Archive for the Historical Category

‘The Mummy’: Trying way too hard

Posted in Action, comedy, drama, Fantasy, Historical, horror, Movies, Sci-Fi, suspense with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on August 15, 2017 by aliciamovie


Reviewed by Alicia Glass

Director: Alex Kurtzman
Studio: Universal Pictures
MPAA Rating: PG 13
Review Rating: 7.5 out of 10

Spoilers will unravel your bandages!

So way back in good old Egyptian times, we had a Princess. She was Ahmanet (Sofia Boutella), and she was meant to rule the land of Egypt after her father Pharoah was gone, right? Wrong! Despite all her training and destiny and junk, as soon as her father had a son, all bets are off and Princess Ahmanet goes from would-be Demigoddess of Egypt to vengeful demon-summoning killer witch. She makes a deal with the Egyptian equivalent of the Devil, in this particular movies’ case the Egyptian God Set is the chosen evil one, and does the whole offering up her life and soul bit in exchange for power to crush her enemies and lay waste to humanity. Like Egyptians do, yknow.

Obviously Pharoahs court takes issue with these plans, and a bunch of Priests manage to subdue Ahmanet and truck her mummified-alive body far away from Egypt, to be buried in a very thorough prison hopefully for all eternity. Now, some thousands of years later, former military guy turned treasure-hunting thief Nick Morton and his pal Chris Vail (Jake Johnson) are off in war-torn Iraq to track down rumors of a great relic hoard, and of course stumble across Ahmanet’s un-resting place.

Aided by Jenny Halsey (Annabelle Wallis), a proclaimed archaeologist whom Nick is already far too familiar with, the uncovered crypt is explored and of course everyone wants to take the recovered sarcophagus back to London for study. Elsewhere in London is a mass tomb of Knights Templars, who apparently had dealings with Egypt so long ago and were familiar with the legend of Ahmanet to the point where they separated her sacred dagger of Set from its summoning stone, to prevent her from unleashing evil on the world. Ahmanet’s already chosen her new Chosen One, the man whom she’ll sacrifice to get Set into the world, and as was inevitable, her choice has fallen on Nick. Some killer birds in a Hitchcockian style later, and the plane carrying the sarcophagus has fallen from the sky, only to have an unharmed Nick wake in the freaking morgue.

And hey, it just so happens that that Templar crypt where the gemstone of the Set dagger was hidden, is nearby-ish. At this point there’s been a fair amount of action sequences, what with falling out of the plane and the car ride through mummy-infested forests and all. Then we have a whole bunch of confrontation at the crypt itself, where I couldn’t help but question the plausibility that Mummy-Ahmanet could command the undead Knights to rise and serve her, but whatever – it looks awesome. And that’s what matters, right? This Universal rebooting their entire monster-verse movie seems to think so for much of it. But then, right in the middle of some nifty fighting scenes, Ahmanet actually gets taken and in walks Russell Crowe’s character, who turns out to be, wait for it, Dr. Henry Jekyll.

Yes, that Dr. Jekyll, as we see when he shoots up his treatment of preventing-Hyde juice, even while talking to Nick. His lab and holding facility, especially the specimen room (that tellingly shows, among other things, a Creature from the Black Lagoon arm and a vampire fanged skull in jars) is among some of the best storyline scenes in the movie. So the good-bad Doc has trussed Ahmanet up so he can study her, which will of course mean eventual dissection, as Jekyll tries to rationally explain to Nick, who doesn’t take too kindly to being used as a hunting dog. That the Demon Mummy Queen would get out of this setup and wreak havoc was inevitable, but it made most of Jekyll’s supposedly grand defenses look weak and ill-prepared for an actual capture.

Eventually, after much running and fighting and swimming (yes, I know, just go with it), it comes down to Nick having to make a very heavy choice. Will he finally grow a soul, and perhaps a pair too, and do the right thing at the cost of himself? Will he join the evil Mummy Goddess and rule the world? The answer may surprise you, it made me raise an eyebrow.

Yes, the visuals and the Mummy CGI and the fight scenes are all spectacular, you bet. The story itself is kind of all over the place, including bits and pieces from earlier Mummy origin films but struggling to stay true to its own particular style. Where the whole thing stumbles hard is Cruises’ character Nick. We all know TC is an action star, there’s no debating that. It’s just that the character the movie has him play, is so empty, so totally devoid of originality or anything resembling a personality, literally anyone could play him. We didn’t need T.C. in the Mummy reboot to love it, the Universal folks seem to be trying a little too hard. Supposedly this movie is meant to reboot the entire Universal monsters movie line, but perhaps we can hope the next one is a little less bombastic. Rumor has it the next scheduled Dark Universe monster movie scheduled is Bride of Frankenstein, so we’ll see.

Dig up the newest curse of The Mummy in theaters now!

DC’s ‘Legends of Tomorrow’ Season Two Finale: Meanwhile, at the Legion of Doom!

Posted in Action, comedy, Comics, drama, Fantasy, Historical, Romance, Sci-Fi with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on April 8, 2017 by aliciamovie


 Reviewed by Alicia Glass

Spoilers are totally Legendary!

Time is never on the Legends’ side, so we’re diving right into this! So, what do we know? The beginning of the season had Captain Rip Hunter missing and Sarah Lance taking his place, mostly to the agreement of the rest of the Legends. Whilst searching for Rip, the team picked up some stray new Legends, mainly from the 1940’s Justice Society of America in the form of Amaya, and Nate Heywood, historian and time investigator who gets himself some spiffy powers along the way. The search for Rip Hunter also brought together the aptly named Legion of Doom, comprised of original members Eobard Thawne a.k.a. Zoom from the Flash-verse; Malcolm Merlyn of the Arrow world, former League of Assassins boss; and Damien Darhk, also of the Emerald Archer’s life, magic-using baddie and the slayer of the Black Canary, making him a personal mark for Captain Lance. And unfortunately the Legion gets ahold of Rip Hunter first, cuing him for a brief turn as a bad guy while everyone else gears up for the hunt of the ultimate legendary artifact, the Spear of Destiny!

Yes, LOT went there, it is a show about fighting bad guys through time and all. So in this world, the Spear of Destiny is the thing that pierced the side of Christ himself, yes that thing, that when wielded with a certain incantation of some ancient book, can rewrite reality itself according to the users desires. Of course the Legion wants the Spear, every one of them has stuff in their past they’d much rather erase or change the outcome of, but Thawne in particular was a very bad boy and is being pursued through time and space by the Black Flash. The Black Flash is a form of Death in the Speedforce and in this world the manifestation of what became of enemy Hunter Zolomon after he was carted away by two Time Wraiths. (I know; just go with it.)

So skimming Rip Hunter’s brain led them to search for the pieces of the Spear, that Rip Hunter had judiciously broken up and hidden all over time and space. The hunt for the pieces and the Spear itself, once put back together again, has a tendency to bring out the bad ghosts in our various Legends, but none more so than our firebug thief Rory, still missing his beloved partner Leonard Snart after all this time. So of course, to persuade Rory to join the purported winning side, the Legion of Doom scurries back to Central City in 2014, before Snart joined the Legends and became a reluctant Hero, and pops him out to recruit his partner into stealing the Spear for the lot of them. And yes, sadly, it does work. (I love me some Wentworth Miller forever, and yes I’m very well aware Captain Cold is originally a bad guy, but this villainous return in the latter half of LOT Season Two is a shade disheartening.)

The last couple of episodes of the season are basically an alternate version of reality even for LOT, after the Legion went Spear-happy. And while seeing our familiar characters as darker alternate versions of themselves may be amusing for a few minutes, it gets tired real fast. Then again, the season finale has the entire team going back in time to an event they already visited and changed, resulting in multiple versions of most of them arguing amongst themselves even as they try to fight the Legion for control of that damnable Spear!

So what are we doing back in 1914 with a certain soldier named John Tolkien, again? We’re going to get the blood of Christ in the hidden vial on a war-torn battlefield to get the Spear to work, but plans are being thwarted by alternate-Legends and of course the Legion of Doom’s interference too. After doubt and discussion, every single last one of our Legends is coming out swinging, even as Zoom shows up with an ass-load of yellow Speedster reinforcements! What to do?

Sara Lance has long been the standout character on this show. From her League of Assassins on Arrow origins in the Black Canary leathers that she left her sister Laurel as a legacy, to the white leathers she wore in Season One of LOT, where she swayed hearts and minds alike with sincere care of her friends and family, and unapologetic joyful bisexuality, Sara Lance was the right choice for replacement Captain in Season Two. So when Sara is holding the Spear of Destiny and everyone’s about to get annihilated by the Legion of Doom, we can trust that even though she protests she’s too full of darkness, that as Rip Hunter says, “I believe in you.” Her final method of dealing with Zoom, arguably the leader of the Legion of Doom in this incarnation, is justifiably clever and very much a White Canary move.

Of course none of that mattes when, after depositing the surviving Legion guys into summary punishments and saying some other goodbyes, the Waverider is rocked by a time-quake and our Legends are tossed out of the time-stream into some totally messed up version of reality that’s like an Escher fever-dream – skyscrapers twisted into fantastical shapes, dinosaurs roaming freely, and way too many different timeline styles all jumbled together! Captain Lance’s statement of, “Guys, I think we broke Time,” appears to be a massive understatement.

Season Two lacked a good deal of the main plot points from Season One, mainly Vandal Savage and the Hawk-peoples, but these can actually be considered strengths for this new Season. Instead we have the formation of the Legion of Doom, and honestly, the Doom-centric episodes of LOT are just some of the most adorable, bumbling arguing-amongst-yourselves villainy ever, and a sheer joy to watch. Picking up these new Legend character, Amaya and Nate, may have been a long shot, but the Hawk folk needed replacing. Amaya happens to be (or will be, whatever) the Grandmother of future Arrow heroine Mari McCabe also known as Vixen, which has already happened on the other show and is therefore canon, so Amaya struggles with the concept of proposed destiny holding her back from living her current life. As for Nate Heywood, he also has roots through his father and grandfather in the JSA, and a long comic book history of repeated use of the name Steel, both powered and not. Taken altogether, the newer parts of Legends of Tomorrow are mostly pluses, and far outweigh any comic book canon minuses. And the setup for Season Three of Legends of Tomorrow opens doors for all sorts of other well-known and lesser-known DC heroes, villains, and show cross-overs!

‘Sleepy Hollow’ Season Four Finale: All Four of them damned Horsemen

Posted in Action, comedy, drama, Historical, Romance, Sci-Fi, suspense with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on April 3, 2017 by aliciamovie


Reviewed by Alicia Glass

 When we last left our intrepid supernatural freedom fighters, things weren’t going very well. Agent Mills had died, Crane (Tom Mison) got himself forcibly recruited to the Washington branch of Agency 355, the supernatural agency and library built by Washington himself, and fans of the show were pretty disappointed all around in the cult-y dark horse favorite Sleepy Hollow. This new season had a ton to make up for if the show expected to keep even half of their loyal viewership. Let’s get into this, and see how they did!

Spoilers – bear Witness! 

So we all know, it has to be two Witnesses, no more and no less. The uncertain nature of the second Witness in this season managed to not become annoying, but only just. First we swore it had to be Agent Thomas (Janina Gavankar) of Homeland Security, because one of the main side plots of this season focuses on Crane’s grand faith in America and D.C. in particular, so we needed a way to get to the President. (Who, on this show, is a black woman, potentially a clear apology from the showrunners about the previous death of Abbie Mills, a beloved character who happened to be a black woman and got a huge fan backlash for it. ) Then the show swore up and down that it’s actually Agent Thomas’ daughter Molly (Oona Yaffe), the odd little girl who can draw mysterious supernatural portraits like no-one’s business, who just up and decides to stop talking to anyone until she meets Ichabod Crane in person. And for awhile, the little girl gets to be the focus of the show, fighting monsters and supernatural stuff while the adults try to keep abreast of everything else going on.

What else is going on? Mainly, this super-rich batshit crazy guy Malcolm Dreyfuss (Jeremy Davies), well he made a deal with the Devil for his soul, like you do, and is now spending most of his efforts and money into making himself immortal, thereby negating said deal. Even his pet demon servant Jobe (Kamar de Los Reyes), he’s more like the butler from Black Butler, and does a fair job of it too. Condensing it all down, Dreyfuss wants to put together the Philosopher’s Stone with the right other ingredients to make himself immortal, and of course somehow the blood of Ichabod Crane and his line gets muddled in there too.

Back at Agency 355, Jenny Mills (Lyndie Greenwood) has unsurprisingly shown up to help fight off evil creatures, gather magical artifacts, and in general be another badass (potential apology) black woman character. Her character gets little in the way of personal storyline this season, but she’s had that in previous seasons, and we need to get on to the newer members of the group! Alex Norwood (Rachel Melvin) and Jake Wells (Jerry MacKinnon) had previously been lackadaisical caretakers of Agency 355, when Crane and company showed up and turned everything on its head, because magic and the supernatural and such is really real, yall. Alex is our somewhat skeptical engineer type, she struggles with the holy-shit aspects of having to fight the supernatural on a regular basis. Jake on the other hand is a total fanboy of all things occult and Witness-y, fawning over Crane initially and still giddily trippin about it by the season finale. These new characters are a little like us fans got to be in the show as them, all boring and normal until suddenly one day, damn man, that’s Ichabod freaking Crane and we’re shooting at zombie militia now!

So, up to speed now, Dreyfuss has managed to do his thing with the Philosopher’s Stone and is no in theory immortal, he’s begun having visions of remaking America in his own tyrant-y little image, annnnnd Molly-from-the-future just showed up. This third incarnation of the second Witness is the young adult version of Molly, from an alternate future where Dreyfuss has fucked America ten ways from Sunday but for some reason also adopted Molly as his protégé-daughter, re-naming this alternate version Lara (Seychelle Gabriel). Discovering this new development, Dreyfuss decides to go ahead with his diabolic plans of raising all four of the Horsemen of the Apocalypse, and through some bloody supernatural skull-duggery, Henry Parrish rises again to fight for the mantle of War.

The finale episode sees Dreyfuss attempting to send all four of the Horsemen to attack and subdue the President of the United States herself, and of course the Witnesses and their cohorts have to come out and stop them!

The speech Ichabod Crane gives to his son Henry Parrish (John Noble), even as War is about to cut them down, was very patriotic in a kind of subtle way, and could also in theory be taken as a reminder to our politicians right now – we are a nation built on freedom, and we are willing to do damn near anything for that freedom, including giving that sissy talking and peace a chance, ugh, okay, truce for a bit. Crane was a wonderful Hamilton-like character throughout most of the season, but him making a deal with the Devil when they voluntarily went to Hell, as a potential build-up for what Crane will be facing next season, I thought was a little contrived. Though I must admit, Terrence Mann as the Devil himself did a very fine job, and it was a lot better as him than if FOX had put Tom Ellis in that spot. Just saying.

We see the President (Charmin Lee), her own bad black woman self, make Ichabod Crane an actual citizen of the United States, and how it touches him so, reminding us that to be from American is supposed to be something to be proud of. The new characters are pretty good, the old ones have been polished up some, and the bad guys are plentiful in the Sleepy Hollow horseman tradition. Season Four made up for quite a bit Season Three lacked, so yes, if there is a Season Five, I’d watch it and suggest you do the same.

‘Cosplay Melee’ Premiere: Swing for the Fences!

Posted in Action, Anime, Cartoon, comedy, Comics, drama, Fantasy, Foreign, Historical, horror, Movies, Musical, Romance, Sci-Fi, suspense with tags , , , , , , , , , , on March 27, 2017 by aliciamovie


Reviewed by Alicia Glass

So the SyFy channel is taking another stab at the fandom with the mostest, the cosplayers! You know, those insane peoples who like to make their own, often movable, skit-able, even stage and screen-ready costumes, to bring their favorite fandoms to life! One can’t even say it’s a kids or younglings game anymore, in the premiere episode one of the contestants was over 40. This is a fandom that people of all ages, genders, colors and backgrounds love, and is generally acknowledged by true cosplayers as all-inclusive, meaning no-one should ever be excluded or discouraged from cosplaying, for really any reason. (The so-called Ambassadress of Cosplay, Yaya Han, got herself some disapproval after she claimed on the short-lived SyFy show Heroes of Cosplay that cosplaying isn’t necessarily for people with larger body types. And that was the nice way of re-wording what she said.)

Cosplay is officially a full-fledged fandom these days, rather than any kind of hobby. And it would have to be, considering cosplay can now cost you would not believe how much money, often to make a single costume replication absolutely spot-on perfect, and yet still be able to wander around conventions wearing it the entire time, of course posing for multiple pictures too. Cosplayers rarely get paid (I wanted to say never but times are changing and cosplayers are being hired to advertise video games and such now), and the making of these fan-atical costumes require a ton of work, time, and energy. I think everyone should try it, but honestly not everyone can do a good Cosplay. If we’re gonna have a game show based around the ability to Cosplay, it had better be good, better, best, a passion, an obsession, a love that is almost scary. And that’s actually what this new show seems to be presenting, thank goodness.

We have a host who is also a judge, Yvette Nicole Brown, of Community fame and apparently a huge fangirl of all things geeky; LeeAnna Vamp, named as one of the “Best Comic-Con Cosplayers of All Time” and nerdy fashion model, fan-atic, and all-around jane of all things geekery; and Christian Beckman, builder, costume designer, creator, President of Quantum Creation FX, Inc., his creations have adorned movies like Tron: Legacy, Men In Black 3, and Ender’s Game, just to name a few. Basically, we have the “everyman, I love everything” Judge (Brown), the “make it pretty” Judge (Vamp), and the “make it work” Judge (Beckman); that totally works for me.

Four contestant cosplayers come in to the lab, very similar to the one they have for Face Off, they get given the theme for this contest, and then they go by rounds to get to this weeks winner. The pilot episode theme is Space Opera, and the opening challenge is to begin from the head down, with a helmet or headgear for your original character from whatever fandom you’ve chosen. On to our contestants!

Fred, the eldest at some 40+, loves him some SciFi, and of course the gateway drug to that world was inevitably Star Trek, so guess which space opera he picked for his character. Xavier is the tall and very quiet black guy, the huge Star Wars fan who’s already made a fan-film from the ‘verse and making that armor was what got him into cosplaying in the first place, so his characters theme is chosen too. Grace is a cop in real life, somehow even with that incomprehensibly long red hair, so she chooses a bounty hunter character in the Guardians of the Galaxy universe, where badass women abound, as it should be. And finally, Alicia of the mermaid hair is mildly uncomfortable in this genre, so she chooses the world of Chronicles of Riddick for her character, with their Necromonger armor as inspiration.

The first round concludes and while I didn’t agree with the judges’ elimination choice (as often happens on these kinds of SyFy shows), I stuck around to see what the remaining contestants would come up with and who would win the $10,000 prize. Round two consisted of mechanical parts being presented to the players, that they had to make some sort of flying jet-pack doohickey with as part of their characters’ costume. Hot glue, flying craft foam and mayhem ensue.

In the end, the quiet Star Wars fan who was bullied as a child took home the win, as his costume was the most cohesive and easily read as being from the Star Wars universe. The judges were all kind and helpful and reluctant to choose one over another and thereby eliminate anyone, but I felt that’s simply because they wanted to encourage the players to continue doing what they love, cosplay, and not play up any lack on their part that caused the loss of the contest.

So far it’s a fairly standard SyFy contest show, in the vein of Face Off and the like, that you could actually learn cosplay techniques from if you pay attention. Not everyone has access to giant portable heaters and hot glue guns and craft foam with designations like they came from an aircraft carrier, but the show is making sure to name at least some of the things they’re using, and sometimes suggesting cheaper alternatives. It’s a fun little show and worth giving a try at least once.

Celebrate all the fandoms and fan-atics with Cosplay Melee on the SyFy channel, Tuesdays @ 10/9c!

‘Timeless’ Season One Finale: Protect the Past, Save the Future (of ‘Timeless’)!

Posted in Action, comedy, drama, Historical, Romance, Sci-Fi, suspense with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on February 26, 2017 by aliciamovie


Reviewed by Alicia Glass

So the time machine trope has been kind of done to death at this point. Regardless of whether or not its meant as comedy (see Fox’s new opus, Making History) or a Sci-Fi drama (my current favorites are The Time Machine and Primer) or anything else, all us fans now know the moment anyone busts out a time machine, it’s all downhill from there. Ripples in time, like ripples in a pond, go concentrically out and have a tendency to affect the past, present, and potentially even the future. But who cares! We’re doing it again, and hopefully we will have learned from past – are they past? Future? Alternate past? something – mistakes enough not to repeat them.

We begin with this private industry company, Mason Industries, who made a time machine. And then, as was inevitable, this mad dude called Garcia Flynn (Goran Visnjic), stole it. Then, of course, three less-than-ordinary folks were conscripted to take the second time machine prototype the company was already building, called the Lifeboat, and go after Flynn!

Lucy Preston (Abigail Spencer) is a passionate History professor second to none, rather like Dr. Nathan Heywood from Legends of Tomorrow in her ability to drop all kinds of interesting information on nearly any time period in history you can think of! Rufus Carlin (Malcolm Barrett) is a scientist who helped build the infernal time machines, and bears the enormous responsibility of being the only one able to pilot the silly thing when our trio goes back on their trips. And rounding them out is Wyatt Logan (Matt Lanter), a U.S. Army Delta Force operative, with a bunch of darkness in his own past and his own personal vendetta concerning the murder of his wife. All three are reluctant and skeptical to strap into the rounded pod of an untested time machine, but that first jaunt to stop Flynn from preventing the Hindenburg disaster changes all their tunes!

And what’s Flynn’s problem? In true Doctor Who fashion, Flynn got ahold of a diary (it even has a blue leather cover, hah) Lucy compiled and somehow wibbley-wobbly-timey-wimey gave to him, describing all the time travel adventures she actually hasn’t gone on yet. Flynn’s plan is to use the information in the diary and the stolen time machine to stop Rittenhouse, the nefarious collective of blue-blooded families who’ve existed throughout fairly-recent history working their evil schemes from without and within, like the Illuminati in a Dan Brown novel or something, to ultimately take over and remake the world in their desired image. It also doesn’t help Flynn’s fragile emotional state that Rittenhouse, indirectly or not, caused the disappeared-death of his beloved wife and daughter when they started mucking about with time travel. Them ripple effects, they are a bitch.

Mason Industries, led by Connor Mason (Paterson Joseph) himself, get to endure a hierarchy shake-up when Special Agent Denise Christopher (Sakina Jaffrey) of Homeland Security comes in to take over the super-secret time travel project, determined to find and stop Flynn at nearly any cost. Jiya is a programmer at Mason Industries and also happens to be Rufus’ girlfriend, being trained on the side to pilot the time machine herself, which will effectively negate any need for Rufus once she’s done. Mason has the dubious privilege of being harried by Rittenhouse and Homeland and troubled by the chosen threesome’s own issues throughout the series, and while I understand and even empathize with his plight, I wish we had gotten to see a little more of what he stood to lose in the background. Agent Christopher always proves to be on the side of our trio but never forgets she has a job to do, and it does come to a head at the end, when the inevitable choice of duty vs. heart has to be made.

So where, and when of course, has our trio been to in this glorious first season? Mason Industries dutifully provides them with entire outfits for the appropriate time period, though of course nothing can be done about the fact that Rufus is a black man, and in his own words, “History hasn’t exactly been kind and understanding to my people.” Lucy does manage to turn her potential failing of being female into an actual asset, especially when faced with situations like needing to talk Kennedy’s mistress into a mission, or encouraging little-known black female mathematician Katherine Johnson into saving the Apollo 11 flight. We’ve met Abraham Lincoln, heard Richard Nixon, thrilled at Bonnie & Clyde, Benedict freaking Arnold and General Washington himself, been in the murder castle of America’s first known serial killer H.H. Holmes, done escapes with Harry Houdini, been fired at by Jesse James, shared a drink with Charles Lindbergh and Ernest Hemingway and Josephine Baker too, even met the original Scarface (but don’t call him that), Al Capone. All the details of the time are lovingly, meticulously attended to, from the underground atmosphere of Prohibition to the breathless wonder of first-time space travel in 1969, no stone is left unturned, no vintage car or authentic 1800’s rifle overlooked. Even Lucy’s hairstyle is always carefully tailored to whatever time period she’s about to fly off to; I appreciate that kind of detailed love.

Spoilers really are Timeless!

So we’ve come down to the finale episode, and most of our heroes still haven’t quite decided what their end game is going to be. Wyatt seems to have finally given in to the fact that stealing the time machine and changing history just is not going to bring his beloved wife back; the idea that your beloved is fated to die by whatever means is just a huge bummer, man. Rufus has finally stood up to Rittenhouse and Mason himself, despite being their spy for most of the series, and is paying for it literally in blood, mostly coming from that gunshot wound in his chest. Special Agent Christopher and Mason have taken it upon themselves to collaborate, albeit reluctantly, to steal the lifeboat from under the noses of the Rittenhouse infiltrators that have managed to take over Mason Industries. Lucy is still desperate to take the time machine and go save her disappeared sister, especially after finding out that her father is Rittenhouse alumni and has plans for her pedigree to aid them, with or without her consent. Our trio have found out about a Rittenhouse summit meeting during the Joseph McCarthy red paranoia era of 1954 and are determined to go find Flynn, who’s gone off planning to just blow up the entire summit meeting, and stop all this nonsense once and for all!

But Rufus can’t very well fly a complicated time machine with a patch-job hole in his chest, thank you alternate-timeline Lucy’s now-ex-fiancee, so of course Jiya volunteers to come help drive. Rufus begs her not to, warning that the lifeboat was only ever built to carry three people through a wormhole, but things are hurtling forward and there’s no stopping them now, even though yes Jiya does pay a horrible potential price for it at the end.

Ethan Cahill, another Rittenhouse member who has some odd (for 1954) habits and also happens to be Lucy’s grandfather, after getting a clear demonstration of the ability of the Lifeboat, agrees to aid our intrepid time travelers as best he can – working as a mole, leading another kind of double life inside Rittenhouse, for as many long years as he can stand, gathering all information on them to aid our trio and ultimately Mason Industries. And while all this is roundaboutly successful in the end, all except for perhaps poor Jiya, the show finale ends with dawning horror of insurgency rampant again, as Lucy learns she hasn’t gone down the rabbit hole nearly far enough.

I know, sadly, that NBC still hasn’t decided on whether or not to have a Season Two of Timeless and that seems to me to be why the Season One finale ended up with both a wrapup and a cliffhanger. Personally, I loved me some Timeless and sincerely hope our heroes and heroines return for some all new wacky time travel adventures!

Travel back through the wormhole for all Timeless Season One episodes at!

Netflix presents ‘Frontier’: The fur trade really is murder

Posted in Action, drama, Foreign, Historical, Romance, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 29, 2017 by aliciamovie


Reviewed by Alicia Glass

A quick recap of time and location: when we are seems to be approximately the late 1700’s, and where seems to jump around, but focus mostly on Fort James in Canada. The Fort is the main route for the massive fur trade going on ‘round these parts, and that trade is the focus of our story. In this time period especially, the fur trade is the biggest moneymaker of the Hudson’s Bay Company, an English conglomerate that basically holds a monopoly on the fur trade, at least at the moment. This is where our story begins, with anyone and everyone trying to break the HBC’s hold on the fur trade here in Canada.

Known outlaw Declan Harp, the half-Irish half-Indian rogue that is so growlingly played by Jason Momoa, is right in the middle of all this mummery. When he was orphaned young, the current ruler of Fort James, Lord Benton (Alun Armstrong), took him in and trained him to be a soldier. Apparently at some point Declan decided to go feeling his oats and got himself a little native wife and child, which didn’t sit well with Lord Benton. That’s hook one for Declan Harp. Hook two involves his knowledge and interaction with several of the other fur traders vying for business about and around the Fort, such as the Brown brothers, the Carruthers widow, and the HBC to contend with. Periphery friendship with Grace Emberly (Zoe Boyle), who runs the tavern in the Fort, keeps him abreast of gossip, and reminds of old romance time spent with her. And then finally the one major thing Declan has going, that no-one else can match and thus makes him a very desirable target, is Harp’s good relationship with the Cree Indians, who are the literal bones of the entire fur trade operation.

Captain Chesterfield (Evan Jonigkeit) is the main knee-breaker under Lord Benton at the Fort, and while he seems to like the idea Grace Emberly comes up with, to oust Benton and make Chesterfield governor, he occasionally erupts into unexpected violence that carries often disastrous consequences. But that’s nothing compared to Lord Benton himself, who dresses like a gentleman but has the heart and tongue of a viper. He calmly orders, and occasionally carries out himself, beatings and good old fashioned executions, too. Lord Benton, more than just about anything, wants Declan Harp found and brought back to him, alive. Basically so Benton can do the torturing honors himself, which, yes, he does, when Harp is finally brought in.

Elsewhere, the fur traders are all clashing with each-other, jockeying for position and hunting Declan Harp. The Brown brothers especially seem inclined towards utter stupidity, and nearly every move they make, from kidnapping to alliances, is just another screwup that ends in yet more death. The Carruthers widow, Elizabeth (Katie McGrath), shows up and tries to do some wheeling and dealing of her own after the death of her husband, but sadly her character seems rather unlikely for the time and atmosphere the show is trying to emulate. Grace Emberly as the plotting tavern-owner is a much more believable role. Irish thief Michael Smyth (Landon Liboiron), through a series of misadventures in London, gets himself and his little girlfriend Clenna Dolan (Lyla Porter-Follows) arrested and deported, all the way to Lord Benton at the Fort. Benton decides to try and send Smyth out as a hunting dog to flush the pheasant Harp, banking on their supposed Irish blood connection. Harp himself is out with the Lake Walker Nation, the Cree Indians who actually keep the fur trade going, trying to keep the peace between the supposed savages and their far-more-savage European counterparts, this giant snarling half-breed irony surrounded by enemies, allies, and far too many unsafe loved ones.

So how does the show stack up? Frontier Season One is pretty darned short, coming in at only six episodes. However, the show was renewed for a Season Two before the actual premiere on Netflix, so that’s something. Filmed actually in Canada to lend as much realism as possible, the show boasts a very fine cast, lovingly sewn absolutely gorgeous fur coats and costumes, and a story that very rarely slows down from its rather breathless pace. Not overly complicated but certainly not condescending either, the story is easy to comprehend and quick to become sheer fun (with the possible exception of the end of the torture scene). It’s always great to see Jason Momoa run around and throw sharp weapons and growl at people, which he seems to do no matter role he’s in, so that’s cool.

Make your own foray into the fur trade with Frontier, on Netflix now!

‘The Librarians’ Season 3 Finale: To magic, or not to magic, that is the question

Posted in Action, comedy, drama, Fantasy, Historical, Romance, Sci-Fi, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 25, 2017 by aliciamovie


Reviewed by Alicia Glass

Welcome back to the Library! So sorry we can’t stay and chat, but here, let our immortal caretaker Jenkins (John Larroquette) serve you tea, don’t mind the flying swords or self-updating magical books, we’re sure Flynn Carson (Noah Wyle) will be back any minute to tell us of his latest adventures!

While it’s true Flynn Carson in the original ‘Librarian’ movies began the mythos the show is based on, I’m glad there was more focus on the other Librarians in this season of the beloved adventuring show. The start of the season sees the latest Big-Bad against our Librarians, an evil ancient Egyptian God named Apep, spreading his darkness insidiously out into the world. And to add more ink to the mix, the government-led supernatural hunters collectively known as DOSA, or Department of Statistical Anomalies, are hot on the trail of the Librarians too!

We find Flynn and Colonel Baird (Rebecca Romijn) as they always were, having the occasional date that usually turns into a Librarian case, tip-toing around commitment with out ever really getting there, and fighting demons and evil Gods and all sorts of nasties along the way. Cassandra (Lindy Booth) had her own trials and tribulations this season, when the question of whether or not her brain tumor is what gives her her mental gifts came to a head. With the help of the best medical technology and doctors out there (why they didn’t use magic, I’m still not sure), plus some aid from a vampire-run night spa, Cassie hops back to her sprightly self in one nervous episode, but with a twist – her gift, minus the tumor, just multiplied a ton and tossed in telepathy and auto-hypnosis-like talents too. Stone (Christian Kane) went from a sworn statement against the use of magic, to being forced to use it to save his fellow Librarians, to being branded with magic whether he likes it or not, when he went looking for solace and training in Shangri-La with the Monkey King. (The Monkey King was played by Ernie Reyes Jr., which is extra cool, btw.) And of course Ezekiel Jones (John Harlan Kim) is as he always is, master thief and technology-handler, second to none, especially in his own mind. Though the episode where Ezekiel Jones fell in love, and lost her, and gained a love potion of sorts from it, did kind of make him question what might be missing in his charmed life.

Season three saw the return of Charlene (Jane Curtin), the original Guardian of the Library, who’s been running and hiding this whole time Flynn’s been looking for her. After a fair bit of to-ing and fro-ing, Charlene makes her required sacrifice and takes her place in the Library mirror alternate dimension with Judson, content that her missions and care of the Library have been turned over to the best the Library has to offer.

So here we are at the season three finale, where both major storylines have come to a massive head! DOSA is here to take over the Library, headed by Baird’s former military boss Cynthia Rockwell (Vanessa Williams), and hey guess what, they already have Apep’s sarcophagus, and think they have Apep himself under lock and key too. Baird, spurred on by some deep inner plan we just know she has to be following, tosses on a DOSA jacket and lets the military guys come in to the Library to remove everything and take it to the facility they’ve been specially building, to be the same amazing size and containment as the Library itself. But see, here’s the thing – Rockwell and the rest of the military guys don’t put any belief in magic, which means their version of containment deals with physical bars and restraints and proven science; no glyphs or wards or even a sprinkle of faerie dust contaminates this new lockdown facility.

Much of the episode deals with the apparent defection of Colonel Baird over to the Rockwell military side, but if you watch The Librarians as faithfully as I do, there are clear clues that there is a majorly deep plan laid that will explain all this nonsense, most likely in the last few minutes of the episode. And without spoilers, I can simply say that’s more or less exactly what happens – Baird, and Flynn of course, hatched an incredibly daring but necessary plan, and managed to pull it off with very little in the way of loss of life, or important artifact damage to the Library itself, either. Their plan might have been far-fetched and a little predictable inside the show dynamic, but the adorkable characters and the zingy fun attitude prevalent in the show make it so we just don’t care – we love The Librarians!

Season three had many terrific moments worth note – Sean Astin guested as the poor magician who so sorely wanted to win the heart of Felicia Day’s Charlotte; the episode featuring a high-school-equivalent-reunion with a bunch of Frost Giants was a personal favorite of mine; Flynn found a missing Librarian down the rabbit hole guarding the Eye of Ra; and yes, the episode with the vampire-run night spa retreat was beautiful and loving, lead vampire Estrella (Clara Lago) did an excellent job.

Only a day or two after the season finale aired, TNT confirmed a season four for our always amazing Librarians, so rejoice in that, fans!

Catch all the episodes of Season Three of The Librarians on the TNT website!

‘Taboo’ Premiere: There’s grit in my eyes

Posted in Action, drama, Foreign, Historical, horror with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 16, 2017 by aliciamovie


Reviewed by Alicia Glass

Not a ton about this show was advertised before thrusting it upon us, other than the occasional teaser trailer and reporter yattering about a gritty new Tom Hardy performance. It turns out there is plenty going on behind the scenes, as the show is being made by Steven Knight, Tom Hardy himself, and Hardy’s father Edward, commonly called Chips. All three of these men worked in one form or another on Peaky Blinders too, so don’t be surprised if you see quite a bit of similarity, as I did.

So what do we know, after that interesting premiere? We’re here in Britain 1814, and Hardy’s character James Delaney has returned from a twelve-year stint in Africa, following the news of his fathers grave illness. James got here too late and can only attend his fathers funeral, after which a whole bunch of trickery and subterfuge go on due to a plot of land Father Delaney owned in America.

That’s a highly simplified version of the overarching plot, but the show doesn’t really get to the plot of land or why it’s so important until more than halfway through the premiere, instead spending time establishing atmosphere mood and of course peripheral characters.

Atmosphere is fairly easy – we’re talking Victorian London Jack the Ripper type era, very Sweeney Todd-esque. Everything is dirty and soot-covered, most everyone seems to wear the dowdiest colors they can possibly afford, and dirt and grit and horseshit are pretty much everywhere, even where there are other vehicles available, which also means motor oil and yet more grime. The general feeling is one of utter desolation, and the few bright spots of color stand out that much more oddly amongst the darkness, like the canary being taken into the mines.

The mood is enhanced, that is to say, further greyed, by the surrounding area, but then again, we are attending a funeral. Father Horace Delaney was acknowledged by many as a right bastard, though what misadventures led to that stigma will likely be addressed in further episodes. James didn’t arrive in enough time to even bid his father good-bye, and with his use of what looked like African mourning customs at the funeral itself, he didn’t make any friends. Of course, James’ time in Africa changed him so completely, I strongly suspect he could give less than a damn about making or keeping friends here at home, and indeed, as the show goes on and James is confronted about his inheritance by one foe and another, we discover James is now completely unpredictable and you just never know how he’ll react next. Which, I think, is one way the show could keep going – we wait breathlessly to see how James will jump when confronted by the vultures circling his inheritance.

Amongst those circling are Zilpha Geary, James’ half-sister, and her social-climber husband Thorne, who both expected to inherit the whole of Horaces will after his death and were livid when it turns out they don’t. For some small comfort of the trustworthy and actual usable information, James turns to his fathers former servant Brace, who smartly tells James to trust no-one and give no quarter anywhere. And rounding out the carrion-eaters coming to feast is Sir Stuart Strange, Chairman of the East India Company.

It turns out, as far as Horace Delaney’s will is concerned, James’ inheritance is effectively useless aside from one small plot of land on the American West coast called Nootka Sound. And why on earth could that be important? The war between America and Great Britain is still going on in this time, and that teensy plot of land Nootka Sound, it turns out, is a gateway for trade and commerce hotly contested by the Americans and the British, most especially the East India Company. They are, for those of you who may not know, the equivalent of the CIA and NSA, governed by old British men with divine mandate justification and royalty on their side, the Pinkertons of this world. The guys who branded and were always after Jack Sparrow in the Pirates of the Carribean films, if that helps. And oh do these guys want that little plot of land Nootka Sound that now belongs to James, oh they want it so bad, but they have no idea who they’re dealing with when it comes to attempting to coerce James by whatever means necessary – royal order, patriotic duty, even religious commandment – and his reactions are the brilliant Hardy performances we all love.

Catch all the Taboo drama on FX, Tuesdays @ 10/9c!

‘Legends of Tomorrow’ Season 2 Premiere: Out of Time and into the atomic fire!

Posted in Action, comedy, drama, Fantasy, Historical, Romance, Sci-Fi, suspense with tags , , , , , , , , on October 27, 2016 by aliciamovie


by Steve the Space Wizard

The Legends are back! But as the first episode of season 2 opens, they’rein trouble, or so surmises Dr. Nate Heywood as he barges into Oliver Queen’s office, asking for his help. Dr. Heywood is a “time detective”, which means he investigates changes in history by time travellers. Abe mused Oliver gives Dr. Heywood a chance to explain himself, and we see evidence of the Legends across time, preserved in things like ancient manuscripts and hieroglyphics. Turns out the Legends’ ship disappeared underwater and was destroyed by an atomic bomb in 1942, three years before the a-bomb was “invented” (or rather, before the first atomic bomb was used against another nation in an act of war). This intrigues Ollie enough to follow Dr. Heywood on an expedition to find the wreckage of the Waverider in the present day. Sure enough they find it, but with no one seemingly on board… except for Mick, who was kept alive in a stasis beam. They revive him and Mick tells the story of what they’ve been up to before the ship crashed…

 …and we’re treated with tales of the Legends protecting history from time criminals, now that the Time Masters are gone. They find themselves playing the part of swashbuckling musketeers, saving Louis XIII (with Sara seducing/being seduced by the Queen). After that amusing little anecdote, Mick decides to tell Ollie and Dr. Heywood about the time quake they experienced after they found out the Germans, aided by mysterious time travellers, nuke New York in 1942. Despite being warned by Rex Tyler (from last season’s cliffhanger) to not go there, they decided to go anyway because who else is going to save the day from the Nazis?

How did the Nazis make a functional atomic bomb in 1942 anyway? It turns out, Albert Einstein was forced to build one. Einstein was kidnapped for this purpose by Nazis with the help of Damien Darhk, who Sara has a huge grudge with since Darhk killed her sister. Sara goes out to kill Damien Darhk at all costs, and this has serious repercussions for the team. I won’t reveal how the Legends save the day, but I’ll tell you this : they play fast and loose with the science on this. I’m not sure how much help Einstein alone would have been for the Nazis to have built a nuclear weapon, but it plays into the common movie trope where “smart scientist” is a storytelling shorthand for “genius who can do everything”.

Besides the science gaffe, it was an entertaining episode, and by the end of it one of the main characters disappear! Will we see them again? We’ll have to keep watching to find out!

Catch up with our Legends on the CW, Thursdays @ 8/7c!

San Diego Asian Film Festival presents ‘The Royal Tailor’: Make Art until someone dies

Posted in Action, Comics, drama, Foreign, Historical, Movies, Romance with tags , , , , , , , , , on August 25, 2016 by aliciamovie


Reviewed by Alicia Glass

Studio: Bidangil Pictures

Director: Wonsuk Lee

Review Rating: 8.5

The film rather incongruously begins with a modern-day showing of a fabulous hanbok (traditional Korean dress) wedding dress, apparently mistakenly attributed to the only royal tailor of Korea’s Joseon dynasty, Jo Dol-seok. After allowing the audience to admire the hanbok a moment, the movie moves right into what actually happened so long ago in the royal courts.

The King and the Queen of the courts have the rather standard relationship of many asian royal courts, which is to say, almost none at all. Because the King ignores his Queen, there are no children either. Jo Dol-seok has tailored clothing for three generations of Kings before finally working his way to the head of the Sanguiwon, the official department that makes royal clothing, and is justifiably proud of this fact. Dol-seok has very little in the way of imagination, innovation, and wants nothing to do with new ideas, so when the Queen asks him to repair a sacred robe belonging to the King that was accidentally burnt, Dol-seok has to say no. It’s against all tradition and for him, is akin to sacrilege. But the Queen is going to get into serious trouble if she doesn’t do something about the King’s robe, and this is how she meets Lee Gong-jin.

Gong-jin is young, handsome, reckless and headstrong. He also seems almost divinely inspired to make clothing, bright joyful colorful clothing in very non-traditional styles, for all women, not just the women of the court. The film credits Gong-jin with the newfangled bell shape of the hanbok and the introduction of brighter, happier colors. And at this point his fame has become fairly wide-spread, so much so that the Queen, desperate to find a tailor to fix the King’s robe, contracts Gong-jin to do the job.

This of course leads to all sorts of further palace intrigue – Gong-jin falls in love with the Queen, Dol-seok decides to let himself be used as a pawn in a plot to get rid of both the Queen and Gong-jin, and the King lets his need for loyalty outweigh proper good sense. As the film nears its climax and Lee Gong-jin is soon to be executed for his non-part in the plot with the Queen to overthrow the King, Dol-seok realizes he actually had a kindred spirit in the younger, flashier tailor, and comes to regret his part in the whole sorry mess. Not enough to let history remember the proper fashion designer to the Joseon dynasty, of course, but still. And thus, this being a rather traditional Korean film, the whole thing ends in tragedy, leading to the shameful execution of Lee Gong-jin, in sorrow and lamentations.

The film itself is sublime and I simply cannot say enough good things about it. Not because of the gorgeous well-replicated costumes, the lavish sets or even the very fine acting, but because of the manner in which the movie approached the fundamental need to make art. Like Jim Morrison of the long-remembered Doors band, the tailors in the film are tormented and at the same time delighted by the art they create with their own two hands. The absolute need to create art, as fundamental as breathing and even sometimes more important than that, speaks to the beautiful soul of every artistic person, famous or not, in the whole world. In this case, as with many other artists we lost far too soon, Lee Gong-jin and even his stilted counterpart Jo Dol-seok literally made art until someone died, and as tragic as that is, it is still a gorgeous and long-lasting testament to their artistic spirit.