REVIEW: LIFE AFTER FLASH.

Life After Flash (2017)

Starring

Sam J. Jones (Ted)
Melody Anderson (Battlestar Galactica)
Brian Blessed (Much Ado About Nothing)
Topol (Fiddler On The Roof)
Peter Wyngarde (The Innocents)
Richard O’Brien (The Rocky Horror Picture Show)
Ian Beattie (Game of Thrones)
Barry Bostwick (The Scorpion King 4)
Lou Ferrigno (The Incredible Hulk)
Sean Gunn (Guardians of the galaxy)
Jon Heder (Blades of Glory)
Stan Lee (Avengers Assemble)
Ross Marquand (Avengers: Infinity War)
Christopher McDonald (Fanboys)
Jason Mewes (Jay & Silent Bob Reboot)
Michael Rooker (The Walking Dead)
Patrick Warburton (Family Guy)
David Yost (Mighty Morphin Power Rangers)

Max von Sydow in Flash Gordon (1980)Few could argue the influence of Queen’s pounding, exhilarating soundtrack enhanced an already visually stunning piece of work in Flash Gordon. This iconic classic of the 80s benefitted from their additional musical vision, as it did Highlander in its day. This stroke of genius to bring Queen into the project halfway into the films production was one which would set it aside from its peers for years to come. Few documentaries demonstrate the true love of its subject matter and the genre itself, but Director Lisa Downs captures this perfectly in her beautifully shot film that shows the everlasting love of this timeless classic – Nearly 40 years after it first hit our cinema screens. Dino De Laurentiis provided the mega budget to get his vision of Flash onto the big screen, and after a number of stop starts and issues documented in the film his vision of Flash Gordon was finally cast.Sam J. Jones in Flash Gordon (1980)We were introduced to the blonde haired, blue eyed, ex marine Sam Jones. Sam J Jones is one of the “Lost to Hollywood” elite and were it not for some bad decisions (most of which Sam himself acknowledges) he really could have been something big. However, all being said one cannot argue the true love of the man amongst his friends, family and peers alike. The years have mellowed Sam and he is finally at peace with the painful memories of how he was treated by Dino and how his love of the Hollywood life waned. We now get to see a compassionate, loving, caring and sensitive family man who deserves all the love life can bring him. Now stable in his own skin he remains grounded and one of the most sought after and universally loved members of the Film convention circuit.Melody Anderson, Ornella Muti, Max von Sydow, Sam J. Jones, Topol, and Peter Wyngarde in Flash Gordon (1980)He shows genuine consideration, true love and respect for his fans, and this is returned in abundance by the fans who adore him. Few can argue this tower of a man is worth every bit of that adulation. The documentary itself covers all aspects of the production of the film from casting issues, issues between Sam and Dino, as well as Brian Mays input how Queens stunning score was written and completed. There is considerable input from the main players of the film: Sam himself, the still stunningly beautiful Melody Anderson, the power force that is Brian Blessed (who shares the rudest anecdotes), Topol, Deep Roy as well as the sadly missed Peter Wyngarde who was the understated star of the hit 70s series Jason King. Coupled with valuable input from Peter Duncan, Richard O’Brien (The film sadly missing any input from Max Von Sydow or Timothy Dalton) as well as how the film influenced a number of celebrity fans including Robert Rodriguez and Michael Rooker.Brian Blessed, Ted Carroll, and John Hallam in Flash Gordon (1980)Life After Flash proves the director has understood the overall dynamic of what is required for this type of fan film. Was Flash Gordon cheesy? Is it camp? Who knows, who cares – What it is and was is a visually stunning piece of work, ahead of its time and still universally loved by many. The documentary gives the fan base what it wants. An honest, at times gritty piece of work that utilises all of the skill sets that made the original film so great. Beautifully shot, with a lovely intro scene, genuine intimate feel and ultimately left me wanting to see more. With both the Blu Ray and DVD (Region Free) having slightly different special features there is much more to see once the film is over, most of which was worthy of inclusion within the film. True to form its directed in a way so as not to underplay any of those Special Features, taking nothing away from the film itself, and allowing us to enjoy these events separately. A must watch for any fan of this genre, not just fans of the film!

 

REVIEW: FLASH GORDON (2007): THE COMPLETE SERIES

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CAST

Eric Johnson (Smallville)
Gina Holden (Final Destination 3)
Karen Cliche (Mutant X)
Jody Racicot (Earth: Final COnflict)
John Ralston (The LIzzie Borden Chronicles)
Jonathan Walker (V 2009)
Anna Van Hooft (Arrow)

Eric Johnson and Gina Holden in Flash Gordon (2007)

RECURRING / NOTABLE GUEST CAST

Giles Panton (Human Target)
Panou (Horns)
Carmen Moore (Andromeda)
Jill Teed (X-men 2)
Bruce Dawson (Izombie)
Carrie Genzel (Stargate SG.1)
Andee Frizzell (Stargate: Atlantis)
Christine Willes (Dead Like Me)
Steve Bacic (Blade: The Series)
Sam J. Jones (Flash Gordon (1980)
Ona Grauer (Stargate Universe)
Don S. Davis (Stargate SG.1)
John Novak (Wishmaster 3 & 4)
Meghan Ory (Dark Angel)
Craig Stanghetta (Smallville)
Adrian Holmes (Skyscraper)
Bruce Dawson (White Noise)
Catherine Lough Haggquist (Godzilla)
Mark Gibbon (Chronicles of Riddick)
Tiffany Lyndall-Knight (Chloe)
Aleks Paunovic (Van Helsing)
Ty Olsson (Battlestar Galactica)
Shawn Roberts (Resident Evil: Afterlife)
Richard Harmon (The 100)
Laura Mennell (Alphas)
Cory Monteith (Glee)
Greyston Holt (Bitten)
Zak Santiago (Caprica)
Michael Eklund (Bates Motel)
John DeSantis (Arrow)
Michael Kopsa (Fantastic FOur)
Françoise Yip (The Predator)
Garry Chalk (Beast Wars)
Dominic Zamprogna (2012)
Michael Adamthwaite (Walking Tall)
Erin Karpluk (Being Erica)
Ben Cotton (Stargate Atlantis)
Tom McBeath (Stargate SG.1)
Elyse Levesque (The Originals)
Sonya Salomaa (Watchmen)
Mark Acheson (Elf)
Sebastian Gacki (The Thaw)
Kendall Cross (X-Men 2)
Jody Thompson (Kindergarten Cop 2)

The series was loosely based on the comic strip of the same name and incorporated elements from several previous adaptations, following the adventures of Steven “Flash” Gordon (Eric Johnson), a twenty-five-year-old who lives with his mother and whose scientist father was lost in a mysterious accident when Flash was 13 years old. Flash’s ex-girlfriend, Dale Arden (Gina Holden), is a television news reporter and is engaged to police detective Joe Wylee. They introduce Gordons’ eccentric former assistant, Hans Zarkov (Jody Racicot), when rifts in space appear, allowing travel between Earth and the planet Mongo.
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Mongo is ruled by the ruthless dictator Ming (John Ralston), who controls “Source Water”, the only source of safe drinking water on Mongo. Unlike the previous adaptations, he is not normally called “the Merciless” and is instead called “Benevolent Father”, though he is still called “the Merciless” in closed circles. He also exhibits the traits of modern, media-savvy dictators, rather than the more simplistic, stereotypically evil characterization of earlier incarnations.[1] Also, unlike previous depictions, Ming resembles a blond Caucasian human, rather than a bald East Asian man. Ming has a daughter, Princess Aura (Anna van Hooft), who is disturbed by her father’s brutality. The series adds a new non-Terran character, Baylin (Karen Cliche), a bounty hunter from Mongo. She finds herself trapped on Earth and becomes a comrade of Flash, Dale and Zarkov and their guide to Mongo and its inhabitants.
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The peoples of Mongo live in “cantons”, tribal groups that echo the animal-human hybrids of the original comic strip. The cantons include the Verdan (based on Prince Barin’s forest-dwelling people from the strip), the Turin (based on the strip’s Lion Men), the Dactyls (the series’ version of the strip’s Hawkmen), the Omadrians (women who create powerful medicines), the Frigians (who live in the frozen wastelands), the Tritons (who live beneath the ocean), and the Zurn (painted blue led by Queen Azura). There is also another group known as the Deviates, mutants whose ancestors drank “Grey Water” (toxic water) to survive. The Deviates are led by Terek, their unofficial king (and Aura’s brother) and are distrusted by almost everyone.
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On April 3, 2008, it was announced that Flash Gordon was canceled

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So this wasn’t the best sci-fi series ever to come on television but for some reason I began to like it more and more as the series progressed. And yes it is cheesy, but so what, just don’t take it too seriously and I’m sure you’ll like it. It was never intended to be up there with the likes of Battlestar or Farscape but it’s still a good series with some fun characters.

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When it first started off I wasn’t to keen on the concept of a wormhole from Earth to Mongo but it worked out quite well in the end, even if it was kind of a rip off of the Sliders idea. Also, some people complained that the stories were always on Earth instead of Mongo, but as it went along, the storyline shifted more to Mongo and the story revolving around Ming and his daughter Aura. There was also a lot of great action too and gunfights. One of the best performing character’s would probably have to be the Ming, the benevolent father (played by John Ralston). He made his character seperate to the other Ming I remembered and I appreciated that.

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Anyway I overall recommend this series but don’t put it down until you’ve stayed until midway because it does improve.

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REVIEW: FLASH GORDON (1980)

CAST

Sam J. Jones (Ted)
Melody Anderson (Battlestar Galactica 1979)
Max Von Sydow (solomon Kane)
Topol (Galileo)
Peter Wyngarde (The Innocents)
Ornella Muti (Postcards from Rome)
Timothy Dalton (Penny Dreadful)
Brian Blessed (Alexander)
Robbie Coltrane (Harry Potter)
Richard O’Brien (Dark City)
George Harris (Layer Cake)
Deep Roy (Star Trek)
Kenny Baker (Star Wars)

Flash Gordon (1980)Emperor Ming the Merciless declares that he will first play with and then destroy the Earth using natural disasters. On Earth, New York Jets football star “Flash” Gordon boards a small plane, where he meets travel journalist Dale Arden. Mid-flight, the cockpit is hit by a meteorite and the pilots are lost. Flash takes control and manages to crash land into a greenhouse owned by Dr. Hans Zarkov. Zarkov, who believes the disasters are being caused because an unknown source is pushing the Moon towards Earth, has secretly constructed a spacecraft which he plans to use to investigate. Zarkov’s assistant refuses to go, so he lures Flash and Dale aboard. The rocket launches, taking them to the planet Mongo, where they are captured by Ming’s troops.
Sam J. Jones in Flash Gordon (1980)The three are brought before Ming. He orders Dale be prepared for his pleasure. Flash tries to resist, but is overpowered. Ming orders Zarkov be reprogrammed and Flash executed. Ming’s daughter, Princess Aura, seduces Ming’s surgeon into saving Flash, to whom she is attracted. As they escape, Flash sees Zarkov being brainwashed by Klytus, the metal-faced head of the secret police. Aura and Flash flee to Arboria, kingdom of Prince Barin, Aura’s lover. En route, Aura teaches Flash to use a telepathic communicator to contact Dale. He lets her know he is alive. Dale is locked in Ming’s bedchamber, but encouraged by Flash, she escapes. Klytus sends Zarkov to intercept Dale, who tells him and Klytus that Flash is alive. They then escape, as Zarkov reveals he resisted the brainwashing. They are captured by Prince Vultan’s Hawkmen and taken to Sky City.
Melody Anderson in Flash Gordon (1980)Aura and Flash arrive at Arboria. Aura asks the Prince to keep Flash safe. A distrustful Barin, in love with Aura, agrees not to kill Flash, but then forces him to perform a deadly ritual. Barin and Flash take turns sticking their hands into a hollow stump with a giant scorpion-like Wood Beast inside. When Flash has to take an extra turn, he pretends to be stung as a distraction and escapes. Barin follows, but they are both captured by the Hawkmen.
Melody Anderson, Ornella Muti, Max von Sydow, Sam J. Jones, Topol, and Peter Wyngarde in Flash Gordon (1980)Klytus informs Ming that Flash is alive and is given authority to find out who is responsible. Aura returns and is taken prisoner and tortured by Klytus and General Kala. They force her to confess and Ming banishes her to the ice moon Frigia after his wedding. Meanwhile, Flash and Barin are taken to Sky City, where Flash and Dale are briefly reunited. Flash is forced to fight Barin to the death, but Barin joins him when Flash saves his life. Klytus arrives and Flash and Barin kill him. Knowing that this will bring retribution, Vultan orders the Hawkmen to evacuate, leaving Barin, Flash, Dale and Zarkov behind. Ming’s ship arrives and he orders Barin, Zarkov and Dale to be taken aboard. Ming is impressed with Flash, and offers him lordship over Earth in exchange for loyalty, which Flash refuses. Ming gives the order to destroy Vultan’s kingdom along with Flash. Flash finds a rocket cycle and escapes before Sky City is destroyed.
Timothy Dalton, Ornella Muti, and Sam J. Jones in Flash Gordon (1980)Flash contacts Vultan, who is hiding on Arboria and they plot an attack on Mingo City. Flash pretends to attack Mingo City alone on his rocket cycle. General Kala dispatches the war rocket Ajax to kill Flash, but the Hawkmen ambush and seize the rocket. Meanwhile, Princess Aura overpowers her guard and frees Barin and Zarkov from the execution chamber. Flash and the Hawkmen attack Mingo City in Ajax and Kala activates the defenses, as Ming and Dale’s wedding begins. Mingo City’s lightning field can only be penetrated by flying Ajax into it at a suicidal speed. Flash volunteers to stay at the helm to ensure success and allow the Hawkmen to invade the city.
Ornella Muti in Flash Gordon (1980)Barin and Zarkov enter the control room to stop the lightning field, encountering Kala who refuses to deactivate it. She attempts to kill Zarkov, but Barin shoots and kills her. Without Kala they are unable to deactivate the field from that control room. Barin tells Zarkov to hold the fort while he heads to Sector Alpha. Zarkov keeps trying, but is unable to deactivate the shield.
Max von Sydow and Peter Wyngarde in Flash Gordon (1980)Barin fights through Ming’s guards and gets to Sector Alpha and deactivates the lightning field before Ajax hits it. Flash flies the rocket ship into the city’s wedding hall and the ship’s bow impales Ming. He falls off the rocket nose, seriously wounded and Flash offers to spare his life if he will stop the attack on Earth, but Ming refuses. Ming attempts to use his power ring on Flash, but his power falters and nothing happens. He then aims the ring at himself and is seemingly vaporized by its remaining power seconds before the counter to the destruction of the Earth reaches zero. A huge victory celebration ensues.
Ornella Muti and Sam J. Jones in Flash Gordon (1980)Barin and Aura become the new leaders in Ming’s place. Barin names Vultan the leader of their armies. Flash, Dale, and Zarkov discuss returning to Earth. Zarkov says he doesn’t know how they will get back, but they will try. Barin tells them all they’re welcome to stay, but Dale says she’s a New York City girl, and it’s now too quiet around Mongo.
Sam J. Jones in Flash Gordon (1980)The final frame shows Ming’s ring being picked up by the hand of an unseen person. Ming’s laugh echoes as the credits roll. Following the credits the text “The End” is shown on the screen before a question mark (?) is appended.Ornella Muti and Max von Sydow in Flash Gordon (1980)Flash Gordon is one of the greatest movie of all-time. Whatever you do, watch this movie over and over- you’ll be glad you did.

REVIEW: STARGATE SG.1 – SEASON 3

Starring

Richard Dean Anderson (MacGyver)
Michael Shanks (Smallville)
Amanda Tapping(Sanctuary)
Christopher Judge (The Dark Knight Rises)
Don S. Davis (Twin Peaks)

Richard Dean Anderson in Stargate SG-1 (1997)

RECURRING / NOTABLE GUEST CAST

Suanne Braun (THe Princess Switch)
Tom Butler (Freddy vs Jason)
Samantha Ferris (The 4400)
Tony Amendola (Annabelle)
Colin Cunningham (Elektra)
Gary Jones (Chilling Adventures of Sabrina)
Steve Makaj (The X-Files)
Mitchell Kosterman (Smallville)
Lucia Walters (Stargate: Atlantis)
Ron Halder (Antitrust)
Jacqueline Samuda (The L Word)
Laara Sadiq (Arrow)
Teryl Rothery (Travelers)
Kevin McNulty (Fantastic Four)
Britt Irvin (The Vow)
Andrew Airlie (Fifty Shades of Grey)
Jay Acovone (Beauty and The Beast)
Peter Williams (Catwoman)
Ty Olsson (X-Men 2)
Sam J. Jones (Flash Gordon)
A.C. Peterson (Shooter)
Laura Mennell (Van Helsing)
Aaron Craven (The Predator)
Dion Johnstone (The Core)
Jesse Moss (The Uninvited)
Vaitiare Hirshon (Far Away Places)
Erick Avari (The Mummy)
Jason Schombing (Tin Man)
Megan Leitch (IT)
Jason Gray-Stanford (Monk)
Carmen Argenziano (House)
JR Bourne (THe 100)
William deVry (Earth: Final Conflict)
Peter Kent (Total Recall)
David Palffy (Blade: The Series0
Daniel Bacon (Brain of Fire)
Colin Lawrence (The 6th Day)
Tom McBeath (Riverdale)
Alex Zahara (2012)
Frida Betrani (The Deal)
Alexis Cruz (Drag Me To Hell)
Garwin Sanford (Arrow)
Kevin Durand (Swamp Thing)
Dom DeLuise (Spaceballs)
Michele Greene (Big Love)
Marie Stillin (The Commish)
Terry Chen (Jessica Jones)
Aaron Douglas (Battlestar Galactica)
Steve Bacic (Andromeda)
Jan Rubes (Witness)

Amanda Tapping in Stargate SG-1 (1997)Many people believe that subsequent seasons of Stargate: SG1 get progressively better. So far, no arguement from me. Season 1 was good, 2 was better, and season 3 is even better. Col. Jack O’Neill (Richard Dean Anderson), and his SG1 team of the now Maj. Samantha Carter (Amanda Tapping), Dr. Daniel Jackson (Michael Shanks), and Teal’c (Christopher Judge) continued their adventures through the Stargate to various old and new planets. The team, as well as the SGC in general, were tested in many more ways than ever thought possible. The team went to “Hell” in order to save Sam’s dad, who is still a member of the Tok’Ra resistance, Daniel suffered a major loss, and O’Neill was blended, albeit briefly, with a Goa’uld. One of the reasons that I personally liked this year was that many of last year’s conflicts were resolved (Lenea, Destroyer of Worlds), which made room for new plotlines (the Replicators), as well as continuing old ones (the search for the Harsesis child).Stargate SG-1 (1997)Don S. Davis in Stargate SG-1 (1997)This is also the season when SG1 truly realizes that they truly have allies in their fight against the Goa’uld; the Asgard helped form a treaty between Earth and the Goa’uld, the Tok’Ra continue to offer their assistance and wisdom, the Nox have begun to reestablish contact with the SGC, and the Tollan.Ron Halder and Amanda Tapping in Stargate SG-1 (1997)Other good episodes include “Into the Fire”, “Fair Game”, “Legacy”, “Learning Curve”, “Point of View”, “Past and Present”, “Jolinar’s Memories”, “The Devil You Know”, “Foothold”, “Urgo”, “Shades of Grey”, “New Ground”, and “Nemesis”. Judging by the increase in quality each season.

REVIEW: TED 2

CAST

Seth MacFarlane (Family Guy)
Mark Wahlberg (The Other Guys)
Amanda Seyfried (Pan)
Jessica Barth (Next)
Giovanni Ribisi (Avatar)
Morgan Freeman (The Dark Knight)
John Slattery (Mad men)
Patrick Warburton (Get Smart)
Michael Dorn (Star Trek: Ds9)
Bill Smitrovich (The Phantom)
Cocoa Brown (Big Fat Important Movie)
John Carroll Lynch (The Founder)
Jessica Szohr (Love Bite)
Tara Strong (Batman: The Killing Joke)
Sam J. Jones (Flash Gordon)
Sebastian Arcelus (Split)
Dennis Haysbert (Heat)
Liam Neeson (Batman Begins)
Patrick Stewart (Ameircan Dad)
Nana Visitor (Star Trek: Ds9)
Ralph Garman (The Lego Batman Movie)
Ron Canada (Wedding Crashers)
Maggie Geha (Gotham)
Rachael MacFarlane (American Dad)
Bobby Moynihan (The Secret Life of Pets)
Kate McKinnon (Ghostbusters)
Taran Killam (122 Years a Slave)
Dustin Ybarra (US)
Avan Jogia (Shaft)
Martin Klebba (Left Behind)
David Hasselhoff (Knight Rider)

John Bennett (Mark Wahlberg) has been divorced from Lori Collins for six months. Meanwhile, his best friend Ted (Seth MacFarlane), marries his girlfriend, Tami-Lynn (Jessica Barth). One year later, with their marriage is beginning to break-down so they decide to have a child. As Ted can not have children, John agrees to help Ted find a sperm donor, They asked Sam J. Jones but he refuses due to a low sperm count, they try unsuccessfully to break into Tom Brady’s house and steal his sperm. Ultimately, John offers to donate his sperm.Despite Ted and John’s efforts, Tami-Lynn’s historical drug use has rendered her infertile and the couple decide to adopt. As background checks are carried out, Ted brings his legal status as a person into question. The state authorities of Massachusetts declare Ted property rather than a person, resulting in the loss of his job at a grocery store – shortly after reassuring a customer (Liam Neeson) that buying a box of Trix, as an adult, will not bring him to any harm. Furthermore, his marriage to Tami-Lynn is annulled.John suggests that they take the state to court, and their case is assigned to a novice lawyer pro-bono, Samantha Leslie Jackson (Amanda Seyfried). The three bond over their love of marijuana as they prepare to present the case.Meanwhile, Donny (Giovanni Ribisi), Ted’s life-long stalker and would-be abductor, is now employed as a janitor at the headquarters of toy company Hasbro, in New York City. He convinces the company CEO to hire an expert attorney (John Slattery) to ensure that Ted maintains his status as property, therefore leaving him open to seizure by the firm to create more living teddy bears.Despite Samantha’s best efforts, the court rules against Ted. Disheartened but desperate, the trio contact Patrick Meighan (Morgan Freeman), a highly respected civil rights attorney, hoping he’ll take the case and overturn the court’s decision. Driving to Manhattan to meet him, Ted crashes into a hidden marijuana patch, where Samantha and John realize their attraction for each other. The next day, the trio meet Meighan, who is sympathetic to Ted’s plight but ultimately refuses the case, as he believes he has not significantly contributed to humanity due to his juvenile slacker lifestyle.Ted, angry at the injustice and jealous of Samantha and John’s new relationship, runs off. Donny follows him as he wanders into the New York Comic-Con. Once inside, Donny attempts to kidnap Ted, who flees and contacts John for help. John and Samantha arrive at Comic-Con and search for Ted, arriving as Donny is about to cut him open. As they make their escape, Donny cuts the cables holding up a model of the USS Enterprise and it swings towards Ted. John pushes Ted out of the way, takes the hit, and is knocked unconscious. Ted identifies Donny and he is arrested.At the hospital, Samantha, Ted and Tami-Lynn rejoice when John recovers. Patrick Meighan decides to take the case, telling them he has been inspired by John’s selflessness and Ted’s emotions over his fallen friend. Meighan gets the ruling overturned by demonstrating that Ted is self-aware, that he feels complex emotions, and is capable of empathy. Outside the court, Ted re-proposes to Tami-Lynn. After they are re-married, Ted and Tami-Lynn, adopting the surname of “Clubberlang”, adopt a baby boy, whom they name Apollo Creed, while John and Samantha happily pursue their own relationship.A good laugh, even  better than the original in my opinion. If you like Ted/Family Guy/other Seth Macfarlane shows, I’d definitely recommend this

 

REVIEW: TED

CAST

Seth MacFarlane (Family Guy)
Mark Wahlberg (The Other Guys)
Mila Kunis (Black Swan)
Joel McHale (Spider-Man 2)
Giovanni Ribisi (Avatar)
Aedin Mincks (New Girl)
Patrick Warburton (Get Smart)
Laura Vandervoort (Bitten)
Matt Walsh (Semi-Pro)
Jessica Barth (Next)
Bill Smitrovich (The Phantom)
Alex Borstein (Family Guy)
Ralph Garman (Yoga Hosers)
Jessica Stroup (Prom Night)
Sam J. Jones (Flash Gordon)
Ryan Reynolds (Buried)
Norah Jones (My Blueberry Nights)
Tom Skerritt (Alien)
Mike Henry (The Cleveland Show)
Robert Wu (Hot Tub Time Machine)
Ted Danson (The Good Place)
Patrick Stewart (American Dad)
Melissa Ordway (17 Again)
Tara Strong (Sabrina GOes To Rome)

In 1985, 8-year-old John Bennett is a lonely child living in Norwood, Massachusetts, a suburb of Boston, who wished for his new Christmas gift—a jumbo teddy bear named Ted—to come to life and become his friend. The wish coincides with a shooting star and comes true; word spread and Ted was briefly a celebrity.27 years later, John (now 35) and Ted are still living in Boston, and are still staunch companions enjoying a hedonistic life. John is dating Lori Collins, who is from Philadelphia. As their anniversary approaches, Lori hopes to marry John but feels he could not move forward with Ted around. John is hesitant about making Ted leave, but he is persuaded to act when they find Ted at home with four prostitutes.John finds Ted his own apartment and a job at a grocery store, where Ted begins dating his coworker Tami-Lynn. Lori learns that John has been skipping work—using her as an excuse—to continue to spend most of his time with Ted. John and Lori are invited to a party put on by Lori’s womanizing manager Rex, but Ted lures John away to a party at his apartment with the offer to meet Sam J. Jones, the star of their favorite film, Flash Gordon. John intends to stay only a few minutes but gets caught up in the occasion. Lori finds John there and breaks up with him. John blames Ted for ruining his life and tells him to stay away.John and Ted confront each other about their ruined friendship and they fight but manage to reconcile. To repair John’s relationship with Lori, Ted arranges for an old lover, singer Norah Jones, to help by having John express his love for Lori with a song during her concert. He does an off-key rendition of All Time High by Rita Coolidge and is booed offstage. Lori is touched by the attempt and returns to her apartment where Ted confesses about his role in John’s relapse and offers to leave them alone forever if she talks to John.Lori is persuaded, but Ted is kidnapped by Donny, an obsessive stalker who idolized Ted as a child. Donny plans to make Ted his brutish son Robert’s toy. Ted manages to reach a phone to contact John but is immediately recaptured. Realizing Ted is in danger, John and Lori locate Donny’s residence and track him to rescue Ted. The chase leads to Fenway Park, where John punches Robert, but during the chase, Ted is damaged and falls onto the field ripped entirely in half. A police car arrives, forcing Donny to flee. John and Lori gather Ted’s stuffing and Ted relays his wish that John be happy with Lori before dying from his injuries.Unable to accept Ted’s death, a distraught John and Lori attempt to repair Ted, which proves useless. Feeling guilty about the incident, Lori makes a wish on a shooting star. The next morning, John hangs his head while looking over Ted’s dead body. Fortunately, Ted is magically restored and reconciles with John and Lori, encouraging them to resume their relationship. John and Lori are married (with Sam Jones as the presiding minister), and Ted comfortably accepts having a life of his own as he and Tami-Lynn continued their love affair. Sam Jones attempts to restart his career and moves into a studio apartment with Brandon Routh. Rex gives up his pursuit of Lori, goes into a deep depression, and dies of Lou Gehrig’s disease. Donny gets arrested by the Boston Police Department for kidnapping a plush toy, but charges are dropped. Robert hires a personal trainer, loses a significant amount of weight, and goes on to become Taylor Lautner.Comedies are hit and miss, or run out of steam towards the end. Ted, however, is not one of these and this is why it is probably one of the best and most original comedies I have ever seen. Perhaps the plot is fairly standard, but with the creator of Family Guy at the helm, things don’t always go the way you expect.

REVIEW: REDEMPTION

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CAST
Don Wilson (Cyber Tracker)
Chris Penn (Resevoir Dogs)
James Russo (Public Enemies)
Cynthia Rothrock (Undefeatable)
Sam J. Jones (Flash Gordon)
400px-Redemption-2002-Taurus92-3When a drug bust led by policeman John Sato (Wilson, Bloodfist series) goes wrong and costs the life of a fellow officer (Cynthia Rothrock, Above the Law), he’s driven from the force. Desperate, he accepts work from a small-time gangster (Chris Penn, Reservoir Dogs) and develops a bond with him. As a new underground deal goes down, he must decide where his priorities lie and whether he is a cop or a crook.You could argue that in casting his performers as actors rather than fighters, director Camacho was showing respect to his ensemble by playing them beyond their stereotype…but that doesn’t make the film’s decisive lack of butt-kicking any less disappointing. In addition to the aforementioned names, the kicking cast includes Richard Norton (City Hunter), Peter Cunningham (No Retreat, No Surrender), Steven Vincent Leigh (Ring of Fire), Eric Lee (Weapons of Death), and even small-time action hero Sam Jones (Flash Gordon) and pro wrestler David DeFalco, and yet, in the course of 86 minutes, there are only three fight scenes (it pains me to refer to them as such), the same amount of shootouts, and one lousy car chase. Half of the aforementioned cast doesn’t so much as throw a punch. The stale gunfights showcase the single laziest application of the “shaky camera” filming technique: instead of swinging and jerking the camera around randomly to at least simulate excitement and suspense, the cameraman merely rocks the camera from side to side as though mixing marbles. Yes oh yes, the action scenes are definitely a shot in the bucket.
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Okay, so maybe the movie was supposed to be more of a cops & robbers morality outing than an action flick. Some effort has obviously been made on the story, and for what it’s worth, the production values are passable and Chris Penn has at least one very strong dramatic scene wherein he’s ambushed by his underworld competition. The rest of the cast, however, is not as talented: Don and Cynthia have a limited chemistry between themselves but don’t bring out anything beyond the mundane in eachother; police captain James Russo (Public Enemies) uses this movie as an opportunity to see what overacting feels like; and Carrie Stevens (The Backlot Murders) as a prostitute trying to go straight deserves punishment for the most passively bad performance I’ve seen in a while. There’s also a rather embarrassing scene wherein the movie tries to show how conflicted John is about working for a gangster via a montage showing him chatting with Chris Penn, hiding his money under two pillows on his couch, and walking down the street looking grim; obviously, this sounded better on paper than it looks in the movie.

There’s absolutely no fun or excitement to be had from this one.

REVIEW: ONE MAN FORCE

CAST

John Matuszak (The Goonies)
Ronny Cox (Robocop)
Charles Napier (The Silence of The Lambs)
Sharon Farrell (Freddys Nightmares)
Sam J. Jones (Flash Gordon)
Richard Lynch (Puppet Master 3)

The victim of the movie is a female singer, who perfectly sends up the ‘damsel in distress’ caricature which frequents so many 1980’s blockbusters. By playing her helplessness to the extreme, the director really mocks the patriarchal overtones so many Action movies seem to possess . In one scene, the female character is left in a prison cell with Jake Swan. Jake is trust up like a chicken, while she is free to roam around for corn, and yet the dynamic of the situation is clear – he is still the power-holder and the one who is expected to lead the escape, while she shrivels in the corner wailing like a ruddy banshee. Much like Sacha Baron Cohen parodied xenophobia with Borat, this scene brilliantly parodies the ‘poor useless girl’ movie stereotype, in a comical (albeit not-very-subtle) manner. Later, the singer dies.

The villains of this movie brilliantly parody typical Hollywood ‘Baddies’ of this era – Foreign, Greasy and One Dimensional. Despite Mexican being their mother tongue, the criminals speak English to each other even when there are no Americans in the scene – what more of a perfect way to encapsulate on screen the spreading of White Western Power and the homogenisation of American Culture. The main character, Jake Swan, deserves a paragraph to himself. His bulking frame is the first clue that this is a man who satirises Movie Macho Men to the hilt. By purposefully making the character as bland, violent and one dimensional as the criminals he is fighting, the Director cleverly highlights everything that is wrong with Hollywood’s love of vigilantism. Throughout the film, the audience are forced to question who really is the villain of the show as Jake Swan, the supposed ‘Hero’ of this masterpiece, becomes more and more unlikeable. His thirst for violence and total disregard for the rules actually cost more lives and cause more damage than the real villains do. Jake’s relationship with his stepson is a can of worms that I could open and talk for hours about, but I wont due to the word limit I am fast approaching. All I will say is that their Step father/son relationship Is a fantastic representation of the modern American family – broken and struggling. One Man truly is a Force – a Force of nature, that is. it’s a cheesy actio nthats so bad it’s actually good.

REVIEW: MAXIMUM FORCE

CAST

Sam J. Jones (Flash Gordon)
Sherrie Rose (Unlawful Entry)
Jason Lively (Brainstorm)
John Saxon (A Nightmare on Elm Street)
Richard Lynch (Puppet Master 3)
Mickey Rooney (The Muppets)
Michael Delano (Oceans Eleven)
Pamela Dixon (C.I.A.)

At first glance, “Maximum Force” is a standard action B-movie, but while it probably never aspired to be more than a direct-to-video adrenaline package, what we have here is actually a missed opportunity at a potentially great action outing. With a fantastic cast to its name and action filmmaker extraordinaire Joseph Merhi directing, this should have amounted to a higher rating than I’m giving it now. The film has its moments, but loses out due to misuse of its performers and a mediocre plot.

The story: In a last-ditch effort to apprehend an untouchable crime lord (Richard Lynch, Invasion U.S.A.), a secret strike force of dedicated cops (played by Sam Jones, Sherrie Rose, and Jason Lively) is assembled to take the fight directly to him. I like seeing Sherrie Rose in action roles and Jason Lively is fun enough to watch, but Sam Jones’ staid role stifles his usual charisma and likeability. Richard Lynch can play an evil character with the slightest of effort, but he hardly does anything here besides hold ominous meetings with other bad guys. Other members of the dramatic cast include John Saxon, Mickey Rooney, Sonny Landham, Ken Davitian, and Michael DeLano, and while they do well enough with the screentime they have, they are all relegated to fairly limited roles with little to no action. This is all the more disappointing when considering that this is one of PM Entertainment’s “serious” action films – one that tries to convey moments of genuine drama and some semblance of a social message. Why have all these cool actors if most of them are only in one or two scenes?15-1

I had not expected this to be a martial arts movie, so imagine my surprise when the number of full-length karate fights neared a dozen. The extended martial cast includes Ken McLeod, Steven Ho, Dino Homsey, Dennis Keiffer, Zak Lee, Satch Williams, and Roger and Ron Yuan: a genuinely good hand for martial arts enthusiasts. The fights scenes end up being hit-and-miss, partially due to the fact that not all of the abovementioned performers get to fight. Sam Jones and Sherrie Rose look surprising adept at martial arts and both get at least one decent match; Jones’ showdown with Jeff Langton (Final Impact) probably constitutes the best brawl of the film. Nevertheless, a bit more flair in general would have helped make more of the matches memorable. The non-kickboxing action portions are even blander and consist mainly of explosions.The storyline tries to make its points about police corruption stick and make some of its deaths meaningful, but the film simply lacks both the finesse and the legitimacy for that.

REVIEW: ENTER THE SHOOT FIGHTER

CAST

Michael Worth (Our Father)
Jenilee Harrison (Dallas)
Sam J. Jones (Flash Gordon)
Marshall R. Teague (The Rock)
Matthias Hues (Star Trek VI)

A skillful fighter who works as a mechanic goes with his friend to a rich guy’s villa where illegal fighting is being organizes. It should be easy money, but the friend gets killed and now the mechanic wants revenge on the people involved.Originally called Fists of Iron, Enter the Shootfighter  is your typical “Fight film with a heart”. Even though the story’s been told a zillion times, Director Munchkin gives it a fresh perspective. He brings the sometimes predictable script to life with interesting characters, and fight “maestro’ Art Camacho does a great job with the fight action. Michael Worth makes up for his lack of charisma with his earnestness and veteran actors Sam Jones and Marshall Teague practically steal the show. Overall it is a very well done low budget flick proving that low budget doesn’t have to equal bad filmmaking.