows worth indulging and sinking time into and unfortunately V-Wars is not one of them. The series has far too many issues with its storytelling and structure, devolving into cliches and nestling in all the usual network TV tropes you’d expect, but instead showcased on Netflix instead. With a second season already in the works, this may be enough for seasoned fans of the genre to jump into but for those looking for a big budget thrill-ride, V-Wars is unlikely to scratch that itch.

REVIEW: HIGHLANDER: THE SERIES – SEASON 4

Starring

Adrian Paul (Arrow)
Stan Kirsch (Shallow Ground)
Jim Byrnes (Sanctuary)

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RECURRING / NOTABLE GUEST CAST

Kristin Minter (Home Alone)
Matthew Walker (Ginger Snaps Back)
Carsten Norgaard (The Three Musketeers)
Anna Hagan (Reindeer Games)
Laurie Holden (The Americans)
Scott McNeil (Beast Wars)
Robert Moloney (Power Rangers)
Gerard Plunkett (Travelers)
Philip Akin (Robocop 2014)
Liliana Komorowska (The Art of War)
Wolfgang Bodison (A Few Good Men)
Pruitt Taylor Vince (Identity)
Callum Keith Rennie (Impulse)
Chilton Crane (Final Destination 2)
Louis Ferreira (Stargate Universe)
Travis MacDonald (In The Name of The King)
Venus Terzo (Beast Wars)
Rachel Hayward (Jake 2.0)
Yee Jee Tso (50/50)
Elizabeth Gracen (Marked For Death)
Nicholas Campbell (Naked Lunch)
Myles Ferguson (Edgemont)
Lisa Howard (Rarth: Final Conflict)
Dave Ward (So Weird)
Peter Outerbridge (Saw VI)
Kevin McNulty (Stargate SG.1)
Jill Teed (X-Men 2)
Peter Bryant (Legends of Tomorrow)
Veena Sood (Hope Island)
Brent Stait (Andromeda)
Molyl Parker (Lost In Space)
Suleka Mathew (Claws)
Emmanuelle Vaugier (Two and a Half Men)
Peter Wingfield (Sanctuary)
Ann Turkel (Modesty Blaise)
Rae Dawn Chong (Commando)
Ron Halder (Stargate SG.1)
Ocean Hellman (Along Came A Spider)
Byron Chief-Moon (Twilight: Eclipse)
Benjamin Ratner (Wonder)
Carl Chase (Alien 3)
Michael J.Jackson (Coronation Street)
Ricco Ross (Aliens)
Peta Wilson (Superman Returns)
Jamie Harris (Carnival Row)
Nadia Cameron-Blakey (Batman Begins)
Crispin Bonham-Carter (Relic Hunter)
Simon Kunz (The Cave)
Dougray Scott (Batwoman)
Roland Gift (Brakes)
Stacey Travis (Mystery Men)
Jeremy Brudenell (The House of Eliott)
Roger Daltrey (Tommy)
Graham McTavish (The HObbit)
Jesse Joe Walsh (JCVD)
Peter Hudson (Hitman)

maxresdefaultThe goodness continues in 1995 for the fourth season of Highlander: The Series. In fact, the immortal angst just keeps getting better and better- and dare I say it- even great. Duncan MacLeod (Adrian Paul) and his on again off again immortal love Amanda (Elizabeth Gracen) must face deadly rogue immortals and even a Dark Quickening while 5,000 year old Methos (Peter Wingfield) falls in love with a dying mortal woman. When the Watcher Tribunal investigates watcher Joe Dawson (Jim Byrnes) for his friendship with Duncan and fellow immortal Richie Ryan (Stan Kirsch), Joe must fight for not just his status in the secret organization sworn to observe immortals but never interfere- but also for his very life. MV5BMTcyODg2Mjk1Ml5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTgwODQ0NTEzMjE@._V1_Well, Highlander: The Series is now a class unto itself, complete with some seriously sweet opening credits. Everything you need to know about immortals, Duncan MacLeod, and the Watchers is swiftly tressed out in style with this introduction! At this point, Highlander: The Series is a completely separate entity from the inferior sequel films, even the sword sparring shot of theatrical Highlander Connor MacLeod is gone from the opening designs. Season 4’s opener “Homeland” rekindles Duncan’s Scottish roots in fine form, exploring not just immortals freely beyond the film series’ restraints but also filling in Duncan’s timeline with both new places from the past and contemporary individual dilemmas. Not oft touched subjects such as Vietnam are mixed with lovely immortal examinations on war, death, and revenge. Mental illness is debated in “The Innocent,” creativity and human genius versus immortality are questioned in “Timeless,” and immortals seeking fame compared to those who are best left forgetting their immortal transgressions are contrasted in “The Immortal Cimoli” and “Through a Glass, Darkly.” Highlander-TV-640x362Oh dear oh dear, Duncan MacLeod can certainly be a melancholy bloke, can’t he? His continued somber stance and high road in each weekly dilemma is a wonderful contrast to his dishing out periodic beheadings. Can he be both a warrior and loyal to moral oaths he has promised to himself and other immortals over the years? “Reluctant Heroes,” “The Wrath of Kali,” and “Chivalry” put Mac between the mortal rock and the immortal hard place again and again. Sure, there may be great action and battles when we meet an immortal villain of the week, but Highlander: The Series is more wonderful when it brings immortal friends together and puts MacLeod in the middle. Naturally then, it’s just great to see Mac go bad in “Something Wicked” and “Deliverance.” Not only can Paul- who also directed two episodes this season- be crazy cool, but it is so sweet to see Duncan knowingly struggle against doing wrongs he has fought against for centuries. Golly, Dark Duncan does a lot of using and abusing of any and all in his wake! Likewise, the restored MacLeod pains over being called to assassinate in “Promises.” Wow, immortality isn’t all it’s cracked up to be- who knew? highlander31Fortunately, MacLeod’s sexy run and gun lady foil Amanda adds some much needed cheerfulness and fun in “Double Eagle.” We even get to see a more tender and loving side to Elizabeth Gracen’s vixen in “Reunion,” where she bonds with Mac’s pregnant ex, Lisa Howard guesting as Dr. Anne Lindsay. “The Colonel” provides some great WWI action that comes back to haunt Mac- with Amanda being the one who saves the day for a change! By contrast, Peter Wingfield as Methos is wonderful as the angry and pesky advocate to MacLeod. Despite his often sidelined observant and pacifist stance, Methos is not afraid to do what Mac cannot for the good at hand- or even the personal if it suits him. He wouldn’t have gotten very far without being selfish would he? It’s never out right stated, but you have to wonder if Amanda and Methos have met before. “Methuselah’s Gift” may be one of the best non-MacLeod centric episodes of the series, and every time I watch it, it drives me insane that Wingfield and Gracen are not series regulars. Why can’t they be in the credits? These two appear in the same amount of episodes, if not more, than credited regulars Stan Kirsch and Jim Byrnes do. If all four were listed, it wouldn’t seem like such a disparity, but rather a rotation of supporting players. Yes, its stupid things like this that keep me up at night!7d63cd4f132b0f1812754e6a27dd5592And yes, Richie finally has something to do in “The Innocent” and “Leader of the Pack.” Even if it’s goodness at the time, he always ends up disappearing. Lisa Howard’s final appearance as Anne in “The Blitz,” tells us so much more than Richie’s sporadic appearances. If Kirsch is actually used like a guest star as needed, then why does he get to be in the ^&*(%#@ opening credits? Ahhh! Fortunately, Roger Daltry and Roland Gift also return for “Till Death” and “Double Jeopardy.” Even if there are 7 immortals in one episode, it seems no more than 4 or 5 are ever onscreen together- what’s up with that? Is that some sort of rule like Holy Ground that we don’t know about? This season I also feel like we don’t get enough of Joe Dawson- especially because what we do get teases us with the notion that there’s so much more to tell. “Brothers in Arms” wonderfully highlights how Dawson came to the Watchers while also giving closure for Philip Akin and his Charlie DeSalvo. Although they are almost clip shows recapping some of the immortal and watcher hijinks, the two-part finale “Judgment Day” and “One Minute to Midnight” recap the best parts of Highlander: The Series thus far. All those times you have questioned how Joe and MacLeod got away with all the death and secrecy have indeed come back to haunt them.highlander-the-seriesI’ve already commented previously that some of the Quickenings in Highlander: The Series seem a little orgasmic, to say the least. However, in this recent rewatching, I’m also seeing more homosexual innuendo and gay subtext than I used to notice. Bare butt shots and picking out wallpaper together? Some of the relationships implied here and in Season 5- both male and female- even the entire notion of men cutting off each other’s heads to take one’s essence, the swordfights themselves, each immortal having a teacher or mentor who shows them the ways of it all. Dear Lord, the way they hide on Holy Ground and become Priests with secrets! Maybe I’m just older and wiser on seeing such themes onscreen now, or perhaps it is bemusing for some to look for such tongue in cheek goodness. It isn’t so overt to ruin Highlander: The Series for those not interested in such topics, but audiences who enjoy the male bonding and non traditional relationships may find some frank discussion of true companionship- with immortal twists of course. For the series not to acknowledge the special life long relationships immortals can share would simply be unrealistic.239581Again, I must say those opening credits are sweet- capturing the essence of the show in proper 90s style. We simply don’t get fine introductions like this anymore! The period designs are again great, from the French Revolution to the Old West and World War II. The house that Mac rebuilds is also neat- even if the real estate prices and square footage given onscreen don’t quite match up! The leather jackets and trench coats still look cool and timeless compared to some of the more colorful and crazy fashions from some immortals. What were they thinking? The jazzy period music and Swing styles are also sweet as are new times and places like India. Even past places we are used to seeing look good, more than good, high end even. Fans who want to know all the behind the scenes ins and outs are again welcome to a smorgasbord of features. Almost every episode offers some or all of the following: an audio and/or video commentary, a 5 or 10 minute behind the scenes and/or retrospective interview with cast and crew, Watcher’s Chronicles, deleted scenes, bloopers- and there’s a CD with every script and the series call sheets. Simply put, if you are a fan of intelligent timeless action and adventure fantasy, there is no reason you shouldn’t love Highlander: The Series. We’re done Season 4 now, come on get with it before you loose your head!

REVIEW: BEAUTY AND THE BEAST (2012) – SEASON 1

MAIN CAST

Kristin Kreuk (Smallville)
Jay Ryan (Mary Kills people)
Austin Basis (J. Edgar)
Nina Lisandrello (The Devil Wears Prada)
Brian White (The Cabin In The Woods)
Max Brown (Agent Carter)
Sendhil Ramamurthy (Heroes)

Kristin Kreuk and Jay Ryan in Beauty and the Beast (2012)

RECURRING / NOTABLE GUEST CAST

Yannick Bisson (Mutant X)
Britt Irvin (Big Eyes)
Khaira Ledeyo (Da Vinci’s Inquest)
Peter Outerbridge (Lucky Number Sleven)
Rob Stewart (Painkiller Jane)
Nicole Gale Anderson (Mean Girls 2)
Luke Macfarlane (Killjoys)
Elizabeth Blackmore (The Vampire Diaries)
Lara Jean Chorostecki (Hannibal)
Mädchen Amick (Twin Peaks)
Alex Carter (Out of Time)
Jenn Proske (Vampires Suck)
Kelly Overton (Van Helsing)
Kimberly-Sue Murray (V-Wars)
Mike Dopud (Stargate Universe)
Rachel Skarsten (Reign)
Hal Ozsan (Jessica Jones)
Bianca Lawson (Buffy: TVS)
Rena Sofer (Traffic)
Bridget Regan (Agent Carter)
Luke Roberts (Black Sails)
Brendan Hines (Lie To Me)
William deVry (Earth: Final Conflict)
Ty Olsson (Battlestar Galactica)
Ed Gathegi (X-Men: First Class)
Steve Lund (Bitten)
Shantel VanSanten (The Flash)
Ted Whittall (Smallville)

Beauty and the Beast is a remake of the 1987 series of the same name. That show starred Linda Hamilton and Ron Perlman and while it only lasted three seasons  it developed a very loyal fan base. This remake was not greeted with a lot of critical praise.The show begins in 2003 with Kristin Kreuk as Catherine Chandler. She works at a bar while preparing for her LSAT. She’s asked to close the bar, but when she tries to leave, her car won’t start, so she calls her mom. However, after her mom gets there, they are approached by two men. Her mother tells her to get in the car, but before she can, the men shoot her mother, so Cat runs into the woods. She doesn’t get too far before she trips and smacks her head. It looks like she will be killed, but then something attacks the two men and kills them. She can’t tell what it is, because of her concussion, but she thinks it is some kind of beast.Nine years later, Cat is a detective with the NYPD and while her mother’s murder hasn’t been solved yet, she’s mostly put it past her. However, that changes when there’s a new case she and her partner, Tess Vargas, are working on. There’s two main clues, a fingerprint and some DNA evidence. The DNA evidence is curious, as it points to mixed species. This is exactly what happened nine years ago with her mother’s murder. The finger print belongs to Vincent Keller (Jay Ryan) a soldier who was killed in Afghanistan years ago. While trying to find information on Vincent, she tracks down his old roommate, J.T. Forbes, and suspects he’s hiding something. She’s right, he’s hiding Vincent. Vincent underwent a super-soldier program in the military, but there were side effects. When angry, he transformers into a beast. He faked his death and is in hiding, because everyone else who underwent the procedure is dead. The company, Muirfield, killed everyone to cover their tracks, and they are willing to kill again to keep their secret. However, they didn’t count on Cat and Vincent teaming up to uncover what they covered up.Jay Ryan in Beauty and the Beast (2012)As I was watching the first season of Beauty and the Beast, It was slow at first, as the show was trying to find it’s feet, wth introduction of Sendhil Ramamurthy near the end of the season it did pick up.The cliffhanger does leave you clammering for more and thankfully this show did continue for another 3 seasons.

REVIEW: SANCTUARY – SEASON 1

Starring

Amanda Tapping (Stargate SG.1)
Robin Dunne (Space Milkshake)
Emilie Ullerup (Artic Air)
Christopher Heyerdahl (Van Helsing)

Recurring / Notable Guest Cast

Ryan Robbins (Arrow)
Kavan Smith (Stargate: Atlantis)
Kandyse McClure (Battlestar Galactica)
Peter Shinkoda (Daredevil)
Chuck Campbell (Jason X)
Michael Adamthwaite (Stargate SG.1)
Ellie Harvie (Izombie)
Panou (Flash Gordon)
Kirsten Robek (Critters: A New Binge)
Leah Cairns (Interstellar)
Laura Mennell (Van Helsing)
Peter Bryant (Leegnds of Tomorrow)
Peter Outerbridge (Saw VI)
Mackenzie Gray (man of Steel)
Alex Zahara (Horns)
Matthew Walker (Highlander: The Series)
David Richmond-Peck (V)
James Kirk (She’s The Man)
Sarah Strange (Men In Trees)
David Nykl (Arrow)
Katharine Isabelle (Hannibal)
Jonathon Young (Impastor)
Gabrielle Rose (If I Stay)
Jim Byrnes (Highlander: The Series)
Lynda Boyd (Power Rangers In Space)
Rukiya Bernard (Van Helsing)
Emily Tennant (Motive)
Rekha Sharma (Battlestar Galactica)
John Tench (Andromeda)
Peter Wingfield (Highlander: The Series)
Christine Chatelain (The Collector)
Alex Diakun (Andromeda)
Mark Gibbon (Man of Steel)

Sanctuary (2008)Being a big fan of Stargate SG-1 in general and Amanda Tapping in particular, I was quite excited to hear that the actress had signed up to play the lead in (and was executive producer of) a web-based series entitled Sanctuary. I had meant to download the 8 15-minute webisodes but with one thing and another, never got around to it. Based on the strength of those shorts, the series was picked up by the horribly named cable network Syfy, had a successful first season, and was renewed for a second (that is scheduled to begin in October.) E1 Entertainment has now released Sanctuary Season One on DVD in a nice four disc set that fans of SF should consider picking up, especially if you gave up on the series while it was airing after a few episodes.Amanda Tapping in Sanctuary (2008)Dr. Will Zimmerman (Robin Dunne) is a profiler for a local police force in an unnamed metropolitan city. Being very observant in a Monk-like way, he puts together clues that others often miss and follows them to their logical conclusions, even if those conclusions sound crazy. He was kicked out of the FBI for his hair-brained hypotheses, and is pretty much shunned by the policemen he works with for the same reason.Robin Dunne and Emilie Ullerup in Sanctuary (2008)While investigating the dead of a civilian and two police officers Zimmerman crosses paths with Dr. Helen Magnus (Amanda Tapping). She runs the Sanctuary, a privately funded large gothic building in the middle of town that is host to, Will eventually discovers, a wide assortment of bizarre creatures called ‘abnormals’. Basically all of Zimmerman’s theories have been correct, there are odd being roaming the world in secret and Magnus’ group helps those that they can and hunts down the ones that are dangerous to humanity.Will signs up and joins the Sanctuary team that includes Magnus, who turns out to be much, much older than she looks, Helen’s kick-ass daughter Ashley (Emilie Ullerup), tech geek Henry Foss (Ryan Robbins) and butler and extra muscle when needed Bigfoot (Christopher Heyerdahl). Searching the globe for abnormals the group discovers mermaids, ancient witches, a human-like race that can compact their bodies to squeeze through the smallest spaces, a vampire, people who can shoot heat rays from their eyes, and even the basis for Sherlock Holmes and the real Jack the Ripper (who just happens to be Magnus’ ex-lover.) Every great team needs a suitable enemy too, and Sanctuary has one in the form of the Cabal, a super-secret, well funded, organization that also investigates abnormal sightings, but they have sinister motive behind what they’re doing and consider the Sanctuary their sworn enemies.Christopher Heyerdahl in Sanctuary (2008)In the second half we’re introduced to Nikola Tesla who used to be a friend of Magnus’ way back when and who is a vampire. An intriguing character and easily my favorite in the show, viewers are never sure if he’s lying or telling the truth and whose side he’s really on. The show picks up for there, no longer being a ‘monster of the week’ program; it starts telling a larger story and is more careful how the plots unravel. The faux witty banter is toned down considerably and small incidental details actually make sense at this point. They also go back and correct some of their earlier mistakes such as Magnus’ education. In the first episode they stated that she attended Oxford in the mid 1800’s, a time when women weren’t allowed to enroll, but in episode 12 a character reveals that she only audited classes at that time, something that makes much more sense.The acting in the program is generally good with Amanda Tapping stealing the show. She’s playing a character similar to Dr. Samantha Carter, the person she portrayed on Stargate SG-1, but Tapping went out of her way to create a totally different personality for this new character. Physically she dyed her hair and she also sports a British accent (that sounds pretty good actually. She was born in England, I guess that helps more than a bit.) Magnus is also more careful than Dr. Carter and has a totally different demeanor. I was always enamored of Tapping’s role in SG-1 (she reminded a lot of my wife,) but while watching her here I never thought of her as “that gal from SG-1,” a testament to how well she did in crafting a new individual.

REVIEW: LUCKY NUMBER SLEVIN

CAST
Josh Hartnett (Halloween: H20)
Bruce Willis (Sin City)
Lucy Liu (Charles Angels)
Morgan Freeman (Batman Begins)
Ben Kingsley (Iron Man 3)
Michael Rubenfeld (The Recruit)
Peter Outerbridge (Beauty and The Beast)
Stanley Tucci (Transformers 4)
Kevin Chamberlin (Road To Perdition)
Dorian Missick (The Cape)
Mykelti Williamson (Con Air)
Daniel Kash (Bitten)
Corey Stoll (Ant-Man)
Robert Forster (Jackie Brown)
During the film’s opening credits, two bookies are separately ambushed and murdered by their unseen killers; elsewhere, a young man is killed by a sniper. In a bus terminal, a young man is approached by Goodkat (Bruce Willis), who tells the story of Max and the Kansas City Shuffle: two decades earlier, Max borrowed money from the mob to bet on a fixed horse race, only for the horse to die mid-race. To set an example to make sure nobody else would try to bet on a fixed race, the mob killed Max, his wife and young son Henry. Goodkat concludes that a “Kansas City Shuffle” is a misleading double bluff, and so tricks and kills the young man, before loading his body into a truck.
In New York City, Slevin Kelevra (Josh Hartnett) is staying in his friend Nick Fisher’s apartment and, upon being visited by Nick’s neighbor Lindsey (Lucy Liu), discusses Nick’s disappearance and why his apartment was unlocked. Lindsey suggests that Nick may be missing and, after she leaves, Slevin is kidnapped by two henchmen, who take him to “The Boss” (Morgan Freeman). Mistaking Slevin for Nick, The Boss orders him to repay a large gambling debt or kill the son of his rival, “The Rabbi” (Ben Kingsley); The Boss believes The Rabbi is responsible for assassinating his son (seen in the intro), and wants The Rabbi’s homosexual son, Yitzchok “The Fairy”, to be killed in revenge. Slevin then returns to the apartment, but is kidnapped again by two Jewish henchmen working for The Rabbi. The Rabbi also mistakes Slevin for Nick, and also demands he repay a large gambling debt. Slevin returns to The Boss and agrees to kill The Fairy. Concurrently with Slevin visiting the mob bosses, it becomes apparent Goodkat is involved in both sides and is responsible for Nick’s debts being called in, and he plans to kill Slevin after The Fairy dies (though his motivations remain unknown).
Slevin and Lindsey go out to dinner, where Slevin arranges a date with The Fairy. Slevin is approached by Detective Brikowski (Stanley Tucci), who is investigating The Boss and The Rabbi; the detective hassles him again later; Slevin reveals his full name. Slevin arrives at The Fairy’s apartment and fatally shoots him, only for Goodkat to appear; rather than shoot Slevin, however, he finishes The Fairy, who pulls out a gun, revealing Slevin and Goodkat are affiliated. Slevin then brings the bus terminal victim’s body, revealed to be Nick Fisher, into the apartment while Goodkat kills The Fairy’s bodyguards. Together they blow up the apartment and the bodies, faking Slevin’s death in the process. Goodkat and Slevin kidnap The Boss and The Rabbi, with both awakening restrained in The Boss’s penthouse. Slevin appears and explains the overarching twist: Slevin is Henry, the son of the ill-fated Max, and the mobsters who killed Max were The Boss and The Rabbi. Goodkat is revealed as the assassin hired to kill young Henry, but after an attack of conscience took him in and raised him instead.
Twenty years later, Goodkat and Slevin killed The Boss’ son and both mobsters’ bookies, stealing the bookies’ ledgers in the process; after finding Nick Fisher owed a great deal of money to both sides, they killed him and stole his identity. As gang warfare loomed, both mobsters went to Goodkat, who agreed to both kill and protect The Fairy on the condition they call in Nick’s debts, granting Slevin and Goodkat unhindered access to the heavily guarded mobsters and Nick Fisher as an ally respectively. After revealing his plan, Slevin suffocates The Rabbi and The Boss by taping plastic bags over their heads, killing them the same way they killed his father. Since Lindsey earlier photographed Goodkat for Slevin, Goodkat shoots her to protect his identity. Finally, it is revealed that Detective Brikowski killed Slevin’s mother when his own gambling debts were called in by the mobsters; Slevin kills Brikowski as the pseudonym “Slevin Kelevra” is explained: “Lucky Number Slevin” was the horse his father had bet on, and “Kelevra” is Hebrew for “bad dog,” mirroring Goodkat’s name.
Sometime later at the bus terminal, Slevin is met by Lindsey, and it is revealed that Slevin, aware of Goodkat’s intentions, explained his true identity to her and helped fake her death. Goodkat appears, aware of the trickery; since Goodkat spared Slevin as a boy, he sympathizes and agrees to let her live. The film closes with a flashback to Goodkat deciding not to kill Henry; “Kansas City Shuffle” by Bennie Moten (Performed by J. Ralph) starts playing on the radio as they drive away together.
A clever film with a twist at the end. I enjoyed it and so might you if you like thrillers with a twist at the end. An all star cast adds to the pleasure.

REVIEW: EARTH: FINAL CONFLICT – SEASON 5

Starring

Jayne Heitmeyer (Snake Eyes)
Von Flores (Never Cry Werewolf)
Melinda Deines (Mutant X)
Guylaine St-Onge (One Way Out)
Alan Van Sprang (Star Trek: Discovery)

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RECURRING / NOTABLE GUEST CAST

Alex Carter (Out of Time)
Andrew Gillies (Mutant X)
Noam Jenkins (Saw II)
Helen Taylor (Thoughtcrimes)
Frank Moore (Rabid)
Martin Roach (Cube Zero)
James Downing (Total Recall)
Deborah Odell (Godsend)
Peter Outerbridge (Saw VI)
Sarah Lafleur (Ugly Betty)
Kevin Kilner (Dollhouse)
Richard Zeppieri (Titans)
Margot Kidder (Superman)
Anita La Selva (Dead End Road)
Jim Thorburn (Helix)
Anthony Lemke (White House Down)
Michael Anthony Rawlins (Blade: Trinity)
Fulvio Cecere (Valentine)
Vladimir Jon Cubrt (Hannibal)
Kate Greenhouse (The Dark Hours)
Rachel McAdams (About Time)
James Gallanders (Bride of Chucky)
Shawn Roberts (Resident Evil: The FInal Chapter)
Andrew Airlie (Fifty Shades of Grey)
Kristi Angus (Jason X)
Dean McDermott (Open Range)
Cedric Smith (X-Men: TAS)
Damon D’Oliveira (Relic Hunter)
Juan Chioran (Skyland)
Gordon Currie (Friday The 13th – Part VIII)
Kim Coates (Battlefield: Earth)
Daniel Clark (Juno)
Kevin Jubinville (Miss Sloane)
Dorian Harewood (Full Metal Jacket)
Andrea Roth (Ringer)
Robert Leeshock (Dead End Road)

1356165122924793_wLiam, the Taelons, and the Jaridians have disappeared but their efforts, far from saving everyone, have doomed the galaxy: they have awakened the Atavus, a race of energy vampires that preceded the Taelons and Jaridians. Renee and Street are the only ones who know the truth of what’s happening: the Resistance is disbanded and the human governments are in no rush to accept the beginning of another war with an alien race. Their only ally is Raj’el, the first and now the last of the Taelons, who is forced to provide covert support from the heart of the Taelon mothership.TSGB-TireloidTo make matters worse, Sandoval, left in control of the Taelon mothership, allies with the Atavus leaders Howlyn and Juda. Together, they are able to keep their presence hidden for much of the season. Their plan is to create an army of Atavus-Human hybrids by means of a joining process, then use the hybrids to awaken other Atavus hives hidden around the world. As the season progresses, a few familiar faces re-enter the fight: William Boone is brought back as a trap for Renee, but he quickly joins her side. In response, Sandoval and Howlyn revive Zo’or, giving him a new body as a female Atavus, but Renee and Boone are able to defeat their nemesis once and for all. Final Conflict comes to a head when Liam returns to help Renee stop Howlyn from unleashing his elite warriors from the long-buried Atavus mothership. At the end of the series, Liam, Renee and Raj’el depart in the Taelon mothership, resolving to bring the few trustworthy Atavus home and indulge in a little adventure along the way.6a01348361f24a970c014e6088c71b970c-320wiSeason 5 was universally despised by most fans, this was because of the lost of da’an and Liam, bringing in new aliens in the final season was a bold move. Alan Van Sprang joining the cast as Howlyn was brilliant and it allowed Renee to take centre stage. the final episode was a satisfying conclusion, leaving just enough rope to dangle just in case they continued.

REVIEW: THE UMBRELLA ACADEMY – SEASON 1

Ellen Page, Robert Sheehan, Tom Hopper, David Castañeda, Aidan Gallagher, and Emmy Raver-Lampman in The Umbrella Academy (2019)

Starring

Ellen Page (Hard Candy)
Tom Hopper (Game of Thrones)
David Castañeda (Forces of Nature)
Emmy Raver-Lampman (Wednesdays)
Robert Sheehan (Mortal Engines)
Aidan Gallagher (Jacked Up)
Mary J. Blige (Body Cam)
Cameron Britton (The Girl In The Spider’s Web)
John Magaro (Overlord)
Adam Godley (Breaking Bad)
Colm Feore (The Chronicles of Riddick)
Jordan Claire Robbins (Anon)

T.J. McGibbon, Cameron Brodeur, Eden Cupid, Ethan Hwang, Blake Talabis, and Jesse Noah Gruman in The Umbrella Academy (2019)

Recurring / Notable Guest Cast

Kate Walsh (13 Reasons wehy
Ashley Madekwe (Venus)
Emily Piggford (Killjoys)
Cody Ray Thompson (The Man In The High Castle)
Peter Outerbridge (ReGenesis)
Rainbow Sun Francks (Stargate: Atlantis)

Ellen Page, Tom Hopper, David Castañeda, and Emmy Raver-Lampman in The Umbrella Academy (2019)Move over, Marvel – Netflix has a new superhero franchise, and if anything, it’s even more twisted, bloody, and unpredictable than the street-level adventures of The Defenders. Despite Netflix’s decision to jettison many of its Marvel properties, it’s somewhat unfair to compare The Umbrella Academy to the likes of Daredevil and Iron Fist – aside from their comic book origins, the shows are attempting to do very different things; The Umbrella Academy focuses on a dysfunctional family of heroes, who are drawn together by an eccentric and emotionally distant billionaire and tasked with saving the world from annihilation (with a healthy dose of time travel, dancing, and a talking chimpanzee thrown in).The Umbrella Academy (2019)In that way, it has much more in common with DC’s Doom Patrol (a comic that creator Gerard Way has long cited as an inspiration for his own team of misfits, and even previously wrote for), which is why it’s both ironic and strangely poetic that Netflix is launching the series on the same day DC Universe is debuting its decidedly NSFW adaptation of Doom Patrol (check out our premiere review here), based heavily on the Grant Morrison run of comics that also inspired Way’s writing.The Umbrella Academy (2019)Basically, 2019 is an embarrassment of riches for comic book fans – The Umbrella Academy and Doom Patrol are two of the best superhero shows in recent years, blending self-aware humor with stylish storytelling as a way to deconstruct an already overpopulated genre. Plus, their different delivery methods (DC is debuting new episodes of Doom Patrol weekly, as opposed to Netflix’s binge model) ensure that we’ll have plenty of time to compare their approaches as they carve out a very different niche from Marvel’s streaming shows.Ellen Page, Tom Hopper, David Castañeda, and Emmy Raver-Lampman in The Umbrella Academy (2019)The first episode of Umbrella Academy has to do a lot of heavy lifting to introduce viewers to the seven super-powered children who were adopted – or, more accurately, bought – by Sir Reginald Hargreeves (Colm Feore) as babies to be raised into a world-saving team, while also establishing the troubling family dynamics that left them estranged as adults. The show throws a lot of information at viewers up front, but manages to make the exposition engaging and fairly zippy – thanks in large part to its charismatic cast and some truly inspired needle drops. (The soundtrack is consistently awesome throughout, adding a madcap energy to even the most incongruous scenes.)Colm Feore, Dante Albidone, Aidan Gallagher, Cameron Brodeur, Eden Cupid, Ethan Hwang, and Blake Talabis in The Umbrella Academy (2019)There’s something to love about every member of the Hargreeves family, from Tom Hopper’s super-strong – and super repressed – golden boy Luther (aka Number 1); to Robert Sheehan’s mischievous, drug-addicted Klaus (Number 4) who can speak to dead people; all the way through to Ellen Page’s Vanya (Number 7), who can… play the violin really well, but has spent her life left out of her super-powered siblings’ adventures.Ellen Page in The Umbrella Academy (2019)But the true revelation of the show is Aidan Gallagher as Number Five, a crotchety time-traveler who has lived into old age after getting stuck in the future but is now trapped in his teenage form, and has witnessed the impending apocalypse firsthand. Five’s return (and his warning about the end of the world) is the catalyst for much of the story, and Gallagher strikes the perfect balance of worldly and world-weary without ever seeming precocious. After a couple of episodes, you’ll be convinced that the 15-year-old really is a grumpy old man in a kid’s body, and his snark – especially in combination with Sheehan’s gleeful lunacy – is the highlight of the series.Ellen Page in The Umbrella Academy (2019)While the show is a fairly faithful, if simplified, adaptation of Way and Gabriel Bá’s comics (with a few pivotal deviations), the interplay between the siblings is more compelling than the mystery at its core, which can sometimes feel like an afterthought compared to the family drama. You’ll likely have more fun trying to figure out the various rifts, rivalries, and connections that have forged and fractured this team than you will attempting to decipher all the clues that are leading towards the apocalypse. Diego (David Castañeda), aka Number 2, is a prickly loner who has spent his life trying to step out from Luther’s shadow, but the deep wounds he carries from a lifetime of playing second fiddle make for a surprisingly poignant character arc. Likewise, Emmy Raver-Lampman’s Allison (Number 3) is the only member of the family who seems to be trying to learn from her past mistakes, and her connections with both Luther and Vanya give the season much of its heart.Tom Hopper in The Umbrella Academy (2019)The show is also stylish as hell; the action scenes – of which there are plenty – are filmed with a kinetic, visually inventive flair, utilizing slo-mo, split-screen, and constantly-moving cameras to create an impressive sense of momentum without ever feeling messy or confusing. Netflix and Universal Cable Productions, the studio behind the show, definitely haven’t skimped on the scale – many of the effects are cinematic in scope, especially Weta’s gorgeous work on Pogo, Sir Reginald’s chimpanzee assistant, who looks like he wandered right off the set of War for the Planet of the Apes. Tonally, Umbrella Academy isn’t quite as meta as the likes of Deadpool or Doom Patrol, but its wicked sense of humor is in full effect throughout, giving it a playful and sometimes deliciously sick attitude, with a smattering of gory visual gags.Ellen Page, Robert Sheehan, Tom Hopper, David Castañeda, Aidan Gallagher, and Emmy Raver-Lampman in The Umbrella Academy (2019)The Umbrella Academy should comfortably fill the void that Netflix’s Marvel cancellations have left in our viewing schedules. (Okay, we’re still not over Daredevil, but the other two, at least.) Showrunner Steve Blackman has created a hilariously twisted, subversively stylish, and surprisingly poignant new superhero series that serves as both a witty deconstruction of our favorite comic book tropes and an ambitious, time-bending romp. Despite some bloat around the midseason mark and a few underdeveloped supporting characters, this is an undeniably super new series.