Pop TV’s Wolf Creek is Great

wolf-creek-tv-posterI have a guilty pleasure I need to confess.

Maybe I should start with a prayer, Naaaah it’s not fitting given the topic.

Anyway, I have a dog. Just throwing that out to set the stage, because the heroine of this guilt pleasure also has a dog. Her name is Eve and she is the protagonist in the bleak Outback thriller “Wolf Creek” on PopTV.

Set in Australia, an American young woman relentlessly hunts down the killer of her family; a serial killer named Mick Taylor. Eve is played by Australian actress Lucy Fry. She plays the role with both vulnerability and strength (a rare combination).

Mick Taylor is menacingly play by longtime Aussie TV staple John Jarret. He has a long list of credits and it is hard to believe he once hosted a lifestyle show on Australian TV

Anyway, the cast of characters populating the show is fairly unusual for the kind of slasher/revenge flick we’ve grown used to. Even so, the story moves so fast and the Outback so bleak there is something special about this production.

I think that is the power of the show. The characters are so unusual that you never get bored. There is the drug lord chasing Eve , not because she stole his money (she did), but because he thinks she would provide the perfect DNA for his future offspring. There is the cop who is obsessed with her because his wife is cheating on him; there is the soiled dove women from some kind of strip/non strip club where the women walk around suggestively, but never take their clothes; and finally there is the useless dog that never seems to be around when trouble erupts.

If you like your tension mixed with cornucopia of oddball characters, this is the show for you.

 

 

Another Good New Show From Syfy – Dark Matter

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Mr. Lemke as #=Three from Syfy Good new show, Dark Matter

You got to give Syfy their props; they just keep coming at you with original programming. They have a new show in their stable – Dark Matter.
It’s a space show that seems very influence by Firefly, a dash of Star Trek the Next Generation, and old film Noir.
Without giving too much away, six people wake up on a spaceship from some kind of frozen stasis to find their memories wiped clean. We don’t initially know who they are, or what their talents are or any back story. Those details are cleverly revealed piecemeal in every episode.
As time goes on we find out the people are hired supposedly thieves and/or killers who go from job to job at the behest of one evil corporation or another. Oddly, they;ve all woken up with some level of conscience and moral compass. Something is obviously afoot.
This is an extremely clever plotting device allowing the writers great creative opportunities for internal/external conflict.
Instead of names the crew uses the number in the order they woke up. The leader of the band of – whatever they are – is Two played by Melissa O’Neil. Ms. O’Neil inhabits the role and is pretty believable. It is good to see a women back in charge of a spaceship. I don’t recall seeing one since Captain Janeway from Star Trek Voyager. Ms. O’Neil character is already more complex than Janeway was.
The fish out of water is One played Marc Ben David, who, according to IMDB has done several things, but I’ve never seen him, before. One is the consistent good guy in the show who always wants to do the right thing and by doing so pulling the entire crew into danger.
The most fun to watch is surely Three played by Anthony Lemke who gets the best comic lines. Many will remember Mr. Lemke from his time on Lost Girl, before Bo became a self-absorbed blah, blah, blah (Another day for that ultimately disappointing mess). Regardless, Mr. Lemke plays a brigand with a heart of – if not gold – brass.
Four is played by Alex Mallari Jr., whose character I haven’t figured out yet. They better right the ship with this one or he is going to end up as a Star Trek Crewman in a red tunic – expendable. Near as I can tell he is a brooding martial arts master waiting for the right time to spring into action I guess. Mr. Mallari has a pretty extensive resume and seems fairly competent at his craft.
Jodelle Ferland – who plays Five is the obligatory child crew member who has mystical powers ala River Tam from Firefly. She has an extensive resume already so hopefully they will put her skills to better use. Right now she is a secondary character who could also end up in a Star Trek Red Tunic. It’s very early yet though.
Six is a bit interesting. Roger R. Cross has been in a million things and does them all fairly well. In Black Matter he is the pilot of the space shuttle and all around badass and nice guy. As the show unfolds I look forward to seeing him get more screen time.
Billed as one of the Stars of the show Zoie Palmer, also a Lost Girl alum, has been the biggest disappointment so far. She plays the Android. And they really need to step it up. She is neither funny, nor engaging. It’s just flat, blah. You know.
All in all it’s a good show that seems to have found a niche and needs a little character development. Let’s hope the writers can keep this thing afloat. for more info

An Addendum to “The Summoning”

I want to thank Terri for calling me out on my earlier thoughts about “The Summoning” when I mentioned that Adam was one of the few white characters in the film. I appreciate every reader and I realize some clarification was need.

Having Adam as a white character was either wonderful casting or wonderful writing – maybe both.

Here’s why.

When Angela gives Adam the key to bringing back his dead wife, even though it will cause him incredible hardship, the guilt consumes her. She reflects and regrets what she has potentially done to another person – regardless of difference – and attempts to head off disaster even at her own expense. It gives Angela – played by Paula Jai Parker – a depth that otherwise may have been missing. It is at this moment she becomes – to the viewer— multi-dimensional rather than flat. Again, great casting or great writing or both.

Like I said earlier, I won’t spoil the scene, but suffice to say it is a wonderful moment.

While I’m at it, I wanted to mention the great work of Diandra Lyle, whose facial expressions – especially in one of the final scenes – were superb. She has a presence that will be a pleasure to watch (not in a creepy way) in the years to come.

I guess that’s it. Bye.

The Summoning — Superb Scary/Funny Thriller

from Twitter
from Twitter

Let’s start at the beginning. I’m a white guy. Best get that out of the way before I start chatting about “The Summoning,” a made for TV movie from the folks at TVONE, whose tagline is “Where black life unfolds.”

Regardless, needed to get that out of the way – kind of a disclaimer I guess.

Anyway, Saturday night I was channel surfing and happened upon this gem. And except for one or two clichés (a cheating black husband being the most prominent) it is an excellent, funny, and at times quite scary movie that took me completely by surprise. It was kind of a Blythe Spirit meets Pet Sematary, meets Ghost.

Bravo TV One. Bravo!

The cast, led by Paula Jai Parker, was the perfect mix of beauty and skill. The ghost skillfully played by Terrell Tilford was at times sympathetic, duplicitous, and frankly, evil. A special shout out to one of my long time favorites Dorian Missick who earned his bona fides on Southland.

The writing, for the most part, was superb with just the right mix of terror and whimsy. At one point the wife, Angela (Ms. Parker) who brought her husband’s spirit back from the dead only to find out about his philandering ways, yells at the ghost, “You’re dead to me!” What a hoot.

I won’t spoil it for you, but when she goes to save Adam, one of the few white guys in the film, it is really a clever, funny exchange juxtaposing her sense of morality with some theater of the absurd. Another great moment.

The ending of the film should come with a warning like The Bad Seed from 1956 – “don’t reveal the ending to your friends.” I was –as my wife would say – gob smacked!

As I said I happened upon this show and am glad I did. I had a blast tweeting with other viewers at #thesummoning.