REVIEW: THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN 2

CAST

Andrew Garfield (The Social Network)
Emma Stone (Easy A)
Jamie Foxx (Ray)
Dane DeHaan (Life After beth)
Colm Feore (Thor)
Felicity Jones (Rogue One)
Paul Giamatti (Sideways)
Sally Field (Lincoln)
Embeth Davidtz (Army of Darkness)
Campbell Scott (The Exorcism of Emily Rose)
Marton Csokas (The Equalizer)
Sarah Gadon (Dracula Untold)
Skyler Gisondo (Vacation)
Stan Lee (Guardians of The Galaxy Vol 2)
Chris Cooper (The Bourne Identity)
Denis Leary (Rescue Me)
Martin Sheen (The West Wing)
Michael Massee (Flashforward)

In 2000, Oscorp scientist Richard Parker records a video message to explain his disappearance. Later, he and his wife, Mary, are aboard a private jet hijacked by a man sent to assassinate Richard. The plane crashes, killing both Richard and Mary, after he uploads the video.Fourteen years later, Richard’s son Peter continues to fight crime as Spider-Man. He pursues and apprehends Aleksei Sytsevich. Later, Peter meets with Gwen at their high school graduation ceremony and, insisting he keep his vow to her father, ends their relationship. Peter’s childhood friend, Harry Osborn, returns to Manhattan to see his terminally-ill father, Norman, CEO of OsCorp. Norman explains his illness is genetic, and Harry is at the age where it first develops. Norman gives Harry a small device he claims contains his life’s work. The next day, Norman dies and Harry is appointed the new OsCorp CEO.While working in an OsCorp laboratory, electrical engineer Max Dillon shocks himself by accident and falls into a tank of genetically-engineered electric eels. They attack him, and he mutates into a living electric generator. Meanwhile, Peter attempts to maintain a friendship with Gwen, but she reveals that she may move to England for schooling. Before they can discuss it, Dillon wanders into Times Square, accidentally causing a blackout, and is stopped by Peter after a battle. Dillon is taken to Ravencroft Institute, where he is studied by German scientist Dr. Kafka. Meanwhile, the first symptoms of Harry’s illness are showing, and he uses the device Norman gave him to deduce that Spider-Man’s blood could help save him. He asks Peter, who has been selling photos of Spider-Man to the Daily Bugle, to aid him in finding Spider-Man. Peter refuses, unsure of what effects the transfusion would have. Although he later comes to Harry as Spider-Man, he still refuses, and Harry develops an intense hatred towards Spider-Man. The OsCorp board-members, in particular the vice-president, Donald Menken, frame Harry for covering up Dillon’s accident, remove him as CEO, overthrow him and take control of Oscorp. Harry’s assistant, Felicia Hardy, informs him of equipment that could help him, so he makes a deal with Dillon, who now calls himself “Electro,” to get him back inside the OsCorp building. There he finds a suit of armour and other equipment made by Norman, as well as venom from the now-destroyed genetically-altered spiders. The venom accelerates Harry’s illness and transforms him into a goblin-like creature, but the suit’s built-in emergency protocol restores his health and cures his disease.Peter uses information left by his father to locate the video message in an abandoned subway station’s hidden lab. Richard explains he had to leave because he refused to cooperate with Norman’s biogenetic weaponization plans. Peter then hears a voicemail from Gwen, telling him she was offered the British scholarship and is heading to the airport earlier than expected. He manages to catch her and professes his love for her, and, vowing to go wherever she goes, they agree to go to England together. Electro causes another blackout, and Peter heads off to fight him as Spider-Man. Gwen follows, and together they restore power and overload Electro’s body, killing him.The transformed Harry, who now calls himself “Green Goblin”, arrives equipped with Norman’s armor and weaponry. Upon seeing Gwen, he deduces Spider-Man’s secret identity and, swearing revenge for being refused the blood transfusion, kidnaps her and takes her to the top of a clock tower. Peter manages to defeat the Green Goblin, but his webbing breaks during the battle and Gwen falls to her death. Peter, depressed and distraught, mourns over Gwen’s death and ends his career as Spider-Man. Five months later, Harry is coping with the aftereffects of his transformation while incarcerated at Ravencroft. His associate, Gustav Fiers, visits Harry and the pair discuss forming their own team. Harry orders Fiers to start with Sytsevich. Later an unknown team of men break Sytsevich out of prison. Equipped with electromechanical suit armor, Sytsevich calls himself the Rhino and rampages through the streets. Peter, inspired by Gwen’s graduation speech, resumes his role as Spider-Man and confronts him.The Amazing Spider-Man 2 nearly earns an honest emotional response over this pairing. The writing could be better, but Garfield and Stone do an excellent job selling their roles and this movie. I am a big fan of Stone, and she elevates Garfield’s already solid performance. Webb does not quite find the balance between this drama and spectacle, and the film understandably includes a number of rollicking action sequences. The visual effects are strong, but the bullet-time slow motion feels a bit stale. There is a lot of flash to these bits, but not much substance. This is an entertaining film that could be better.

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REVIEW: DRACULA UNTOLD

CAST

Luke Evans(the Hobbit)
Dominc Cooper (Agent Carter)
Sarah Gadon (The Amazing Spider-Man 2)
Art Parkinson (Game of Thrones)
Charles Dance (Last Action Hero)
Paul Kaye (Pan)
Ronan Vibert (Hex)

In the Middle Ages, Vlad Tepes (Luke Evans) is the Prince of Wallachia and Transylvania. As a child, he was a princely hostage of the Ottoman Empire and was trained to be a soldier in the Sultan’s elite Janissary corps, where he became their most feared warrior. He was called Vlad the Impaler after slaughtering thousands by impaling them on spears. Eventually sickened by his acts, he put aside his past and returned to rule his domains in peace. One day in the forest, Vlad and his soldiers discover a helmet in a stream. Fearing that an Ottoman scouting party is preparing the way for invasion, they follow the stream to a high mountain cave called Broken Tooth Mountain. Upon entering the cave, they discover the ground of the cave is carpeted in crushed bone; and they are attacked in the dark by an unknown creature (Charles Dance) with shining red eyes, as well as inhuman speed and strength. While his men are killed, Vlad cuts the creature of the cave with his sword before being thrown to the ground. The blood on the sword he used to cut the creature dissolves when exposed to sunlight, and the creature does not pursue Vlad into the sunlight at the mouth of the cave. Returning to his castle, Vlad learns from a local monk that the creature is a vampire, who was once a man who summoned a demon from the depths of hell and made a pact with it for dark powers before being tricked by the demon and cursed to remain in the cave forever until he is released by someone who drinks his blood, then drinks the blood of a human. The person is welcome to share his power in exchange for the freedom to escape the cave.

The next day, as Vlad celebrates an Easter feast with his wife Mirena (Sarah Gadon), his son Ingeras (Art Parkinson), and his subjects, an Ottoman contingent arrives unexpectedly at the castle. Vlad offers them the usual tribute payment of silver coins, but the emissary notes that a battalion of Ottoman scouts has gone missing, implying that Vlad has had them killed. Vlad professes that he had not killed them. The emissary demands an additional tribute of 1,000 boys to be trained as Janissaries, through the devşirme system. Vlad refuses, but his army is small and no match for the Turks. Mirena believes that, because of Vlad and Mehmed’s (Dominic Cooper) history together as children, being close like brothers, if he were to ask, Mehmed would show him mercy. He approaches Mehmed II and asks him not to take the country’s boys. When that fails, he offers himself in place of the boys; but the Sultan refuses and demands Vlad’s son in addition. The Sultan sends the emissary to bring Vlad’s son. Vlad has an argument with his wife, as he is sending his son to meet the emissary and Ottoman soldiers. Vlad tells his wife to trust him before leaving his wife and son and going to meet the emissary and the soldiers alone. He is unarmed; but his son, afraid for him, runs to him, takes his hand, and tells his father that he is ready to join the Sultan’s army. As Vlad approaches the Turks, the emissary, smiling, tells Vlad that he thought there would be some kind of difficulty. Vlad tells his son to run back to his mother, then takes the emissary’s sword and kills him and his small entourage of soldiers.

Knowing his actions will lead to war, Vlad returns to the Broken Tooth Mountain cave to seek help from the vampire. Once he is inside, the vampire asks Vlad why he returned. Vlad replies, saying he needs the power of the vampire so that he can defeat the Ottoman army. The vampire tells him there are consequences and offers him some of his blood, which will temporarily give Vlad the powers of a vampire. If he resists the intense urge to drink human blood for three days, he will turn back into a human. Otherwise, he will remain a vampire forever and will one day be called upon to help his maker. Vlad accepts the offer and drinks the vampire’s blood, going through a painful and deathlike experience as he transforms.

Waking up in the forest afterwards, Vlad discovers he has been granted heightened senses, inhuman strength and speed, and the ability to transform into a flock of bats; but his skin slowly burns in direct sunlight. When he returns to Castle Dracula, the Ottoman army attacks, but Vlad single-handedly kills them all. He then sends most of the castle’s subjects to Cozia Monastery, which is situated on the edge of a mountain, as a better base for safety. During the journey, Mirena learns of Vlad’s curse as she sees Vlad holding silver to keep himself weak when near his people to avoid revealing his condition to them or attack them for blood. After Vlad promises he will resist human blood, she accepts that he will regain his mortality once the Ottomans are defeated. A Romani named Shkelgim, who knows Vlad is a vampire, proclaims himself as his servant and offers his own blood; but Vlad resists. As they near the monastery, the Valahs are ambushed by Ottoman soldiers; and, while Vlad and his men successfully repel them, Vlad’s sudden increased strength arouses suspicion among his subjects. The next day at the monastery, a monk learns of the curse and leads the Prince’s subjects to turn on Vlad, trapping him in a burning building in the sunlight. Black smoke blocks out the sun, allowing an outraged Vlad to escape the fire, and he angrily reveals that he became a vampire for the sole purpose of protecting his people from the Ottoman suzerainty. Before he acts out against them, Mirena stops him and calms him down.

That night, the Ottoman army marches on the monastery. Vlad commands an enormous swarm of bats to repel them; however, the soldiers are actually a decoy force, allowing a handful of Turks to infiltrate the monastery, kill many of the inhabitants and kidnap Ingeras. Mirena tries to defend her son, and falls from the edge of the monastery wall. Dying, Mirena pleads with Vlad to drink her blood before the sun rises to give him the strength to save their son. Vlad reluctantly drinks her blood, triggering his final transformation into a full-blooded vampire and granting him even greater powers. Vlad returns to the monastery and turns a small group of survivors and mortally wounded into vampires as well. At the Ottoman army’s camp, Mehmed prepares for a massive invasion of Europe. Vlad and his vampires arrive and easily massacre the terrified Ottoman soldiers, while Vlad himself goes after Mehmed, who is holding Ingeras captive. Aware that vampires are weakened by silver, Mehmed has lined the floor of his tent with silver coins, reducing Vlad’s strength and speed, and impairing his vision, and fights Vlad with a silver sword. He overpowers Vlad and prepares to impale his heart with a wooden stake, but Vlad turns into a flock of bats and evades him. Taking the name “Dracula, Son of the Devil,” he kills Mehmed with the stake and drinks his blood, fully succumbed to the savagery of his vampiric condition.

As they leave Mehmed’s tent, Dracula and Ingeras are confronted by the other vampires, who demand that his son be killed because he is human. The monk who had previously led the Valahs against Vlad appears and keeps the vampires at bay with a Christian cross. When one of the vampires attempts to kill Ingeras, Dracula impales him with a spear as a warning to the others not to harm his son. Dracula orders the monk to take Ingeras away, then uses his power to clear the black clouds in the sky. The sunlight burns the vampires into dust, while Dracula collapses into a charred corpse. With Vlad presumed dead and Europe saved from the Ottoman invasion, Ingeras is crowned the new Prince of Wallachia. However, Shkelgim secretly takes Dracula into a nearby tent and revives him with his blood.

In the present day, Vlad meets a woman named Mina, who strikingly resembles Mirena, in the streets of a modern city (London), and they have a conversation about a line of poetry they have in common. The vampire who cursed Vlad, now healed, in a more human form, and still alive, watches them from afar and follows them, and anticipates what he has planned for Dracula in the future, saying, “Let the games begin.”

It’s a film with some great effects, has a charismatic lead with Luke Evans and when added to a great performance by Dominic Cooper as the Sultan Mehmed all round gave a film that was quite enjoyable.

 

 

REVIEW: MUTANT X – SEASON 1-3

MAIN CAST
Forbes March (As The World Turns)
Victoria Pratt (Cleopatea 2525)
Lauren Lee Smith (Lie With Me)
Victor Webster (Wishmaster 4)
John Shea (Lois & Clark)
Karen Cliche (Flash Gordon 2007)
RECURRING / NOTABLE GUEST CAST
Tom McCamus (Ginger Snaps Back)
Douglas o’ Keeffe (Dark Angel)
Cedric Smith (X-men: The Animated Series)
Andrew Gillies (Odyssey 5)
Michael Easton (Coldfire)
George Buza (X-men: The Animated Series)
Dylan Bierk (Andromeda)
Laura Vandervoort (Bitten)
Yannick Bisson (Beauty and the Beast 2012)
Monique Ganderton (Smallville)
Anthony Lemke (Robocop: Prime Directives)
Mark Lutz (Angel)
Greg Bryk (Reign)
Anne Openshaw (Izombie)
Guylaine St-Onge (Highwayman)
Sarah Gadon (Dracula untold)
Larissa Laskin (John Q)
Callum Keith Rennie (Memento)
Louis Ferreira (Stargate Universe)
Krista Allen (The Final Destination)
Lindy Booth (Cry Booth)
Noah Danby (Painkiller Jane)
Sandrine Holt (Underworld Awakening)
Philip Akin (Highlander: The Series)
Melinda Deines (Earth: Final Conflict)
Frank Moore (Rabid)
David Sutcliffe (Lie To Me)
Jenya Lano (Xena)
Alan C. Petersen (Stargate SG.1)
Rachel Hayward (Jingle All The Way 2)
Steve Bacic (Blade: The Series)
Gary Hudson (Cold Case)
Sebastian Spence (First Wave)
Alan Van Sprang (Reign)
Lauren Collins (Degrassi: The Next Generation)
Euegne Robert Glazer (La Femme Nikita)
Peter Stebbings (Bates Motel)
John Ralston (The Lizzie Borden Chronicles)
Sasha Roiz (Caprica)
 Mutant X was a brilliant, and totally original, syndicated series that had have genre fans tuning in faithfully week after week. Drawing from the timely topic of genetic research and engineering and experimentation on human DNA, Mutant X tells the completely original story of a group of outcasts with genetically engineered super-human powers and abilities and their attempts to evade capture or destruction by the ultra-secret, evil government agency which created them.
Mutant X  created by comics veteran Howard Chaykin (writer for Earth: Final Conflict and Viper) and Avi Arad (executive producer of X-Men, X-Men 2, and every other Marvel comic to movie adaptation in the pipeline from Daredevil  to The Fantastic Four). With a totally straight face, they insist that this new show has absolutely nothing whatsoever to do with the X-Men. Both of these guys know the comic industry and Arad obviously is familiar with  X-Men, and yet they expect us to believe that cashing in on the popularity of the X-Men wasn’t in their minds at all while developing this series. They can’t even seem to recognize the similarity.

The main difference in plot line deals with the fact that the powers that the Mutant X mutants possess were a result of human intervention through science rather than a naturally-occurring genetic mutation, as in the X-Men. Apart from this very minor difference, the sky is the limit when it comes to Mutant X – X-Men similarities.
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The leader of the Mutants is Adam, a wealthy scientist who headed up the government project that created the Children of Genomex (a.k.a. the Mutants). He has seen the error of his ways and now is engaged in a crusade to locate, protect, and train the Mutants. He doesn’t actually own a school or have mutant powers himself, but this is the Professor X of the group.371266752_640The leader of the evil, covert government agency is Mason Eckhart, played by Andy Warhol as himself. This guy, complete with white hair and chunky glasses, wants to either use the Mutants for evil purposes or see them all destroyed. He’s sort of the Magneto of Mutant X without the overwhelming desire to see the Mutants rule the earth. Eckhart doesn’t have any super powers, unless you count just plain being evil, but his right hand man has telekinetic abilities.
a great series that lasted 3 seasons and only ended because the tribune company came to and end

REVIEW: FLASHPOINT: THE COMPLETE SERIES

MAIN CAST

Enrico Colantoni (Veronica Mars)
Hugh Dillon (Ginger Snaps Back)
Amy Jo Johnson (Mighty Morphin Power Rangers)
David Paetkau (Final Destination 2)
Sergio Di Zio (Reign)
Michael Cram (Arrow)
Mark Taylor (Cinderella Man)
Ruth Marshall (Casino Jack)
Olunike Adeliyi (John Q)
Clé Bennett (Harvard Man)

RECURRING / NOTABLE GUEST CAST

Gabriel Logan (Wonderfalls)
Philip Akin (Highlander: The Series)
Lisa Marcus (Lost Girl)
Janaya Stephens (Death Race)
Tyler Stentiford (Hemlock Grove)
Heny Czerny (Supergirl)
Matthew Bennett (battlestar Galactica)
Chandra West (White Noise0
Kenneth Mitchell (Odyssey 5)
Nicholas Campbell (Da Vinci’s Inquest)
Shauna MacDonald (Saw VI)
Sarah Gadon (Dracula Untold)
Tatiana Maslany (orphan Black)
Peter Stebbings (Never Cry Werewolf)
Pascale Hutton (Sanctuary)
Colm Feore (Gotham)
Kristin Booth (Defendor)
Noam Jenkins (Earth: Final ConflicT)
Alisen Down (Smallville)
Jessica Steen (Armageddon)
Ona Grauer (V)
Kari Matchett (Cube 2)
Peter Outerbridge (Beauty and the Beast)
Ryan Kennedy (Smallville)
Calum Worthy (Dr. Dolittle 3)
Alexia Fast (Jack Reacher)
Sherry Miller (The Virgin Suicides)
Kathleen Munrow (Stargate Universe)
Stephen Amell (Arrow)
Brian Markinson (Izombie)
Tamara Gorski (Angel)
Roger Cross (Frist Wave)
Greg Bryk (Bitten)
Noah Danby (Painkiller Jane)
Alan Van Sprang (reign)
Gina Holden (Flash Gordon)
John Pyper-Ferguson (Caprica)
Brendan Fletcher (Bloodrayne 3)
Krista Bridges (Land of The Dead)
Colin Cunningham (Elektra)
Adrian Hough (X-Men 3)
Ian Tracey (Bates Motel)
Erin Karpluk (Dark Angel)
Natalie Alyn Lind (Gotham)
Kate Hewlett (Stargate Atlantis)
Sarah Brown (Vr Troopers)
Patrick Sabongui (The Flash)
Rachel Blanchard (Carrie 2)
Richard Chevolleau (Earth: FInal ConflicT)
Victor Garber (Legends of Tomorrow)
Tattiawna Jones (Robocop 2014)
Rachel Skarsten (Reign)
Eve Harlow (Heroes Reborn)
Cynthia Preston (Pin)
Matthew Bennett (Battlestar Galactica)
Sonya Salomaa (Andromeda)
Ari Cohen (Gangland Undercover)
Camille Sullivan (The Birdwatcher)
JR Bourne (Arrow)
Anthony Lemke (Robocop: Prime Detectives)
Rossif Sutherland (Reign)
Greyston Holt (Bitten)
Aaron Douglas (Battlestar Galactica)
Michael Shanks (Stargate SG.1)
David Alpay (The Vampire Diaries)
Dylan Neal (Arrow)
Sandrine Holt (House of Cards)
Ty Olsson (Izombie)
Shawn Doyle (Frequency)
Katharine Isabelle (Ginger Snaps)
Chad Donella (Smallville)
Jonathan Keltz (Reign)
Steve Bacic (Andromeda)
Mark Lutz (Angel)
Roark Critchlow (V)
David Richmond-Peck (She’s The Man)
A.J. Buckley (Walking Tall 2)
Zoie Palmer (Lost Girl)

The show is based on a real life Toronto police unit similar to SWAT but with their own integral negotiators. This is a brilliant set up because every episode can go either way with a brutal violent conclusion or the culprit talked down peacefully. The issues are dealt with in a mature and considered fashion which rather excellently means that the person with the gun is not always the baddy.

FLASHPOINT

The team is rather more imaginatively put together than in most similar shows. The team leader (Enrico Colantoni) is the cuddly negotiator whilst two bullet headed middle-aged men (Hugh Dillon and Michael Cram) are his subordinates. They have similar but different home lives and chat through raising teenagers on the way to work. A black junior policeman (Mark Taylor) and an Italian junior policeman (Sergio di Zio) have minor roles but occasionally get their moment in the limelight and both rise to the challenge when they do. David Paetkau plays the ex-special forces sniper who has transfered in. His difficulties integrating and changing his focus from killing to resolving the situation are well handled and his dark back story is mercifully not as overblown as it easily could be. The last team member is Amy Jo Johnson (the only american on the cast) who is the beautiful woman who has to struggle to maintain her position on the team.

FLASHPOINT

Each show starts with a quick introduction to a perilous situation and then winds back a few hours to see how the problem started. We then build up to the point where police must start making life and death decisions. There are a few running storylines throughout the shot, but most episodes can be seen as standalone.


The Show lasted five seasons and does bring us to a satisfied finale, only season one is available on DVD in the UK but many imports can be found on various sites.