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The Mandalorian: Chapter 4: Sanctuary (2019)
Season 1, Episode 4
Gina Carano!
5 December 2019
I've been a fan of Gina Carano since she was in two episodes of Almost Human. She created a realistic character here, almost a match for The Mandalorian. I'm glad she played one of the good guys here, rather than an evil robot.

Where do you THINK Mando would go after committing the biggest sin a bounty hunter could ever make?

This episode shows there really aren't any safe places for him and "Baby Yoda", as every bounty hunter in the galaxy has a tracking fob, idyllic as it was, he can't stay on that planet.

Meanwhile there is still dangerous tech left over from the Empire, and it has to be dealt with.

A gang of reptilian booze-thieves were a little easier to deal with than that creature with the horn, or a hundred bounty hunters. Since all of the 1-stars are verbatim dupes, we can dismiss them and move on. It is as if they are whining about the director, not the episode.

Maybe they can make a baby Yoda meme.
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Watchmen: An Almost Religious Awe (2019)
Season 1, Episode 7
Elephants have great memories, heh?
2 December 2019
Remember what I said about stories? The bricks all fall at once in this one. Or better yet, the claw hammer.

The 7th Calvary a.k.a. the "gang of Rorschachs" want to do something that's totally crazy, and Silk Spectre II falls for it. Or, at least she falls.

Once upon a time there was an intrinsic field chamber... it created a superhero. And then some slimebags wanted to create an Ubermensch.

Whenever I think this show can't get any more over the top, it does.

It's not just the non sequitur storyline, it's the imagery, and the music, and the research. It's as if somebody put a lot of time researching what these disparate aspects of Watchmen would look like. We were told Dr. Manhattan won the Vietnam war but we were never shown what Vietnam would look like as the 51st American state. This isn't merely a sequel to watchmen, this is a continuation of the original limited series, it's as if that limited series became an ongoing comic book that we get to read now. And all of the little references get expanded upon.

There is still a lot of that missing story between then and now that we don't know. Why is Ozymandias where he is? Who is the woman who purchased his company? All of these things appear to be "intrinsically" connected, we will know the outcome soon enough. But still, nine episodes is just not enough.

Look out for people who may not be be who they are. And claw hammers.
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Watchmen: This Extraordinary Being (2019)
Season 1, Episode 6
Chasing Maguffins
29 November 2019
When I can almost piece together what is happening from the clues but still get my buttocks kicked, that's when a story is successful.

I didn't expect that at all.

This whole subplot involving Grampa, I dismissed as a distraction. Until it turns out to be the main point. And it turns out he was telling the truth.

I love it when things are not as they seem. I also love piecing together clues and feeling satisfied when I get it right. But I love having my arse kicked even more.

But it's the cinematography of this episode that makes it great. It starts out as an LSD trip that turns into a perfect period piece.

It also stitches together several things that we saw in the first episode.

By reading the watchmen comic books or watching the excellent film we are introduced into this universe, and even though there are slight differences between the alternate universe of the film compared to the comic, this show is still the perfect continuation of both of those.

So now we know why there is a gang of Rorschachs, and why the police wear masks. But the reveal in this chapter is the very heart of the series, and it was beautiful.

I was hoping there would be a little bit more about the Minutemen, but we are fed a few visual homages to the comic and film, just enough to satisfy.

In both the comic and the film we are only given short vignettes regarding the Minutemen and the Watchmen. I suppose what we thirst for, as fans of the comic, is more of that history. We were given a little bit of that tonight, but it was still just more of a teaser.

It was a whole new take on the concept of the "flashback". Well done!
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Star Trek: Voyager: Muse (2000)
Season 6, Episode 22
It's true, there is a lot of Greek in this episode
24 November 2019
This episode is an episode within an episode.

It is a play based on the episode being created and performed within the episode.

It's not the technical aspects of Star Trek that we need to focus on here, those things never have been important. Doesn't really matter whether the science is correct or not or feasible or not.

The science has always been part of the "wagon train to the stars" which Gene Roddenberry created back in the 60s, instead of a wagon train being drawn by horses across the country to lands that nobody had ever seen other than Native American tribes, The enterprise, voyager, the ships in deep space nine, NX01 enterprise, and even Discovery (Discovery even more so, actually- because they have gone the furthest any Trek has gone before in space and time)- these are the wagon trains that Janeway and her crew are riding. "It's always about the journey".

Kelis the Poet has accidentally stumbled onto a gold mine, as most of the best entertainments in our time are based partially on real events, and all of the best writers for movies and television write from the perspective of things that they had personally seen firsthand: Kelis finds The Delta flyer on a rocky ridge, with one survivor intact.

He listens to the Flyer's logs and is able to piece together the plot of this episode which he turns into a play.

But the ongoing plight of Torres gives him even more material, and they become necessary collaborators.

Kellie Waymire (RIP) plays his GF and co-actor, who gets a little miffed because of the time Kelis is putting into his tale of the "voyager eternals"

"Shining voyager, far from home"

Despite this unusual episode being an episode within an episode, there is a lot of theatrical truth that Kelis gives us. He talks about the power of theatre, and the ability to change the direction of a leader. Which is a good thing. I wish we had an actual leader that could be moved by theater, but in 2019 we don't, perhaps after 2020, we will.

One thing that I've never noticed before (despite the Trivia entry that talks about this) is that the masks that the "Kelis Players" use in the production are pretty fair representational images of the various voyager crew that are being depicted. That is something I had not noticed and I have seen this episode at least a dozen times.

This episode is an important behind the scenes look at the creation of any show and of voyager in general, and how one story is created. We see Kelis discussing his play in a room with his other actors which are also pitching in, this is how any modern show operates as well, they have a room where they pitch ideas back-and-forth. This is generally called "the bull-pen", and it is used in comicbook creation as well. It's a time honored tradition.
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Watchmen: Little Fear of Lightning (2019)
Season 1, Episode 5
Holy #%%!
19 November 2019
This episode elevates it all to the quality of the original comic.

And, the reason why there is a gang of a Rorschachs running amok is revealed. If you have read the original comics, or watched either the motion comic or the film, the ending of those are the same.

Just remember the final thing that happens in the film version. That pretty much explains it, but you actually have to see it for yourself. So we get an idea of why, but the next big question is what?

Everything here focuses on the cop who calls himself "looking glass". Who he was and who he is, and why he is looking glass in the first place.

Also, we finally get to see exactly where Adrian Veidt has been stashed away for all of these years, so the question is still who is responsible?

Sooner or later Dr. Manhattan is going to show up. But when, and where? And, why?

The pieces keep falling into Place, while everything else falls apart.

I find myself looking forward to this show every weekend.
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The Mandalorian (2019– )
I want more of the Bounty-Bot!
17 November 2019
THAT was cool!

I just got done with the 2nd episode, and things are rapidly falling into place.

This is like watching sections of any given Star Wars movie (the best parts) every week. I wasn't expecting this kind of production value. On this scale.

My only complaint? The episodes are too short! Should be longer.

Regardless of that, I look forward to more episodes of this.
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Lost in Space (2018– )
90% of the negative reviews are from burner accounts
17 November 2019
Approximately 90 out of every 100 reviews for shows and films on IMDb are verbatim duplicates by Burner IMDB accounts.

And then some trolly user writes a recent review and titles it "90% of the positive reviews are from burner accounts"


Note to Moderators: The above quote is the actual title of a REVIEW that was POSTED and ACCEPTED not long ago, so why is my review not being accepted?

It is the other way around actually, the positive (or honestly critical, rather than labeling shows "politically correct" or "feminist") reviews are from real users who have been using this site for the last 15 years.

"Do what you accuse others of doing"- A notorious war criminal once said.

This show however is an excellent re-envisioning of the original show: it's a lot more interesting than the slapstick Irwin Allen version, which Jonathan Harris totally destroyed by making it all about him. But I'm sure in that original show that Jonathan Harris did not deliberately set out to ruin the show by making his character ridiculous. Between this show and the original show I would say that the original show is the one that had extremely bad writing, such as changing Dr. Smith's character from a dangerous spy (as she is depicted here) and turning him into a buffoon who always calls the robot a "Bumbling Boobie".

In fact the Dr. Smith character here is depicted as a very clever woman who has learned how to manipulate people by twisting facts around. Kind of like the current vagrant in the "orange" house.

Then there are a number of fake reviews, basically all identical that are calling this show "PC" or "feminist" or something like that, simply because there are strong women characters. Get stuffed.

Everything that the original show should have been, this show is. It has interesting story lines, clever plot twists, real science that is expounded upon, and in some cases real science that was used to describe the involvement of what becomes "the robot"

This robot did not come with the ship, Will Robinson kind of inherited it. There's not really any explanation of what it actually is or what it's purpose is only that at some times it has done bad things and at other times it has become Will Robinson's friend.

And I liked how that was developed in some of these episodes, the robot appeared to actually be learning how to become a friend to not just will Robinson but to the stranded colonists.

Also I liked the idea that it wasn't just one family stranded on this planet, there were a number of "Jupiter" spacecraft, each with the ability to become a habitat when they reach their destination.

As the show goes on we see a complicated relationship between all of the crew of the different Jupiter ships, so at times it is difficult to see exactly what is going on. Or better yet it would be better to say that it would be difficult for any one person to be aware of everything that was going on, on the planet with all of these different ships spread out. So when something very important is happening, it is usually happening many miles away from the people who need to know that it is happening. In this way the show has more of a real life sense ability to it.

But the best thing that I like about this show is that even for a brief cameo, the real Dr. Zachary Smith was played by Bill Mumy. I was hoping that there would be more of his involvement, we really don't know what happens to that character after his brief interaction with "June Harris"- which I am sure is a small homage to Jonathan Harris. Who never really wanted to be involved with the franchise when they made the movie version in the 90s- this is one of those shows, like Star Trek the next generation, it only works as an episodic television show, and that's how it was intended. To make these shows into feature length movies is difficult because there's not really enough time in a two hour movie to tell the same story that the television show told.

Although there is a superfluity of fake accounts writing one star reviews and voting down the positive reviews, i'm glad that this show has kept a rating that is basically above 7.0 on IMDb - it's kind of like how sometimes gerrymandering doesn't work when there are enough people angry so that they show up to the polls to vote.

Because people do not rush to their computers, typewriters, hand devices and what not when they hate something, unless they are being paid to write an opinion for every movie or television show that they watch. And due to some of these reviews that I have read, I get the positive impression that the person writing it did not even bother to watch the show, and/or, they were handed a piece of paper which told them exactly what you write due to the fact that these reviews appear to repeat themselves over and over and over again.

When normal television viewers don't like something, they do not go out of their way to write 50 1-star reviews that are identical.
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The "Threshold" Episode of Short Treks
10 November 2019
This is almost as insane as the Star Trek Voyager season 2 episode "Threshold" which goes beyond all previous limits for high comedy and insanity in Trek. In that Episode, Tom Paris, when trying to accomplish one thing, ends up doing something entirely unexpected, and it just elevates from that point, up until the last second of the episode.

Same thing here.

When we first see Edward, we think, "Who IS this Idiot"? But that is just the start of the debacle.

I'm glad this was merely a short Trek, I could not have tolerated the induced laughter if this were a full length episode.

And of course it is great to see the continued tales involving Captain Pike and the original crew of the Enterprise.
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For All Mankind (2019– )
A most incredible piece of speculative fiction and alternate history
8 November 2019
To all of the fake accounts giving this show a one star: Get stuffed. Really, go back to freaking Breitbart and complain about it there, you don't like entertainment in general anyway so why are you here?

What we have here is a single person pretending to be 20 to 50 different people all giving the same exact one star review, while at the same time down voting any positive review. This activity is really tiresome and I have been telling IMDb repeatedly that we are tired of seeing this garbage.

Go back to Reddit and 8chan.

When the episodes for the show are rated up to 9.0 and the show itself is rated 6.6, you know that there's been some buggery going on with fake IMDb accounts. They did/are doing the same thing to Watchmen.

Ronald D Moore from deep space nine hasn't done this good a job since deep space nine and battlestar Galactica.

The show gives an accurate depiction down to the last detail of exactly what would've happened had the Russians beat the United States to the moon.

I mean, there would still be a "space race" going on today- this is exactly what would have happened.

The show also accurately depicts the way Nixon treated Werner von Braun, without which none of our rockets would have gone 1 inch into the atmosphere.
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Watchmen (2019– )
Follows the comic book rather than the film
7 November 2019
Once I understood that, several scenes made more sense to me such as the raining squid.

This series starts out a little bit slow but halfway into the second episode things just start clicking into place.

Jeremy Irons appears to be the perfect person to play the aging Adrian Veidt. Keep an eye on his two assistants, nothing is as it seems.

The history that we missed between the ending of the comic book and the beginning of the show unravels itself through the episodes of this series, so at first we don't know what the hell is going on but little by little we get a picture of what exactly happened.

By the time episode three comes around, be prepared for a familiar person (but not face) to join the show.

The big mystery is exactly who does Lou Gossett Junior represent here? And that is another story that unravels as each episode goes by.

Don't understand the negative reaction to this, this is done very well.

We also get to see the return of a familiar vehicle that a certain watchmen used to fly around. But that is not the only gadget in this series.

in a way, this show parallels what is happening in this country right now except to a more pronounced degree. Ghod help us if it ever gets as bad as this, we will need masked vigilantes.
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Farscape: Rhapsody in Blue (1999)
Season 1, Episode 13
Best Episode of Season 1
23 October 2019
And it has something that many people overlook: This episode has some of the best music by Braedy (Spelling?) and Chris Neal aka "SubVision".

Subvision offered Farscape an appropriately outrageous soundtrack for each of the episodes they provided content for. When Guy Gross took over during "The Way We Weren't", the music suddenly took a traditional turn that did not match the imagery or tone we were seeing. He did create new Theme music for the show that had interesting Homages to SubVision, but Gross was basically a traditional composer, while SubVision created not only musical sounds, but interesting textures of sounds and sound effects that matched the strangeness we were seeing week after week. It was a stark, unexpected and unwelcome change for the show. When they left the show, they were missed, and they also unexpectedly vanished from existence, they did no more work after Season 2's "Crackers Don't Matter". That was it, no more SubVision. I've never heard any reason why they suddenly vanished, it's a mystery.

This episode had the strongest SubVision music, 2nd only to to "Jeremiah Criton" as far as 1st Season soundtracks go.

Regarding this episode, it begins with a surreal , shared set of soggy dreams accompanied by an elongated Starburst from Moya.

It seems Moya's crew were summoned by one of Zotah Zha'an's people, a "Woman" who wanted something from Zha'an but went about asking for it in the most utterly wrong way possible. Criton starts remembering a woman he was having a fling with before he became an astronaut, and those memories keep changing. As do the perceptions of Aeryn and Ka D'argo and Rygel. Something is rotten, but this is not Denmark.

We learn things about Zha'an that make her less Goddesslike, more Human. Her kind and giving nature this time puts her in a spot of real trouble.

But mostly we get to see how Delvian conflicts are resolved,: With Delvians, things are never how they originally seem. There is a lot of subtlety in this episode, that's how Delvians are. There is also Hypocrisy. But it is all hidden beneath a false presentation of Piety.

Ironically, it's Criton who sees the impropriety, even through the constantly changing memories of the woman "Alex".

Thanks to the Blue Ray version of this show, there is some startling imagery in this escapade of the Uncharted Territories.
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Red Dragon (2002)
A Francis Dolarhyde with more depth
17 October 2019
As much as I was a fan of "Manhunter" with William Peterson and Tom Noonan, this film elevates the character of Francis Dolarhyde (Ray Fiennes) to a level of depth and humanity that he lacked in the first Version of this film.

There are several remarkable things about this film including an origin story showing one of the incidents that was described in silence of the lambs, namely the flute player Benjamin Raspail and how he was dealt with by Hannibal Lecter.

It also shows FBI agent Will Graham ( Edward Norton) figuring out exactly what Lecter had been doing.

You have yet another version of Jack Crawford, this time played by Harvey Keitel. But the humanizing of Francis Dolarhyde was pushed further by showing his relationship with colleague Reba McLane (Emily Watson), which shows us the possibility that Dollarhide wasn't a black and white character he was a human and he even had second thoughts about what he was doing. This is in stark contrast to the way Tom Noonan play the same character, as strictly evil.

There are plenty of Brett Ratner's favorite actors in this, he always uses them in his movies, such as Ken Leung, Brenda Strong and Bill Duke as well as another actor who always shows up, William Lucking.

All the old favorites are back, we have Barney, we have Dr. Chilton, played by Frankie Faison and Anthony Heald ( Anthony plays a psychiatrist similar to Dr. Chilton in the X-Men three film, also directed by Ratner.

This film basically takes a lot of the scenes from Manhunter and develops them a little further and in some cases doing exact homages to them, but it is the added depth and the expanded Hannibal Lecter storyline that makes it interesting and plants this film directly into the Hannibal Lecter franchise as a film of some importance.

There was a woman in one of the scenes where the FBI agents are discussing things and I recognized her as being Elizabeth Dennehy, who helped beat the Borg in Star Trek the next generation. Also the sister of another Dennehy. Finally take notice of the conductor at the scene at the beginning that is none other but Lalo Schifrin, The composer of the original mission impossible theme.
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The best Babylon 5 "Movie"
16 October 2019
If you consider that "Third Space" might be the second best.

There are many reasons why this standalone Babylon 5 "episode" put out by Turner the year after Babylon 5 ended it's "five year mission" is the absolute best of the entire series and standalone "films "and other related Babylon 5 spinoffs, Martin Sheen is of course being the best reason, the reappearance of Michael Garibaldi is another. Other interesting things appear like Ian McShane as a thoroughly unstable scientist, and of course the best reason, Tracy Scroggins as a Lockley Hologram with less clothes on.

What this particular "episode" of Babylon 5 has got going for it, and this is something that has been part of Babylon 5 for a long time, is that we have a very dark and mysterious story intertwined with high comedic elements, and they work together here as well as they did during the series in general. This is just a point that I diffidently need to remind the other so-called Babylon 5 fans here, that comedy plus dark elements were part of the structure of the series from the very beginning, including "The Gathering". So I really don't understand why they are complaining about the mixture HERE, where the production of Babylon 5 had more room to explore these facets in an "elongated" episode.

And of course, after a disturbing "grave robbing" seen that involved McShane, we get into the comedy elements before we realize something else is not quite right: there is a "holobrothel" on Babylon 5, however, these are not at all like the holosuites owned by Quark on Deep Space Nine, which I am pretty sure that this is a reference and homage to in the first place- because of the fact that this holobrothel appears to be put together by scotch tape and paper clips, whereas in Deep Space nine they used cutlery and a metal ladle as conductive elements (see deep space nine episode "our man Bashir".)

So we have this almost high comedy routine between Lockley and the crooked brothel owner "Jacob Mayhew" played by Joel Brooks, and even a triangle of sorts at that when you add in the antics of ambulance chasing lawyer "James Riley" played by Stuart Pankin, which is traditional comedy of the variety that we used to have in the 1930s pre-code films, and don't forget the involvement of Zack (Grease's Jeff Conway, rip).

With this circus in place, in steps Dr. Robert Bryson (McShane), Who was being paid by Garibaldi's former boss to look for eternal life, and you think he is going to add more comedy into this farce but instead he has something that used to belong to a race that we have only seen twice before: the Soul Hunters.

Enter Martin Sheen as the Soul Hunter.

The only soul Hunter we had ever met previously was the one who was after Delenn- in the very second episode of the Babylon 5 series played by William Morgan Sheppard, an actor eccentric enough to portray that particular soul hunters instability.

And it is surprising to find out that the soul hunter portrayed by Martin Sheen is not at all unstable. In fact he is a "young" soul hunter, he is very idealistic about the work that he does and he defends what the soul hunters do to Lockley in a very reasonable manner, although she has good arguments as to why souls should not be trapped and kept in dark whisper galleries.

Many of the things that we previously knew about soul hunters were actually shown in this episode, including the violation of one of their sanctuaries for souls.

So on one hand we have this farce including a holographic brothel and it's faulty wiring and the owners scummy lawyer, and then we have this quite marvelous tale of the soul hunters and the fact that they may have made a certain prideful mistake.

Just remember "the mind sees what it needs to see"- Dr. Franklin appears briefly not as himself but as one of those mental apparitions that Lockley needed to see.

What I liked mostly about this particular Babylon 5 "movie" is that it happens after the events of the television series and so there are no appearances by President Sheridan or Delenn, or Gkar and Londo, this is just life on Babylon 5 after the events of the series, life goes on, even though we know that there are Drakk milling about the galaxy waiting to pounce on Earth with one of the shadow Planet killers- which happens in another one of these made for TV by Turner Babylon 5 movies.

Although I have explained some of the interactions of this episode, I have not gone into detail about those, so no, I am not going to check spoilers.
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Dark Phoenix (2019)
A better take on The Dark Pheonix Saga
11 October 2019
I don't understand the slagging this film has been taking, I think this is one of the best X-Men films of the last 20 years.

Since the first X-Men film, and the liberties taken with popular storylines and characters, I had to learn how to be comfortable with those changes. And as I actually liked "X-III The Last Stand" (The best part being Magneto lifting up the Golden Gate Bridge to lay it across to Alcatraz), I was wholly disappointed with that film's take on The Dark Phoenix, in that film, The Dark Phoenix was watered down, changed into something she was NOT. However, that film is Homaged in this one in several places, with Dialogue hijacked from X-III, and the aftermath of one of Phoenix' Powers. LOOK for it! But this version has more elements from the actual Dark Phoenix crossover, it is true to the Extraterrestrial origins of the Phoenix, and the inclusion of Alien Antagonists. And it has that aspect of X-Men fighting X-Men like the comic version has. The Dark Phoenix saga, at least in Comic form, ripped the X-Men to shreds. But this telling is less of a comic book version, this version has stark realism.

Production-wise 20th Century Fox has used every trick in their well stocked playbook of special effects, including practical effects. It is difficult to identify the CGI here, other than the obvious Raven-Morph, which still uses techniques that mirror the way that looked in the 2000 X-Men film, when Mystique was played by Rebecca Rojmin-Stamos. But here, the production goes way over the top. We finally get to see things that were only depicted in the Comic Books. And it was all done well. and we still have several things we have seen before, Cerebro and the X-Jet.

As far as our 1st Class X-Men Team, all that is left is Raven (Jennifer Lawrence) and Beast (Nicholas Hoult). I am a bit disappointed that a few characters did not make it to this film, such as "Banshee" being gone since X-Men Apocalypse. But ever since "First Class", The X-Men have been consistent. Be prepared in this film for another disappointment along those lines, I was rather surprised when it happened. The "Aliens" in this film led by VOK (A reference to the White Klingon "Voq" from Discovery? Played by Jessica Chastain) are something I'm not familiar with. They are not readily identified, as I was partially expecting the SHI'IAR to finally make an entry into this story, as they were part of the original crossover, and there was even a romantic thing for Charles with an alien with a cool haircut named Lilandra. But she never appeared. Also expected, because it was teased in Apocalypse, was Mister Sinister- But there was not a peep about him.

This film appears to be an ending of the franchise, as there was no After Credits Teaser. But neither was there one in Avengers Endgame. But there has been talk of a new phase for Marvel, and I suppose some of those previously seen after credit scenes will never be referenced. I hope that at some point we get to see how Mister Sinister fits into the Marvel Universe, but I guess, not yet. Also, The X-Men cannot interact with The Avengers, until Disney can get permission to use the X-Men characters. It was a miracle that Spiderman was allowed to be included.

But I really can't comprehend the negative reaction to this. as there were so many things that were great. The imagery was excellent, the familiar aspects were familiar, the acting superb, and I just don't believe this film was so badly received. It is as if the press reactions to films these days are being dictated from Reddit or 4-8chan. One thing I have learned about Reddit and 4-8chan: if there is a huge Pogrom on Reddit about how "bad" something is, then we must RACE to watch it. This is the philosophy I have lived by for the last 6 years or so, and it has never failed me. AND, if they hated the film so much, WHY did they waste NO time rushing to their computer keyboards or hand devices to post several 1-star reviews (pretending to be several people, but actually being just ONE person) containing "Bulleted Lists" of complaints? Wrong, people who truly hate something, are not prone to waste that kind of time. Also you can tell by the incoherent language of such reviews, it's simply not the proper use of English spelling and grammar. Ergo, #Trolls. And then these same trolls use their 50 fake IMDb accounts to pretend IMDb is Reddit and "Downvote" any positive reviews of a film, so that the negative reviews all float to the top? This activity is not just with Marvel films, it's been happening all over. It's not as if we don't have an Impeachment-Ready (white/orange house) resident that encourages this activity, and we can blame Steve Bannon for it, and Breitbart.

Getting back to the film, I am pleased with how the gang of characters created with the "new" actors playing younger version of the ones we met in 2000 are slipping in to their roles. And we have seen more and more of the periphery X-Men, Psylocke in the last one, and Dazzler in this one. And ever since "Apocalypse", we have had fewer and fewer cameos from the "older" X-Men. and this time, no Wolverine at all. maybe Dan Radcliffe SHOULD be Wolverine? I would welcome THAT in an instant!

But in the end, this X-Men film has a very sad but hopeful ending, and an image of two friends playing a particular strategy game- and the hope that, The Phoenix will rise again, in Fire.
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The Expanse (2015– )
Can't believe this was Syfy Channel
24 July 2019
And, in true Syfy form, of course they cancelled the series right in the middle of an important season apparently - If I understand the trivia section correctly. Thankfully Amazon took over and did a fourth season, maybe they will do more- that would be great.

The most impressive actress in this show has been Shohreh Aghdashloo, who I first saw in X-Men 3. She always had little cameos in these films, but in this show, gee character drives a lot of the motivation and direction of the series. She does not really participate in the final season 3 episodes, not being trapped in the ring with everyone else, but her fingerprints are all over the politics that brought Earthers, Martians and Belters to a common table.

This show reminds me of Larry Niven's "Belter" stories, and his known space series of books which goes all the way back to stories of Gil "The Arm", who was a Belter who moved to earth and became a police officer for the "amalgamation of regional militia" aka ARM, Beowulf Schaeffer who had a relationship with puppeteers and flew a couple of their different general products ships, one of them into the center of the galaxy discovering that it had exploded. another to an antimatter planet (and apparently GP Hulls cannot tolerate Anti-Matter)- and his possible son Louis Wu via his GF Tanya Wu (See the book "Flatlander" by Niven) aka "Luweewu" who flew to the Ringworld and was last seen hanging out with the former "Hindmost" of the Puppeteers after saving the Ringworld from destruction, Protectors (3rd stage humans who become too smart and only are interested in preserving their own bloodline, so they always fight each other, killing everybody else in the process) and an ARM navy that was stupidly fighting each other with antimatter weapons around the orbit of the Ringworld.

But that is a huge universe created by a different author. This series of books and this show based upon those books, is restricted to our own solar system and the governments of Earth Mars and the Belt which does not really have a government.

And so we see a lot of things that also exist in the Larry Niven Known Space universe: including the mining of asteroids in the belt, or minerals and water, and the idea of Terra-forming Mars. Even the "Belter Haircuts" and tattoos of Niven's work are here. Ships landing on earth use compressed air like they do in Niven's book "World of Ptavvs", rather than using rockets. In the belt, the "Epstein Drive" is used rather than Niven's Fusion Drives. But there is still a lot of material borrowed from Niven's known space. But that's not a bad thing.

But one thing that is different about this universe is that so far, The descendants of mankind who have populated the solar system have not really encountered any possible alien life-until now.

And the concept of life that is thought up in this show is very different- in fact in 2 1/2 seasons, I still can't figure out the nature of that life form.

Thomas Jane is a Ceres cop, who is given the job of locating the daughter of a rich industrialist, Julie Mao (Father named Jules)- she is the centerpiece of the series for the first season and a half or so- even though she doesn't really appear or interact with any of the other characters other than in flashback sequences. In fact the entire first season is a search for her among other things. Thomas Jane is Joe Miller, the Ceres Cop, and has made finding her his obsession because maybe it's the one good thing that he's ever done and he becomes so absorbed in finding her it causes problems with some of the other people in this series.

Also there are quite a bit of politics in the show, sometimes directly relating to our own politics of this day, and a lot of this is extremely relevant.

We also have four people, Jim Holden, Alex Kamal, Naomi Nagata and Amos Burton, who through no fault of their own become the crew of a ship that they have named The Rocinante, they were all crew members a board a ship called The Canterbury, sent out on a rescue operation which also just so happened to involve Julie Mao...

And they become an important part of the story as well eventually Joe Miller gravitates toward them - and so does every other problem in the solar system it would seem.

Later, other crew members include a gunnery sergeant from Mars and a botanist from Ganymede- and maybe even his daughter, which she lost track of during a catastrophe on Ganymede.

I'm not sure if this show is going to continue into a fifth season, but if they can make a fifth season as interesting as the first three that I have seen, then I will definitely watch it.

There are a lot of actors that I don't recognize except for Tom Jane who was The Punisher, he is a little older now but he still looks great even with the beard, and Florence Faivre who was a very nasty piece of work Kree soldier in Agents of SHIELD, she's the one that had those two floating balls that killed people, eventually killed off by Quake in a most satisfying way...

Sometimes there are stupid decisions and arguments in some of these episodes which make me want to strangle the characters when I see it, but so far I like how things have worked out tween them, the crew of the "Roci" are friends, and this show depicts a very realistic friendship between these people. The small conflicts between each of them at the beginning of the show shows how people from all kinds of backgrounds could become good friends under the right circumstances.

There are all kinds of other things going on, on earth, on Mars, On Ships various places in the solar system, and especially at a base called Tycho where the Mormons are building an incredibly huge ship called The Navoo... that is just another problem.
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Star Trek: Deep Space Nine: Chrysalis (1998)
Season 7, Episode 5
The Biogenes return
22 July 2019
From "Statistical Probabilities"

And it was kind of fun to see them return to DeepSpace Nine, the way that they do it was kind of unique, they sneak in under the radar, but in plain sight.

Hilary Shepard who plays Lauren, always looks magnificent as this character. But the real highlight here was Faith Salie as "Serina"- it is like a light switch being flipped.

This episode is mostly about her. All I can say about this character is that the title of the episode matches what happens to the character.

And that brings me to my very minor complaint. This episode is a lot of fun up until about halfway, and then Bashir gets totally sidetracked. Probably because there was no more Jadzia for him to pine over, all of a sudden this episode is no longer an episode involving the genetically modified people, suddenly their characters are no longer the focus, and something else happens, everything gets suddenly very deep and in some cases tiresome, and we can understand something that Sarina does in this episode, because we feel it.

I was hoping that the Biogenes would do something totally off or crazy like they did the first time they appeared, but after about halfway through, their appearance in this episode is reduced to practically nothing. Of course Bashir needs to consult them because something happens that they are familiar with, but that is basically the last time that we ever see them.

It's not that I didn't like this episode but that it should have included more of the Biogenes. Mainly it's about Bashir making another incredibly stupid mistake (again).

And we've had plenty of those kinds of episodes, this episode had so much potential but it didn't live up to all of it. But it did provide some extremely unique interactions.

And of course, the universe is too heavy!
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What a pile of dren
17 July 2019
I was hoping this was some early space exploration film, it starts off fairly interesting with alleged messages from Mars, coupled with images of the unexplained loss of the Martian polar ice caps. That got me interested in it almost right away. But then at the moment that Peter Graves "wife", Andrea King, starts whining, I knew something funny was up- moments after her first outburst, this film immediately degrades into anti-communism baloney and malarkey, McCarthyism all wrapped up in stupid pseudoscientific dialogue, with semi inaccurate jargon thrown in designed to make people believe that what they were talking about was actual science, when in fact it was equivalent to what creationists try to cram down peoples throats these days. On a side note, I appreciated the idea of Creationism when Dr Walter Martin spearheaded the field, but without him, its proponents have removed every facet of real science from their "theories".

Apparently this film started off as some play, that might have gotten enough attention from a producer in Hollywood to turn it into a movie. Whoever decided to make this into a movie thought it might be a good vehicle to cram their fear propaganda down the throats of forward thinking people, the same kind of people who would go to science fiction movies who became progressive idealists and futurists like Gene Roddenberry, I imagine he rejected this film instantly, but that's exactly the target that this film was designed to put hooks into. Ironically, Peter Graves was clever enough to depict his irritation with this kind of thinking in a couple of scenes. I was born at the end of the red scare era, even after McCarthy was discredited and censured, there were still people who continued to believe the propaganda, years later. It was bad enough that I had to grow up with it. It's bad enough that this kind of thinking has magically reappeared and the word "commie" is being tossed around as an insult now to people of intelligence. This movie is a direct kick in the groin to anybody who loves science.

As a science-fiction film, I should have heard about this movie because I am a fan of all of the classics from the 50s there were some great films in the 50s, especially the day the earth stood still which is the polar opposite message of this film, and forbidden planet which is another film that gives us a message completely the opposite of this pile of crud.

As much as I love old movies like this, even some that have these kinds of negative messages, I just couldn't stomach the anti-intelligence, the stupidity of this film it. It was too much for me to take so I stopped watching about halfway through.

But that doesn't mean that this film is not important this film is actually something that we can look back upon to show the backward thinking of that era, this movie teaches us a lesson, don't use science to push backwards thinking agendas, use science for improvement.

Peter Graves character had that idea all along, but his wife was just too much to bear. We cannot be ruled by fear any longer.
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Star Trek: Voyager: Warlord (1996)
Season 3, Episode 10
Jennifers' best episode.
5 July 2019
In this episode of the range of the actress is stretched to her utter limits.

It also changes the character irrecoverably.

The whole thing is kind of a shock, because we don't know what's really going on and then all of a sudden Kes starts doing some very uncharacteristic things.

She even takes Tuvoc's teachings and uses them against him. Nothing can be taken for granted in this episode, things that would have worked before, will not work now.

But the real battle is going on within Kes herself.

This episode also changes her relationship with Neelix for the remainder of the time the character appears in the show. She is now a mature woman, at three years old. And it's also possible that this encounter gives Kes access to some of that incredibly dark stuff from "Cold Fire", because after this point she really starts coming into her mental and telekinetic abilities.

But there is no other way to say this: Kes has been violated, there was a stronger word that I can use but I'm pretty sure that bean counters at IMDb rejected my original review because I used that word. it is the most appropriate word for what has happened to Kes. But she does not accept the role of "victim" willingly, and in the end she proves to be the one who is stronger.

I'm sure my previous review had all kinds of spoilers in it, I don't really want to do that this time. But I am pretty sure that there were a few insights in that old review that were pretty important, which is why I want to see it back, thank you. Nothing makes me angrier than when I come in here to look over an episode that I had previously reviewed, and my original review has magically disappeared without any notification.
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Aquaman (2018)
Ronon Dex harpoons Aquaman
5 July 2019
I've been a fan of Aquaman since the 60's, so I'll take my own counsel about this film over anyone who was not even born at the time I was originally reading Aquaman comics. If you never read these comics as a child? If you never collected them, if you never watched the Superman-Aquaman "Hour of Adventure" cartoon show from the late 60's every Saturday morning with your brother, then you ain't qualified to review it, really. If you have, if you have taken the time do you find reprints and trade paperbacks of the old stories, well then that's good. A person should try to be at least a little bit familiar with the character before watching this. And if you don't have the money to buy a bunch of used comic books, then there is Wikipedia and other online sources that are pretty good that can fill you in with the uniqueness of this character, because once you understand the character, you will see why I highly appreciate this film.

Even though I stopped actively collecting in the 70's, I still kept up with the history of the character. Aquaman was originally a Blonde haired Blue eyed Seawater Breathing, Seahorse Riding gent who could talk to fish and swim around in the deep but not much else. He was the King of Atlantis, and so his comic books always dealt with his administration of the underwater Kingdom while his adventures with the Justice League of America sometimes took him to other planets. He's saved Superman more than once, and at one time, he grew his hair out long and lost one of his hands, replacing it with a Hook. He became a much darker, more unkempt and disheveled figure, much like Frank Miller's "The Dark Knight" version of Batman, which in my opinion Ben Affleck was the greatest depiction of.

Aquaman, this Aquaman, is the undersea, super powered version of The Dark Knight. And Jason Momoa, who became famous playing Ronon Dex in Stargate Atlantis (another fable which included Atlantis), has been the first and best version of Aquaman. I don't think anyone can take it from here.

I really don't know the state of the DC Cinematic Universe at this time, Zack Snyder started it with his Man of Steel, which lead up to the creation of The Justice League, and it is sad, very sad, that this story is not continuing. Or is it? I think I see plans for Aquaman II and Justice League II. But other New films are planned which are basically reboots of what Zack Snyder created. I don't want that, I want to see a second Justice League movie which includes the characters as they are now.

Aquaman is one of the latest films to be told in the DCCU, and it caps off the tale with a threat that grows from the deep, Arthur Curry has a half-brother (Played by Patrick Wilson, Nite Owl from Watchmen, and I admit he is very handsome as an Atlantean) who wants to be crowned "Ocean Master" which will empower him to make war upon the surface. Arthur has to prevent this somehow, and his adventures take him to Atlantis, The Sahara, my Homeland Sicily, and finally The Marianas Trench/Challenger Deep - To meet a unique creature that has killed everyone who has ever come face to "face" with it. Can Arthur survive this?

Now, the one thing about this film is that there appears to be a huge knock down drag out fight every 5 minutes. But, they are well choreographed. I thought The Atlanteans had too many Gizmos. Those are my only complaints.

I thought it was cool that Nicole Kidman is his mom while Bobba Fett's Clone-Pop is his Dad. And his GF "Mera" (Amber Heard, hm, she was married to Capn Jack Sparrow?), so it's an all in the family affair.

Mainly I loved that a character that I loved as a child has finally been given their own film, and a guy I like played him. That's all anyone can ask.

Notice - Since this review is pretty much the same as the other review that somehow got posted before this one, I'm removing "spoilers", because I did not really put any spoilers in here. This was the update to that review and it just has a few new things in it.
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Star Trek: Deep Space Nine: Armageddon Game (1994)
Season 2, Episode 13
The aliens with the coolest haircuts
5 July 2019
End up being the worst bad guys.

Dr. Bashir and chief O'Brien are helping two races, the T'Lani and the Tellerun (probably named after somebody who worked on the cast of the crew of Star Trek- see my review of "the most toys -TNG", Kivas Fajo was named after Lolita Fatjo, who worked on the production of these Trek shows). That aside, these two alien races have great haircuts but they become, again in guardians of the galaxy terminology, real "A Holes".

One thing I notice with Star Trek, especially Next Generation/Deep Space 9/voyager/Enterprise, is that all of these aliens wear a kind of uniform, and that is precisely what is going on in this episode as well. The T'Lani and Kellerun have specific uniforms, don't any of these alien races have casual attire?

Even with the Maquis, they also have a kind of uniform, even though it is closer to what casual attire would look like in the 24th century, they still have a touch of a kind of uniform that, when you see somebody dressed like this, you immediately identify them as being a member of the Maquis.

The Cardassians, that's a different story, because everybody who is Cardassian in deep space nine is generally a member of their military or one of their covert operations like the obsidian order, so it is appropriate for every Cardassian to be shown wearing the uniform. But there are Cardassian individuals who appear on the show occasionally, who do wear unique casual clothing, like Mr. Garak, and a few other Cardassian individuals who are members of their government or old girlfriends of Quark. This is the only race that actually was shown to have individuals who wore casual attire rather than an entire species uniform. About it, when the changelings take human form, they choose to all look like Odo. But maybe that is for his comfort.

But the two races in this episode are easily identifiable not just by their unique haircuts but by their unique outfits as well.

Without giving away too much of what is happening in this episode, Dr. Bashir and Chief Brian are being pursued by these people for something that we really don't understand at this point. They had been helping them get rid of a dangerous biotech, but in the process chief O'Brien became infected.

So they are on the surface of a planet within some ruins from a war torn region, and O'Brien is getting worse by the minute.

Dr. Bashir has to use his rudimentary technological class from the Academy to try to rig a means of getting help, this was before we knew that he could have repaired the thing with hardly any effort, due to his genetic "improvements".

You have to watch these episodes in retrospect, in terms of what we know about the characters later in the series, this was something that had not been introduced and of course at the time Dr. Bashir was keeping his abilities secret from everybody, for good reason. And, it is just more fun to not think about it too much until this is revealed later in the series.

Keiko O'Brien, who knows her husband extremely well, notices something in a video transmission that eventually can be used to help save O'Brien and Bashir. But how well does she really know her husband? They have only been married really for about four years at this point, maybe three.

Has she made a mistake?
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Shazam! (2019)
"Captain Marvel"
4 July 2019
That's the actual name of this character, if anyone has read the excellent "Kingdom Come" graphic novel by Alex Ross, and many DC tiles going back to the late 30's. I'm not sure if this character predates Superman, but it is one of the first DC characters ever made.

This story here, an "Origin Story", is aimed at Kids, and Zack Levi does a great job of playing this person, who suddenly gets a Grown up Body and Magic Powers. Therefore, watching the first part of this film is equivalent to scraping fingernails on a blackboard. At first, Batson doesn't get it and he causes as many problems as he fixes. He has to learn a hard lesson, and after that is when this film picks up speed and quality. Of course, this origin story which was first told in the 1930's or maybe earlier, has been modernized to include Cell Phones and Youtube and Selfies.

In Kingdom Come, Superman is depicted as the Earth's Mightiest Immortal while Billy Batson is the Earth's Mightiest Mortal, they have a gargantuan Face-Off and Supie loses big time. But later, Batson proves his Humanity and becomes a true Hero. This is one aspect of the character that was missing from this film. In fact, the confrontation with Superman was a huge part of the events that take place in the Comics. There is one scene in this film that is appropriate and Homages this historic meeting, which depicts Shazam side by side with his immortal counterpart. Now, hold on, I may be talking about Wonder Woman! So just watch the film, to see who I am talking about.

Of course, Mark Strong has to play another version of Sinestro only not as cool. Strong plays the boy "Sivana" rejected by Shazam, cos he was greedy. When such kids grow up, they become what would be labeled "A-Holes" in Guardians of the Galaxy terminology. Rule number one: When visiting a powerful wizard who tells you not to listen to any Daemons, you really should do it.

For Shazam, Batson was not really a better choice, Shazam had been testing children for years and never found a champion. So Shazam, the Wizard Shazam, has to take a chance that Batson is that guy.

We have to remember, it's "The Power of Shazam" - Which was the name of the old Serials from the 40's, "Shazam" was not the name of the character that Batson will eventually become, it is always the name of the Wizard whose powers Billy uses. In the old DC comic books, he was called "Captain Marvel"- Not to be confused with Miss Marvel or any other Marvel Comics "Captain Marvel".

There were parts of this film that were outrageously bad, but the parts that were good far outweigh that- and makes the film worth sticking with.

When Strong's "Sivana" in Child Form visits the Wizard "Shazam" (Djimon Hounsou -Ironically Sivana's father was played by John Glover, who played the devil in the show "Brimstone" some time ago), we see 6 empty thrones in the Wizard's "Lair". Keep those in the back of your mind, "File for Future reference", any good movie never wastes 6 good empty thrones. That's all you will get out of me.

Both Sivana and Batson get their childhood wishes, it's what each of them do with that heart's desire that's important. Some people should never gain any kind of power at all, look at our present Federal Administration. The difference between Sivana and Batson, was that Batson really was not looking for what he was handed. Rather, Batson was looking for something else, something that has haunted and eluded him since he was a small child. It was the reason he moves from one set of Foster parents to the next. In this film, he hits the jackpot, but he doesn't realize this right away, it takes a little bit of bruised buttocks syndrome for him to start getting it.

But once he gets tapped by "Shazam", he's got to figure it out quick, and his only "Superhero for Dummies" Tutorial is his friend and roommate Freddy. Which wasn't really the best source of information. Between the two of them, they muck it up fairly well.

I would have preferred a darker story and darker character overall for "Captain Marvel"/"The Power of Shazam", but this is what we got.

Someone whined about the special effects, well, it was WETA, so you may as well complain about Man of Steel, Batman V Superman, Justice League, Wonder Woman, and Aquaman, as well as most of the Marvel CU films, I guess the version of Shazam they watched was the workprint that they got from a torrent site. Hint: Go see it in a Theatre, or wait until it comes out on Blu ray!
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Menace from Outer Space (1956 TV Movie)
Captain Proton to The Rescue!
3 July 2019
In Star Trek Voyager (1995) starting in Season 5 they introduced a new Monochromatic Character: Captain Proton!

Always fighting Chaotica, With his trusty Sidekicks, Cap Proton always saved the day!

The Producers of Trek outdid themselves, by Homaging Serials like this "Movie" which was actually several independent episodes strung together.

The First thing you see in this story is a Young Blonde woman with a Mascot Kid in tow, driving one of the Coolest Cars I've ever seen.

They meet up with a Professor at an observatory, to watch a suspicious missile land just several feet away from the Observatory.

So then it's Rocky to the Rescue, with a trip to an unknown moon of Jupiter to find an unknown menace.

What I loved about this one, is that they do not show a V-2 rocket launching, they actually created special effects of rockets launching and landing with were done well for the day, even showing how Gravity comes into play for an astronaut in the pilot's seat.

There are several bad guys that have to be defeated, which Rocky does in short order. Even the Child Mascot takes part in taking the bad guys down.

The sets and costumes are clever, and the story is actually entertaining.

But the thing I loved most about this, was Rocky's haircut.
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She (I) (1965)
A sad eternal triangle
30 June 2019
Despite changing the setting from the Arctic to Egypt, this version of the H Rider Haggard story appears to definitely have taken a lot of inspiration from the 1935 version with Randolph Scott, Helen Gahagan and Helen Mack.

Although Ursula Andress probably generated a lot of interest in this version, the big stand out is John Richardson.

Rosenda Monteros from "The Magnificent Seven" takes the place of Helen Mack as the less-exotic "other girl" of the triangle. It was probably an ethnic miscast (along with Christopher Lee playing an Egyptian priest) but she did well.

The difference between this version and the 1935 version was that Helen Gahagan depicted a much colder and much less desirable "she who must be obeyed", it wasn't that I didn't like Helen Gahagan's version of this woman, she actually pulled it off fairly well. But Ursula Andress was born to play this role, reflecting a stark contrast between her external beauty and her internal ugliness.

Between the two films the philosophy of "she" is identical: to rule by fear and terror.

And while the 1935 version shows some of this evil, being a Merian C Cooper production it reflected a lot of similarities to King Kong in actuality, but that film doesn't reflect the very dark streak that runs through the city ruled by this woman.

This 1965 hammer films version does great homage to the 1935 version, including some incredible and very large sets, not as large as the sets they built for the 1935 version, but still fairly large.

The ending of this version is a lot darker but it is not disappointing, except for the feet of one of the characters that you start becoming attached to. A lot of the dialogue toward the end of the film appears to have been lifted directly from the 1935 version.

But the thing that draws you into this version of the film is the incredible music written by James Bernard, which includes strains that are very reminiscent of the 1935 version.

Overall this is one of the very best hammer films I have ever seen, and this film was of course intended to be shown in cinemascope, I would love to be able to see it on a curved screen, there are some panoramic shots that reveal Cinemascopic photography.
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Star Trek: Voyager: Night (1998)
Season 5, Episode 1
Should have spanned a few episodes
29 June 2019
I loved the debut of Captain Proton! Thankfully we got a whole episode of Captain Proton later this season.

I thought that the resolution of the relevant conundrum came about too easily. The Malon antagonist, and we have heard the term "garbage scow" used in Trek frequently- we finally get to see a garbage scow. This antagonist was a little too easy to defeat.

It would have been interesting to get further into this zone of night, I suppose this was one of the areas in between the galactic arms of our galaxy where there are few Stars. There may have been other things interesting in this area, but we only got to see what we get to see in this episode.

Nevertheless this was a strong introduction into season 5, an important episode. it was interesting to see with the impending two-year span of boredom that they were facing, how each character had ways to cope with it, Tom Paris in the Holodeck, Harry Kim engrossed in his music, and Captain Janeway, at a dangerous low point. Thankfully they did not have to spend that entire time in this area, and neither did we.
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Star Trek: Voyager: Worst Case Scenario (1997)
Season 3, Episode 25
Jonas cameo
17 June 2019
This was an episode that I totally missed when I originally watched Voyager on UPN 13 during the 90s. There were only a few of these. It was probably preempted due to those lame "Syndex" laws from the 90s, which prohibited local Cable providers from showing syndicated shows on two different stations at the same time. This was very stupid, thank you, as I was not able to view almost all of season four of Babylon 5 because of these dumb laws. And sometimes, although Voyager was officially a network show, it would occasionally succumb to the same stupidity.

When this starts out, it appears to be a regular Voyager episode except that there are a few things different, that we don't notice right away. For one thing Lieutenant Torres only has one PIP making her an Ensign. And then when a call from engineering comes in, "Its Jonas", and we know he has been dead for a while. So, WT_?. They never show him, but this was actually the actor who played Jonas' real voice. Too bad they didn't have more of him in this episode.

Of course Seska also appears and at this time she is still pretending to be a Bajoran member of the Maquis.

The reason for the appearance of these characters becomes apparent, as the narrative is interrupted by a bumbling Tom Paris, who stumbles in at a most in opportune time.

This is not actually a holodeck episode, this is a horror episode. It could have been much worse, it should have been much worse. It was plenty disturbing as it was. Of course when we think that it is actually a holo episode, there is that usual voyager humor in the character interactions arguing about who is going to finish this HoloNovel.

It comes down to Tom Paris and Tuvoc, but they go from content creators to victims in one fell swoop. And the way that it was done knocked me out of my La-Z-Boy.
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