Monday, March 31, 2014

'Stargate SG-1' - Season 2 (1998)

Starring Richard Dean Anderson, Michael Shanks and Amanda Tapping
Developed by Brad Wright and Jonathan Glassner
See Also: Stargate reviews

When last we left the members of SG-1, the team had defied orders to stop an impending alien attack on Earth only to find themselves trapped aboard the enemy ship in orbit. Colonel O'Neill (Richard Dean Anderson), Captain Carter (Amanda Tapping), Daniel Jackson (Michael Shanks) and Teal'c (Christopher Judge) are now prisoners of Apophis (Peter Williams) and his son Klorel who has possessed O'Neill's young friend Skaara (Alexis Cruz).

With time running out before the ships attack Earth, the team is surprised to find an ally among Apophis' army of Jaffa - Bra'tac (Tony Amendola), whose own plan to stop the attack is thwarted by SG-1's arrival.

Over the next year, SG-1 and their allies will travel to more new worlds and find themselves in a variety of new adventures as the battle against the evil Goa'uld continues. New alliances are forged with the mysterious Tok'ra, an offshoot of the Goa'uld who oppose the conquering ways of their brethren, and with the Asgard - little gray beings who use their advanced technology to protect humans whenever possible.

But these new friends might not be enough to save Earth from the increasingly frustrated Goa'uld. Defeating Apophis has proven to the enemy that Earth is a force to be reckoned with and the other powerful System Lords aren't about to let it go unanswered.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

'Stargate SG-1' - Season 1 (1997)

Starring Richard Dean Anderson, Michael Shanks and Amanda Tapping
Developed by Brad Wright and Jonathan Glassner
See Also: Stargate reviews

A year after the events of the "Stargate" film, the alien transportation device remains inactive in a US Air Force base in Colorado. But one day it activates, and alien invaders step through. The invaders kill several of the guards standing watch over the stargate, and kidnap another. The man now in charge of the base, General George Hammond (Don S. Davis) brings Colonel Jack O'Neill (Richard Dean Anderson) out of retirement in his search for answers.

O'Neill reveals that, despite his report to the contrary, he left Daniel Jackson (Michael Shanks) alive on the alien world Abydos a year earlier instead of having detonated a massive nuclear device that was supposed to wipe the planet clean of the threat to Earth. Now, searching for their kidnapped colleague, O'Neill leads a team back to Abydos. He's joined by Captain Samantha Carter (Amanda Tapping), one of the Air Force's most brilliant astrophysicists and a leading expert on the stargate technology.

On Abydos, Jackson reveals to O'Neill and Carter that Ra was not the only alien posing as an ancient Egyptian god. There are a whole race of beings known as Goa'uld, parasites who take human hosts and subjugate worlds across the entire galaxy.

Not long after their arrival on Abydos and reunion with Jackson, the Goa'uld's alien warriors, known as Jaffa, arrive once more. This time, they kidnap Jackson's wife Sha're (Vaitiare Bandera) and her brother Skaara (Alexis Cruz). Jackson begs to join O'Neill in the search, and Hammond allows the team to follow the aliens back to their homeworld. There, they encounter a Jaffa named Teal'c (Christopher Judge) who believes that the Goa'uld are, in fact, not gods as they claim. Teal'c helps O'Neill and the others escape, but they are unable to recover Sha're and Skaara.

Under the leadership of Hammond, a number of teams are created with the purpose of traveling through the stargate to explore alien worlds, find alien technology and allies to help defend Earth against the Goa'uld. O'Neill, Jackson, Carter and Teal'c are the front line team, SG-1, defending our world in secret from certain doom.

"Stargate" (1994)

Starring James Spader, Kurt Russell and Jaye Davidson
Written by Roland Emmerich and Dean Devlin
Directed by Roland Emmerich
Rated PG-13 - Violence, language
Running Time: 128 Minutes

Disgraced archaeologist Dr. Daniel Jackson (James Spader) is given the chance of a lifetime when the United States Air Force hires him to translate a set of mysterious hieroglyphics found on a set of stones decades earlier in Egypt. Beneath those stones, Jackson learns, was an alien device also covered in strange symbols.

When Jackson discovers that the symbols are star constellations, the Air Force is able to activate the device that Jackson translates as "stargate" and use it to travel across the universe to an alien world. A special forces team led by Colonel Jack O'Neil (Kurt Russell) makes the trek to this strange new world, taking Jackson along with them.

Once on the other side, however, they discover that their ride home won't be as simple: Jackson can't locate the symbols he needs in order to dial the stargate back to Earth. The team finds that the humans of this world are slaves who still worship the Egyptian sun god, Ra (Jaye Davidson). They are led by Kasuf (Erick Avari), who is devout in his belief that Ra is a god, and is also frightened beyond reason by him.

Kasuf's daughter, Sha'uri (Mili Avital) is given to Jackson as a gift, and the two begin to fall for each other. Kasuf's son Skaara (Alexis Cruz) forms a bond with O'Neil, who has recently lost his own son.

When Ra appears to collect his latest shipment of ore from his slaves, Jackson, O'Neil and the team are drawn into fostering a revolution among a people who have only ever known fear, yet who dream of freedom.

Monday, March 17, 2014

"Need for Speed" (2014)

Starring Aaron Paul, Dominic Cooper and Imogen Poots
Written by George Gatins
Directed by Scott Waugh
Rated PG-13 - Violence, language, brief nudity
Running Time: 130 Minutes

Tobey Marshall (Aaron Paul) is a racer, but he lives squarely in the small-time. Together with his friends Benny (Scott 'Kid Cudi' Mescudi), Joe (Ramon Rodriguez), Finn (Rami Malek) and Pete (Harrison Gilbertson), he runs an auto shop in a small town in New York that used to belong to his father. Now, he's behind on his payments and the bank is threatening to foreclose. That's when Tobey is paid a visit by his longtime rival Dino Brewster (Dominic Cooper) who once stole Tobey's girlfriend and then made it into the pro-racing circuit, leaving Tobey behind in the dust.

Dino, it seems, has acquired a legendary car: the last Ford Mustang built by the famed Carroll Shelby, incomplete at the time of Shelby's death. Dino says there's no one more qualified to finish the car than Tobey, and he intends to sell it for a cool $3 million and give Tobey a cut of the profit. Desperate for the money, despite his hatred of Dino, Tobey agrees to do the work. But when Tobey steals Dino's thunder by test-driving the car for the buyer, Dino is furious and challenges Tobey to a race.

A race that kills young Pete. Dino uses his power and connections to pin the death on Tobey, who gets sentenced to two years for manslaughter. But when he gets out, Tobey has a plan. He convinces the buyer of the Mustang to let him borrow it to compete in a secret illegal street race against Dino. He gathers his old crew, and a new addition: Julia (Imogen Poots), the buyer's personal assistant, along for the ride to ensure that Tobey follows through on his promise and doesn't make off with the car.

The only problem is, they've only got 45 hours to drive the Shelby Mustang from New York to California. Not only are the cops on the lookout for Tobey, but Dino has posted an exquisite bounty on Tobey's head - a $3 million Lamborghini to whoever can stop Tobey from making it to California.

Sunday, March 16, 2014

"Veronica Mars" (2014)

Starring Kristen Bell, Jason Dohring and Enrico Colantoni
Written by Rob Thomas and Diane Ruggiero
Directed by Rob Thomas
Rated PG-13 - Violence, language
Running Time: 107 Minutes

It's been nine years since Veronica Mars (Kristen Bell) left her hometown of Neptune, California. In those nine years, she's gone to law school and reunited with her college boyfriend Stosh 'Piz' Piznarski (Chris Lowell). She's now on the verge of accepting a position at a prestigious New York law firm, but fate once again interrupts to draw Veronica back to Neptune.

A pop singer named Bonnie DeVille (Andrea Estella) has been found murdered, and the evidence points to Logan Echolls (Jason Dohring), Veronica's old boyfriend. Logan and Veronica haven't spoken in nearly a decade, but Logan calls Veronica for help, prompting her to return home - against Piz's wishes. Back in Neptune, Veronica finds the town has both changed and remained the same. There's still a brewing battle between the haves and the have-nots, but corruption is now rife within the county sheriff's department.

Veronica hooks back up with her father, local PI Keith Mars (Enrico Colantoni) and her best friends Wallace (Percy Daggs III) and Mac (Tina Majorino), who beg her to come to their 10-year high school reunion. Despite everyone's warnings to stay away, Veronica digs deeper into Logan's case, trying to help him come up with a viable defense. The problem is, the deeper she digs, the closer she gets to Logan... the 'bad boy' that she'd left behind for a reason.

Monday, March 10, 2014

"300: Rise of an Empire" (2014)

Starring Sullivan Stapleton, Eva Green and Lena Headey
Written by Zack Snyder and Kurt Johnstad
Directed by Noam Murro
Rated R - Strong language, nudity, graphic violence (including depictions of rape)
Running Time: 102 Minutes

Ten years prior to the Battle of Thermopylae, a Greek general named Themistocles (Sullivan Stapleton) did the impossible when he routed Persian forces led by King Darius (Yigal Naor) at the Battle of Marathon. During the battle, Themistocles felled Darius on his ship with an arrow fired from shore. Darius' son, Xerxes (Rodrigo Santoro) witnesses this and grieves for his father. But Darius' most-favored military general, a young Greek woman named Artemesia (Eva Green) twists Darius' last words into a challenge for Xerxes to enact revenge on Greece for the king's death.

In the present, as King Leonidas of Sparta (Gerard Butler, appearing in stock footage from the first film) leads his brave 300 to battle Xerxes at Thermopylae, Themistocles rallies a small force of Greek naval vessels to take on Artemesia at sea. Despite being vastly outnumbered, Themistocles uses his guile and tactics to smash apart wave after wave of Artemesia's forces, earning both her respect and her rage.

But Themistocles knows that eventually, Artemesia's numbers will overrun them, and that his brave gambit will come at a terrible price. He has only one hope, and that hope has denied him: that Queen Gorgo of Sparta (Lena Headey) will commit the full forces of her navy to come to his aid and stop Xerxes and Artemesia from wiping the idea of a free Greece from history.