25 DAYS OF CHRISTMAS REVIEW: THE FLASH – RUNNING TO STAND STILL

Image result for THE FLASH TV LOGO
RUNNING TO STAND STILL
MAIN CAST
Grant Gustin (Glee)
Candice Patton (Heroes)
Danielle Panabaker (The Crazies)
Carlos Valdes (Vixen)
Tom Cavanagh (Scrubs)
Jesse L. Martin (Law & Order)
Keiynan Lonsdale (Insurgent)
GUEST CAST
Mark Hamill (Star Wars)
Wentworth Miller (Prison Break)
Teddy Sears (American Horror Story)
Shantel VanSanten (Beauty and The BVeast 2012)
Patrick Sabongui (Stargate: Atlantis)
Violett Beane (The Leftovers)
Liam McIntyre (Spartacus)
Tony Todd (Candyman)
It seems we can always rely on The Flash to deliver a great mid-season finale that’s not just a brilliant instalment of the show, but also an unashamed Christmas episode with presents, Turkey and festive soul-searching for our viewing pleasure. I’d even be tempted to say that this, Running To Stand Still, was one of the strongest episodes the show has delivered so far this season, what with the effortless mix of great villains, attention given to the relationships between characters and some nice forward momentum for the Zoom story thread. We begin with Zoom running Wells down before wishing him a particularly threatening ‘Merry Christmas’, setting the tone for the rest of the episode before we flit back to our main gang. It wasn’t much of a secret that Mark Hamill would be returning as the Trickster, but pairing him up with the Weather Wizard was a stroke of genius. The Trickster is threatening enough in his madness but, combined with the guy who actually managed to win last year makes it more than just the run-of-the-mill meta-threat. It also makes for some terrific punning, excused just this one time entirely because it’s the season and all that. Captain Cold isn’t even around for most of it, making a feeble attempt to help Barry out by filling him in on his cohort’s dastardly plans before running for the hills. This is obviously all in service of his role on Legends, which is dangerously close now to actually being on our tellys now.
Because this is a mid-season finale, much of the episode is dedicated to parental angst. Chiefly, Iris finally tells Barry about the existence of Wally West in what was actually a very sweet scene between the two, and they later decide it’s probably best to present a united front to Joe. I worried when we heard about another West sibling that the show would muddle the relationship between Barry and the family, but this episode did a lot to allay those fears. Joe gives Barry his own father’s watch even after he finds out about Wally, for instance, and it highlights the nice place that part of the show is in now that the Barry/Iris romance is done (or at least on pause). But Joe’s understandably upset to discover that he has a son he never knew about, and we’ll have to wait until January to find out how that particular family reunion goes. We’re fairly sure that he’s going to become some kind of speedster, entirely because of his name, but it’ll just be interesting on its own to see how he slots into the show’s existing dynamic. It’ll also presumably give Iris something to do at last.
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My highlight of the episode, though, was the fleshing out of Patty’s character, giving her layers beyond the cute Felicity-esque girlfriend for Barry she’s been so far. We already knew that her father had been killed by a metahuman, but here we discovered that metahuman was in fact the Weather Wizard. It’s slightly frustrating when there are two adjacent relationships going on – that between Barry and Patty and between The Flash and Patty, because while we know what’s going on, Patty has no clue that she’s opened up quite that far with her boyfriend yet. Her lack of Flash knowledge hasn’t been actively annoying yet, but it’s getting there. I’d like her to become a bigger part of the show and, to do that, she needs all the facts. We’re left on a cliffhanger that’s simultaneously very similar yet very different from last season’s – Wells is going to help Zoom take down Barry in exchange for his daughter. He doesn’t want to do it because, unlike Thawne, he’s fundamentally a good person, but it’s still his love for his child that drives him. I’ve been so impressed by how The Flash has slotted Wells back into things, all coming to a head in that scene between Barry and an unwitting Harry. It’s the equivalent of his through-glass talks with Henry while he’s off fishing , but it was done so beautifully. Barry has been struggling with what happened last season all year, and maybe this is his way of finally moving on.
All in all, the first half of season two has proven that the show is more than capable of measuring up to its first, with a inordinate amount of intricate pieces in place for an even better string of episodes once we come back.

HALLOWEEN OF HORROR REVIEW: TRUTH OR DARE

CAST

Lucy Hale (Pretty Little Liars)
Tyler Posey (Teen Wolf)
Violett Beane (The Flash)
Hayden Szeto (The Good Place)
Landon Liboiron (Hemlock Grove)
Nolan Gerard Funk (Arrow)
Sophia Taylor Ali (Mono)
Sam Lerner (The Goldbergs)
Aurora Perrineau (Passengers)
Tom Choi (Hall Pass)
Andrew Howard (The Outpost)

Tyler Posey, Nolan Gerard Funk, Sam Lerner, Lucy Hale, Sophia Ali, and Violett Beane in Truth or Dare (2018)Olivia Barron, her best friend Markie Cameron, Markie’s boyfriend Lucas Moreno, along with Penelope Amari and her boyfriend Tyson Curran, and Brad Chang go on a trip to Rosarito, Mexico. In Mexico, Olivia runs into fellow student Ronnie who proceeds to harass her until a man intervenes on her behalf. The man introduces himself as Carter and eventually convinces her and her friends to join him for drinks at the ruins of a mission. There, Carter initiates a game of Truth or Dare with Olivia and her friends, plus Ronnie, who followed the group. Eventually, the game ends when Carter reveals that he deceived Olivia as a means of tricking her and her friends to the mission to offer them in his place in the supernatural game of Truth or Dare. As Carter leaves, he explains to Olivia that the game will follow them and they must not refuse it.Tyler Posey and Violett Beane in Truth or Dare (2018)At a local college bar, sometime after everyone returned from Mexico, Ronnie dies when he fails to complete a dare. Olivia, having become convinced that Carter was telling the truth, gathers and attempts to convince her friends that the game is real. The game, playing in accordance to the order the group played in Mexico, turns to Markie, having already appeared to Olivia and Lucas, and she is forced to break Olivia’s hand. At the hospital, Brad is then forced by the game into revealing to his father, Officer Han Chang, his homosexuality.Nolan Gerard Funk, Lucy Hale, Sophia Ali, and Hayden Szeto in Truth or Dare (2018)The next day, the skeptical Tyson lies when forced to tell a truth and, as a result, dies. A drunken Penelope is next forced by the game to drink and finish a full bottle of vodka whilst walking along the edge of the roof of a house. She eventually falls from the roof after finishing the bottle, but is saved by Brad, Markie, and Olivia. The group manage to come into contact with a woman named Giselle, who is also a participant in a separate incarnation of the game, and the group go to meet her.Tyler Posey, Lucy Hale, Sophia Ali, Aurora Perrineau, Hayden Szeto, and Violett Beane in Truth or Dare (2018)Giselle reveals that she and her friends played the game and her friend Sam, the only other survivor of her incarnation of the game, was responsible for the game becoming reality in the first place, having wrecked the ruins of the mission. Giselle reveals that a truth can only be chosen twice before the next player is forced to chose dare. Giselle draws a handgun on Olivia and shoots, confessing that she was dared to kill her. However, Penelope jumps in front of Olivia and is shot and killed. Failing to kill Olivia, Giselle shoots herself in the head. Later, following Olivia, Lucas, and Markie’s turns in the game, Brad is dared to withdraw his father’s gun and make him beg for his life. However, in the act, Brad is shot and killed by an approaching officer. At the precinct, Olivia learns that Carter is Sam.Tyler Posey, Lucy Hale, and Violett Beane in Truth or Dare (2018)Olivia and Lucas drive to Tijuana and meet with a mute woman and former nun who operated out of the church in which they originally played the game. The woman informs them that they are dealing with a demon she first summoned, who possessed the game of Truth or Dare and can only be stopped if the last person who evoked it sacrifices their tongue into an urn and seals it with wax after an incantation is made in the church.Tyler Posey, Lucy Hale, and Violett Beane in Truth or Dare (2018)Olivia, Markie, and Lucas find Sam and force him at gunpoint back to the ruins of the church in Mexico. There, Sam begins the ritual and is about to sever his tongue when it becomes Lucas’ turn to play the game. Lucas is dared to kill either Olivia or Markie, which he refuses. Possessed by the demon controlling the game, Lucas is forced to kill Sam, before the latter can complete the ritual to end the game. He then proceeds to slit his throat and die.Lucy Hale in Truth or Dare (2018)Olivia forces the demon to reveal to her whether or not there was a definitive way to end the game with Markie and herself alive. The demon reveals that now that Sam is dead, there is not – but they can draw more people into the game and prolong their turn in it. Olivia hastily records and uploads a video to YouTube, warning of the game and its rules, before challenging the viewer of the video to Truth or Dare, initiating them, effectively involving millions of new Truth or Dare players therefore postponing her and Markie’s involvement in the game for the rest of their lives thus saving them.Tyler Posey, Lucy Hale, Hayden Szeto, and Violett Beane in Truth or Dare (2018)Wow the haters all came out for this one. There was nothing wrong with this film. The directing, writing/screenplay, acting, cinematography, score and vfx where all on point! I really enjoyed this one and it was much better than most of the films out lately in this genre. Watch it, you will be happy you did.

REVIEW: GOD FRIENDED ME – SEASON 1

God Friended Me (2018)

Starring

Brandon Micheal Hall (Monster Party)
Violett Beane (The Flash)
Suraj Sharma (Homeland)
Javicia Leslie (Killer Coach)
Joe Morton (Terminator 2)

Brandon Micheal Hall in God Friended Me (2018)

RECURRING / NOTABLE GUEST CAST

Parminder Nagra (Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.)
Christopher Redman (Reverie)
Rachel Bay Jones (Ben Is Back)
Shazi Raja (Salvation)
Dawn-Lyen Gardner (Luke Cage)
Ajay Naidu (Bad Santa)
Flor De Liz Perez (Madam Secretary)
Brent Sexton (Bosch)
Will Rogers (The Bay)
Kyle Harris (Stitchers)
Ben Cole (Sense8)
Erica Gimpel (Fame)
Francesca Ling (The Good Neighbor)
Navid Negahban (Legion)
Malik Yoba (Designated Survivor)
Michael Vartan (Alias)
Chelsea Spack (Gotham)
Jeremie Harris (The Get Down)
Camille Chen (Game Night)
Anabelle Acosta (Quantico)
James Martinez (Run All Night)
Gaius Charles (Takers)
Annaleigh Ashford (Unicorn Store)
Zach Roerig (The Vampire DIaries)
Adam Goldberg (Taken TV)
Al Sapienza (The Sopranos)
Stella Maeve (The Magicians)
René Ifrah (Nurse Jackie)
Nneka Okafor (Behind The Scenes)
Michel Gill (House of Cards)
Derek Luke (13 Reasons Why)
Jessica Lu (Reverie)

Violett Beane and Brandon Micheal Hall in God Friended Me (2018)At first blush, “God Friended Me” is an easy target for mockery. Its title promises something wacky and miraculous, with a bonus social- media tie-in for relevance. In actuality, the new CBS drama is almost too earnest to ridicule, wrapping its absurd premise with the kind of moralistic sincerity that has fueled broadcast network dramas for decades. It’s “Touched by an Angel” re-imagined for the millennial generation.Suraj Sharma, Violett Beane, and Brandon Micheal Hall in God Friended Me (2018)When a mysterious “God” Facebook account friends skeptical atheist Miles (Brandon Micheal Hall) out of nowhere, he’s shaken to find that it seems to anticipate the future by encouraging him to help people who need it, whether they know it or not. Complicating matters is the fact that Miles is also trying to sell a podcast about atheism in which he’d challenge people of faith on their views. This was complex enough before, especially since Miles’ father (Joe Morton) is a reverend who can’t understand his son’s insistence on preaching a lack of gospel. But now, with this seemingly all-knowing Facebook account watching and trying to dictate his every move, Miles finds himself more confused than ever. Violett Beane in God Friended Me (2018)In the attempt to flesh out Miles and his twenty-something world, creators Steven Lilien and Bryan Wynbrandt throw in as many millennial buzzwords as they can. Miles’s co-worker and best friend Rakesh (Suraj Sharma) complains about dating apps, insisting that “no one uses Tinder anymore” with a knowing eye roll on a show that nevertheless insists twenty-somethings are still avid users of Facebook. Miles is trying to sell his podcast to SiriusXM under the moniker “The Millennial Prophet.” And by the time the God account points him in the direction of Cara (Violett Beane), a writer who hasn’t turned in one of her signature viral think pieces for six weeks but somehow maintains a corner office, the show has itself a whole grab bag of millennial clichés that never add up to anything especially believable.Violett Beane and Brandon Micheal Hall in God Friended Me (2018)It’s telling that even on a series featuring a possibly omniscient being nudging people to do good through the insidious act of suggesting friends on Facebook, the most confusing aspect of “God Friended Me” is the question of who, exactly, it’s for. God Friended Me is able to  convince viewers to get past its premise and develop the wholehearted drama fueling it, which helps the series find its way. with a second season ordered it will interesting where the show will go.