Archive for Television

‘Colony’ Season Two finale: Total Rendition

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

colonys2

 

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.

‘Designated Survivor’ Premiere: It could be you, too

Posted in Action, drama, suspense with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on September 28, 2016 by aliciamovie

designatedsurvivor

Reviewed by Alicia Glass

So Tom Kirkland (Kiefer Sutherland) is what we in the storytelling world call the Everyman – he has a thankless government job (Housing and Urban Development) that brings him in constant contact with the little people, a loving wife (Natasha McElhone) and two children (the adorably snarky little girl and the drug-dealing teenage son), and he’s just trying to do the best he can and get by. In fact, yes, before this nonsense went down, Tom was about to be “gifted” a new job as ambassador to … do we even remember? Tom asks, in disbelief, is that even a thing? Doesn’t matter, he’s assured it is indeed a thing now, and while ambassadorial perks are peachy, it means uprooting his family yet again, to Canada this time, and effectively admitting he’d just been fired from the Secretary of Housing job.

None of this sits well with Tom, of course, but he chooses not to make a fuss on the night of the Presidents State of the Union address, despite the added insult to injury business of having all his HUDS talking points removed from the speech. He and his politico wife Alex are just hangin out in the secret location for the Designated Survivor, the one person we know damned well and can prove is part of our American government and somewhere far down the line of succession, but is ultimately expendable.

The Presidents speech is droning on while Tom and Alex have popcorn, and then hey, the channel cuts out. That would be only mildly disturbing, but then Secret Service rushes in like the world had just officially ended, sending everyones pulses jackhammering, especially when Tom exposes a window to the capitol. A miniature mushroom cloud is silhouetted against the black sky where the Capitol building used to stand, and holy shit dude, Tom Kirkland, the official Designated Survivor, just by default became the freaking President of the United States.

Tom and his family, minus the teenaged son who they’re still looking for, get whisked away to the White House and suddenly the everyman politician in freaking sweats and glasses is being sworn in as the leader of the free world. And Tom ends up having the exact same reaction many of us would be having in that situation – he just hurls. There is an up side to this though, because it’s here in the bathroom that Tom meets Seth Wright (Kal Penn), a speechwriter for Congress, and apparently the one person prepared to tell Tom the actual truth and his genuine opinion.

A whole bunch more insane stuff happens to poor Tom, including his introduction to the nuclear football, his first attempts at “aggressive negotiations” with a foreign diplomat, and his meeting the psycho scorched-earth-policy military general. Hannah Wells (Maggie Q) is the FBI agent with the eternal troubled past who’s now conducting the investigation into the bombing of the capitol and the possibility of further attacks. Between Maggie Q’s authority and Sutherland’s presence, the show is a fine combination of FBI crime drama and political humanitarian drama, with a twist – in theory, any one of us could be Tom Kirkland, and have near exactly the same reactions as him. Kiefer Sutherland has been a wonderful dramatic actor for years, and Designated Survivor continues to showcase his family acting dynasty talents. Hopefully the show can keep the same tempo going they had in the pilot episode, so we can continue to appreciate the superb drama of this show, to combat the farce of our real-life current political situation, if nothing else.

Comic-Con International 2012 — Falling Skies

Posted in Action, drama, horror, Romance, Sci-Fi, suspense with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on July 24, 2012 by aliciamovie

Website: Falling Skies

I can recall going to the very first Falling Skies panel back when it was still in production and hadn’t even been on the air yet – the room for the panel was a 3rd of what it was for 2012. Obviously, FS has a huge fanbase now, gets a respectable sized room at CCI, and even a review show hosted by Wil Wheaton of all people, called Second Watch.

This year, we Comic-Con nutjobs were treated to a Falling Skies drool-worthy Intro to the Second Season, spoiler blurbs, and they even brought back a cast member we thought had either died or disappeared with the alien bad guys. (Those of you watching the show will know whom I mean at this point.) Remi Aubuchon, Producer of the show, even dropped word that soonish, Tom Mason would be running into an old acquaintance, played by the ever-amazing Terry O’Quinn. That would be John Locke from Lost, for those of you playing Sci-Fi Monopoly.

The main exhibit Hall had a booth where you could get your picture taken being harnessed just like on the show, and in exchange for a short stint in line (at least mine was), and a flash in my face, I got a 3-light flashing Spike badge to hang off the back of my CCI badge – awesome. Plus later, I exchanged my panel ticket for a Falling Skies 2nd Mass bracelet at the Fullfillment Room – double awesome.

Posted by Alicia Glass 

Hatfields & McCoys

Posted in Action, drama, Historical, Romance with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on July 20, 2012 by aliciamovie

Reviewed by Alicia Glass

Production Co: Thinkfactory Media

Website: Hatfields & McCoys

Review Rating: 8

The story of a bitter blood feud between two families over the West Virginia and Kentucky river borders after the civil war ended.

This is actually a long-standing story that was referred to in a lot of older cartoons I watched when I was younger – Looney Tunes and Disney mostly. Two pioneer style mountain type families, the men all in hats and beards, the women in Little House on the Prairie dresses with their hair up, all a-feudin and a-fightin and a-lovin and a-dyin. This version of the actual story of the Hatfields and the McCoys, is a lot darker, but there is a lot more grit and realism too.

So we start off with the incredibly memorable Kevin Costner, who’s finally back in a role at which he excels, the reluctant anti-hero “Devil” Anse Hatfield, instead of those godawful romantic comedies he had been gracing us with. Bill Paxton, who astounds in these kinds of roles right out of Tombstone and the like, is Randall McCoy, leader of the opposing family. The two of them start off at the end of the civil war, where ‘Devil’ Anse decides he’s plumb had enough already, and deserts his post while Randall looks on in disapproval and disbelief. Some while later, Randall is released from his own post, and takes his disapproval all the way home to his stunned wife, turning his own thanks to God for leading him home to his family. The show does a fine job of reminding the audience of this original disapproval of Anse abandoning his post, when originally McCoy and Hatfield loved eachother like brothers serving in the army for years. And soon, trouble begins. There’s arguments over logging rights, boundary properties, a sly McCoy lawyer (he doesn’t use that last name, so one has to be reminded of that fairly often), and a Hatfield judge doing his damnedest to remain impartial to the law. The wives would be friends, but their menfolk don’t approve, and it’s always the women and children who suffer for these kinds of feuds. Anse’s brother is beat to hell and shot down at the fair, there’s a whole actual trial in the courthouse over who owns the pig, and each time emphasis is placed on the fact that, when things are brought to the Family heads, they take revenge yes always, but in as restrained a manner as they can manage. Anse and Randall were originally brothers, friends at least, and they both in their own way try to minimize collateral damage.

Much to do is made about the supposed romance between Johnse Hatfield and Roseanna McCoy, though for the life of me, it didn’t seem like much of a romance at all. Johnse has a bit of a reputation for seducing pretty girls, and when he falls head over lust over Roseanna, the fact that she’s a McCoy just adds danger spice to his already overflowing libido. Nothing for it but for them to get found out, her to get knocked up, Roseanna disappears to a relative to give birth and fairly soon after that both mother and child die from some mysterious wasting disease that’s classified as depression. This entire time, Johnse has sworn up down and sideways that he loves Roseanna, and yet, rarely puts in the effort required to visit her and ends up seducing (or is it the other way round) her best friend Nancy. Another McCoy – shocking.

I don’t want to spoil the ending, but it is a very good show. The middle gets a little more muddled over family feuds than I would like, simply preferring to focus on the veteran actors in the roles of Family Heads, but that’s me. Costner and Paxton really are the stars of this show, having earned their spurs all over the place in similar films already. Tom Berenger is Jim Vance, Anse’s eldest uncle and the personal psycho whirling dervish of the Hatfield clan. Powers Boothe is Judge Valentine “Wall” Hatfield, and boy does he bring the house down. Matt Barr, who’s apparently been on lots and lots of TV, is Johnse Hatfield and I just didn’t care for the character, but that’s me. Lindsay Pulsipher is Roseanna McCoy, and while she did fine as the melancholy little thing, once again I just didn’t much care for the character herself. Andrew Howard is “Bad” Frank Phillips, bounty hunter turned sheriff involved in the feuding for his own reasons. Ronan Vibert is Perry Cline, smooth and deadly McCoy lawyer. A fine cast and thorough efforts at things like sets, proper costumes and adherence to the speech and mannerisms of the time, give the audience the real feel of being there.

Movie Moxie loves TV presents Grimm!

Posted in Action, comedy, drama, Fantasy, Foreign, Historical, horror, Romance, Sci-Fi, suspense with tags , , , , , , , , , , on May 2, 2012 by aliciamovie

Reviewed by Alicia Glass

Creators: Stephen Carpenter, David Greenwalt, Jim Knouf

Website: GrimmWiki

Review Rating: 8

Homicide detective Nick Burkhardt discovers his heritage of the Grimm bloodline, ancient peace-keepers between humanity and the supernaturals of the world!

So Nick’s Aunt is sick and dying, and comes to tell Nick about his family heritage, bringing a whole arsenal of knowledge and family weapons in a trailer for him. As soon as she does die, Nick dives headlong into the world of the Wesen, which is what they call the Supernatural crowd here in Oregon. Matter of fact, they have different names for all the Supes in these parts, and there are a lot of them – werewolves, ratkin, lizardmen, avians and many more, all get unpronounceable names like Hesslichen that Grimm nevertheless adheres to faithfully. Nick does his best to juggle his girlfriend Juliette, who isn’t aware of his double life and it drives Nick insane to try and keep it that way; his partner at the station, Detective Griffin, who almost had his heart literally eaten by what I gather to be a witch-monster called a Hexen; and a police chief that we the audience know is involved in the Wessen world in one form or another, that Nick doesn’t know about. Yet. In somewhat later episodes, reformed Blutbad (Werewolf) Monroe ends up helping Nick, and is now starting to aid him in the cause of turning over Wesen to the Grimm side.

It really is a fantastic series. The writing is top notch, fairy tales are made monster stories in reality and vice versa, and because they’re (at least in the storyline) in Oregon, there’s no need for sets or a whole lot in the way of CGI. When these Wessen encounter the Grimm, almost inevitably they have a fear reaction and their face will shift to whatever creature they happen to actually be. You’d think it would be a somewhat cheap way to indicate monsters without makeup, but somehow the writing just makes it work. The writers love their Grimm fairy tales, but give them a modern-day twist and believeability all their own. The Brothers Grimm fairy tales, the real ones not the sugar-coated version, were actually very dark and so fits modern television quite well. Every episode, laced with the CSI-like qualities of the police force solving murder mysteries, combined with the acceptance of this only slightly hidden supernatural world, is a triumph. Seriously, go watch it!

Movie Moxie loves TV presents The Pillars of the Earth

Posted in Action, drama, Fantasy, Historical, Romance, suspense with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on March 24, 2012 by aliciamovie

Reviewed by Alicia Glass

Studio: STARZ Entertainment

Website: The Pillars of the Earth

Review Rating: 8

Based on the book by Ken Follet, a story of intrigue love and betrayal, set against a backdrop of 12th centuryEngland.

Okay, so. It is a miniseries, and yes I did enjoy it. Each character is generally wrought with extreme care, the backdrops and sets and costumes and such were all exquisitely and historically accurately represented, and all those things combine to make an awesome show. Or would, if it had been more widely advertised. I was barely aware that it was coming out on the STARZ channel, much less when, I think I caught it considerably after the premiere. But hey, that just means I can watch all the episodes without pesky interruption or having to wait for next week.

It seems to be a series that centers around love in it’s myriad manner of expression. I didn’t say love of a person necessarily though, but other stranger things – love of ambition and wealth, love of power and the ability to do anything to get it, even the love of one’s own skill and the desire to make it last for decades if not centuries. To begin with we have Tom the Builder, stonemason artist who’s touring the countryside with his family, looking for work. Phillip is a monk who eventually becomes the Prior of Kingsbridge, where Tom sort of settles. Aliena is the Noblewoman who loses her father to intrigue in the Court, taking her brother and scratching out a living for themselves, despite the challenges for a woman with a biting tongue in these times. Lord William is a sadistic Nobleman with an even worse mother, whose entire family ambitions (other than incest) seem to be to get William to rise as high as possible in the Court. To do this, mother arranges all sorts of nasty dealings with Bishop Waleran, an ambitious and hardly holy man, who is by turns capricious and forgiving. Jack Jackson is the son of supposed witch (near the beginning) Ellen, who was cast out of Kingsbridge and lives on the fringes, still yet a good life. Jack was apparently the issue of a run-in with a single prisoner Ellen took pity on some years ago, who escaped a fiery boat of Nobles and Royals capsizing, that led to Lord William and his mother, and Bishop Walern for that matter, all their rises to power. The King is a man beset by terrible visions of the atrocities he’s committed, and continues to do so, despite what it does to his health and conscience. The cast of characters brought to vivid if dirty life on the small screen gives us a fine performance. The show creators take great pains to display to the audience just how each piece of the whole weaves it’s way among the other, how everything is connected, to even the slowest of audiences. However, you do have to be a fan of this sort of medieval story, similar perhaps to Braveheart or Pope Joan, both of which I enjoyed immensely.

There are some scenes where the reality of the setting presented to us gets a little too real – rape, robbery, murder, corruption in the House of the Lord, all that stuff. Please bear in mind, it’s just a story and not some semi-accurate portrayal of 12th century English Noble life. However I do think it was an amazingly well-made piece of cinema, and if you want the mega-happy ending, go elsewhere.

Donald Sutherland stars as Bartholomew, Noble father of Aliena. Ian McShane of Pirates of the Carribean: On Stranger Tides fame, stars as Bishop Waleran; how wicked he is. Rufus Sewell of Dark City is Tom Builder, he did a very fine job at evoking love for his characters craft. Eddie Redmayne of My Week With Marilyn notoriety is Jack Jackson, whether speaking or mute delivers an awesome performance. Hayley Atwell, who starred in Captain America as Peggy, is Aliena, strongest female this side of Kingsbridge and then some. Matthew Macfayden of the recent Three Musketeers remake name, stars as Phillip, the Prior of Kingsbridge, and his performance was worth any pause there might have been in the story itself. Richard, brother to Aliena who go off to war, stars as Sam Claflin, also from Pirates of the Carribean. Other names and actor faces you may recognize are scattered throughout the show, and it’s worth it to watch even to just play name that celebrity.

Movie Moxie loves TV presents Lost Girl

Posted in Action, comedy, drama, Fantasy, Historical, horror, Romance, Sci-Fi, suspense with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on March 19, 2012 by aliciamovie

Reviewed by Alicia Glass

Creator: M.A. Lovretta

Website: Lost Girl

Review Rating: 7

Bo is what turns out to be a Succubus, thrust into the world of the Fae without choosing a Light or Dark side, with her trusty gothic sidekick Kenzie.

So apparently the world the Fae includes things like vampires, shapeshifters, and yes even Succubi. Now, if you happen to be a fan of the storybook Fae, or movies or history or whatever, then you know already that they have their own cultures and traditions and castes and clans. That does not include Succubi and the like, who are technically Demons. Doesn’t matter – we go on. All sorts of Fantasy-style creatures are mentioned in this interesting modern take on the Fae world – like a creature from Japan, a Kappa, who is once again technically a water demon (which means something very different to them) and can be considered a Fae, sure. There’s a bar owned by a Dwarf, where Bo meets with a lot of these Fae over drinks.

Bo is a Succubus, sexy and seductive and dangerous, yes. This means she feeds off humans (and others) when she has sex, and has been running from city to city leaving a trail of dead bodies behind her. She comes to some as yet unnamed city, gets entangled with the Fae there, and gets told she’s one of them. Of course now Bo has to decide which side, Light Fae or Dark, to belong to, and give up her cherished newfound freedom. So Bo decides, to belong to neither side, but still be involved in this whole Fae world, not that she really has a choice. She takes up residence in the city in some rundown place, with Kenzie, and begins trying to forge relationships with the various Fae she knows, learn about her real parents, and control her “condition”.

I actually rather enjoy this series, and frankly didn’t expect to. It is SyFy, so the ability of the writers and the CGI used is anyone’s guess. I enjoy the Woodland Fae Dyson that Bo seems to have latched onto; Kenzie has the best one-liners anywhere; and the interesting dynamic between Bo and the human doctor trying to help her manage her “condition” and not be seduced in the process makes for really steamy scenes. The show does rather remind me of Laurell Hamilton’s book series Meredith Gentry, all about Fae royals in modern times. For fans of the SyFy channel and the whole Fantasy/SciFi/Horror mashup deal, this show could be for you.