Sarah Strange

Legends of Tomorrow (2016) s05e15 – Swan Thong

I sometimes forget “Legends of Tomorrow” is at its best when it’s completely unconcerned with continuity. It’s a fun, heart-y, and then time travel time travel show. I went into this season finale worried how they were going to wrap things up in one episode after Greek Fates Sarah Strange, Joanna Vanderham, and Maisie Richardson-Sellers have remade the entire universe… but the show wasn’t worried about it and I shouldn’t have been either.

They open with a quick resolution to the immediate problem and then skip ahead to deal with the fallout. The fallout involves a big fight scene with a bunch of demonic “encores” (human mass murderers or evil folks consigned to Hell but released to wreck havoc again, only demonically), including Courtney Ford, playing Marie Antoinette. Ford was a sort of regular who left a few episodes ago who just happened to look like Marie Antoinette. It’s a pure comedy performance from Ford and absolutely fantastic stuff. Fun.

The heart comes from everywhere else. There’s Tala Ashe, who’s playing time twins (one from one timeline, one from another), and the original character’s been gone a season and everyone forgot about her. So Ashe has got to resolve things with beau Nick Zano, who gets to be sincere for the first time all season and it’s nice, and bond with brother Shayan Sobhian, who doesn’t even know this version of her. Not to mention Ashe’s other character is just trying to get Matt Ryan alone for some smooching.

Then there’s Dominic Purcell and daughter Mina Sundwall—I really, really, really hope Sundwall gets to come back next season, especially since she gets to pull off the emotional deus ex machina with Richardson-Sellers.

Oh, and then there’s Olivia Swann coming to terms with not being a hellspawn if she doesn’t want to be. She gets an arc. Richardson-Sellers gets an arc. Ashe gets an arc.

Plus Ramona Young and Adam Tsekhman are around—not a lot—but enough.

“Legends” ends the season in fairly good shape. It’s been a transformative season, though it’s usually a transformative season with this show… but they’re on firm ground. Certainly firmer ground than they went out with last year.

Legends of Tomorrow (2016) s05e13 – I Am Legends

Did you know you needed a “Legends vs. Zombies” episode of “Legends of Tomorrow”? Because I did not know I needed such a thing. I also didn’t realize I needed to see how much range Adam Tsekhman can exhibit on the drop of a… carrot. I’ve always liked Tsekhman but in a comic relief sort of way; they’re underutilizing him. They really need to bring in tough Tsekham.

And give him Amy Louise Pemberton as a partner.

But Pemberton and Tsekham in a bit.

Following the disappointing Animal House 2020 episode they did, the Legends find themselves stuck in England because hellspawn Olivia Swann had to betray them out to evil sisters Sarah Strange and Joanna Vanderham.

The Legends only have 24 hours of immortality to get to the ship and stop the sisters, only they’re stranded in Constantine Manor and Matt Ryan doesn’t believe in cars. Bumming rides is his thing. You’d think he’d know a teleportation spell.

Anyway, on their way to London to a time bureau safe house (weird but welcome Rip Hunter mention this episode), Vanderham figures out what they’re doing and sends zombies to destroy them.

So the episode’s the Legends fighting their way to London, figuring out how to do it without enough gas, Ryan and Tala Ashe argue-flirting, and Tsekhman trying to save the day with Pemberton’s help.

Pemberton, who usually just voices the ship’s computer, gets to do an in-person performance and she and Tsekhman and perfect together. Also more bi-inclusivity for “Legends.”

But it then turns out Sara (Caity Lotz) has been lying to co-captain for life Ava (Jes Macallan) about not seeing the future and the Legends are in real trouble. Can they defeat Swann, Vanderham, and Strange not to mention a swarm of zombies?

On one hand, they’re the Legends, on the other hand, it’s the second-to-last episode of the season and there is some required dramatic tension.

Really good episode. Makes up for Animal House 2020 flopping so hard.

Perfect cliffhanger too. Oh, and the costumes. Great costumes.

And whoever thought to put in the George A. Romero zombie.

And the Trash (from Return) zombie. Just wonderful touches.

Kindergarten Cop 2 (2016, Don Michael Paul)

Kindergarten Cop 2 doesn’t provoke a lot of reaction. It’s terrible, sure, it’s incompetent in parts, it’s got a lousy script and some really bad acting, but why wouldn’t it? It’s a direct-to-video sequel twenty-six years after the first entry, has nothing to do with the original except in gimmick and concentrates more on fifty-eight year-old lead Dolph Lundgren trying to score with young chicks. Maybe–and it’s a stretch–but maybe it’s interesting in terms of trying to figure out the intended audience. It’s not action fans because director Paul is lousy at the action, especially at the logic of an action scene. Though I suppose editor Vanick Moradian has the best technical effort–far better than photographer Kamal Derkaoui–but it’s not like the action is good. It’s not godawful. At least some of the action, a lot of it is godawful.

Paul has his creepy male gaze shots down, but he doesn’t commit, doesn’t linger. It’s like he’s trying to appeal to the closet perverts in the audience–but Cop 2 is direct-to-video so is it for the dads stuck watching the rented movie? But it’s also not for kids. The kindergarteners have their “cute kid” moments but barely any and Paul’s inept at all those scenes. He’s especially bad at directing the kid actors–stop looking at the camera, Abbie Magnuson! How hard is it to tell her to stop looking directly into the camera.

Maybe if David H. Steinberg weren’t so stupid. But, even then, it’s got terrible acting–Danny Wattley gives one of the worst mean cop boss performances in film history (probably even direct-to-video sequel history)–and no one’s any good. Sarah Strange isn’t completely terrible. Most of the other actors are completely terrible. Like Bill Bellamy and Michael P. Northey. One assumes they’ll leave this one off the CV.

As for Lundgren, in what should be a kind of amusing turn–well, he’s bad. He’s perving on young teacher Darla Taylor while trying to take down a drug kingpin. Taylor and Lundgren don’t have any chemistry, but Lundgren doesn’t have any chemistry with any of his costars. Especially not Bellamy, who’s his partner. A lot of the casting decisions in Kindergarten Cop 2 seem to be based on height in relation to Lundgren, not acting ability.

Though director Paul wouldn’t know what to do with a good actor.

Kindergarten Cop 2 ought to be at least diverting as an abomination of nostalgia and dumb humor. It’s not. It’s boring–a hundred minutes of boring–and incompetent. Did I already mention Steinberg’s script is really dumb?

0/4ⓏⒺⓇⓄ

CREDITS

Directed by Don Michael Paul; screenplay by David H. Steinberg, based on the film written by Timothy Harris, Murray Salem and Herschel Weingrod; director of photography, Kamal Derkaoui; edited by Vanick Moradian; music by Jake Monaco; production designer, Tony Devenyi; produced by Mike Elliot; released by Universal Home Entertainment.

Starring Dolph Lundgren (Reed), Darla Taylor (Olivia), Bill Bellamy (Sanders), Aleks Paunovic (Zogu), Sarah Strange (Miss Sinclaire) and Danny Wattley (Giardello).


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