REVIEW: FOR ALL MANKIND – SEASON 1

For All Mankind (2019)

Starring

Joel Kinnaman (Suicide Squad)
Michael Dorman (The Invisible Man)
Wrenn Schmidt (Our Idiot Brother)
Sarah Jones (Alcatraz)
Shantel VanSanten (The Flash)
Jodi Balfour (True Detective)

Joel Kinnaman in For All Mankind (2019)

Recurring / Notable Guest Stars

Chris Agos (Chicago Fire)
Matt Battaglia (Thor)
Chris Bauer (The Devil’s Advocate)
Jeff Branson (All My Children)
Colm Feore (The Amazing Spider-Man 2)
Ryan Kennedy (Tin Star)
Eric Ladin (American Sniper)
Rebecca Wisocky (Devious Minds)
Arturo Del Puerto (Ride Along 2)
Noah Harpster (Transparent)
Sonya Walger (Lost)
Wallace Langham (CSI)
Nate Corddry (Ghostbusters)
Lenny Jacobson (Bumblebee)
Spencer Garrett (Yes Man)
Saul Rubinek (Hunters)
Krys Marshall (Supergirl)
Brian Stepanek (Young Sheldon)
Meghan Leathers (American Waste)
Edwin Hodge (The Purge)
James Urbaniak (American Splendor)
Megan Dodds (CSI: NY)
Olivia Trujillo (The Toy Box)
Leonora Pitts (Manson Family Vacation)
John Rubinstein (Chilling Adventures of Sabrina)

Mark Ivanir, Michael Dorman, Wrenn Schmidt, Krys Marshall, Jodi Balfour, Meghan Leathers, and Olivia Trujillo in For All Mankind (2019)Battlestar Galactica and Outlander creator Ronald D Moore heads back into space and back into the past again, with one of Apple TV+’s make-or-break launch dramas, For All Mankind. But rather than robot invaders or time travelling romantics, the fantasy here is restricted to an alternative history, asking what would have happened if the Russians had beaten the Americans to landing the first man on the moon. In Moore and co-creators Ben Nedivi and Matt Wolpert’s version of 1969, the US – driven by the utterly self-serving President Nixon (no need for fantasy there) – refuses to take the defeat lying down and the space race rapidly escalates into a Battle To Control the Moon.For All Mankind (2019)But while that may sound like the title of a sci-fi B-movie, For All Mankind is ostensibly a period drama – with the drama in question alternating between the immaculate suburban houses of the astronauts and their partners, the NASA Mission Control room, the bar where NASA personnel go to blow off steam (if they really did this much drinking, it’s a wonder they ever made it off the launch pad) and, of course, the Moon.For All Mankind (2019)The family politics that arise from hard-drinking, occasionally womanising men waiting to blast off into space are dealt with well, but can drag a little, and as you’d expect, the real moments of tension take place when launch time approaches, in front of not only the controls of lunar modules, but also the TV screens where the astronauts’ wives gather to watch their husbands’ latest nail-biting manoeuvres broadcast live. Whether NASA would really choose to televise in real time so many situations that could quite easily end in the failure of their missions or the deaths of their astronauts is questionable but it’s certainly a good technique for evoking the stresses and strains of having a partner whose job is being shot into space on top of several hundred thousand pounds of rocket fuel.Even the first episode – which has a lot of work to do simply in terms of scene-setting – offers up a couple of great cliffhanger moments. But once we reach the Moon, there are opportunities to really ratchet up the tension, mostly driven by NASA and the astronauts’ questionable willingness to throw the rule book out of the window in their desperation to secure a lunar first over the Russians. Of course, Nasa in 1969 was a very male-oriented world but in formulating the show it’s clear that Moore and co thought have thought hard about how they can put women at the heart of the space-based action too.Dave Power, Sonya Walger, and Joel Kinnaman in For All Mankind (2019)In reality, NASA didn’t begin an astronaut programme for women until 1978 and to this day a woman has still not set foot on the moon (NASA’s current target for that is 2024), but here circumstances dictate that the women’s programme starts much sooner, giving us a second, female-focused, strand to the space race story with at least as much drama as the men’s event and far more emotional impact. Performances are good across the board. The ever enigmatic Joel Kinnaman is well cast as tightly-wound yet soul-searching astronaut Edward Baldwin. Shantel VanSanten plays his equally focused wife Karen, balancing her duties as one of the matriarchs of the astronauts’ wives club with her deeply buried fears about the danger that her husband’s job puts him in.Sonya Walger, Sarah Jones, Cass Buggé, Krys Marshall, and Jodi Balfour in For All Mankind (2019)Sarah Jones is a stand-out as fellow astro-wife Tracey Stevens, overwrought by the infidelities of her husband Gordo (Michael Dorman) but with the possibility of glory of her own on the horizon. And Wrenn Schmidt plays pioneering Margo Madison, a mission control engineer striving to make a name for herself in a man’s world – also the position that the brilliantly laconic Sonya Walger finds herself in as aspiring astronaut Molly Cobb. Aside from Margo, the NASA control room is largely populated by real-life characters (a depressed Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin and John Glenn even hang out in the background after their failed attempt to make it to the lunar surface). Colm Feore plays Wernher von Braun – the German scientist who headed up the US space programme – as warm and principled, which may surprise those who know how von Braun’s skills were utilised during the Second World War.Joel Kinnaman in For All Mankind (2019)Eric Ladin as Chief Flight Director Gene Kranz gets to perform a couple of spine-tingling inspirational speeches ahead of some heart-in-mouth moments, and Chris Bauer is great as firm-but-fair Director of Flight Crew Operations Deke Slayton, the man who makes astronaut selections and who must spar with Nixon’s cronies as they attempt to push his mercurial agenda on NASA. And, well, it’s probably best if I stop listing names at this point… Because despite this initial over-abundance of personnel, and some slower moments in the earlier episodes, For All Mankind has a lot going for it – some winning characters and great performances; easy-on-the-eye sets and moonscapes; gripping scenes and uplifting moments – and not least the fact that it’s for all Womankind, too.

REVIEW: WAR PIGS

 

CAST

Luke Goss (Blade II)
Dolph Lundgren (Arrow)
Chuck Liddell (Cradle 2 The Grave)
Mickey Rourke (The Wrestler)
Noah Segan (Cabin Fever 2)
Ryan Kelley (Smallville)
K. C. Clyde (Firestarter: Rekindled)
Jake Stormoen (The Outpost)

Disgraced World War 2 Army Captain Jack Wosick is given the opportunity for redemption when asked to lead a rag-tag unit of misfits known as the War Pigs on a secretmission to go behind enemy lines to uncover and capture a Nazi developed Super Weapon the V3, a massive artillery canon that would give the Nazis an insurmountable advantage against the Allies. With the help of Captain Hans Picault, a German Anti-Nazi serving with the French Foreign Legion and Colonel AJ Redding, a battle hardened WW1 veteran, Jack must train, lead and earn the respect of his new squad to become a functioning reconnaissance unit.War Pigs is a fun action adventure movie. It’s Pigs is a fun watch.  Dolph Ludgren and Luke Goss give amazing performances as French Foreign Legionnaire Peter Picault and Captain Jack Wosick. Worth a watch for fans of Dolph.

 

REVIEW: CAPRICA – PART 2

 

Starring

Eric Stoltz (The Butterfly Effect)
Esai Morales (Titans)
Paula Malcomson (The Hunger Games)
Alessandra Torresani (The Big Bang Theory)
Magda Apanowicz (You)
Sasha Roiz (Grimm)
Brian Markinson (Sanctuary)
Polly Walker (Pennyworth)

Caprica (2009)

Recurring / Notable Guest Cast

Kendall Cross (X-Men 2)
Peter Wingfield (Highlander: The Series)
Andrew Airlie (Fifty Shades of Grey)
Hiro Kanagawa (Izombie)
Panou (Flash Gordon)
Zak Santiago (Shooter)
Bridget Hoffman (Darkman)
Scott Porter (Speed Racer)
John Pyper-Ferguson (The Last Ship)
Anita Torrance (Smallville)
Genevieve Buechner (The Final Cut)
Ben Cotton (Stargate: Atlantis)
Teryl Rothery (Stargate SG.1)
Patton Oswalt (Veronica Mars)
Ryan Kennedy (Smallville)
Christopher Heyerdahl (Van Helsing)
Calum Worthy (American Vandal)
Tom McBeath (Stargate SG.1)
Aleks Paunovic (Van Helsing)
Elisabeth Rosen (Cult of Chucky)
Sina Najafi (Stargate SG.1)
Carmen Moore (Flash Gordon)
Mike Dopud (Arrow)

Esai Morales in Caprica (2009)Nothing would’ve made me happier than to deem Syfy’s decision to cancel Caprica a grave and unwarranted one, but that’s something which simply can’t happen. Bear with me now, because there’s a reason for saying this. As a defender of the series when it was on the brink of cancellation, there’s no joy in stating that it’s easy to see why Ron Moore and David Eick’s offshoot from Battlestar Galactica received the axe when it did. Though far from faultless, the first half of the series established a fine foundation for a world rife for exploration: the mechanics of a society that would ultimately create a sentient lifeform, robots which would rebel and eventually annihilate most of the human race. But concept’s only part of the journey, and Caprica saw tonal and storytelling issues that shaped it into a rough, erratic exploration of those ideas, reaching an especially stagnant point at the beginning of this second half. It’s a shame, then, that the writers and producers finally discover their rhythm in the last five-and-a-half episodes, as it truly becomes the series I had hoped it’d become.Paula Malcomson in Caprica (2009)The story revolves around the polytheistic, technologically-advanced colony of Caprica roughly sixty years before “the downfall”, focusing on the conflict between, and within, two families: The Graystones, and the Adamas. Lawyer Joseph Adams (Esai Morales) lives a somewhat normal life with his wife and two children, Tamara and Billy, attempting to juggle his high-profile stature in the legal realm with his domestic life. He fights a bit with keeping himself as distanced as he can from his unsavory lineage, the Tauron mob Ha’la’tha, though it’s hard since the organization funded his education and requires his services regularly — usually by messages delivered through his brother, Sam (Sasha Roiz). BSG devotees with get a jolt in seeing the blossoming of young “Billy” in this environment early on, watching the growth of the semi-troubled youth that’d transform into the disquieting, powerful Galactica commander Bill Adama.Magda Apanowicz in Caprica (2009)Caprica’s central draw, however, is the Graystones. Daniel Graystone (Eric Stoltz) heads a tech development firm working on a mechanized super-soldier that’s just not cutting the mustard, all the while generating profit (60% of net, to be exact) with virtual reality headsets — holobands — that connect to a network of fully-interactive, realistic digital worlds. Graystone’s seemingly safe digital construct quickly broke down into a laissez-faire underground, filled with hacked sections that exploit sex, drug-use, and violence. Daniel’s daughter, a silver-tongued high-school student named Zoe (Alessandra Torresani) who battles with her mother Amanda (Paula Malcomson) over authority, frequents the holoband V-Club with boyfriend Ben (Avan Jogia) and timid best friend Lacy (Magda Apanowicz), yet they’re beyond the carnal satisfaction that the place has to offer. Instead, they’ve found purpose in monotheistic religious belief within an activist organization, the Soldiers of The One (STO), and, in the process, created an exact digital copy of Zoe who will somehow aid the resistance.Eric Stoltz and Paula Malcomson in Caprica (2009)Caprica utilized a cliffhanger episode at the end of the first half of the season, one that leaves the mortality of several characters up in the air. It’s uncertain whether the depression-driven grief that Amanda’s been going through truly led her to suicide; similarly, we’re unsure if the full-throttle abrasiveness that Zoe was enacting inside the U-87 Cylon body destroyed her at the end. Then, Syfy opted to go on a very lengthy mid-season break (read: they shelved the episodes), leaving curious minds in the dark for roughly seven months and, effectively, knocking the wind out of Caprica. Already, the series wasn’t on the strongest of legs; as mentioned before, it establishes a fine world that explores the emotions coursing through decisions to either reject or embrace digital memories of loved ones, while also giving some deep-rooted glimpses into the underpinnings of Moore and Eick’s Emmy-winning Battlestar Galactica. Yet it wasn’t all gelling together as of yet, only improving as the series went along but ultimately lacking the joie du vivre that pumped its inspiration forward.Eric Stoltz in Caprica (2009)Therefore, when Caprica’s second half starts off sluggish and overbearingly dour, it’s almost like a death toll. Let’s be perfectly honest here: the first three installments following a seven-month hiatus end up being misfired glut, something the series couldn’t withstand at that point. Starting with a jump-forward in time that echoes the end of Battlestar Galactica’s second season, it throws the story in a pit of depression, despair, and cutthroat politics surrounding Daniel that bloats beyond its boundaries. When the Ha’la’tha use killing one’s mother — someone unassociated with the crime syndicate — as a sign of loyalty, when the STO enact murderous power moves over their religious heads, or when Zoe’s avatar is bludgeoned to near-death for simply looking like the STO terrorist she’s perceived to be, the tone gets molasses-level thick and fairly objectionable. It’s as if Moore and Eick are overcompensating so their audience knows they’re not pulling any punches, while the output they produce leans toward ham-handed and hard-faced discomfort — and extremely awkward in “Things We Lock Away”, a sloppily glued-together hodgepodge of poorly-orchestrated arena brawls in New Cap City and intent Lacy/STO development.Esai Morales in Caprica (2009)None of Caprica’s issues root in the performances, however, or the production design. From the ground up, Moore and Eick continue the shrewdly-cast and stylish thrust of science-fiction with a fine vein of suspense, capturing the city’s expanses with a unique blend of metropolitan polish, futuristic gris-gris, and slick ’50s-esque allure. Locations like the Graystone mansion sport angular windows and a glaring pour of cold light, while the Adama household encapsulates a warm yet dark demeanor. These fitting aesthetic touches cradle some exceptional dramatic performances, including Eric Stoltz and Esai Morales whom have come into their own as tried-and-true denizens of Caprica. The same can be said for Magda Apanowicz as Lacy, who takes the complications surrounding a semi-innocent girl lost in the world of terrorism and runs with them with stalwart momentum. Lacy’s role, which gets sloshed around in the first half of the season, begins to grow more focused as she embeds further into the STO (and learns of her affinity with post-Zoe Cylons). The faces of Caprica are what keep the series afloat, both during the well-executed and bungled stretches in the show.Still from CapricaReally, the issues hinge on a general question: “What’s the driving force behind Caprica?” At first, the series closed in on the machinations of the Cylon origins, as well as exploring monotheism vs. polytheism, the benefits and hindrances of an abandon-free V-World, and the reluctance for people to let go of those whom have died. Upon the second half of Caprica, all that’s somewhat switched out for direct drama involving the robots’ “creator”, as well as concentration on the gangster Adama network and the blossoming of the terrorist organization as idealists — which, by the way, the STO material’s fairly bland and oddly-executed during that stretch. In essence, it starts to go down a fairly generic path of aggressive human drama, leaving the intrigue behind Zoe’s presence somewhat alone for a two-hour burst. It’s pretty clear that the minds behind the show tinkered with some new (and time-weathered) ideas to try and wrangle together a new audience. And it didn’t really pan out as such.Caprica with Eric StoltzFortunately, the creative team seems to have had an inclination towards this. Starting with “False Labor”, Caprica begins to see an awakening, as if they both discover where their weaknesses lie and resurrect the spirit of Battlestar Galactica — which carries over in “Blowback”, marking the first of five episodes that Syfy shelved around the time of cancellation. In this episode, Daniel attempts to recreate Zoe’s “resurrection” software, while in the process using an avatar of Amanda as a basis for comparison. Since he knows all the mannerisms and minutiae of his wife, he’s able to determine exactly how human or inhuman she’s acting, and the content that unfolds as he dissects this digital Amanda can be both penetrating and emotionally stirring. On top of that, Lacy gets her first hearty taste of the STO’s domineering, contentious presence, while meeting other “recruits” similar to her. Moreover, it rediscovers its tonality; difficult drama remains, but the way it’s handled regains the excitement of its inspiration. In short, it gets good. Really, really good.With Syfy cancelling the show and five episodes still left to run, the big question likely will be: “Does it get a proper, strong conclusion?” Piggybacking off the regained proficiency that it rediscovers in “Blowback”, Caprica sprints through the remaining episodes as if it knows that the end’s coming, losing its abandon in a furious, gripping rush that certainly echoes to Battlestar Galactica’s aptitude in 11th-hour intensity. It hits the accelerator and really doesn’t stop until an unquestionably finite conclusion, bringing together Daniel’s hunt for Zoe’s avatar in V-World and the unsavory connections between Graystone Industries and the Tauron mob to a very fine, robust head. Moreover, the content surrounding Lacy’s presence in the STO finally reaches a meaningful point, instead of evoking the sensation that it’s a time-killing subplot like it did at first. But, much like the conclusion of Battlestar Galactica, it also ditches some sensibility in lieu of excitement, breaking some of its own rules and established character mannerisms just to find a definite close. When it all melts together, though, it’ll be worth gritting one’s teeth through a few questionable moments.Those who’ve watched Caprica and cashed in their chips owe it to themselves to check out the tense follow-through, with the knowledge that the tone’s anything but consistent. There’s only a handful of great moments scattered within; however, there are assuredly some really great moments, ones that ensnare the type of essence I’d hoped would resonate in a depiction of the pre-Cylon world. In the middle of that, along with blatant reflection on the current climate of terrorism, it also provokes thought about the extents that some might go to preserve the memories and essence of those they love, and whether the recreation of an individual would push the boundaries of their belief structure. Caprica’s an intelligent show at its core, one with a complex network of emotion buttons that simply never properly learned how and when to push them. What’s a shame is that the show reveals a few glimmers at the end that suggest it might’ve found out how, ones that likely hadn’t even been seen by those that made the decision to power down this tale of the pre-war Cylon race.

REVIEW: SANCTUARY – SEASON 2

Starring

Amanda Tapping (Stargate SG.1)
Robin Dunne (Space Milkshake)
Emilie Ullerup (Artic Air)
Christopher Heyerdahl (Van Helsing)
Ryan Robbins (Arrow)
Agam Darshi (You Me Her)

Babs Chula and Emilie Ullerup in Sanctuary (2008)

Recurring / Notable Guest Cast

Jonathon Young (Impastor)
Christine Chatelain (The Collector)
Lynda Boyd (Power Rangers In Space)
Robert Lawrenson (Underworld: Awakening)
Hiro Kanagawa (Izombie)
Jason Schombing (The A-Team)
Chuck Campbell (Jason X)
Chris Gauthier (Smallville)
Nicole Muñoz (Defiance)
Anne Marie DeLuise (Love Happens)
Colin Cunningham (Stargate SG.1)
Erica Cerra (Power Rangers)
Colin Lawrence (House of The Dead)
Michael Shanks (Stargate SG.1)
Aleks Paunovic (Van Helsing)
Ryan Kennedy (Caprica)
Chad Rock (The Flash)
Meghan Ory (Dark Angel)
Callum Blue (Smallville)
Shekhar Paleja (Arrow)
Terry Chen (Jessica Jones)
Sahar Biniaz (Blade: The Series)
Paul McGillion (The Flash)

Christopher Heyerdahl and Amanda Tapping in Sanctuary (2008)Season 2 carried on from where season 1 left off. Dr Helen Magnus and team Sanctuary are trying to discover what happened to Ashley Magnus (Emilie Ullerup) and why she would betray her family and friends and join the Cabal, all while trying to save and protect “abnormals” from those who would do them harm. The main cast of Amanda Tapping (Dr Helen Magnus), Dr Will Zimmerman (Robin Dunne), John Druitt (Christopher Heyerdahl), Henry Foss (Ryan Robbins) and Bigfoot (Christopher Heyerdahl, again) all return for the second season.Amanda Tapping in Sanctuary (2008)There is also new girl Kate Freelander (Agam Darshi). Who was created to replace Ashley (who is killed in the opening two epiosdes), Although Ashley was a popular characterKate does grow on you more and more with each episode, by seasons end shes is more rounded out character.Robin Dunne and Amanda Tapping in Sanctuary (2008)I Enjoyed this season even more than season 1 . In this case the stories seem much stronger and have more depth to them than those in the first season. Instead of a season long battle with the Cabal, that story line gets wrapped up in two episodes. Which lets season two create new stories that enrich the characters more.

REVIEW: STARGATE UNIVERSE – SEASON 1

Starring

Robert Carlyle (One Upon A Time)
Louis Ferreira (Saw IV)
Brian J. Smith (Sense8)
Elyse Levesque (The Originals)
David Blue (Ugly Betty)
Alaina Huffman (Samllville)
Jamil Walker Smith (General Hospital)
Ming-Na Wen (Agents of Sheild)

SGU Stargate Universe (2009)

RECURRING / NOTABLE GUEST CAST

Richard Dean Anderson (MacGyver)
Michael Shanks (Smallvilel)
Amanda Tapping (Sanctuary)
Ona Grauer (V)
Peter Kelamis (50/50)
Gary Jones (Chilling Adventures of Sabrina)
Bill Dow (Izombie)
Christopher McDonald (Fanboys)
Lou Diamond Phillips (Young GUns)
Jennifer Spence (You Me Her)
Julia Benson (The Order)
Jeffrey Bowyer-Chapman (UnREAL)
Agam Darshi (Sanctuary)
Bradley Stryker (The Lizzie Bordern Chronicles)
Anna Galvin (Tin Man)
Peter DeLuise (21 Jump Street)
Dominic Zamprogna (Odyssey 5)
Carlo Rota (Saw V)
Ryan Kennedy (Smallville)
Reiko Aylesworth (24)
Sarah Smyth (Supergirl)
Zak Santiago (Caprica)
Rukiya Bernard (Van Helsing)
Alisen Down (Smallville)
Vincent Gale (BatesMotel)
Louise Lombard (CSI)
Sean Blakemore (Bones)
William MacDonald (Riverdale)
Rhona Mitra (Doomsday)
Mike Dopud (Arrow)
Kirby Morrow (Ninja Turtles: Next Mutation)

David Blue in SGU Stargate Universe (2009)The stargate itself–an artificially created wormhole through which one can instantly travel to different worlds light-years away–is still around, but much else has changed. Gone, for the most part, are the rough-and-tumble adventures that were the specialty of SG-1 and Stargate Atlantis, SGU‘s popular predecessors. Gone, too, are insouciant but charismatic and intrepid leaders like SG-1‘s Col. Jack O’Neill (Richard Dean Anderson does make several cameo appearances in that role in the course of these 20 episodes, offered here on six discs) and Atlantis‘s Col. John Sheppard.In their places, in addition to a new ongoing story line, is a rather less conventional approach, featuring a more minimalist vibe and an entirely fresh cast of earnest, intense, mostly youthful characters battling personal demons and complex interpersonal relationships, along with a myriad of technical issues more typical of sci-fi shows. If this all sounds very serious, well, these folks have a lot to be serious about.Robert Carlyle in SGU Stargate Universe (2009)Very early on, the “Icarus Base” is under alien attack, forcing military and civilian personnel alike to escape through the stargate. They end up aboard Destiny, a massive ship that’s millions of years old and was once the property of the omniscient master race known as the Ancients. Not only do our characters barely know how to operate the ship, they also have no idea where they are, except that it’s billions of light-years from Earth. It’s the responsibility of the two main men, Col. Everett Young (Justin Louis) and scientist Dr. Nicholas Rush (Robert Carlyle), to figure out how to get everyone home safely, a task that dominates the series’ overall arc.Elyse Levesque and Brian J. Smith in SGU Stargate Universe (2009)That dicey proposition is complicated considerably by ceaseless internecine conflict on the ship, much of it between soldiers and civilians (typified by Young and Rush, both of whom are self-righteous, utterly humorless, and not especially likable).Much of the action takes place on Destiny, but there are occasional excursions to various planets in search of water and other supplies; there are also trips to Earth made possible by magical “communication stones” that allow users to exchange bodies with folks on the other end. As is the case with many new programs, SGU takes a while to hit its stride, but when that happens about a third of the way into the season, the results are often quite exciting; SGU may not be as much fun as the earlier shows, but it’s still well written and entertaining, with excellent production values, good special effects.

REVIEW: POISON IVY 4: THE SECRET SOCIETY

POISON IVY 4

CAST

Shawna Waldron (Cyrus)
Miriam McDonald (Degrassi: TNG)
Ryan Kennedy (Smallville)
Greg Evigan (Negaconda)
Crystal Lowe (Wrong Turn 2)
Catherine Hicks (Child’s Play)
Brendan Penny (I Love You, Beth Cooper)
Agam Darshi (Sanctuary)
Dawn Chubai (Izombie)
Lindsay Maxwell (Good Luck Chuck)

In 1985, Ivan and Catherine Greer live with their 9-year-old daughter, Joy, their housekeeper, Rebecca, and her two daughters, Ivy, 9, and Violet, 8. The three young girls live as sisters, but the more rambunctious Ivy is bored by their childish games of tea and rejoices at Ivan’s unexpected early day return from the office, saying, “There’s going to be fireworks.” Ivy’s prediction soon comes true. Ivan catches Rebecca in bed with the handsome pool boy, and the two men scuffle. As Ivan tends to his wounds, he and Rebecca begin a loud argument about their adulterous affair. The shouting brings Catherine’s attention from the garden. Upon learning of the affair, she immediately evicts Rebecca and her children.In 1996, Violet returns to the Greer home and is reunited with Joy for the first time in eleven years. Violet states that she is looking for a summer time residence while working as a waitress at Denny’s Restaurants and planning to attend the local junior college. Joy suggests that she reside with them and stay in the late Catherine’s room. Joy is an amateur tennis star and engaged to her boyfriend from Princeton University, Michael, who will be working as an intern for Joy’s father’s bank. During a late night party, Violet feels isolated and ridiculed by Joy’s Ivy League friends, and excuses herself for late shift work. Afterward, Michael takes Joy to her room and initiates foreplay, only to be rejected. He accuses Joy of being sexually frigid, and insultingly says he understands her father’s infidelity. As Michael is on his way out, he runs into Violet, who is dressed in a sadomasochistic costume, which causes him to question her employment at Denny’s. Violet states that the two have gotten off on the wrong foot, and proceeds to perform oral sex on him.Violet’s obsession with Joy motivates her to destroy all of her other relationships. When her tennis partner, Jaimie comes over to practice with Joy, Violet spikes their drinks with alcohol and then undresses into her bra in bed with the unconscious and handcuffed Jaimie, convincing her the two have just engaged in sex. A horrified, half clothed, and handcuffed Jaimie flees the Greer house, thus ending their friendship. Michael is Violet’s next target. While by the Greer pool, she convinces him Joy has been unfaithful and seduces him into sex, while she provides him with cocaine to reignite his former addiction. Michael is not appreciative of her vices and vows never to see her again, thereby confirming her prejudiced belief that all men are uncaring and deceitful. Ivan is the next to be seduced as Violet sabotages his date when she swims topless in his pool, and dresses in his late wife’s clothing. The two wish to rekindle the passion that existed during Ivan’s affair with Rebecca.poison_ivyThe Greers’ housekeeper, Mrs. B, quickly catches on to the recent events, and makes enemies with Violet in her attempts to thwart her schemes. Michael confronts Violet while she is “street walking”. He then reveals to her that he has lost his internship at the bank because of drugs and that he knows of her schemes, including working as a sadomasochistic prostitute, her false employment at Denny’s, and her dark family history including the death of Ivy (alluding to the original film). He threatens that she must leave the Greers’ before he tells Joy the truth. When Michael arrives at the Greers’ later that day, Violet knocks him unconscious, ties him to a bed and gags him, and injects him with a lethal dose of drugs, killing him. Joy returns from a failed tennis match distraught at the recent drama of events, only to learn of Michael’s death and walk in on her father and Violet in sadomasochism. As Joy flees, Ivan tells Violet she must leave, to which she accuses him of repeating the abandonment of her mother. She hides the drugs for Ivan’s heart condition and places him in the garage fatally poisoning him with carbon monoxide by leaving a car engine running.FIm0Kzkj1P7aov_1_aAfter a drive, Joy returns that same night, to now discover Mrs. B is also murdered. Violet induces Joy to dress up and play tea like they did when they were children, where they will commit suicide by drinking poison. Joy violently resists by splashing the poison on Violet’s face, and the two wrestle around the room. Violet attempts to stab Joy with a pair of scissors, but Joy is able to knock her back before she strikes. Joy races out of the room to the stairway, where she leans on the banister and cries out for help. Violet regains her senses and goes to resume her attack. Violet is spun around by Joy and begins to lose her balance at the top of the stairs. Joy grasps the end of Violet’s pearl necklace to keep her from falling.3696d4affd4b2e847380b40b0444a5de

Still holding on to the pearl necklace, Joy pleads with Violet to reach out and save her. Instead Violet leans her head back; the necklace shatters and Violet’s feet slip, causing her to fall backwards down the stairs. Violet lies motionless at the bottom of the stairs, lifeless. Joy calmly exits the mansion. The loss of her entire family circle is saddening, but it may provide her with the opportunity to begin anew, and leave behind the darkness of her family past.3696d4affd4b2e847380b40b0444a5deThe third sequel to the hit thriller is actually very entertaining and not a complete waste of time like it could have been. If you’re a fan of the original and it’s other sequels then give this one a whirl.

 

REVIEW: SMALLVILLE – SEASON 8

Starring

Tom Welling (Lucifer)
Allison Mack (Wilfred)
Justin Hartley (This Is Us)
Erica Durance (Supergirl)
Aaron Ashmore (Veronica Mars)
Cassidy Freeman (The Vampire Diaries)
Sam Witwer (Supergirl)

Alaina Huffman, Justin Hartley, and Alan Ritchson in Smallville (2001)

Recurring / Notable Guest Cast

Phil Morris (Doom Patrol)
Alaina Huffman (Stargate Universe)
Alan Ritchson (Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles)
Ari Cohen (IT)
Sara Canning (The Vampire Diaries)
Jessica Parker Kennedy (The Flash)
Mike Dopud (Arrow)
Charlotte Sullivan (Mary Kills People)
Bill Mondy (Blade: The Series)
David Lewis (Childs Play)
Kyle Schmid (Six)
Laura Vandervoort (Bitten)
Terence Stamp (Superman II)
James Marsters (Runaways)
Ryan Kennedy (Caprica)
Alexz Johnson (Final Destination 3)
Calum Worthy (Ameircan Vandel)
Robert Lawrenson (Sanctuary)
David Paetkau (Flashpoint)
Ty Olsson (Battlestar Galactica)
Alessandro Juliani (Man of Steel)
Ted Whittall (Suicide Squad)
Chris Gauthier (Watchmen)
Teryl Rothery (Stargate SG.1)
Stephen Lobo (Continuum)
Laura Mennell (Van Helsing)
Serinda Swan (Inhumans)
Dominic Zamprogna (Odyssey 5)
Nels Lennarson (Horns)
Brendan Fletcher (Arrow)
Kyle Gallner (Veronica Mars)
Monique Ganderton (American Ultra)

Tom Welling and Cassidy Freeman in Smallville (2001)Technically this season shouldn’t have worked; the show’s main villain and arguably most popular character, Lex Luthor (Michael Rosenbaum) has now departed; secondly they were introducing a villain which was virtually impossible to bring to the big screen never mind a television series in Doomsday. However whilst a massive void had been created by Rosenbaum’s departure, it was filled suprisingly very well by the main cast of heroes who finally come into their own this season with performances and stories which intelligently test those who have big destinies to embrace in the Superman era to come. Tom Welling finally begins to take his final steps to becoming Superman and is starting to demonstrate how capapble as lead he is while bringing a new found presence to Clark Kent. There is also an increased number of on-screen scenes between Welling and Erica Durance’s Lois Lane and the result is a relationship which is as funny as it is touching and believable.Justin Hartley and Cassidy Freeman in Smallville (2001)Likewise other support characters like Chloe and Jimmy are tested by the new villain in town, Sam Witwer’s Davis Bloome who is a great unique character to the series who undergoes a menacing and horrific transformation as the season unfolds. There is also a welcome return from Justin Hartley’s Oliver Queen who now becomes a series regular after a successful stint in the sixth season and a brief cameo in the seventh. Queen’s character is also successful to the season’s story as his questionable methods bring him into conflict with Clark who is now trying to figure out what sort of hero he wants to become. The Doomsday story is a well written one in itself and Doomsday is interpreted in a way which is both unique in style yet never undermines the characters standing in the mythology. Sam Witwer is more than capable playing the villain, he lacks perhaps the charisma and flair of Rosenbaum, but the horror given off by his transformations is more than projected out of the screen. The same cannot be said for Cassidy Freeman whose Tess Mercer is terribly aimless and lacking in focus, in terms of a series villain, Rosenbaums absence is felt though not quite fatal.Charlotte Sullivan and Tom Welling in Smallville (2001)The season is very well executed in tone, humour and story. There are many episodes which take the series much further and there are some more characters from the D.C Universe in episodes such as ‘Instinct’, ‘Legion’ and ‘Hex’. ‘Bride’, ‘Eternal’ and ‘Beast’ are also exceptional drama episodes featuring Doomsday which keeps building up the season to a final climatic battle.Tom Welling and Erica Durance in Smallville (2001)It is unfortunate therefore that what prevents the season from achieving pure greatness is a series of misjudged stories which threaten to undermine every bit of progress Smallville made this season. The brief reintroduction of an old character in ‘Power’ and ‘Requiem’ was a terrible mistake and unpopular with viewers, as was the apparent demise of another important character. Also while the season does a sensational job in building up the tension towards the final episode, the final episode of the season itself is very weak and sadly anti-climactic. This is a shame since many may feel cheated by a poor resolution but on the plus side, the drama remains top notch throughout and the themes explored this season are never forgotten and never betrayed, even in the finale. Smallville has enjoyed a fantastic return to form overall this season and many fans will be left feeling hopefull of the action and drama to come in the ninth season. Well worth buying though this eighth season.