REVIEW: THE TICK (2017) – SEASON 1 – PART 1

MAIN CAST

Peter Serafinowicz (spy)
Griffin Newman (Draft day0
Valorie Curry (Blair Witch)
Brendan Hines (Lie To Me)
Jackie Earle Haley (Watchmen)
Yara Martinez (Jane The Virgin)

RECURRING NOTABLE GUEST CAST

Christian Navarro (13 Reasons Why)
Whoopi Goldberg (The Muppets)
François Chau (Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 2)
Bryan Greenberg (Prime)
Alan Tudyk (Firefly)
Scott Speiser (6 Ways To Die)

This new Tick series (following the famous ’90s animated series and the ill-fated first go at live-action on FOX back in 2001) takes a bit of a subtle left turn into soft Rated-R territory, allowing things to feel a little more grounded and grittier while also permitting the occasional F-bomb to fly free. Yes, it’s weird to think that the mostly-jovial world of The Tick could exist alongside actual carnage and bloodshed, plus profanity, but it works really well. As does the show’s parody of a Punisher-style murder hero named Overkill (Scott Speiser).After striking oil with the perfect tone for a Tick live-action series, this show also cunningly crafted its sweet and salty spine by casting Peter Serafinowicz as The Tick and Griffin Newman as Arthur – and then allowing the two of them to explore the actual mental maladies involved with this particular hero dynamic.The first episode introduces us to a very different take on Arthur. A traumatized Arthur who’s almost incapable of functioning as an adult without medication and the supervision of his sister Dot (Valorie Curry). Arthur is on a hero’s journey, obsessed with revealing the truth about a thought-to-be-dead supervillain named The Terror (Jackie Earle Haley), but he lacks the muscle and confidence to follow through. He’s all conspiracy theories and crime boards (and Reddit threads), but no real desire to bring about justice himself. From…wherever The Tick comes from. The second episode deftly toys with the idea of Tick possibly being some sort of mental manifestation of Arthur, like a Tyler Durden. Or even The Maxx, if you’d like to stick to comics and possible avatars of past trauma. Arthur has the intel and the personal vendetta while bullet-proof Tick has the ability to waltz in and lay waste to a villainous lair. Meanwhile, Tick isn’t quite sure of his own origins and keeps speechifying about doing good and answering the call of one’s true fate. It’s a pairing too serendipitous to ignore as both, right when they find each other, need the other.Serafinowicz’s Tick is pitch-perfect. Hallmarks, and expectations, set up by the animated series dictates that Tick be large, barrel chested, baritone, and brave. But important to the story too is the friendship that he and Arthur eventually cultivate. Arthur needs to be annoyed with everything at first, but you need Tick to be soft and supportive enough so that Arthur will eventually see him as a light in all the darkness. Tick, in his own right, needs to be rather unflappable in his pursuit of evil-doers, but he also can’t want to go after the villains without his trusted chum because Tick, aside from being his own particular style of doofy do-gooder, is meant to be therapeutic for poor Arthur. Despite taking place in the ream of super-powered heroes and villains, The Tick is a small series. The meager budget shows at times, but when VFX are used, they’re well-placed and important. The fact that the tone of the show is meant to ground everything and make the heightened feel a bit more real means that things tend to operate like they would in every day life. If you’re, say, a crime lord like Yara Martinez’s Ms. Lint or Michael Cerveris’ Ramses and you only have, maybe, a dozen paid thugs in your employ, you’d basically be without goon support if someone came and thrashed all of them. You don’t have an endless supply.This is a show where, as part of the world’s backstory, the aforementioned Terror actually succeeded in killing off America’s top hero team, the Flag Five. There are realistic consequences mixed in with the superhero silliness and that helps create a foundation with stakes. You understand why Dot is so afraid for Arthur when he embarks on his misadventures with Tick (complete with a impenetrable flying battle suit that imprints itself on Arthur – and yes, resembles a moth for reasons unknown). Their entire family had been ripped apart due to collateral damage from super-powered beings warring up above so you’re fully immersed the life or death aspects of the story. Nothing ever goes so dark that it all becomes Watchmen, but it does start to hit home like a more jagged version of The Incredibles. The Tick is a quick, delightful binge that perfectly captures the spirit of the 90s animated series while shading things a bit darker in order to present a more grounded world for a live-action setting.  Peter Serafinowicz’s Tick is also awesome as daft mysterious hero who appears to help a troubled man cross the finish line on a life’s journey to find justice.

 

 

 

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REVIEW: THE MUPPETS (2011)

CAST

Amy Adams (Batman V Superman)
Jason Segal (How I Met Your Mother)
Chris Cooper (The Bourne Identity)
Rashida Jones (I Love You, Man)
Steve Whitmore (The Dark Crystal)
Eric Jacobson (Sesame Street)
Dave Goetz (Inside Out)
Bill Barretta (When Families Grieve)
Matt Vogel (Alice Through The Looking Glass)
Alan Arkin (get Smart)
Bill Cobbs (Oz The Great and Powerful)
Zach Galifanakis (The Hangover)
Ken Jeong (Community)
Jim Parsons (The Big Bang theory)
Kristen Schaal (Toy Story 3)
Sarah Silverman (School of Rock)
Donald Glover (The Martian)
Emily Blunt (The Girl On The Train)
Whoopi Goldberg (Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles)
Selena Gomez (Spring Breakers)
Neil Patrick Harris (Gone Girl)
Judd Hirsch (Taxi)
John Krasinski (The Office)
Mickey Rooney (Making Waves)
Jack Black (Goosebumps)

Brothers Walter and Gary, residents of Smalltown, are fans of the Muppets, having watched The Muppet Show throughout their youth. Now adults, Gary plans a vacation to Los Angeles with his girlfriend, Mary, to celebrate their tenth anniversary, inviting Walter so he can tour the Muppet Studios. Mary feels Gary’s devotion to Walter is detracting from their relationship. In Los Angeles, the three visit the abandoned Muppet Studios. During the tour, Walter sneaks into Kermit the Frog’s office and discovers Statler and Waldorf selling the Muppet Theater to oil magnate Tex Richman and his henchmen Bobo the Bear and Uncle Deadly. After Statler and Waldorf leave, Walter overhears Richman reveal his plan to destroy the theater and drill for oil underneath. Walter explains to Gary and Mary that if the Muppets can raise $10 million by the time their original contract expires, they can repurchase the theatre.Agreeing to stop Richman, they find Kermit and inform him he must organize a telethon to raise the money, which appears difficult since the Muppets have gone their separate ways since the show ended its run. Convinced to try, Kermit sets off with the three to reunite the group. Kermit attempts to dissuade Fozzie Bear from continuing to perform in Reno, Nevada with the Moopets, a tribute group of uncouth Muppet impersonators. Meanwhile, Gonzo has become a plumbing magnate and, despite his initial objection, destroys his business and joins them. Animal is recovered from a celebrity anger-management clinic, before being instructed by his sponsor Jack Black to keep away from drums. The other primary Muppets rejoin through a montage. Later in Paris, the group finds Miss Piggy working as an editor for “plus-sized” fashion at Vogue Paris. Having failed to convince Miss Piggy to return, the group replaces her with Moopet counterpart Miss Poogy.The Muppets return to Los Angeles and pitch their telethon idea to several television networks, but are rejected. Following a show’s cancellation, CDE executive Veronica gives the Muppets a recently vacated two-hour slot in the network’s schedule, on the condition that they find a celebrity guest. The Muppets refurbish the theater, but their first rehearsal is unsuccessful and Kermit is unable to contact a celebrity guest. Miss Piggy returns, forces Poogy out, and informs Kermit that she refuses to work with him. Kermit inspires Walter to find his talent and perform in the telethon. Meanwhile, Mary goes sightseeing alone.Kermit entreats Richman to return their studio. Richman declines and reveals that the Muppets will also lose their trademark names, which he plans to entitle to the Moopets. Unsuccessfully, Kermit returns home and Miss Piggy enlists the remaining Muppets to kidnap Black as a celebrity guest. Meanwhile, after discovering that a devastated Mary has returned to Smalltown, Gary realizes that he must improve his relationship with Mary and follows her back home to reconcile, while Walter discovers he was intended to join the Muppets. After the Muppets rebuild the theater while dancing to “We Built This City”, the telethon begins and gradually attracts a large audience, with the Muppets raising donations with support from celebrity callers and Jack Black serving unwillingly as host. During the show, Richman cuts the theater’s power supply, but Gary and Mary return to Los Angeles and restore the power. Richman then attempts to destroy the theater’s television transmitter, but a regretful Uncle Deadly stops Richman. Kermit and Miss Piggy finally reconcile and the Muppets perform “Rainbow Connection” as their final act.However, the telethon runs short as the $10 million has yet to be collected. Having found his talent, Walter performs a whistling act, which is unanimously praised by the audience. Refusing to lose, Richman disables the telephone lines and evicts the Muppets from the theater, after the latter fall short of their monetary goal. Kermit gathers the group in the lobby and delivers a speech, suggesting that they will restart their career together as a family. Exiting the theater, the Muppets are greeted by a vast gathering of supporters on Hollywood Boulevard. With Gary’s encouragement, Walter greets the crowd and is accepted by the Muppets as their newest member. Gary proposes to Mary, Richman returns the theater and naming rights to the Muppets after suffering a head injury, and Kermit and Miss Piggy enjoy their private life.Clearly made with love for Jim Henson and his creations of fur and felt, The Muppets is one of the most delightful movies in recent years.

REVIEW: A LITTLE BIT OF HEAVEN

CAST

Kate Hudson (Gossip)
Gael García Bernal (The Motorcycle Diaries)
Kathy Bates (The Boss)
Lucy Punch (Bad Teacher)
Romany Malco (No Ordinary Family)
Rosemarie DeWitt (Las La Land)
Whoopi Goldberg (Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles)
Treat Williams (127 Hours)
Steven Weber (Izombie)
Peter Dinklage (Game of Thrones)
Alan Dale (Lost)
Jason Davis (The Accountant)

Marley Corbett (Kate Hudson) is a quickwitted, carefree ad executive living in New Orleans, who embraces her easy going attitude, shuns any major responsibilities, and gains support and strength from a close circle of friends. She also enjoys casual dating and refuses to fall in love. One day, after an appointment, she is told by Dr. Julian Goldstein (Gael García Bernal) that she has terminal cancer. He is deeply impressed by the way Marley accepts the news with humour and dignity. While under anesthetic, God (Whoopi Goldberg) appears to Marley in heaven and asks her to make three wishes. She chooses to fly, to win a million dollars (not tax free), and a third that is later revealed.

Marley tells her friends the news, including her parents who separated years earlier and don’t speak now. Her mother (Kathy Bates) is persistent and overbearing, and instantly begins to smother Marley by visiting too often and making her meals to keep her strength up. Marley’s father (Treat Williams) is the opposite; distant and reserved, and doesn’t seem bothered with reconnecting with Marley with the time she has left. While driving through town one morning, Marley and her friend Sarah (Lucy Punch) decide to take part in a radio call game where the 97th caller wins a prize. They get through and Marley is told she’s won flying lessons – her first wish granted. Her other friend Renee (Rosemarie DeWitt) is pregnant with her second child.

As the weeks go by, Marley’s health starts to deteriorate and she visits Julian more and more. One night, they see each other at a band night at their local bar and decide to spend the rest of the night by going on a date. They start to develop feelings for one another. Marley tells her boss about the cancer and he asks her about her life insurance plans, since their company has a policy that anybody who has a life-threatening illness can cash out, gaining a million dollars ($500,000 dollars after tax) instantly – her second wish.

After another date, Marley and Julian sleep together and begin a relationship. However, she soon starts to feel dismayed when she comes to the realisation that they won’t have a future together, and flees quickly one morning before he wakes. That afternoon, they argue in the park and Marley breaks it off. She becomes distant from and jealous of her friends who are all going through positive changes. After visiting heaven in her dreams for a second time, God makes her realise that she needs to cherish what she has while she’s still alive and, for the first time, Marley admits to being in love. Later that day, she visits Julian to rekindle their relationship, apologizes to the friends she has pushed away and even makes peace with her father.

At home over the following weeks, Marley is able to do nothing but lie in bed, and starts focusing on all of the things she is going to miss. She writes cards for special occasions she won’t be around for in the future and writes letters to her loved ones, giving them all to her mother for her to give out at the right times.

One morning, Marley and Sarah sit in the park. Marley confesses to Sarah that she is no longer afraid to die, even though Sarah is terrified at the prospect of having to live without her. Marley drifts off and Sarah is unable to wake her. Knowing it’s almost time, Marley is visited by everyone in the hospital who surround her bed and wait with her until the end. The exception is Renee, who is in labor with her son. Julian makes it in the nick of time to say goodbye and, in that final moment, Marley realizes her third wish was to fall in love. The film ends with Marley’s funeral, a colorful celebration of her life with all of her friends and family.A sad tale but a very moving well made and acted.

REVIEW: STAR TREK: NEMESIS

CAST

Patrick Stewart (X-Men)
Jonathan Frakes (Roswell)
Brent Spiner (Dude, Where’s My Car?)
LeVar Burton (Roots: The GIft)
Michael Dorn (Ted 2)
Gates McFadden (Crowned and Dangerous)
Marina Sirtis (The Grudge 3)
Tom Hardy (Mad Max:Fury Road)
Ron Perlman (Hellboy)
Shannon Cochrane (The Ring)
Dina Meyer (Birds of Prey)
Alan Dale (Lost)
Kate Mulgrew (Orange Is The New Black)
Wil Wheaton (Powers)
Majel Barrett (Earth: Final Conflict)
Whoopi Goldberg (Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles)

On Romulus members of the Romulan Imperial Senate debate whether to accept the terms of peace and alliance with the Reman rebel leader Shinzon. The Remans are a slave race of the Romulan Empire, used as miners and as cannon fodder. A faction of the military is in support of Shinzon, but the Praetor and senate are set against it. After rejecting the motion, the Praetor and remaining senators are disintegrated by a device left in the room by a military-aligned senator.

Meanwhile, the crew of the USS Enterprise-E prepare to bid farewell to first officer Commander William Riker and Counselor Deanna Troi, who are being married on Betazed. En route, they discover a positronic energy reading on a planet in the Kolaran system near the Romulan Neutral Zone. Captain Jean-Luc Picard, Lieutenant Commander Worf, and Lieutenant Commander Data land on Kolarus III and discover the remnants of an android resembling Data. When the android is reassembled it introduces itself as B-4. The crew deduce it to be a less-advanced, earlier version of Data.

Picard is contacted by Vice-Admiral Kathryn Janeway and orders the ship on a diplomatic mission to nearby Romulus. Janeway explains that the Romulan Empire has been taken over in a military coup by Shinzon, who says he wants peace with the Federation and to bring freedom to Remus. On arrival, they learn Shinzon is a clone of Picard, secretly created by Romulans to plant a high-ranking spy into the Federation, but the project was abandoned and Shinzon left on Remus as a child to die as a slave. After many years, Shinzon became a leader of the Remans, and constructed his heavily armed flagship, the Scimitar. Initially, diplomatic efforts go well, but the Enterprise crew discover that the Scimitar is producing low levels of thalaron radiation, which had been used to kill the Imperial Senate and is deadly to nearly all life forms. There are also unexpected attempts to communicate with the Enterprise computers, and Shinzon himself violates Troi’s mind through the telepathy of his Reman viceroy.

Dr. Crusher discovers that Shinzon is aging rapidly because of the process used to clone him, and the only possible means to stop the aging is a transfusion of Picard’s own blood. Shinzon kidnaps Picard from the Enterprise, as well as B-4, having planted the android on the nearby planet to lure Picard to Romulus. However, Data reveals he has swapped places with B-4, rescues Picard, and returns with Picard to the Enterprise. They have now seen enough of the Scimitar to know that Shinzon plans to use the warship to invade the Federation using its thalaron-radiation generator as a weapon, with the eradication of all life on Earth being his first priority.

The Enterprise races back to Federation space but is ambushed by the Scimitar in the Bassen Rift, a region that prevents any subspace communications. Two Romulan Warbirds come to the aid of the Enterprise, as they do not want to be complicit in Shinzon’s genocidal plans, but Shinzon destroys one and disables the other. Recognizing the need to stop the Scimitar at all costs, Picard orders the Enterprise to ram the other ship. The collision leaves both ships heavily damaged and destroys the Scimitar’s primary weapons. To assure their mutual destruction, Shinzon activates the thalaron weapon. Picard boards the Scimitar to face Shinzon alone, and eventually kills him by impaling him on a metal strut. Data jumps the distance between the two ships with a personal transporter to beam Picard back to the Enterprise, and then fires his phaser on the thalaron generator, which destroys the Scimitar, and Data, while saving the Enterprise. The crew mourn Data, and the surviving Romulan commander offers them her gratitude for saving the Empire.

The Enterprise returns to Earth for repairs. Picard bids farewell to newly promoted Captain Riker, who is off to command the USS Titan and begin a possible peace-negotiation mission with the Romulans. Picard meets with B-4, discovering that Data had copied the engrams of his neural net into B-4’s positronic matrix before he “died”. Though B-4 does not yet act as Data, Picard is assured that he will become like his friend in time.A great film seeing the end for one of the crew as the rest embark on their new positions. The action is great and riveting from beginning to end.

12 DAYS OF CHRISTMAS REVIEW: STAR TREK: GENERATIONS

CAST

Patrick Stewart (X-Men)
William Shatner (TJ Hooker)
Jonathan Frakes (Roswell)
Brent Spiner (Dude, Where’s My Car?)
LeVar Burton (Roots: The GIft)
Michael Dorn (Ted 2)
Gates McFadden (Crowned and Dangerous)
Marina Sirtis (The Grudge 3)
Alan Ruck (Speed)
Malcolm McDowell (Halloween)
Jacqueline Kim (Xena)
Barbara March (L.A. Law)
Gwynyth Walsh (Taken)
Patti Yasutake (Gung Ho)
Whoopi Goldberg (Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles)
James Doohan (Some Things Never Die)
Walter Koenig (Babylon 5)
Thomas Kopache (Stigmata)
Tim Russ (Samantha Who?)
Majel Barrett (Earth: Final Conflict)
Brian Thompson (The Terminator)
Thomas Dekker (Terminator: TSCC)

In the year 2293, retired Captain James T. Kirk, Montgomery Scott, and Pavel Chekov attend the maiden voyage of the Federation starship USS Enterprise-B, under the command of the unseasoned Capt. John Harriman. During the voyage, Enterprise is pressed into a rescue mission to save two El-Aurian ships from a strange energy ribbon. Enterprise is able to save some of the refugees before their ships are destroyed, but the starship becomes trapped in the ribbon. Kirk goes to deflector control to alter the deflector dish, allowing Enterprise to escape, but the trailing end of the ribbon rakes across Enterprise’s hull, exposing the section Kirk is in to space; he is presumed dead.

In 2371, the crew of the USS Enterprise-D celebrate the promotion of Worf to Lieutenant Commander. Captain Jean-Luc Picard receives a message that his brother and nephew were killed in a fire, meaning the storied Picard family line will end with him. Enterprise receives a distress call from an observatory in orbit of the star Amargosa, where they rescue the El-Aurian Dr. Tolian Soran. The android Data and engineer Geordi La Forge discover a compound called trilithium in a hidden room of the observatory. Soran appears, knocks La Forge unconscious, and launches a trilithium solar probe at Amargosa. The probe causes the star to implode, sending a shock wave toward the observatory. Soran and La Forge are transported away by a Klingon Bird of Prey belonging to the treacherous Duras sisters, who had stolen the trilithium for Soran in exchange for the designs for a trilithium weapon. Data is rescued just before the station is destroyed by the shock wave.

Guinan (Whoopi Goldberg), Enterprise’s bartender, tells Captain Jean-Luc Picard more about Soran; they were among the El-Aurians rescued by the Enterprise-B in 2293. Guinan explains that Soran is obsessed with reentering the “Nexus”, an extra-dimensional realm where time has no meaning and anyone can experience whatever they desire. Picard and Data determine that Soran, unable to fly a ship into the ribbon due to the uncertainty that the ship will survive long enough to ensure his success, is instead altering the path of the ribbon by destroying stars, and that he will attempt to re-enter the Nexus on Veridian III by destroying its sun—and, by extension, a heavily populated planet in the system.

Upon entering the Veridian system, Enterprise makes contact with the Duras Bird of Prey. Picard offers himself to the sisters in exchange for La Forge, but insists that he be transported to Soran’s location first. La Forge is returned to Enterprise, but he inadvertently reveals Enterprise’s shield frequency, allowing the Duras sisters to inflict crippling damage on Enterprise. Enterprise destroys the Bird of Prey, but has sustained irreversible damage to its warp core. Commander William Riker orders an evacuation to the forward saucer section of the ship which separates from the star drive. The shock wave from the star drive’s destruction sends the saucer crashing to the surface of Veridian III.

Picard fails to talk Soran out of his plan and is too late to stop him from launching his missile. The collapse of the Veridian star alters the course of the Nexus ribbon as predicted, and it sweeps Picard and Soran away while the shock wave from the star obliterates everything in the system. In the Nexus, Picard finds himself surrounded by the family he never had, including a wife and children, but realizes it is an illusion. He is confronted by an “echo” of Guinan. After being told that he may leave whenever he chooses and go wherever and whenever he wishes, Guinan sends him to meet Kirk, also safe in the Nexus. Though Kirk is at first reluctant to leave, Picard convinces Kirk to return to Picard’s present and stop Soran by assuring him that it will fulfill his desire to make a difference.

Leaving the Nexus, the two arrive on Veridian III minutes before Soran launches the missile. Kirk distracts Soran long enough for Picard to lock the missile in place, causing it to explode on the launchpad and kill Soran. Kirk is fatally injured by a fall during the encounter; as he dies, Picard assures him that he made a difference. Picard buries Kirk before a shuttle arrives to transport him to the wreckage of the Enterprise saucer. Three Federation starships enter orbit to retrieve Enterprise’s survivors.Well in my opinion this is one of the best one of all the next gen films, it offers alot for everyone, not just trek fans, as it has the old and the new in it, and everyone loved Kirk for one reason or another. Patrick Stewart has about the biggest emotional range he has ever had in this film. A great beginning for the Next Generation on the big screen.

REVIEW: STAR TREK: THE NEXT GENERATION – SEASON 1-7

Image result for star trek the next generation logo

MAIN CAST

Patrick Stewart (X-Men)
Joanthan Frakes (Roswell)
LeVar Burton (Roots: The Gift)
Denise Corsby (Dolly Dearest)
Michael Dorn (Ted 2)
Gates McFadden (Franklin & Bash)
Marina Sirtis (The Grudge 3)
Brent Spiner (Dude, Where’s My Car?)
Wil Wheaton (Powers)
Diana Muldaur (Born Free)

RECURRING / NOTABLE GUEST CAST

DeForest Kelley (Gunfight at the O.K. Corral)
John De Lancie (The Secret Circle)
Michael Bell (Tangled)
Colm Meaney (Intermission)
Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa (Elektra)
Brooke Bundy (A Nightmare on Elm Street 3 & 4)
Armin Shimerman (Buffy: The Vampire Slayer)
Tracey Walter (Batman)
Stanley Kamel (Domino)
Marc Alaimo (Total Recall)
Majel Barrett (Babylon 5)
Robert Knepper (Izombie)
Carel Struycken (The Addams Family)
Dick Miller (Gremlins)
Carolyn McCormick (Enemy Mine)
Katy Boyer (The Island)
Michael Pataki (Rocky IV)
Brenda Strong (Supergirl)
Vaughn Armstrong (Power Rangers Lightspeed Rescue)
Vincent Schiavelli (Batman Returns)
Judson Scott (Blade)
Merritt Butrick (Fright Night: Part 2)
Leon Rippy (Stargate)
Peter Mark Richman (Friday The 13th – Part 8)
Seymour Cassel (Rushmore)
Ray Walston (The Sting)
Whoppi Godlberg (Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles)
Chris Latta (G.I.Joe)
Earl Boen (The Terminator)
Billy Campbell (The Rocketeer)
Teri Hatcher (Lois & Clark)
William Morgan Sheppard (Transformers)
Brian Thompson (The Terminator)
Clyde Kusatsu (Doctor Strange 70s)
Paddi Edwards (Halloween III)
Sam Anderson (Lost)
Robert Duncan McNeill (Masters of The Universe)
Mitchell Ryan (Lethal Weapon)
Nikki Cox (Las Vegas)
Lycia Naff (Total Recall)
Robert Costanzo (Batman: TAS)
Robert O’Reilly (The Mask)
Glenn Morshower (Supergirl)
Scott Grimes (American Dad)
Ray Wise (Agent Carter)
Andreas Katsulas (Babylon 5)
Simon Templeton (James Bond Jr.)
James Cromwell (Species II)
Corbin Bernsen (The Tomorrow Man)
Christopher McDonald (Fanboys)
Tricia O’ Neil (Titanic)
Hallie Todd (Sabrina: TTW)
Tony Todd (The Flash)
Harry Groener (Buffy: The Vampire Slayer)
Dwight Schultz (The A-Team)
Saul Rubinek (Warehouse 13)
Mark Lenard (Planet of The Apes TV)
Ethan Phillips (Bad Santa)
Elizabeth Dennehy (Gattaca)
George Murodck (Battlestar Galactica)
Jeremy Kemp (Conan)
Sherman Howard (Superboy)
BethToussaint (Fortress 2)
April Grace (Lost)
Patti Yasutake (The Closer)
Alan Scarfe (Andromeda)
Bebe Neuwirth (Jumanji)
Rosalind Chao (Freaky Friday)
Jennifer Hetrick (L.A. Law)
Michelle Forbes (Powers)
David Ogden Stiers (Tweo Guys and a Girl)
Gwyneth walsh (Taken)
Paul Winfield (The Terminator)
Ashley Judd (Divergent)
Leonard Nimoy (Transformers: The Movie)
Malachi Thorne (Batman 60s)
Daniel Roebuck (Lost)
Erick Avari (Stargate)
Matt Frewer (Watchmen)
Ron Canada (Wedding Crashers)
Liz Vassey (Two and a Half Men)
Kelsey Grammer (Frasier)
Ed Lauter (The Number 23)
Tony Jay (Lois & Clark)
Famke Janssen (X-Men)
Shay Astar (3rd Rock From The Sun)
Thomas Kopache (Stigmata)
Susanna Thompson (Arrow)
Richard Riehle (Texas Chainsaw 3D)
Alexander Enberg (Junior)
Lanei Chapman (Rat Race)
James Doohan (Some Things Never Die)
Olivia D’Abo (Conan The Destroyer)
Ronny Cox (Robocop)
David Warner (Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II)
Stephanie Beacham (The Colbys)
Reg E. Cathey (Fantastic Four)
Scott MacDonald (Jack Frost)
Alexander Siddig (Game of Thrones)
Cristine Rose (How I Met Your Mother)
Richard Herd (V)
Tim Russ (Samantha Who?)
Patricia Tallman (Babylon 5)
Salome Jens (Superboy)
Andrew Prine (V)
Alan Oppenheimer (Transformers)
Eric Pierpoint (Alien Nation)
Richard Lynch (Puppet Master 3)
Robin Curtis (General Hospital)
Julie Caitlin Brown (Babylon 5)
Kirsten Dunst (Bring it On)
Lee Arenberg (Pirates of The Caribbean)
Fionnula Flanagan (Lost)
Mark Bramhall (Alias)
Terry O’Quinn (Lost)
Penny Johnson Jerald (Bones)
Brian Markinson (Arrow)

When the TNG series premiered in 1987, it wasn’t greeted well by many of the old-time Trek fans, including myself. It didn’t help matters that one of the earliest episodes, “The Naked Now” was a superficial retread of the classic “The Naked Time” from ’66. The new episode should have served as a way of spotlighting several of the new crew, but all it did was show them all in heat. I wasn’t too impressed. What did work was keeping the central theme of exploration (something lost in the offshoots, DS9 & Voyager). The new Enterprise was twice as large as the original, with about a thousand personnel aboard. Capt. Picard (Stewart) was a more cerebral, diplomatic version of the ultimate explorer we had known as Capt. Kirk. Again, Picard wasn’t too impressive in the first two awkward seasons, as some may mistake his caution for weakness. The Kirk-like first officer Riker (Frakes) was controlled by Picard, so the entire crew of Enterprise-D came across as a bit too civilized, too complacent for their own good. It’s interesting that this complacency was fractured by the most memorable episode of the first two years, “Q Who?” which introduced The Borg. All of a sudden, exploration was not a routine venture.

Other memorable episodes of the first 2 years: the double-length pilot, introducing Q; “Conspiracy”-an early invasion thriller; “Where No One Has Gone Before”-an ultimate attempt to define the exploring theme; “The Big Goodbye”-the first lengthy exploration of the new holodeck concept; “Datalore”-intro of Data’s evil twin; “Skin of Evil”-death of Tasha Yar; “11001001”-perhaps the best holodeck story; and “The Measure of a Man”-placing an android on trial. Except for “Q Who” the 2nd year was even more of a letdown from the first. Space started to percolate in the 3rd season. I liked “The Survivors”-introducing an entity resembling Q in a depressed mood, and “Deja Q” with both Q & Guinan squaring off, as well as other alien beings. A remaining drawback was the ‘techno-babble’ hindering many scripts, an aspect which made them less exciting than the stories of the original series. As Roddenberry himself believed, when characters spoke this way, it did not come across as naturalistic, except maybe when it was Data (Spiner), the android. The engineer La Forge (Burton), for example, was usually saddled with long, dull explanatory dialog for the audience.

In the 3rd year, truly innovative concepts such as the far-out parallel-universe adventure “Yesterday’s Enterprise” began to take hold, topped by the season-ender “The Best of Both Worlds,part 1” in which The Borg returned in their first try at assimilating Earth. After this and the 2nd part, the TNG show was off and running, at full warp speed. There are too many great episodes from the next 4 seasons to list here, but I tended to appreciate the wild, cosmic concept stories best: “Parallels”(s7); “Cause and Effect”(s5); “Timescape”(s6); “Tapestry”(s6); and the scary “Frame of Mind”, “Schisms” and “Genesis.” There’s also the mind-blowing “Inner Light”(s5), “Conundrum” and “Ship in a Bottle”(s6), “Second Chances.” The intense 2-parter “Chain of Command” was almost like a film, and the great return of Scotty in “Relics” was very entertaining, though it showed you can’t go home again. The show also continued to tackle uneasy social issues, as in “The Host”, “The Outcast”, “First Contact” and “The Drumhead” as well as political:”Darmok”, “Rightful Heir”, “Face of the Enemy” and “The Pegasus.” The series ended on a strong note, “All Good Things…” a double-length spectacular with nearly the budget of a feature film. But it wasn’t really the end. A few months later, an actual feature film was released “Star Trek Generations”(94). It’s rather ironic that the TNG films couldn’t match the innovation and creativity of the last 4 seasons of the series. “Star Trek Insurrection”(98) for example, is a lesser effort than any of the episodes mentioned above.

REVIEW: TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES (2014)

CAST

Megan Fox (New Girl)
Will Arnett (Blades of Glory)
William Fichtner (The Dark Knight)
Tohoru Masamune (Inception)
Whoopi Goldberg (The Muppets)
Minae Noji (BItch Slap)
Abby Elliott (How I Met Your Mother)
Taran Killam (Ted 2)
K. Todd Freeman (Buffy)
Derek Mears (Friday the 13th)
Johnny Knoxville (Men In Black 2)
Alan Ritchson (Smallville)
Noel Fisher (Agent COdy Banks)
Jeremy Howard (The Haunted Mansion)
Tony Shalhoub (Addams Family Values)
Danny Woodburn (Watchmen)
Malina Weissman (Supergirl)

Image result for teenage mutant ninja turtles 2014April O’Neil, a reporter for Channel 6 Eyewitness News in New York City, investigates a crime wave by a group of criminals called the Foot Clan. At a dock at night, she sees the Foot raiding cargo containers. After an unseen vigilante attacks the thieves, April notices a symbol left behind. April’s supervisor Bernadette Thompson (Whoopi Goldberg) and her coworkers are oblivious to her story. Later while covering a charity event thrown by Sacks Industries, April expresses gratitude to the company’s CEO Eric Sacks, who was her late father’s lab partner. Frustrated by the vigilante, the Foot Clan’s leader Shredder has the Foot Soldiers take hostages at a subway station in order to draw him out. April, at the scene, becomes a hostage herself. Four mysterious figures arrive, take out the Clan, and free the hostages. April follows them to a rooftop and is confronted by four anthropomorphic mutant turtles, causing her to pass out. When she regains consciousness, they advise her not to tell anyone of them. As they leave, April hears Raphael and Leonardo’s names.  April returns to her apartment and remembers “Project Renaissance”, her father’s science experiment, which involved four turtles named Leonardo, Donatello, Michelangelo, Raphael, and a mutated rat called Splinter. Unable to convince Bernadette of the Turtles’ existence, April is dismissed. Her coworker Vern Fenwick drives her to Sacks’ estate where she confides in him about her discovery. Sacks believes her and reveals that he and April’s father had been experimenting on a mutagen created to cure disease, which was thought lost in the fire that killed her dad.
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At Splinter’s behest, the Turtles bring April to their sewer lair. Splinter explains April had saved them all from the fire and freed them into the sewers. The mutagen caused the five of them to grow and develop humanoid attributes. Splinter took on the role of their father, using April’s father as an example. After finding a book on Ninjitsu in a storm drain, he proceeded to teach himself, then the Turtles, in the fighting style. When April reveals she told Sacks about her discovery of the Turtles, Splinter informs her that Sacks turned on her father and killed him.
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Then, Shredder and the Foot Soldiers attack the lair, defeating Splinter and incapacitating Raphael while the other Turtles are captured. April comes out of hiding and she and Raphael plan to save the others. At Sacks’ estate, he has the Turtles’ blood drained in order to create an antidote to a deadly virus that Sacks hopes to flood New York with, believing he will become rich from people seeking his cure. Raphael, April, and Vern storm the estate and free the other Turtles. The group then escapes the compound in pursuit of Sacks.
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On a radio tower in the city, Sacks and Shredder plant a device that will flood the city with the virus while Sacks is preparing to convert the mutagen to healing factor. April and Vern subdue Sacks in the lab, while the Turtles battling Shredder on the roof. During the fight, the tower’s support beams collapse. As the turtles try to keep it from falling and infecting the city, April confronts Shredder with the mutagen. In the struggle, the tower collapses and the Turtles pull April onto it with them, while Shredder falls to the street and is confronted by police. Believing they are about to die, the Turtles confess their secrets, while Raphael gives an impassioned speech of his love for his brothers before they land harmlessly on the street. They vanish before the humans find them and return to the sewers, where they give Splinter the mutagen and he begins to recover. Sometime later, April meets with Vern, who tries and fails to ask her on a date. The Turtles appear in a special modified “Turtle Van”, and Michelangelo accidentally blows up Vern’s new car with a rocket. As police respond to the explosion, the Turtles leave, but not before Mikey tries to serenade April with “Happy Together”, much to his brothers’ annoyance and April’s joy.
movie-teenage-mutant-ninja-turtles-thumb3Having been a fan of the Transformers franchise, when I heard Michael Bay was having a hand in dealing with the new film I thought it should be a pretty solid offering that would be fun for all.  I was pretty sold within the first few minutes. I liked the way that they poked fun at other hero franchises, loved the way that April O’Neal came across as the still sassy reporter and when added to the over villainy of William Fichtner really worked well for me. All round a film that whilst not an Oscar winner, was something that not only entertained me but also gave me a good laugh, definitely worth watching .