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Archive for the ‘Reviews’ Category

the-crown

Just last week, Netflix released its most expensive exclusive series to date, The Crown. The series follows the life of Princess Elizabeth as she navigates life before becoming Queen of England, and from other reports, the series is set to last six series.

In a pique of avoidance the other weekend, I watched the first series of the show in three days (not hard for a ten episode series), and if you’re at all curious about some of the finer aspects of the life of a member of the British Royal family, then the show is for you.

Even if I’m by no means British, the Royal Family has always been something that appealed to me. It’s also nearly impossible to avoid hearing about their lives, but a slightly fictionalized version is something else. Because, of course, there are scores of photographs documenting the life of Queen Elizabeth II, but as news, the details feel removed.

No one really knows The Queen, yet we all want to wish her well and watch how she goes about her duties. In The Crown, we see a young princess who becomes monarch and how she struggles. The struggles, and the frustrations are deftly portrayed by Claire Foy (her previous credits include Upstairs Downstairs, Little Dorrit and Wolf Hall) and in her scenes, there are deep fears and emotional scars from her childhood.

Foy is not the only strong role in the series, however. Matt Smith (Doctor Who) is the Duke of Exeter, Prince Philip, and he has this charmingly awful way of being in and around Elizabeth’s life that comes across as both fond and destructive. John Lithgow is an equally strong figure, starring as Winston Churchill.

What unfolds over the course of these episodes is not just a look at Queen Elizabeth, but a drama of the lives that surround her and how everyone chooses to make very public lives personal.

While we all know the way the narrative will go in the next series, there is a strong emotional journey to unfold, and one that maybe casts the life of Queen Elizabeth II in a new light for those who don’t pay as much attention.

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My Summer Prince

On August 6, the Hallmark Channel movie My Summer Prince will debut at 9 PM.

Mandy Cooper (Taylor Cole) is a young executive assistant aspiring to become a PR executive. She gets an opportunity to develop her skills in Greenbriar, Idaho. In that small town, Prince Colin of Edgemere, a handsome British monarch (Jaxon Turner) with a history of scandalous behavior, is arrested for defacing a landmark while making a public appearance. Things get complicated after Mandy sets out to repair Colin’s image, and the young publicist wonders if she can save her own reputation and still have a chance at summer love. The cast includes Lauren Holly (NCIS and Motive), Vanessa Angel (the TV series Weird Science) and Marina Sirtis (NCIS and Star Trek: The Next Generation)

Here is a trailer for My Summer Prince.

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Christmas in Palm Springs

The UP Channel movie Christmas in Palm Springs will debut on November 23 at 7 PM.

Parents separated and heading for divorce living on opposite sides of the country are brought together in Palm Springs by their kids, who are doing everything to get them back together before Christmas with a little help from a guardian angel.

The cast includes Patrick Muldoon (Starship Troopers), Dina Meyer (Starship Troopers), Ian Ziering (Sharknado and Beverly Hills 90210), Bill Cobbs (Night at the Museum), David Chokachi (Baywatch) and Erin Gray (Buck Rogers in the 25th Century and Silver Spoons).

Here is a trailer for Christmas in Palm Springs.

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Teens

This past weekend a new movie called Nowhere Safe aired on the Christian-themed network UP Channel that focused on the ever-growing issue of cyber-bullying especially among high school teens.

Ten years ago, the comedy flick Mean Girls opened in theatres; and while that film focused more on the “humor” of mean high school girls, it was just the tip of the iceberg. Since that time, cyber-bullying has become an epidemic with 25% of teenagers reporting they have experienced bullying via their cell phones or the internet and 335 of young people who have reported cyber-bullying incidents have received online threats with over 55% of all teens who use social media witnessing outright bullying via that medium.

[Source: Bullying Statistics]

In the made-for-TV movie Nowhere Safe – that, of course, is inspired by true events – two teen girls named Mel (Kelsi Cullimore) and Alana (Angelique Cooper) cruelly impersonate Ashley Evans (Danielle Chuchran from the TV movie Snow Beast) in a “reverse cyber bullying” plot, her reputation is ruined.

She and her mother Julie Johnson (Natasha Henstridge from The Secret Circle) – a high school teacher – are ostracized, forcing them to flee an escalating threat to their lives.

They start over at a new school located several hours from their former home with Julie becoming the new drama teacher and Ashley becoming the “quiet girl” at school, who just wants to go unnoticed. However, she meets a nice guy named Max (Jeremias Elvegaard) who becomes a good friend and encounters two popular kids and reigning “it” couple at school, Carrie (Tatum Chiniquy) and Nick (James Gaisford), who give her and Max a hard time.

Rather than staying the quiet girl, though, Ashley stands up for herself (and Max), putting Nick in his place. Her words have an effect on Nick, making him question why he has been acting like such a jerk, and he begins to befriend (and fall) for Ashley.

That change of heart doesn’t go over well with Nick’s girlfriend Carrie, though, as she begins to bully Ashley. Then at a party that Nick invites Ashley to [after breaking up with Carrie], Mel and Alana show – they, of course, know Carrie; in fact one of the girls is Carrie’s cousin – and the whole truth of what happened to Ashley is revealed.

Needless to say, Ashley is put back in danger again with the “mean girl” at school, but rather than run and hide from it all, this time Ashley – with the help of Nick and Max – stand up for the truth.

Actor Jamie Kennedy (The Ghost Whisperer) also stars as eccentric history teacher Kevin Carlisle.

Unlike so many Lifetime “women-in-danger” movies this telepic was not over-acted by the cast, was not overly cheesy and sold the message very well just how much an issue cyber-bullying is to our society. And, it gives young teens the encouragement and incentive to stand up against the crime.

Nowhere Safe will reair on the UP Channel this Friday, October 17 at 9 PM, on Sunday, October 19 at 5 PM and Friday, October 31 at 11 PM (EST). Check your local listings for airtimes. Also the movie will be released on DVD on November 4 on Amazon and other retail sites.

Here is the trailer for Nowhere Safe.

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Red Widow

On March 3, the new ABC drama Red Widow will have a two-hour series premiere at 9 PM.

The series focuses on one woman’s journey into the world of organized crime after the death of her husband and how far she will go to keep her family safe.

The cast includes Radha Mitchell (Pitch Black), Goran Visnjic (ER), Jaime Ray Newman (Eureka), Clifton Collins, Jr. (The Event), Lee Tergesen (Desperate Housewives), Rade Serbedzija (The Saint), Suleka Mathew (HawthoRNe) and Sterling Beaumon (Lost) (among others).

Here is a trailer for Red Widow.

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The holiday marathons are coming, the holiday marathons are coming. Want to know about some of the cool marathons that are being planned for the upcoming Labor Day weekend?

Well, here is a short list of the scripted TV and/or movies that will be airing as marathons over the soon-to-be-here holiday weekend.

Doctor Who will air the “Best of the Doctor” marathon on BBC America from 8 AM on Friday through to Saturday at 10 PM, concluding with the season premiere of season 7 of the classic series.

Buffy the Vampire Slayer will be on Chiller from late Sunday at midnight through Tuesday at 6 AM featuring Sarah Michelle Gellar’s favorite episodes.

Longmire will air most of the episodes from its debut season on A&E from 10 AM to 5 PM on Sunday.

The Style Network will air episodes from the first season of Gossip Girl from 9 AM to 3 AM on Labor Day.

Relive all of Torchwood: Miracle Day on Labor Day from 10 AM to 8 PM on Starz in Black.

HBO Signature will reair all of season 2 of Boardwalk Empire from 12 Noon to 12 Midnight on Labor Day.

The mini-series Hatfields and McCoys will air in its entirety on A&E starting on Saturday at 6 PM through 12 midnight.

Mark your calendars!

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And so it begins, the season/series finales of a number of dramas on the major networks are airing and last night was no exception. Here is how the Friday night dramas fared in the overall ratings:

8 PM Shows:
The Finder (FOX) [SERIES Finale] – 4.2 million
Nikita (The CW) [NEW] – 1.4 million

9 PM Shows:
CSI: NY (CBS) [Season Finale] – 9 million
Grimm (NBC) [NEW] – 4.5 million
Fringe (FOX) [Season Finale] – 3.2 million
Supernatural (The CW) [NEW] – 1.7 million

10 PM Show:
Blue Bloods (CBS) [Season Finale] – 10.6 million

What did you watch last night? Please share.

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