The name of the series comes from the model of spaceship our protagonists travel in. It's an out-dated clunker full of problems but it's a comfortable mobile home that engineer Kaylee (Jewel Staite) affectionately maintains for a variety of passengers who fall in the enormous gap between government (a.k.a. Alliance) official and beggar on the fringe. Captained by Malcolm Reynolds (Nathan Fillion, Waitress), the crew flies from one smuggling or delivery job to the next, be they legal or not under Alliance rules, to maintain their independence. Their main objective is to keep food on the table, fuel in the tank, and to stay away from Reavers, hideous beings whose hunger for anything living is never satisfied. By staying on a planet too long they would end up on the Alliance's radar, or end up slaves to a system they don't wish to support, so purposeful vagabonds they are when we join them.
Continue reading: Firefly: The Complete Series Review
Since Predator took place in the jungle, Hollywood's sense of irony dictates that the sequel should take place in the city: In this case, Los Angeles, where a bloody gang war is underway. But the cops (notably renegade do-gooder Danny Glover) can't quite reconcile the body count, and it isn't long until they start to realize that another force is at work, which might explain the metallic bits that no one can identify and the corpses missing all their vital organs.
Continue reading: Predator 2 Review
Er, well, would you believe it's not that bad? Now that your expectations are appropriately middling, you might be able to appreciate Double Bang, a reasonably entertaining cop drama about an NYPD officer (William Baldwin) who gets all upset when he crooked partner (Adam Baldwin) ends up dead. Billy heads out on a vigilante mission, interrogating the usual suspects and dishing out his own brand of justice by turning the bad guys against their own.
Continue reading: Double Bang Review
It's no matter, though, as Whedon gets the uninitiated up to speed quick: 500 years in the future, most of the human-colonized galaxy is controlled by the autocratic Alliance, who won a war some time ago against the rebel Independents, now roaming the fringes of explored space. This is where we find the rattletrap freighter Serenity, crewed by a loveable gaggle of rogues who want to be free to wander at will and maybe pull off the occasional crime. The unusually personable crew is led by Malcolm "Mal" Reynolds (Nathan Fillion), a sarcastic loner with a not-so-secret heart of idealism. A shambling kind of hero, he's about the best thing to hit movie screens since Harrison Ford lost his sense of humor. Since every good hero needs sidekicks, Mal's backed up by badass Zoe (Gina Torres), her geeky husband Wash (Alan Tudyk), weapons-crazed lunkhead Jayne (Adam Baldwin), and wide-eyed girl mechanic Kaylee (Jewel State). There's also some new crewmates: a doctor, Simon (Sean Maher), who we've seen busting his teenaged sister River (Summer Glau) out of an Alliance research facility where she'd been being turned into a psychotic killing machine. Now River just mopes around the ship, occasionally having psychic flashes, while Simon ignores advances from lovestruck Kaylee.
Continue reading: Serenity Review
Sunny Holiday is a karaoke singer with delusions of grandeur. It's not that he's a bad singer or lacks stage presence -- heck, cue up a catchy country tune in a roadside bar and Sunny can get folks to dancing with his sad-sack twangy stylings.
But Sunny (Jon Gries) keeps telling himself it's only a matter of time before he's "discovered" in one of these dives and swept into a showbiz fantasy world. It's to that end that Sunny -- an unemployed absentee father who sleeps in a 20-year-old pink Chrysler and drives all over the Southwest seeking karaoke contents -- has hired a manager.
Lester (Garrett Morris) sleeps in the car too. He's followed Sunny to 43 cities, offering fatigued, musty words of encouragement in dingy men's rooms and insisting that his only client is building a fan base on this "tour." Meanwhile, they're paying for gas with jars of pennies, and Sunny's only contact with his wife and baby daughter are the quick-pick lotto tickets he sends home once a week, likening them to child support.
Continue reading: Jackpot Review
For a relentlessly unoriginal, pandering and predictable, two-and-a-half hour Revolutionary War epic that white-washes slavery, chooses exaggerated slow-motion action over any interest in historical accuracy and is helmed by a director who has demonstrated little talent for anything but overblown textbook filmmaking, "The Patriot" isn't a bad movie.
It's a mimeographed knock-off of "Braveheart" in buckskin vests and powdered wigs, but that doesn't seem to bother Mel Gibson, who won an Oscar for directing that film and stars in this one as another tread-upon colonial who takes up arms against England for his nation's freedom.
A hero of the French and Indian War who has since pledged to raise his children as a pacifist plantation farmer in South Carolina, Benjamin Martin (Gibson) is an amalgam of real revolutionary war figures, fantasized by screenwriter Robert Rodat ("Saving Private Ryan") as a politically correct hero who is a wonderful widower father, who communes with the natives (he's versed in the deadly use of a Tomahawk hatchet), who employs his plantation workers instead of enslaving them, and who takes up arms again only after a stuffy, sadistic redcoat Colonel named Tavington (Jason Issacs) kills one of his sons in cold blood when he finds Martin's home filled with rebel soldiers receiving first aid after a battle.
Continue reading: The Patriot Review