REVIEW: SUPERGIRL – SEASON 3

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Starring

Melissa Benoist (Jay & Silent Bob Reboot)
Mehcad Brooks (Necessary Roughness)
Chyler Leigh (Not Another Teen Movie)
Jeremy Jordan (The Last Five Years)
Katie McGrath (Jurassic World)
Odette Annable (The Unborn)
Chris Wood (The Vampire Diaries)
David Harewood (Homeland)

Melissa Benoist in Supergirl (2015)

Recurring/ Notable Guest Cast

Calista Flockhart (The Last Shot)
Erica Durance (Smallville)
Floriana Lima (The Punisher)
Emma Tremblay (The Giver)
David St. Louis (The Secret Path)
Adrian Pasdar (Heroes)
Sharon Leal (Dreamgirls)
Yael Grobglas (Reign)
Andrea Brooks (When Calls The Heart)
Helen Slater (City Slickers)
Carl Lumbly (Alias)
Chad Lowe (Young Justice)
Anjali Jay (Power Rangers)
Sofia Vassilieva (Black Lightning)
Alex Zahara (Horns)
Khaira Ledeyo (Beauty and The Beast)
Emy Aneke (Izombie)
Izabela Vidovic (Veronica Mars)
Amy Jackson (Theri)
Betty Buckley (Split)
Stephen Amell (Arrow)
Victor Garber (The Orville)
Jesse L. Martin (Injustice)
Emily Bett Rickards (Brooklyn)
Caity Lotz (The Pact)
Tom Cavanagh (Yogi Bear)
Candice Patton (The Guest)
Dominic Purcell (Blade: Trinity)
Franz Drameh (See)
Danielle Panabaker (The Crazies)
Carlos Valdes (The Flash)
Keiynan Lonsdale (Love, Simon)
Grant Gustin (Glee)
Jessica Parker Kennedy (The Secret Circle0
Danielle Nicolet (3rd Rock From The Sun)
Patrick Sabongui (Power Rangers)
Christina Brucato (The Intern)
William Katt (Carrie)
Mackenzie Gray (Man of SteeL)
Briana Venskus (Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.)
Jesse Rath (The Howling Reborn)
Brit Morgan (Friend Request)
Krys Marshall (For All Mankind)
Sarah Douglas (Superman II)
Brenda Strong (Starship Troopers)
Laurie Metcalf (THe Big Bang Theory)
Brooke Smith (The Silence of Lambs)
Angela Zhou (Hell of Wheels)
Cynthia Stevenson (Dead Like Me)
Nesta Cooper (See)
Tim Russ (Star Trek: Voyager)
Carrie Anne Fleming (Izombie)
Esmé Bianco (Game of Thrones)
Michael Reilly Burke (Mars Attacks)

Melissa Benoist in Supergirl (2015)With The Maid of Might’s third season we find ourselves given a very different Supergirl as Season Three opens. Following last year’s heartstring-tearing romance with Mon-El, we find a Kara who is now all business. Kara Danvers is on the backburner, as Kara Zor-El fully throws herself into the superhero game. But as ever, new threats, new questions, and new revelations await just around the corner for the Girl of Steel.Melissa Benoist in Supergirl (2015)First and foremost, let’s just put it out there: Supergirl is an utter joy to watch. In terms of bringing a comic book character to life, this CW series is a fantastic example of how to do that so well. Never afraid to be fun, loud, and imaginative, Supergirl manages to be pure spectacle whilst similarly retaining a true sense of heart. And there’s certainly plentiful heartfelt beats in this third year. While Kara herself is questioning her place in the world, newcomer Samantha (Odette Annable) soon finds herself undergoing her own personal struggle as the nefarious Worldkiller known as Reign begins to cause all kinds of chaos and carnage in National City. As Samantha becomes BFFs with Kara, Alex Danvers (Chyler Leigh), and Lena Luthor (Katie McGrath), she has to rely on her new pals to help her with her ever-expanding problems. But it’s not merely Kara and Samantha who are on their own personal journeys here, for Supergirl again does what Supergirl has done so well previously: it makes each and every one of its core cast feel like a major deal, a real person with their own purpose in the show and not just simply there to fill the narrative or to let the show’s titular heroine take all of the spotlight.Melissa Benoist and Grant Gustin in Supergirl (2015)As ever, Melissa Benoist is absolutely note perfect as both Kara Danvers and Kara Zor-El, proving to be vulnerable yet strong, human yet otherworldly, naive yet wise. With familiar faces and newbies all excelling in their respective roles, Benoist’s charming, multi-layered performance is just the tip of the iceberg, with Supergirl proving to again reward both newcomers to the character and those who are more well-versed in Super-lore. And that’s so often one of Supergirl’s greatest traits, that it feels so all-encompassing, be it in the array of different characters on display or in its approach to its audience.Supergirl (2015)After a slightly rocky start at CBS for its debut year, Supergirl has gone from strength to strength, and Season Three is the most intriguing, engaging, and spectacular season of the series to date. In fact, there’s a strong argument to be made that this most recent season is right up there as one of the best seasons offered up by the Arrowverse, period.

 

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: PUPPET MASTER III: TOULON’S REVENGE

CAST

Guy Rolfe (Dolls)
Richard Lynch (Scarecrow)
Ian Abercrombie (Birds of Prey)
Kristopher Logan (Blood Dolls)
Aron Eisenberg (Star Trek: DS9)
Walter Gotell (From Russuia With Love0
Sarah Douglas (Superman 1 & 2)
Michelle Bauer (Vampire Academy 2)

03-1The film is set during 1941 (in contrast to Puppet Master 1 establishing that Toulon committed suicide in 1939, and should be 1938) in World War II Berlin. A scientist named Dr. Hess is forced by the Nazis, especially his Gestapo liaison Major Kraus, to create a drug capable of animating corpses to use as living shields on the battlefield after losing too many on the Eastern Front. But, Dr. Hess cannot get it right: While the corpses do reanimate, they have a tendency towards mindless violence. In a small theater downtown, André Toulon has set up a politically satirical puppet show for children, starring a six-armed American Old West puppet named Six-Shooter, who attacks an inanimate reconstruction puppet of Adolf Hitler. The show is, next to a crowd of children, also attended by Lt. Erich Stein, Kraus’ driver. After the performance, Toulon and his wife Elsa feed the puppets with the formula which sustains their life force, but they are watched by Stein, who informs his superior the next morning. Hess, genuinely fascinated by the formula, wants Toulon to freely share the secret with him, but Kraus wants to take Toulon in for treason and insulting of the Führer.5dcda-puppetmaster3-4bigThe next day, André gives Elsa a puppet crafted in her likeness as a gift, but soon afterwards Kraus, Hess, and a squad of soldiers break into the atelier and take Toulon, Tunneler, and Pinhead. When Elsa attempts to prevent them from taking the formula as well, she is shot by one of the escort, and Toulon is dragged away from her. When Kraus prepares to leave, the wounded Elsa spits at him in defiance, and in retaliation, Kraus shoots her dead in cold blood. However, while transporting Toulon off, the two soldiers guarding him are killed by Pinhead and Tunneler, enabling Toulon to escape.29e38-puppet-master-iii-toulons-revenge-kraus-richard-lynchAfter hiding for the remainder of the night, Toulon returns to his theater to find that the stage has been burnt by the Nazis. He finds Six-Shooter and Jester and leaves with them, then discovers a partially destroyed hospital and decides to set up camp in it. Toulon wants revenge, so he, Pinhead, and Jester break into the morgue to get his wife’s life essence and inserts it into the woman puppet he made for her, and as she comes to life, he inserts several leeches he found in a jar into her. Later that night, Toulon carries out the first revenge attack on Stein while he fixes Kraus’ car, along with Pinhead, Jester and Leech Woman, and on his flight from pursuers Toulon subsequently finds shelter in a bombed-out building. Back in his lab, Dr. Hess is studying Toulon’s formula, and desperate to meet and talk with him, he goes back to the old theater. Meanwhile, some friends from the puppet show, a boy named Peter Hertz and his father, find André and decide to live with him after Peter’s mother was arrested on charges of espionage. The next day, Toulon sends Six-Shooter to kill General Müller, the supervisor of the Nazi reanimation project, while Müller is visiting a brothel. While Six-Shooter manages to kill the general, Müller shoots off one of the puppet’s arms beforehand. Peter goes back to Toulon’s old atelier to look for a replacement arm and is caught by Dr. Hess, who treats him kindly and gets him to take him to Toulon.MV5BYmQ5YTc4NzctYmJmYi00NzhiLTgxMWQtNDY5MzhiODBjOWMyXkEyXkFqcGdeQXVyNTk0OTM1NzU@._V1_SX1777_CR0,0,1777,999_AL_Dr. Hess finds and talks to Toulon, who tells him about the puppets’ secret, and the two become friends. But Peter’s father betrays Toulon by telling Major Kraus about his hideout in exchange for a pardon for his family. Kraus and his men storm the ruin, but the puppets fight back, enabling Toulon and Hess to escape. Kraus stops Peter and his father, demanding to know where Toulon is; Hertz fights against and is shot by Kraus. While searching the nearby houses, one of Kraus’ men is shot by Six-Shooter; but when Hess approaches him, the soldier puts a knife into him before expiring. Hess dies from the injury, telling Toulon to keep fighting. Toulon returns once more to his old theater, where he falls asleep from exhaustion and is soon joined by the now orphaned Peter.MV5BZjkzZTZiZjEtNzI3ZS00ZDU1LWI0ZGYtN2M2MWEzNDIyZjY5XkEyXkFqcGdeQXVyNTk0OTM1NzU@._V1_SX1777_CR0,0,1777,961_AL_At night, Major Kraus returns to his office, only to fall prey to an ambush by Toulon and his puppets, now joined by Blade, infused with Hess’ essence. Toulon takes terrible revenge on Kraus by hanging him from the ceiling by his limbs and neck, which are impaled by sharp hooks. After having a halberd from Kraus’ office decorations planted into the floor, point up, Toulon sets the rope on fire; the rope eventually snaps, and Kraus fatally falls right onto the halberd. The film ends with Toulon, posing as Kraus, and Peter leaving the country for Geneva on the express train.puppetmaster3-3bigToulon’s Revenge is one of the best in the whole Puppet Master series. What makes this movie great is it tells who the puppets are and shows the making and birth of leech woman.

REVIEW: STARGATE SG.1 – SEASON 2

Starring

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

Don S. Davis in Stargate SG-1 (1997)

RECURRING / NOTABLE GUEST CAST

Tony Amendola (Annabelle)
Robert Wisden (Watchmen)
Peter Williams (Catwoman)
Gary Jones (Chilling Adventures of Sabrina)
Alexis Cruz (Drag Me To Hell)
Laara Sadiq (Arrow)
Douglas Arthurs (Chronicles of Riddick)
Peter LaCroix (Disturbing Behavior)
Katie Stuart (Inconceivable)
Bonnie Bartlett (V)
Colin Lawrence (The 6th Day)
Dwight Schultz (The A-Team)
Teryl Rothery (Arrow)
Colleen Winton (Van Helsing)
Jay Acovone (Beauty and The Beast)
Heather Hanson (Really Me)
George Touliatos (This Means War)
Tamsin Kelsey (Needful Things)
Mark Gibbon (Man of Steel)
Andrew Kavadas (THe Accused)
Tobias Mehler (Young Blades)
Peter Bryant (Legends of Tomorrow)
Brook Susan Parker (The Last Patrol)
Vaitiare Hirshon (Far Away Places)
Carmen Argenziano (House)
Chris Owens (Red)
Erick Avari (The Mummy)
Tom McBeath (Riverdale)
Scott Hylands (Night Heat)
Sarah Douglas (Superman II)
JR Bourne (THe 100)
Winston Rekert (Neon Rider)
Steve Makaj (The X-Files)
Alex Zahara (2012)
Kevin McNulty (Fantastic Four)
Christina Cox (The Chronicles of Riddick)
Roger Cross (First Wave)
Matthew Walker (Alone In The Dark)
Jerry Wasserman (watchmen)
Tiffany Lyndall-Knight (Fido)
Eric Breker (X-Men Origins: wolverine)
Marshall R. Teague (Armageddon)
Colin Cunningham (Elektra)
Alvin Sanders (Riverdale)
Daniel Bacon (Brain of Fire)
Aaron Pearl (Bates Motel)
Amber Rothwell (White Noise)
Suanne Braun (THe Princess Switch)
Tom Butler (Freddy vs Jason)
Samantha Ferris (The 4400)

Peter LaCroix and Amanda Tapping in Stargate SG-1 (1997)

When we last left Our Heroes, they were on Apophis’ ship, facing the impending destruction and/or enslavement of everyone on Earth. So unsurprisingly, the second season of “Stargate SG-1” can only get better from there on. In fact, this is when the clever, innovative sci-fi series really started to gel together, with more intriguing storylines, character arcs, and some new alien allies — basically, it all blooms. Intending to blow up Apophis’ ship, our heroes get captured by the Jaffa and thrown in a cell — only to be unexpectedly rescued by Bra’tac (Tony Amendola), Teal’c’s old teacher. As Earth mounts a pitiful defense against the Goa’uld, SG-1 joins with a small band of rebel Jaffa to stop Apophis’ invasion — but they may have to leave one of their number behind.Richard Dean Anderson and Christopher Judge in Stargate SG-1 (1997)Obviously the Goa’uld make things awkward throughout the season, with the second episode featuring Sam (Amanda Tapping) being possessed by a Goa’uld during a rescue mission — but it seems that it’s part of a rebel Goa’uld faction called the Tok’ra. Teal’c’s (Christopher Judge) son is kidnapped and brainwashed, and Daniel (Michael Shanks) finds that his beloved wife is pregnant with Apophis’ child. And of course, SG-1 has to deal with lots of other stuff — insectile transformations, black holes, prison planets, Native American “spirits,” invisible bugs, hostile alien orbs, reliving their most traumatic memories in a VR world, and time traveling to 1969. And O’Neill (Richard Dean Anderson) gets an ancient repository of knowledge downloaded into his head — and he’ll die if they can’t reverse it.Michael Shanks in Stargate SG-1 (1997)“Stargate SG-1” really got into its stride in the second season — the basic Air-Force-versus-evil-headsnakes story gets expanded out into a bunch of arcs. We get new villains, some surprising new allies, hints about the true origins of the Stargates and the human race, and corrupt factions on Earth who use the spare Stargate for evil ends.Richard Dean Anderson in Stargate SG-1 (1997)The writing gets even steadier and the alien worlds more interesting — even stuff that sounds goofy, like the planet of singing mushroom-people, somehow works. The drama is stronger, and the sci-fi usage of the Stargate ever more creative, such as when a black hole’s gravity well keeps the gate open, and is slowly sucking Earth through the wormhole. Of course, all the action and sci-fi is heavily tempered with comedy. Even in grim situations, there’s usually at least a few funny moments, such as Daniel’s tour of the custodial closet. And of course, the dialogue is priceless — most of the good stuff comes from O’Neill, but Teal’c and the others usually get some good ones as well. Of the main cast, Amanda Tapping gets the juiciest role in this season — Sam deals with the impending death of her father, becoming a Goa’uld host, and trying to deal with the feelings it left behind. Including a Tok’ra boyfriend. Yet when we see Sam’s vulnerable sides, Tapping never lets her character be anything but a strong, capable military woman.Carmen Argenziano and Amanda Tapping in Stargate SG-1 (1997)But the other actors aren’t neglected — Shanks’ Daniel grapples with the news that his wife is pregnant with Apophis’ baby, while Teal’c faces losing his entire family. Anderson is brilliant as the quirky, capable O’Neill, but he really gets brilliant when Jack’s brain is being overwritten — he has to emote and communicate without a comprehensible word. The second season of “Stargate SG-1” is where the story began to really get great, building up a series of strong story arcs, funny dialogue, and strong characters.

REVIEW: THE RETURN OF SWAMP THING

 

CAST

Louis Jourdan (Octopussy)
Dick Durock (Stand By Me)
Heather Locklear (Spin City)
Sarah Douglas (Superman 1 & 2)

The Return of Swamp Thing sees evil scientist Dr. Anton Arcane (Louis Jordan) trying to reverse the extreme ageing that he is undergoing as a result of his experiments. Meanwhile in Los Angeles his stepdaughter Abigail (Heather Locklear) decides to visit him to find out more about her late mother & the events surrounding her sudden death. It turns out that Abigail has the exact genetic make-up that Arcane needs to complete his experiments & give himself eternal life. Arcane also needs a sample of Swamp Thing’s (Dick Durock) DNA to complete the process but getting a sample isn’t going to be as easy as Arcane hoped for as Swamp Thing sets out to put an end to Arcane’s evil experiments…Heather Locklear in The Return of Swamp Thing (1989)I have to say that I really liked The Return of Swamp Thing & for my money just about the best thing Wynorski has ever done (which isn’t saying much in itself). A direct sequel to Wes Craven’s Swamp Thing (1982) it is never actually explained how Arcane survived the events during the climax of the original although it turns out he is suffering from the process that saved him which forms the basis of the plot as he sets out to find a cure & doesn’t care how many people he kills to do just that.The-Return-of-Swamp-ThingBased on the dark Gothic DC comic book character the script by Neil Cuthbert & Grant Morris hasn’t got too much to it & is rather simplistic & underdeveloped but is good fun all the same & you suspect that what the production team were aiming for, a good solid entertaining light hearted fun comic book superhero flick which I think it succeeds at being but like most things in life it’s down to personal opinion. At a little over 90 minutes it’s relatively short, it moves along like a rocket & I was never bored with it which is always a good thing to be able to say.Return-of-STThere are one or two half decent action set-pieces but considering the production team had a budget smaller than the Wes Craven original you could say they worked minor miracles. The character’s are fun although not particularly deep, the dialogue is often amusing & packed full of one-liners & doesn’t take itself too seriously either with Locklear’s character referring to the TV show T.J. Hooker (1982 – 1986) in which she starred. All in all much, much better than I expected & a film that I really liked. Keep watching after the end actor credits as the two kids get an extra little scene.return-swamp-thing-displayOne very impressive aspect of The Return of Swamp Thing is the special make-up effects which are of a very high standard. The Leechman in particularly looks great although he disappears about halfway through, there’s a elaborate Cockroachman & an Elephantman. The Swamp Thing suit is also much better than seen in the original, it’s far more leafy & slimy & more representative of a what a half man half Georgia swamp creature may look like. The Dr. Rochelle mutation at the end also looks good but is dispatched too easily by Swamp Thing & doesn’t put up much of a fight. There are some good fight scenes as well along with a couple of impressive explosions.If you’re a fan of B-movies, as I am, you’re likely to enjoy this. There are plenty of laughs, both intentional and unintentional. The acting is what you would expect, and the effects are really quite good for its day. It’s simply a good Comic Book Movie that will past the time.