REVIEW: KRYPTON – SEASON 2

The Alpha and the Omega (2019)

Starring

Cameron Cuffe (The Halcyon)
Georgina Campbell (His Dark Materials)
Shaun Sipos (The Vampire Diaries)
Elliot Cowan (The Spanish Princess)
Ann Ogbomo (Wonder Woman)
Aaron Pierre (Britannia)
Rasmus Hardiker (Cockneys vs Zombies)
Wallis Day (The Royals)
Blake Ritson (Da Vinci’s Demons)
Ian McElhinney (Game of Thrones)
Colin Salmon (Resident Evil)
Hannah Waddingham (Les Misérables)

Colin Salmon in Krypton (2018)

Recurring / Notable Guest Cast

Emmett J Scanlan (Guardians of The Galaxy)
Sonita Henry (Star Trek)
Kae Alexander (Bad Education)
Aoibhinn McGinnity (Love/Hate)
Staz Nair (Game of Thrones)
Toni O’Rourke (Cold Courage)

Shaun Sipos, Emmett J Scanlan, and Cameron Cuffe in Krypton (2018)This is a very interesting take, from the point of view of an earthling stuck out of time “Adam Strange” from the DC universe.Blake Ritson in Krypton (2018)It features a lot of overlap with themes of economic and political divides around personal freedom verses submitting to an authoritarian system developing on Krypton under the Zod family; it’s quite fascinating and parallels a lot of today’s issues in politics worldwide.Ian McElhinney, Hannah Waddingham, and Wallis Day in Krypton (2018)When you decide on if a series is good or not, stop looking at the real world people playing the characters, and start looking at the characters and the world being built, the story being told. If you can’t get out of your own world when you watch storytelling, then you shouldn’t even be watching let alone offering your ‘expert opinion on why a series should be cancelled or renewed. Plot twists ensue! Season 2 had GREAT writing which tugged at the viewer heartstrings more than once. I love how we get to see another side of the Zod family, a commonly misunderstood Krypton family that was often thought of as nothing but tyrants and conquerors in the superman saga. We also see a darker side of the El heritage.Krypton (2018)Superman is only here in NAME, this is not a series about Superman, but the father of his father (Jor-el’s father, Jor-el’s early life may become part of the series as he was not even born until season 2)

REVIEW: SMALLVILLE – SEASON 2

Starring

Tom Welling (Lucifer)
Kristin Kreuk (Beauty and The Beast)
Michael Rosenbaum (Impastor)
Sam Jones III (Glory Road)
Allison Mack (Wilfred)
Annette O’Toole (The Punisher)
John Schneider (The Haves and the Have Nots)
John Glover (Shazam)

Kristin Kreuk and Tom Welling in Smallville (2001)

Recurring / Notable Guest Cast

Tom O’Brien (The Accused)
Rekha Sharma (Star Trek: Discovery)
Julian Christopher (Elysium)
Jerry Wasserman (Watchmen)
Krista Allen (Feast)
Mitchell Kosterman (Stargate SG.1)
Sarah-Jane Redmond (Disturbing Behaviour)
Joe Morton (God Friended Me)
Andrew Jackson (Earth: Final Conflict)
Michael Kopsa (Fantastic Four)
Sara Downing (Roswell)
Garwin Sanford (Arrow)
Sean Faris (Never Back Down)
Gwynyth Walsh (Star Trek: Generations)
Richard Moll (Batman: TAS)
Maggie Lawson (Santa Clarita Diet)
George Coe (The Stepford Wives)
Jesse Hutch (Arrow)
Fulvio Cecere (Valentine)
Neil Grayston (Wonderfalls)
Patrick Cassidy (Lois & Clark)
Blair Brown (Space Cowboys)
Ryan Kelley (Teen Wolf)
Martin Cummins (Dark Angel)
William B. Davis (The X-Files)
Mark Gibbon (The 6th Day)
Jonathan Taylor Thomas (Home Improvement)
Emmanuelle Vaugier (Two and a Half Men)
Robert Wisden (Highlander: The Series)
David Richmond-Peck (V)
Amara Zaragoza (Perfect Stranger)
Gordon Tootoosis (Lone Star)
Eric Johnson (Flash Gordon)
Lizzy Caplan (Cloverfield)
Byron Mann (Arrow)
Colin Cunningham (Elektra)
Jill Teed (Godzilla)
Eileen Pedde (Juno)
Jason Connery (Wishmaster 3)
Eric Keenleyside (Dreamcatcher)
Barclay Hope (Paycheck)
Rob LaBelle (Jack Frost)
Shaun Sipos (Texas Chainsaw)
Haig Sutherland (The Flash)
Luciana Carro (White Chicks)
Paul Wesley (The Vampire Diaries)
Craig Veroni (Dark Angel)
Christopher Reeve (Superman)
Anson Mount (Inhumans)
Michael Adamthwaite (Horns)
Camille Mitchell (Izombie)
Zachery Ty Bryan (Fast and Furious: Tokyo Drift)
Neil Flynn (Scrubs)
Jodelle Ferland (Case 39)
Ingrid Torrance (Scooby Doo 2)
David Lewis (Man of Steel)
Terence Stamp (Superman II)

 

Sam Jones III and Tom Welling in Smallville (2001)The first season of Smallville got off to a bit of a rocky start, as the program didn’t really find its footing until midway through the season. The show suffered from what fans called “Freak of the Week” syndrome, in which a new Kryptonite-mutated supervillain would emerge in every episode with some pretty weak storylines. The “Bug Boy” and “Coach Firestarter” episodes come to mind pretty quickly, and it makes me shudder just thinking about them. However, the show gradually shifted into telling more stories that advanced Clark Kent’s overall storyline, with multipart episodes that focused on slowly revealing Clark’s origin as Kal-El and his “immigration” to Earth, as well as the ongoing storylines of the supporting cast. Not to say that the show still doesn’t have an occasional “Freak of the Week”, but when they do they are either (1) fewer in frequency or (2) somehow related to the overall show’s story arc.Sam Jones III and Tom Welling in Smallville (2001)With that out of the way, let’s talk about the cast. Tom Welling is pitch-perfect as the teenage Clark Kent. With his tall stature and ripped physique, he certainly looks the part, but he also captures the insecurity and awkwardness of youth while portraying an inner nobility and morality for which his character will eventually become renown. As Lana Lang, Clark’s childhood crush and current on-again, off-again love interest, Kristin Kreuk is about as superhumanly lovely as one could imagine. She’s the “girl next door” multiplied by about three million, not only because of her phenomenal physical beauty but also due to her bright-eyed, compassionate, down-to-earth demeanor. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to see why Clark loves her, or why it rips him apart when he has to push her away in order to keep his powers a secret and keep her from being harmed (people who tend to learn about Clark’s powers generally end up dead or insane.)Kristin Kreuk and Tom Welling in Smallville (2001)Michael Rosenbaum brings young Lex Luthor to life in what has become my favorite character of the show. Making Lex Luthor and Clark Kent childhood friends is a novel (and daring) conceit by the show’s creators, and it pays off handsomely. Lex adds a darker, more cynical dynamic to Clark’s teenage development that was missing in previous iterations of the character. Rosenbaum, who rather ironically provides the voice for the DC superhero “The Flash” on the Justice League animated series, makes Luthor a dark, sympathetic, and conflicted figure. He’s charismatic enough to make one want to like him, Machiavellian enough to make one worry if they can trust him, and – since we know his eventual fate – an overall tragic figure. We know he’s going to “go bad”; his slow transition from Clark’s trusted friend to worst enemy makes for some truly compelling material.Annette O'Toole and John Schneider in Smallville (2001)The cast is rounded out by John Schneider as Jonathan Kent, Academy Award-nominated songwriter Annette O’Toole (and a former Lana Lang herself from Superman III) as Martha Kent, John Glover as Lionel Luthor, Sam Jones III as Clark’s childhood friend Pete Ross, and Allison Mack as Chloe Sullivan, whose unrequited love for Clark has emerged as a critical subplot in the development of the series. The group makes for an attractive ensemble, and there’s not a bad apple in the bunch. My only real complaint about the cast could be the little screen time Pete Ross gets (which gets worse in Season Three). As Clark’s best friend since childhood, his relationship with Clark gets laid by the wayside in favor of the Clark/Lex dynamic. Every now and then he turns up to provide some expository dialogue, and while he is featured prominently in a few episodes (especially “Duplicity”), his role in the show has slowly diminished over time.John Glover and John Schneider in Smallville (2001)Smallville: The Complete Second Season picks up from the cliffhanger ending that ended Season One, and slowly grows into a stronger and more self-assured show. Over the course of the season we get introduced to heat vision, red Kryptonite, a trip to Metropolis (with a cameo by The Daily Planet), and, in the episode “Rosetta”, an appearance by the former Man of Steel Christopher Reeve which stands out as one of the series’ best episodes. When I heard bits of John Williams’s amazing film orchestrations woven into the show’s score, I had goose bumps everywhere.Tom Welling and Amara Zaragoza in Smallville (2001)While still a little bumpy at times, Smallville’s second season is a huge step above the first, and remains one of the most entertaining shows on television.

 

REVIEW: TEXAS CHAINSAW

CAST

Alexandra Daddario (San Andreas)
Dan Yeager (Metal Heads)
Trey Songz (Baggage Claim)
Scott Eastwood (Fury)
Tania Raymonde (Lost)
Shaun Sipos (Final Destination 2)
Keram Malicki-Sánchez (Punisher: Warzone)
Thom Barry (Cold Case)
Richard Riehle (Office Space)
Bill Moseley (Halloween)
Marilyn Burns (Helter Skelter)

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Watching Texas Chainsaw 3D, the latest screen incarnation of the iconic chainsaw-wielding maniac Leatherface, the mind fairly reels. This purported direct sequel to Tobe Hooper’s 1974 horror classic cheerfully ignores that director’s own 1986 follow-up, the 1997 and 2003 remakes, the 2006 prequel and even its basic timeline. It scores points for sheer brazenness.The opening sequence takes place directly after the final scene of Hooper’s film, depicting a Waco-like encounter in which the house containing Leatherface and his cannibalistic family burns to the ground with all its occupants presumably dead. Except for a baby, who is promptly adopted and, as we soon see, grows up in Oklahoma to be the beautiful Heather (Alexandra Daddario).Cut to roughly 20 years later, when Heather learns of her origins after being left a Texas mansion by her late grandmother. She and her friends promptly head off in a van to check out her inheritance — which, unbeknown to them, still is the home of the hulking Leatherface (Dan Yeager).The film’s first half follows conventional horror movie tropes as the heroine and her hottie companions — boyfriend Ryan (singer Tremaine “Trey Songz” Neverson), BFF Nikki (Tania Raymonde), her new crush Kenny (Keram Malicki-Sanchez) and a hunky hitchhiker (Scott Eastwood) — are pursued by the chainsaw-wielding inhabitant with predictably lethal results. But not before all of them bare as much skin as possible. Things take a somewhat more complex turn later on when Heather finds herself in an unlikely alliance with her deranged relative against the town’s corrupt mayor (Paul Rae) and his minions. Leatherface is even given a rather sympathetic treatment, depicted as being something of a misunderstood, overgrown child whose propensity for tearing off his victims’ faces is but an extreme example of adolescent rebellion.That the film obviously takes place in the present day — a key sequence involves a camera phone — is something of a puzzler because that would make Heather nearly 40, something that the tightly toned, midriff-baring Daddario clearly is not. But hey, what’s a couple of decades more or less?Director John Luessenhop takes advantage of the 3D by shoving blood spurts and the occasional chainsaw directly into viewers’ faces Devoted fans of the original will be gratified by the cameos from several of that film’s castmembers, including original Leatherface Gunnar Hansen, though they are mostly of the blink-and-you’ll-miss-them variety.