Face Off: Skull Island: Reign of Kong – Semi-Final Stress (Review)

Face Off had its semi-finale center on a new attraction at Universal Orlando Resort; “Skull Island: Reign of Kong.” With a grand prize of the winner being among the first people to go through the new “ride” and an all expenses paid trip to Orlando, stress was the keyword for all four contestants.

Face Off - Season 10

Face Off had its semi-finale center on a new attraction at Universal Orlando Resort; “Skull Island: Reign of Kong.”  With a grand prize of the winner being among the first people to go through the new “ride” and an all expenses paid trip to Orlando, stress was the keyword for all  four contestants.

The challenge was laid by McKenzie Westmore with help from the executive producer from Universal Creative whose team will bring the giant King Kong to life for the new attraction; Mike West.  After explaining the background to the island and it’s occupants, the contestants moved on to develop their evolved “dinosaurs.”

Each hopeful had issues this week with their creations. Either because it was the finale or because of the immense task in front of them. Mel had to start over (twice), Rob ran out of time, Walter broke his creature’s  wings and Mellisa may have been the only hopeful who did not exhibit any symptoms of stress.

The Orlando  attraction is due to open this summer and West was quite excited about the project and the challenge itself.

Face Off - Season 10
Mel

One day one, Mel started over and suffered from a case of constant “second  guessing.” Rob spent so much time on his creation of scales that he ran out of time for other things on his character.  By the end of day one, Mel had not completed her groundwork. Day two saw  her start over, again.

Face Off - Season 10
Melissa

Melissa was the only contestant who was not unhappy with anything to do with the progress of her creation. Rob  worried that the amount of time spent on scales had left him little time to paint and finish off his creature. He was right.

Walter manages to overcome his annoyance at the broken wing spring and Mel, despite starting over twice, almost managed to stay in the competition.

All of the hopefuls stepped up to the bar and even though Rob did not finish his creation, his prior three wins and the brilliant sculpt work on his character’s scales keeps him in for the finale.

Face Off - Season 10
Rob

The judges had a tough choice this week as all the contestants did well.  All agreed that Melissa’s creation was top-notch, so much so that she won the prize of the Orlando trip.

Before sending Mel home, Glenn Hetrick explained that the quality of her work on the latest challenge made it very difficult to pick who was sent home.

One comic moment was the monster noise made by Walter’s creature. Glenn loved the squeaky roar and declared it his favorite.   After sending Mel home, the remaining three were told a little about the next challenge and a very special guest.

Face Off - Season 10
Walter

Melissa was almost was excited at this week’s Face Off challenge as she was at the last one.  This time, however, she was in the groove and knocked it out the park.  Rob managed to impress the judges enough that despite his not finishing the work, he stayed in the contest and  drew massive praise from the panel.

In reality, all four of the finalist were praised at the quality of their work and it should be interesting to see what will occur in the last episode/challenge of the season.  Each one thus far has stretched the artists and their capabilities.

Face Off - Season 10
Pictured: (l-r) Glenn Hetrick, Ve Neill, Neville Page

The season 10 finale airs next  Wednesday on SyFy.

 

 

Rosewood: Season 1 Episode 15 – Confidence (Review)

Rosewood episode 15, titled Atherosclerosis and the Alabama Flim-Flam uses the age old practice of the confidence game to solve a murder that Rosie instigates and is more humorous than usual.

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Rosewood episode 15, titled Atherosclerosis and the Alabama Flim-Flam uses the age old practice of the confidence game to solve a murder that Rosie instigates and is more humorous than usual.   The pathologist speaks at the FOPAC conference at Coconut Beach and he describes a murder, a woman shoves a broccoli floret down her sleeping husband’s throat,  the next day, one of the attendees dies and Rosie gets a hunch.

Calling Villa, Rosie  tells the detective that he killed someone. Annalise drops everything to help her “partner” and heads to meet Rosie at the  Coconut Beach  Medical Examiner’s office to help. The local M.E. is not impressed with Rosewood or Villa and they must take another avenue of investigation.

Hornstock’s wife has thrown him out and when Rosie asks for reinforcements to solve the crime the captain and his friend Floyd Butters (Kurt Weller) joins him.  The four team up to run a number of confidence games on the suspect in order to catch the killer.

Rosewood and Villa come within a gnat’s whisker of kissing and earlier, while dining with the suspect and his wife,  Rosie came as close to proposing as it is possible to without actually doing it.  The pathologist does, however, show how much he feels for Annalise and what her coming to his aid means to Rosie.

(The two other actors in the scene, Shannon Lucio; who played Casey Reed, and David Julian Hirsh, who played Dr. Reed, both looked teary-eyed at the oh, so romantic moment and it is easy to believe that they really were affected by Rosewood’s  speech.)

After the meal and that “almost” kiss, Villa decides to head to Rosie’s room. Her romantic move is torpedoed by Rosewood’s cardiologist, who, apart from her clinical interest, is also interested romantically in the pathologist.

While the episode feels like a sort of homage to the 1973 film The Sting it was more about relationships; between Rosie and Villa, between Tara and her father (Henry Czerny), and Ira Hornstock and his pal Fuller.   It could even be about Rosie and Dr. Kincaid (Joy Bryant) another relationship that may stop the Villa romance in its tracks. 

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Jaina Lee Ortiz looking too hot to handle with the always stylish Rosie.

Back at the lab Tara’s dad shows up to pledge his support at the upcoming wedding and she coldly tells him it is not wanted.

The whole Rosie/Villa dynamic keeps stumbling at the point of committal.  At the end of the show, they each have a chance to salvage the situation and blow it. The cardiologist has not given up either so she may ultimately win Rosewood’s affections if Annalise does not shape up.

A clever episode with many references to confidence tricks, aka Alabama Flim-Flam techniques, but the  murder device lacked  originality. The old melting weapon of death gimmick, usually a knife made of ice which melts to leave no trace,  was in this instance an ice cube.

But this is Rosewood and he checks for abrasions  in the dead man’s throat and finds the killer.

Note: It was, not the doctor suspect (Kip)  but his wife who did the other pathologist in. Her motive? The poor girl did not want to move to Portland and leave all her friends and relatives behind.

While episode 15 was a cute addition to the season one run, hopefully the next murderous event that needs solving can involve a more original plot device.  In terms of humor, however, Atherosclerosis and the Alabama Flim-Flam gave the viewer a great double act with Weller and Domenick Lombardozzi as the aged versions of Newman  and Redford in this episode. 

Director David Crabtree made this one fun to watch and kept the pace moving at a cracking pace.  The other “underlying” theme in the episode could well have been confidence, or a lack thereof. Hornstock’s confidence has been shaken, as has Villa’s (after the intercept by Kincaid).

Even Rosie has also had his usually unshakable confidence knocked by the two women; one actively pushing for a relationship and the other hesitantly holding off.

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Pippy, Tara and Mr. Izikoff. Menage a awkward.

Rosewood airs Wednesdays on FOX.

The Path: Season One Premiere – A Cult by Any Other Name (Review)

The Path premiered on Hulu Wednesday bringing season one out with a flourish of foreboding and tendency to disturb. The Meyer Movement, a cult by any other name, may not rely upon the Almighty to bludgeon believers into behaving, but it does have a “Jim Jones” feel to it.

Aaron Paul as Eddie Lane in The Path

The Path premiered on Hulu Wednesday bringing season one out with a flourish of foreboding and a tendency to disturb. The Meyer Movement, a cult by any other name, may not rely upon the Almighty to bludgeon believers into behaving, but it does have a “Jim Jones” feel to it.

The founder, we learn, is comatose in Peru while his “right-hand” man Cal  Robertson (Hugh Dancy) tells the members that the man is “on lockdown” transcribing the last three rungs on the ladder.  Sarah Lane (Michelle Monaghan) was born into the movement and could be seen as “royalty” per se. 

Eddie Lane (Aaron Paul), Sarah’s husband, returns from a Peruvian  retreat, the same place that Dr. Stephen Meyer is laying unconscious hooked up to medical machines and a drip,  where the participants take hallucinogens in order to feel the light. Lane’s trip is not a pleasant one.

His dead brother, who committed suicide, shows Eddie, through an “out-of-body” experience that the leader is either in a coma or brain dead in a hospital bed. This trip upsets Lane and he returns from the retreat with his faith badly shaken.

He contacts someone who tells him that the movement is a lie and Sarah believes that Eddie is cheating on her which is called “transgressing” by members of the movement. Cal is the charismatic yet disturbing leader of the “East Coast chapter” of the cult.

The man is deep and capable of great violence. Cal is also, apparently, taking lessons on salesmanship, or selling techniques, to make him a more potent recruiter to the cause. Robertson has history with Sarah, the two were lovers before Lane came on the scene and he offers to help Eddie’s wife if she needs him.

The Path feels more “evil commune” than religious cult.  It fact, the “movement” is not, in essence a religion at all, hence its title of movement. Based loosely, it seems, on a variation of meditation, the “I’m okay, you’re okay” therapy of the ’70s and 80’s and a sort of zen psychiatry (with a measure of vegetarianism and warped “flower power) the cult, or movement, feels like Waco on E.

There is, however, an undercurrent present from the start, when the Meyer Movement group go to aid victims of a  community leveled by a tornado  in New Hampshire. A small convoy of three SUVs  roar into the flattened neighborhood, horns honking. Mary, a girl who is either in shock or suffering withdrawal (later it is proven to be the latter) watches the vehicles approach.

Once the movement members arrive, they begin to pick and chose survivors to bring back to their town. One of these “adoptees” is a young lady going through withdrawal and she along with a baby and few others are taken to the movement’s compound, in essence  they are kidnapped.

Monaghan’s character believes that her husband has cheated on her and insists he take the “program” a 14 day brainwashing exercise. Eddie denies an affair as he is in fact meeting with a former movement member whose husband was murdered, she says, by the cult when he attempted to leave.

Eddie does not reveal this to his wife.

Abe Gaines (Rockmond Dunbar) is intrigued about the movement and its taking people in from the tornado struck community.  He places the group on a special watch. In the movement, Mary tells Cal that her father sold her to his friends for sex starting when  she was a child. 

After this, Cal takes Mary to  see her father  and beats him into the hospital. Eddie learns that his contact’s husband was murdered.

Robertson is called to a rich believer’s house where the couple ask his movement to cure their son of drug addiction.  The boy’s mother is the believer and her husband is not. By the end of the program, Cal kidnaps the young man and tells the father that he does not want money, but his faith.

Hawk (Kyle Allen) Eddie and Sarah’s son wants to leave school and gets into a fight after visiting a female classmate’s house.  Eddie verifies that   his contacts husband  is dead, although records indicate he committed suicide and   Lane  panics.  He  decides to admit to the “affair” rather than keep talking to the late Jason Kemp’s wife. 

Cal does an interview on local television and later tells the unconscious Stephen Meyer about it.  Eddie completes his 14 day brainwashing program and admits (lies about) having an affair with an old flame.  Three men from the movement arrive at the house of Miranda Frank (Minka Kelly), the old flame in question, and take her away. These look to be the same three men who met Jason Kemp’s widow at her grandparents. 

Mary, who has been obsessed with Cal from day one, shows up after the beating of her father and performs oral sex on Robertson. He stops the young woman and suggests that she join up with another young man, a novice named Sean Egan.

The group target the miserable  and lost of society in order to grow their membership.  Using a method called the “ladder” the members climb metaphorical rungs to get closer to enlightenment.

The Path is a disturbing look at a pseudo religion based on sociology and psychiatry where the members attempt to be so open with their feelings and emotions that it mimics a sort of hive mentality.

Dancy proves to be mesmerizing as “the man who would be king” and Paul is convincing as the member whose vision has placed him in danger. Monaghan is forceful and equally convincing as the lifelong member of this movement.

Show creator Jessica Goldberg gives the viewer an unsettling look at organized brainwashing and what feels like a not too far-fetched story of new-age religion. Director Mark Cahill manages to frame many shots as though  the camera is spying voyeur, a move that makes the audience feel slightly uncomfortable.  It adds to the ambiance of menace quite nicely. 

The Path airs Wednesdays on Hulu. This promises to be an excellent little thriller try not to miss it.

Fresh Off the Boat: Week in Review – Team Jessie-Lou (Review)

Fresh Off the Boat: Week in Review reveals that in Grandma Huang’s day, the men made the money and killed the spiders. That when the word lice is uttered, everyone takes one step back. Team Jessie-Lou fall apart but get back together and Eddie not only saves the day but learns that “being homeless” is no big deal. Two of the Huang children bring lice home.

RANDALL PARK, CONSTANCE WU

Fresh Off the Boat: Week in Review reveals that in Grandma Huang’s day, the men made the money and killed the spiders. That when the word lice is uttered, everyone takes one step back. Team Jessie-Lou falls apart but gets back together and Eddie not only saves the day but learns that “being homeless” is no big deal. Two of the Huang children bring lice home.

We also learn, according to Jessica, that lice are the “pedophiles of the insect world.”

Before the oldest Huang son is ejected out of the house for being lice infected,  Eddie and his friends discuss the upcoming  student faculty basketball game; the winning team gets pizza. In class later, Eddie talks smack with his teacher Mr G (Al Madrigal). The teacher tells Eddie if he gets a basket  against him, that Eddie will have no homework for the rest of the year. 

Eddie responds that if he does not score, the teacher can give him double homework. His schoolmates are horrified.  Jessie and Louis are shocked that  Eddie has lice (We didn’t come to this country so our son could get lice,  says an annoyed Louis). Later Evan comes home infected as well.  Both boys are evicted from the family home until the lice are gone.

Comic Moments:

Jessica yelling at Trent:

“Wait, no, Big Red, keep your distance! Eddie is DISEASED!”

 

Evan telling his parents that he has lice and stretching his arms out for a hug, “Bao bao.” The next shot has the littlest Huang outside with Eddie.  Jessica places her hand, which is made into Vulcan palms through the window.

Louis and Jessica covered from head to toe to treat Eddie and Evan.

Emery not getting lice and saying, “Wait. How come I don’t have lice? I mean, how do you not want to be up in this?” He follows this with a self-satisfied slow-motion hair flip.

Eddie flinging his towel into the  crowd at the gym and their horrified reaction to it.

Jessica’s  “Louis.”

Grandma Huang watching Jerry Springer and chanting “Jer-ry, Jer-ry.”

Jessica admiring the team name that Louis has made up for their team, Jessie-Lou.

Jessica: “Sounds like a country girl who’s has sex too early.”

Louis and Jessica hugging, even though she has gotten lice from Eddie. As the couple embrace she says:

Jessica: “Louis, I just want you to know that if you get lice, I’m putting you outside with Eddie.”

Louis (sighing): “I know. I’ve always known.”

Overall Thoughts:

Not having watched the first season, except via binging after the fact, it took some time to really get into Fresh Off the Boat and its “based on real people” characters and storylines. However…

The performances of the actors, the writing and the chemistry between the players makes this a brilliant,  funny and addictive show to watch.

Park and Wu are perfect together and how can one not adore Constance Wu’s Jessica? The scene where Louis has worked out four minutes of “alone time” is cute and funny.

Louis: “And, uh, ooh, here I made a note that Wednesday afternoon, you and I have the whole house to ourselves… for four minutes.”

Jessica: (Giggling) ” Louis.”

Louis: “And you know I only need two.”

Jessica: (Giggling)  “Louis.”

Louis: “Shall I pencil you in… twice?”

Jessica: “Oh, Louis.”

Later on the day of the “four minutes” there is more romance and Jessica “Oh Louis-ing” again until Eddie returns with the news he has lice.

Everyone clicked in this episode. Hudson Yang, Forrest Wheeler, Ian Chen as the Huang kids were spot on (Ian Chen’s little gasp/scream at the sight of his stuffed toys in the box was brilliant) and Hudson just rocked it in this episode.

HUDSON YANG, AL MADRIGAL
HUDSON YANG, AL MADRIGAL

Even the school friends of Eddie’s were a delight. The smack talking sequence with the teacher was hysterical as was Eddie’s saving the day and announcing he has superpowers while eating the victory pizza.

Fresh Off the Boat continues to deliver the laughs and is another addictive comedy. The show airs  Tuesdays on ABC.

Shadowhunters: Malec – Traitor? (Review)

STEPHANIE BENNETT, MATTHEW DADDARIO

Shadowhunters: Malec takes up after the devastating news that Clary and Jace are brother and sister but Jocelyn is now safe. However there is a mole in the Institute and the traitor appears to be Hodge; Jocelyn’s one time BFF. Things are tense between the “new” siblings, with Jace refusing to make eye contact and acting pretty snotty  in general.

Alec prepares for his wedding to Lydia while Jace, Clary and Magnus reach out to Ragnor Fell (Adam Kenneth Wilson) who put Jocelyn to sleep. Phoebe wants to throw Alec a bachelor party and goes to get advice from Simon. Clary invites her BFF vampire to the wedding. 

Magnus is visited by Alec and it is clear that the two are still attracted to one another.

At Ragnor Fell’s, one of Magnus’ oldest friends,  the trio are met by a real firewall and as Clary walks through, Jace and Bane disappear.  Clary continues and the mischievous warlock plays hide and seek until Fairchild spots him hiding in the mirror.

The warlock acts eccentrically speaking to two empty chairs either side of Clary. After promising Fell everything, he waves toward the chairs and both Magnus and Jace reappear. Ragnor goes up to find an item to help track the white book needed when he is attacked and killed by a demon.

Back  at the institute Jace believes that Lydia (Stephanie Bennett) is the mole/traitor and wants to confront the powerful Clave official. Clary intervenes and the two women have a moment to accept one another.  After their conversation Clary is convinced that Lydia is innocent. 

Alec’s bachelor party, that Izzy sets up, has only Jace as a guest. The parabatai mend their burnt bridges and grow close once more. Jace also confesses his  distress about learning that Clary is his sister. He reveals that he not only kissed Fray, but he “wanted” her. Jace tells Alec that he must be sick.

Jace’s parabatai smoothes things over and while Jace is not overly convinced, he does feel better. Proven when he manages to make eye contact with Clary during the wedding ceremony. The  Shadowhunters have healed the rift between them and allowed Jace to move on to other things.

In the middle of the ceremony between Lydia and Alec ; Magnus arrives (“like in The Graduate” Simon gushes excitedly) and the path of   “true love” and the storyline of “Malec” comes together at last. Marisa tries to stop Magnus who silences her with one raised hand. “I’ll leave if Alec asks me to,” Bane says.

Lydia, who confessed to Clary that she loved Alec, lets her intended go to Bane. The two men meet in the aisle and a shocked Marisa looks on in horror as Alec and Magnus kiss. Jace, Simon, Isabelle and Clary look on in delight.

Marisa storms out of the wedding and Jace talks with Clary telling her that what Alec has done makes him realize that he cannot shut her out.

DOMINIC SHERWOOD, NICOLE CORREIA DAMUDE, MATTHEW DADDARIO
Marisa is not happy with Alec.

Magnus, Alec, Jace and Clary go to track down the book required to wake Jocelyn. It belongs to Bane’s old lover Camille, who is not dead but chained in the basement of the Hotel Dumort.

Clary reveals that their mother never abandoned him, she thought he was dead. Jace tells his sister that perhaps he should join their father, Valentine as he feels a darkness inside him.

Alec’s mother Marisa confronts him and she  is not upset that he chose a man over Lydia. She is furious that Alec  has chosen a downworlder. Alec’s father Robert tells his son to “give her time.” Robert is not upset, just confused. After he leaves Magnus reminds Alec that they have not been on a  date yet.

Lydia goes to retrieve the Mortal Cup and is knocked out. The vessel is retrieved  by Hodge, the real mole/traitor, who wears a summoning ring that brings Valentine’s projection into the Institute. Hodge offers up the cup in exchange for release from his punishment  rune, Clary’s father agrees.

This penultimate episode in season one brings a lot of things together. The fate of Camille; chained and in the basement of the hotel, Simon’s romanticism, Hodges’s treachery and Jace’s misery and confusion over the fact that he had “the hots” for his sister.

It also reveals much about Magnus, immortal he may be, but the warlock is just as much a romantic as Simon Lewis. The big question is whether Hodge will, or can be, stopped before turning the cup over to Valentine.

Shadowhunters airs Tuesdays on Freeform and the season finale is next week.