REVIEW: TERMINATOR: THE SARAH CONNOR CHRONICLES – SEASON 1 & 2

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MAIN CAST

Lena Headey (Game of Thrones)
Thomas Dekker (Heroes)
Summer Glau (Arrow)
Richard T. Jones (Godzilla)
Brian Austin Green (Anger Management)
Leven Rambin (The Hunger Games)
Garret Dillahunt (Winter’s Bone)
Shirley Manson (Knife Fight)
RECURRING / NOTABLE GUEST CAST

Owain Yeoman (Supergirl)
Sonya Walger (Flashforward)
Nick Wechsler (Roswell)
Dean Winters (Brooklyn Nine-Nine)
Charlayne Woodard (The Crucible)
Tony Amendola (Annabelle)
Sasha Roiz (Caprica)
Jonathan Sadowski (Friday the 13th)
Brendan Hines (Lie To Me)
Catherine Dent (Taken)
Alessandra Torresani (The Big Bang Theory)
Tiya Sircar (The Vampire Diaries)
Andy Umberger (Angel)
Lee Thompson Young (Smallville)
Neil Hopkins (Lost)
Peter Mensah (Spartacus)
Bruce Davison (High Crimes)
Karina Logue (Scream: The Series)
Craig Fairbrass (Cliffhanger)
Dean Norris (Breaking Bad)
Zack Ward (Transformers)
Busy Philipps (The Smokers)
Leah Pipes (The Originals)
Jon Huertas (Sabrina: TTW)
Mackenzie Brooke Smith (Supergirl)
Dorian Harewood (Earth: Final Concflict)
Stephanie Jacobsen (Alex Cross)
Adam Busch (Buffy)
Richard Schiff (The Cape)
Eric Steinberg (Stargate SG.1)
Todd Stashwick (The Originals)
Rebecca Creskoff (Bates Motel)
Carlos Jacott (Firefly)
Samantha Krutzfeldt (A Mann’s World)
Connor Trinneer (Stargate: Atlantis)
Chad Lindberg (The Fast and The Furious)
Chad L. Coleman (Arrow)

When we first heard that FOX was making a Terminator series, we mostly groaned and rolled our eyes. It just sounded like a bad idea and a cynical ploy to capitalize on a flagging movie property. What’s more, when you think of Terminator, you think of big movies with huge effects and action sequences that set new standards. You don’t think of “Terminators of the Week” battling on smaller screens with tighter budgets.

 It was the first regular episode after the pilot that I feel the show really came into its own. That’s when the tone of the series was established, the more deliberate and introspective pace. Summer Glau’s performance as Cameron changed a bit.
 It’s the mark of a good show when, one by one, all of your issues are accounted for. In the episode Heavy Metal John does what he has to do despite Sarah’s overprotection. He’s becoming the leader he needs to become, and when Sarah says it’s too soon, Cameron says something to the effect of “Is it? The world ends in 4 years…” At the same time, Sarah came to value Cameron’s strategic value. She might not trust her (and should she?), but she no longer denies her the tactical advantage they have when using her.
As for the missing Terminator parts, the show picked up the ball there and ran with it. Agent Ellison finds the missing hand, and destroying the Terminator Cameron disabled becomes a great scene and establishes the use of thermite. When a show proves to you that it’s got the bases covered, and that it isn’t being sloppy with its storytelling – it gains your confidence and makes tuning in each week that much more satisfying. Terminator pulled this off in just nine episodes – which is remarkable considering they had only so much time and never planned on having such a short season because of the writers strike. There were a number of stylistic flourishes throughout the show that demonstrated how the series was different from the movies, and that this wasn’t going to be a show that was afraid to strike out on its own. Sarah’s dream where she assassinates the creators of the atomic bomb was particularly inspired. Bruce Davison (as Dr. Silberman) describing in awed rapture the events from T2 was a terrific bridge between this series and one of the most famous sequences of the entire franchise. The series ended on a high note, with Johnny Cash’s “The Man Comes Around” playing while a Terminator does what Terminators do. Only this time it’s done in a stylistically original way. It’s another scene that serves as an example of how the show stepped out on its own. It shows a level of creative maturity not usually found in franchised properties.
Then there’s the introduction of Brian Austin Green as Derek Reese. This was a decision that had us – and other fans – concerned that the show was making a big mistake. Why Green? It seems there could have been dozens, if not hundreds of other actors to take on this role. Actors who didn’t play the keyboard wielding dweeb on Beverly Hills 90210. Yet, again, the show proved worthy of our confidence and trust. Green did an excellent job, and played Reese not as your standard badass, but instead a man of emotional depth who had been turned into a soldier because the world around him fell apart.
Green’s best moments came in the finale. First, he uses a little girl to creatively settle a hostage situation. Then, he takes John to the park to celebrate his birthday. Without getting specific, there’s a touching moment, playing on the time travel device. “Happy Birthday,” Derek says, and leaves it at that. It’s an emotional note that was never quite achieved in the movies – and proof that the episodic format allows for greater complexity and character development than we’ve seen in the franchise. It’s also encouraging that the characters had become so resonant in these early episodes – and bodes well for the future.
No one likes to see a good show go under, especially just as it’s approaching new heights, and the recent cancellation of Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles (2008-2009) proved almost equally disheartening. At least the latter had a fighting chance, though: the mid-season replacement pulled down great numbers at first, but its popularity rapidly declined during the initial nine-episode run. Higher production costs didn’t help matters, either…yet Chronicles was renewed for a full-sized second season, where it expanded the series’ mythology and tossed in a few stand-alone episodes. Featuring plenty of terrific characters, tense action and special effects on par with Hollywood blockbusters, there was plenty to like…but roughly a month after the season finale aired, it was confirmed that the series wouldn’t return.
Nonetheless, this second and final season stands as one of the better stretches of television in recent memory. In an accompanying behind-the-scenes featurette, creator Josh Friedman admits that the cast and crew had no idea that Season 1 would end where it did—but you’d never know from watching, since the series stops and re-starts so seamlessly. Opening adventure “Samson and Delilah” kicks things off in a major way, punctuated by a gripping slow-motion sequence set to a musical cover by Shirley Manson of Garbage fame. Speaking of Manson, she’s front and center this season as Catherine Weaver, the mysterious leader of ZeiraCorp, a growing corporation with an interest in advanced technology. She’s eventually joined by former FBI agent James Ellison (Richard T. Jones); Ellison acts as her head of security and a mentor to ZeiraCorp’s experimental computer, who’s known as “John Henry”. Though more intelligent and efficient than the world’s greatest minds put together, this powerful entity is still a child learning about the the world and the humans in it.
Naturally, such a vague company—especially one with its hands in high-tech gadgetry—soon ends up on the radar of Sarah Connor (Lena Headey), who continues to forge onward with her son John (Thomas Dekkar), John’s uncle Derek Reese (Brian Austin Green) and Cameron, a Terminator sent from the future to aid them. New to the crowd are Jesse Flores (Stephanie Jacobsen) and Riley Dawson (Leven Rambin); both serve as love interests to Derek and John respectively…but like Catherine Weaver, they seem to have somewhat questionable pasts. Far more than the typical good-versus-evil formula that typically dominates modern sci-fi, The Sarah Connor Chronicles takes a decidedly different approach: it focuses on human existence and emotion as much as firefights and chase sequences. The formula works amazingly well during this season of 22 episodes.
 After the blistering “Samson and Delilah”, things don’t let up for a while. “Automatic for the People” introduces Riley and takes our heroes inside a nuclear power plant—but a major clue is unearthed, as Sarah discovers a list of events, places and other clues about Skynet, the company that Sarah believes will bring about Judgment Day. “Mousetrap” is a standout episode for a number of reasons: not only does it push the story further onward, but it’s one of the more suspenseful and exciting episodes in the bunch. “Allison from Palmdale” stands tall as a solid origin story for Cameron, while the extended “Goodbye to All That” sends John and Derek on a field trip with a Terminator model 888 in hot pursuit. These episodes—and several others, of course—show how much Season 2 has expanded the story’s scope. Well over half the episodes are shot on location in various parts of California and beyond—and with the vague threat of ZeiraCorp looming overhead, tension remains high throughout the first half of the season.
As the season’s second half approaches, things start to get a little cloudy…both for the narrative itself and the show’s ratings, which gradually slid as the season progressed. “Self-Made Man” and “Alpine Fields” are two stand-alone episodes designed to draw in new fans, as the creative team felt that a continuous thrust forward would hurt the series’ chances of survival. Unfortunately, these two episodes are some of the least impressive: while decent enough on their own terms, they feel completely out of context and arrive at the wrong time. These may have added a few viewers, but I imagine they probably confused and frustrated those expecting the series to continue its steady pace forward. Nonetheless, “Earthlings Welcome Here” gets things back on track…but within the context of the series’ original broadcast dates, it may have come too late. This would be the last episode before the holiday break, with Chronicles returning two months later in the dreaded Friday night timeslot…which television fans refer to as “the kiss of death”.
It’s sad, really, because The Sarah Connor Chronicles really got back on its feet from that point onward. “The Good Wound” was much better suited to draw in new fans than a stand-alone episode: taking several cues from Terminator 2, this Sarah-centered adventure re-acquaints us with an important figure from her past. The next several episodes flesh out story elements introduced earlier in the season, as Sarah, John, Derek and Cameron set out to solve a mysterious factory explosion in the desert. After “Some Must Watch While Some Must Sleep”, Chronicles sprints to the finish line: Jesse and Riley’s pasts begin to unravel, John Henry and ZeiraCorp’s true intentions are revealed, Sarah and company head off into unfamiliar territory and several major characters meet their doom. It all culminates with “Born to Run”, which ends the series on a high note, tying up several loose ends but leaving others to the imagination. Poignant, clever and almost hopeful, it’s a fitting farewell to a series that was killed off too early.

Regardless, Warner Bros. has given The Sarah Connor Chronicles a strong send-off on DVD, as this second season arrives in a fully-loaded six-disc collection. The series’ crisp cinematography and ambitious sound mix—both of which feel more like big-screen efforts than typical TV fare—are supported by a solid technical presentation, while fans can also look forward to a collection of entertaining and informative bonus features. Though Friedman’s excellent series now joins the gone-too-early ranks

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REVIEW: AIR AMERICA: THE SERIES

 CAST

Scott Plank (Melrose Place)
Loreno Lamas (Renegrade)
Diana Barton (The Other Man)
Gilbert Montoya (Robbies Brother)
Karmin Murcelo (Port Charles)
Shauna Sand (Dark Realm)
Arthur Roberts (Up In Smoke)

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RECURRING / NOTABLE GUEST CAST

Gary Wood (Hardbodies)
Chick Vennera (Yanks)
Mark Lindsay Chapman (Swamp Thing)
Nicholas Guest (Frozen)
Gary Hudson (Smallville)
Caroline Williams (Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2)
Branscombe Richmond (The Scorpion King)
Sonny Carl Davis (Evil Bong)
Richard Lynch (Puppet Master 3)
Tony Amendola (Stargate SG.1)
Robert Miano (Donnie Brasco)

 

Rio and his buddy Wiley are supposedly just ordinary pilots working for the Latin American air transport company Air America. In truth, they are undercover secret agents receiving their orders directly from the State Department in Washington. As part of their duties they investigate international crime, protect witnesses, rescue people who need rescuing, and occasionally get themselves out of messes that their boss, Furman, keeps getting them into as he tries to line his own pockets.

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Most people are saying that this was a bad show and at the very most it was the worst they have ever seen. But I can honestly say that this show was ok and even pretty good at times. The acting may not have been the best, but even if it was as bad as most suggest, you can at least laugh at it for the amount of effort the actors put into it. Actually that was why I ever watched it, to be entertained by how bad the show was. The show had a few hot chicks in bikinis and certainly had pretty slick looking guys in it too, particurlarly Wyley Ferrel. The best episode by far was the one that guest starred Branscombe Richmond or better known as Bobby Sixkiller from the Renegade. The way he tries to take control of the Costa Peridia coastline by beating the natives up was just hilarous. Then the feel good factor hits in with Rio Arnett challenging him to a fight for the future of Costa Peridia. Other than that episode, I never really took note of the storylines mainly because they were quite crap. The series ended with something about Rio Arnett’s long lost father and I’d say the show hit rock bottom at that point. I really enjoyed the opening intro scene mainly because it was so cheesly American with many big explosions. Of course, Air America wasn’t as good as Renegade and it may have damaged Lorenzo Lama’s reputation, but at least he can certainly reflect upon his days in Air America that was shot in such tropical and exotic locations.

REVIEW: THE MASK OF ZORRO

CAST

Antonio Banderas (The 13th Warrior)
Catherine Zeta-Jones (Entrapment)
Anthony Hopkins (Westworld)
Stuart Wilson (Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles III)
Matt Letscher (Legends of Tomorrow)
Tony Amendola (Stargate SG.1)
Maury Chaykin (Iron Eagle II)

In 1821, Don Diego De La Vega (Anthony Hopkins), a Californio nobleman fights against the Spanish in the Mexican War of Independence as Zorro, a mysterious swordsman who defends the Mexican peasants and commoners of Las Californias. Don Rafael Montero (Stuart Wilson), the corrupt governor of the region, learns of De La Vega’s alter ego, and attempts to arrest him. De La Vega’s wife is killed during the scuffle. Montero imprisons De La Vega and takes his infant daughter, Elena, as his own. Twenty years later Montero returns to California as a civilian, alongside Elena (Catherine Zeta Jones), who has grown into a beautiful woman. Montero’s reappearance motivates De La Vega to escape from prison. He encounters a thief, Alejandro Murrieta (Antonio Banderas), who, as a child, once did Zorro a favor. De La Vega decides that fate has brought them together, and agrees to make Alejandro his protégé, grooming him to be the new Zorro. Alejandro agrees to undergo De La Vega’s training regimen in Zorro’s lair underneath the ruins of his family estate in order to be able to take revenge on Captain Harrison Love (Matt Letscher), Montero’s right-hand man, who was responsible for killing Alejandro’s brother, Joaquin.While still being trained, Alejandro steals a black stallion resembling Tornado from the local garrison. De La Vega scolds Alejandro, claiming that Zorro was a servant of the people, not a thief and adventurer. He challenges Alejandro to gain Montero’s trust instead. Alejandro poses as a visiting nobleman named Don Alejandro del Castillo y García, with De La Vega as his servant, and attends a party at Montero’s hacienda. At the party he gains Elena’s admiration and enough of Montero’s trust to be invited to a secret meeting where several other noblemen are present. Montero hints at a plan to retake California for the Dons by buying it from General Santa Anna, who needs money to fund his upcoming war with the United States.Montero takes Alejandro and the noblemen to a secret gold mine known as “El Dorado”, where peasants and prisoners are used for slave labor. Montero plans to buy California from Santa Anna using gold mined from Santa Anna’s own land. De La Vega uses this opportunity to become closer to Elena, though he identifies himself as “Bernardo” the servant, learning that Montero told Elena that her mother died in childbirth. While walking in a market, Elena meets the woman who was her nanny who tells Elena her parents’ real identity. De La Vega sends Alejandro, dressed as Zorro, to steal Montero’s map leading to the gold mine. Zorro duels Montero, Love, and their guards at the hacienda. When Zorro escapes, Elena attempts to retrieve Montero’s map from the swordsman, but he seduces her, leading to a passionate kiss before he flees.Terrified of Santa Anna’s retribution if he discovers that he is being paid with his own gold, Montero, at Love’s urging, decides to destroy the mine and kill the workers. De La Vega tells Alejandro to release the workers on his own so that De La Vega can reclaim Elena. Alejandro sets off, feeling betrayed by Diego’s vendetta. De La Vega corners Montero at the hacienda and reveals his identity, but Montero captures him by threatening Elena. As he is taken away, De La Vega tells Elena the name of the flowers she recognized upon her arrival in California, convincing her that he is her father. She releases De La Vega from his cell and they proceed to the mine, where Alejandro and De La Vega respectively defeat and slay Love and Montero. Elena and Alejandro free the workers before the explosives go off, and then find the mortally wounded De La Vega. He makes peace with Alejandro before dying, passing the mantle of Zorro to him, and gives his blessings for his marriage to Elena. In a closing sequence they are shown to be living together after rebuilding the De La Vega family manor with a son named Joaquín, in honor of Alejandro’s brother.Wonderful movie, visually rich and a nice blend of comedy, action and romance, well-written. Hopkins is great; so is Banderas as Zorro-in-training, and Zeta-Jones sparkles in her scenes with him.

REVIEW: STAR TREK: VOYAGER – SEASON 1-7

 

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Kate Mulgrew (Lovepsell)
Robert Beltran (Big Love)
Tim Russ (Samantha Who?)
Robert Duncan McNeill (Masters of The Universe)
Roxann Dawson (Darkman III)
Garrett Wang (Into The West)
Robert Picardo (Stargate: Atlantis)
Ethan Phillips (Bad Santa)
Jennifer Lien (Ameircan History X)
Jeri Ryan (Arrow)

RECURRING / NOTABLE GUEST CAST

Armin Shimerman (Buffy: The Vampire Slayer)
Scott MacDonald (Jack Frost)
Majel Barrett (Earth: Final Conflict)
Martha Hackett (Leprechaun 2)
Vaughn Armstrong (Power Rangers LIghtspeed Rescue)
Anthony De Longis (Highlander: The Series)
Marjorie Monaghan  (Andromeda)
Brian Markinson (Izombie)
Carolyn Seymour (Congo)
Rob LaBelle (Dark Angel)
Thomas Dekker (Terminator: TSCC)
John Rubinstein (Legends of Tomorrow)
Sharon Lawrence (NYPD Blue)
Aron Eisenberg (Puppet Master 3)
Dwight Schultz (The A-Team)
Nancy Hower (Catch and Release)
Jack Shearer (End of Days)
Gary Graham (Alien Nation)
Glenn Morshower (Supergirl)
Joel Grey (Buffy: The Vampire Slayer)
Rick Worthy (Collateral Damage)
Raphael Sbarge (Once Upon A Time)
Brad Dourif (Curse of Chucky)
Gerrit Graham (Child’s Play 2)
John De Lancie (The Hand That Rocks The Cradle)
Jonathan Frakes (Roswell)
Carel Struycken (The Addams Family)
Thomas Kopache (Catch Me If You Can)
Michael McKean (Smallville)
Jeremy Roberts (The Mask)
George Takei (Heroes)
Grace Lee Whitney (60s Batman)
Michael Ansara (Batman: TAS)
Robert Prine (V)
James Parks (Django Unchained)
Estelle Harris (3rd Rock From The Sun)
Keene Curtis (Stargate SG.1)
Harry Groener (Buffy: The Vampire Slayer)
Sarah Silverman (A Million Ways To Die In The West)
Ed Begley jr. (Veronica Mars)
Brad Greenquist (Alias)
Galyn Gorg (Robocop 2)
Harve Presnell (Lois & Clark)
Ivar Brogger (Andromeda)
Alan Openheimer (Transformers)
Kristanna Loken (Bloodrayne)
Jessica Collins (True Calling)
Rachael Harris (New Girl)
Wendy Schaal (American Dad)
John Rhys-Davies (Lord of The Rings)
Leland Orser (Seven)
Rosemary Forsyth (Disclosure)
Kurtwood Smith (That 70s Show)
Rebecca McFarland (Two and a Half Men)
Judson Scott (V)
Tony Todd (The Flash)
Mark Metcalf (Buffy: The Vampire Slayer)
Virginia Madsen (Highlander 2)
Ray Wise (Agent Carter)
Zach Galligan (Gremlins)
Kate Vernon (Battlestar Galactica)
Tucker Smallwood (Traffic)
Ray Walston (The Sting)
Louis Ferreira (Stargate Universe)
Scarlett Pomers (Reba)
Frank Welker (The Simpsons)
Willie Garson (Stargate SG.1)
Mark Harelik (The Big Bang Theory)
Lori Petty (Tank Girl)
William Morgan Sheppard (Transformers)
Susanna Thompson (Arrow)
LeVar Burton (Roots: The Gift)
Musetta Vander (Stargate SG.1)
Jason Alexander (Shallow Hal)
Ron Canada (Just Like Heaven)
Ian Abercrombie (Birds of Prey)
Kevin Tighe (Lost)
Bradley Pierce (Jumanji)
Titus Welliver (Agents of SHIELD)
John Savage (Dark Angel)
Jonathan Breck (Jeepers Creepers)
Eric Pierpoint (Alien NAtion)
Claire Rankin (Stargate: Atlantis)
Robert Knepper (Cult)
Mimi Craven  (A NIghtmare on Elm Street)
Phil Morris (Smallville)
Richard Herd (V)
Daniel Dae Kim (Lost)
Obi Ndefo (Angel)
Lindsey Ginter (Hercules: TLJ)
Jeffrey Combs (The Frightners)
Dwayne Johnson (Fast & Furious 7)
J.G. Hertzler (Roswell)
Manu Intiraymi  (Go)
Richard Riehle (Texas Chainsaw 3D)
Mark Sheppard (Firefly)
Tony Amendola (Annabelle)
Marina Sirtis (The Grudge 3)
Tamara Craig Thomas (Odyssey 5)
Brian George (The Big Bang Theory)
Keith Szarabajka (Angel)
Gregory Itzin (Firefly)
John Franklin (Children of The Corn)
Ron Glass (Firefly)
Jeff Kober (New Girl)
Robert Axelrod (Power Rangers)
Sherman Howard (Superbo)
Robert Joy (Amityville 3)
Alice Krige (Children of Dune)

Star Trek: Voyager is a great series to watch. The initial concept of the show is pretty simple: USS Voyager is taken to the delta quadrant against there will and are stranded there – leaving them no choice to but to embark on a long and dangerous journey home.

The Voyager series brings in a lot of new and old ideas about the star trek universe. The new idea of having a holographic doctor and being able to send him on away-missions is a very complex and entertaining idea. The idea of two opposing factions banding together to work as one crew is new. However, some old ideas do still remain for example the unattractive uniforms, colour designations, button sounds and the weakness of their ship.

The cast is full of good actors. At first the characters were green and so was the acting, but by the second season the characters and acting seemed to flow much better. Captain Jane-way certainly looks and feels like a leader and her choices are often made by seeking advice from other crew members, but some of her decisions are startlingly dark and immoral. There were a lot of recurring minor roles for actors and they brought a unique feel to the show.

One of the best things I like about this series is that it gets very technical, but is also dumbed-down enough to make sure the ordinary lay-man (like myself) can still understand what’s going on. The addition of Seven of Nine was a great idea. Jeri Ryan brought in a great sex appeal and added further to the technical stand-points in the show. I fully enjoyed learning a lot about the Borg. It is one of the species I was most interested in.
If you want to know about the Borg, this is the series to watch. Also, this series is very dark. At some points I had shed some tears. Rick Berman was shooting for a darker Star Trek and he made it happen. Overall, this is a wonderful show. It outlines betrayal, morality, trust, honor and integrity. Each episode takes you on journey to learning a new life lesson.

REVIEW: BLOW

CAST

Johnny Depp (Public Enemies)
Penelope Cruz (Grimsby)
Franka Potente (Run Lola Run)
Rachel Griffiths (Brothers & Sisters)
Paul Reubens (Gotham)
Jordi Molla (Riddick)
Cliff Curtis (Training Day)
Migual Sandoval (Medium)
Ethan Suplee (My Name Is Earl)
Ray Liotta (Hannibal)
Kevin Gage (Heat)
Max Perlich (Cliffhanger)
Jesse James (Jumper)
Tony Amendola (The Mask of Zorro)
Bobcat Goldthwait (American Yakuza 2)
Monet Mazur (Raging Angels)
Jaime King (Sin City)
Emma Roberts (Scream Queens)

The film opens to a young George Jung (Jesse James) and his parents Fred (Ray Liotta) and Ermine (Rachel Griffiths) of Weymouth, Massachusetts. When George is ten years old, Fred files for bankruptcy and loses everything, but tries to make George realize that money is not important.

As an adult, George (Johnny Depp) moves to Los Angeles with his friend “Tuna” (Ethan Suplee); they meet Barbara (Franka Potente), an airline stewardess, who introduces them to Derek Foreal (Paul Reubens), a marijuana dealer. With Derek’s help, George and Tuna make a lot of money. Kevin Dulli (Max Perlich), a college student back in Boston, visits them and tells them of the enormous market—and demand—for pot in Boston. With Barbara’s help, they start bringing the drugs to Boston.

As the demand grows, they decide to start buying the drugs directly from Mexico with the help of Santiago Sanchez (Tony Amendola), a Mexican drug lord. But two years later, George is caught in Chicago trying to import 660 pounds of marijuana and is sentenced to two years. After unsuccessfully trying to plead his innocence (by reciting the lyrics of Bob Dylan’s “It Ain’t Me Babe” and insisting that he did no more than “cross an imaginary line with a bunch of plants”), George skips bail to take care of Barbara, who is suffering from, and eventually succumbs to, cancer. Her death marks the disbanding of the group of friends; even his friend, Tuna, flees their vacation home in Mexico and is never seen again.
While hiding from the authorities, George visits his parents back in New England. While he is having a heart-to-heart talk with his father, George’s mother calls the police, who come and arrest him. George is now sentenced to 26 months in a federal prison in Danbury, Connecticut. His cellmate Diego Delgado (Jordi Molla) has contacts in the Medellín cocaine cartel and convinces George to help him go into business. Upon his release from prison, George violates his parole conditions and heads down to Cartagena, Colombia to meet up with Diego. They meet with cartel officer Cesar Rosa to negotiate the terms for smuggling 15 kilograms (33 lb) to establish “good faith”. As the smuggling operation grows, Diego gets arrested, leaving George to find a way to sell 50 kg (110 lb) and get the money in time. George reconnects with Derek in California, and the two successfully sell all 50 kg in 36 hours, amassing a $1.35 million profit. George is then whisked off to Medellín, Colombia, where he finally meets the group’s leader, Pablo Escobar (Cliff Curtis), who agrees to go into business with them. With the help of main middleman Derek, the pair becomes Escobar’s top US importer. At Diego’s wedding, George meets Cesar’s fiancée Mirtha (Penélope Cruz) and marries her. However, Diego resents George for keeping Derek’s identity secret and pressures George to reveal his connection. George eventually discovers that Diego has betrayed him by cutting him out of the connection with Derek. Inspired by the birth of his daughter and chastened by a subsequent drug-related heart attack, George severs his relationship with the cartel and vows to leave the drug business forever.

All goes well with George’s newfound civilian life for five years, until Mirtha organizes a 38th birthday party for him. Many of his former drug associates attend, including Derek, who reveals that Diego eventually cut him out as well. The FBI and DEA raids the party and arrest George. Following George’s conviction, he becomes a fugitive. Meanwhile, his bank account—heretofore under Manuel Noriega’s protection in Panama—is seized. One night, he and Mirtha get into a fight while driving. They are pulled over by police and Mirtha tells them Jung is a fugitive and has stashed a kilogram of cocaine in his trunk. He is sent to jail for three years, during which time Mirtha divorces him and takes custody of their nine-year-old daughter, Kristina “Sunshine” Jung (Emma Roberts). Upon his release, George finds himself struggling to keep his relationship with his daughter on good terms.

George promises Kristina a vacation in California and seeks one last deal to garner enough money for the trip. George completes a deal with former accomplices but learns too late that the deal had been set up by the FBI and DEA, with Dulli and Derek having leaked the nature and location of the action in exchange for pardons for their involvement in his prior action. George is sentenced to 60 years at Otisville Correctional Facility in upstate New York. He explains in the end that neither the sentence nor the betrayal bothered him, but that he can never forgive himself for having to break a promise to his daughter.
While in prison, George requests a furlough to see his dying father, Fred. His unforgiving mother denies the request, saying a visit would only upset Fred. George is given a tape recorder to record a final message to his father. In the message, George recounts his memories of working with his father, his run-ins with the law, and finally, too late, his understanding of what Fred meant when he said that money is not “real”. The film closes with George as an old man in prison, imagining that his daughter (Jaime King) finally comes to visit him. She slowly fades away as a guard calls for George. The film concludes with notes indicating that Jung’s sentence will not expire until 2015, and that his daughter has yet to visit him. The film’s final image is a photograph of the actual George Jung.Johnny Depp is excellent in this role and you can share his excitement as the deals grow bigger and bigger and the money rolls in, as well as his sadness as things go downhill.  The film is accompanied by a great soundtrack, and despite it’s length it never feels dragged out.

31 DAYS OF HORROR REVIEW: ANNABELLE

CAST

Annabelle Wallis (X-Men: First Class)
Ward Horton (The Wolf of Wall Street)
Tony Amendola (Stargate SG.1)
Alfre Woodard (Star Trek: First Contact)
Kerry O’Malley (The Happening)
Brian Howe (Deja Vu)
Eric Ladin (The Killing)
Ivar Brogger (Andromeda)

The film starts with the same opening scene from The Conjuring, in which two young women and a young man are telling Ed and Lorraine Warren about their experiences with a doll called Annabelle which they believe is haunted. In 1969, John and Mia Form live in Santa Monica and are expecting their first child. John gives her a doll that she has been trying to find. At night, Mia hears a murder occurring at their neighbors’, the Higgins. When Mia calls the police, she is attacked by a woman holding the doll and a male accomplice. John and the police arrive and kill the man while the woman kills herself by slitting her own throat. A drop of her blood falls on the face of the doll in her arms. A news report shows that the assailants were Annabelle Higgins and her boyfriend. They are said to have been part of the Disciples of the Ram, a satanic cult, in which they worship a demon with horns.
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Since Annabelle was holding the doll while dying, Mia asks John to throw it away. Later, after a fire caused by the doll, Mia trips over furniture escaping from the fire and goes into labor. Mia gives birth to a healthy baby girl named Leah. The family moves into a new apartment and Mia finds the doll they thought they had discarded. More strange activity plagues Mia and her new baby. She contacts the detective, who informs her of Annabelle’s history in a cult that seeks to summon a demon by claiming a soul. Mia goes to a bookstore run by a woman named Evelyn and determines that the presence haunting her wants Leah’s soul. Evelyn tells Mia that she had a daughter named Ruby who died in a car accident caused by Evelyn. She was so guilt-ridden that she attempted suicide. However, she claims to have heard Ruby’s voice telling her it wasn’t her time.
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The couple contacts their church’s priest, Father Perez, who tries to take the doll with him to church. Annabelle’s ghost attacks him, and the doll disappears. Perez warns John that it was Annabelle’s spirit that caused his injuries. During another attack, Annabelle appears to levitate, but Mia sees the demon holding Annabelle, manipulating its actions. Mia attempts to kill Annabelle and asks him if there is another way, and it says that she can offer him her soul. John and Evelyn break open the door to find Mia ready to jump out the window with Annabelle. John saves Mia; Evelyn takes hold of Annabelle and decides to make the sacrifice, knowing this is the way she can atone for Ruby’s death. Evelyn then jumps out of the window to her death. However, the Annabelle doll disappears. Six months later, the Forms have moved on and have not seen Annabelle since then. Elsewhere, the mother of one of the girls in the opening scene purchases Annabelle as a gift for her child. The ending text states that the real Annabelle doll resides in a case in Ed and Lorraine Warren’s museum and that it is blessed by a priest twice a month to keep the public safe from the evil that the doll possesses.

Annabelle film still

A good movie. The start goes back to the start of the movie The Conjuring and is set a few years before. It is supposedly based on true events, though the Anabelle doll in the movie is much creepier than the real life one was. It is a good storyline and there are a few scary moments. If you liked the Conjuring you may like this movie.

REVIEW: GREEN LANTERN: EMERALD KNIGHTS

CAST (VOICES)
Nathan Fillion (Firefly)
Jason Isaacs (Peter Pan)
Elisabeth Moss (Mad men)
Henry Rollins (Heat)
Arnold Vosloo (The Mummy)
Tony Amendola (Stargate SG.1)
Steve Blum (Wolverine and The X-Men)
Grey Griffin (Justice League: Cosmic Clash)
Kelly Hu (The Vampire Diaries)
David Kaufman (Superman: TAS)
Roddy Piper (They Live)

Billions of years ago, the Oan scientist Krona was obsessed with uncovering the origins of the universe, and he created a machine that’d allow him to pull back the curtain and witness that initial spark of creation. This forbidden quest created an antimatter universe and led to Krona’s transformation into a being of pure energy. The consequences of his actions placed the entire universe — multiple realities, even — in grave danger, prompting Krona’s fellow Oans to rechristen themselves the Guardians of the Universe.

To atone for the havoc that Krona had wrought, the Guardians created an interstellar police force known as the Green Lanterns…creatures from one end of the universe to the other possessing great will and the capacity to overcome fear, each gifted with a power ring that is perhaps the most powerful weapon in creation. Despite the eons that have come and gone since the formation of the Green Lantern Corps, Krona’s destructive grip has yet to be fully eradicated. He’s planted a seed of destruction in the Oan sun that marks the very center of the universe, and the shadow demons he’s unleashed are devouring any Corpsmen they come across. As the Guardians rally the troops for what may be the greatest threat they’ve ever faced, seasoned Green Lantern Hal Jordan fills rookie Arisia Rrab in on the history of the Corps — its proudest moments and greatest figures — all of which will prove key to overcoming Krona once and for all.

Emerald Knights is handled so startlingly well here. Its visuals and storytelling both flow together wonderfully. The five very different stories that make up Emerald Knights all come together in its final moments, feeling very much like parts of a greater whole. It helps that all of the segments woven throughout the movie are consistently engaging. There’s not one I’d point to as a favorite or a disappointment; they’re all great. Even though this anthology by its very nature is continually bounding from one story to the next, Emerald Knights still feels intensely focused. These stories are short but immediately establish a sense of character and purpose, and the fact that there are such dazzlingly well-choreographed fight sequences, strikingly fluid animation, and an appropriate sense of awe and cosmic wonder maintain that initial adrenaline rush. The Lanterns that make up the Corps are on one hand strange and alien, and yet they do come across as a cohesive whole. Its characters are injected with enough personality that I almost forget their inspired, otherworldly appearances, and it doesn’t hurt that they’re brought to life by vocal talent like Firefly’s Nathan Fillion and Mad Men’s Elisabeth Moss either.