REVIEW: THE OUTPOST – SEASON 1

CAST

Jessica Green (Ash vs Evil Dead)
Jake Stormoen (War Pigs)
Imogen Waterhouse (Nocturnal Animals)
Anand Desai-Barochia (A Holiday Heist)
Andrew Howard (Bates Motel)
Robyn Malcolm (The Code)
Kevin McNally (Pirates of The Caribbean)

Jessica Green in The Outpost (2018)

RECURRING / NOTABLE GUEST CAST

Richard Ashton (The New Adventures of Robin Hood)
Philip Brodie (Broken News)
Julian Cihi (Gypsy)
Cokey Falkow (Starship Troopers 3)
Thor Knai (Crazy Ex-Girlfriend)
Michael Flynn (The Hollow Point)
Adam Johnson (Waffle Street)
Ric Sarabia (Runaways)
David Ury (3 From Hell)
William Rubio (Show Offs)
Jake Suazo (Zombie Hunter)
Sonalii Castillo (Voodoo Vanessa)
Medalion Rahimi (My Dead Ex)
Baylee Self (The Appearance)
Medalion Rahimi (The Catch)
Elizabeth Birkner (Behind You)

The Outpost (2018)To be honest no one can truely judge a TV show just after one episode but after so many do. The Outpost is a Low Budget High-Fantasy project from movie makers in Utah. The sets are well chosen even if they had to use very often green screen, something that can look cheap if you give it a closer look. Still I see the love for details in the set and appreciate that. Either you find nothing that seems out of place, everything in the set fits in.Michael Flynn and Imogen Waterhouse in The Outpost (2018)I think 90 % of the reviews on imdb  expected another Game of Thrones, and that isn’t the case here, and it wasn’t supposed to be that way. If a show is something new it is hard to tell right at the pilot. I liked the actors yet, the acting was decent and the story introduction a little rushed to get it into the first episode without getting too slow and not bore the audience. A little too much action but I understand why they did so. The effects aren’t high-end but decent as well. It gives the show a slight retro fantasy series look. The story yet has a few minor logic and plot holes but nothing to worry about. Some logic holes you have to deal with at fantasy stories and plot holes happen to the best writer.Anand Desai-Barochia and Jessica Green in The Outpost (2018)One of the best parts in the opening episode was the grand Music in the background, something that never gets enough attention. The most costumes look new and clean but I see no issue in that, people have still to see that it’s a low budget production. The Armors are very detailed and well made, I saw worse ones in movies with a higher budget, and there too is a love for details. The show has humor, and even if there are very clean and yet plane characters, that doesn’t mean that they are not supposed to get deeper. Andrew Howard and Jessica Green in The Outpost (2018)I think many who wrote reviews on imdb are too spoiled by expensive CGI and Special Effects and don’t see that even bigger and more popular shows are full with problems they here whine about. As the show continues through it’s 10 episode run, it gets better and better and becomes must see show.

25 DAYS OF CHRISTMAS REVIEW: A CHRISTMAS PRINCE 3: THE ROYAL BABY

Rose McIver and Ben Lamb in A Christmas Prince: The Royal Baby (2019)

Starring

Rose McIver (Izombie)
Ben Lamb (The White Queen)
Alice Krige (Star Trek: First Contact)
Honor Kneafsey (Crooked House)
Kevin Shen (Unlocked)
Momo Yeung (The Grind)
Sarah Douglas (Superman II)
Theo Devaney (Run)
Richard Ashton (The Fifth Element)
Tahirah Sharif (Waterloo Road)
Crystal Yu (Shanghai)

Rose McIver and Ben Lamb in A Christmas Prince: The Royal Baby (2019)Two years ago, Netflix’s A Christmas Prince was the silly, meme-ready movie none of us knew we needed. Despite its absurdly illogical storytelling and undeniable tackiness, it was charming. Unfortunately, its sequel, last year’s A Christmas Prince: The Royal Wedding, was an uneasy mix of politics, personal drama and forced holiday cheer that was more often frustrating than fun. Luckily, this year’s installment, A Christmas Prince: The Royal Baby, combines the best of both films.screen-shot-2019-11-21-at-12-05-27-1574338870The film finds Aldovia’s King Richard (Ben Lamb) and former New Yorker, Queen Amber (Rose McIver), awaiting their first-born child. However, before they can take a break from their royal duties and prepare for the baby’s January due date, Richard and Amber have to renew the treaty that ended the war between Aldovia and the nearby (and equally imaginary) country of Penglia on Christmas Eve 600 hundred years prior. Though Richard and Amber want to modernize the process by allowing the queens to also sign the treaty for the first time, King Tai (Kevin Shen) and Queen Ming (Momo Yeung) are very traditional and refuse. The point becomes moot, though, when the scroll combining the previous treaties disappears and, if it’s not found and signed by midnight on Christmas Eve, then not only will the war between the countries resume, but a curse will befall Aldovia’s unborn royal baby.1Considering Richard and Amber’s behavior in the previous film, maybe that baby deserves to be cursed. Much of what made The Royal Wedding so frustrating was that it depicted Richard and Amber as such terrible rulers that Aldovia seemed on the cusp of revolution and they don’t do much to change that here. Though Amber spent the last year studying Aldovian history and seemingly winning over everyone in the kingdom (at least, according to her own blog post), the first thing she does when meeting the Penglian royals is to commit a faux pas by *checks notes* introducing herself? It’s a bizarre moment not just because writer Nate Atkins doesn’t give the audience enough context to understand why Amber’s actions would draw literal gasps from the spectators, but because the standoffishness between the Aldovians and Penglians in that scene so quickly becomes irrelevant.2Atkins clearly saw Crazy Rich Asians and in those first moments, Queen Ming feels embarrassingly like a rip-off of Michelle Yeoh’s Eleanor. From the second she steps out of the car, Ming is already looking down her nose at Amber and continues to condescend to her in the following scenes. So, when the scroll disappears, the natural assumption is that it would spark an international incident. Instead, not only to the Aldovians act as if the disappearance of this priceless historical artifact isn’t a big deal, but Amber and Richard decide that the best way to smooth over this diplomatic nightmare is to pass the Penglians of to former villain, Simon (Theo Devaney) to play a traditional Aldovian board game about who can decorate Christmas tree the best.48419798_2153116994726451_8852346708554678272_nIn any other film, that scene would irrevocably turn the audience against it, but it’s precisely the film’s conviction that the magic of Christmas (and, on some level, Amber’s journalistic skill) will solve everything that ultimately makes it not only so hard to take seriously, but so inexplicably pleasant. Is it utterly unbelievable that Amber and Richard wouldn’t care about finding the missing scroll until they hear about the possible curse? Absolutely, but adding such an insane twist also makes realism irrelevant. Does it make no sense that stuck-up Ming would not only be fairly calm about being separated from her three children over the holidays, but would willingly go to the Aldovian Christmas Market to mingle with commoners? Completely, but nothing that matters in the real world actually matters in the Christmas Prince universe and that’s why it’s so fun91d6d8965dd5bc4b1da7b0.80964457_.More than any previous Netflix Christmas film, A Christmas Prince: The Royal Baby is pure escapism. Sure, you could complain about how illogical the story or character beats are, but that would be missing the point. These films are about getting swept up in the magic of Christmas and the consuming power of love. And more than any film before it, Baby makes that total break with reality look like art.

25 DAYS OF CHRISTMAS REVIEW: A CHRISTMAS PRINCE 2: THE ROYAL WEDDING

 

A Christmas Prince: The Royal Wedding (2018)

Starring

Rose McIver (Izombie)
Ben Lamb (The White Queen)
Alice Krige (Star Trek: First Contact)
Honor Kneafsey (Crooked House)
Sarah Douglas (Superman II)
Theo Devaney (Run)
Tahirah Sharif (Waterloo Road)
Tom Knight (Dcotors)
Richard Ashton (The Fifth Element)

Rose McIver and Ben Lamb in A Christmas Prince: The Royal Wedding (2018)One year after the events of the first film, Amber and Richard are still happily engaged. At Christmas time, Amber and her father, Rudy, travel to Aldovia to plan Amber’s wedding. Amber continues to blog about royal life with Richard. Amber becomes overwhelmed with the dictatorial traditions of royal protocol and lack of control over her own wedding, which is controlled by the flamboyant designer Sahil and Mrs. Averill, as Richard struggles with the failing implementation of his Aldovian economic revitalization program, the New Aldovia initiative, which is mysteriously hemorrhaging money from the monarchy as unemployment and low wages afflict the increasingly discontent populace. To assist in the economic efforts, Queen Helena brings in Lord Leopold to assist Richard, as Leopold had been planning aid efforts with Richard’s late father. Meanwhile, Simon, impoverished due to his divorce from Sophia, also returns to beg to be brought back into the palace; a resentful Richard reluctantly accepts, as Simon is family.Rose McIver and Ben Lamb in A Christmas Prince: The Royal Wedding (2018)Amber and Richard’s relationship grows strained as Richard becomes increasingly distracted with royal demands, and Amber refuses to kowtow to Mrs. Averill’s strict guidelines. After Princess Emily’s play is cancelled due to a strike by governmental workers, Amber hosts the play at the palace. While the move was well-received, Amber becomes furious when Mrs. Averill takes down posts from her blog about the affair due to their casual nature, and is further enraged when Sahil and Mrs. Averill demand she remove her locket (containing her late mother’s photo) for a royal portrait.Rose McIver and Ben Lamb in A Christmas Prince: The Royal Wedding (2018)After receiving a bitter Christmas card from an unemployed worker, Amber investigates the royal finances with her friends, who have come to celebrate her wedding. She learns that the New Aldovia initiative has been failing because a group of new companies has been outbidding local workers and taking the money out of the country. During a paparazzi ambush, she’s saved by Simon, who wants to help investigate the economic issue. With Emily’s help, the group hacks into a site that the shell companies are owned by an association, Glockenspiel Consortium. Mrs. Averill confronts Richard and Amber over paparazzi photos of Amber at a bar while investigating, and Amber admits to the sleuthing. When Richard fails to defend her against Mrs. Averill, she storms out. Richard admits his failings as a fiance to Emily, and after finding Amber, the two reconcile.MV5BYmYzYjJmMTItMDEzMi00YzQzLWFhM2ItMjAzODUxZTk1MWE4XkEyXkFqcGdeQXVyMjQwMDg0Ng@@._V1_SX1777_CR0,0,1777,999_AL_During a royal celebration, where Helena gives Amber the blessing to have the ceremony she wants, the group reveals that Glockenspiel Consortium is owned by Leopold, who is accosted and thrown into the palace dungeon. Richard gives a Christmas address that promises holiday bonuses to all Aldovian workers, and the populace celebrates. Richard and Amber finally marry in a ceremony that blends tradition with modernity, and everyone celebrates as Richard and Amber leave to share a private kiss.As a cute, typical, royal romance and Christmas movie, I think it delivers. Yeah it’s cheesy, but of course it is! I watched the first one and it’s the same thing! I think it’s a charming, cheesy, Christmas romance. That’s what we expected.

25 DAYS OF CHRISTMAS REVIEW: A CHRISTMAS PRINCE

Starring

Rose McIver (Izombie)
Ben Lamb (The White Queen)
Tom Knight (Doctors)
Honor Kneafsey (Slumber)
Sarah Douglas (Superman II)
Daniel Fathers (The Voice)
Alice Krige (Star Trek: First Contact)
Tahirah Sharif (Waterloo Road)
Richard Ashton (The Outpost)
Emma Louise Saunders (Skin Deep)
Theo Devaney (Run)

Rose McIver and Ben Lamb in A Christmas Prince (2017)An aspiring young American magazine journalist, Amber Moore, is sent to the foreign nation of Aldovia to cover a press conference with the crown prince Richard, who is set to take the throne following his father’s recent death. Richard is alleged to be an irresponsible playboy and is also rumored to be planning to abdicate. Amber hopes her work in Aldovia will lead to a big break and she heads to the royal family’s palace for the press conference, but the prince fails to appear, frustrating the assembled journalists. Amber decides to snoop around the palace and while doing so is mistaken for young Princess Emily’s new tutor. Amber takes the opportunity to go undercover to investigate the rumors of abdication.Rose McIver in A Christmas Prince (2017)Emily, who has spina bifida, intentionally tries to prank Amber into quitting, but soon warms up to her after Amber treats her like a normal girl. Amber also meets Richard, whom she is embarrassed to realize she insulted earlier after he, incognito, stole the cab she was about to get into at the Aldovian airport. Amber quickly becomes attracted to Richard upon learning that, contrary to rumors, he is actually a compassionate and responsible family man, though he is indeed reluctant to take the throne. During this time she also learns from Emily that Richard’s cousin Simon is next in line for the throne, which he sorely wants; Amber also encounters Richard’s ex-girlfriend Sophia, who Richard suspects was only interested in him for his future title. Amber is eventually confronted by Emily, who reveals that she knows the truth about her identity. Amber prepares to leave, but Emily agrees to not reveal her secret so long as she writes a story that exposes Richard for the real person he is and ends the negative rumors about him.5c93a-marcos-002After Amber follows Richard on horseback through the woods, her horse throws her off and she is nearly attacked by a wolf, only to be saved by Richard. While warming up at his father’s old hunting cabin, the prince reveals to her that he told his father he was going to renounce the throne; they had a fight over the decision, and the king died soon after. Richard shows Amber a mysterious poem written by his father, and the two almost kiss but are interrupted by the sound of neighing horses. After Richard leaves to check on the animals, Amber searches the late king’s desk and discovers a hidden compartment holding documents which prove that Richard was secretly adopted. Amber is reluctant to reveal the truth, as it would deeply hurt Richard, but decides to tell him during a walk; he kisses her instead, and she realizes she is in love with him. At the same time, a suspicious Sophia and Simon search Amber’s room, discovering not only her true identity but Richard’s adoption certificate.christmasprince-998x685At the Christmas Eve Ball, Richard prepares to be crowned, only for Sophia to reveal his adoption and Amber’s true identity. Simon asserts himself as next in line for the throne as Richard storms off and rebuffs a repentant Amber’s apologies, and she tearfully leaves the palace. The queen reveals to Richard that she adopted him after being told she could not have children, and that she regretted not telling him sooner, but that she and the king considered him their true son. The two reconcile, and Richard promises to not let Simon win the throne so easily.  Simon marries Sophia, but learns he cannot be crowned until the queen is available to preside over the ceremony. Meanwhile, Amber suspects that she can prove Richard is the rightful king based on clues from his father’s poem. She is allowed back into the palace and unearths a secret proclamation in a Christmas ornament made by the king which declares Richard as the rightful heir. Amber carries the document to the official chamber where Simon is being crowned, and she intervenes in time for Richard to be crowned instead, quietly slipping out of Aldovia afterwards.christmasBack home, Amber’s story on Richard is refused for being a puff piece. In anger, she quits the magazine, deciding to blog about the true Richard instead. Her blog becomes popular and eventually gains the attention of Richard himself. Amber spends New Year’s Eve at her father’s diner, where Richard surprises her and proposes to her, and she happily accepts.street-proposal-inset-CustomThis is cheesy and a straight-shooting plot line. It’s an easy watch, enjoyable movie. It’s a good film for the Christmas season.

REVIEW: THE FIFTH ELEMENT

CAST

Bruce Willis (Sin City)
Gary Oldman (Batman Begins)
Ian Holm (The Hobbit)
Milla Jovovich (Resident Evil)
Chris Tucker (Rush Hour)
Luke Perry (Buffy: The Vampire Slayer)
Brion James (BLade Runner)
Tommy ‘Tiny’ Lister (Jackie Brown)
Lee Evans (There’s Something About Mary)
John Neville (Odyssey 5)
Martin McDougall (Batman Begins)
Richard Ashton (The Outpost)

thumbnailIn 1914, aliens known as Mondoshawans arrive at an ancient Egyptian temple to collect, for safekeeping, the only weapon capable of defeating a great evil that appears every 5,000 years. The weapon consists of four stones, representing the four classical elements, and a sarcophagus containing a fifth element in the form of a human, which combines the power of the other four elements into a divine light capable of defeating the evil. The Mondoshawans promise their human contact, a priest from a secret order, that they will come back with the element stones in time to stop the great evil when it returns.

In 2263, the great evil appears in deep space in the form of a giant ball of black fire, and destroys an attacking Earth spaceship. The Mondoshawans’ current contact on Earth, priest Vito Cornelius (Ian Holm), informs the President of the Federated Territories (Tom Lister Jr.) of the history of the great evil and the weapon that can stop it. As the Mondoshawans return to Earth they are ambushed by Mangalores, a race hired by the industrialist Jean-Baptiste Emanuel Zorg (Gary Oldman), who has been instructed by the great evil to acquire the stones. The Mondoshawans’ spacecraft is destroyed, though the stones are not on board; the only item recovered is a hand of The Fifth Element. Scientists take it to a New York City laboratory and use it to reconstruct a humanoid woman who takes the name Leeloo (Milla Jovovich). Terrified of the unfamiliar surroundings, she escapes confinement and jumps off a ledge, crashing into the flying taxicab of Korben Dallas (Bruce Willis), a former major in the special forces.

Dallas delivers Leeloo to Cornelius and his apprentice, David (Charlie Creed-Miles), whereupon Cornelius learns that the Mondoshawans entrusted the four element stones to the alien Diva Plavalaguna (Maïwenn Le Besco), an opera singer. Zorg kills many of the Mangalores because of their failure to obtain the stones, but their compatriots determine to seize the artifacts for themselves. Upon learning from the Mondoshawans that the stones are in Plavalaguna’s possession, General Munro (Brion James), Dallas’ former superior, recommissions Dallas and orders him to travel undercover to meet Plavalaguna on a luxury intergalactic cruise; Dallas takes Leeloo with him. Meanwhile, Cornelius instructs David to prepare the ancient temple designed to house the stones, then stows away on the space plane transporting Dallas to the cruise liner.MV5BZDNjYTJiMzYtM2RhOC00NGY3LWE1ZjEtZjFjZDU1MjM4MjZkXkEyXkFqcGdeQXVyMDc2NTEzMw@@._V1_SY1000_CR0,0,1427,1000_AL_

Plavalaguna is killed when the Mangalores attack the ship, but Dallas succeeds in retrieving the stones. During his struggle with the Mangalores he kills their leader. After shooting and seriously wounding Leeloo, Zorg finds a carrying case which he presumes contains the stones, and takes it back to his spacecraft, leaving behind a time bomb that forces the liner’s occupants to evacuate. Discovering the case to be empty, Zorg returns to the ship and deactivates his bomb, but a dying Mangalore sets off his own device, destroying the ship and killing Zorg. Dallas, Cornelius, Leeloo, and talk-show host Ruby Rhod (Chris Tucker) escape with the stones aboard Zorg’s spacecraft.

The four join up with David at the weapon chamber in the Egyptian temple as the great evil approaches. They activate the stones, but having witnessed and studied so much violence, Leeloo has become disenchanted with humanity and refuses to cooperate. Dallas confesses his love for Leeloo and kisses her. In response, Leeloo combines the power of the stones and releases the divine light; the great evil, now dormant, becomes another moon in Earth orbit.Luc Besson has created a visually stunning piece of work. The cinematography is vibrant and colourful and the costumes (designed by Jean Paul Gaultier) have to be seen to be believed; the special effects are of the quality you would expect and add to the whole experience. This is a fast paced movie that grabs you and doesn’t let go from start to finish.