REVIEW: X-MEN

 

CAST

Patrick Stewart (American Dad)
Hugh Jackman (Swordfish)
Ian McKellen (The Hobbit)
Halle Berry (Catwoman)
Famke Janssen (The Faculty)
James Marsden (Westworld)
Bruce Davison (High Crimes)
Rebecca Romijn (Ugly Betty)
Ray Park (Star Wars – Episode I)
Tyler Mane (halloween)
Anna Paquin (true Blood)
Shawn Ashmore (Earthsea)
Stan Lee (Avengers Assemble)
George Buza (Mutant X)
Shawn Roberts (Resident Evil: The FInal Chapter)

In Nazi-occupied Poland, 14-year-old Erik Lehnsherr is separated from his parents upon entering the Auschwitz concentration camp. While trying to reach them, he causes a set of metal gates to bend towards him before being knocked out by guards. In 2002, U.S. Senator Robert Kelly attempts to pass a “Mutant Registration Act” in Congress, which would force mutants to publicly reveal their identities and abilities. Present are a middle-aged Lehnsherr, now going by the name “Magneto”, and an old friend of his, the telepathic Professor Charles Xavier. Seeing Lehnsherr in attendance, Xavier becomes concerned with how he will respond to the Registration Act.Meanwhile, in Meridian, Mississippi, 17-year-old Marie D’Ancanto accidentally puts her boyfriend into a coma upon kissing him, her mutant ability to absorb the powers and life force of others manifesting. She runs away from home and adopts the name Rogue. In Alberta she meets a mutant named Logan, also known as Wolverine, who possesses superhuman healing abilities and metal claws that protrude from his knuckles. While on the road together, they are attacked by a minion of Magneto’s, Sabretooth, until two of Xavier’s students, Cyclops and Storm, arrive to successfully save them. Wolverine and Rogue are brought to Xavier’s mansion and school for mutants in Westchester County, New York. Xavier tells Logan that Magneto appears to have taken an interest in Wolverine, and he asks him to stay while Xavier’s mutants, the X-Men, investigate why. Rogue meanwhile enrolls in the school.Senator Kelly is abducted by two more of Magneto’s minions, Toad and Mystique, and is brought to their hideout on the uncharted island of Genosha. There, Magneto uses Kelly as a test subject for a machine powered by his magnetic abilities that generates a field of radiation, inducing mutation in normal humans. Kelly later escapes by taking advantage of his newfound mutation. When Rogue uses her power on Wolverine in view of her classmates, she is convinced by Mystique, disguised as classmate Bobby Drake, that Xavier is angry with her and she should leave the school. Xavier uses his mutant-locating machine Cerebro to find Rogue at a train station, and the X-Men go to retrieve her. Meanwhile, Mystique enters Cerebro and sabotages it.Having left ahead of Storm and Cyclops, Wolverine finds Rogue on a train and convinces her to return to the school. Before they can leave however, Magneto arrives and reveals that he is after Rogue rather than Wolverine. Although Xavier attempts to stop Magneto by metally controlling Sabretooth, he is forced to release his hold on Sabretooth when Magneto threatens the police who have converged on the train station, allowing Magneto’s Brotherhood to escape with Rogue. Kelly arrives at Xavier’s school and Xavier reads his mind to learn about Magneto’s machine. Realizing the strain of powering it nearly killed Magneto, the group deduces he intends to transfer his powers to Rogue and use her to power it at the cost of her life. Kelly’s body rejects his mutation and his body dissolves into liquid. Xavier attempts to locate Rogue using Cerebro, but Mystique’s sabotage incapacitates him and he falls into a coma. Fellow telekinetic/telepath Jean Grey fixes Cerebro and uses it, learning that Magneto plans to place his mutation-inducing machine on Liberty Island and use it to “mutate” the world leaders meeting at a summit on nearby Ellis Island. The X-Men scale the Statue of Liberty battling the Brotherhood while Magneto transfers his powers to Rogue and activates the mutating machine. As Wolverine confronts and distracts Magneto, Cyclops blasts him away, allowing Wolverine to destroy the machine. He transfers his powers to Rogue and his healing abilities rejuvenate her, while incapacitating himself.Professor Xavier and Wolverine recover from their comas. The group also learn that Mystique escaped the island battle and is impersonating Senator Kelly. Xavier gives Wolverine a lead to his past at an abandoned military installation in Canada. Magneto is imprisoned in a complex constructed of plastic and is visited by Xavier, and warns him he intends to escape one day and continue the fight.This is an extremely intelligent and well thought out movie. If you are a fan of the X-Men, there is no way you can miss out on this

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REVIEW: THE KING OF FIGHTERS

 

CAST

Maggie Q (Divergent)
Sean Faris (The Brotherhood 2)
Will Yun Lee (Elektra)
Ray Park (Star Wars – Episode I)
David Leitch (V For Vendetta)
Francoise Yip (Blade: Trinity)
Hiro Kanagawa (Heroes Reborn)
Monique Ganderston (Smallville)

At a museum in Boston, Rugal Bernstein steals three relics: The Kagura Mirror, the Yagami Necklace and the Kusanagi Sword. He uses them to disappear into a dimensional portal to awaken the mythical entity known as the Orochi, which grants limitless powers. The sword is revealed to be a fake and the quest is delayed. Mai Shiranui is told by an injured Chizuru Kagura the real sword is with Saisyu Kusanagi at a mental institution. She is warned she must defeat Rugal and her boyfriend, Iori Yagami, should not be involved. At the institution, Mai meets a catatonic Saisyu and his son, Kyo, but Iori’s presence suddenly breaks Saisyu’s catatonic state, and the elder Kusanagi threatens to kill Iori before losing consciousness and dying.

At another hospital, Chizuru is recovering from her injury and is informed by her colleague, Scott, that Rugal has altered the King of Fighters database and issued challenges to fighters around the world. CIA agent Terry Bogard enters Chizuru’s room, demanding information on Rugal’s whereabouts and the tournament. She tells that different dimensions exist, but he does not believe. Chizuru tells Terry to go to Seattle and ask Mai, who is an undercover operative sent by the CIA to infiltrate Chizuru’s organization a year ago.

At a cemetery in Seattle, where Saisyu is buried, Kyo and Iori confront each other. Iori explains that both Kusanagi and Yagami clans were destined to be enemies. Mai hitches a ride with Kyo to his home, where she explains that she is looking for the Kusanagi Sword. Kyo tells her that centuries ago, a Yagami ancestor attempted to release the Orochi, but it consumed him with murderous rage. Kyo’s ancestor killed the Yagami and returned the Orochi into its world. Mai tells Kyo that Rugal is out to unleash the Orochi. Kyo wants to confront Rugal, who destroyed his father’s mental state.

At a hotel, Mai and Kyo meet up with Iori and Terry. Rugal is using the tournament dimension to merge it with the real world. After Mai blows her cover in front of Kyo, Iori puts on his Bluetooth headset and enters the tournament dimension to confront Rugal. There, he defeats Rugal’s servants, Mature and Vice, only to have his mind consumed by the Orochi.

The next day, Kyo is lured into the tournament dimension, where he first fights Rugal and loses, but is allowed to live as a warning. Kyo brings out his ancestral sword and joins Chizuru and Terry into the tournament after Mai is dragged in by Rugal. When the four meet up, they are separated into different dimensions, with Kyo fighting Rugal, and Mai and Terry facing Mature and Vice. Rugal is about to decapitate Kyo, when Iori appears and intervenes. Rugal reveals to Kyo that several years back, he battled Saisyu, Chizuru and Iori over control of the Orochi. During that fight, Iori allowed the Orochi to take over his body, defeating Rugal, but also destroying Saisyu’s mental state by bashing his head against a wooden barrier several times. This leads to a fight between Kyo and Iori. Kyo slashes Iori in the back, releasing the Orochi from his body.

Disappointed by the outcome of the fight, Rugal sends Kyo, Iori and Mai into another dimension to face them with his full potential. Chizuru and her multiple clones appear, revealing that she has found the mirror and the necklace. The heroes fail in their first attempt to combine the relics and trap Rugal, with Chizuru mortally wounded. Mai takes her place as the mirror holder, but as she, Kyo and Iori corner Rugal, they are once again overcome by his powers. Rugal destroys Kyo’s sword, but as he is about to finish him off with a fireball, Kyo magically generates a new sword to block it. He then throws the sword and destroys Rugal.

Back in the real world, Scott places a lantern on the ocean in memory of Chizuru. Kyo decides to keep the family tradition by continuing with the tournament. He reflects on his late father’s teachings while Iori stares at him from the other side of the pier.

if your looking for a film, with a strong story, with nicely played out characters, with enough action and explanations or just generally enjoy some good fight scenes, then i recommend this film to you,

 

REVIEW: STAR WARS – EPISODE I: THE PHANTOM MENACE

CAST

Ewan McGregor (Cassandra’s Dream)
Liam Neeson (Batman Begins)
Natalie Portman (Thor)
Jake Lloyd (Jingle All The Way)
Ian McDiarmid (Margaret)
Pernilla August (Search)
Samuel J. Jakcson (Jackie Brown)
Oliver Ford Davies (Johnny English)
Hugh Quarshie (Highlander)
Ahmed Best (Poolboy)
Anthony Daniels (The Lego Movie)
Kenny Baker (Labyrinth)
Frank Oz (Sesame Street)
Terence Stamp (Superman 1 & 2)
Brian Blessed (Flash Gordon)
Ray Park (Heroes)
Warwick Davis (Willow)
Celia Imrie (Our Zoo)
Dominic West (300)
Keira Knightley (King Arthur)
Peter Seafinowicz (Spy)
Richard Armitage (The Hobbit)

Supreme Chancellor Valorum, leader of the Galactic Republic, dispatches Jedi Master Qui-Gon Jinn and his apprentice Obi-Wan Kenobi to negotiate with the Trade Federation leadership to end a blockade of battleships around the planet Naboo. Darth Sidious, a Sith Lord and the Trade Federation’s secret adviser, orders Federation Viceroy Nute Gunray to kill the Jedi and invade Naboo with an army of battle droids. The Jedi flee to Naboo, where Qui-Gon saves Gungan outcast Jar Jar Binks from being killed during the invasion. Indebted to the Jedi, Jar Jar leads them to an underwater Gungan city. The Jedi try but fail to persuade the Gungan leader, Boss Nass, into helping the people of Naboo, though they are able to obtain transportation to Theed, the capital city on the surface. They rescue Queen Amidala, the ruler of the Naboo people, and escape the planet on her royal starship, which is damaged as they pass the Federation blockade.

Amidala’s ship is unable to sustain its hyperdrive and lands for repairs on the desert planet Tatooine. Qui-Gon, Jar Jar, astromech droid R2-D2, and Amidala (in disguise as a handmaiden) visit the settlement of Mos Espa to buy new parts at a junk shop. There they meet the shop’s owner Watto and his nine-year-old slave Anakin Skywalker, who is a gifted pilot and engineer, and has created a protocol droid called C-3PO. Qui-Gon senses a strong presence of the Force within Anakin and is convinced that he is the “chosen one” of Jedi prophecy who will bring balance to the Force. Qui-Gon wagers Anakin’s freedom with Watto in a Podrace, which Anakin wins. Anakin joins the group to be trained as a Jedi, leaving his mother Shmi behind. En route to their repaired starship, Qui-Gon enters a brief lightsaber duel with Darth Maul, Darth Sidious’ Sith apprentice who was sent to capture Amidala.

The Jedi escort Amidala to the Republic capital planet Coruscant so she can plead her people’s case to Chancellor Valorum in the Galactic Senate. Qui-Gon asks the Jedi Council to train Anakin as a Jedi, but the Council are concerned that Anakin is vulnerable to the dark side of the Force and decline. Undaunted, Qui-Gon vows to train Anakin himself. Meanwhile, Naboo senator Palpatine persuades Amidala to make a vote of no confidence in Valorum to elect a more capable chancellor to resolve the crisis on Naboo. Though she pushes for the vote, Amidala grows frustrated with the corruption in the Senate and decides to return to Naboo with the Jedi.

On Naboo, Padmé reveals herself to the Gungans as Queen Amidala and persuades them into an alliance against the Trade Federation. Jar Jar leads his people in a battle against the droid army while Padmé leads the hunt for Gunray in Theed. In a starship hangar, Anakin enters a vacant starfighter and inadvertently triggers its autopilot, joining the battle against the Federation droid control ship in space. Anakin ventures into the ship and destroys it from within, deactivating the droid army. Meanwhile, Qui-Gon and Obi-Wan battle Darth Maul, who mortally wounds Qui-Gon before being bisected by Obi-Wan. As he dies, Qui-Gon asks Obi-Wan to train Anakin. Subsequently, Palpatine is elected as the new Supreme Chancellor and Gunray is arrested. The Jedi Council promotes Obi-Wan to Jedi knighthood and reluctantly accepts Anakin as Obi-Wan’s apprentice. At a festive ceremony, Padmé presents a gift of appreciation and friendship to the Gungans.I always felt it grossly unfair that many Star Wars fans are quick to denounce The Phantom Menace as the worst Star Wars film in the entire saga. I suppose in a certain aspect they are right: in every set of slightly different things, there statistically always has to be a best and a worst one. However “worst” doesn’t necessarily mean terrible. Each Star Wars film is still above and beyond in terms of budget, quality and entertainment, most other sci-fi films out there.  I can summarize that The Phantom Menace serves as a solid opener to one of the greatest sci-fi film series ever made, and does a good job setting the scene and introducing the characters who we’ll be spending a lot of time with and watching them develop over the coming films, while at the same time also serving as a workable and enjoyable film in its own right.

REVIEW: HEROES: SLOW BURN

CAST
Dawn Olivieri (The Vampire Diaries)
Robert Knepper (Cult)
Sasha Pieterse (Good Luck Chuck)
Ray Park (Star Wars – Episode I)
Part 1
Edgar takes a big risk for Lydia as she reveals a big secret.
Part 2
Lydia reaches out to her daughter who reveals she too has a secret. Samuel becomes suspicious.
Part 3
Lydia’s daughter is in trouble – and so is Edgar.
Part 4
Samuel discovers Lydia has a daughter. Lydia receives an unexpected visitor.
Part 5
Lydia talks with her daughter Amanda about her arrival. Amanda shows Caleb her ability.
Part 6
Amanda seeks out Samuel with Caleb’s help while Lydia seeks out Amanda with Edgar’s help.
Part 7
As Samuel and Amanda spend some time together, Lydia and Edgar plot to get her back.
Part 8
Samuel Introduces Amanda to the rest of the carnival crew and welcomes her into the family.
Part 9
Sent by Samuel to take Amanda from her mother, Caleb pays a terrible price.
Part 10
Samuel’s plans to separate Amanda from her mother fails, but Amanda chooses to stay anyway.
Showing the story of Lydia and Amanda is an interesting companion to the fourth season. Lydia, the Painted Lady was a great addition to the series, so this web series is a welcome to fans of the show and worth watching along with season 4.

REVIEW: FANBOYS

CAST
Dan Fogler (Balls of Fury)
Jay Baruchel (Robocop)
Kristen Bell (Frozen)
Sam Huntington (Superman Returns)
Chris Marquette (The Girl Next Door)
David Denman (Big Fish)
Christopher McDonald (Happy Gilmore)
Seth Rogen (Bad neighbours)
Danny Trejo (Machete 1 & 2)
Ethan Suplee (My Name Is Earl)
Joe Lo Truglio (Superbad)
Billy Dee Williams (Batman)
Jaime King (Sin City)
William Shatner (Free Enterprise)
Carrie Fisher (Star Wars)
Kevin Smith (Clerks)
Jason Mewes (Bottoms Up)
Ray Park (Heroes)
Will Forte (The Lego Movie)
Craig Robinson (This is the End)
Danny McBride (Land of The Lost)
On October 31, 1998, Eric Bottler reunites with his old high school buddies Linus, Hutch, Windows, and Zoe at a Halloween party. There is tension between Bottler and his old friends, due to Bottler being the only one that matured since high school. Bottler, now a car salesman at his father’s dealership, finds that his friends have not changed a bit since high school: the number one thing they still have in common is their love of Star Wars. The gang expresses their anticipation for the latest installment to the franchise, Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace. Linus proposes an idea that Bottler and he had been plotting since they were children, to infiltrate Skywalker Ranch and steal a rough cut of the film, but Bottler dismisses it.
The next day, Hutch and Windows meet Bottler at work and inform him that Linus is dying from cancer. The doctors estimate that he only has roughly four months to live; Episode I comes out in six. To make peace with his former best friend, Bottler decides to go through with their plan and infiltrate Skywalker Ranch. The four begin their trip to Texas, where they have to meet Rogue Leader, a girl Windows is having an online relationship with, for information on getting into the Ranch. While on the road, Hutch decides to take a detour to Riverside, Iowa (the future birthplace of Captain James T. Kirk) in an attempt to start a fight with some Trekkies. Hutch gets his wish after attacking a Trekkie by the name of Admiral Seasholtz in retaliation to Seasholtz calling Han Solo a bitch, to which Hutch responds by running down their statue of Captain Kirk and Khan.
The boys’ van breaks down and they stumble upon a biker bar. Once inside they ask for help and a glass of water that costs $100. Hutch, refusing to pay, tries to pass himself off as a tough guy who just got out of prison, only to discover that they are in a gay bar. In order to pay for the drink they are forced to become the “midnight entertainment” and strip to the music of Menudo, which goes terribly wrong when Hutch displays his one testicle. They are saved by a man named “The Chief,” who fixes their van after they pass out from eating guacamole laced with peyote. He gives a bag of it to Linus as a parting gift.
After arriving in Texas, Windows meets Rogue Leader, who to his horror is a 10-year-old girl. The group is then assaulted by her uncle, Harry Knowles, who beats up Windows and tells him to never talk to his niece again. After explaining their situation, Harry quizzes them to prove they are true fanboys, then gives them information on one of his contacts that knows how to successfully enter Skywalker Ranch. They are told to meet Harry’s contact in Las Vegas, but on their way there they are arrested for fleeing a police vehicle and possession of peyote. Zoe arrives to bail them out of jail, and – having traveled halfway across the country to get them – insists on accompanying them on their journey. Eric is reluctant to continue when the judge (Billy Dee Williams) gives him a message from his father to come home or lose his job, but the others convince him to carry on by calling the journey their “Death Star”, the one great thing that will live with them forever. Once in Vegas, Hutch and Windows attempt to have sex with some girls while Bottler and Linus go to meet Harry’s contact. They are shocked to find that his contact is none other than William Shatner, who gives them the information they need and leaves. As they leave they are attacked by Seasholtz and his Trekkie friends, who were attending a Star Trek convention in the same hotel. Meanwhile, Hutch and Windows discover that the girls they were with are escort girls and flee when their angry pimp wants them to pay up.
The group escapes their adversaries but Linus is injured in the process. When taken to the hospital, Linus is informed by a doctor (Carrie Fisher) that he must return home for the sake of his health. When the group feels the situation has become hopeless, Eric refuses to give up on their plan and manages to inspire the gang to continue, reminding them that Star Wars means very much not just to Linus, but to all of them. The group leaves the hospital and eventually makes it to Skywalker Ranch. Shortly after breaking into the ranch and marveling at the collection of original props and costumes used in the films, they are discovered by security guards and are caught after a brief chase. The Head of Security tells them of their impending doom when he receives a phone call from George Lucas himself. Lucas tells him that he will drop all charges if they can prove to him that they are “fanboys”. The five are individually quizzed, including questions designed to show that they do not know much about the opposite sex (of which only Zoe is able to answer), after which the Head of Security confirms that they are fanboys and Lucas drops all charges. Being aware of Linus’s illness, Lucas allows him to watch the film alone while his friends wait outside. After the film ends, Bottler joins his friends around a campfire and mends his friendship with Linus. Weeks later, Linus dies of his illness.
On May 19, 1999, Bottler, Windows and Zoe emerge from their tent they used to camp out in while waiting in line for the first showing of Episode I. Bottler has followed his and Linus’s dream by becoming a comic book artist, Hutch has finally started his own detailing business, and Windows and Zoe are now in a relationship. Hutch arrives at the theater with beers he smuggled in, which they use to toast Linus’s memory. Just before the film starts, Bottler comments, “What if it sucks?”
This is a fun romp  and has surprisingly great cameos. Some movies are timeless in the way you can run into it on cable and will stay for a bit that is this movie. The actors throughout the movie are from the genre we expect. Cameos and more cameos are numerous. A good film for fans of Star Wars.

REVIEW: HEROES: THE COMPLETE COLLECTION (BLU-RAY)

CAST
Milo Ventimiglia (Gotham)
Hayden Panettiere (Bring it on 3)
Jack Coleman (Kingdom Hospital)
Tawny Cypress (Supergirl)
Leonard Roberts (Buffy: The Vampire Slayer)
Santiago Cabrera (Merlin)
Masi Oka (Get Smart)
Greg Grunberg (Alias)
Adrian Pasdar (Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D)
Noah Gray-Cabey (My Wife and Kids)
Ali Larter (Final Destination 1 & 2)
Sendhil Ramamurthy (Beauty and the Beast)
NOTABLE / RECURRING GUEST CAST
James Kyson Lee (Hawaii Five-O)
Zachary Quinto (Hitman: Agent 47)
Ashley Crow (The Secret Circle)
Jimmy Jean-Louis (Arrow)
Cristine Rose (How I Met Your Mother)
Thomas Dekker (Terminator: TSCC)
Lisa Lackey (Bones)
Matthew John Armstrong (American Dreams)
Christopher Eccleston (Doctor Who)
Nora Zehetner (Brick)
Clea DuVall (The Lizzie Borden Chronicles)
Randall Bentley (Upside)
Missy Peregrym (Smallville)
Danielle Savre (Boogeyman 2)
Eric Roberts (The Dark Knight)
Adair Tishler (Dollhouse)
Rena Sofer (Traffic)
Malcolm McDowell (Halloween 1 & 2)
George Takei (Star Trek)
Jayma Mays (Ugly Betty)

Heroes Season 1 is an ensemble cast show that became a very large success based on how well it translated the comic book world to the small screen. Set on present day Earth, the show details how a growing number of people are developing special abilities outside of government control with a variety of consequences to them and the population at large. Unlike the truncated second season, the first had a full 23 episodes to explore the concept, resulting in a number of smaller, multi-episode arcs that all built toward a bigger picture as the season progressed. Unlike the old style of comic books though, the cast is made up of all sorts of regular people that start to notice they are”special, some of whom learn to increase their abilities with concentration or training, stumbling at times but honing said powers in numerous ways.

In overall terms, the story uses the Human Genome Project as something of a starting point, using scientist Mohinder Suresh (Sendhil Ramamurthy) as a focal point for identifying gifted people as he follows a trail set forth by his father, a formerly distinguished geneticist that chased what were considered crazy ideas about human evolution until he was killed. Mohinder discovers that certain trace markers in human DNA predict people with abilities and having observed firsthand exactly how gifted some of these people are, he ends up trying to warn them of a serial killer named Sylar (Zachary Quinto) and what appears to be secret agents out to capture them. Needless to say, his efforts are not universally appreciated and he himself is cast into the mix as a pawn, forced to face both powered and mundane humans out to stop him. The show also uses a dozen or so other main characters that either have powers or interact heavily with them, many seemingly patterned after specific comic book characters in terms of abilities, though not so much in terms of their personalities.

Take Hiro Nakamura (Masi Oka) for example, he can bend the space time continuum if he concentrates hard enough, the Japanese office worker slaving away at his father’s corporation while dreaming of his special destiny. The guy is a stereotypical science fiction/comic book nerd too, wanting more than anything to become a hero rather than follow the path laid out for him by his father Kaito (George Takei of Star Trek fame). His hit or miss attempts to control his powers provide some of the comic relief of the show but he also serves as someone genre fans can identify with as he tries to uncover his own future with the help of his best friend, the mundane Ando Masahashi (James Kyson Lee). Then there was Claire Bennet (hotty Hayden Panettiere), a gal with Wolverine-like healing powers who figures out she will regenerate no matter what happens to her, the gal finding out her adopted father Noah (Jack Coleman) is working for an agency with special plans for anyone with her kind of talents. The Texas high school cheerleader becomes an integral part of the main picture as she is stalked by Sylar, a man with the ability to take special powers by decapitating those he encounters, their showdown predicted long before by Isacc Mendez (Santiago Cabrera), a precognitive that draws the future while under the influence of heroin.

The cast also included internet stripper Niki Sanders (hotty Ali Larter) whose multiple personality disorder grants her alias Jessica super strength, Nathan Petrelli (Adrian Pasdar) a district attorney running for Congress that can fly, his brother Peter (Milo Ventimiglia) that finds out his ability is especially powerful as time moves forward, Matt Parkman (Greg Grunberg) a street cop that can read minds, and DL Hawkins (Leonard Roberts) who can become intangible at will. Some of them try to keep their secret, like Nathan since he is running for office, while others are on the run from the agency searching such folks out (their point man being Noah with the aid of a Haitian that can negate powers and erase minds played by Jimmy Jean Louis), the conspiracy something straight out of shows like The X-Files, Jericho, or Angel. The interactions of the cast make the show quite special too, capturing the spirit of modern comic books better than anything else I have seen to date.Particularly appealing is the manner in which most of the powers are not overly flashy, the dramatic elements allowed to keep the science fiction elements present but downplayed so that a larger audience won’t be alienated.

CAST
Milo Ventimiglia (Gotham)
Jack Coleman (Kingdom Hospital)
Masi Oka (Get Smart)
Greg Grunberg (Alias)
Adrian Pasdar (Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D)
Hayden Panettiere (Bring it on 3)
Noah Gray-Cabey (My Wife and Kids)
Ali Larter (Final Destination 1 & 2)
Sendhil Ramamurthy (Beauty and the Beast)
David Anders (Izombie)
Kristen Bell (Veronica Mars)
Dania Ramirez (American Pie: Reunion)
Dana Davis (Prom Night)
James Kyson Lee (Hawaii Five-O)
Zachary Quinto (Hitman: Agent 47)
NOTABLE / RECURRING GUEST CAST
Jimmy Jean-Louis (Arrow)
Adair Tishler (Dollhouse)
Stephen Tobolowsky (Groundhog Day)
Shalim Ortiz (Silver Case)
Nicholas D’Agosto (Gotham)
Katie Carr (Dinotopia)
Eriko (Dragon Evolution)
Ashley Crow (The Secret Circle)
Randall Bentley (Upside)
Cristine Rose (How I Met Your Mother)
Dianna Agron (I Am Number Four)
Mark Christopher Lawrence (Chuck)

Heroes Season 2 picked up four months after the events of Season One with the characters having moved on from the explosive finish. The prophecy thwarted at great cost and Sylar stopped, the clock was reset in many ways for those that survived. Peter is missing, Nathan has become a recluse, Hiro is stuck in Medieval Japan, and the Bennett family is on the run from the Company. Some characters die off-screen or are greatly downplayed and new people are introduced, the major players added in being Maya and Alejandro from Central America. Maya has an uncontrollable ability to infect people with some form of fast acting disease and only her brother seems able to calm her down to reverse the effects. They are on the run for murder (the authorities are not really particular about “how” the deaths occurred so much as “who” was responsible) and head to New York City to meet Dr. Suresh in hopes of finding a cure, not knowing he was murdered. Along the way, they pick up a helpful hitchhiker named Gabriel (guess who) and trouble ensues but that is only one thread of many the show goes back to.Image result for heroes season 2Of much greater interest to me was the Bennett family, particularly Noah in his efforts to destroy the Company, and Claire, as she struggles with her powers, puberty, and origins. Hiro’s trip to Japan circa the Seventeenth century where he meets his childhood hero, Takezo Sensei, proves to be a disaster when he screws up the timeline and must repair it lest the fate of the world be irreparably altered. Sadly, the quirky journey he goes through was arguably the most impacted part of the WGA writer strike that shortened the season to a mere eleven episodes  Takezo finding out that he is special too, though no explanation given. How he deals with his father upon his return and his own shame at his betrayal of his hero provided some relief from the admittedly weak storyline but not nearly enough to compensate for some of the worst writing seen on the show that has just started season three.

Another new chapter in the saga revolved around a relative of Micah named Monica, the Katrina refugee with an uncanny ability to mimic anything she watches on television. This was a thread that had a bit of potential, largely because it contained Micah and Niki, but felt the sting of the shortened season as well, the gal trying to become a heroine and falling short of the mark out of stupidity. Parkman has lost his wife and identity only to start over again in New York, having learned to keep quiet about his abilities and use them serendipitously to advance himself to detective. He and Suresh take in Molly but soon have to face a powerful telepath that is hurting her, the piece of the puzzle unveiled to the bigger picture of a long time conspiracy by the founders of the Company that include the parents of most of the players currently focused on in the series. Suresh ends up working directly for the company too, racing to uncover the secrets of the genetic component that gives the cast their powers but also an engineered virus (the Shanti Virus) that threatens not only the metahumans but the rest of the populace as well.

Perhaps most curious in the season for me, aside from the arcs starring Peter and Sylar of course, are those leading to Bob (the current head of the organization) and his daughter Elle, a gal with electrifying powers that shows what Claire would have become had Noah truly been unattached to her as he was supposed to have been. A psychopathic killer on a short leash, Elle does the dirty work to seek her father’s approval, the contrast between her and Claire referred to time and again by those around them. The introduction of “Adam”, the first person with powers and a founding member of the Company with a huge grudge against humanity, was also kind of abrupt and his use of Peter to try and destroy the world (“resetting the clock on humanity”) had a lot of untapped potential too.

To me, the writers should have pared down the new characters and tied up things like the Hiro saga much sooner given the strike and shortened season. They should have also kept in mind the show has a devoted following so making the characters act outside of their established norms or contrary to what they would have done given the way they acted in the first season weakened it as well. That the major threads employed cheap plot devices used in the past certainly did not help either  but this was indicative of the major problem of the season for me, the pacing. Every book, television show, and movie has an internal rhythm and pace that fans get used to. The WGA strike forced the slowly escalating pace of the show to be accelerated well beyond normal and leave off all the suspense of Season One behind it.

CAST
Milo Ventimiglia (Gotham)
Adrian Pasdar (Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D)
Jack Coleman (Kingdom Hospital)
Sendhil Ramamurthy (Beauty and the Beast)
Cristine Rose (How I Met Your Mother)
Zachary Quinto (Hitman: Agent 47)
Hayden Panettiere (Bring it on 3)
James Kyson Lee (Hawaii Five-O)
Masi Oka (Get Smart)
Greg Grunberg (Alias)
Ali Larter (Final Destination 1 & 2)
NOTABLE / RECURRING GUEST CAST
Brea Grant (Battle Planet)
Ashley Crow (The Secret Circle)
Zeljko Ivanek (The Bourne Legacy)
Jamie Hector (Lie To Me)
Ntare Mwine (Blood Diamond)
Blake Shields (Carnivale)
Robert Forster (Jackie Brown)
David H. Lawrence XVII (Lost)
Kristen Bell (Veronica Mars)
Randall Bentley (Upside)
Jessalyn Gilsig (Nip/Tuck)
Jimmy Jean-Louis (Arrow)
Malcolm McDowell (Halloween I & II)
David Anders (Children of the Corn)
Alan Blumenfeld (In Her Shoes)
George Takei (Star Trek)
Dan Byrd (Firestarter 2)
Francis Capra (Veronica Mars)
Noah Gray-Cabey (My Wife and Kids)
Lisa Lackey (Bones)
Eric Roberts (The Dark Knight)
Adair Tishler (Dollhouse)
Stephen Tobolowsky (Groundhog Day)

The first volume of the third season, Villains, brought back what made the show so good in its first season, with shadowy bad guys and intricate conspiracies, in a storyline that explored what the line is between a hero and a villain. The return of the Petrelli patriarch Arthur (played with quiet badass-ness by Robert Forster) created an us-or-them scenario where characters had to choose sides and decide how far they would go to get what they want

The other key storyline surrounds Mohinder (Sendhil Ramamurthy) and his efforts to understand where the Heroes’ powers come from. The race to discover how to give and take away powers, which involves a hidden formula and an element known as the catalyst, which is key to the granting of special powers. Mohinder grants himself powers, which creates what could be gently described as an homage to The Fly and the distribution of powers becomes sctattershot, as powers change and mutate with each episode, creating characters who suffered from the Superman syndrome, as they were simply too powerful to be defeated in a realistic way.

The newcomers from season 2 have mostly disappeared, with only Elle and Maya sticking around, with Maya in  a somewhat minor role. The additions this time around are much better, including the ultra-creepy Puppet Master; Daphne, the morally-ambivalent Flash of the Heroes universe, and Utusu, an African version of Isaac Mendez, capable of painting the future on big rocks. Though they are, in some ways, repetitions of other characters, they bring enough to the show to be interesting, especially Brea Grant’s speedster, who has a memorable conflict with Hiro (Masi Oka) and a starcrossed relationship with Matt (Greg Grunberg.) There are a handful of other newcomers, including some thuggish bad guys and yet another  role for Ali Larter.


The first arc ended with a bit of a thud, as is probably the only way a battle with a ruthless, all-powerful villain can end, but it was followed up with the Fugitives arc, which tried a bit too hard to have real-world relevance. Guided by a questionably-motivated Nathan (Adrian Pasdar), the government has begun to round-up super-powered people for Guantanamo Bay-style imprisonment, including all our favorite heroes. It puts all the big-names wither in shackles or on the run, a situation that could have been promising, but instead just peters out, as the motivation for each character’s actions is no wildly different from what we know of them that it makes sense. Nathan is all over the ballfield in how he conducts his hunt for his fellow kind, while Sylar has more personality changes than could be explained by the supposed psychotic break he’s experiencing.

The show consistently is one of the finest-looking series on TV, with gorgeous photography and special effects, and from time to time, there are bits of inspired creativity, like the origin story in “1961,” which makes a terrific call-back all the way to a small-bit of dialogue in the pilot, Larter’s character’s powerful outburst in “Cold Snap” and the realistic rage the otherwise moral Matt Parkman (Greg Grunberg) experiences in “Trust and Blood.” And maybe I’m a bit blind, but I didn’t see foresee the identity of the anonymous underground agent helping the heroes in Fugitive and found it a smart re-use of characters.

CAST
Hayden Panettiere (Bring it on 3)
Robert Knepper (Cult)
Jack Coleman (Kingdom Hospital)
Zachary Quinto (Hitman: Agent 47)
Milo Ventimiglia (Gotham)
Masi Oka (Get Smart)
Greg Grunberg (Alias)
Adrian Pasdar (Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D)
James Kyson Lee (Hawaii Five-O)
Sendhil Ramamurthy (Beauty and the Beast)
Ali Larter (Final Destination 1 & 2)
NOTABLE / RECURRING GUEST CAST
Dawn Olivieri (The Vampire Diaries)
Madeline Zima (The Hand That Rocks The Cradle)
Ray Park (Star Wars – Episode I)
Deanne Bray (2 broke Girls)
Elisabeth Röhm (American Hustle)
Jimmy Jean-Louis (Arrow)
Lisa Lackey (Bones)
Todd Stashwick (The Originals)
David H. Lawrence XVII (Lost)
Ashley Crow (The Secret Circle)
Sasha Pieterse (X-Men: First Class)
Saemi Nakamura (Jury Duty)
Jayma Mays (Ugly Betty)
Tessa Thompson (Veronica Mars)
Rick Worthy (Collateral Damage)
Kate Vernon (Battlestar Galactica)
Louise Fletcher (Star Trek: DS9)
Ernie Hudson (Ghostbusters)
Željko Ivanek (Hannibal)
Swoosie Kurtz (Mike & Molly)
Richard Roundtree (Shaft)
George Takei (Star Trek)
Tamlyn Tomita (Highlander: The Series)

The big storyline this time out centers around Samuel Sullivan and his family of superpowered carnies. Samuel is busy building the group, recruiting various super-powered individuals to join them, in an effort to form a homeland of their own  As is usually the case with any story on Heroes, thanks to the need to add twists and turns to pad out episodes, it’s not that simple, and, of course, all of the show’s main characters will be drawn into the tale. It seems that the Heroes have the best contact system known to man, as no one misses an e-mail or call to get together. At some point, coincidence and contrived are very similar. Either way, the show tries to have it both ways with Samuel, attempting to make him both pure evil and a sympathetic soul, like they did with Sylar. While the inexplicably coincidental familial concerns of the Petrelli clan keep going for yet another run of episodes, adding in a new super-powered love interest for Peter, the relationship between Claire and her father Noah is the show’s secondary focus, as Claire goes off to college in an attempt to live a normal life, and ends up in a lesbian couple, while displaying her trademark poor judgment and weakly-motivated rebelliousness. Meanwhile, Dad’s whole world is falling apart in a super-midlife crisis.

The rest of the old crew are still around as well, including erstwhile samurai Hiro, who’s battling a terminal illness and trying his hand at being a hero-for-hire, and Matt Parkman and Sylar, who get closer than they’d really like to be in the aftermath of Season Three. Though the conflict between them is one of the better tales told, and Sylar  remains one of the most interesting characters in recent TV history.

The worst part of the season though has to be the ending. After you’ve sat through 18 episodes, Claire outs herself to the world on camera demonstrating her powers for all the world to see, then the iconic words to be continued appear….. The show was cancelled.

Perhaps the upcoming Heroes Reborn mini series will qive answers to what the aftermath will be.

REVIEW: MORTAL KOMBAT 1 & 2

CAST

Christopher Lambert (Highlander)
Robin Shou (Death Race)
Linden Ashby (Teen Wolf)
Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa (Planet of Teh Apes)
Bridgette Wilson-Sampras (The Weding Planner)
Talisa Soto (Licence To Kill)
Trevor Goddard (Deep Rising)
Chris Casamassa (Money Fight)
François Petit (Swashbucklers)
Keith Cooke (National Security)
Frank Welker (Transformers)
Kevin Michael Richardson (The Cleveland Show)
T.J. Storm (VR Troopers)Mortal Kombat is based on the video game series of the same name. An evil dude by the name of Shang Tsung and his minions from the realm of Outworld have set up a once-in-a-generation fighting tournament called Mortal Kombat. Outworld has beaten Earth in nine straight tournaments, and if they win a tenth they get to take over Earth’s realm, and thus us current inhabitants will be completely screwed.The fate of the Earth lies in the hands of three individuals who have entered Mortal Kombat for different reasons. Johnny Cage (Linden Ashby) is a movie actor who wants to prove that he’s not a fake and that he can fight for real; Sonya Blade (Bridgette Wilson) is a beautiful-but-tough soldier who wants to get her hands on another fighter, Kano, for killing her partner; and Liu Kang (Robin Shou), a martial artist who wants to avenge the death of his brother by killing Shang Tsung. Under the guidance of the god of lightening, Raiden (Christopher Lambert), the fighters must mentally prepare themselves for the fight of their lives.The actiowill be pleased to see all their favorite fighters in action, including Sub-Zero and Scorpion. Their only disappointment will be that Raiden doesn’t fight. It’s against immortal rules, apparently. The movie also manages to throw in a few humorous moments, including a really good bit at the end of the fight between Sonya and Kano.One criticism I have about the Mortal Kombat movie is the lack of familiar star-studded names. With the exception of Christopher Lambert who was in the Highlander movies, there’s virtually no one here you’ll recognize. This makes the movie difficult to recommend to those who love their extremely high profile acting talent. Mortal Kombat is hardly Oscar-winning material. But with plenty of beat-’em-up thrills its fun to watch.

CAST

Robin Shou (Death Race)
Talisa Soto (Licence To Kill)
James Remar (Flashforward)
Sandra Hess (NCIS)
Lynn Williams (American Gladiators)
Brian Thompson (The Terminators)
Musetta Vander (Stargate SG.1)
Marjean Holden (Vampires)
Lifefoot (Adaptation)
Keith Cooke (National Security)
Carolyn Seymour (Congo)
Lance LeGault (Stripes)
Ray Park (Star Wars – Episode I)

Paul W.S. Anderson’s Mortal Kombat might have borrowed quite a bit from Enter the Dragon, but at least it was trying to be a real movie. It attempted to piece together a narrative that had momentum, but enough room for some character development, too. Compared to Universal’s Street Fighter, which just took all the characters from the game and crammed them into the story with little-to-no coherence, Mortal Kombat focused on a smaller group of characters and kept things consistent with the game.he cash-in came with Mortal Kombat: Annihilation – a film so brazenly stupid and poorly made it’s barely even watchable. It is nothing short of a feast of visual garbage. Not only is Anderson gone (replaced by veteran cinematographer John R. Leonetti, who should have known better) but half the cast is replaced with stand-ins who can’t act (save for James Remar who replaces Christopher Lambert as Rayden and does a decent job with the character).
Worse, hilariously awful matte shots, cheap costumes, obvious sets and some of the worst CG ever put in a mainstream release fill nearly every scene of this movie. Dialogue is bad. The story makes no sense. And there’s almost no momentum whatsoever.The fighting is fairly stale, but a few set pieces do work, at least. And I’ll give the filmmakers credit for trying to craft a story that doesn’t borrow from another movie. Alas, this is one of those kitchen sink films, where nearly every idea that has ever encompassed Mortal Kombat is tossed into this movie with virtually no thought or skill at all.
Mortal Kombat: Annihilation is a bad movie. No way around it. Over the years, however, it has evolved into a cult hit of sorts, playing as an unintentional comedy – a spoof of the early video game movies and their painfully obvious cash-in mentality.Just watch the finale of the film, where two of the worst CG monsters ever put on screen, duke it out for the fate of mankind. If you don’t facepalm at least once during the scene, you’re not human and you shouldn’t be watching movies.