REVIEW: CULT (2013)

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MAIN CAST

Matthew Davis (The Vampire Diaries)
Jessica Lucas (Gotham)
Alona Tal (Veronica Mars)
Robert Kneppr (Izombie)

RECURRING / NOTABLE GUEST CAST

Marie Avgeropoulos (50/50)
Tom Amandes (Arrow)
Zak Santiago (Caprica)
Aisha Hinds (Star Trek Into Darkness)
Andrew Leeds (Bones)
Rebecca McFarland (Two and a Half Men)
Stacey Farber (Narc)
Spencer Locke (Resident Evil: Afterlife)
Ona Grauer (V)
Obba Babatundé (Half & Half)
Erica Gimpel (Roswell)
Brigid Brannagh (Angel)
Jeffrey Pierce (Bosch)
Teryl Rothery (Stargate SG.1)
Adam Greydon Reid (Sanctuary)
Eric Lange (Lost)
Michael Hogan (Battlestar Galactica)
James Pizzinato (Godzilla)

Cult is a TV show about a TV show. In TV Bizarro World, Cult was a show from The CW. It has a following so strong that a fandom-courting bar actually has an entire room dedicated to giving Cult fans space to geek out and obsess over details of the latest episode. Not only is the in-universe show crazy-popular but (some of) its fans are crazy-crazy. “Secret” websites lure unsuspecting LARPers into the role-play from hell. Fans and crew alike have a habit of disappearing under mysterious circumstances. Apparently the conspiracy has infiltrated the police force. The show’s creator is notoriously reclusive and doesn’t seem to mind the fervor with which the lines between his TV show and reality are blurred by his fans and/or followers. In fact, that might just be the whole point.

And our only hope lies with Jeff Sefton (Matt Davis), ex-reporter and general nitwit, who takes an interest in the series when his brother Nate disappears after making contact with “them” but continues to pop in from time to time with a staticky phone call to plead for help, or to plead for Jeff to stay away. The best representation of this in the pilot was the CD he left behind for Jeff to find, and then basically told him not to use.

Not gonna lie, there’s a lot of WTF. Jeff is joined in his quest by a sexy young research assistant for Cult. Skye Yarrow (Jessica Lucas), a.k.a. Jeff’s “future love interest in training,” grew alarmed when she discovered those creepy secret websites and then more worried when her boss was largely unconcerned with creepy fans doing creepy things and, you know, murderin’ people. Maybe. Probably.
Skye, it turns out, had personal reasons for initially joining the Cult crew—her father was a journalist who went missing years earlier while investigating Steven Rae, the creator of Cult, for corruption—presumably back before he ever had a TV series. Once you get the hang of jumping between scenes from the fake/show-within-a-show Cult and scenes from the real/debuted-on-The-CW-in-February-2013 Cult, the plot itself is fairly easy to follow, the plots of the TV show mirrored the plot of “reality” damn near perfectly with Alona Tal’s Marti Gerritsen’s Kelly Collins (yep, that’s real actress > fake actress > fake TV character) looking for her missing sister with 3D glasses while Jeff did the same for Nate. Both of their best leads blew their brains out after uttering the show’s apparent catchphrase, “These things just snap right off.” I appreciated the parallel narratives, and I think they could be fun from time to time.Suffer the ChildrenCult was cancelled sadly after 1 season so alot of the story arcs never get resolved, the story within a story concept was intriguing but it looks like its going to be a forgotten show, as we have yet to even get a dvd release.

REVIEW: BROKEDOWN PALACE

CAST

Claire Danes (Terminator 3)
Kate Beckinsale (Underworld)
Bill Pullman (Lost Highway)
Jacqueline Kim (Star Trek: Generations)
Lou Diamond Phillips (Stargate Universe)
Paul Walker (The Fast and The Furious)
John Doe (Roswell)
Tom Amandes (Arrow)

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Brokedown Palace has an intriguing premise: two best friends (Kate Beckinsale and Claire Danes) fresh from high school are on their summer vacation in Thailand, but are arrested for possession of narcotics, found guilty and sentenced to 33 years in a women’s prison.
Claire Danes and Kate Beckinsale in Brokedown Palace (1999)
Bill Pullman also stars in the picture as an American lawyer named Hank Greene, who feels for the girls’ plight and fights to prove their innocence. But the real focus is on Beckinsale and Danes, whose wonderful performances are the anchor to the film’s drama and moral quandaries. Beckinsale’s Darlene is the more reserved and quieter of the two, the kind of person who sort of follows her friend without question, and certainly not the type to take unwarranted risks (unless her friend persuades her to). She’s almost a direct opposite of Danes’ Alice, whose outgoing and semi-rebellious behavior is the indirect link to their current troubles.Kate Beckinsale in Brokedown Palace (1999)The film slinks to melodrama in its climactic moments, but still rings true thanks to the tour-de-force turns from Beckinsale and Danes. It’s an open-ended question as to whether or not either of the girls committed the crime of smuggling narcotics, and such ambiguity might upset some, but I liked not knowing for certain, and it’s not as if it makes the final scenes any less believable.