REVIEW: MUTANT X – SEASON 3

Starring

Forbes March (As the World Turns)
Victoria Pratt (Cleopatra 2525)
Victor Webster (The Scorpion King 3 & 4)
Karen Cliche (Flash Gordon)

Forbes March in Mutant X (2001)

Recurring / Notable Guest Cast

Tom McCamus (Ginger Snaps Back)
George Buza (X-Men: TAS)
Deborah Odell (Godsend)
Noah Danby (Bitten)
David Hewlett (Rise of The POTA)
Jessica Steen (Armageddon)
Peter Stebbings (Bates Motel)
John Ralston (Bitten)
Krista Bridges (Narc)
Shannon Lawson (Dick)
Sasha Roiz (Caprica)
David Orth (The Lost World)
Steve Byers (Smallville)
Jason Schombing (Sanctuary)
Lyriq Bent (Flashpoint)
John Shea (Lois & Clark)
Jeff Seymour (Bury The Lead)
Aleks Paunovic (Van Helsing)
Ellen Dubin (Mary Kills People)
Andrew Gillies (Odyssey 5)
Ted Whittall (Suicide Squad)
Monika Schnarre (Andromeda)

Mutant X (2001)I love this series and still watch it even though its canceled. Adam Kane developed the mutants, but did so only to help mankind. He was searching for to be able to manipulate DNA to help cure diseases. But in some, their genes mutated, giving them mutant abilities. You can tell throughout the episodes he feels responsible for all the problems connecting with mutants. Shalimar is a feral- who is like a cat. Adam brought her in from abuse when she was a child and helped her to cope with her abilities.Mutant X (2001)Through all the episodes, you see a father-daughter relationship with the two. Brennan- shoots electricity through his hands. He is a street wise guy who was a thief. Now turned straight, he sometimes struggles with not just “taking down” his opponents. He has a problem with not being in charge and not in all the loops, but Adam slowly helps him to start calming down. Emma-controls minds. She is soft and quiet and strives to feel needed. She feels close with people they are often after, giving another side for who they are after. Jesse-turns into brick and “phases” letting things go straight through him. He comes from a rich family and wants to prove he can fight. He is very smart when it comes to computers.Mutant X (2001)The newest edition in the end is Lexa- maipulate light. She has a dark past and a good reason for it. She has a habit of keeping the others outta the loop, but learns there is no room for that. She tends to keep people at arms length because of her past and is pretty much hated for it. But as time goes on, she learns to grow more and to trust. This series is very good, the action is great, actors are great and you can feel compassion for the characters.

REVIEW: THE BOYS – SEASON 1

Laz Alonso, Karl Urban, Jack Quaid, Tomer Capon, and Karen Fukuhara in The Boys (2019)

Starring

Karl Urban (Dredd)
Elisabeth Shue (Piranha 3D)
Laz Alonso (Straw Dogs)
Jack Quaid (Logan Lucky)
Karen Fukuhara (Suicide Squad)
Erin Moriarty (Jessica Jones)
Tomer Kapon (Wedding Doll)
Antony Starr (Outrageous Fortune)
Dominique McElligott (Leap Year)
Jessie Usher (Shaft)
Chace Crawford (Eloise)
Nathan Mitchell (IZombie)

Erin Moriarty and Jack Quaid in The Boys (2019)

Recurring / Notable Guest Cast

Simon Pegg (Ready Player One)
Jennifer Esposito (Summer of Sam)
Ann Cusack (Tank Girl)
Shaun Benson (ARQ)
Jimmy Fallon (Almost Famous)
Colby Minifie (Jessica Jones)
David Andrews (Terminator 3)
Brittany Allen (Falling Water)
Malcolm Barrett (Timeless)
Tara Reid (Sharknado)
Brit Morgan (Supergirl)
Jess Salgueiro (Mary Kills people)
Billy Zane (The Phantom)
Shantel VanSanten (The Flash)
Haley Joel Osment (A.I.)
John Dorman (Gotham)
Brendan Beiser (Andromeda)
Jim Beaver (Breaking Bad)
Seth Rogen (Knocked Up
Giancarlo Esposito (Breaking Bad)

 

Jack Quaid in The Boys (2019)
Traditional superhero lore primarily revolves around individuals who inadvertently (and sometimes reluctantly) step into their saviour destinies. Typically, these superheroes are cognisant of the public’s reverence for their abilities, yet they often choose to either live on the fringes of or blend seamlessly into society. The few who publicly embrace their fame manage to maintain their moral compass despite ever-present temptation and opportunities to make negative choices.Laz Alonso and Karl Urban in The Boys (2019)In 2006, The Boys comic book explored this concept through a hyper-violent and decidedly darker lens, questioning what would happen if these figures became tainted by their social status. Now, The Boys TV series, set to premiere on Amazon Prime on July 26, expounds on this alternative premise. In a world dominated by corporate greed, approval ratings, social media stats, a clan of superheroes bends the rules to their whim, and a group of everyday people tries to stop them.Ann Cusack and Erin Moriarty in The Boys (2019)The  series, developed by Eric Kripke, Evan Goldberg, and Seth Rogen, is everything that fans of the Gareth Ennis (Preacher, The Punisher)-penned comic expect it to be – gory, diabolical, and unapologetically blunt with an undercurrent of social commentary. But, it’s also an easy saga for viewers coming straight to the show to follow. The costuming, action sequences, and cinematography are solid for a TV production and the plot mostly maintains a steady pace with pivotal moments that work well for a streaming service style release. And, there’s just enough expository information revealed in the first few episodes to set the stage for a packed ending to its first season. There’s already strong speculation concerning The Boys season two, so there will likely be several loose threads in the finale.Karen Fukuhara in The Boys (2019)The Boys obviously leans on its source material for a general framework; however, a few tweaks, including protagonist Hughie Campbell’s background, are made. In the TV adaptation, Campbell (Jack Quaid, The Hunger Games) is a tech store employee who’s afraid to stand for himself or take risks to change his mundane existence – which makes him much more relatable to the general audience than his comic counterpart. The plot swiftly puts Hughie’s vigilante arc in motion after (as revealed in the trailer) his girlfriend Robin is gruesomely obliterated by A-Train, a speedster and member of the dominant superhero (aka “supes”) collective known as the Seven.Erin Moriarty in The Boys (2019)Robin’s unintentional death is written off as collateral damage by Vought International, a massive superhero marketing and management company that dominates the United States, led by the pleasingly ruthless and ingeniously manipulative Madelyn Stillwell (Elisabeth Shue). Her character is the first of several who are either gender or race swapped, but it’s permissible since none of their backgrounds are inextricably tied to their origin stories. Hughie’s difficulty processing Robin’s death and mounting anxiety attacks over realising the supes’ indomitable influence is interrupted by Billy Butcher, portrayed by Star Trek’s Karl Urban, a vigilante whose mission to eliminate superheroes leads to the formation of The Boys. His accent is a bit iffy at points, but Urban fully embodies the role of a madman with a singular focus, dishing out a level of charismatic energy and sharp wit that’s incredibly fun to watch. Mother’s Milk (Laz Alonzo) and Frenchie (Tomer Kapon) round out the vengeful quartet characters who consistently challenge and surprise each other with their ingenuity when they aren’t butting heads over sticking to the script. The fifth leg of their crew, simply named Female, comes into play but it’s not clear how this person will fit into their overall mission.Karl Urban and Jack Quaid in The Boys (2019)The internal examination of Vought and Seven’s corrupt partnership filters through Annie “Starlight” January (Erin Moriarty), the newest member of the elite Seven who realises that her dream job is full of smoke and mirrors. Her childhood crush on a renowned idol is shattered when he uses it as a sickening abuse of power and she struggles with maintaining her creed as a hero and meeting the expectations of her proud mother in the midst of constant coercion. Starlight manages to swiftly gain her footing in this sphere as she goes off-script to push back against her employer’s ridiculous standards. She’s truly good at heart with badass powers, so perhaps she will be treated well in the TV series and given the space to have an impactful arc. Hughie and Starlight’s paths cross in the most mundane way and sets up an inner conflict for the former about his motivations. It’s a classic case of falling in love with the supposed enemy who shows that everyone on the other side isn’t a monolith but, thankfully, it doesn’t feel like a trope in this narrative.Antony Starr and Chace Crawford in The Boys (2019)The Boys has focused on a few primary members of the Seven, giving them varying levels of development with Queen Maeve (Dominique McElligott), the sole woman hero of the clan until Starlight’s arrival, getting the least screen time. The Wonder Woman-esque hero is fully aware of the morally reprehensible behaviour of her comrades but she remains silent and offers little support to Starlight. However, a pivotal atrocity will certainly change her outlook. There’s a deeper story begging to be told with Maeve that will hopefully unfold as The Boys progresses. The Deep (Chace Crawford) is annoyingly surface-level – a poor man’s Aquaman who’s hyped up on his fame, immature, condescending, and trying to flex the little power he has against those whom he perceives to be weaker when he’s the weakest link. His purpose at this moment is to be irritating and he’s succeeding on all fronts. The Deep, who was Black in the comics, and his comrade A-Train, portrayed by Jessie T. Usher of Survivor’s Remorse, switch races in the live adaptation and have some different personality traits than their comic versions. A-Train’s lack of accountability and egoic decisions are the catalyst for much of the initial action and plot progression, but the series also digs deeper into his personal relationships and insecurities about his future with Voight.Elisabeth Shue, Chace Crawford, and Erin Moriarty in The Boys (2019)The most intriguing hero is Homelander (Antony Starr), the leader of the Seven and a mashup of Captain America and Superman. The show does a great job of slowly peeling back his outer layer of high moral standards and leadership qualities to reveal an obsessive, manipulating, narcissistic, and sinister being who is capable of unthinkable callousness. Homelander is undoubtedly the supreme villain hiding in plain sight that too many people are underestimating. The Boys has the potential to become Garth Ennis’ next comic-to-TV production win on the heels of Preacher’s upcoming fourth and final season. Sure, some of the scenes run a tad bit too long and the punchlines occasionally fall flat, but those are outweighed by truly clever moments, an engaging plot, and several WTF moments to create a dark and oddly realistic take on the superhero genre.

REVIEW: CAPTAIN MARVEL

Starring

Brie Larson (Kong: Skull Island)
Samuel L. Jackson (The Hateful eight)
Ben Mendelsohn (Ready Player One)
Djimon Hounsou (Guardians of The Galaxy)
Lee Pace (Pushing Daisies)
Lashana Lynch (Still Star-Crossed)
Gemma Chan (Mary Queen of Scots)
Annette Bening (American Beauty)
Clark Gregg (Much Ado About Nothing)
Jude Law (Spy)
Mckenna Grace (I, Tonya)
Vik Sahay (Chuck)
Kenneth Mitchell (Star Trek: Discovery)
Stan Lee (Avengers Assemble)
Chris Evans (The Losers)
Scarlett Johansson (Lucy)
Mark Ruffalo (Just Like Heaven)
Don Cheadle (Traffic)
Nelson Franklin (New Girl)
Patrick Gallagher (Glee)

Brie Larson in Captain Marvel (2019)In 1995, on the Kree Empire’s capital planet of Hala, Starforce member Vers suffers from amnesia and recurring nightmares involving an older woman. Yon-Rogg, her mentor and commander, trains her to control her abilities while the Supreme Intelligence, the artificial intelligence that rules the Kree, urges her to keep her emotions in check.Brie Larson in Captain Marvel (2019)During a mission to rescue an undercover operative infiltrating a group of Skrulls, alien shapeshifters with whom the Kree are at war, Vers is captured by Skrull commander Talos. A probe of Vers’s memories leads them to Earth. Vers escapes and crash-lands in Los Angeles. Her presence attracts S.H.I.E.L.D. agents Nick Fury and Phil Coulson, whose investigation is interrupted by a Skrull attack. In the ensuing chase, Vers recovers a crystal containing her extracted memories while Fury kills a Skrull impersonating Coulson. Talos, disguised as Fury’s boss Keller, orders Fury to work with Vers and keep tabs on her.Jude Law, Brie Larson, and Rune Temte in Captain Marvel (2019)Using her extracted memories, Vers and Fury go to the Project Pegasus installation at a U.S. Air Force base. They discover Vers was a pilot presumed to have died in 1989 while testing an experimental light-speed engine designed by Dr. Wendy Lawson, whom Vers recognizes as the woman from her nightmares. After Fury informs S.H.I.E.L.D. of their location, a team led by Talos disguised as Keller arrives. Fury discovers Talos’s ruse and helps Vers escape in a cargo jet with Lawson’s stowaway cat Goose. They fly to Louisiana to meet former pilot Maria Rambeau, the last person to see Vers and Lawson alive.Samuel L. Jackson and Brie Larson in Captain Marvel (2019)Rambeau and her daughter Monica reveal that Vers is Carol Danvers, who was once like family to them. Talos, arriving unarmed, explains that the Skrulls are refugees searching for a new home and that Lawson was Mar-Vell, a renegade Kree scientist helping them. Talos plays a recovered recording from Lawson’s jet, prompting Danvers to remember the crash: Lawson was killed by Yon-Rogg to prevent her from destroying the engine before the Kree could recover it. Destroying the engine herself, Danvers absorbed the energy from the ensuing explosion, gaining powers but losing her memory.Samuel L. Jackson and Brie Larson in Captain Marvel (2019)Danvers, Talos, Fury, and Rambeau locate Lawson’s cloaked laboratory orbiting Earth, where Lawson hid several Skrulls, including Talos’s family, and the Tesseract, the power source of Lawson’s engine. There, Danvers is captured by Starforce and interfaces with the Supreme Intelligence. During their conversation, Danvers removes the Kree implant that was suppressing her powers, allowing her to reach her full potential. In the subsequent battle, Fury retrieves Goose, who is revealed to be an alien Flerken. Goose swallows the Tesseract and scratches Fury, blinding his left eye. Danvers destroys a Kree bomber, forcing Kree officer Ronan the Accuser and his squadron to retreat, before overpowering Yon-Rogg on Earth and sending him back to Hala with a warning to the Supreme Intelligence.Djimon Hounsou, Brie Larson, Rune Temte, Gemma Chan, and Algenis Perez Soto in Captain Marvel (2019)Danvers departs to help the Skrulls find a new homeworld, leaving Fury a modified pager to contact her in an emergency. Meanwhile, Fury drafts an initiative to locate heroes like Danvers, naming it after her Air Force call sign, “Avenger”. In a mid-credits scene, set in 2018, the activated pager is being monitored by the Avengers when Danvers appears. In a post-credits scene, Goose climbs onto Fury’s desk and regurgitates the Tesseract.Brie Larson in Captain Marvel (2019)This is actually one of the rare examples of a prequel that “gets it right”, and explains things that happens in later films while managing to tell its own story. It also explains why the highly publicized (and until now highly off-limits due to licensing) Skrulls are absent throughout the rest of the MCU’s history. It also manages to provide some color around Ronan’s obsession with power, even though he only has a few brief scenes.
All in all Captain Marvel is a solid film on it’s own, while still connecting itself to the larger Marvel Cinematic Universe. Certainly worth the price of admission

REVIEW: CAN YOU EVER FORGIVE ME ?

Starring

Melissa McCarthy (Life of The Party)
Richard E. Grant (Logan)
Dolly Wells (I Capture the Castle)
Jane Curtin (3rd RockFrom The Sun)
Ben Falcone (Tammy)
Stephen Spinella (Lincoln)
Anna Deavere Smith (The Kingdom)
Christian Navarro (13 Reasons Why)
Marc Evan Jackson (The Good Place)

Melissa McCarthy in Can You Ever Forgive Me? (2018)In 1991, following the critical and commercial failure of her biography of Estée Lauder, author Lee Israel struggles with financial troubles, writer’s block and alcoholism. With her agent unable to secure her an advance for a new book, Israel is forced to sell her possessions to cover expenses, selling a personal letter she received from Katharine Hepburn to local book dealer Anna. While doing this, she re-starts an old friendship with Jack Hock, an openly gay drug dealer.Richard E. Grant and Melissa McCarthy in Can You Ever Forgive Me? (2018)While conducting research for a potential Fanny Brice biography, Israel discovers two letters written by Brice, one of which she takes and shows to Anna. Anna gives a low offer due to the letter’s bland content, prompting Israel to return home, add a postscript to the second letter, and bring it back to Anna, who takes the letter for $350. Israel then starts forging and selling further letters by deceased celebrities, incorporating intimate details in an attempt to command higher prices. Anna, who is a fan of Israel’s writing, tries to initiate a romantic relationship but is rebuffed.Richard E. Grant and Melissa McCarthy in Can You Ever Forgive Me? (2018)When one of Israel’s letters raises suspicion for its unguarded discussion of Noël Coward’s sexuality, her buyers start blacklisting her. Now unable to sell the forgeries, she has Jack sell the letters for her. She also begins to steal authentic letters from libraries and archives to sell, replacing them with forged duplicates. While Israel is out of town committing one such theft, her elderly cat dies under Jack’s care. She ends their friendship but continues their criminal partnership out of necessity.Melissa McCarthy in Can You Ever Forgive Me? (2018)Jack is caught by the FBI while attempting a sale and cooperates with them, resulting in Israel being served with a court summons. She retains a lawyer, who advises her to show contrition by getting a job, doing community service, and joining Alcoholics Anonymous. In court, Israel confesses she enjoyed creating the forged letters and does not regret her actions, but realizes her crimes were not worth it because the forgeries did not show her true self as a writer. She is sentenced to five years’ probation and six months’ house arrest.Melissa McCarthy in Can You Ever Forgive Me? (2018)Sometime later, Israel reconciles with Jack, who is now dying of AIDS, and asks his permission to write a memoir about their escapades, to which he agrees. While passing a bookstore, she sees a Dorothy Parker letter she forged on sale for $1900. Disgusted, she writes the store owner a sarcastic note in Parker’s voice. Upon receiving Israel’s note and realizing that the letter in the storefront window is a fake, the owner removes it from the window but changes his mind and decides to keep it on display.Melissa McCarthy in Can You Ever Forgive Me? (2018)The film’s postscript reads:

Lee forged and sold approximately 400 letters. Two of Lee’s forgeries were included in Noël Coward’s 2007 biography. They were removed by the second printing. Nora Ephron sent a cease and desist letter to Lee, demanding that she stop impersonating her on the phone. When summoned for jury duty later in life, Lee replied: “I am a convicted felon and thereby ineligible to serve. Who said crime doesn’t pay?” Jack Hock passed away on 10/19/94, having been lovingly looked after by members of the Gay Men’s Health Crisis Center. The New York Times called Lee Israel’s book: CAN YOU EVER FORGIVE ME? : MEMOIRS OF A LITERARY FORGER a “sordid and pretty damned fabulous book.”Melissa McCarthy and Brandon Scott Jones in Can You Ever Forgive Me? (2018)Melissa McCarthy and Richard E Grant are both superb in their roles. McCarthy makes you believe the character was written just for her and Grant plays an excellent British eccentric, again a role that you almost feel no one else could have played. One of the best films of the year.

REVIEW: THE LEGO MOVIE 2: THE SECOND PART

Starring

Chris Pratt (Guardians of The Galaxy)
Elizabeth Banks (Power Rangers)
Will Arnett (Blades of Glory
Tiffany Haddish (Night School)
Stephanie Beatriz (In The Heights)
Charlie Day (Pacific Rim)
Alison Brie (The Post)
Nick Offerman (Good Omens)
Brooklynn Prince (The Angry Birds Movie 2)
Maya Rudolph (Happytime Murders)
Will Ferrell (Anchorman)
Richard Ayoade (The Watch)
Channing Tatum (G.I.Joe)
Jonah Hill (Cyrus)
Cobie Smulders (How I Met Your Mother)
Jason Momoa (Game of Thrones)
Margot Rubin (Margot & Marie)
Ike Barinholtz (Suicide Squad)
Ralph Fiennes (Harry Potter)
Will Forte (Booksmart)
Bruce Willis (Glass)
Ben Schwartz (Sonic The Hedgehog)

Elizabeth Banks and Chris Pratt in The Lego Movie 2: The Second Part (2019)Following the destruction of the Kragle, Finn’s sister Bianca has been invited to share their father’s LEGO collection; in the LEGO universe, this is represented by the arrival of Duplo aliens. Emmet builds the aliens a heart as a token of friendship, but when one eats it and playfully demands more, Lucy interprets this as an attack and retaliates. The Duplo creatures cry and invade, making a mess of Bricksburg. President Business unhelpfully tells everyone to “get along” before leaving to go golfing, but Emmet tells Lucy that “Everything can still be awesome”.Will Ferrell, Will Arnett, Elizabeth Banks, Charlie Day, Nick Offerman, Chris Pratt, and Alison Brie in The Lego Movie 2: The Second Part (2019)Five years later, Bianca has taken some of Finn’s LEGO creations and other toys in their basement to play with. In the LEGO universe, the Duplo army’s invasions have turned Bricksburg into the post-apocalyptic wasteland Apocalypseburg, hardening its citizens. Emmet remains upbeat and wants to move into a dream home with Lucy, but he is troubled by visions of an impending cataclysm dubbed “Armamageddon”.Elizabeth Banks and Chris Pratt in The Lego Movie 2: The Second Part (2019)A mini-doll named General Mayhem arrives and proclaims that Queen Watevra Wa’Nabi of the Systar System (Bianca’s bedroom) wants to marry Apocalypseburg’s leader. Mayhem’s forces arrests Batman, Lucy, Benny, MetalBeard, and Unikitty to the Systar System, where Batman eventually agrees to marry Wa’Nabi, while the others are placed in environments designed to tempt them, which only Lucy resists.In pursuit, Emmet converts his house into a spaceship and travels through “the Stairgate” – out of the basement – and is saved from an asteroid field by rugged adventurer Rex Dangervest. Emmet begins to mimic Rex, hoping to impress Lucy. Lucy and her friends are taken to a spa; seeing her friends enjoy the catchy pop music, Lucy thinks they are being brainwashed and escapes to find Emmet. Rex and Emmet evade Wa’Nabi’s forces and find Lucy. Emmet devises a rescue plan: Lucy will switch off the music, and Emmet will destroy the reception cake, encased in a temple, to stop the wedding.As Lucy fights Mayhem, she learns the Systar System never meant to antagonize Apocalypseburg, but merely failed to communicate their desire to coexist in peace – in the real world, Bianca simply wants Finn to play with her. She also discovers that Queen Watevra Wa’Nabi’s original form was the heart Emmet gave the aliens. Realizing Rex has sinister motives, Lucy tries to stop Emmet but, manipulated by Rex, he destroys the cake’s temple.In the real world, Emmet’s destruction is carried out by Finn angrily destroying Bianca’s LEGO creations. Emmet realizes his mistake but is seized by Rex, knocking Lucy onto a shelf. Now in the real world, she watches the siblings bicker. Aboard his ship, Rex reveals that he is an embittered version of Emmet from the future; abandoned for years underneath the dryer after crashing in the asteroid field, he became Rex – “Radical Emmet Xtreme” – and built a remote time machine to save Emmet. As revenge for being neglected while the other toys were played with, Rex has tricked his past self into bringing about Armamageddon.When Emmet asks Rex what Armamageddon really is, he gets his answer when Rex explains what is happening in the real world right now; Bianca and Finn’s mother halts their bickering and asks them to put away their LEGO sets, representing Armamageddon (as in “Our momma gets in”, as Lucy discovers). Everything in the Lego Universe begins to crumble and fall into the dark hole of the Bin of Storage, represented by Finn and Bianca taking their creations apart and putting them in bins. Bianca puts Lucy in storage last, and it all brings an apparent end to the LEGO universe that Lucy calls into question. In the real world, Finn hears Lucy and the others singing “Everything’s Not Awesome” as Rex knocks Emmet under the dryer. Lucy rallies the others into escaping from the storage bin in various spacecraft and returning to the LEGO universe to save Emmet and stop Rex. Evading Rex’s raptor Rexwing fighter squadron, Emmet and Lucy overpower Rex and sabotage his time machine. Rex redeems himself as he and his timeline fade from existence, and Emmet and Lucy reconcile.Wa’Nabi and Batman wed, as Finn and Bianca agree to play together again. Their mother returns their LEGO sets and Finn repairs Bianca’s creations, reversing Armamageddon. The LEGO universe is transformed into a mishmash of the restored Bricksburg and the Systar System: the peaceful “Syspocalypstar”. President Business returns from golfing but is immediately ejected from the LEGO universe by fireworks due to Benny accidentally setting fire on his hair. Emmet’s dream house is rebuilt, with an original album of “Everything Is Awesome” on his couch revealing that Lucy co-created the song, much to Emmet’s surprise.Overall, The Lego Movie 2 ended up being better than I was expecting it to be. It’s always going to be hard to top the original and yeah it doesn’t feel as fresh and they do reuse some ideas, themes, and jokes in it, but as an Animated sequel I think it delivers on giving us a movie in the same ball park that works both for kids and adults.

 

REVIEW: MARY QUEEN OF SCOTS

Starring

Saoirse Ronan (The Lovely Bnes)
Margot Robbie (Suicide Squad)
Guy Pearce (Prometheus)
David Tennant (Jessica Jones)
Jack Lowden (’71)
Joe Alwyn (The Favourite)
Gemma Chan (Captain Marvel)
Martin Compston (The Aftermath)
Ismael Cruz Córdova (Exposed)
Brendan Coyle (Me Before Before You)
Ian Hart (God’s Own Country)
Adrian Lester (Doomsday)

Saoirse Ronan in Mary Queen of Scots (2018)In 1561, nineteen-year-old Mary, Catholic Queen of Scotland, returns to her home country from France following the death of her husband, Francis II of France, to take up her throne, where she is received by her half brother, the Earl of Moray. In neighbouring England, her cousin, twenty-eight-year-old Elizabeth is Protestant Queen of England — unmarried, childless, and threatened by Mary’s potential claim to her throne. Mary soon clashes with the cleric John Knox and dismisses him from her court. Knox is a protestant and leader of the Scottish Reformation and perceives Mary to be a danger to the kingdom’s Protestant supremacy.Margot Robbie, Grace Molony, and Georgia Burnell in Mary Queen of Scots (2018)In an attempt to weaken her cousin’s threat to her sovereignty, Elizabeth arranges for Mary, whom the English Catholics recognize as their rightful Queen, to be married to an Englishman. She chooses Robert Dudley, whom she secretly loves, to propose to Mary. Both are unwilling to be married to each other, but the news of Elizabeth’s smallpox convinces Mary to take the offer provided that Mary is named Elizabeth’s heir apparent. Reluctant to let go of Dudley, Elizabeth secretly sends Lord Darnley to Scotland under the pretence of living under their religious freedom. Despite initially sensing an ulterior motive on Darnley’s part, Mary gradually grows fond of Darnley and eventually accepts his marriage proposal.Saoirse Ronan, Jack Lowden, and James McArdle in Mary Queen of Scots (2018)Mary’s impending marriage to Darnley causes a constitutional crisis within both realms: In England, Elizabeth is advised by her court to oppose the marriage for fear that Darnley, an English noble, will elevate Mary’s claim to the Crown. In Scotland, Mary’s council is suspicious of Darnley as they fear an English takeover. Both kingdoms demand his return to England, but Mary refuses, thus enraging Moray to furiously leave her court and mount a rebellion against her. Darnley marries Mary, only for her to discover him in bed with her friend and private secretary, David Rizzio, the following morning. Faced with insurgency and infidelity, Mary decides to quash the rebel forces but spares both Rizzio and Moray. She demands Darnley give her a child. When a child is conceived, Mary declares that the child is the “heir to Scotland and England” — which deeply offends the English.Saoirse Ronan in Mary Queen of Scots (2018)Moray colludes with Darnley’s father Matthew Stewart, 4th Earl of Lennox, to undermine Mary, spreading rumours about Mary’s adultery and that her child was illegitimately fathered by Rizzio. Hearing the rumours, John Knox vehemently preaches to his parish that Mary is an adulteress. Fearing the accusations against Mary and the possible discovery of his homosexuality, Darnley is coerced by the under-miners to join them in murdering Rizzio and reluctantly delivers the final blow. Mary discovers the plot and agrees to pardon the men involved provided that she is presented with the evidence that Darnley had taken part. She ultimately forgives Moray and asks Elizabeth to be her child’s godmother. Together, they agree that the child is heir presumptive, much to the chagrin of the English court. Mary banishes Darnley but refuses to divorce him despite the appeals of her council, which then approaches her adviser and protector, the Earl of Bothwell, to have him killed. In the ensuing melee after Darnley’s death, Mary is forced to flee and leave her child behind. The following morning, Bothwell advises that her council have decided that she marry a Scotsman immediately, which she hesitantly agrees to. This induces Knox to preach to the Scots that Mary is a “harlot” who had her husband killed, leading Moray and the rest of her court to demand her abdication. Despite furiously objecting to it, Mary eventually abdicates her throne and flees to England.Margot Robbie in Mary Queen of Scots (2018)Learning of Mary’s arrival in England, Elizabeth arranges for a clandestine meeting with her. Mary asks for Elizabeth’s help to take back her throne. Elizabeth is reluctant to go to war on behalf of a Catholic, but instead promises a safe exile in England as long as Mary does not aid her enemies. Mary indignantly responds that if she does, it will only be because Elizabeth forced her to do so, and threatens that should Elizabeth murder her, she should remember that she “murdered her own sister and queen”. Elizabeth orders that Mary is placed under house arrest in England and eventually receives compelling evidence that Mary had conspired with her enemies to have her assassinated. Pressured, and with no other choice, Elizabeth ultimately orders Mary’s execution. As Mary is walked to the scaffold, a remorseful Elizabeth cries for Mary, who reveals a bright red dress, implying herself a martyr. In her final thoughts, Mary wishes her son James well and hopes for peace upon his reign.Saoirse Ronan in Mary Queen of Scots (2018)The post-script reveals that upon Elizabeth’s death in 1603, James became the first monarch to rule both Scotland and England.While the story of Mary and Elizabeth has been made before; I was fascinated by this story because of the leads. Saorsie Ronan and Margot Robbie are just terrific in the roles. The story moved along intercutting between the two queens. Ms. Ronan has the bigger role as Mary and is every inch the queen. Ms. Robbie as Elizabeth is very good, and becomes a hideous caricature of that queen as she ages. The machinations of the queens’ courts and political intrigue that lead to Mary’s end are fascinating. The costumes, makeup, cinematography and direction are all first rate.

REVIEW: THE FOUNTAIN

Starring

Hugh Jackson (The Wolverine)
Rachel Weisz (The Favourite)
Ellen Burstyn (The Exorcist)
Mark Margolis (Breaking Bad)
Stephen McHattie (300)
Fernando Hernandez (Apocalypto)
Cliff Curtis (Sunshine)
Sean Patrick Thomas (Save The Last Dance)
Donny Murphy (Spider-Man 2)
Ethan Suplee (My Name Is Earl)

Hugh Jackman in The Fountain (2006)Conquistador Tomás Verde in New Spain fights a band of Mayans to gain entry into a pyramid, where he is attacked by a Mayan priest. The story intercuts to a similar looking man, tending a tall tree in a glass dome biosphere travelling through space, annoyed by a woman called Izzi. Finally, a third iteration, present-day doctor Tom Creo, is losing his wife Izzi to a brain tumor. Tom is working on a cure using samples from a tree found through exploration in Guatemala, which are being tested for medicinal use for degenerative brain diseases in his lab. Izzi has come to terms with her mortality, but Tom refuses to accept it, focused on his quest to find a cure for her.Rachel Weisz and Hugh Jackman in The Fountain (2006)She writes a story called “The Fountain” about Queen Isabella losing her kingdom to the Inquisition and a commission given by her to Tomás Verde to search for the Tree of Life in the Central American forest in Mayan territory. As she does not expect to finish her book, Izzi asks Tom to finish it for her. As they look up at the golden nebula of Xibalba, she imagines, as the Mayans did, that their souls will meet there after death and when the star goes supernova. She dies shortly thereafter and Tom dedicates himself to curing not only her disease but death itself after seeing experimental success in reversing aging. His colleagues fear that this drive has made him reckless, but they support him in his scientific work and emotionally at Izzi’s funeral. Tom plants a sweetgum seed at Izzi’s grave in the manner of a story she told him relating how a Mayan guide’s dead father lived on in a tree nourished by the organic nutrients of the buried body.Hugh Jackman in The Fountain (2006)In the Mayan jungle, Tomás finds that most of his fellow knights are exhausted and refuse to continue searching for the Tree of Life. He takes the few who remain loyal with him to a pyramid, carrying a ceremonial dagger. Once he arrives at the pyramid, the first scene repeats and Tomás engages in combat with the Mayan priest. The space traveller (whether this character is a version of Tom, an element of Izzy’s story, or Tom himself in the future is unclear) spends much of his time performing physical or mental exercises, including a form of meditation allowing him to perceive and interact with the past. In that past, Tomás is stabbed in the stomach but, just as the priest is about to kill him, he appears before the figurehead. The priest now believes Tomás is the “First Father” who birthed all life.the-fountain-hugh-jackman-2Tomás kills the priest as a sacrifice and proceeds to a pool with a large tree, convinced this is the Tree of Life. Tomás applies some of its sap to his torso and is cured of his stab wound. He drinks the sap flowing from the bark. But in a reenactment of the Mayan creation myth recounted earlier, his body is turned into flowers and grass that burst forth from it and he literally gives rise to new life, killing himself in the process. In space, the tree finally dies just before the spaceship arrives at its destination, much to the horror of the version of Tom tending it. A final vision of Izzi appears, comforting him in the face of his acceptance of death. The star goes supernova, engulfing the ship and everything within. The traveler’s body, engulfed by the dying star inside the nebula, is absorbed by the tree, causing it to flourish back to life. Izzi’s apparition picks a fruit from the new tree of life and hands it to Tom, who plants it in Izzi’s grave.MV5BMjI4Mzk1NjMyMV5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTcwOTUwNTE5NQ@@._V1_SX1500_CR0,0,1500,999_AL_All in all, I really liked this movie. It brought plenty of drama which makes you care for the characters and their fate, thus keeping you eager to find out how it ends. It’s unique idea manages to be at the same time it’s most important plus but also a bit of a let-down, in terms of connection. I had a very good time with it so I will definitely recommend it to anyone. It brings something new, a fresh idea, and this alone deserves recognition, not to mention the feelings involved throughout.