25 DAYS OF CHRISTMAS REVIEW: P2

Starring

Rachel Nichols (Alex Cross)
Wes Bentley (The Hunger Games)
Simon Reynolds (The Sentinel)
Philip Akin (Highlander: The Series)
Stephanie Moore (Cube Zero)
Miranda Edwards (Arrow)

Rachel Nichols in P2 (2007)Young and beautiful businesswoman Angela Bridges works in a downtown Manhattan office block and gets stuck working late on Christmas Eve, before leaving to attend a family party. When she reaches the second underground parking lot level (P2) beneath the office block, she discovers that her car will not start. After receiving some assistance from the security guard named Thomas and turning down his offer to spend Christmas with him, she calls for a taxi and waits in the lobby. When the taxi arrives, she discovers she is locked in the lobby and runs back into the parking garage. The taxi leaves without her and the lights soon shut down. Angela, guided by the light on her cell phone, wanders around the deserted parking lot. Thomas attacks Angela, drugs her with chloroform, and takes her to his office.Rachel Nichols in P2 (2007)Later, Angela awakens in a haze inside Thomas’ office, having been changed into a white dress and high-heels by Thomas and her foot chained to the table. Thomas tells Angela that he loves her despite her “many sins”, having obsessively watched and recorded Angela for some time through the CCTV in the office block. Despite Angela’s pleas and threats, Thomas continues to hold her against her will, even forcing her to call her family and lie about an illness so that no one will come looking for her. Angela tries to escape, but cannot due to Thomas’ Rottweiler. Thomas handcuffs Angela.Rachel Nichols in P2 (2007)Taking Angela to another level of the parking lot, Thomas reveals her co-worker Jim Harper tied to an office chair. Thomas believes Jim is evil after he witnessed Jim drunkenly grope Angela at an office party. He instructs Angela to get back at Jim by hitting him with a flashlight. When Angela refuses, he viciously beats Jim himself. Thomas then rams him into the wall with his car multiple times, killing him. Amidst the murder, Angela is able to escape to barefoot after ditching her high heels.Rachel Nichols in P2 (2007)While Thomas hides the evidence, Angela finds a safe place to hide and manages to get her handcuffed hands in front of her. She rushes back to Thomas’ office to retrieve her cell phone. She also finds key cards. She finds a spot near the locked gate that has reception, but after dialing 911, she drops it on the other side of the gate. Angela uses a key card to get to the elevators with Thomas right behind. While in the elevator, Angela calls for help from the panel of the elevator. She hears a voice that appears to be an operator but later turns out to be Thomas. Thomas flushes her out by flooding the elevator with a fire hose from a higher floor. Amidst the flooding, the body of Karl Donson, another security guard, drops down and hits Angela.Rachel Nichols in P2 (2007)While hiding in the parking lot, Angela is tormented by Thomas who plays Elvis Presley’s “Blue Christmas” over the intercom. She breaks open an emergency fire axe and begins to destroy the cameras one by one while making her way to his office, prepared to fight. Once entering, she finds a video playing of Thomas molesting her body while she was drugged. Thomas sneaks up behind her and knocks her out with a taser. He hides Angela in the trunk of a car just as two police officers arrive in response to a reported disturbance. Angela wakes up and breaks out, but realizes she is too late as she sees the police car drive off.hero_EB20071108REVIEWS711080305ARThomas releases his dog. The dog injures her leg, although she manages to kill it. She finds keys in a car rental office and tries to escape by car, but is side-swiped by Thomas in another vehicle leading up to a game of chicken which Angela wins. However, in the heat of the chase, Angela flips the vehicle. Thomas opens the door, and Angela—feigning death—manages to stab Thomas in the eye. She chokes Thomas out with her handcuffs, takes his keys to free herself, then cuffs him to the car just before he comes to. Taking his taser, she begins to leave, until Thomas desperately starts pleading, then calls her a “cunt”. She uses the Taser to ignite a stream of gasoline leaking from the car. Thomas is engulfed in the flames and dies as the car explodes, which sets off the sprinklers. Angela (who is now wet, bloody, and injured) opens the garage gate and limps out into a cold and desolate Manhattan Christmas morning just as the fire department, paramedics, and police can be heard arrivingMV5BOWVkNTk5MjEtM2MyMi00NmVjLWEyNjgtOWI5YjZhYjUxNDhmXkEyXkFqcGdeQXVyMjA1MDU2MzY@._V1_Overall, P2 is a movie I greatly under-estimated… This film does deserve a good look, but don’t expect it to be something like “The Eye” or “Skeleton Key”. It’s a much richer and culturally considerate tapestry than films of that ilk, but isn’t rich enough to be a classic like “Seven”. It’s a good film that I am sure didn’t fully get it’s dues.

REVIEW: TITANS – SEASON 2

Esai Morales, Minka Kelly, Alan Ritchson, Anna Diop, Conor Leslie, Ryan Potter, Brenton Thwaites, Chelsea Zhang, Joshua Orpin, Curran Walters, and Teagan Croft in Titans (2018)

Starring

Brenton Thwaites (Pirates of The Caribbean 5)
Anna Diop (Us)
Teagan Croft (Home and Away)
Ryan Potter (Big Hero 6)
Minka Kelly (Just Go With It)
Alan Ritchson (Smallville)
Conor Leslie (Chained)
Curran Walters (Girl Meets World)
Esai Morales (Caprica)
Chelsea Zhang (Daybreak)
Joshua Orpin (The Blake Mysteries: Ghost Stories)

Teagan Croft in Titans (2018)

RECURRING / NOTABLE GUEST CAST

Rachel Nichols (Alex Cross)
Seamus Dever (Hollywoodland)
Iain Glen (Game of Thrones)
Demore Barnes (The Flash)
Michael Mosley (Ozark)
Hanneke Talbot (Star Trek: Discovery)
Drew Van Acker (Pretty Little Liars)
Chella Man
Ann Magnuson (Panic Room)
Mayko Nguyen (Anon)
Raoul Bhaneja (Miss Sloane)
Genevieve Angelson (The Upside)
Natalie Gumede (Coronation Street)
Peter MacNeill (Open Range)
Sarah Deakins (Andromeda)
Evan Jones (The Book of Eli)
Currie Graham (Agent Carter)

Chelsea Zhang in Titans (2018)When the first trailer for Titans dropped and we heard Dick Grayson utter the words “Fuck Batman”, we knew this was not going to be anything like the animated version of DC’s young crimefighters. Over the course of a decent first season, DC Universe’s first original series ended up feeling a lot like the CW Arrowverse shows just with more profanity. Now, with the premiere of the second season, we get to see if the series can break out into something a little more distinct in the wake of shows like Doom Patrol and the quickly cancelled Swamp Thing. The premiere episode of the second season serves as both a wrap to the first season storylines as well as a soft reboot of the show. So, if you were hoping for more of what you saw in the first season, you may be slightly disappointed.Picking up immediately after the first season finale, season two finds the Titans gathered together with Rachel/Raven and Gar/Beast Boy trapped in a nightmare realm by Trigon (Seamus Dever). With his master plan requiring that Rachel’s heart break so that he can garner a power to destroy Earth, the first episode primarily focuses on each of the Titans dealing with the darkness in their own souls. It is a familiar trope in television shows and goes all the way back to big screen comic book movies like SUPERMAN III when Supes fought Clark Kent in a junkyard. Here, the effect feels more like treading water for a good chunk of the episode.Brenton Thwaites in Titans (2018)When the final battle finally takes place, it feels a bit underwhelming and almost like this episode should have been the first season finale rather than a premiere episode. Almost as if split in half, we get a wrap up to Rachel’s relationship with her father, Trigon, and comes into her abilities in full. We also get a substantial amount of screen time from the first season characters as well as Curran Walters as Jason Todd, aka Robin II. There is even a nice fight between Dick Grayson and Jason Todd, something we have never seen before in live action. I have always enjoyed the multiple iterations of the Robin character and seeing two together like this is a highlight of this series.Esai Morales and Curran Walters in Titans (2018)The second half of the episode plays more like what I was expecting the season premiere to be: a focus on the next storyline. We get an introduction to Deathstroke, a very different version of the supervillain here played by Esai Morales, and one that seems to have a past with Dick Grayson and the Titans. We also get our first look at Iain Glen as the latest Bruce Wayne. While Batman was seen (played by Alain Moussi) in costume in the first season, this is the first actual dialogue spoken by Bruce Wayne in live action on the small screen. With the brief screen time in the first episode, it is not fair to judge how suited for the role that Glen may be, but it is certainly a different take on Bruce Wayne than we have seen before.Esai Morales and Curran Walters in Titans (2018)As the season continues, this season is very different than its predecessor. throughout this year the universe gets bigger with the introduction of some major DC characters debuting including Superboy and Aqualad on top of Deathstroke and Bruce Wayne. Each character gets his or her on showcase. The biggest highlight has to be Esai Morales as Deathstroke. this version gives Arrows version a run for his money. I absolutely love this show and with a third season green-lit, we have more Titan fun to come. Joshua Orpin in Titans (2018)Titans is not going to blow anyone away but it will still appeal to established fans and has some nice moments for fans of DC Comics history.

 

REVIEW: TITANS – SEASON 1

Anna Diop, Ryan Potter, Brenton Thwaites, and Teagan Croft in Titans (2018)

Starring

Brenton Thwaites (Pirates of The Caribbean 5)
Anna Diop (Us)
Teagan Croft (Home and Away)
Ryan Potter (Big Hero 6)

Teagan Croft in Titans (2018)

RECURRING / NOTABLE GUEST CAST

Minka Kelly (Just Go With It)
Alan Ritchson (Smallville)
Reed Birney (Gossip Girl)
Curran Walters (Girl Meets World)
Rachel Nichols (Alex Cross)
Conor Leslie (Chained)
Sherilyn Fenn (The Wild Life)
Brendan Fraser (Bedazzled)
Matt Bomer (Chuck)
Lester Speight (Faster)
Elliot Knight (Life Sentence)
Marina Sirtis (Star Trek: Generations)
Seamus Dever (Hollywoodland)
Alain Moussi (Pompeii)
Lindsey Gort (2 Guns)
Jeff Clarke (Downsizing)
Melody Johnson (Jason X)
Jeni Ross (Stage Fright)
Logan Thompson (IT)
Tomaso Sanelli (Detention Adventure)
Meagen Fay (That’s My Boy)
Bruno Bichir (Che)
April Bowlby (Twp and a Half Men)
Zach Smadu (Miss Sloane)
Richard Zeppieri (Earth: Final Conflict)

Melody Johnson, Zach Smadu, and Brenton Thwaites in Titans (2018)After all the hype over the past 12 months, the DC Universe streaming app is finally here – and with it, its first original production, Titans. In the lead-up to its debut, there’s been a lot of controversy about the show’s violence and infamous “F**k Batman” line. Many detractors complained about its edginess and DC’s doubling down on darker superhero material.Brenton Thwaites in Titans (2018)The simple fact is this: The MCU isn’t the be all and end all of everything comic book-related. Yes, it’s a proven formula that works, but there’s enough room for all sorts of superhero programming – including darker ones. Heck, just look at Marvel’s Netflix series as perfect examples of how it can work and exist in its own vacuum. Titans isn’t nearly as violent or obscene as some people anticipated. Remember how everyone was freaking out about Robin using guns and killing thugs? Well, DC gotcha. It was all clever editing in the trailer. While the Boy Wonder brings the pain to the criminals, he never crosses the line.Anna Diop in Titans (2018)That isn’t to say that there aren’t a few deaths in the show, because there are. Raven shows the darkness in her, while Starfire also displays what happens when you cross her. Even so, these actions aren’t inexplicable. They make sense in the context of the story, and you’ll understand better once you watch it.Brenton Thwaites in Titans (2018)In the premiere titled “Titans”, the focus is on Dick Grayson, Raven, and Starfire.  Raven is the central point of the series and is what brings the team together. Her gift – or curse – is what sets off the series of events, and she seeks out Grayson’s assistance. At the same time, we get insight into Grayson’s new life as a detective in Detroit after his split with Batman. There’s still a lot more to explore, but it lays down a good basis of Grayson’s inevitable transformation into Nightwing. Starfire is a bit of a conundrum here, as she struggles to remember her memories and embarks on a quest to find out more about her “forgotten” life.Anna Diop, Ryan Potter, Brenton Thwaites, and Teagan Croft in Titans (2018)From a structural point-of-view, the series introduces these characters in a fluid way. While team-up series always run the danger of stuffing too many characters into an episode, Titans avoided this by focusing only on three of them. In fact, Beast Boy only made an appearance at the end of the first episode, but when you keep watching he becomes a more fleshed out character and is key to the introduction of Doom Patrol. Brenton Thwaites in Titans (2018)The story grips you from the get-go as well. There are a few narrative threads that need to be unravelled and you’ll want to tune in to see what happens next. Raven’s arc, in particular, looks to be like something out of a horror movie as she has numerous people after her, and you know things will take a turn for the worse at some point.Anna Diop and Teagan Croft in Titans (2018)Look, this isn’t a beat-for-beat reimagining of Marv Wolfman and George Pérez’s New Teen Titans; it takes influence from the source material but introduces its own twists and turns. While too much talk has centred on the series’ violence and F-bombs, it’s not as gratuitous as you’d think. There will be many people eating their words about Titans, that’s for sure. It’s something different, promising, and the premiere works in establishing this new universe. It leaves you pondering about a few of the mysteries it introduces and wondering what’s next. Isn’t that the purpose of any good show.

REVIEW: STAR TREK (2009)

CAST

Chris Pine (Into The Woods)
Zachary Quinto (Heroes)
Zoe Saldana (Avatar)
Karl Urban (Dredd)
Simon Pegg (Paul)
John Cho (Total Recall)
Anton Yelchin (Alpha Dog)
Bruce Greenwood (Thirteen Days)
Eric Bana (Hulk)
Leonard Nimoy (Transformers: The Movie)
Ben Cross (Live Wire)
Winona Ryder (Little Women)
Clifton Collins, Jr. (Westworld)
Chris Hemsworth (Thor)
Faran Tahir (Iron Man)
Jennifer Morrison (How I Met Your Mother)
Rachel Nichols (GI. Joe)
Paul McGillion (Stargate: Atlantis)
Brad William Henke (Lost)
Greg Grunberg (Alias)
Tyler Perry (Gone Girl)
Majel Barrett (Earth: Final Conflict)
Amanda Foreman (Alias)
Jimmy Bennett (No Ordinary Family)
Bob Clendenin (Scrubs)
Lisa Vidal (The Event)
Oz Perkins (Secretary)
Mark Bramhall (Annabelle Creation)
T.J. Storm (VR Troopers)
Wil Wheaton (The Big Bang Theory)

In the 23rd century, the Federation starship USS Kelvin is investigating a “lightning storm” in space. A Romulan ship, the Narada, emerges from the storm and attacks the Kelvin. Narada’s first officer, Ayel, demands that the Kelvin’s Captain Robau come aboard to negotiate a truce. Robau is questioned about the current stardate and an “Ambassador Spock”, whom he does not recognize. Narada’s commander, Nero, kills him, and resumes attacking the Kelvin. George Kirk, the Kelvin’s first officer, orders the ship’s personnel, including his pregnant wife Winona, to abandon ship while he pilots the Kelvin on a collision course with the Narada. Kirk sacrifices his life to ensure Winona’s survival as she gives birth to James T. Kirk.

Seventeen years later on the planet Vulcan, a young Spock is accepted to join the Vulcan Science Academy. Realizing the Academy views his human mother Amanda as a “disadvantage”, he joins Starfleet instead. On Earth, Kirk becomes a reckless but intelligent young adult. Following a bar fight with Starfleet cadets accompanying Nyota Uhura, Kirk meets Captain Christopher Pike, who encourages him to enlist in Starfleet Academy, where Kirk meets and befriends doctor Leonard McCoy.

Three years later, Commander Spock accuses Kirk of cheating during the Kobayashi Maru simulation. Kirk argues that cheating was acceptable because the simulation was designed to be unbeatable. The disciplinary hearing is interrupted by a distress signal from Vulcan. With the primary fleet out of range, the cadets are mobilized. McCoy and Kirk board Pike’s ship, the Enterprise. Realizing that the “lightning storm” observed near Vulcan is similar to the one that occurred when he was born, Kirk breaks protocol to convince Pike that the distress signal is a trap.

Enterprise finds the fleet destroyed and the Narada drilling into Vulcan’s core. The Narada attacks the Enterprise and Pike surrenders, delegating command of the ship to Spock and promoting Kirk to first officer. Kirk, Hikaru Sulu and Chief Engineer Olson perform a space jump onto the drilling platform. Olson is killed but Kirk and Sulu disable the drill. Despite their efforts, Nero launches “red matter” into Vulcan’s core, forming an artificial black hole that destroys Vulcan. Spock rescues the high council and his father Sarek, but Amanda dies.

As the Narada moves toward Earth, Nero tortures Pike to gain access to Earth’s defense codes. Spock maroons Kirk on Delta Vega after Kirk attempts mutiny. Kirk encounters an older Spock, who explains that he and Nero are from 129 years in the future. In that future, Romulus was threatened by a supernova. Spock’s attempt to use “red matter” to create an artificial black hole and consume the supernova failed, and Nero’s family perished along with Romulus. The Narada and Spock’s vessel were caught in the black hole, sending them back in time. Nero stranded Spock on Delta Vega to watch Vulcan’s destruction.

Reaching a Starfleet outpost, Kirk and the elder Spock meet Montgomery Scott. With the elder Spock’s help, Kirk and Scott beam onto the Enterprise. Following the elder Spock’s advice, Kirk provokes younger Spock into attacking him, forcing Spock to recognize he is emotionally compromised and relinquish command to Kirk. After talking with Sarek, Spock decides to help Kirk. While the Enterprise hides itself within the gas clouds of Titan, Kirk and Spock beam aboard the Narada. Kirk fights with Nero and Ayel, killing the latter and rescuing Pike while Spock uses the elder Spock’s ship to destroy the drill. Spock leads the Narada away from Earth and sets his ship to collide with Nero’s ship. Enterprise beams Kirk, Pike and Spock aboard. The older Spock’s ship and the Narada collide, igniting the “red matter”. Kirk offers Nero help to escape, but Nero refuses, prompting Kirk to give the order to fire, dooming the Narada to be consumed in a black hole.

Kirk is promoted to Captain and given command of the Enterprise while Pike is promoted to Rear Admiral. Spock encounters his older self, who persuades his younger self to continue serving in Starfleet, encouraging him to do what feels right instead of what is logical. Spock remains in Starfleet, becoming first officer under Kirk’s command. The Enterprise goes to warp as the elder Spock speaks the “where no one has gone before” monologue.The story does what it needs to, the casting is great (especially Spock and McCoy), the effects are fantastic and Abrams manages to do character moments on the move so there’s hardly time to take a breath – oh and Simon Pegg is great as Scotty! Maybe the best thing is, die hards and newbies alike will all find something to like.

REVIEW: CONAN THE BARBARIAN (2011)

CAST

Jason Momoa (Game of Thrones)
Stephen Lang (Avatar)
Rachel Nichols (Alias)
Ron Perlman (Hellboy)
Rose McGowan (Planet Terror)
Nonso Anozie (Cinderella)
Said Taghmaoui (American Hustle)
Morgan Freeman (The Dark Knight)

Conan is the son of Corin, chief of a barbarian tribe. The youth is a skilled but violent warrior, who his father believes is not ready to wield his own sword. One day, their village is attacked by the forces of Khalar Zym, a warlord who wishes to reunite the pieces of the Mask of Acheron in order to revive his dead wife and conquer Hyboria. Thousands of years ago, the Mask, crafted by a group of sorcerers and used to subjugate the world, was broken into many pieces, which were scattered among the barbarian tribes. After locating Corin’s piece of the mask, and murdering the entire village, Zym leaves. Conan is the only survivor, and swears revenge.Jason Momoa in Conan the Barbarian (2011)Years later, Conan has become a pirate, but still seeks revenge. He encounters a slave colony and frees it, killing all of the slave handlers in the process. In the city of Messantia, he encounters Ela-Shan, a thief being chased by a man whom Conan recognizes as Lucius, one of Zym’s soldiers from years before. He allows himself to be captured alongside Ela-Shan. Conan escapes imprisonment, kills several of the guards, and confronts Lucius, forcing him to reveal that Zym seeks a girl, the pure-blood descendant of the sorcerers of Acheron; sacrificing the descendant and using blood from the body of the girl will unleash the mask’s power. Conan helps the rest of the prisoners to escape, and, in gratitude, Ela-Shan tells Conan that, if he ever needs him, Conan will find him at the City of Thieves, Argalon. Lucius is then killed by the prisoners.

Zym and his daughter, the sorceress Marique attack a monastery where they hope to find the pure-blood descendant. Sensing something is wrong, Fassir, an elderly monk, tells one of his students, Tamara, to run away and return to her birthplace. When Fassir refuses to reveal his knowledge of the descendant, Zym kills him. Marique also slays several of the priestesses. Tamara’s carriage is chased by Zym’s men, but Conan rescues her, kills three of her pursuers, and also captures one of Zym’s men, Remo. After forcing him to reveal Tamara’s importance as the pure-blood, Conan catapults Remo into Zym’s nearby camp, killing him.

Zym and Marique confront Conan, who pretends to be interested in exchanging Tamara for gold. Conan attacks Zym, but Marique assists her father by invoking soldiers made of sand, and then poisons Conan with a poison-laced boomerang sword. Tamara rescues him and they return to Conan’s ship, stationed nearby, where his friend Artus helps Conan recover. The boat is attacked by Zym’s men, but although they kill several of Conan’s men, they are defeated. Conan orders Artus to return to Messantia with Tamara and departs to confront Zym in his kingdom. Artus tells Tamara that Conan left a map behind and she follows him, meeting with him in a cave, where they strip naked and copulate. The next day, as she is returning to the boat, Zym’s men and daughter capture her.

Conan learns of Tamara’s capture and departs to Argalon, where he asks Ela-Shan to help him break into Zym’s castle unnoticed. Zym prepares to drain Tamara’s blood, mending the mask. He then plans to use the girl’s body as a vessel for his wife. After confronting an octopus-like monster, the Dweller, that guards the dungeons and killing its four handlers, along with Ukafa, Conan infiltrates Zym’s followers, kills a guard and steals his robe, and watches as Zym puts on the empowered mask. Conan releases Tamara, and she escapes as he battles Zym with the castle falling around them. Marique attacks Tamara, but Conan hears Tamara’s scream and defeats Marique, cutting off her hand. Tamara kicks her into a pit, where her body pierced by a large spike. Zym comes and, finding his daughter’s body impaled by the spike, he swears revenge upon Conan.

Conan and Tamara become trapped on an unstable bridge as Zym attacks them. He uses the mask’s power to call forth the spirit of his deceased wife, Maliva, a powerful sorceress who was executed by the monks from Tamara’s monastery for attempting to unleash occult forces to destroy Hyborea, and Maliva’s spirit begins to possess Tamara’s body. She begs Conan to let her fall, but he refuses, and instead stabs the bridge before jumping to safety with Tamara. The bridge collapses, taking Zym along. The power-hungry ruler falls to the lava below the immense precipice screaming the name of his wife, implying his demise.

Conan and Tamara escape and he returns her to her birthplace, telling her that they’ll meet again. He then returns to Corin’s village and tells the memory of his father that he has avenged his death and recovered the sword Marique stole from him, restoring his honor.Jason Momoa in Conan the Barbarian (2011)This remake has plenty of action, thankfully so as it takes some of the attention away from the few dubious acting talents & casting decisions on show. As the lead, Jason Momoa is not built quite like Arnie & doesn’t have a whole load of facial expressions, but he is a slightly better actor. Seasoned thespian, Stephen Lang, makes this a bit more worthwhile during the almost 2 hour run time, playing the baddie role very well. Also, Morgan Freeman’s (The Shawshank Redemption) deep rich voice adds some strength to the narration of the opening dialogues.