‘Colony’ Season Two finale: Total Rendition

Posted in Action, drama, horror, Sci-Fi, suspense with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on April 19, 2017 by aliciamovie

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Reviewed by Alicia Glass

Don’t let all the Spoilers alienate you!

So before diving into Season Two, a quick recap – some time ago, the world was invaded by actual aliens, in spaceships with scary technology and all that jazz, and they divided the world up by gigantic walls into blocs. The story of the Bowmans, the Authorities, the Resistance and yes, occasionally aliens, began in Los Angeles, and Season Two branches out into further what-was-California territory.

Our story continues with Will Bowman, despite his job with the Authorities clashing with his newfound awareness of his wifes activities within the Resistance, insisting on going to hunt down his youngest son Charlie in the Santa Monica bloc, of course by himself. He finds Charlie with the help of his old before-aliens-landed partner, who also takes a hell of a lot of chances helping Will and Charlie get out of the bloc, and ultimately, she comes off the worse for it.

Meanwhile, elsewhere, Katie Bowman is concerned about her daughter being taught what sure sound like cult ravings about The Greatest Day, which we gather is some kind of brainwashing about how to treat the alien overlords when they do finally come to lay claim to our planet in person. Katie’s sister Maddie and her ladder-climbing husband Nolan Burgess are attempting to hang on to their cushy Transitional Authority positions by any means necessary, and that includes betrayal most foul, occasionally of each-other.

The eldest Bowman boy, Bram, got himself tossed into a teenager work gang, which of course former-Proxy Snyder has to stick his nose into because, as he would say, leverage is wherever you find it. A shakeup in local TA leadership, handed on down from much higher authority that we see for the first time in Season Two, is bringing down all kinds of heat on Will, Snyder, and Broussard.

Yes, much as he really didn’t want to, Broussard has to come out of hiding with his Resistance cell, for all their sanities’ sake if nothing else. The Red Hand, another Resistance group causing all kinds of trouble for the TA and the Bowmans, prove to be yet another obstacle for Broussard to get anything with his own cell done. Yet word from other Resistance cells outside the L.A. bloc is trickling in, and even shows up in person in a latter episode.

It was, I think, Bram’s involvement with the terrorist attack his little friends at the work gang perpetrated on the alien ship, that began the hunt for the whole Bowman family. Then we had Katie stealing a census list from Maddie, that led us to understand the L.A. bloc is being emptied out for purposes unknown. And of course Will is trying to juggle working with the TA and simultaneously lying to his newly-saddled partner, along with the safety of his family and yes, sigh, his ultimate decision to actually aid the Resistance however he can. Aunt Maddie gets sacrificed by Nolan on the altar of self-preservation, and all the remaining Bowmans have to take to hiding, with only Brussard left from his entire cell being wiped out, to help. And then Snyder, we must never forget he’s a scheming little weasel, gets the news that the entire Los Angeles bloc has been sanctioned for total rendition, which is exactly what it sounds like.

Or is it? The Bowmans have made it out, yes, with that damn gauntlet and Snyder the tracking weasel is with them, but we only saw the spaceships coming for the refugees of Los Angeles. I guess I shouldn’t have expected the gathered ships above the bloc to blow shit up Independence Day style, that’s never really been Colony’s way. But because that’s all we saw, we won’t get to know until Season Three, yes there is one they’re already filming it, if Aunt Maddie was vaporized, sent to the Factory, or what!

Season Two made a conscious effort to expand beyond the small borders of the first Season of Colony, and that’s good because they kind of needed to do that to keep the story interesting. All the Bowmans got their own screen time and own story, which they tried their best to intertwine with the main narrative; most of the time, they succeeded. More than anything, Colony is a human drama centered around a relatively small core of Scifi, so we can’t expect Ridley Scott alien visions – yet. Because the L.A. bloc is now done one way or another, the show will have no real choice but to begin to delve further into the RAP aliens – or risk alienating their audience. But strong acting performances all around and solid story to build on, Season Three of Colony will literally be the one to watch for.

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

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 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

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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

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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!

‘Get Out’: Run boy run!

Posted in drama, horror, Movies, suspense, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on March 20, 2017 by aliciamovie

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Reviewed by Alicia Glass

Director: Jordan Peele

Studio: Blumhouse Pictures

MPAA Rating: R

Review Rating: 7.5 out of 10

We know director Jordan Peele, famous for the Key and Peele comedy duo among other things, has successfully directed other movies, but those were Comedies. So when word came out he was doing a Horror film, plenty of us fans of the genre were nervous about what it could mean. Turns out, we had absolutely nothing to worry about – Peele’s vision of a relevant to black folks Horror movie has all the self-aware snark and clever storytelling of Tales from the Hood, and I personally adored that movie. Yes, we know race will certainly be a large part of the story here, the trailer made that quite clear. But racial motivations are only half the story, while the other half is creepy as hell, and that’s what makes it a Horror movie.

Spoilers are never just black and white!

We meet Chris Washington (Daniel Kaluuya), a stoic young black man who happens to be a fairly good photographer, with prints of his work all over his nicely furnished if tiny apartment, and his bubbly white girl girlfriend Rose Armitage (Allison Williams). Chris has a friend, Rod (Lil Rel Howery), who works for the airport TSA and is the standard co-pilot type friend in any buddy-cop movie, and their conversations over the phone are the few bright spots in a dark suspenseful movie. Chris lost his mother at a very young age and is also attempting to quit smoking, all things we learn at a rapid clip once the decision has been made to grudgingly attend Rose’s families gathering at the Armitage estate out in the middle of nowheresville.

On the way there, a mighty strange encounter with a deer that I swear was thrown at their car rather than being simply struck down by it, has Chris and Rose on edge. Meeting the self-proclaimed most non-racist Dad (Bradley Whitford) around, who would’ve by his own admission gotten Obama on a third term if he could’ve, doesn’t much help. Nor does being unnerved by psychiatrist Moms (Catherine Keener) unsettling talk of hypnosis, quitting smoking, and the sound of that damned spoon hitting the china, over and over and over. Add in the psychotic ginger of a brother, Jeremy (Caleb Landry Jones) and we’ve already got a full cracker jack house.

A nighttime visit with Mom after an unsettling dream and an aborted attempt at a snuck cigarette doesn’t help Chris one bit, unless we consider his ability to be tossed down the rabbit hole by an elderly white woman fairly easily to be a good thing.

Then of course after some very weak protestations of Rose’s part, it turns out this is the weekend of the entire Armitage clan get-together, some of them rather removed, but somehow all connected in some secret way. The older white folks show up and wittingly or not, manage to repeatedly insult Chris as being the only black person there that isn’t a servant. The maidservant and the gardener, they’re both black, but they act very oddly towards Chris, especially when he starts asking questions.

Chris wanders the grounds and dutifully talks with the guests, always stoic and at least polite, as the crazy white folk continue to demean his person and Rose is of little help. We met the blind art curator, Jim Hudson (Stephen Root), who claims to know of and love Chris’ picture work, and the two of them seem to have the only really-real conversation out of anyone visiting from the Armitage clan. Chris declines to talk to really anyone else, and continually being unnerved by it all, disappears to go be with Rose. Which is good, because Dad has declared its time for the Armitage family games, beginning with bingo!

That’s no version of bingo I’ve ever played, at any rate. A mostly-silent auction is being held, and as we’ve already gathered from the trailer, Chris is the most likely prize. But why? The big grand assumption here is that these crazy elderly white folks with far too much money and time on their hands are going to participate in the greatest game, the cleverest hunt there is – that of man. But how on earth are these so-much-older white peoples planning on doing that? How is a blind man supposed to hunt anything? Turns out, the Armitage clan actually has something much worse in mind for Chris.

I won’t give the ending away, or even the real reason for the Armitage clan auctioning off Chris, but I will leave it with an interesting thought exercise to ponder. The fact that all these people, Chris and those chosen before him, were black, seems to be clear racism, yes, but in a kind of dastardly complimentary way. Like thoroughbred horses, these fine chosen black peoples have the right physical and occasionally psychological properties, that the Armitage clan is willing to pay a handsome sum of money for.

While yes, the movie is mildly predictable to me, admittedly I watch a lot of Horror movies, so that’s kind of to be expected. Peele has somehow mastered the fine tightrope line between racial tension and everybody-fears-something humanity, and manages to keep that creepy vibe throughout the film. Kaluuya delivers a masterful performance as Chris, and those acting around him, black or white or whatever else, give their roles that extra pinch of believability that makes it convincing that it all could actually happen, even tomorrow.

Run along with Chris to see Get Out, in theaters now!

Spotlight on Latino Horror presents Ataud Blanco El Juego Diabolico (White Coffin)

Posted in Action, drama, Foreign, horror, Movies, suspense with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on March 12, 2017 by aliciamovie

Ataud-blanco

Reviewed by Alicia Glass

Director: Daniel de la Vega

Studio: Del Toro Films

Review Rating: 6.5 out of 10

In the simplest of terms, it is another “save my child at any cost” movie, with a mysterious ritual of sacrifice and some ghostly vengeance tossed in for good measure. The premise, of a mother desperate to save her daughter from some kind of ritual sacrifice, is a good start, but is itself sacrificed for action and driving scenes. The explanatory paragraph for the movie gives very little away, so sadly I’m going to have to spoil a good deal of the plot as we plow ahead.

Spoilers come from all kinds of coffins!

So Virginia (Julieta Cardinali) appears to have up and absconded with her daughter Rebecca, without the consent of her apparently-ex-husband, and the two of them are driving along out in the middle of nowheresville when they inevitably experience a flat tire. This is where we meet the creepy stranger who was never named in the film (but whose name according to IMDB is Mason) for the first time, he comes striding out of the desert landscape like a mirage to help with the flat tire, I dubbed him the Goad for how he has a tendency to further the plot. After the tire is fixed, Virginia and her daughter take lunch at some roadside diner and there, inevitably, Rebecca (Fiorela Duranda) goes missing.

Another woman in the same roadside diner, who appears to be a schoolteacher with a bunch of elementary school kids on a field trip, she has a student go missing and so she’s running around near Virginia, calling for her wayward child too. Here things begin to get weird and ill-defined, a tilted journey through darkness that seems to indicate a confusing death and rebirth of sorts for poor Virginia. And indeed, when she comes back to the light Mr. Goad (Rafael Ferro) has shown back up and is breathlessly explaining that yes, Virginia is now dead but, being given a temporary reprieve back to the land of the living, she has one chance to go save her daughter: find the white coffin.

But nothing is ever that simple, and Virginia has to go through several hoops in order to find that damnable coffin and stop the ritual sacrifice of her daughter. First is the barn where the actual white coffin is located, but of course the place is guarded by a hammerhead wannabe, and yet another desperate woman, Angela (Elenora Wexler), wanting to claim the coffin to rescue her own child. After the tussle with the weaponized carpenter and the subsequent fight with Angela herself, Angela lets slip that she was apparently the one who killed Virginia, so she might get the white coffin first. And at least in this first round, Angela is in the lead, with Virginia attempting to keep up with her for the net task.

Next to be retrieved according to Mr. Goad is the map, very much on the mind of the priest in the Trinity church. And since Mr. Goad has rather forcibly reminded Virginia that she’s already dead and her time is running out and to be absolutely ruthless to get what she wants, well, nothing so small as a priests refusal is going to stop her now.

Some fighting and confrontation and driving later, the last task is to discover the place where the ritual itself is going to be held, and to get the white coffin there by means fair or foul, whatever it takes. The teachers been dealt with, the rival mom is down and now its up to Virginia to do this last, unthinkable, act, to save her child.

Except Virginia doesn’t actually manage to save her child, nor is she really able to save herself, when all is said and done. The background characters that we’ve been noticing around Virginia as she makes her way from place to place, they’ve come to participate in the ritual of child sacrifice and the ascension of the new Chosen, that poor apparently brainwashed and tattooed little girl, Rebecca. As the occupied white coffin burns the backgrounders chant these odd ritual phrases, and the magic that animated Virginia slips away, leaving us to wonder, did the cycle begin anew?

The trouble is simply that there isn’t enough of anything. Had there been more of a supernatural feel to the ritual plot, or more explanation of what the ritual was meant to accomplish, where the necromancy that animated Virginia came from, or how Mr. Goad or any of the backgrounders made their choices in the first place, or what the hell was up with that white coffin, the film could have been more enjoyable. The washed-out look of the film is fine, intending to impart a kind of Texas Chainsaw Massacre feel I’m guessing. For unknown reasons the film is only an hour and a half long; I’d really like to see an extended version or a full background story script to read at least.

Dig up Ataud Blanco (White Coffin) on Netflix!

‘Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency’: Beware the kitten shark!

Posted in Action, comedy, drama, Romance, Sci-Fi, suspense with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on March 5, 2017 by aliciamovie

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Reviewed by Alicia Glass

Spoilers totally in the aether!

Welcome to another cheerfully zany and wacky BBC adaptation of a classic Douglas Adams story, Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency! Yes there are massive spoilers to follow, but then this is another show where if you talk about one thing, it inevitably leads to another spoiler, just proving that, as they say on the show, everything really is connected! You were warned!

So Todd (Elijah Wood) isn’t having the best life. His bellhop job sucks and he’s about to be fired from it anyway, there is virtually no money to speak of, his sister Amanda (Hannah Marks) has this odd disease and needs fairly constant care, and to top it all off, he just met Dirk Gently (Samuel Barnett). After catching a vision of himself in a very odd getup following Gently, Todd gets himself caught up in Dirk’s world of half-baked suppositions, barely understood clues, and connections that are more often than not out of this world!

It takes a good deal of hullaballoo and storytelling frippery to get the explanatory episode, so I’m going to go ahead and broadly spoil as much of it as I can explain. Some years in the past, an inventor, Patrick Spring, made a time machine that actually worked. In fact, it worked a little too blasted well. After encountering different versions of himself from the present-past and the future, our inventor decides to get rid of the time machine, but of course by then its far too late. This odd secret society of folk have discovered that the time machine has other useful properties to explore, and start switching their spirits into other bodies. (This process can be used even on animals, sometimes with interesting magical side effects too, hence the kitten shark..) Lydia Spring (Alison Thornton) is the modern-day heir of our original inventor and the secret society of body-swapping sort-of immortals are after her, and a whole mess ends up with Lydia switching bodies and spirits with her corgi dog. The hunt for Lydia is on, and all perceptions of regular reality must be suspended before we can go on to assist Dirk in his holistic investigation!

Dirk has plenty of secrets and troubles of his own, aside from being unable to fully explain what a “holistic detective” does to Todd, or incapable of fully understanding the impact his presence alone will have on the boring life of the ex-bellhop. Estevez (Neil Brown Jr.) and Zimmerfield (Richard Schiff), Missing Persons cops looking for Lydia too, have taken to following him. Gordon Rimmer (Aaron Douglas), the self-proclaimed leader of the super secret society, has sent beaters after Dirk too. And oh yeah, “holistic assassin” Bart Churlish (Fiona Dourif) and her friendly little hostage Ken (Mpho Koaho), are hunting Dirk Gently for inexplicable reasons too. Meanwhile, the former bodyguard of Lydia’s father, Farah Black (Jade Eshte), is looking for Dirk because she thinks he’ll know how to find Lydia and what might have befallen her. Also the Rowdy 3, a gang of guys with some kind of psychic abilities that the government has been trying to study (along with others, like Dirk himself) are out and about, ready to give spiritual and sometimes physical beatdowns to those who need it the most!

The show itself is incredibly zany, with plenty of nailed British-style cheek, and often tongue-in-cheek humor that, even when put into context with some kind of “okay, maybe that makes sense” explanation, is so wacky one just has to laugh at it. Or scream. Todd sometimes does both, in that memorable Elijah Wood as Frodo Baggins turning into his own Gollum style. Fiona Dourif is the daughter of Brad Dourif, known for his own unique style of acting, and she brings the legacy of her fathers distinct madness to the role. Seeing Aaron Douglas as several noticeably different characters in one body is a rare treat. And while the iffy science may not always make sense, like another enduringly famous BBC show, the formation of Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency at the end of season one makes the whole weird, wild and wonderful ride one worth taking!

Go back in time with Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency Season One on BBC America!